Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

November 23, 2011
Drug agents sue California officials over impending layoffs

State drug enforcement agents sued Gov. Jerry Brown and his finance director, Ana Matosantos, on Wednesday over 206 layoffs they consider "obvious political retaliation" for endorsing Brown's Republican opponent in 2010.

As part of the June budget, the California Department of Justice lost $35 million for its Division of Law Enforcement. The cut will wipe out the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, which coordinates with local and federal law enforcement on drug and gang cases.

A similar $36 million cut is expected for the next fiscal year as California faces an estimated $12.8 billion deficit.

The Association of Special Agents filed suit Wednesday in Sacramento Superior Court, alleging that the governor "proposed and supported legislation to eliminate general fund support for special agents because of petitioner's political endorsement of Meg Whitman." The union also said Brown "infringed on the state attorney general's constitutional authority to investigate and prosecute crimes."

The agents' union is a subset of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association, which backed Whitman in the 2010 gubernatorial race. CSLEA was at the center of a campaign gaffe that year when an unidentified Brown aide was caught on voice mail calling Whitman a "whore" for allegedly protecting public safety pensions in exchange for endorsements, referring to CSLEA.

Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer called the allegation of political payback "baseless and without merit." Palmer said the state had little choice but to cut Department of Justice funding because lawmakers rejected additional taxes to balance the budget.

"This was a cut that was entirely avoidable," Palmer said. "It is not a reduction the governor proposed in his budget in January, and it is not a cut the governor proposed when he revised his budget in May."

Click here to read the agents' association lawsuit.

November 23, 2011
California lawmakers plan bills in wake of Penn State scandal

Penn St Ex Coach Allegations Football.jpgThe child sex abuse scandal rocking Penn State University has sparked at least two proposals for new laws in California.

Two Democratic lawmakers have announced plans to introduce legislation to create new rules for coaches and nonprofits in response to reports that years of alleged sexual abuse of young boys by former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was not reported to authorities, even after a graduate coaching assistant told university athletic officials that he saw Sandusky raping a young boy in a Penn State locker room. Sandusky, who founded a nonprofit organization that runs programs for Pennsylvania youth, has been charged with sexually abusing at least eight young boys over a 15-year period. He has said he is innocent.

November 23, 2011
Gavin Newsom condemns 'senseless violence' at Davis

Four days after the pepper spraying incident at UC Davis, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, acting governor while Gov. Jerry Brown is on vacation out of state, issued a statement Tuesday night condemning the "senseless violence" and praising UC officials for ordering an independent investigation.

"UC students and the people of California deserve a swift, just and thorough independent investigation into this matter," Newsom said in a prepared statement. "Concrete remedies need to be implemented to ensure that peaceful protests on our university campuses are never again met with senseless violence."

Newsom visited the campus earlier Tuesday, his office said. His statement followed remarks by other major politicians, but not Brown, who has kept silent on the matter.

"President Mark Yudof and his staff have kept my office appraised on the events of the last week and I made it clear that the University has a profound obligation to its staff and student body - not to mention its worldwide reputation - to better balance protecting the public safety with protecting the constitutional right to free speech and political expression," Newsom said. "After contact with William Bratton earlier this week, I am pleased that the University of California has retained the former Los Angeles Police Chief to lead an independent investigation of the pepper spray incident on the campus of UC Davis last Friday. I have every confidence that Chief Bratton will be thorough and frank in its findings."


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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