Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

April 4, 2013
Jerry Brown upbeat on China, but the banquets, not so much

brownnewsom.jpgGov. Jerry Brown, who is often uncomfortable with the type of protocol-heavy events that will fill his schedule next week in China, said today he is "excited" about the trip -- even if a week of banquets and meetings "can be a little bit ... it's not, like, exciting."

The third-term Democrat, who leaves the state on Monday, is expected to promote carbon-reduction policies and to seek investment in California while on a trade mission in China. He told reporters at the Capitol that he is open to Chinese investment in public infrastructure, including high-speed rail.

Brown visited Japan when he was governor before, in 1977, in an effort to persuade car manufacturers to site a plant in California, but he said the larger delegation he will lead to China is "unprecedented -- I've never done this, ever."

Brown said relationship-building with Chinese officials is significant to California and its companies, and he predicted the trade mission will help facilitate billions of dollars in investment in California.

"At least I'm putting my stake in the ground over there and flying the California flag," he said.

As he was showing a handful of reporters out of his office, Brown said again that he was looking forward to the trip.

"These banquets, though," said Brown, who will turn 75 on Sunday. "Oh, boy, that's going to be tough."

PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Jerry Brown, center, gets a standing ovation after he delivered his State of the State speech on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee

April 4, 2013
Obama calls Kamala Harris 'best-looking attorney general'

AP110523048988.jpgPresident Barack Obama was praising the bona fides of California Attorney General Kamala Harris today when he complimented Harris for something unlikely to show up in her campaign platform.

"She's brilliant and she's dedicated, she's tough... She also happens to be, by far, the best-looking attorney general," Obama said during a Thursday lunch, according to a pool report written by Todd Gillman of the Dallas Morning News.

The president also called Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, "not a real tall guy," according to a tweet posted by Mike Rosenberg of the San Jose Mercury News.

Here's an excerpt from Rosenberg's pool report:

He introduced California Attorney General Kamala Harris, a rising star in the Democratic party, and called her the "best-looking attorney general" he's seen (after laughs, he said "It's true; come on."). He also called her brilliant, dedicated and tough, and "exactly what you want" in an AG. Also introduced and praised was U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, a Democrat who represents a big chunk of Silicon Valley in the House. Honda was standing in the back, prompting Obama to ask where he was, and Honda shouted out "I'm short!" After laughs, Obama said: "you're not a real tall guy." Laughs all around.

Obama is in town for a fundraising swing that brought him to Atherton this morning for two Democratic National Committee events. Last night he appeared at an event costing $5,000 a head at the home of Tom Steyer, who spearheaded the push for Proposition 39 but has broken with the Obama administration over the Keystone XL pipeline, and a $32,500 gathering hosted by billionaire Gordon Getty.

PHOTO CREDIT: The photogenic California Attorney General Kamala Harris, seen here on Monday, May 23, 2011. By Nick Ut for the Associated Press.

April 4, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Is Public Safety Committee aptly named?

The Assembly Public Safety Committee has rejected a bill to crack down on sex offenders while embracing a measure governing the sale of animals at swap meets, Dan says, and he wonders where the California Legislature's priorities are.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

April 4, 2013
AM Alert: Obama rakes in cash; Norquist talks criminal justice

Obama_Colorado_040313.jpgFresh off a pair of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee events in the Bay Area, President Barack Obama will be in Atherton this morning for fundraising events benefiting the Democratic National Committee. He returns to Washington, D.C., this evening.

It's not every day that we get leading luminaries from both major parties in California. While the president is ginning up contributions, the patron saint of tax opposition, Grover Norquist, will be talking up the conservative rationale for criminal justice reform. Norquist, who supported the Proposition 36 campaign to soften California's "three-strikes" law, will be speaking at 12:30 p.m. at Stanford Law School.

VIDEO: After taking a look at how bills have fared in the Assembly Public Safety Committee, Dan Walters says Democrats have their priorities scrambled.

WATER: Gov. Jerry Brown's massive plan to overhaul water delivery from the Delta has been in the spotlight lately, and elected and local officials from Sacramento will be discussing the prospects today. Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli, Sacramento Councilmember Darrell Fong and Regional Water Authority Executive Director John Woodling will be talking water politics at the Sacramento Convention Center from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. today.

RAIL: The California High-Speed Rail Authority will be discussing plans for the Fresno to Bakerfield leg of the planned high-speed rail system today. The meeting is happening in a few different places (thanks to technology), but the Sacramento iteration is happening at the Sacramento City Council chambers at 10 a.m.

APPOINTMENT: Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, announced late on Wednesday that he was appointing former Assemblyman Pedro Nava to the Little Hoover Commission. Nava's tenure on the state panel runs through Jan. 1, 2017.

CARTOONS: Some of you have no doubt noticed that our political cartoons have acquired a new style recently with the arrival of cartoonist Jack Ohman. Today he talks to the Sacramento Press Club starting at 11:30 a.m. The RSVP deadline has already passed, but you can learn more at this link.

PHOTO CREDIT: President Barack Obama boards Air Force One before departing Buckley Air Force Base, in Aurora, Colo., on Wednesday. Brennan Linsley / Associated Press


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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