Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

May 8, 2013
VIDEO: Abel Maldonado touts initiative to repeal prison realignment

maldonado.jpgAbel Maldonado, who is preparing to challenge Gov. Jerry Brown in next year's gubernatorial race, said today he will file a ballot initiative to repeal California's prison realignment, an issue Republicans consider a potential liability for Brown.

The former lieutenant governor provided few details about the initiative, but the circumstances of his announcement suggested Maldonado will make the issue a centerpiece of his campaign.

"I'm here to address an issue that threatens the lives of every Californian, an issue that is the most important issue in California in a generation," Maldonado said. "It is an issue that affects the quality of life and the safety of every citizen of my home state of California."

Brown has faced criticism for months from Republican lawmakers - and some Democrats - seeking to modify or repeal elements of realignment, the 2011 law in which the state shifted responsibility for certain low-level offenders from the prison and parole system to counties. As Maldonado did at his event today, they highlight crimes committed by offenders they say were released under realignment.

The Democratic governor has said he is considering "some ideas" about potential changes to the law, but his administration is also under a court order to reduce California's prison population. Jeffrey Callison, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said realignment has reduced the state's prison population while bringing "a more rational criminal justice system" to California.

The initiative Maldonado proposed would appear on the same ballot as the gubernatorial runoff election in November 2014, and his news conference had all the hallmarks of a campaign event. Maldonado addressed reporters from the top floor of a parking garage across the street from the Capitol. The location provided the Capitol dome as a backdrop, and Maldonado's strategist, John Weaver, was on hand.

Maldonado said his motivations are not political.

"This press conference is not about the governor's race," he said. "I said a couple of weeks ago that I was going to raise some resources to figure out if I was going to be a candidate for governor. I would venture to say that if you look at what I've been doing, there's a pretty good shot that I'm going to be running for governor. But I'm here to tell you today that this press conference is not about Abel Maldonado running for governor."

May 8, 2013
California Capitol fight between charities done for the year

Goodwillindustries.jpegAn ongoing political fight between Goodwill Industries and for-profit companies that accept used clothing in collection boxes has been put on hold in the California Capitol.

Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, decided this week to pull her Senate Bill 450, ahead of a scheduled hearing before the Senate Governance and Finance Committee. The move means the bill, which was aimed at making it easier for property owners to remove unauthorized collection boxes, is likely dead until next year.

A Galgiani spokesman said the senator needed more time to work out amendments to the bill. She plans to push an updated version in the second year of the 2013-2014 legislative session.

"I think we're just trying to find a way to alleviate some concerns from the opposition, obviously take into account what they are saying," aide Thomas Lawson said.

Galgiani and the bill's backers argued that the change in law was needed to protect property owners in light of what they called a surge in unattended donation collection boxes left at commercial lots and other sites without permission. Critics had characterized the bill as an attempt by Goodwill to sideline its competition for used items.

Jonathan Franks, a spokesman for the opposition coalition, called Galgiani's decision to put the bill on hold a win for "choice, common sense, transparency and the urgency of more recycling rather than less."

"We hope that this is now the last time Goodwill brings this sort of legislation forth, as this should now serve as a conclusive rejection of their win-at-all costs multi-year attempt to create a monopoly," he said.


Charities are engaged in California political fights

PHOTO CREDIT: A bill making it easier for property owners to get rid of unwanted donation boxes pits Goodwill, which backs the proposed legislation, against other operations which also seek contributions of secondhand clothing. Goodwill does not rely on donation bins. Randy Pench / Sacramento Bee file, 2010.

May 8, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: School funding woes not over yet

California got some rare good news about the financial situation of its school districts, although Dan warns that school deficits still pose a problem.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

May 8, 2013
AM Alert: California advocates mark 20 years of charter schools

20120426_PK_FORTUNE_0697.JPGWe here at Capitol Alert are happy to keep track of the various commemorative occasions that might otherwise escape your notice. For instance, it's National Charter Schools Week, and the California Charter Schools Association and its representatives will be at the state Capitol today for its 20th annual advocacy day, an event stretching back to the opening of the state's first charter school in 1993.

Assemblywomen Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, and Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto, the respective chair and vice chair of the Assembly Education Committee, will be greeting parents and charter leaders during a 9 a.m. confab in a tent near the west steps. Attendees will meet lawmakers and, later on, head to a committee meeting in room 126, where legislators will consider a bill that would hold charter schools to some of the same conflict-of-interest standards as district schools.

VIDEO: School districts are increasingly passing the stable-finance test, but Dan Walters says not to celebrate just yet.


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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