Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

December 5, 2011
Jerry Brown filing initiative to hike taxes on sales, wealthy

Warning of deeper cuts to schools and public safety without new money, Gov. Jerry Brown announced Monday he will file a ballot initiative to hike taxes on sales and wealthy earners.

The November 2012 proposal, as reported last week, would raise an estimated $7 billion annually over five years.

"The stark truth is that without new tax revenues, we will have no other choice but to make deeper and more damaging cuts to schools, universities, public safety and our courts," Brown wrote in what he dubbed "An Open Letter to the People of California."

The broadest tax hike is the half-cent increase in the state sales tax. Based on Bee research, it would amount to a $123 annual increase for the median California joint tax filer earning $65,025.

December 5, 2011
UC names task force members to investigate pepper spraying

University of California President Mark G. Yudof has appointed the members of a task force to investigate the UC Davis police department's use of pepper spray on Nov. 18.

The task force, headed by former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, will begin its work after the Kroll Consulting firm completes its investigation by early January, said a statement from Yudof.

"The task force will review the findings and, based on available information, assign responsibility for the events of Nov. 18," Yudof's statement says.

It also says the task force is expected to make recommendations to Yudof and UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi on improving police procedures, command protocols, campus policies and oversight structures.

"My intent in forming this task force is to allow the UC Davis community to take a fair and uncompromising look at what happened on Nov. 18," Yudof's statement says.

The task force members Yudof named today are:

  • Patrick Blacklock, Yolo County administrator and immediate past-chair, nominated by the Cal Aggie Alumni Association
  • Peter Blando, business services manager, UC Davis Office of the Vice Provost--Information and Educational Technology, and past chair, UC Davis Staff Assembly, nominated by the UC Davis Staff Assembly
  • Alan Brownstein, professor, UC Davis School of Law, nominated by the Academic Senate
  • Tatiana Bush, UC Davis undergraduate student and former Associated Students senator, nominated by the Associated Students of UC Davis
  • Daniel M. Dooley, senior vice president of external relations, UC Office of the President and designated system-wide administrator for whistleblower complaints; alumnus, UC Davis
  • Penny Herbert, manager, UC Davis Department of Clinical Operations, and staff advisor to the UC Board of Regents
  • Kathryn Kolesar, chair, UC Davis Graduate Student Association, nominated by the Graduate Student Association
  • William McKenna, UC Davis law student, nominated by the Law Students Association
  • Carolyn Penny, director in International Law Programs and principal and mediator, Common Ground Center for Cooperative Solutions, UC Davis Extension, nominated by the UC Davis Academic Federation
  • Eric Rauchway, professor, UC Davis Department of History, nominated by the Academic Senate
  • Judy Sakaki, vice president, student affairs, UC Office of the President and former vice chancellor for student affairs, UC Davis
  • Rebecca Sterling, UC Davis undergraduate student and former Associated Students senator, nominated by the Associated Students of UC Davis

The task force's work is one of several investigations taking place into the use of pepper spray on seated protesters. UC Davis and its academic senate are also reviewing the campus police department's response to the Nov. 18 demonstration, and Attorney General Kamala Harris is reviewing a request to look into it as well.

December 5, 2011
National congressional survey sees Dem gains in California

Democrats, who already hold 34 of California's 53 congressional seats, are likely to gain more next year under new districts drawn by an independent commission, according to a national assessment of congressional elections by the University of Virginia.

The university's Center for Politics, headed by Professor Larry Sabato, sees Republicans retaining control of the House next year, but Democrats gaining from one to five seats in California, depending on the outcome in four districts it rates as tossups.

"Sabato's Crystal Ball" sees 27 California seats as safely Democratic, with eight more either leaning or likely to wind up in Democratic hands, while 12 seats are considered to be safe for Republicans and two others leaning or likely for the GOP.

Veteran Southern California Congressman Jerry Lewis is considered to be the Republican incumbent most in danger of losing his seat, while GOP Congressmen Brian Bilbray and Dan Lungren are in tossup districts, Sabato says.

December 5, 2011
AM Alert: High-speed rail, inmate fire crews on Capitol agenda

The California High-Speed Rail Authority rolls into the Capitol today as a joint Senate hearing considers its draft business plan.

Board members will provide an overview, and representatives of the Legislative Analyst's Office and the State Treasurer's Office will examine issues such as the plan's public debt financing strategy.

The public hearing, co-chaired by Democratic Sens. Mark DeSaulnier of Concord and Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach, starts at 10 a.m. in the Capitol's Room 112.

High-speed rail is far from the only issue legislators will consider. A Senate select committee meets at 1 p.m. in Room 3191 to look at the state's underground economy's impact on small businesses and on the state itself.

Then there's the question of what will happen to prison inmate fire crews under realignment, which is the focus of the Rural Fire Protection Working Group's meeting from 9:30 am to noon in Room 444. Expected to attend: Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries, R-Lake Elsinore, the group's chairman, as well as Sens. Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, and Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale; Assembly members Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, Beth Gaines, R-Roseville; and Wes Chesbro, D-Arcata.

Meanwhile, an Assembly committee looks at the role that California's housing market may play in an economic recovery. Members will hear from representatives of UCLA Anderson School of Management, the California Building Industry Association and state agencies. The hearing, chaired by Democratic Assemblywoman Norma J. Torres of Pomona, runs from 9 a.m. to noon in Room 126.

Farther afield, the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee, chaired by Democratic Assemblyman Henry T. Perea of Fresno, meets at San Jose State University from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to look at tax policy and job creation in the high-tech sector.

Meanwhile, California voters continue to give Gov. Jerry Brown relatively high marks, but their views of the Legislature remain dismal.

David Siders has more details about the latest Field Poll in today's Bee. Want even more? Click here to read the statistical tabulations prepared exclusively for Capitol Alert, and click here to read the publicly released poll.

DAY OF INCLUSION: Democratic Assemblyman Mike Eng of Monterey Park joins the Organization of Chinese Americans' Greater Sacramento Chapter and others to commemorate the contributions and sacrifices of immigrants to the United States. This year, the honorees are the Sacramento Regional Coalition for Tolerance and community leader Steve Yee. The celebration will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Capitol's basement rotunda. For more information, click here.



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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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