Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

Gov. Jerry Brown is heading to Vallejo this morning to attend the memorial service for a Vallejo police officer shot while chasing at least one bank robbery suspect.

Officer Jim Capoot, a 19-year veteran of the Vallejo Police Department, died Nov. 17. Learn more about his death at the Paco Villa Corrections blog. The Vacaville Reporter has more information here about the service itself.

The memorial is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. at Corbus Field, next to Vallejo High School.

California's Republican voters, meanwhile, have elevated former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to the No. 2 spot among GOP presidential hopefuls, just behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, according to the latest Field Poll.

Last month, businessman Herman Cain came in second in a Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California poll. The month before that, a Field Poll put Texas Gov. Rick Perry in second place.

The shifting voters are looking for a more conservative alternative to Romney, Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo told The Bee's Dan Smith, who reports the latest findings in today's Bee. You can also check out the publicly released poll as well as the statistical tabulations prepared exclusively for Capitol Alert.

Across the continent, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom talks up California's competitiveness on jobs and innovation in Washington, D.C., where he's meeting with the Brazilian ambassador, former Sen. Chris Dodd (now CEO of Motion Picture Association of America) and U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson.

If you missed David Siders' profile of Newsom over the Thanksgiving holiday, you can read it here. Here's a taste: "It's difficult, the relationship between the governor and lieutenant governor," Newsom says.

CLEANUP: The Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee, chaired by Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, conducts an oversight hearing on underground storage tank cleanup. The hearing starts at 10 a.m. at Santa Clara County's Government Center in San Jose.

CAMPUS CONVERSATION: Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, joins Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson at Sacramento State to talk about higher education. Look for them in Modoc Hall, Willow Suite Room 3, from noon to 1:30 p.m.

PHYSICAL FITNESS: State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson releases this year's statewide Physical Fitness Test results, with Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Walton, San Diego Padres official A.J. Hinch and others joining him at the 1 p.m. news conference in El Cajon. The test results for schools, school districts, counties, and the state will also be available online at 1 p.m. at the Department of Education website.

MIDDLE CLASS: What can California do about its shrinking middle class? A Senate select committee meets in the Bay Area to take suggestions from researchers and representatives of labor unions and small business groups. Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, chairs the public hearing, which runs from 1 to 4 p.m. at at the State Office Building in Oakland.


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