Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

November 28, 2011
Jerry Brown says he's 'seriously concerned' about protest response

In the wake of violence on UC campuses, Gov. Jerry Brown today asked a statewide law enforcement commission to review guidelines for crowd control and "without delay" make "whatever changes are necessary to ensure compliance with First and Fourth Amendment protections against excessive force."

Brown said the commission should consider changes to its 2003 Crowd Management and Civil Disobedience Guidelines.

"I am seriously concerned that the rules governing the use of force, in particular the use of pepper spray, are not well understood in the context of civil disobedience and various forms of public protest," Brown wrote to Paul Cappitelli, director of the state Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training. "The recent 'occupation' protests in cities throughout California and on campuses of the University of California underscore the urgency of articulating guidelines that are crystal clear and comport with constitutional requirements."

Brown, who returned to California over the weekend after a vacation out of state, had been silent about the pepper spraying of protesters by police at UC Davis and a clash between protesters and police at UC Berkeley.

The commission sets operation and training standards for about 600 law enforcement agencies in California that participate voluntarily.

November 28, 2011
Republican Elizabeth Emken to run against Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Emkenheadshot.jpgWith less than a year to go until the November 2012 election, a GOP challenger to Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has emerged.

Elizabeth Emken, a longtime advocate for children with autism and 2010 congressional candidate, has decided to run against the incumbent Democrat next year, announcing her candidacy on her campaign website and the conservative blog Flashreport.org.

"She's definitely in and we're putting together the campaign now," campaign consultant Tim Clark said in an interview Monday.

November 28, 2011
Fiona Ma to run for state Board of Equalization seat in 2014

RP TIBET MA.JPGAssemblywoman Fiona Ma will run for the state Board of Equalization when incumbent Democrat Betty Yee is termed out in 2014.

Ma has opened a campaign committee for the Board of Equalization race and said Monday that veteran Richie Ross will be her political consultant in seeking a seat stretching from the Oregon border to Santa Barbara County.

"It's making my parents very happy that my education is not going to waste," quipped Ma, who received a master's degree in taxation from Golden Gate University and is a certified public accountant.

Ma was forced to make a decision about her political future because she will be termed out of the Assembly next year.

Ma said she had planned to run for state Sen. Leland Yee's seat if he had won the recent race for San Francisco mayor, but he lost this month to acting Mayor Ed Lee.

November 28, 2011
Californians' economic confidence falls, survey finds

As the holiday buying season begins, Californians' confidence in their economic futures is declining, a new statewide survey by San Jose State University finds.

SJSU's Survey and Policy Research Institute says that its overall consumer sentiment index has dropped 10 points in the last year to 64.5, and the index of future expectations has dropped as well. The poll, conducted in October, found that 43 percent of California adults described their personal financial situations as worse than they were a year earlier.

As constructed, the index rates anything above 100 as positive and anything below that level as negative. It's similar to the national index of consumer confidence developed at the University of Michigan, and the latest SJSU survey results closely track those at the national level in the latest Michigan poll.

"The good news here is that we are starting to see some improvement in consumer
confidence statewide," said Melinda Jackson, the institute's research director. "The bad news is that attitudes are still fairly pessimistic overall. We may have turned the corner on the worst of the recession, but there is not a lot of hope for a quick recovery in these numbers."

In fact, 85 percent of the survey's respondents believe that the state remains in recession, even though technically it has hit bottom and is in recovery, and more half said they expected recession to continue for at least three more years.

November 28, 2011
Fresno judge rules state cannot take $1 billion from First 5

A Fresno judge ruled last week that California's attempt to take $1 billion from First 5 commissions was illegal.

Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers initially relied on the money in March to help balance a then-$26 billion shortfall. Two months later, state leaders backed away from the budget solution because First 5 commissions filed suit to block it. But Brown continued to defend the move in court.

Fresno Superior Court judge Debra J. Kazanjian determined in her ruling that the First 5 take was illegal because it required voter approval under the initial 1998 ballot measure, Proposition 10.

November 28, 2011
The Dish: Department of Justice's Side Bar Cafe

DOJ.JPG While there's no shortage of coffee and lunch locales around the Capitol, many state buildings are home to additional dining options. This post is part of a new weekly series of mini-reviews of some of those spots for downtown denizens looking to try something new.

