Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

February 3, 2012
FPPC attorney John Wallace picked for executive director post

California's political watchdog agency has filled its vacant executive director post for now.

Fair Political Practices Commission Chairwoman Ann Ravel announced today that John W. Wallace, a longtime attorney with the agency, has been selected for to serve in the position as acting executive director.

Wallace, who has been an assistant general counsel in the agency's legal division for 10 years, served as the commission's acting general counsel for several months last year.

"John is perfect for this job," Ravel said in a statement. "He has a great deal of experience in the Act, he has management and personnel experience, and he is committed to the FPPC."

The appointment was approved by the five-member commission during a closed-session meeting conducted via phone Thursday, FPPC spokeswoman Tara Stock said.

The executive director duties had been delegated to various members of the FPPC staff, including Ravel and the commission's general counsel, since former Executive Director Roman Porter stepped down in October. Ravel had previously said that the commission did not have enough money to hire someone new for the post. It was not immediately clear whether the commission is still searching for a permanent executive director.

Wallace's salary has not changed, a spokeswoman for the commission said. The commission says his current salary is $103,000.

Editor's note: This post has been updated to clarify that Wallace is serving as acting executive director. His salary has also been added to the post.

February 3, 2012
Assembly candidate to plead guilty to bribery charges

A Democrat running for the state Assembly has agreed to plead guilty to federal bribery charges, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

John Tran, a former Rosemead mayor and City Council member, is accused of accepting $7,000 in payments from an informant with a developer that had business in front of the city during his time on the council. He is a candidate for the 49th Assembly District, an open Southern California seat.

Read the full story at this link.

February 3, 2012
Jerry Brown signs bill to avert cash flow crunch

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation allowing the state to borrow $865 million from earmarked funds to help avoid a cash flow problem in March, Brown's office announced today.

Senate Bill 95 was approved by the Legislature on Thursday, after Controller John Chiang warned that without additional borrowing and payment delays, the state would fall into the red by March. The bill mostly involves transportation funds.

The Democratic governor signed the bill without comment.

February 3, 2012
House panel smacks California high-speed rail

A key House panel late Thursday gave the back of its hand to California's embattled high-speed rail program.

In another sign of high-speed rail's political travails, the House committee writing a massive transportation bill, included an amendment that prohibits new federal funds from going to California's proposed $98 billion project during the five-year life of the bill.

"I want to make sure that the money that comes to California goes to highway funding," Republican Rep. Jeff Denham said in an interview.

Denham, who has moved his California residence from Atwater to Turlock, offered the amendment during a long and sometimes contentious markup of the bill dubbed the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act.

Denham's amendment, adopted by a 31-22 vote, marks the first and only time the word 'California' appears in the House transportation bill that started out at 847 pages. It was fought by Democrats, during a hearing that stretched more than 16 hours and ended at 2:45 a.m. Friday.

"I think it's a big mistake," Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, said of Denham's total high-speed rail cutoff. "The high-speed rail authority is rapidly adjusting its program, looking for ways of significantly reducing the cost."

February 3, 2012
AM Alert: Lawmakers head out of Dodge, uh, Sacramento

It's Friday, and no floor sessions are scheduled -- which means California lawmakers seem to be anywhere and everywhere but Sacramento.

Take, for instance, the Senate Select Committee On Asian Pacific Islander Affairs, headed by Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco. It's convening at 11 a.m. at Monterey Park City Hall.

Two joint legislative committees on utilities and emergency management -- chaired by Democratic Assemblymembers Steven Bradford of Gardena and Bonnie Lowenthal of Long Beach -- meet in Alhambra in Los Angeles County this afternoon to investigate last December's windstorm power outage in Southern California.

Meanwhile, Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, will be on hand this morning as a preschool is renamed in his honor, while Democratic Sen. Roderick Wright of Inglewood and Assemblyman Isadore Hall of Compton host a workshop warning of senior scams in Hall's hometown.

This weekend, Assemblyman Das Williams walks Santa Barbara precincts with fellow Democrat Hannah-Beth Jackson, a former assemblywoman who's running in the new 19th Senate District. And Saturday, Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, hosts a foreclosure prevention seminar in Antioch, while Sen. Curren Price, D-Inglewood, holds a cash-for-college workshop in Los Angeles.

Looking ahead: The California Democratic Party convention in San Diego is just a week away. The lineup includes a kickoff next Friday evening with party Chairman John Burton and former White House adviser Van Jones.

Convention-goers can also expect to hear from Gov. Jerry Brown and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, plus legislative leaders Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez as well as State Controller John Chiang, Treasurer Bill Lockyer, Attorney General Kamala Harris, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, Secretary of State Debra Bowen, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, plus Board of Equalization members Betty Yee and Jerome Horton, according to party officials.

But wait, there's more. The Saturday list also includes House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Reps. Bob Filner of San Diego and Barbara Lee of Oakland, as well as U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein will address the convention during the Saturday luncheon, and U.S. Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota will be the dinner speaker, as Torey Van Oot reported in this post. Find a convention agenda at this link.

MUSEUM DAY: Sacramento's annual Museum Day is Saturday, with free admission to state parks and museums, including the California Museum on O Street, the Crocker Art Museum, the California State Capitol Museum, the California State Indian Museum, the California State Military Museum, the California State Railroad Museum, the Governor's Mansion, the Leland Stanford Mansion and Sutter's Fort, to name a few. Click here for more information.



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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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