Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

VIDEO: Dan Walters says the likely supermajority in the California Legislature isn't going to result in change right away.

BERA GOES TO WASHINGTON: Count Ami Bera among the legislative freshmen in Washington, D.C., who start orientation this morning -- even though it's not yet clear the Democrat challenger has wrested Sacramento County's 7th Congressional District from Republican incumbent Dan Lungren.

The House Administration Committee that organizes the four-day event -- and that Lungren chairs -- invites all potential new members of Congress to attend the week-long series of sessions.

When Bera left Sacramento, his lead over Lungren stood at 1,779 votes, less than 1 percent of the ballots counted so far. While that was up from his 187-vote lead at Election Day's end, county officials had yet to count tens of thousands of ballots with the potential to affect the Bera-Lungren race. They're expected to update the totals later today.

While Bera stopped short of predicting victory Monday during a telephone interview from Washington, he said that he feels "confident the ballot total will continue to move in our direction."

A Lungren aide said the Gold River Republican returns to Washington today for the final weeks of the lame-duck session of the 112th Congress.

The Bera-Lungren contest was one of two undecided House races in California on Monday. In the other, Republican incumbent Brian Bilbray trailed Democratic challenger Scott Peters by six-tenths of a percentage point in the 52nd Congressional District.

On Monday, six congressional races remained unsettled nationwide.

Clicking this link will open counts for the congressional and state legislative races that remain too close to call. You'll find a county-by-county list of ballot reporting status at this link. The unprocessed county ballots report is here.

GOVERNOR'S CALL: Gov. Jerry Brown plans to attend the California State University Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach at 10 a.m.

A brief press release from the governor's office released Monday afternoon didn't explain why Brown is attending the meeting. While he is a board member, the governor usually sends a proxy.

As The Bee's Laurel Rosenhall reports this morning, CSU faculty and students have targeted the board meeting to protest a proposal to charge new fees on "super seniors," course repeaters and those who take an extra-heavy class load.

Administrators say the fees will free up class space and make speed up graduation rates. Students say the plan would punish those already facing obstacles on the path toward a diploma -- and favor students with the ability to pay over those of modest means.

Brown barnstormed college campuses to get out the youth vote for his successful tax measure, Proposition 30, but he hasn't weighed in on the CSU fee proposal.

CRYSTAL BALL: Hedge fund billionaire and political activist Tom Steyer joins PPIC President Mark Baldassare for a wide-ranging conversation about California's future -- from climate change to fiscal reform to the role of the initiative process in policy-making.

Lauren B. Dachs, president and executive director of the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation will also speak. The conference runs from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the PPIC Bechtel Conference Center at 500 Washington St. in San Francisco. Click here to register and view the event online.

TOWN HALL: Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, is convening a public town hall meeting on criminal justice reform at the Milton Marks Conference Center Auditorium from 6 to 7:30 p.m. You can find more information about the event by clicking here.


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