The Spot: For this week's review, dining diva Torey Van Oot and Bee budget guru Kevin Yamamura took a stroll to the Department of Justice to meet Lynda Gledhill, spokeswoman for state Attorney General Kamala Harris at her building's in-house haunt: The Side Bar Cafe (1300 I street). New diners take note: the ordering process at the Side Bar is "backwards" compared to many of the other restaurants we've reviewed. Head to the cash register first to place your order, then go pick up your food and drink at the grill counter.

The grub: The centerpiece of the Side Bar is the grill, which serves up made-to-order hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches and specials. Twists on the standard fare include a grilled cheese and pastrami sandwich and a Western bacon BBQ cheeseburger (diners with a big appetite order a "double" for about a dollar extra). There were several specials, including two soups, advertised on a white board, though the "sweetish meatballs" had apparently already sold out by the time we arrived at noon (specials for the week are posted online). Other options included pizza warming in a box reminiscent of the high school cafeteria and a modest salad bar. The breakfast menu (served until from 6:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.) included a special egg and steak burrito. Food is served until 4 p.m. on weekdays.

cheeseburger.JPG On our plates: Torey had the daily special's chicken focaccia sandwich with a side of fries ($6.69). Kevin picked the Beef Burgundy lunch special ($6.19), which came with egg noodles, broccoli and a "freshly toasted" dinner roll, and a side of chicken and rice soup. Lynda stuck with the cheeseburger ($3.99), which also came with fries.

The bill: The total for the three meals and drinks was $22.62. While the cheeseburger was cheap, the other plates cost more than $6 a piece. Kevin noted that drinks no longer come with the lunch special -- perhaps a victim of budget cuts?

chicken.JPG The good: The focaccia sandwich had a good amount of flavor, thanks in part to the sauce and buttery, toasted bread. The cheeseburger was nothing special (and could have used a toasted bun), but was pretty good for the price. "Better than McDonald's," since it actually tasted fresh. There was no line and the service was quick, with all three plates coming up within a matter of minutes. We'll have to head back sometime for the Mexican food, which is apparently Side Bar's specialty.

beef.JPG The bad: Kevin's plate of beef and noodles "wasn't particularly palatable." In fact, he said the best part of his meal was the fries he ate off his dining companions' plates. While the fries were well seasoned, they would have benefited from some extra crunch. We didn't need an afternoon caffeine fix just yet, but word is the coffee leaves much to be desired among morning customers.

The grade: 2.5 out of 5 sporks.

Have you been to Side Bar Cafe? Share your experiences in the comments field below.

You can also check out our earlier reviews of the Gold Rush Grille, Cafe 744 and the soon-to-be-shuttered Dave's Deli.

Jon Ortiz and Torey Van Oot are taking suggestions for state building restaurants to try.Send your picks to capitolalertcontests@gmail.com and check back every Friday for a weekly write up.

PHOTOS: From top to bottom: Side Bar cafe's dining area; cheeseburger with fries; chicken sandwich; Beef Burgundy. Torey Van Oot, Sacramento Bee.


November 28, 2011
AM Alert: University of California regents meet long distance

University of California regents are meeting this morning ... at four different campuses.

The board was to meet earlier this month but canceled that gathering after warnings of violent protests, as The Bee's Laurel Rosenhall reported in this post.

The board -- connected by teleconference from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Davis and Merced -- will discuss, among other things, UC's request to the state for $2.8 billion next year. Click here for more information about the meeting.

An Assembly budget subcommittee, meanwhile, heads to the south state for a look at restoration of the Salton Sea.

The oversight hearing, chaired by Democratic Assemblyman Rich Gordon of Menlo Park, will take testimony from representatives of the Legislative Analyst's Office, several state agencies, the Salton Sea Authority, as well as Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit and others.

The meeting runs from 1 to 3 p.m. at the North Shore Community Center in the Riverside County community of Mecca. It will be webcast live at this website of Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez, in whose district the meeting is being held. Click here to find a link to the agenda, and click here to read the Legislative Analyst's Office report dated January 2008 on restoration of the Salton Sea.

CAKE AND CANDLES: Belated birthday wishes go to Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries, R-Lake Elsinore, who turned 51 on Thanksgiving. Assemblyman Sandré Swanson, D-Alameda, turns 63 today.



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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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