Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

April 3, 2012
California Senate hopeful touts support for Herman Cain's '9-9-9'

US NEWS CAIN 13 ABA.jpgRepublican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Hughes is playing up his support for Herman Cain, touting his endorsement of the former presidential hopeful's "9-9-9" tax plan in a fundraising appeal.

An email to supporters highlights the Southern California businessman's endorsement of Cain's tax plan, which would replace the current tax structure with a federal tax rate of 9 percent on incomes, businesses and sales.The message, which listed Cain as the sender, includes a quote from a previous release announcing that Hughes had promised to "read the legislation once it is drafted and push to enact '9-9-9.'"

Hughes is one of 23 candidates -- 14 Republicans, five Democrats and four from third parties -- challenging Sen. Dianne Feinstein this year.

"Politicians like Sen. Feinstein are part and parcel of the 'Goliath' that has become our government. That is why we are building an 'Army of Davids' to get our power back from the government," Cain, who has not endorsed Hughes, said in the statement cited in the email. "By signing his name to '9-9-9' , Mr. Hughes has demonstrated his willingness to be a lieutenant in this 'Army of Davids'."

The email, sent Monday, asks recipients to sign up as volunteers or contribute between $5 and $2,500 to Hughes' campaign.

April 3, 2012
Proposition 8 campaign architect leaves Sacramento firm

BB PROP 8 RALLY 056 Frank Schubert.JPGSacramento political consultant Frank Schubert, who guided Proposition 8's ban on same-sex marriage to victory in 2008, announced today that he is leaving the firm he founded.

Schubert suggested his advocacy for conservative causes -- opposing abortion rights and same-sex marriage -- was hindering Schubert Flint Public Affairs' work with corporate clients.

"My conservative ideology and my faith have been major guiding forces in my decision to work on some important but controversial issues, including life and marriage," he said in a statement. "But the firm has become much bigger than me personally. I don't want my work on social issues to continue to overshadow the people who work for me, or the clients we serve. ...

"The reality is that it's very difficult for a public affairs professional to serve both corporate clients and work on the conservative side of social issues that challenge popular culture. Schubert said in a statement. "I've chosen to try to make a difference fighting for families, faith and the principles of the American founding, endowed by God, that gave rise to this exceptional nation of ours. I'm excited about the next chapter in my career."

Schubert was back in the news this year with the release of "Question One -- The Battle for Same-Sex Marriage in America," a documentary about his work on the Maine ballot measure to repeal a same-sex marriage law passed by the Legislature in 2009.

Schubert said his new company -- Mission: Public Affairs LLC -- will work on national "conservative and social issues."

Jeff Flint, meanwhile, will take over as president of the firm and "lead a restructuring and rebranding" to "focus the company exclusively on serving corporate, governmental, nonprofit and trade association clients, according to the announcement.

PHOTO CREDIT: Yes on Proposition 8 campaign manager Frank Schubert talks a news conference at the Riverside Wesleyan Church in Sacramento on Monday Oct. 20, 2008. Brian Baer / Sacramento Bee file, 2008.

April 3, 2012
Lawmakers challenge Army Corps on California levees

Leave it to something like levee vegetation to unite California lawmakers.

On Tuesday, in the latest round of a long-running flood-control dispute, Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, and 34 other House members from California urged the Army Corps of Engineers to revise its policies governing vegetation on levees. The lawmakers, mostly Democrats but with a few Republicans like Rep. Dan Lungren, D-Gold River, joining in, warned the Corps against what they call the "extremely high costs of levee construction and mitigation" entailed by a strict no-vegetation rule.

The stakes are high, as California officials have identified more than 2,100 miles of levees in the Central Valley.

The Californian lawmakers said they agree that new levees should be "constructed and maintained in full compliance with Corps vegetation policies" but called for a "a regionally adaptable approach" that permits woody vegetation on existing levees.

The corps believes vegetation can undermine the stability of levees, although a study released last year asserted that vegetation at the base of levees can actually be beneficial.

