Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

February 25, 2013
Jerry Brown fast-tracks review of Riverside County solar plant

California Renewable Energy(2).jpgIn an effort to insulate a massive solar power project in Riverside County from extended environmental review, Gov. Jerry Brown announced today that he has certified the facility as a special "leadership project," the second such certification he has granted under a 2011 law.

The designation is intended to expedite rulings on environmental litigation brought against McCoy Solar Project, fast-tracking any court challenges brought under the California Environmental Quality Act. The identification of such "leadership" projects is one of several ways in which Brown has sought since taking office to relax the use of CEQA on certain projects.

The Democratic governor last year approved the state's first "leadership" project, a new Apple Inc. campus in Cupertino.

Brown's office said the California Air Resources Board has certified that the $1 billion solar project will not generate additional greenhouse gas emissions during construction, and that it will provide enough electricity to power about 264,000 homes.

PHOTO CREDIT: Greg Bosscawen, manager of renewable energy for Pacific Gas and Electric Co., walks past solar panels at PG&E's Vaca-Dixon solar energy site near Vacaville, Calif., Tuesday, April 12, 2011. Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli

February 25, 2013
Jerry Brown skips White House meeting, boards train for New York

markell.jpgWASHINGTON - Gov. Jerry Brown skipped a meeting with President Barack Obama and boarded a train today for New York, where he will meet with several "thought leaders" before returning to California on Tuesday, his office said.

Brown, who left Washington on Amtrak, is scheduled to meet privately with former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and economist William Baumol, spokesman Evan Westrup said.

February 25, 2013
Jerry Brown and Chris Christie say cheese, get sex advice

twitterpicbrownchristie.jpgWASHINGTON - Any hope of a push-up contest between California Gov. Jerry Brown and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was put on hold for at least a few hours Sunday, with Christie and Brown posing together -- all smiles -- for a photograph at a dinner at the White House.

Brown's wife, Anne Gust Brown, posted the photograph from her Twitter account with the message, "Jerry and Chris at the White House. Not doing push ups."

Brown and Christie, in Washington for a meeting of the nation's governors, feuded last year.

In a speech to California Republicans at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., in August, Christie called the 74-year-old Brown an "old retread" and said he could not believe Californians elected him to a third term.

Brown fired back at New Jersey's rotund governor a few days later. Brown said he may have less hair and be slower than he once was, but, "I have to tell you, I ran three miles in 29 minutes two nights ago ... and I hereby challenge Gov. Christie to a three-mile race, a pushup contest and a chin-up contest. And whatever he wants to bet, I have no doubt of the outcome."

February 25, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Rubio's resignation affects Dems' arithmetic

Dan Walters talks about what the surprise resignation Friday of state Sen. Michael Rubio means for the Democratic supermajority.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

February 25, 2013
AM Alert: California lawmakers' proposed measures top 2,000

MAJ_CALIFORNIA_STATE_CAPITOL_2008.JPGVIDEO: Dan Walters says the decision of Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Shafter, to step down may wind up disrupting the best-laid plans of California Democrats.

FIELD POLL: California voters increasingly support the state's greenhouse-gas emissions law, Jon Ortiz reports in today's Bee. Click here to read the statistical tabulations compiled exclusively for Capitol Alert. You'll find the publicly released poll at this link.

Friday was the deadline for California lawmakers to file bills, so we have a map of the legislative landscape. As of 5 p.m. Friday, here's the count: Assembly: 1,376 bills; Senate: 813 bills.

There are also 10 constitutional amendments proposed in the Assembly and 13 in the Senate, and there could be more -- there's no deadline for those.

Gov. Jerry Brown spent the weekend mingling with fellow governors at the National Governors Association conference, and today the state executives will assemble in the presence of the nation's chief executive: The governors will be spending today at the White House, where they dined last night.

In addition to the White House visit and governors-only meetings throughout the day, Brown and his colleagues also get to hear from Dr. Mehmet Oz, popular host of "The Dr. Oz Show" and recently the subject of a New Yorker profile.

Back in California, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, is holding a Public Safety Committee hearing to look at solitary confinement in Pelican Bay State Prison. Corrections officials have been pressed to defend the practice of sequestering inmates in so-called security housing units since conditions there prompted hunger strikes in 2011.

Officials scheduled to speak at the hearing include California Deputy Inspector General Michael Stainer as well as Renee Hanson, Kelly Harrington and Michael Ruff of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The hearing starts at 1:30 p.m. in the Capitol's Room 126.

Before the hearing, the Prison Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition is holding a rally at 11:30 a.m. on the Capitol's west steps.

PHOTO CREDIT: The California state Capitol in Sacramento, Thursday, Dec. 25, 2008. Michael Allen Jones / Sacramento Bee file photo


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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