Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

October 2, 2012
Former Capitol aide, political strategist Al Wagner dies

Al Wagner, a Democratic strategist and former legislative employee was found dead Monday, according to the Fresno Bee.

Wagner, 56, retired from Democratic Sen. Michael Rubio's staff earlier this year. He previously served as chief of staff to former state Sen. Dean Florez.

Click here to read more from Fresno Bee colleague John Ellis.

October 2, 2012
Local California voters also asked for new taxes and bonds

While three multi-billion-dollar tax measures on the November ballot are getting much media attention, dozens of local governments and school districts are also asking voters to issue bonds and raise taxes or fees, according to a report compiled for the League of California Cities.

Michael Coleman, a fiscal policy advisor for the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers and the League of California Cities, wrote the report, which covers more than 350 local measures, including 237 seeking bonds, taxes or fees, nearly half of which are school bond issues that total more than $14 billion. Three of the measures are initiatives while the rest were placed on the ballot by the affected agencies.

There are also 25 school parcel tax measures, 34 city or county sales tax increases and 23 non-school parcel taxes. The local tax increases placed before voters this year reflect widespread fiscal angst in local governments. Three California cities have already filed for bankruptcy this year and a number of others have declared financial emergencies.

October 2, 2012
Effect of California workers' comp overhaul hinges on new rules

The Legislature's overhaul of California's workers' compensation system - which provides benefits to workers for job-related illnesses and injuries - will reduce employers' costs, but how much will depend on how Gov. Jerry Brown's administration implements the new rules, the Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau says.

With pre-reform losses to workers' compensation insurers still mounting, the organization says, it's impossible to make a recommendation to the state insurance commissioner on how premiums should be adjusted, if at all. Therefore, it's recommending that no changes in premiums be made next year until the reforms are implemented and their effect can be weighed.

October 2, 2012
AM Alert: Chugga Chugga Choo Choo

Toddlers and politicians have at least one thing in common. We're not talking about occasional temper tantrums or a fondness for being on camera. No, we're talking about the train museum. Toddlers and politicians alike seem to be crazy about the place.

Assemblyman Roger Dickinson will be at the Railroad Museum in Old Sac today to tout the signing of AB 146, which adds an additional member to the California Air Resources Board to represent the Sacramento region. An experimental low-emission locomotive will be on display for the 11 a.m. presser featuring the Sacramento Democrat. Also listed to appear: Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna, CARB Executive Officer James Goldstene, Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce President Roger Niello and Kori Titus, CEO of Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails.

ARNOLD TIME: With the release this week of "Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story," The Bee takes a look back at Arnold Schwarzenegger's years in Sacramento with an interactive timeline illustrating key events and colorful quotes from his governorship. See it here.

MONEY TIME: For California races, Friday is the deadline to submit campaign finance reports for the period ending Sept. 30. For federal races, campaign finance data is now available via new public data sets from MapLight. They include all federal contributions, independent expenditures (including super PACs), and candidate and committee totals. MapLight says it will do regular updates with the most current data from the FEC. Check out the Google Fusion Tables here.

NEW JOB: Bill Ainsworth has left the state Board of Equalization for a new job as press secretary to state Treasurer Bill Lockyer. He replaces Joe DeAnda, who moved to the California Public Employees' Retirement System.

October 2, 2012
Dan Walters Daily: California population stats can be quirky

VIDEO: Dan says Susanville may not be the best place to meet men after all.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.


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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