Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

January 23, 2012
California Democrats make early picks for 2012 primary

Democrats across the state gathered over the weekend to make early picks for candidates the party should support on the June primary ballot.

The pre-endorsement votes, held each election year ahead of the state Democratic Party convention, garnered extra interest this year due to the number of competitive races and the unknowns of running under the top-two primary system, which will send the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, to a November runoff.

A candidate must receive 70 percent of the vote from participants in the pre-endorsement process, which includes Democratic State Central Committee members, county central committee members and representatives of chartered clubs and organizations, to snag a recommendation and a spot on the consent calendar at next month's state party convention in San Diego. Recommendations for districts where one candidate won more than 50 percent of the vote but failed to hit the 70 percent mark will be decided during caucuses at the convention, including the 30th Congressional District showdown between Democratic Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman

In seats where no candidate won more than 50 percent of the vote, such as the Sacramento-area's crowded Assembly District 8 race, no recommendation has been made.

The preliminary results are posted below. A final tally will be released once party officials receive and certify results from the regional meetings.

Preliminary Pre-Endorsement Conference Results

January 23, 2012
Top Rick Perry surrogate in California now backing Newt Gingrich

Gingrich 2012_JPEG-0b455.JPGOne of former GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry's most vocal California backers has thrown his support behind former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's campaign.

"I think the people of America want to go back to work more than anything," Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Penn Valley, said today. "Mr Gingrich has the courage and the intelligence to turn the economy around."

Logue, who founded the Committee to Draft Rick Perry for President last year, had campaigned for the Texas governor in Iowa earlier this month.

He said he decided to endorse Gingrich late last week, after Perry dropped his own campaign and announced he was backing the former House speaker's presidential bid. Logue has now been approached about becoming one of the Gingrich campaign's California chairs.

Logue said he was drawn to both Gingrich's record as House speaker and the fact that he has "gone through many wars."

"He's done some great things, but he has flaws," he said. "I think the times demand a person who has that experience."

While he said he will support the eventual nominee against President Barack Obama in November, he believes Gingrich, who defeated former Massachusetts Gov. and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum in Saturday's South Carolina primary, is the GOP candidate best positioned to "bring the Reagan agenda to the table."

"America needs a bulldog, not a poodle for president," he said.


California Republicans resign themselves to irrelevancy in the GOP presidential race

GOP lawmakers seek to 'draft' Texan Rick Perry for president

PHOTO CREDIT: Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at The River Church, Monday, Jan. 23, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

January 23, 2012
Animal activist Tom Hayden urges Jerry Brown to stop, think of dog Sutter

Tom Hayden, the former state senator and animal rights activist urged Gov. Jerry Brown in an online video today to look at his dog, Sutter, before repealing a state law requiring animal shelters to keep dogs and cats longer before euthanizing them.

"Governor, I see you're a dog owner. I can tell from the publicity that you love that dog, your wife loves that dog," Hayden, the former Santa Monica state senator who wrote the 1998 bill, says in the video. "So stop and think: Thousands of dogs and cats are put to death needlessly every year ... I urge you to look at your dog before you allow this bill that protects animals to die."

The mandate, suspended since 2009, lengthened the time animal shelters must hold stray animals before euthanizing them, generally to six days from three. It is one of about 30 local government mandates the Democratic governor is proposing to repeal next fiscal year to save money - about $46 million from the shelter mandate alone.

In a report recommending the mandate's repeal, the Legislative Analyst's Office in 2008 found no link between the mandate and programs encouraging animal adoption.

Sutter, the Pembroke Welsh corgi, has been a source of reliably positive publicity for his owner for more than a year. But animal rights activists this month began using his name in opposition to Brown's proposal to repeal the shelter mandate. Those efforts include a Facebook page, "Sutter's Friends."

January 23, 2012
California livestock law struck down

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down California's ban on the slaughter of downed swine, saying the state strayed too far into federal territory.

In a case closely watched by other states as well as the multi-billion dollar livestock industry, the court's liberal and conservative justices unanimously ruled that long-standing federal law preempted California's 2008 measure.

"The California law rums smack into the (federal) regulations," Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the court.

Kagan's 14-page decision emphasized that the Federal Meat Inspection Act covers a "broad range of activities at slaughterhouses" and that it "expressly" preempts the state law.

The California law in question prohibits the slaughter of non-ambulatory pigs, sheep, goats or cattle. These are animals that can't walk, because of disease, injury or other causes. The state law further requires that the downed animals be euthanized.
Federal law bans the slaughter of downed cattle, and the challenge was to the state provision that covers swine.

The Federal Meat Inspection Act specifies that a state can't impose slaughterhouse protections "in addition to or different" from the federal requirements. The National Meat Association, in challenging the state law, argued that the state violated this pre-emption rule.

"The (federal law) regulates slaughterhouses' handling and treatment of nonambulatory pigs from the moment of their delivery through the end of the meat production process," Kagan wrote. "California endeavors to regulate the same thing, at the same time, in the same place - except by imposing different requirements.

January 23, 2012
AM Alert: Deadline looms for action on redevelopment agencies

California lawmakers are working against two deadlines as they convene today.

The Assembly meets at noon, the Senate at 2 p.m. Each house will be plowing through bills ahead of the Jan. 31 deadline to pass any measures introduced last year.

A week from Wednesday - Feb. 1 - is the day the state's redevelopment agencies go poof unless the Legislature resuscitates them ... and Gov. Jerry Brown signs off on the move, which looks unlikely.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's Senate Bill 654 would, among other things, let the local government of a dissolving redevelopment agency retain the money in the agency's low- and moderate-income housing fund.

Then there's Sen. Alex Padilla's Senate Bill 659, which would postpone the dissolution date to April 15.

Brown said last Thursday during his tax campaign swing through Southern California that he would oppose legislation extending the agencies' termination date, quipping, "I don't think we can delay this funeral."

Meanwhile, it's Ed Roberts Day.

Readers may remember that Roberts was inducted late last year into the California Hall of Fame, whose website describes him as "a civil rights leader for people with disabilities" and "the father of the independent living movement."

Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, who carried the bill proclaiming Jan. 23 each year to be Ed Roberts Day, will join the late activist's mother, Zona Roberts, and dozens of disabled high school students from the Bay Area at a celebration of his life this morning on the UC Berkeley campus.

POLITICAL RADIO: The recently launched Cristina Channel on Sirius XM satellite radio is targeting Latino voters with a bipartisan and bilingual political program called "Power Play," co-hosted by Republican Bettina Inclán and Democrat Alicia Menendez. The program will air every Tuesday and Thursday. Click here for more information.


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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