Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

March 1, 2013
California Democrats sign brief in DOMA case, but not Prop. 8

A group of 212 Democrats in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives signed a brief Friday urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, but the same lawmakers, including most from California, did not formally weigh in on a separate case involving Proposition 8.

On Thursday, President Barack Obama urged the court to overturn Proposition 8 and extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in California and several other states.

Earlier this week, a group of more than 100 prominent Republicans also lined up against Proposition 8, including former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, former Rep. Mary Bono Mack and actor Clint Eastwood.

California Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, a Los Angeles Democrat, submitted a brief opposing Proposition 8, as did California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

March 1, 2013
Assemblyman Perea says he won't run for open Senate seat

20121203_HA_ASSEMBLY1252.JPGAssemblyman Henry Perea has decided not to run for the Central Valley Senate seat that fellow Democrat Michael Rubio resigned last week.

The Fresno Democrat said in a statement that while the opportunity to run in the 16th Senate District is "appealing," he wants to serve out his most recent term in the Assembly and honor a commitment he made to his wife and family to "create a balance between my home life and work."

"We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our second child in July, and I want to uphold my commitment to my family and the 31st Assembly District," he said.

Rubio, a freshman Democrat from Shafter, resigned his 16th Senate District seat last week to take a job heading California governmental affairs for Chevron Corp.

Gov. Jerry Brown has not yet set a special election date, but there is no shortage of candidates interested in seeking the seat.

PHOTO CREDIT: Two-year-old Ava Perea looks at the gallery as she is carried by her father, Assemblyman Henry T. Perea, D-Fresno, after he is sworn in during the first day of session at the state Capitol in Sacramento on Dec. 3, 2012. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee file, 2012.

March 1, 2013
Kevin McCarthy on 'House of Cards:' Don't believe what you see

mccarthy.pngAfter a talk and Q-and-A session that touched on sequestration, immigration and the future of the beleaguered California Republican Party, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy turned to a topic that has had politicos in the beltway and beyond buzzing for weeks: "House of Cards."

The Netflix series, which centers on the often unseemly political and personal dealings of a power-hungry fictional U.S. Representative named Francis Underwood, has become a must-watch program among political junkies.

McCarthy, who like the show's lead character serves as House majority whip, recalled meeting with actor Kevin Spacey, who plays Underwood, before the series began.

"He keeps calling my office and wants to know if I'll sit down with him. I'm saying no because I know it's not going to turn out well for me, right?" he told an audience at a Sacramento Press Club luncheon today. "Well then they tell me he's going to play a Democrat. I said, 'Sure, come on in!"

March 1, 2013
Schwarzenegger resumes lucrative role as bodybuilding editor

Arnold_Schwarzenegger_1976.JPGArnold Schwarzenegger is a bodybuilding editor once again, resuming a lucrative position he resigned in 2005 when critics pointed out his conflict of interest as governor.

American Media, Inc. today named the former California governor its "group executive editor" for Muscle & Fitness and Flex magazines, coinciding with this weekend's 25th anniversary of the Arnold Classic bodybuilding competition in Columbus, Ohio. He will provide "strategic and creative input" and write monthly columns in the magazines, AMI said.

The publisher previously paid Schwarzenegger at least $1 million annually before he resigned from the post in 2005. Critics pointed out that the governor profited off magazine ads for dietary supplements at the same time he was considering legislation aimed at curbing youth use.

March 1, 2013
Jerry Brown blocks parole for former Charles Manson follower

Davis.jpgGov. Jerry Brown today blocked the release from prison of Bruce Davis, a former Charles Manson follower, reversing a decision of the state parole board.

Davis was convicted in the 1969 killings of Gary Hinman, an aspiring musician, and Donald "Shorty" Shea, a stuntman, but he did not participate in the infamous murder of Sharon Tate.

The state Board of Parole Hearings found Davis, now 70, suitable for parole last year.

In his decision today, the Democratic governor acknowledged Davis "has made efforts to improve himself while incarcerated," but he said the positive steps Davis has taken "are outweighed by negative factors that demonstrate he remains unsuitable for parole."

Brown, who uses his power to block decisions of the parole board relatively sparingly, called the killings of Hinman and Shea "heinous and brutal," and he said Davis played a central role. He also said Davis fails to acknowledge the extent of his involvement in the crime.

PHOTO CREDIT: A photograph of Bruce Davis taken in October 2012 / California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

March 1, 2013
Ex lawmakers Bustamante, Adams part of new consulting firm

BB CRUZ INTERVIEW 060.JPGFormer Democratic Lt. Gov. and Assembly Speaker Cruz Bustamante has partnered with consultant Paul Fickas to open a new governmental affairs and consulting shop focused on Latino outreach and "bringing together Republicans, Democrats and Independents."

The firm, California Alliance Group, is headquartered in Sacramento, but will operate throughout the state.

Bustamante, who ran unsuccessfully in the 2003 gubernatorial recall and the 2006 insurance commissioner race, isn't the only former lawmaker involved in the firm. Former Assemblyman Anthony Adams, who shed his GOP registration to run for Congress as an independent last year, is serving as the firm's legal counsel. Other principals include Roy Perez, former chief executive officer of the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, former Los Angeles city budget aide Rebecca Barrantes and consultants Susie Avila Beele, Patty Holohan and John Thomas.

While it isn't unusual to see former lawmakers move into lobbying or consulting work after leaving the Capitol, Adams said the firm and its staff are not registering as lobbyists at this time.

"Right now we're only doing consulting and no lobbying work," Adams said.

PHOTO CREDIT: Cruz Bustamante during an interview at The Bee Capitol Bureau on Sept. 26, 2006. The Sacramento Bee/ Brian Baer

March 1, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Will Brown's school plan be 'loved to death'?

Dan says everybody loves Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to distribute school money, but they all want changes.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

March 1, 2013
AM Alert: California Republicans hold spring confab near Capitol

California_GOP_Republican_Convention_2012.JPGVIDEO: Dan Walters wonders what Gov. Jerry Brown's school plan will wind up looking like.

FIELD POLL: California voters are still pessimistic about the economy, unemployment, and their own economic outlook. Click here for the statistical tabulations compiled exclusively for Capitol Alert and The Bee. The poll is at this link.

Whither the California Republican Party? Leaders and delegates to this weekend's spring convention in Sacramento will be turning to Karl Rove, among others, for advice. Rove, the headline speaker at Saturday's luncheon, hasn't revealed what he'll talk about, a state party spokesman told Kevin Yamamura in today's Bee.


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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