Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

Candidates and voters who belong to the Green, Libertarian and Peace and Freedom political parties are holding a news conference today to announce a new lawsuit challenging Proposition 14.

They don't like last year's initiative that created a new election system in which the top two vote-getters advance to a general election - regardless of party affiliation. The minor parties argue that the new system puts them at a disadvantage.

They'll announce details of their suit today at 11 a.m. in front of the Secretary of State's office at 1500 11th St.

BAY BRIDGE SAFETY: Under the Capitol dome today, the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee holds a hearing on bridge foundation inspection practices. It's a response to The Bee's reports by Charles Piller that raised questions about the testing and design of foundation piles that support the new Bay Bridge tower and freeway structures statewide.

"These are serious allegations, and the Committee will be asking Caltrans about its inspection policies and safeguards," committee chairman Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, said in a statement. "We need to know that inspections are reliable and that our bridges are safe."

Caltrans officials are expected to testify during the 1:30 p.m. hearing in room 112.

GOBBLE GOBBLE: Assemblyman Roger Dickinson and Senate pro Tem Darrell Steinberg are delivering 900 turkeys to Sacramento non-profits today at 2 p.m. at the Firehouse Community Center in Sacramento. The groups will distribute the birds to local families in need this Thanksgiving, all part of a charitable program called "Operation Gobble." Dickinson is also giving about 7,000 cans of food generated from his "Can you collect more cans than a 5th grader?" competition.

EDUCATION FUNDING: Supporters of a ballot initiative that calls for taxing oil extraction in California to dedicate funding for public education are kicking off their campaign this afternoon at Cal State Long Beach. You can learn more about their proposal at


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