Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

November 26, 2012
Richard Bloom doubles lead over Betsy Butler -- race nears end

Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom more than doubled his lead over Assemblywoman Betsy Butler today in a race between two Democrats for a Los Angeles County Assembly seat.

New totals show Bloom with 89,705 votes, compared to Butler's 88,817 - a gap of a half percentage point. The two were separated by 430 votes Friday.

With vote counting nearly complete, the new tally appears to spell defeat for Butler, who is finishing her first term in the Assembly and was backed by Assembly Speaker John A. Perez for the newly drawn district.

Parke Skelton, Butler's campaign consultant, said only that "it doesn't look very good, obviously."

"The trend is certainly going very strong against Betsy," Skelton said.

November 26, 2012
Federal prosecutors seek 8-year sentence for Kinde Durkee

Federal prosecutors plan to ask a judge this week to sentence Kinde Durkee to about eight years in federal prison for what's been called the "most extensive campaign treasurer fraud in the history of California."

The prominent Democratic campaign treasurer pleaded guilty in March to stealing at least $7 million from a list of big-name clients that includes U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Prosecutors had previously said the sentence could be as high as 11 to 14 years.

"Over the course of approximately 12 years, the defendant misappropriated millions of dollars from clients, used the money for her personal and business expenses, and prepared false campaign disclosure reports to hide the theft. ... This sentence will reflect the seriousness of the offense, provide just punishment and afford adequate deterrence," a sentencing memorandum filed by the U.S. Attorneys office reads.

November 26, 2012
Democrat Leland Yee announces 2014 CA secretary of state bid

Youth Sentences.jpgThe author of California's new law allowing residents to use the Internet to register to vote wants to be the state's next elections chief.

Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, has announced that he will to run for secretary of state in 2014, when he is termed out of the state Senate.

Yee, whose plans were first reported by The San Francisco Chronicle, spread the news on Twitter this morning.

"Excited to announce that I'm running for California Secretary of State. I want to expand on our recent election, tech, and open gov success," he wrote.

The former state assemblyman and San Francisco supervisor, who lost a bid for mayor there last year, will seek to replace Democrat Debra Bowen, who must leave the post in 2014 due to term limits. In addition to the online voter registration system, which is widely credited with helping boost turnout in the general election, Yee authored legislation to generate more cash for Cal-Access, the state's aging online campaign finance and lobbying database.

Yee is the first major candidate to formally launch a 2014 secretary of state bid, according to the Chronicle, though seven other potential candidates have filed paperwork signaling they could run.

RELATED STORIES:

California begins online voter registration

Bill doubling lobbyist registration fees heading to Jerry Brown

State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, addresses the Senate at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Sept. 2, 2011. The state Assembly approved Yee's measure, Friday, to allow juveniles who have been sentenced to life in prison, to submit petitions for reconsideration of their sentences after serving 15 years.(AP Photo/ Rich Pedroncelli)

November 26, 2012
Dan Walters Daily: Cap-and-trade auction is latest wrinkle for state budget

Dan Walters says California's budget troubles aren't over.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

November 26, 2012
AM Alert: Add CA sales taxes to those 'Cyber Monday' bills

VIDEO: Even with the passage of Proposition 30, Dan Walters sees some trouble ahead for lawmakers trying to balance California's budget.

Californians surfing Amazon.com and other Web merchants for Cyber Monday deals today will see "sales tax" included in their checkout totals for the first time this year.

The change is the result of one of the biggest legislative battles of the 2011-2012 session: a bill requiring online sellers to collect sales taxes on purchases made by Californians. The onus was previously on the consumer to report and pay sales taxes owed for online goods themselves.

Amazon fought the first version of the measure approved by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, cutting ties with state-based affiliates that qualified the company as a tax collector and launching a referendum campaign to repeal the law. A later compromise gave the company and other online retailers a one-year reprieve, setting the September 2012 start date for the policy.

Meanwhile, with the official start of the 2012-2013 session just one week away, one key state legislative race is still up in the air.

Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom held onto a 430-vote lead over fellow Democrat Betsy Butler, an incumbent assemblywoman, as of last week's ballot-counting in the new 50th Assembly District. Counties have until Dec. 7 to report results to Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

San Rafael City Councilman Marc Levine has declared victory in the 10th District race, but Assemblyman Michael Allen - behind by 3,468 votes on the Secretary of State's website Friday - has declined to concede before more votes are tallied.

TOP TWEETERS: Who are your favorite Capitol types on Twitter? The Bee is compiling a list of stellar tweeters on California's political scene. We want your input. Who do you follow to keep up with the buzz in and around the Capitol? Send your suggestions to tvanoot@sacbee.com.



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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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