Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

November 14, 2011
Assembly Speaker John A. Perez names new chief of staff

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez has promoted one of his chief consultants, Greg Campbell, to serve as chief of staff.

Campbell will replace Sara Ramirez Giroux, whose title will change to a chief consultant for Pérez, D-Los Angeles.

Prior to the job changes, Campbell's annual salary was $134,628 and Giroux's was $190,000. The two essentially will switch salaries as well as job titles: Campbell will receive $190,000 and Giroux about $136,000, said Robin Swanson, Pérez 's spokeswoman.

Officials of the speaker's office could not be reached immediately for comment today.

Campbell, 38, has served in leadership roles for each of the past four Assembly speakers, all Democrats.

A graduate of the University of California, Davis, Campbell has helped to develop numerous state budgets, helped manage Assembly operations, and assisted on issues related to pension reform, health-care reform, workers compensation law, raising California's minimum wage, and labor and workforce development.

Campbell also has served as a member of California's Employment Training Panel. At UCD, he played football with one of the current assemblymen, Republican Cameron Smyth of Santa Clarita, according to a press release from Pérez's office.

November 14, 2011
Assemblyman Gil Cedillo to run for Los Angeles City Council

Arizona Boycott Calif.jpgDemocratic Assemblyman Gil Cedillo has announced plans to run for the Los Angeles City Council in 2013.

The Democrat will seek to succeed Councilman Ed Reyes, who will be stepping down due to term limits.

Cedillo was first elected to the state Legislature in 1998. He served two terms in the state Assembly before winning election to the Senate in 2002. After completing the maximum two terms in the upper house, he returned to the Assembly for a third and final term.

Cedillo has made immigrant rights a top legislative priority during his time in Sacramento. He is the author of the California "Dream Act," a recently signed law allowing some undocumented immigrant students to qualify for publicly funded financial aid.

November 14, 2011
UC cancels regents meeting this week after threats of violence

The University of California has canceled the meeting of its governing board scheduled for later this week out of fears that protests against UC regents could turn violent.

Protests by labor unions and student groups are not uncommon at regents meetings, but UC officials announced today that they had reason to believe the actions planned for the meeting on Wednesday and Thursday in San Francisco would be unusually disruptive. UC decided to postpone the meeting after law enforcement officials disclosed credible threats.

"From various sources they had received information indicating that rogue elements intent on violence and confrontation with UC public safety officers were planning to attach themselves to peaceful demonstrations expected to occur at the meeting," said a joint statement from Regents Chair Sherry Lansing, Regents Vice Chair Bruce Varner and UC President Mark Yudof.

"They believe that, as a result, there is a real danger of significant violence and vandalism," the statement says.

The statement does not name any individuals or groups that posed a threat.

A union-backed group called Refund California planned to organize buses to bring people from college campuses across the state to the regents meeting. The group wants UC regents -- many of whom serve on corporate boards -- to support the its proposal to raise taxes to alleviate the budget cuts public universities have faced in recent years.

UC has not yet scheduled a new date for the meeting, at which regents were to discuss the university's 2012-13 budget proposal.

November 14, 2011
California finance aides peg revenue gap at nearly $1.3 billion

The budget news remains downbeat, but the state Department of Finance reported Monday that the state's revenue gap is less than what Controller John Chiang said last week.

The state is $1.275 billion behind in revenues for the first four months of the fiscal year, or 5.1 percent. Chiang said last week that the gap was $1.5 billion, or 6.2 percent. Department of Finance totals typically vary because of a delay in when agencies report their cash totals to the controller.

For the month of October alone, Finance said the state was $608 million short, or 10.5 percent.

Under the budget signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, California must impose mid-year cuts if forecasters believe the state will fall at least $1 billion in revenues by the end of June 2012. The latest Finance report emphasized that the forecasts will take into account not only the existing four-month gap, but what economists believe will transpire over the next eight months.

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office is expected to release its forecast later this week.

November 14, 2011
Former Democratic Sen. Teresa Hughes, 80, dies

Former Democratic Sen. Teresa Hughes, who served in the state Legislature for 25 years, has died. She was 80.

