Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

January 15, 2013
Assembly Speaker John Pérez hosts Stanley Cup at Capitol

photo.JPGAssembly Speaker John A. Pérez got to play King for an afternoon.

Pérez received a Los Angeles Kings jersey with his name emblazoned across the back as he welcomed the Stanley Cup to the California Capitol on Tuesday afternoon. He held the event to honor the reigning National Hockey League champion Kings, who defeated the New Jersey Devils in six games to capture their first championship.

"Entire generations have grown up mystified by the skill, the tenacity and the dedication it takes to become a world champion and earn the right to have possession of this cup," Pérez said, standing next to the gleaming silver trophy.

Pérez was flanked by Tim Leiweke, president and chief executive officer of AEG and governor of the Los Angeles Kings, and Luc Robitaille, a Hall of Fame hockey player who is now the Kings' president for business operations.

A line of hockey fans, many of them sporting Kings colors, stretched out of the room and wrapped around the hallway.

PHOTO CREDIT: Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez smiles as he receives an honorary Los Angeles Kings jersey, Jan. 15, 2013 by Jeremy B. White / Sacramento Bee.

VIDEO: AEG's Tim Leiweke, at the state Capitol with the Stanley Cup and Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, talks about his company's interest in the Sacramento Kings and an arena project here.

January 15, 2013
How Udacity's leader met 'a guy named Jerry Brown'

SAN JOSE -- At the announcement today of an agreement between San Jose State University and Silicon Valley startup Udacity Inc., to provide online courses, Udacity's Sebastian Thrun said the foundation for the agreement was laid in June, when he awoke to find "in my inbox an email from a guy named Jerry Brown."

The governor of California, Thrun said, wrote, "We need your help," then followed up with a telephone call a few minutes later.

Brown might have chosen to contact any of three leaders in the offerings of MOOCs, or massive open online courses.

Why Udacity?

"I was reading The New York Times on the weekend, since I don't take it during the week, and I saw his name, and it looked interesting to me, so I just went online, found out his email and sent him an email, and that's how it worked," Brown told reporters.

He said he looked at the other providers, Coursera and edX, but "wherever it was, I got to his email quicker."

"I said, 'Give me a call,' " Brown said. "And then I found his number."

Thrun was standing behind Brown, beaming. He is a part-time research professor of computer science at Stanford University and a fellow at Google. Someone in the crowd suggested the latter connection might have had something to do with Brown finding Thrun so easily.

The man said, "Helps to work at Google, doesn't it?"

January 15, 2013
Jerry Brown: 'Oakland has to solve its own problems'

SAN JOSE -- Gov. Jerry Brown, the former mayor of Oakland, said today that his home city "has to solve its own problems," after a surge in crime has prompted Oakland's vice mayor to call for a state of emergency to free up state aid.

"Certainly I want to help where we can, but Oakland has to solve its own problems," the Democratic governor told reporters here. "The clergy, the Police Department, the Fire Department, the mayor, you've got to pull together in extraordinary ways to respond. And as a citizen of Oakland, I wish you well and I'll do my part."

Oakland Vice Mayor Larry Reid told the Oakland Tribune last week that the city had "lost control" and should call a state of emergency, though the newspaper reported today that other city leaders have rejected that idea.

Brown said that with "everybody working together, we can drive that crime in Oakland down, I'm confident."

Brown and his wife, Anne Gust Brown, own a house in the Oakland hills. They stay in a rented loft in Sacramento when they are at the Capitol.

January 15, 2013
Jerry Brown touts online education pilot at San Jose State

SAN JOSE -- Amid a push by Gov. Jerry Brown to expand online course offerings at public colleges and universities, San Jose State University and an online education startup today announced a deal to provide three entry-level courses for credit online.

The pilot program, if successful, could eventually be expanded statewide, officials said. It is unique because of the low price -- $150 a course -- and because it makes courses available to students who are not enrolled at the university.

The deal with Palo Alto-based Udacity Inc. was announced after Brown approached Udacity founder Sebastian Thrun in June.

"We're talking about our society, our future and how we can all improve our skills, how we can exercise our imagination, and we can come to understand this great learning environment called California," Brown said at a news conference here. "We're about inquiry. We're about knowledge, and we're about reflection and wisdom. Technology helps that."

The Democratic governor is lobbying the University of California and California State University systems to expand online offerings to reach more students. He is also encouraging them to reduce costs, and he is expected to attend a meeting of University of California regents on Wednesday.

January 15, 2013
Jerry Brown names new Board of Education executive director

Gov. Jerry Brown has nominated the former advocate for a group that represents school administrators in the Capitol as executive director of the California State Board of Education.

Karen Stapf Walters, a former teacher and state Senate aide, most recently served as interim executive director of the Association of California School Administrators. The former assistant executive director for governmental relations at the organization first joined ACSA as an advocate in 1999.

Stapf Walters will also advise the governor on education policy in her new role, which pays an annual salary of $175,000. The executive director appointment must be approved by a vote of the board.

She succeeds former Board of Education executive director and Brown education adviser Sue Burr, who retired at the end of 2012. The former assistant superintendent of Elk Grove Unified and state undersecretary of education was named a member of the board by Brown earlier this week.


Sue Burr appointed director of State Board of Education

Editor's note: This post was updated at 11:48 a.m. with additional information about the confirmation.

January 15, 2013
California sees slower population growth, Latino plurality this year

With a declining birthrate and ebbing migration into California from other states and nations, the historically fast-growing state will see only relatively slow population expansion in the foreseeable future, the state's own demographers conclude.

However, these trends also mean that Latinos are likely to become the state's largest single ethnic group sometime this year, a data-packed section of Gov. Jerry Brown's new state budget plan concludes.

That's a couple of years earlier than previous demographic expectations.

January 15, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Budget boredom

Dan wonders what we'll do for fun now that Gov. Jerry Brown has produced a minimally criticized budget.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

January 15, 2013
AM Alert: Jerry Brown touts online education

VIDEO: Dan Walters says that, for once, Gov. Jerry Brown's budget has gotten a generally favorable reception.

The University of California's Board of Regents convenes for its annual meeting this morning, with a sunnier budget outlook suggesting the university system may avert another tuition hike.


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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