Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

December 21, 2011
Gov. Jerry Brown appoints EDD director, other top posts

Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed a longtime state manager to direct the California Employment Development Department, which oversees unemployment and disability benefits, he announced today.

Pamela Harris, a 56-year-old Placerville Democrat, served as acting director since 2009 at EDD before Brown officially appointed her to the post. She began working for the state in 1978 as a Department of Finance auditor. She will earn $142,965 annually.

Brown also appointed Jan Owen, a 59-year-old West Sacramento Democrat, as commissioner at the Department of Corporations. Owen worked for the Department of Financial Institutions from 1996 to 2000 before spending the last decade in the private sector at the California Mortgage Bankers Association, Washington Mutual, JP Morgan Chase and Apple. She will receive $142,965 annually.

Other appointees include:

Pete LaBahn, a 56-year-old Laguna Beach Democrat, to the Board of Parole Hearings. A former Riverside County Sheriff's Department official, LaBahn previously served on the parole board from 2009 to 2010. He will earn $111,845.

Herbert "Bert" Mason, a 62-year-old Fresno Democrat, to the Agricultural Labor Relations Board. A retired California State University, Fresno, professor, he previously served on the board from 1999 to 2002. He will earn $128,109.

Margaret Tatar, a 53-year-old Santa Ana decline-to-state voter, as chief of the Medi-Cal Managed Care Division at the Department of Health Care Services. She previously served as executive director of public affairs at CalOptima, an Orange County health care plan for low-income residents. She will earn $122,196.

All of the appointments but Tatar's require Senate confirmation.

December 21, 2011
Million-plus jobless Californians are facing benefit cutoff

More than 1 million jobless California workers could have their unemployment insurance benefits cut off soon if Congress does not continue federally financed benefit extensions of up to 99 weeks, state officials said Wednesday.

At least 100,000 of those workers, those who have been unemployed the longest, could see a cutoff of benefits as early as the first week of January.

The state has more than 2 million unemployed workers, and 1.1 million of them are now collecting benefits -- either the 26 weeks of state-financed payments, or the up to 73 weeks of federally financed extended benefits in five tiers, in order, of 20, 14, 13, six and 20 weeks. Benefits range from $40 to $450 a week.

In all, California is paying out about $1.2 billion in state and federal unemployment insurance benefits a month.

December 21, 2011
Census Bureau says Texas growing much faster than California

Texas, whose economy has been stronger than California's in recent years, is also seeing a much stronger population growth, according to the first post-2010 census estimate from the Census Bureau.

Texas added 529,000 residents to its population between the census date of April 1, 2010, and July 1 of this year, the Census Bureau said, which also made it the nation's fastest growing state at 2.1 percent. California was second in numerical gain at 438,000 but its 1.2 percent growth rate was scarcely half of Texas' and only slightly above the national average of .98 percent.

The Census Bureau's new estimate for California, 37.7 million, is still nearly 50 percent higher than Texas' population of 25.7 million. The California estimated population also comports with the most recent data from the state Department of Finance. During the previous decade, the two estimates grew more than a million persons apart, but both agencies started the new decade with numbers from the 2010 census as their bases for estimates and projections.


Capitol Alert Staff

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee.

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert.

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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