Related story: Corps' policy on levee trees holds -- for now

April 3, 2012
Longtime Coastal Commission director Peter Douglas dies

Coastal Crusader Retirement.jpgLongtime California Coastal Commission Executive Director Peter Douglas has died. Douglas, 69, had battled lung and throat cancer in recent years.

Commission spokeswoman Sarah Christie said Douglas died Sunday evening at his sister's house in La Quinta outside of Palm Springs.

"He loved the desert as much as he loved the coast," she said.

Friends and colleagues remembered Douglas as a champion for preserving California's coastline.

"His vision and leadership over nearly half a century has shaped a coast that is accessible to all and whose beauty has been protected," California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird said in a statement. "Peter is an inspiration to me for the thoughtful work he has done protecting our coast, and the unrelenting commitment he showed to his work even in the final year of his life."

Assemblyman Jared Huffman D-San Rafael, praised Douglas as a "great friend and a hero to all of us who care about the environment "

"He was a unique combination of warrior and philosopher and he was green to the core," Huffman, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife, said in a voicemail message.

Douglas, who was appointed to the commission director post in 1985, stepped down late last year. He had previously been on sick leave related to his lung cancer.

"It was a very difficult decision and it was disease driven," he told the Associated Press at the time of his retirement announcement. "I'm at peace with it - it's been an incredible 41 years. It's been a meaningful, purposeful legacy."

Douglas previously worked as the agency's Chief Deputy and as a legislative aide and committee consultant, where he helped draft and win passage of the ballot measure that created the commission.

Douglas is survived by his sister, Christina Douglas, a brother, Dieter Claren, two sons, Vanja and Sascha Douglas, his former wife Rotraut and two grandchildren, Charlie and Madelina. He asked that in lieu of flowers donations are made to a fund to support coastal work fellowships and a coastal conservation project created in his name.

Donations to the fellowship fund can be made through the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation at this link. The conservation project will be run by The Wildlands Conservancy.


Coastal Commission Director Peter Douglas to retire

PHOTO CREDIT: PHOTO CREDIT: A Wednesday March 30,2005 file photo showing Peter Douglas, executive director of the California Coastal Commission, at in his office in San Francisco. Jeff Chu, Associated Press.

Editor's note: This post was updated at 10:37 a.m. with statements from Laird and Huffman.

April 3, 2012
Dan Walters Daily: What's it like having Jerry Brown back?

VIDEO: Dan Walters answers the question, "What's it like having Jerry Brown back at the Capitol?"

Have a question you'd like Dan to answer? Post it on our Facebook page.

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

Read Dan Walters' columns here.

April 3, 2012
AM Alert: Dan Walters reflects on Jerry Brown's return

In his video report today, Dan Walters answers the question, "What's it like having Jerry Brown back at the Capitol?"

Alice Waters of Berkeley Chez Panisse fame will join a Sacramento discussion today on bringing farm produce to school lunch tables.

Waters, founder of the Edible Schoolyard Project, will join a meeting of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture, which is looking for ways to overcome hurdles for the effort.

Other participants: David Binkle of the Los Angeles Unified School District, Rodney Taylor of the Riverside Unified School District, Barbara Grimm, of Grimmway Academy/The Edible Schoolyard at Buena Vista School, John Young of the Yolo County Department of Agriculture, Sean Leer of Gold Star Foods, and Delaine Eastin, former California Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The daylong meeting begins at 10 p.m. at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, 1220 N Street, in the main auditorium.

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is in Chico tonight for a town hall at the California State University campus there. The event is the first of a three-day swing through California for Paul, who will also stop at UCLA and UC Berkeley.

You can get an early seating voucher for the 7 p.m. event here.

Want to catch up on legislative action for the year while lawmakers are away on spring break? Use our data base to see how often a legislator broke party ranks, abstained or switched sides. You can search by name or bill number. Updated daily.

As campaign season gears up, Capitol Alert wants your political mail. When that attack piece hits your mailbox, take a photo with your smartphone or scan it, and e-mail to


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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