Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

May 9, 2013
Man arrested outside Jerry Brown's loft says he was addled and sleep deprived

micsjerrybrown.jpgJamal Maurice Johnson, the man Gov. Jerry Brown held out last month as an example of how crime has affected him personally, sat alone in a Sacramento courtroom Thursday, wearing dress slacks and a sweater.

Brown mentioned in a speech to crime victims in April that a man had been arrested "trying to break in" to the Sacramento building where he rents a loft.

"Luckily, I wasn't home," Brown said, and within hours Johnson hit the news.

Johnson, 26, was scheduled Thursday to be arraigned on misdemeanor charges of unlawful entry and prowling, but prosecutors said they needed more time to review the file.

Leaving court, Johnson said he was addled and sleep deprived and had been "running for three days" when police arrested him.

"I thought people were chasing me," Johnson said. "I was hearing things that weren't there."

Johnson, who works as a restaurant server, said he lives in Los Gatos and had no idea Brown lived in the building where he was arrested. He said he was neither drunk nor high but acting erratically, a state-of-mind he said he could illustrate with a story about how he managed to get up onto the building.

Johnson was about to tell that story when a public defender introduced herself to him and advised him not to talk publicly about the case.

The Sacramento Police Department this month denied a public records request for the agency's report on the incident, saying it is a confidential record. Johnson is scheduled to return to court in June.

PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Jerry Brown talks to members of the press after speaking at a rally for crime victims in Sacramento on Tuesday, April 23, 2013. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee

May 9, 2013
Michael Eggman, Pete Aguilar get support from national Dems

congress.jpgTwo California congressional hopefuls are among the beneficiaries of a new Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee program aimed at nurturing promising candidates for 2014.

The DCCC effort, called Jumpstart, has identified an initial batch of eight candidates to support with financial help and strategic advice, including Californians Michael Eggman and Pete Aguilar.

Beekeeper and farmer Eggman, who's the brother of Democratic Assemblywoman Susan Eggman of Stockton, announced recently that he will challenge Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, in the 10th Congressional District.

Aguilar, now mayor of Redlands, is taking another shot at the 31st Congressional District seat held by Republican Rep. Gary Miller of Diamond Bar.

So far, Eggman doesn't face any opposition from other Democrats -- astronaut Jose Hernandez, who lost to Denham last year, has not yet declared his intentions. But Aguilar has already come under attack from former Rep. Joe Baca, who lost his congressional seat last fall to fellow Democrat Gloria Negrete McLeod. She's backing Aguilar in his bid for Miller's seat.

Jumpstart is distinct from a similar Democratic initiative, Red to Blue, that seeks to bolster the campaigns of key Democratic candidates. Six of the seven California Democrats backed by Red to Blue last year won their campaigns.

"(DCCC) Chairman (Steve) Israel began making calls to prospective candidates on Election Night 2012, and has assembled an aggressive Recruitment Committee chaired by Congresswoman Donna Edwards," says a memo announcing the program. You can take a look at the memo here:

First Jumpstart Candidates for 2014

PHOTO CREDIT: Californians Michael Eggman and Pete Aguilar are among a crop of DCCC-supported candidates trying to make it to Congress, whose dome is pictured here on Dec. 28, 2012. Susan Walsh / Associated Press

May 9, 2013
CA Assembly OKs bills to help transgender people

ha_lgbt_pride_month39948.JPGBy Melody Gutierrez

Two bills aimed at eliminating obstacles transgender people face cleared the Assembly along party lines on Thursday, including one that will allow students to select the bathroom and sports team that correlates with their gender identity.

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, said his Assembly Bill 1266 will force school districts to be in compliance with current laws that prohibit discrimination against transgender students.

May 9, 2013
CA Senate OKs hike in penalties for 'swatting' hoax 911 calls

thebeebs.jpgThe California Senate cracked down Thursday on a hoax trend that has targeted Justin Bieber, Ryan Seacrest and even a state legislator, approving legislation that would hike penalties for making false 911 calls.

Democratic Sen. Ted Lieu introduced Senate Bill 333 in response to a rash of "swatting" prank calls that sent police to the homes of Hollywood stars. The Torrance Democrat experienced the hoax first hand last month, when police responded to a false 911 call reporting that he had shot his wife at their home.

The bill, sponsored by the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department, would make the caller behind a false 911 report liable for the cost of the emergency response. While "swatting" is already a crime punishable by up to one year in jail or a $1,000 fine -- with longer and higher penalties for calls that knowingly send emergency responders into harm's way -- supporters say the extra liability is needed because of the staff and financial burden the practice has put on local police.

"To add a further unnecessary and nonsensical strain on limited public safety resources has really created a public safety hazard," Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, said during a floor debate on the proposal.

The bill passed the Senate on Thursday with bipartisan support, 33-0. It now heads to the Assembly for consideration.

PHOTO CREDIT: Justin Bieber, shown here in this 2012 file photo, is one of several high-profile celebrities to be targeted by "swatting" hoax 911 calls. Evan Agostini/Associated Press.

May 9, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Will Prop. 30 burnout kill cigarette tax plan?

California's low smoking rates make a proposed cigarette tax seem plausible, but that could run up against wariness about again raising taxes in the wake of Proposition 30.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

May 9, 2013
AM Alert: California lawmakers honor moms, domestic workers

MAJ_SHOPPER2.JPGDo you have Mother's Day plans yet? (Capitol Alert has already mailed a card). Well, the California Domestic Workers Coalition does: It's hosting a Mother's Day breakfast this morning to honor domestic workers and to unveil a new report on the status of nannies, caregivers and housekeepers in the state. The event is co-sponsored by the Latino Legislative Caucus and the Legislative Women's Caucus.

The coalition has also sponsored Assembly Bill 241, carried by San Francisco Democrat Tom Ammiano, that would enshrine new labor protections for home workers. But organizers say that the breakfast isn't explicitly related to or promoting that bill. Find the event in the Capitol's room 125, following session.

VIDEO: Dan Walters wonders what's stronger: health-conscious California's aversion to smoking or legislative Democrats' desire to avoid raising taxes so soon after Proposition 30.

ANNYEONG, GOV. BROWN: Gov. Jerry Brown is racking up the facetime with Asian leaders. First came his business-boosting China trip. Today he is meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-hye at a noon luncheon in Los Angeles.


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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