Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

September 5, 2012
Report: Nadia Lockyer faces drug, child endangerment charges

Nadia Lockyer, recently separated from state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, faces charges of felony methamphetamine possession and child abuse, the San Jose Mercury News reported today.

She was arrested last week in Orange County after officers found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia at the house of a relative with whom she was staying with the Lockyers' 9-year-old son, Diego. Besides the felony methamphetamine charge, she faces misdemeanor charges of being under the influence of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and child abuse and endangerment.

September 5, 2012
Democratic delegates' view of California: Big, broke, baked

delegate.JPGCHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The opinion that Californians are a little off is apparently bipartisan.

The Golden State's blue politics didn't stop Democrats from across the country gathered here for the Democratic National Convention from developing views of the state similar to their GOP counterparts in Tampa, whose thoughts on the state included "weird" and "scary."

"I love California's weather, but the people -- I think some of them, the sun has affected their brains," said Marcia Hazelton, a Maryland delegate who spends several months a year in the state. The retiree cited onerous business licensing requirements faced by some friends selling goods in Venice Beach as one issue with her part-time home.

September 5, 2012
Lawmakers honor John Burton's legacy in final days of session

Never a pushover, John Burton can be rolled over, now.

It's OK.

A strip of State Highway Route 35 in San Francisco was named in honor of the longtime politician and current California Democratic Party chairman late last week, in the final days of this year's legislative session.

Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, who pushed the idea of honoring Burton, said the new John Burton Highway is a two-mile section of road beside a Sloat Boulevard home where Burton once lived as a child.

September 5, 2012
'Knife Fight' draws Californians at Democratic National Convention

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It usually isn't advisable to head to a knife fight at a national political convention.

But a small but star-studded crowd of Democratic National Convention attendees did just that this afternoon as they filed into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

No one got hurt.

The group was gathered to view a screening of "Knife Fight," a new movie co-written and co-produced by veteran Democratic strategist Chris Lehane. The film, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival, is about a California political consultant and the dirty tactics it can take to win.

September 5, 2012
Speaker John Pérez makes 'opportunity' theme of DNC speech

PerezConvention.jpgCHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez today called on Democrats to focus on the fight for opportunity as they head into the final months of the 2012 campaign.

"That is the spirit of our party and the guiding principle of President Obama. This election is our opportunity to rededicate ourselves to that commitment," the Los Angeles Democrat told the Democratic National Convention, calling the focus the "pathway to victory" for Democrats.

Pérez, a second-term legislator who was elected speaker in 2010, highlighted the need to ensure Americans have access to jobs, higher education and protections in the workplace regardless of their sexual orientation. His entrance was greeted with a standing ovation and cheers from the California delegation seated in the stands of the Times Warner Cable Arena.

Pérez is one of seven Californians scheduled to speak at the convention tonight.

PHOTO CREDIT: John A. Pérez, Speaker of the California State Assembly addresses the delegates. Harry E. Walker/ MCT

September 5, 2012
Steinberg eyes Democratic supermajority, praises end of session

After failing to win votes for tax hikes this legislative session, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said he's focused on helping Democrats win a supermajority of his house this fall.

Democrats gave up on seeking GOP votes for taxes during June budget talks, instead asking voters to raise the statewide sales tax and income taxes on wealthy earners in a November initiative. Only one high-profile tax measure passed his house last week - a 1 percent charge on lumber - while other proposals to extend motorist fees and change corporate tax formulas for out-of-state firms died on the final night.

September 5, 2012
Video: Actor Rob Schneider in capital to urge veto of vaccination bill

Actor Rob Schneider made the rounds of Sacramento media today to argue that Gov. Jerry Brown should veto legislation requiring parents to receiving counseling about vaccinations before opting their children out of receiving the medicine.

Schneider, a former regular on "Saturday Night Live" who has performed in numerous motion pictures, opposes Assembly Bill 2109 by Democratic Assemblyman Richard Pan of Sacramento.

Under AB 2109, parents who exclude their children from immunization requirements would have to submit a statement, signed by themselves and their health care practitioner, that they received information about risks and benefits of the vaccines.

"This is a parental rights issue," Schneider said during a visit to The Bee Capitol Bureau.

"There shouldn't be government coercion to force parents to jump another hoop to have to make decisions on ... what's the best interest of their child," he said.

