Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

October 30, 2012
Court says Arizona group must provide donor information in CA election

A Sacramento Superior Court judge tentatively ruled Tuesday that an obscure Arizona nonprofit must document the source of its $11 million initiative contribution, siding with the state's Fair Political Practices Commission.

The state campaign watchdog agency and Gov. Jerry Brown have railed against Phoenix-based Americans for Responsible Leadership for cloaking its contributors, saying voters deserve to know who is behind the eight-figure check. The funds went to a business committee opposed to Brown's tax initiative, Proposition 30, and supportive of a measure restricting union dues collection, Proposition 32.

FPPC chairwoman Ann Ravel has said her agency is trying to determine whether ARL violated state campaign disclosure rules, which require a nonprofit to reveal its contributors if funds were earmarked for an initiative effort. The commission is seeking everything from donor e-mails to financial transaction records to determine if a violation took place, which would trigger further action that could lead to public disclosure.

Judge Shelleyanne W.L. Chang wrote in a tentative ruling this afternoon that the FPPC has the authority to audit a nonprofit before an election and agreed that voters "will suffer irreparable harm" because they will never know the donors they potentially have the right to know.

October 30, 2012
Feud with Mary Hayashi enters Alameda supervisor race

Democratic Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi's last days in the lower house apparently won't mark the end of her long-running battle with a faction of physical therapists.

A Southern California physical therapist who has battled for years with the Castro Valley Democrat over legislation affecting his trade is leading a new committee aimed at derailing the termed-out legislator's bid for an open seat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.

MORALS PAC, which stands for Masses Organizing Research Against Lying and Stealing Opposing Mary, distributed its first anti-Hayashi mail piece this week. The piece hits Hayashi not on legislative actions opposed by physical therapists, but her 2011 arrest on suspicion of taking more than $2,000 worth of clothes from a San Francisco Nieman Marcus without paying.

The mailer, designed as a riff on a movie poster for the 1998 comedy "There's Something About Mary," says the candidate's "political ambition and lavish lifestyle is starting to cloud her judgment and her ability to be an effective politician."

"Shoplifting is obviously a much more newsworthy thing than patients being denied access to physical therapy services," said Paul Gaspar, the physical therapist chairing the committee.

Hayashi, who pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor shoplifting charge, maintains the theft was not intentional. She is one of four candidates seeking to replace former Supervisor Nadia Lockyer, who stepped down earlier this year after her struggle with addiction and issues with her marriage to state Treasurer Bill Lockyer's became public.

Gaspar said the effort was created out of concerns that Hayashi will use the vacant supervisor seat as a stepping stone to return to the Legislature in 2014, when a state Senate seat in her area will be up for grabs.

"There's a pattern of behavior here with her dishonesty and the way she's acted not in the public's or the patients' best interest," he said.

Hayashi's political strategist could not immediately be reached for comment on this ad.

SomethingaboutMary1st Mailer

October 30, 2012
Ami Bera puts focus on women's health issues in final stretch

fluke.JPGDemocratic congressional candidate Ami Bera is making issues surrounding women's reproductive health central to his closing argument in the 7th Congressional District.

With one week to go until Election Day, the Elk Grove Democrat brought in activist Sandra Fluke to speak to supporters, and launched a new television spot attacking GOP Rep. Dan Lungren on his positions on abortion and access to contraception.

Bera framed the issue as a personal one when speaking to supporters at his Elk Grove campaign office this morning, citing his experiences as a doctor and a father to a teenage girl. But he also slammed the Republican-controlled Congress for "rolling back" health care access for women while the economy is in rough shape, calling such actions the "greatest travesty."

"They've forgotten what they were elected to do," he said.

October 30, 2012
California's litigation rate fuels long-running Capitol battle

One of the California Capitol's longest running conflicts pits personal injury attorneys against business, professional and insurance lobbies over the rules governing lawsuits -- who can sue whom and collect how much.

The conflict has continued in dozens of specific legislative and ballot measure battles over such issues as pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice cases, third-party liability for injuries, auto insurance underwriting standards and "bad faith" handling of insurance claims.

Just this year, the "tort warriors," as they have been dubbed, clashed over lawyer-backed legislation that, if enacted, would have overturned a state Supreme Court decision limiting recovery of medical costs to those actually paid, rather than what medical care providers billed.

It's also been a media war as the contending factions constantly exchange allegations about the extent of litigation in California.

October 30, 2012
New problem for Roger Hernandez: Woman claims he struck her

Thumbnail image for Roger Hernandez.JPGA 31-year-old woman has obtained an emergency order against Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, claiming that the West Covina Democrat caused "visible injury" by striking her with a belt and slamming her against the wall during an argument last summer.

The woman "fears for her safety due to Hernandez using cocaine," according to her application for a protective order, which was signed by a judicial commissioner Sunday.

The incident marks Hernandez's second brush with the law this year. He was arrested in March on a charge of drunken driving in Concord, but later was acquitted of the charge in a jury trial.

Hernandez, through his chief of staff, characterized the incident as a personal matter and referred calls to attorney Anthony Falangetti, who said, "I can tell you flat out that all of this is a complete fabrication, it's totally bogus."

Hernandez and the woman had been involved in a relationship, but no longer are, Falangetti said. He declined to elaborate.

Asked specifically about the allegation of cocaine use, Falangetti called it "ridiculous" and "absurd." Hernandez will submit to a drug test to refute that accusation, the attorney said.

The newly issued emergency order was served Sunday on Hernandez. It will remain in effect until 5 p.m. Friday, after which the woman must decide whether to seek a temporary restraining order in court.

October 30, 2012
Dan Walters Daily: Candidates campaigning against future employers?

Dan says some of the campaign messages in this year's legislative and congressional races are a little odd.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

October 30, 2012
AM Alert: Limbaugh target Sandra Fluke to campaign for Ami Bera

VIDEO: Dan Walters says campaigns are slamming more than their opponents this election season.

NOT A FLUKE: A woman made famous by Rush Limbaugh is coming to Sacramento today to help Democrat Ami Bera in his effort to land a seat in Congress. Sandra Fluke was a Georgetown law student when she testified to a Congressional committee earlier this year about requiring health insurance plans to cover birth control. Her 15 minutes soon followed when Limbaugh called her a slut.

Bera, who is trying to replace Republican Rep. Dan Lungren in the race to represent the 7th Congressional District in suburban Sacramento, sees today's event as an opportunity to play up the candidates' contrasting positions on abortion.

"There's a real difference in how Dan Lungren views the individual freedoms of women, the issue of choice, and how I view it," Bera said Monday.

PROPOSITION 30: Gov. Jerry Brown continues his push for the Proposition 30 tax increase today with a noontime rally on the campus of Cal State Los Angeles. His campaign is billing it as an event with Latino leaders, and says Brown is expected to be joined by Angelinos Sen. Kevin de León, Assemblyman Gil Cedillo and Lillian Taiz, president of the California Faculty Association.

MOCK THE VOTE: Secretary of State Debra Bowen will be at Sacramento's Mira Loma High School today promoting a mock election program that more than 1,300 California schools are participating in this year. Students will be casting unofficial votes for President, U.S. Senate and the 11 statewide ballot propositions. Bowen will offer up some mock tricks and mock treats when she announces the results tomorrow. Mwahahahaha.


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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