Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

December 20, 2011
Jerry Brown names new director to California Lottery

Gov. Jerry Brown has named a former business consultant as director of the California Lottery.

Robert O'Neill, a 60-year-old former executive with the global audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG LLP will oversee an agency with about $3 billion in game sales each year. It provides about $1 billion to schools.

Brown Press Secretary Gil Duran put the news on Twitter Tuesday night after The Bee inquired about the Democratic governor's plans to replace interim director Linh Nguyen and all three positions on the lottery commission.

Brown named Nguyen as interim director upon taking office a year ago. The governor must now find appointees for the commission within a few weeks.

Two of the agency's three commissioners termed out in early November but continue to serve. The third commissioner stepped down this month.

December 20, 2011
Americans Elect aiming for 2012 ballot in all 50 states

Americans Elect organizers, fresh from qualifying as a political party in California for the 2012 elections, said Tuesday they fully expect to achieve their goal -- gaining ballot access in all 50 states for a candidate to be named later.

"We're in 13 as of today," group political director Darry Sragow told The Bee's editorial board. "We're going to be in all 50."

National field director Kellen Arno said all necessary signatures will be collected by the end of the year for 30 states that allow that process. The group is prepared to file lawsuits if denied ballot access by a state but generally has opted to comply whenever possible with state ballot laws -- even ones it found onerous.

Chief Operating Officer Elliot Ackerman said the group has built a "bank level-plus secure site" that will be used to conduct the first Web-based presidential nomination.

December 20, 2011
California tribes give $275,000 to Gov. Jerry Brown's initiative

California gambling tribes have given $275,000 toward Gov. Jerry Brown's new 2012 ballot initiative to raise taxes on sales and the wealthy, the first known major contribution to his effort.

The California Tribal Business Alliance and two of its member tribes have written checks to help Brown's cause, said the group's political director, David Quintana. The Alliance gave $75,000, while the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians and Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians each gave $100,000.

Brown's initiative would raise the sales tax by a half-cent and increase income taxes starting at $250,000 for individuals to raise an estimated $7 billion in the first fiscal year. Both would expire at the end of 2016.

"We wholeheartedly support this governor's vision for California," Quintana said. "We want to make sure the governor's vision can get before the voters so they can make a choice. We run the gamut of businesses, and if we don't have a healthy economy our businesses are going to suffer."

The California Tribal Business Alliance was active this year in opposing a bill backed by cardrooms and other gambling tribes to legalize Internet poker. Asked about the group's legislative interests as motivation, Quintana said, "No, what this is about is the state of California. We stand firmly behind his vision."

The contributions mark the first known major financial support to Brown's initiative campaign, though it has become difficult to track donations since the secretary of state's campaign finance website, Cal-Access, failed earlier this month.

The governor must collect 807,615 valid signatures of registered voters, an effort that could cost $3 million or more, depending on how many groups are circulating petitions at the same time.

December 20, 2011
Find out who won the Jerry Brown butterbeer caption contest

APTOPIX Universal Harry Pot-thumb-380x259-21926.jpgIt's no Barnabus Finkley Prize for Exceptional Spell-Casting, but we like to think that being named a Capitol Alert Caption Contest winner is kind of a big deal in the muggle world.

The results are in for our most recent round of votes. The entry whose caption commanded the most laughter among our readers?

No. 8: "Why is this Christmas beer from CCPOA warm and taste funny?"

For those who missed the earlier contest posts, that line was submitted as a caption for the photo above of Gov. Jerry Brown celebrating plans to build a Wizarding World of Harry Potter park in Los Angeles with a mug of butterbeer.

The entry was penned by Sacramento attorney C.C. Page, who takes home as his prize $25 to spend on the caffeinated potions brewing at his neighborhood Starbucks.

So how did he conjure up a line that struck such a chord with Capitol Alert readers?

"Certainly no ill will or disrespect to the governor, but with all of the budget cuts and pain going around, I immediately thought of the 'gifts' the governor's office would receive at Christmas if the postal service would allow it," he wrote in an email. "Fortunately, he wasn't holding a handful of fudge in the picture, or you can imagine where I would have taken it."

As for why the California Correctional Peace Officers Association was his gift-giver of choice, Page said the prison guards' union popped into his head because it's "more assertive than most lobbying groups." But he said that given the widespread impact of the state budget cuts, he could have subbed in a "laundry list" of groups for a caption with a similar sentiment.

You can see a list of the finalists Page beat out for the big prize at this link.

Thanks for playing and stay tuned for the next contest.

PHOTO CREDIT: From left, Ron Meyer, President and COO of Universal Studios, Gov. Jerry Brown, and Barry Meyer, Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. make a butterbeer toast as Universal Parks & Resorts as they announce that the Harry Potter attraction is coming to Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011. The attraction opened in Orlando, Fla., last summer. (AP Photo/Jason Redmond).

December 20, 2011
AM Alert: Happy Holidays from Capitol Alert
bp capitol menorah.JPG

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With the menorah lit and the tree aglow, the AM Alert will take a break until lawmakers return in the New Year.

We'll keep you posted on Capitol news as it breaks.

Photo credits: The Sacramento Bee/Paul Kitagaki, Jr., left, and The Sacramento Bee/Bryan Patrick. View a video from the Menorah Lighting at the Capitol.



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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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