Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

December 28, 2011
California legislative races to watch: Part 2

With just five months until the June primary, legislative contests around California are starting to heat up.

While candidates can't begin the formal process of filing for office until Friday, when candidate papers can first be pulled, many legislative hopefuls have already spent months raising cash, securing endorsements and plotting their path to potential victory.

The decennial redistricting process and first election under the state's new top-two primary system has produced a new list of competitive state legislative districts that are being closely watched by political junkies on both sides of the aisle. The stakes are high, especially in the Senate, where Democrats see an opportunity to reach a coveted two-thirds majority.

Capitol Alert has compiled a roundup of battles we're keeping tabs on in the early stages of the primary campaign. Because the candidate papers have yet to be filed, we've listed only the declared or expected entrants on our radar so far.

You can send your suggestions for contests or candidates we might have missed, or predictions about the outcome of these races, to

Read installment two -- on Senate District 9 and Assembly District 39 -- after the jump. You'll find previous installments at this link.

December 28, 2011
California Supreme Court to rule on redevelopment funds

The California Supreme Court will rule Thursday on a case with huge implications for the state budget and the future of some 400 local redevelopment agencies.

The agencies sued this summer after the budget adopted by lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown allowed agencies to reopen only if they contributed $1.7 billion to schools and $400 million a year thereafter.

After oral arguments in October, the high court put the case on the fast track.

December 28, 2011
Jerry Brown names Debra Bowen's husband to agency post

Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed Mark Nechodom, a senior adviser to the undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the husband of Secretary of State Debra Bowen, to be director of the California Department of Conservation, Brown's office announced today.

Nechodom, 56, replaces Derek Chernow, the acting director Brown fired last month.

Like Brown, Nechodom is a Democrat. He was previously acting director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Environmental Markets and senior climate policy adviser for the U.S. Forest Service.

The position, which requires Senate confirmation, pays $136,156 a year.

Chernow and Elena Miller, who oversaw oil drilling operations in California, were released amid conflict between the agency and oil producers about permitting, especially in Kern County.

Brown appointed Jason Marshall, 42, to be chief deputy director of the department, a position he has held before. Marshall, a registered independent, is to be paid $109,752 a year.


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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