Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

February 26, 2013
Who will run to replace Michael Rubio in the California Senate?

AP120417140783-thumb-250x316-29602.jpgA special election has yet to be called, but there's already no shortage of names being floated as possible candidates to succeed Shafter Democrat Michael Rubio in the state Senate.

Rubio resigned Friday, just over halfway into his first term representing the Central Valley's 16th Senate District, to become manager of California government affairs for Chevron Corp. The decision, which the senator attributed to family needs, surprised many in the Capitol.

The seat will be filled in an upcoming special election, which will soon be set by Gov. Jerry Brown. Fresno Bee colleague John Ellis has the low down on some of the potential candidates for the seat at this link.

PHOTO CREDIT: State Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Bakersfield, left, a member of the Senate Transportation and Housing committee, explains to Sen. Doug La Malfa, R-Richvale, why he would vote against La Malfa's proposal to put a $68 billion high-speed rail plan back before California voters, Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli

February 26, 2013
Seth MacFarlane's newest critic: California Legislative Women's Caucus

macfarlane.jpgAdd the California Legislative Women's Caucus to the long list of groups Seth MacFarlane has offended.

The creator of "Family Guy," a show known for its provocative and raunchy style of humor, got mixed reviews after hosting the Academy Awards on Sunday. MacFarlane's turn in the spotlight represented the latest attempt to inject some novelty into the awards with a youthful host, and not everyone was pleased.

"In a world where women have historically faced challenges and obstacles when it comes to their portrayal in popular culture, Sunday evening was a setback for women fighting hard to gain appropriate respect as contributors in this industry and society and general," read a letter from the women's caucus to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

MacFarlane's hackles-raising routine included a joke about R&B singer Chris Brown abusing pop star Rihanna and a song and dance about actresses who appeared topless. The letter from the women's caucus lambasted MacFarlane for relying on "caricatures and stereotypes" and said he "crossed the line from humor to misogyny."

You can read the letter here:

LetterMotionPicturePresident (1) by tvanoot

PHOTO CREDIT: Host Seth MacFarlane performs onstage during the Oscars at the Dolby Theater on Sunday. Chris Pizzello/ Invision/ Associated Press

February 26, 2013
The Bee's Kevin Yamamura moves to editing job; Gutierrez comes to Capitol

yamamura.jpgThe Sacramento Bee's Kevin Yamamura, who has worked in the newspaper's Capitol Bureau for 10 years and covered the state budget for the last six, is changing jobs.

Starting Monday, Yamamura will begin working as an editor on the Bee's Local News Desk, where he will oversee education and local government reporters. Ken Chavez, The Bee's senior editor for local news, said his team looks forward to Yamamura's expertise in government, politics and public finance.

Gutierrez.jpgMelody Gutierrez, who has been covering local education for The Bee, will move to the Capitol Bureau to cover the state Assembly. Jim Sanders will move from the Assembly to writing in-depth public policy pieces on a range of topics. David Siders, who covers Gov. Jerry Brown, will lead a team effort covering the state budget.

PHOTO CREDITS: Top -- Kevin Yamamura, waits outside a closed door meeting at the Capitol. The Sacramento Bee/Brian Baer
Bottom -- Melody Gutierrez. The Sacramento Bee/Autumn Cruz

February 26, 2013
5.3 million Californians received low-income aid in 2011

More than 5 million California adults received some form of income-based government assistance in 2011, according to a new Census Bureau report.

The report covered welfare grants, aid to the aged, blind and disabled and medical care through the Medi-Cal program, as well as several smaller programs in which aid is based on recipients' low incomes. But it excluded Social Security payments, public employee pensions and other public payment programs that are not tied to on recipients' incomes.

The 5.3 million Californians receiving aid in 2011 were the largest number of any state by far but the percentage, just under 19 percent of all California adults, was a percentage point lower than the national rate of means-tested public assistance.

Nationally, 30.4 percent of 46 million aid recipients were disabled, but in California it was 27.9 percent, one of the nation's lowest rates.

February 26, 2013
Meg Whitman voices support for gay marriage in Prop. 8 case

AA MEG RALLY7.JPGFormer GOP gubernatorial hopeful Meg Whitman has changed course on California's ban on same-sex marriage, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8 as unconstitutional.

Whitman, who supported Proposition 8 and vowed to defend the voter-approved law against legal challenges during her 2010 gubernatorial bid, is one of dozens high-profile Republicans who signed a legal brief supporting gay marriage that will be submitted this week, according to The New York Times.

The Hewlett-Packard chief executive issued a statement through her LinkedIn page saying that she has come "to embrace same-sex marriage after a period of careful review and reflection."

"As a candidate for governor three years ago, I supported Proposition 8. At the time, I believed the people of California had weighed in on this question and that overturning the will of the people was the wrong approach," she wrote. "The facts and arguments presented during the legal process since then have had a profound impact on my thinking."

February 26, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Budget boasting ignores huge debt

Gov. Jerry Brown has started touting California as a model for fiscal soundness -- a scenario that makes sense only if you ignore a big backlog of debt, Dan says.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

February 26, 2013
AM Alert: Hearing examines California water bond

VIDEO: Budget optimism has led Gov. Jerry Brown to start talking about a "California miracle," but Dan Walters says California must still contend a with mountain of accumulated debt.

It will be many months before Californians weigh in on an $11 billion water bond on the 2014 ballot, but that doesn't mean it's too early for a hearing. A joint effort by the Natural Resources and Water and the Governance and Finance committees, respectively, will examine the broader context of California's debt load in a "Priming the Pump for a Water Bond" hearing, starting at 9:30 a.m. in Room 4203. Committee chairs Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, and Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, be joined by representatives from the Legislative Analyst's Office and the Treasurer's office.


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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