Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

VIDEO: Dan Walters says that the Legislative Analyst's Office's new book of facts about California should be required reading for the state's new legislators -- and maybe for people commenting online about political stories, too.

RALLY FOR HOMELESS: Occupy Sacramento and other advocates for the homeless and others are gathering today on the Capitol's north steps to support a legislative proposal to expand civil rights and anti-discrimination laws to include homeless and low-income people as well as those with mental illness or physical disability.

The all-day rally begins at 10:30 a.m. and will include a potluck to feed the homeless as well as music and speakers, according to the Occupy Sacramento website.

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, introduced his Assembly Bill 5 early last month. Local laws governing urban camping, sleeping, loitering and the like often are attacks on homeless people, Ammiano aide Carlos Alcalá argues in this piece published last month in the San Francisco Bay View.

The measure, which is a long read, would establish several rights, including these and others:

• "The right to engage in life sustaining activities that must be carried out in public spaces because of homelessness, including, but not limited to, eating, congregating, possessing and storing personal property, urinating, or collecting and possessing goods for recycling, even if those goods contain alcoholic residue, without being subject to criminal or civil sanctions, harassment, or arrest by law enforcement, public or private security personnel, or BID (business improvement district) agents."

• "The right to 24 hours a day, seven days a week access to clean and safe public restrooms."

• "The right to make his or her own decisions regarding whether or not to enter into a public or private shelter or any other accommodation, including social services programs, for any reason he or she sees fit, without facing criminal or civil sanctions, harassment, or arrest from law enforcement, public or private security personnel, or BID agents."

JUST THE FACTS: What country has the ninth-largest economy in the world? According to the Legislative Analyst's Office, it's not a country at all. It's where California would fall in the global lineup if it were a country and not a state.

The LAO's latest Cal Facts 2013 booklet -- which Dan Walters believes is a must-read -- is chock-full of numbers, graphics and maps depicting the state's economy, the effect of ballot propositions on state and local fiscal health, school spending and other trends. A map on page 59, for instance, charts how Northern California and much of the Sierra are net exporters of water to the Bay Area, the Central Coast and Southern California.

You'll find the HTML version of Cal Facts 2013 at this link. If you prefer to read the PDF version, click here. Want to read more? Check out the LAO's main website for more publications.

NEW BEE CARTOONIST: Jack Ohman draws his first cartoon in today's edition as The Bee's new cartoonist. It's online at the opinion page. Learn more about Jack in this announcement.



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