Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

November 21, 2011
Well-heeled environmental group files $1 billion California initiative

An environmental coalition led by hedge-fund manager Tom Steyer has filed a ballot initiative to raise $1.1 billion from out-of-state companies for schools and green building projects.

Steyer heads the Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs, a network of environmental and technology groups that defeated a 2010 ballot initiative that would have suspended the state's greenhouse-gas reduction law.

Under the proposal, the state would require businesses to calculate their taxes based solely on the proportion of sales they have in California compared to other states. Gov. Jerry Brown unsuccessfully sought that change in the Legislature this year, first as a budget balancing solution, then as a way to offer tax credits to small businesses and manufacturers.

November 21, 2011
No plea by California finance director in drunk driving case

State Finance Director Ana Matosantos did not enter a plea Monday during initial court proceedings in her drunken driving case.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Curtis M. Fiorini continued the case until Feb. 29 for arraignment.

Matosantos did not personally appear in court but was represented by defense attorney Megan Virga.

Continuances are routine and the matter was handled through the courtroom clerk in several minutes, with no formal appearance before Fiorini.

Shortly after her Oct. 28 arrest, Matosantos acknowledged wrongdoing and offered to step down as state finance director. Gov. Jerry Brown did not accept her resignation.

November 21, 2011
Jerry Brown silent on UC Davis incident, student protests

Even as student protests spread across the state this fall - with national attention focused today on the pepper spraying of nonviolent protesters at UC Davis - Gov. Jerry Brown has kept silent.

Unlike Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, who was "appalled at the apparent use of excessive force by the UC Davis police force at a peaceful student demonstration," or Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, who called it "outrageous," Brown's office has issued no comment.

Nor would he address the Occupy movement when he was asked about it at a press conference last month.

"You know, I don't want to step on my story at this point," said Brown, who was announcing a pension proposal.

The Democratic governor is vacationing out of state. His office will not say where or for how long.

Brown spokeswoman Elizabeth Ashford said the governor's office had been briefed by UC about the Davis incident.

Regarding Brown's lack of response to Occupy protests, she said they are local matters handled by local agencies.

However, Ashford said, "As with anything that's happening in California, we are keeping an eye on it."

November 21, 2011
UC Davis chancellor says student safety dictated tent removal

In an interview this morning on KQED's Forum, UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi said she expected campus police on Friday to remove tents peacefully without interfering with students' rally.

Katehi said that under UC policy, tents are not allowed on campus "for health and safety reasons." She said police were asked to dismantle the encampment out of concern for the safety of the students.

"The group that set this up was not UC Davis students," she said. "They had individuals that were not affiliated with the campus. The police were called for nothing else but a very peaceful dismantling of the equipment...They were not supposed to use force.They were not supposed to limit the students from having the rally, from congregating to express their anger and frustration."

She called the police actions on Internet videos over the weekend "unacceptable," "horrific" and "disheartening."

While even if technically the use of pepper spray fell "within police code," she said, "it was an unacceptable decision to use that type of force on students who were quietly sitting."

"As an educator, as a human being... I was filled with outrage and sadness. It was horrible what I saw. I really need to understand ....why this thing went so wrong. We really need to try to take action to make the appropriate correction to make sure that that never happens again. Beyond that, we need to bring the campus together."

Katehi said that as chancellor she takes responsbility "for everything that happens on this campus.

"At the same, our campus has policies...to really make sure sure 32,000 students who are using our campus are safe."

Hear the complete interview:

Editor's Note: This post has been corrected to quote Katehi as saying the use of pepper spray was "unacceptable."



November 21, 2011
Do you have protest experience?

The Bee Capitol Bureau is looking to interview anyone who has been involved in previous university protests and had an experience with law enforcement.

If you can help, please contact David Siders, dsiders@sacbee.com or 916-321-1215.

November 21, 2011
AM Alert: Catch up on Think Long's California tax overhaul

The Think Long Committee for California is rolling out a sweeping proposal for fixing the Golden State, and it includes overhauling the tax system.

Read the full Think Long report here. (draft obtained by the Bee)

It's no small change. Californians would pay sales tax on all services except health care and education starting in July 2013, as The Bee's Torey Van Oot and Kevin Yamamura explained in Sunday's Bee.

The big name, bipartisan coalition also hopes to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would set up an independent state commission tasked with long-term planning. Think Long officially unveils its 22-page proposal this morning.

In other news, California Finance Director Ana Matosantos is scheduled for arraignment this afternoon in Sacramento Superior Court. Matosantos, who isn't expected to appear, was arrested near the Capitol late last month on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, meanwhile, challenged his colleagues and other Capitol denizens last month to a duel of sorts: Could they collect more canned food for charity than a bunch of fifth-graders?

Fifth-graders can't drive, but it turns out they can run a can drive.

The Sacramento Democrat announced last week that Capitol folks managed to collect 1,951 cans, to be exact. But students from Bannon Creek Elementary School, Leonardo da Vinci School and Theodore Judah Elementary School did far better, collecting 5,031.

Let's see ... 1,951 plus 5,031 equals 6,982. All of them go to Operation Gobble, a local program that delivers turkeys to families in need.



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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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