Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

November 18, 2011
Occupy Sacramento to protest outside Jerry Brown's loft

Occupy Sacramento said this afternoon that it will protest in front of Gov. Jerry Brown's Sacramento loft on Saturday.

But the Democratic governor is unlikely to be there: He spends many weekends at his Oakland home.

Cres Vellucci, a spokesman for Occupy Sacramento, said Brown's presence doesn't matter. The protest, he said, is "symbolic of the movement."

Occupy Sacramento said in a release that protesters and labor advocates will rally at Cesar Chavez Park before leading a "noisy march right to the front door of Gov. Jerry Brown's Sacramento home."

Brown has kept quiet about the Occupy Wall Street movement and recent student protests in California.

Vellucci said protesters "don't have a lot of faith in politicians, generally." They are specifically critical of Brown because they think he has not aggressively enough pursued tax increases on the wealthiest Californians, even as the state reduces services.

November 18, 2011
University of California reschedules meeting canceled by threats

University of California regents have rescheduled the meeting that was canceled this week by threats of violence. They are now planning to meet on Monday, Nov. 28.

UC's governing board was never scheduled to vote on a tuition increase at the November meeting, though some groups planning protests distributed publicity material saying it was. Regents canceled the meeting scheduled for Wednesday in San Francisco, citing "credible intelligence" that planned protests could result in violence and vandalism.

The newly scheduled meeting will take place at four campuses -- in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Davis and Merced -- that will be connected by teleconference. Regents have expanded the time available for public comment, from 20 minutes to one hour. Members of the public can attend the meeting at any of the four locations.

The board is scheduled to discuss several financial matters, including its request to the state for a 2012-13 budget of $2.8 billion.

You can see the agenda and specific meeting locations on each campus here.

November 18, 2011
David Gergen sees 'nasty' presidential race, praises Jerry Brown

You may have to pick up a Nevada television station to see it, but if you do, expect the presidential race "to get nasty" next year, with fear-mongering and personal attacks defining both the Democratic and Republican campaigns, political analyst David Gergen said.

"I think it's going to get nasty, because that's the way each side energizes its base," said Gergen, who was on the phone this morning ahead of a speaking engagement in Sacramento on Nov. 29.

President Barack Obama's supporters are less enthusiastic than they were in 2008, for instance. "How do you get them out to vote? Well, you scare the hell out of them about the other side," Gergen said.

"And if you're a Republican," he added, "and you've got a candidate like (Mitt) Romney, who is not exactly a runaway favorite among the tea partyers, how do you get the tea partyers out to vote? You scare the hell out of them."

It should make for entertaining TV in competitive states. But probably not in California, where Obama is so heavily favored that no Republican is expected to campaign seriously. "I think California is going to be spared most of the advertising," Gergen said.

So what's the Golden State to do?

"Be well governed," Gergen said.

Gergen -- a political adviser to four presidents, three of them Republican -- said people on the East Coast don't hear as much about California Gov. Jerry Brown as they did his celebrity predecessor, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. But the impression Brown is making is a good one, Gergen said.

"He seems to be, from afar, seems to be someone who is trying to do responsible things," Gergen said. "To the extent people are paying attention, I think they see a governor who is not a knee-jerk Democratic liberal."

November 18, 2011
AM Alert: California higher education commission shuts down

A longtime state agency, felled by the budget ax, closes its doors today.

The California Postsecondary Education Commission got zeroed out in June by Gov. Jerry Brown, whose veto message called the agency "ineffective" and requested the state's three higher education systems to explore other ways of coordinating and developing higher education policy.

The commission's executive director, Karen Humphrey, issued a parting news release: "It is regrettable that the state, in trying to balance the budget, has discarded a low-cost agency whose value to policymakers was to help wisely spend the far vaster amounts of state dollars allocated to the public colleges and universities and student aid."

The commission's database has been transferred to the California Community Colleges' chancellor's office. The commission's website, www.cpec.ca.gov, is still online for now. Reports and other materials have been farmed out to the State Archives and the California State Library, and the state Department of Education will now administer a federally funded grants program.

Meanwhile, the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board -- which Brown has mentioned as a candidate for the chopping block -- has a new member: Davis Democrat Kathleen T. Howard.

Howard was appointed by the Senate Rules Committee, which is chaired by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. She replaces former Sen. Denise Moreno Ducheny, who is running for Congress in the San Diego area.

Howard was most recently supervisor at the Center for Families, Children and the Courts. The new job pays $128,109 a year. Her term starts Dec. 1 and ends Jan. 1, 2015. The Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board considers appeals of denials of unemployment insurance benefits.

Speaking of higher education, The Bee's Laurel Rosenhall reported Thursday in this post that Californians aren't happy about recent budget cuts but aren't inclined to put up the money to reverse the trend.

That assessment comes from a new Public Policy Institute of California survey that looks at Golden State residents' views on public colleges and universities. Survey project manager Sonja Petek talks about the survey and its findings at a luncheon from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the CSAC Center in downtown Sacramento. Click here to learn more about the event and to RSVP. Lunch is provided, and there is no charge to attend.

LTGOV: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom talks to the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce at noon about jobs and the economy, then addresses teachers, students and others at San Diego's High Tech High this afternoon.

HEARING: Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, chairs a select committee hearing on the labor outlook for the state's ports, starting at 9 a.m. at the Port of Long Beach Administration Building.

CAKE AND CANDLES: Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, turns 63 on Sunday.



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Capitol Alert Staff


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

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

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee. smith@sacbee.com

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

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert. mmassimino@sacbee.com

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

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. dsiders@sacbee.com. Twitter: @davidsiders

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

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