September 5, 2012
Audit: CalSTRS' pension spiking controls are inadequate

120904 Jack Ehnes 059 5x7 color.JPGThe California State Teachers' Retirement System isn't keeping a close eye on pension spiking, according to a new audit of the state's second-largest pension fund.

CalSTRS CEO Jack Ehnes responded that the organization is committed to cracking down on pension spiking.

"CalSTRS agrees with the Controller's recommendations and will take additional actions to further strengthen its controls," Ehnes said in a press statement release shortly after the audit was made public today. "In fact, many of the recommendations in the report have been initiated within the last year."

The review by State Controller John Chiang's office found CalSTRS, with more than 1,900 employer-members, averages just 40 audits per year.

September 5, 2012
Jim Nielsen and Dan Logue to square off for state Senate seat

Incumbent Republican Assemblymen Jim Nielsen and Dan Logue formally launched campaigns against each other today for the 12-county state Senate seat that incumbent Doug LaMalfa is vacating.

Nielsen and Logue will butt heads for the predominantly Republican 4th Senate District that winds through Yuba, Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Del Norte, Nevada, Placer, Shasta and Siskiyou counties. The winner will serve the remaining two years in LaMalfa's term.

LaMalfa, R-Richvale, announced last week that he will resign the state Senate seat so that a special election to fill it can be consolidated with the Nov. 6 general election. Gov. Jerry Brown has yet to announce the election date, however.

LaMalfa is running for the congressional seat of Republican Wally Herger and is considered a shoo-in in the heavily GOP district.

September 5, 2012
A big night for Californians at the Democratic National Convention

timeswarner.JPGCHARLOTTE, N.C. -- There will be no shortage of familiar Golden State faces on the stage during the second night of the Democratic National Convention.

The final schedule for tonight's program at the Times Warner Cable Arena includes no fewer than seven Californians.

Attorney General Kamala Harris is scheduled to speak close to prime time, taking the stage just before the network coverage begins at 10 p.m. eastern (7 p.m. pacific standard time). Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, former state Controller Steve Westly and investor Tom Steyer, who is backing Proposition 39 this November, and Reps. Karen Bass and Judy Chu are all on the speaker list.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the chairman of the convention, will address delegates just before former President Bill Clinton speaks.

PHOTO CREDIT: Delegates fill the Times Warner Cable Arena on Tuesday, the first night of the Democratic National Convention. The Sacramento Bee/Torey Van Oot

September 5, 2012
Dianne Feinstein lays out plans for another U.S. Senate term

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- In the middle of a speech focused largely on the presidential race, Republican policies and propositions back home, U.S. Sen Dianne Feinstein took a few minutes to talk about her own bid on the ballot this year.

"As an aside," she said at breakfast for members of California's Democratic National Convention delegation. "I'm also running for re-election."

"I didn't know if I would do that or not, but I did," the 79-year-old Democrat added over the applause. "I believe my work as a United States senator is not yet complete."

Feinstein, who is seeking a fourth full term in the Senate, pledged to continue to protect abortion rights, fight for new legislation to renew the federal assault weapons ban and pursue an overhaul of immigration laws. She also spoke of continuing her work as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

In an interview with reporters after the talk, the senator dismissed the notion that she considered not running again this year. She said she always intended to be a candidate and will "absolutely" fill out her six-year term if elected again.

September 5, 2012
Dan Walters Daily: Bill infighting far from done at the CA Capitol

VIDEO: Dan says the mountain of bills on Gov. Jerry Brown's desk provides for some interesting dynamics as the Nov. 6 election approaches. (Think Proposition 30.)

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

September 5, 2012
AM Alert: Villaraigosa, Newsom to address state delegation

VIDEO: Dan Walters runs down some of the dynamics at work in the California Capitol as Gov. Jerry Brown decides yea or nay on the hundreds of bills that the Legislature passed before the end of the session. Find today's report on Capitol Alert.

The Democratic National Convention continues today in Charlotte, N.C., with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood scheduled to address the California delegation's breakfast.

The event is being held at the Blake Hotel, where the delegation has found accommodations to be less than accommodating, as Torey Van Oot reported in this Capitol Alert post. "You travel so far to stay at Hotel California," Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is scheduled to address the convention tonight, quipped Tuesday.


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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