Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

December 30, 2011
Jerry Brown's 'milestones and accomplishments,' then and now

Gov. Jerry Brown today released "2011: Milestones and Accomplishments," a 31-page report on his first year in office.

Spoiler alert: It's a favorable review.

The online document discusses the budget and other basics, of course, but also so much more.

"The interactive report also covers other highlights," Brown's office said in a release, "including the State of the State Address, the Royal visit, Sutter Brown's appointment as First Dog, the California Hall of Fame and more."

The document is not unlike one circulated internally when Brown was governor before. In a March 1975 memorandum to the eventual Gov. Gray Davis, who was then Brown's chief of staff, press secretary Bill Stall wrote in the subject line, "Accomplishments," and went on to sing Brown's praises in "capsule form."

The Democratic governor "presented a balanced budget with a prudent surplus as a safeguard against the economic uncertainty of the times," Stall wrote. Brown was frugal (think blue Plymouth). He "launched open administration," and he met with interest groups that previously were ignored.

Their comments about Brown, Stall wrote, were made "both in awe and appreciation."

Brown Page 1

Brown Page 2

December 30, 2011
California legislative races to watch: Shootout in San Gabriel Valley

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

While candidates weren't able to begin the formal process of filing for office until today, 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 tvanoot@sacbee.com.

Read installment five -- on Senate District 25 and Senate District 31 -- after the jump. You'll find previous installments at this link.

December 30, 2011
Judge blocks California budget cut to hospitals for Medi-Cal

A federal judge has blocked a California state budget cut that would have affected rural patients, the latest indication that courts will have the last word on Medi-Cal reductions.

Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers cut reimbursement rates to a variety of Medi-Cal providers by 10 percent to save $623 million in their June budget. Physicians, pharmacists and hospitals, among others, have argued that the cut to California's already low payment rates would discourage providers from accepting Medi-Cal patients and reduce access.

U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder issued a preliminary injunction Wednesday blocking the specific rate cut to nursing units within hospitals, many of which are located in rural California. Snyder determined that the California Hospital Association and other plaintiffs had a reasonable argument that the state had failed to appropriately review whether Medi-Cal patients would lose sufficient access to care.

The state Department of Health Care Services will ask the court to reverse the injunction and file an appeal with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, a spokeswoman said Friday in an e-mail.

Physicians and pharmacists have filed a separate suit asking the court to block the rate cut to their services. The court filings come after the Obama administration approved most of California's Medi-Cal cuts in October.

In a separate case before the U.S. Supreme Court this fall, White House and California officials argued that groups such as the California Hospital Association should not be able to challenge cuts to Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program serving low-income children and people with disabilities. If the high court rules in favor of California, the state will have more leverage to cut Medi-Cal in the future, while health care advocates will have fewer ways to challenge budget reductions.

Updated at 2:20 p.m. to note the state will appeal the decision.

December 30, 2011
Jerry Brown's tax campaign raises $1.2 million in two weeks

Gov. Jerry Brown's campaign to raise taxes has raised more than $1.2 million in two weeks, according to the campaign's first financial filing with the California secretary of state's office.

The sum was raised from just nine donations, the largest of which, $500,000, came from an arm of the California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems. The state building trades union donated $250,000 through its political action committee, Members' Voice of the State Building Trades.

The contributions are the first large donations following Brown's announcement this month of a ballot measure to temporarily raise the state sales tax and higher income taxes on California's highest-earners, raising about $7 billion annually for five years.

"Our interest is that there be a budget that, you know, is halfway balanced," Duane Dauner, president of the California Hospital Association, said this morning. "This is an overall effort to be supportive of balancing revenues and expenses so we can, in fact, get the state back on track."

He said Brown's initiative "gets you a good part of the way there."

Blue Shield of California donated $100,000 to the effort, and California gambling tribes combined to give more than $300,000.

In a separate report filed this week, The Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens reported contributing $12,500 to Brown's re-election campaign. The Democratic governor has not yet said whether he will seek re-election in 2014, but his political adviser, Steve Glazer, has said he expects Brown to do so.

December 30, 2011
California legislative races to watch: The return of Hertzberg?

JO ASSEMBLY HERTZBERG LAUGH.JPGWith just five months until the June primary, legislative contests around California are starting to heat up.

While candidates haven't been able to begin the formal process of filing for office until today, 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 tvanoot@sacbee.com.

Read installment four -- on Senate District 27 and Assembly District 50 -- after the jump. You'll find previous installments at this link.



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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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