News of the longtime legislator's death was reported by the office of Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, who issued a statement calling Hughes an "outspoken voice for inclusion and justice."

"She was a fierce advocate for the men and women she represented, and spent every moment of her time in public service fighting for working families," Pérez said in a statement.

Hughes, who was first elected to a Los Angeles Assembly seat a July 1975 special election, was re-elected to eight full terms in the Assembly before winning a seat in the state Senate in 1992, according to a biography on She served two terms in the upper house before stepping down due to term limits in 2000. Prior to running for office, Hughes worked as a legislative consultant for the State Commission for Teacher Preparation and Licensing and as a staffer for former state Sen. Mervyn Dymally, according to the site.

Hughes, who lived in Castro Valley at the time of her death, was married to Frank Staggers, a retired urologist who served as president of the California Medical Association and the National Medical Association.

November 14, 2011
California State University considers 9% tuition hike

California State University trustees will vote Wednesday on raising fees by $498, or about 9 percent, for fall 2012. That would bring annual tuition for undergrads at CSU's 23 campuses to $5,970, not including books, room or board. Most campuses charge an additional $1,000 in local fees.

The tuition increase is part of the university's larger plan for its 2012-13 budget. Trustees are also voting Wednesday on a proposal to ask the state for $2.4 billion in funding next year, an increase of $330 million over this year. If all of it comes through, CSU will not implement the tuition hike.

"We won't have to increase tuition for the fall if the state provides adequate funding in next year's budget," Chancellor Charles Reed said this morning in a phone call with reporters.

Universities make budget requests to the state every year but it's been many years since they received anything close to what they requested. For the current year, the state cut both CSU and University of California by $650 million. The state will cut the two systems by another $100 million each next month if mid-year budget projections are not met. A $750 million cut would translate to a 27 percent drop in funding for CSU compared with last year, Reed said.

Read CSU's tuition proposal on page 20 of the meeting agenda posted here.

November 14, 2011
AM Alert: Sacramento State's Tim Hodson, remembered

Tim Hodson photo1.JPGTim Hodson, former director of Sacramento State's Center for California Studies, will be honored at a memorial service today at Sacramento's Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.

The service begins at 1:30 p.m. at 11th and K streets. A reception will follow at the University of California Center Sacramento, 1130 K St.

Hodson was an expert on California politics, starting his Capitol career as a staff member for the state Senate. He died Oct. 25 of cancer at age 61, shortly after penning a poetic lament about the state of the state.

Click here to read The Bee's obituary. Learn more about his legacy at this university website.

Later this afternoon, eight Sacramento area cities compete in a charity tournament benefiting local foster youth program JumpStart 21, with Assemblyman Roger Dickinson -- who played varsity basketball for UC Berkeley back in the day -- dribbling for hometown Sacramento.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson isn't listed on the team rosters, but Sacramento City Council members Rob Fong and Jay Schenirer are ready to go.

"I'm just hoping that when all is said and done, none of us will be heading to the emergency room," Fong told the Sacramento Press last week.

Another attraction: a tournament version of the Royal Court Dancers. Bee columnist Marcos Breton is emceeing the event. Catch it from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation, 9040 High Tech Court in Elk Grove.

9-1-1 SERVICE: Assemblywoman Norma Torres, D-Pomona, chairs a select committee hearing on the next generation of 9-1-1 emergency service, starting at 10 am. in the Capitol's room 437.

WOMEN'S SUMMIT: Democratic Assemblywomen Joan Buchanan of Alamo, Nancy Skinner of Berkeley and Susan Bonilla of Concord host a women's summit to discuss the effects of state budget cuts on women and children and to mark the 100th anniversary of women's right to vote in California. The event starts at 1 p.m. at Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek.

FACEBOOK: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will be talking with Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg on Facebook Live from 2 to 3 p.m. Pacific Time about education, jobs and the state budget. Learn more at this link.

PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Hodson, courtesy of California State University, Sacramento


Capitol Alert Staff

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee.

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert.

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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