Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

February 15, 2012
Newt Gingrich 'on the way' to Michigan, Arizona

PALO ALTO -- Newt Gingrich, fundraising in California this week to bolster his fading presidential campaign, said this afternoon that he is "on the way to Michigan and Arizona," which hold primaries on Feb. 28.

The former House speaker's campaign characterized his week of California fundraising as necessary to compete on Super Tuesday, when 10 states hold primaries or caucuses March 6.

"We're on the way to Michigan and Arizona, but we're out here doing fundraising, and we scheduled this a couple months ago," Gingrich said as he left a series of meetings at the Hoover Institution, a think tank on the Stanford campus.

He added: "It's been very successful so far."

Gingrich's calendar on his website lists him as appearing in Los Angeles, Thousand Oaks and Beverly Hills on Thursday, followed by events in his former home state of Georgia later this week.

February 15, 2012
Sacramento Press Club reveals the 'Stuff Capitol Insiders Say'

Take four intrepid California journalists, add two days of camera work and one-liners. Throw in some background shots of Bacteria Bear, and what you get is a brand new video, brought to you by the Sacramento Press Club.

In just over three minutes, "Stuff Capitol Insiders Say" runs through, well, the stuff that Capitol insiders say when they're around the Capitol. Important stuff like, "Where's CCPOA on this?" and "So, what is eye patch underwear?"

The journalists involved aren't named on screen, but here they are: The Bee's Ed Fletcher and Torey Van Oot, as well as Brian Joseph of the Orange County Register and Allen Young of Comstock's magazine.

Fletcher, who did the editing, was behind the camera except when he was in front of it, in which case Joseph and Young took over. The script was a joint effort, and the video was shot late last month.

Its parting words: "The opinions expressed do not represent the views of the journalists involved or their employer past, present or future. Insert additional lawyer speak." Watch the video below.

February 15, 2012
Ex-Sacramento Sheriff John McGinness to lobby for CPOA

PK_MCGINNESS_0287.JPGFormer Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness has agreed to work with the California Peace Officers' Association as a lobbyist, according to a statement on the organization's website.

McGinness retired from his sheriff's post in 2010 after a 31-year career in the department. He currently hosts his own talk radio show on KFBK and teaches as an adjunct professor at California State University.

The association, which represents law enforcement in state, local and federal government, said in a statement on its website that he "will bring great depth of knowledge to the role of advocating for CPOA on public safety issue."

McGinness, who has not yet registered as a lobbyist according to records on the Secretary of State website, told The Bee that he is still working out the details of whether he will work in-house with the association or help them on a contract basis. But he said whatever the role, he is excited to help promote the work and mission of the association.

"I'm certainly very enthusiastic about stepping in and helping," he said, noting that he is a past president and longtime member of CPOA.

He said he expects to formally start working with the group March 1. He plans to continue to teach and host his radio show in the near future.

Editor's note: This post was updated at 1:57 p.m. with quotes from McGinness.

PHOTO CREDIT: File photo of former Sacramento Sheriff John McGinness. Paul Kitagaki Jr., Sacramento Bee.

February 15, 2012
Gov. Jerry Brown changes route, restores bus money next year

Gov. Jerry Brown reversed course this week by restoring $496 million in school bus money in his budget proposal for next fiscal year after facing criticism from education groups.

The decision comes after the governor signed legislation Friday that restored bus funding for the remainder of the current school year after districts lost that money in December's midyear cuts. Brown quietly issued a new education budget plan this week ahead of a Thursday state Senate hearing.

Brown's reversal in 2012-13 comes with some caveats. First, it relies on voters approving his plan to raise income taxes on the wealthy earners, as well as sales taxes by a half cent. It allows districts to spend their bus money on other purposes. And the governor intends to eliminate school transportation earmarks in 2013-14, though districts may receive funding in a new form allowing them to maintain bus service.

February 15, 2012
Lance Armstrong's foundation to give $1.5 million to tobacco tax

JV AMGEN LANCE START.JPGChampion cyclist Lance Armstrong said today that his LIVESTRONG Foundation is making a $1.5 million contribution to support a June ballot measure that would increase the state tobacco tax to raise money for cancer research and anti-smoking programs.

Armstrong, a cancer survivor, previously supported the drive to qualify Proposition 29 for the ballot. He said the measure "will save lives, stop kids from smoking" and support the search for cancer cures.

"We feel that it's worth every penny," he said of the proposed $1-a-pack tax hike.

Backers of the June ballot measure include the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association.

The Proposition 29 campaign is expected to be a multimillion dollar fight. A campaign committee created to oppose the measure reported $2.67 million in contributions in 2011, all from tobacco company Philip Morris USA and its parent company Altria. A committee to support the measure reported raising $1.39 million in the same period.

California Taxpayers Association President Teresa Casazza, who is part of the opposition coalition, responded to the donation news in a statement saying "now is not the time for Lance Armstrong to come into our state and ask us to support a flawed measure like Prop. 29."

Editor's note: This post was updated at 10:45 a.m. with a statement from Casazza.

PHOTO CREDIT: Lance Armstrong looks out at the fans prior to the start of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California in Nevada City on Sunday. Jose Luis Villegas, Sacramento Bee.

February 15, 2012
AM Alert: Obama heads West to stock up on campaign funds

President Barack Obama is coming to the West Coast for a little fundraising love.

Air Force One is set to touch down at LAX at 4 p.m. Obama will then attend a dinner at the Beverly Hills home of soap opera writer and producer Bradley Bell, famous for "The Bold and the Beautiful," according to this Annenberg TV News report. A Foo Fighters concert is also on the menu.

The president will also make stops in San Francisco and Seattle on Thursday and Friday.

Back in Sacramento, expect drama in the Senate Rules Committee. Members are considering governor's appointees, and one of those required to appear is Adjutant General David S. Baldwin, who now heads the California National Guard.

Brigadier General Charlotte L. Miller, who got ousted as Baldwin took charge last year, announced earlier this week that she would testify against his nomination, calling him "unfit for command."

The Bee's Charles Piller, whose investigations into double-dip pay at the state's National Guard led to Baldwin's predecessor being booted into retirement, wrote about Baldwin in this story last summer after Gov. Jerry Brown appointed him.

The hearing starts at 1:30 p.m. in the Capitol's Room 112. Come back to The Bee this afternoon for more on the story. Also required to appear: Cal-EPA Secretary Matt Rodriquez, a Brown appointee from last summer who will probably be happy not to draw the same attention.

Meanwhile, it's time once again for "Family Feud, Capitol Style." The California YMCA's Youth & Government program is holding its ninth annual fundraising competition at the Crest Theater in Sacramento, starting at 5 p.m. The event emcee is former Senate Republican leader Jim Brulte, and Sen. Alan Lowenthal is listed as judge.

Listed for the Republican "family": Senate GOP leader Bob Huff, Sens. Bill Emmerson and Mimi Walters, Assembly GOP leader Connie Conway and Assemblyman Brian Nestande.

Listed for the Democratic "family": Assembly members Bonnie Lowenthal, Ricardo Lara, Rich Gordon and Isadore Hall, as well as Resources Secretary John Laird.

ELECTION 2012: Democratic congressional candidate Ami Bera is joining volunteers staffing a phone bank asking voters to call the office of his rival, GOP Rep. Dan Lungren, to request that Lungren's House Administration Committee set a hearing for a bill that would require Congress to pass its budget on time or risk not getting paid. A Senate committee is holding a hearing on March 7, according to The Hill. The Bera campaign cranks it up at 6:30 p.m. at 6254 Orsi Circle in Carmichael.


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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