Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

April 26, 2013
Ex-lawmaker hired; GOP communications guru departs Senate

ha_hector_barajas10519.JPGCalifornia Senate Republicans are saying goodbye to one communications guru as they bring a former member back to the building as a part-time aide.

Caucus Communications Director Hector Barajas, a political consultant known for his work trying to strengthen the GOP's image with Latino voters, is leaving his post after just over a year to pursue a yet-to-be-announced opportunity. His last day will be April 30.

"What I can say is I'm going to be doing a bit more of TV analyst for Spanish language (programming)," said Barajas, who said he hopes to continue to advise Senate GOP leader Bob Huff and other members on political strategy outside of the Capitol.

The caucus is also bringing on a former state senator to focus on issues related to women.

Former Sen. Sharon Runner, R-Lancaster, has been hired as a part-time staff member for the caucus. The Lancaster Republican, who is married to Board of Equalization member George Runner, will be paid $2,530 a month to work at least 17.5 a week, Senate GOP staff and Secretary of the Senate Greg Schmidt confirmed today.

April 26, 2013
Getting ready for sandals? Fish pedicures not a California option

APTOPIX_Fish_Pedicures.jpgA California state board that enforces health and safety standards for beauty services is renewing a warning against one approach for getting Californians' toes ready for the coming sandal season.

The California Board of Cosmetology and Barbering recently reissued a bulletin banning nail salons from offering a spa treatment that uses live fish to smooth patrons' soles.

Health officials have for years been raising concerns about salons that let imported fish nibble dead skin off the feet as part of a pedicure, leading some states to ban the practice altogether. The state's Board of Cosmetology and Barbering announced several years ago amid questions about legality here that the practice runs afoul of health rules requiring that tools are disinfected between each patron.

April 26, 2013
California politics forum faulted for not inviting enough women

IGS.jpgIt was six in the morning Friday when Robin Swanson started receiving emails from female friends pointing out that, once again, women were under-represented at a California politics event organized by the University of California, Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies.

"We have given notice to this old boys club many times about continuing to host almost exclusively male political panels," said Swanson, a political consultant and former spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez. "This is a business that has incredibly successful and insightful women ready to share their views, and we're getting tired of being polite about reminding them."

Criticizing the absence of women at Institute of Governmental Studies events has become something of a ritual for Swanson and other prominent female political operatives in California. Two years ago, a video in which a cartoon woman tries unsuccessfully to explain the issue to a male colleague went viral.

Of the 13 scheduled speakers at Friday's event in Sacramento -- a daylong discussion of California's revived fortunes entitled "California: Are we back?" -- two are women.

April 26, 2013
AM Alert: Is California back? UC event looks at money, politics

RP_HIGHWAY_49_SIGN.JPGThe notion of California being transformed from national poster state for dysfunction to leader was a recurring theme during the California Democratic Party convention, and talk of California getting back on the road to prosperity has become even more popular as we get reports of fiscal stability. A symposium today is taking a more rigorous look at such sunny claims.

The UC Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies is hosting the day-long event at the University of California Sacramento Center, 1130 K St. Listed speakers include Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor, the Department of Finance's H.D. Palmer and a bushel of political scientists. Shameless plug: Bee political editor Amy Chance will also be moderating a morning panel on the budget. Click here for more information.

LINKED LEARNING: The concept of educational pathways tailored to specific careers is back in the spotlight during a conference on a linked learning pilot program created by legislation in 2011. Educators from some of the 63 districts participating in the program will be at the Sheraton Grand today -- Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, who earlier this year spearheaded (and evidently really enjoyed) a Senate expedition to check out linked learning in Long Beach, will not be there, but we're told he recorded a video.

STUDENT AID: The California Student Aid Commission is meeting in Rancho Cordova, where its audit committee will be discussing Cal Grants, among other things, starting at noon at 11040 White Rock Road.

THIS LAND IS OUR LAND: The California State Lands Commission is also meeting today. In addition to sorting through lease applications, they will be considering where to stand on some federal legislation and on a few bills before the state Legislature, including single-use bag ban bills by Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, and by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles. Starting at 10 a.m. at 828 I St.

BEACH BONFIRES: Controversy has been swirling around the California tradition of beach bonfires -- William A. Burke stepped down from the California Coastal Commission last week amid questions about his role in a debate over banning the shoreline blazes. Assemblyman Travis Allen, R-Huntington Beach, is drawing a charred line in the sand this Sunday with a Huntington Beach bonfire rally aimed at ensuring such bonfire rallies remain legal. From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

PHOTO CREDIT: California Highway 49 sign. Randy Pench / Sacramento Bee file, 2002


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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