Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

December 19, 2012
'LA Shuffle' means lots of political moves in huge county

The "LA Shuffle" isn't a dance, or at least not one of the musical variety, but rather a name that some political insiders apply to the constant movement of politicians in Los Angeles County, which has more than a quarter of the state's population.

The county has all or parts of 18 of the state's 53 congressional districts, 15 of the 40 state Senate districts and 24 of the 80 Assembly districts. There are also 15 well-playing slots on the Los Angeles City Council, the city's mayoralty and five seats on the county's Board of Supervisors.

With that many political positions as lures and term limits as spurs, there's a lot of movement among Los Angeles, Sacramento and Washington in any election year, whether it's the even-numbered year for federal, state and county balloting or the odd-numbered year for city elections.

Five members of the Los Angeles City Council are former state legislators, including the council's president, Herb Wesson, a former speaker of the state Assembly but one, Tony Cardenas, is leaving to take a seat in Congress, which will mean a special election next spring for his seat.

Eight odd-numbered city council seats are up in the spring as well, and five current or recently termed-out state legislators are running for them. Were state Sen. Curren Price and Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield to win their council races, the new Democratic supermajorities in both legislative houses would be diminished until their seats are filled by special election.

And then there's the county Board of Supervisors, whose members were dubbed the "five little kings" until women began to win seats.

Three of the five supervisors are former state legislators. Two of the five, ex-Assemblywoman Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky, will be forced off the board by term limits in 2014, two others, former Assemblyman Mike Antonovich and Don Knabe, will be out in 2016, and the fifth, former Assemblyman (and LA City Councilman) Mark Ridley-Thomas can serve until 2020.

The departures of Molina and Yaroslavsky, and later of Antonovich and Knabe, are expected to touch off a political feeding frenzy among the county's legislators, city council members and even members of Congress.

Former Assemblywoman and state Sen. Sheila Kuehl has already declared her candidacy for the Yaroslavsky district, which includes the wealthy "west side" of Los Angeles.

Editor's note: Updated at 1:11 p.m. to reflect Sheila Kuehl's candidacy.

December 19, 2012
Jerry Brown names former adviser, news exec to CSU board

Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed former campaign adviser Douglas Faigin, president of City News Service Inc., to the California State University Board of Trustees.

Faigin, 66, was press secretary for Brown's 1974 gubernatorial campaign and deputy campaign manager of Brown's reelection effort in 1978. Faigin's late wife, Mary Jean Pew, was appointed by Brown to the CSU board in 1975.

Pew, who died this year, was one of Brown's first appointments to the college system board.

Faigin, of Marina del Rey, has a doctorate in political science from Claremont Graduate University and a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University.

Like Brown, he is a Democrat.

The position requires Senate confirmation and pays a $100 per diem.

December 19, 2012
Jerry Brown taps former Pennsylvania prison chief to lead California prisons

Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed a former Pennsylvania prison chief secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Brown's office announced this morning.

Jeffrey Beard, 65, was secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections from 2001 to 2010, Brown's office said. He consulted for California's prison system on litigation filed on behalf of inmates who complained prisons failed to provide adequate mental health treatment, and he was a member of a 2007 panel assessing the effectiveness of California's adult prison and parole programs, according to the governor's office.

"The new secretary has just the experience California needs," the Democratic governor said in a prepared statement. "He's been a prison warden, led the correctional system in Pennsylvania, and more recently participated in the federal oversight of California's prisons, visiting the majority of our institutions. In the face of a plethora of federal court decisions and the bold realignment enacted by the Legislature, Jeff Beard has arrived at the right time to take the next steps in returning California's parole and correctional institutions to their former luster."

Beard replaces Matt Cate, who announced his resignation in October to become executive director of the California State Association of Counties.

Beard, of Bellefonte, Pa., is registered decline-to-state. He received a doctorate and master of education in counseling from Pennsylvania State University, Brown's office said. The position requires Senate confirmation and pays $225,000 a year.

December 19, 2012
Dan Walters Daily: Court funding issue brings enemies together

Dan says ongoing state cuts to the court system have drawn opposition from natural combatants -- lawyers, business and labor.


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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

December 19, 2012
AM Alert: Holiday card edition

VIDEO: Dan Walters discusses the funding crunch in California's courts and the emerging coalition to reverse them.


HO HO HO: 2012 has not been the easiest year for the Lockyer family, what with state Treasurer Bill Lockyer and his wife Nadia separating after her drug abuse and extramarital affair became public. But that hasn't stopped the Lockyers from sending out a festive family holiday card (right) featuring a picture of their son Diego standing in a colorful game arcade. The boy is holding long strips of skee ball tickets that are piling up at his feet. "May you win the big ticket to happiness jackpot this holiday season and throughout the new year," says the card, signed by "Bill, Nadia & Diego."

Meanwhile, Rep. Loretta Sanchez's holiday card - think high heels and fiscal cliff - is featured in this Washington Post blog, along with images of some of her wacky cards from years past.

All of which got us thinking a slide show of political holiday cards may be in order. Please scan and send the best ones from the political world to

FISCAL CLIFF: Rep. George Miller and California small business owners are holding a telephone press conference today to discuss the "fiscal cliff, its impact on consumer spending and how employers feel about tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year," according to a statement from the Small Business Majority advocacy group.

The group says small businesses "want tax cuts for the middle class extended to help boost spending power, but believe allowing tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent to expire is the right thing to do in light of our current budget crisis."

UTILITY BILL: The Energy Commission and the Public Utilities Commission are gathering for a joint meeting today in Sacramento. And just as the meeting will be getting under way at 10 a.m., state Sen. Jerry Hill of San Mateo will hold a press conference in San Francisco announcing legislation aimed at prohibiting the PUC from "giving away millions of dollars in ratepayer money to third parties," according to a statement from Hill's office. Advocates from The Utility Reform Network and the Consumer Federation of California are also expected at the presser. They want PUC President Michael Peevey to recuse himself from a decision on awarding a $150 million grant to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, claiming that he's biased because of his involvement in the project.

CLIMATE CHANGENATOR: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is giving former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger an award tonight at the UN Correspondents Association's event in New York City. Schwarzenegger is receiving the "Global Advocate of the Year" award for creating the nonprofit group R20: Regions of Climate Action, which encourages subnational governments to create clean energy projects.


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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