Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

September 21, 2012
Democrats regain registration edge in Lungren-Bera seat

Democrats have regained a slight voter registration edge in the hotly contested 7th Congressional District, though the two parties still represent almost equal shares of voters heading into the Nov. 6 rematch between Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Gold River, and Elk Grove Democrat Ami Bera.

The latest voter registration figures, released today by Secretary of State Debra Bowen, show Democrats leading 39.16 percent to 38.37 percent - a margin of 2,822 voters. Independent voters who decline to state a party preference accounted for 18.25 percent of the electorate. The numbers have flipped since late May, when Republicans were up by 888 voters.

The race between Lungren and Bera is considered one of November's most competitive congressional races.

September 21, 2012
Democrats gain on voter rolls for hot Sacramento Assembly race

A Sacramento County Assembly race touted as one of California's most competitive just tilted slightly more to the left.

Voter registration statistics posted by the secretary of state's office today showed that Assembly District 8 has gained 6,256 Democrats since May, while Republican ranks have dropped by 665.

The news was applauded by the campaign of Democrat Ken Cooley but downplayed by that of Peter Tateishi, the Republican candidate. Assembly District 8 stretches from Citrus Heights to the Sacramento County line south of Wilton.

September 21, 2012
Petal by petal they lobby Jerry Brown

Of all the ways to lobby a governor, sending flower arrangements, it would seem, is the gentlest.

They could also be considered gifts, however. So as Gov. Jerry Brown wades through hundreds of bills in this bill-signing season, his office today asked one group to stop its deliveries, the group said.

The offending gerberas, carnations and assorted other flowers are from the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, which said it sent arrangements to the Democratic governor's Sacramento and Los Angeles offices to encourage him to sign Assembly Bill 889.

The legislation, by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, would afford domestic workers overtime pay, rest periods and other state labor protections.

"They view them as a gift," the coalition's Joseph Villela said. "They cannot accept gifts, so therefore they have to donate them."

The governor's office was polite about it, Villela said, but "they have respectfully requested us to stop."

The disposition of the already-delivered flowers is unclear, but the group said today that they will keep coming every day - until the end of the month, or until Brown signs the bill.

September 21, 2012
Gov. Brown kills bill to bar long suspensions for pupil defiance

Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed legislation by a Sacramento assemblyman designed to restrict expulsions or lengthy suspensions for students who disrupt school activities or defy campus staff.

In vetoing Assembly Bill 2242, Brown said that "it is important that teachers and school officials retain broad discretion to manage and set the tone in the classroom."

Democratic Assemblyman Roger Dickinson proposed the bill as a way to replace lengthy "willful defiance" punishments with supervised detention, community service or other alternatives.

September 21, 2012
Speaker Pérez to appear in reading of show about Prop. 8 trial

Two years after making an in-name-only cameo in the trial over California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez is preparing to play a new role in the legal saga surrounding Proposition 8.

The Los Angeles Democrat announced today that he will participate next month in a reading of "8," a play about Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the challenge of the 2008 constitutional amendment now heading to the U.S. Supreme Court. He'll share the stage at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre with award-winning actors Dustin Lance Black and Holland Taylor.

Pérez will play Stanford Professor Gary Segura, who made the case during the 2010 court proceedings that gays and lesbians are underrepresented and targeted in the political process. As part of the cross-examination by Proposition 8 attorneys, Segura was pressed on whether Pérez's own role as the first openly gay Assembly speaker undercut his argument.

In a statement, Pérez praised the reading as an "opportunity to help tell a powerful story of a victory celebrated by LGBT People, and people of conscience all over the country."

"As someone whose own rights were taken away by Proposition 8, and Proposition 22 before it, I am deeply honored to be participating in a production that brilliantly and vividly captures the critical moments of the trial that led to Judge Vaughn Walker's groundbreaking ruling," he said of the federal judge's finding that the ban is unconstitutional.

Proceeds from the Oct. 7 performance will go to American Foundation for Equal Rights, which supports the legal case against the ban.

September 21, 2012
Dan Walters Daily: California's budget problems continue

VIDEO: Dan says the automatic budget cuts that would be triggered if Gov. Jerry Brown's tax measure fails on Nov. 6 won't cover the California budget deficit.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

September 21, 2012
AM Alert: Capitol forecast includes spaceship (but no aliens)

VIDEO: Dan Walters predicts that California's budget will be in a world of hurt, even if Gov. Jerry Brown's tax measure passes on Nov. 6.

Capitol denizens are about to get as close to a spaceship as most humans ever do.

The Shuttle Endeavour is set to fly over the dome this morning on its meandering way to its new museum home. The last Capitol Alert heard was that NASA was worried about Bay Area fog, so it has delayed the flight an hour, which should put the shuttle over Sacramento around 9:30 a.m. According to The Bee's Bill Lindelof, the Endeavour is expected to be poking along at 230 mph when it buzzes the Capitol at an altitude of 1,500 feet.

NASA Television will air its departure starting at 8 a.m. at this link. Shuttle fans are also tracking the flight via Twitter with these hashtags -- #SpotTheShuttle and #OV105, which is Endeavour's vehicle designation. Check out a NASA Fans pic of the shuttle in flight at this link.

And now, back to down-to-Earth news.

Almost one in five likely voters in California don't know which way they're going to vote on Proposition 32, which would ban unions and corporations from using payroll-deducted money for political purposes. That's according to a new survey conducted by UC Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies and the Field Poll.

The Bee's Jon Ortiz has more details in today's Bee about the campaign finance measure, which is trailing among those likely voters. Click here to read the publicly released poll. If you want even more numbers, you'll find statistical tabulations compiled exclusively for Capitol Alert at this link.

In the Bay Area, an all-day conference examines California's fiscal crisis, zeroing in on pension reform and deficit reduction. Its keynote speaker is Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics, and other participants include San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, former California Republican Party chairman Duf Sunheim, Marty Morgenstern of the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency and others. The conference is sponsored by UC Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies. Registration is now closed, but you can read the agenda at this link.

Back in Sacramento, the Public Policy Institute of California lays out its recent poll on voters' views of the presidential candidates and the November propositions at a luncheon. Click here for more information.

ELECTION 2012: Democratic Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani formally launches her state Senate campaign in Stockton on Saturday with a keynote address from Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, followed by a neighborhood canvass and phone bank. The event starts at 11 a.m. at her Stockton headquarters, 5635 Stratford Circle.

CAKE AND CANDLES: Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, celebrates his 62nd birthday Saturday by hosting a free food literacy fair along with the California Food Literacy Center and the Oak Park Farmers Market. Find it at McClatchy Park, 35th Street and Fifth Avenue, across from McGeorge School of Law, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


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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