Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

November 19, 2012
California senator drops plan to ask voters for a car tax increase

Lieu.jpgDemocratic Sen. Ted Lieu is dropping a push to ask voters to triple the state's vehicle license fee rates.

The Torrance Democrat told the editorial board of the Los Angeles Daily News last week that he planned to introduce legislation to put a measure on the 2014 ballot asking voters to raise the state's vehicle license fee. He said increasing the rate from .65 percent to 2 percent -- the level it was before former GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger slashed the fee in 2004 -- could generate up to $4 billion a year for roads, public transit and other projects.

Lieu called his proposal at the time "a test to see what the two-thirds (majority) Legislature means," a reference to the supermajority vote required for lawmakers to place measures in front of the people.

But today he scrapped the plan, saying in a statement that "over the last few weeks California's political landscape has changed."

"I have listened carefully to those who have contacted my office or me. Additionally, more stakeholders weighed in on this important issue," Lieu said in a statement. "As a result, I will not be introducing the proposal. Instead, I will work with transportation stakeholders and the public next year on alternative ways to mitigate the transportation infrastructure problem."

PHOTO CREDIT: State Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, during a hearing at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, May 8, 2012. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli.

November 19, 2012
Dan Walters Daily: What will ambitious California Dems do?

Dan says California's up-and-coming Democratic officials may have difficulty advancing.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

November 19, 2012
AM Alert: California House delegation includes 14 newcomers

VIDEO: Dan Walters wonders what younger California Democrats will do, what with septuagenarians occupying in the governor's office and claiming both U.S. Senate seats as well as the House minority leadership role.

Secretary of State Debra Bowen has until Dec. 14 to certify the election for candidates running for something other than president, but one by one, the nail-biters have been dropping off the list.

The last two California House races were settled late last week, with Democratic challengers Ami Bera and Scott Peters edging out Republican incumbents Dan Lungren and Brian Bilbray, who conceded, respectively, in the 7th and 52nd districts.

This means that as of January, Democrats will hold 38 of California's 53 congressional seats, with Republicans holding the other 15. All in all, 39 incumbents will return to the 113th Congress.

The state's delegation will include 14 members -- 11 Democrats and three Republicans -- who are new to Washington. Among them are eight current or former state legislators: Republicans Doug LaMalfa, Paul Cook and David Valadao, and Democrats Jared Huffman, Julia Brownley, Gloria Negrete McLeod, Alan Lowenthal and Juan Vargas.

In addition to Bera and Peters, the other newcomers include Democrats Eric Swalwell, Tony Cardenas, Mark Takano and Raul Ruiz.

Bera and Peters weren't the only Democrats who bested incumbents running for re-election. Ruiz edged out GOP Rep. Mary Bono Mack, Swalwell beat fellow Democrat Pete Stark, and Negrete McLeod bested fellow Democrat Joe Baca.

Then there were the incumbent vs. incumbent races, both of which pitted two Democrats against each other down in the south state, where Janice Hahn beat Laura Richardson, and Brad Sherman won over Howard Berman.

Word was last week that Sherman withdrew his bid to become ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as Politico reported here, a sign he won't be forgiven anytime soon for one of the biggest money-sucking slugfests of the election.

As for Sacramento's musical chairs, a timely office pool might bet on when Negrete McLeod and Vargas will resign from the state Senate seats to allow for special elections to fill their seats.



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Capitol Alert Staff


Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. jwhite@sacbee.com. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. achance@sacbee.com. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee. smith@sacbee.com

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. ccadelago@sacbee.com. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert. mmassimino@sacbee.com

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. lrosenhall@sacbee.com. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. dsiders@sacbee.com. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. dwalters@sacbee.com. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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