Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

June 12, 2013
Matsui to live on food stamp budget for 3 days to protest cuts

ha_doris_matsui46897.JPGRep. Doris Matsui of Sacramento on Wednesday pledged to spend only $13.50 on food the next three days, joining nearly 30 of her fellow House Democrats in protest of cuts to the federal food stamp program.

The Senate on Monday approved a 10-year, $955 billion farm bill that includes a $400 million a year cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. A House proposal would cut the program by $2 billion a year.

Matsui said via Facebook and Twitter that 200,000 residents of Sacramento County rely on food assistance and that she'd take part in the "SNAP Challenge" and live off the average benefit of $4.50 a day.

"Feeding a family on SNAP is already challenging, and these cuts would make it even harder," Matsui wrote on her Facebook page. "That is why I am taking the SNAP Challenge to raise awareness of hunger in our nation and to highlight the importance of SNAP."

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the food stamp program helped 45 million low-income Americans in 2011. Nearly half of the recipients of food assistance are children, and nearly 1 in 5 are elderly.

Northern California Reps. Barbara Lee of Oakland and Jared Huffman of San Rafael are also participating. Lee will live on a $4.50 daily food budget for an entire week.

PHOTO: Rep. Doris Matsui listens to a speaker after U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer took a tour of the new terminal construction at the Sacramento International Aiport on Wednesday, June 7, 2010. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

June 12, 2013
Pacific Hospital of Long Beach says it has 'no direct knowledge' of Calderon scrutiny

Pacific Hospital of Long Beach has made its first comments to The Bee since the paper began asking last week about its business relationship with the brother of state Sen. Ron Calderon, whose Capitol offices were searched by the FBI last week.

"Pacific Hospital of Long Beach has no direct knowledge of the recent scrutiny of Ron Calderon and his immediate family members. Commenting would be speculative and inappropriate," says the statement from Laura Salas Reyes, the hospital's director of public relations.

The statement goes on to say that Pacific Hospital executives will have nothing more to say in response to The Bee's inquiries, as "it remains focused - as always - on providing the highest quality medical care to its patients."

Tom Calderon listed Pacific Hospital of Long Beach as a client of his consulting business when he filed an economic statement of interest last year as part of his unsuccessful run for state Assembly. Also last year, on a campaign flier, he described serving on the hospital's board of directors.

Pacific Hospital of Long Beach has declined to answer The Bee's questions about its relationship with Tom Calderon, and his lawyer did not return a call from The Bee on Wednesday.

The hospital is known for performing spine surgeries for California workers compensation patients, and was the subject of a Wall Street Journal story last year that raised questions about the large amount it billed for performing back surgeries on injured workers - three times more than any other hospital in the state. The FBI raided Pacific Hospital of Long Beach in April searching for "evidence of criminal allegations," the FBI told The Bee.

June 12, 2013
Adult day care legislation dies after 'awkward conversation'

20130311_HA_JUDICIARY176.JPGDemocratic members of the California Senate Health Committee had what one of them called "a little awkward conversation" Wednesday with Democratic Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada over her bill to reinstate day care centers for adults with physical or mental disabilities, pleading with her to accept amendments.

Yamada refused to remove bill language to prohibit the state from allowing more for-profit firms to provide the care, characterizing her refusal as a philosophical objection to "making a profit off the public dollar."

And with that refusal, Yamada's measure, Assembly Bill 518, died without a motion or a vote. It was an unusual end for the measure, which had whizzed through the Assembly with nary a negative vote and bipartisan support.

Two years ago, the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown eliminated the day care program under the state's Medi-Cal program as one of the reductions made in "safety net" services to balance the state budget, turning aside complaints that its elimination would force beneficiaries into more expensive institutional care.

June 12, 2013
Elizabeth Emken closer to challenging Ami Bera for House seat

emkendriveway.JPGThe field of potential challengers to freshman Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, continues to grow, with former U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Emken filing a statement of candidacy.

Emken unsuccessfully took on incumbent Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein in 2012, losing by a wide margin. The Republican's statement of candidacy, filed with the Federal Election Commission last week, lists Bera's seat in California's 7th Congressional District.

While Emken has not formally launched her candidacy, spokesman Mark Standriff told Capitol Alert that "she's in it."

"She's committed to run," Standriff said.

Former congressman Doug Ose, who departed the House of Representatives in 2005 and is considered a top Republican contender for Bera's seat, told Capitol Alert that he is still mulling the possibility of a run. He said Emken has contacted him to seek an endorsement, which he declined.

"I'm in the process of figuring out, is there a path to victory? If there's a path to victory, it'll be obvious what I'm going to do," Ose said.

PHOTO: U.S. Senate candidate and autism activist Elizabeth Emken at her Danville home on April 18, 2012. The Sacramento Bee/Manny Crisostomo.

June 12, 2013
Caption Contest: Dog days of summer

sutter.JPG Followers of state politics are familiar with Gov. Jerry Brown's corgi Sutter, who has his own bio on the governor's website, his own Facebook page and even his own Twitter account.

The First Dog made an appearance last weekend at the Sacramento SPCA's Doggie Dash in William Land Park. Sutter took a break from the canine 5K to make some two-legged friends, judging by this photo taken by Sally McKeag of California Strategies.

What was California's First Dog thinking here? Take a crack at captioning the charismatic corgi in the latest Capitol Alert Caption Contest.

For newcomers to the contest, here are the rules:

1. Look at the picture.
2. Write a caption.
3. E-mail it to us.

When sending in submissions, feel free to request anonymity. Only those willing to have their real names published, however, can win the grand prize: a $25 gift certificate to a capital coffee shop (entrants residing outside Sacramento can request any coffee chain).

Entries are due by Thursday, June 13 at 11:59 p.m. Send submissions to

PHOTO: First Dog Sutter relaxes in the shade at the Sacramento SPCA's Doggie Dash in William Land Park on June 8, 2013. Sally McKeag.

June 12, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Budget deal lacks enterprise zone overhaul

Dan takes a look at the enterprise zone overhaul that Gov. Jerry Brown wanted but didn't get in the latest state budget deal.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

June 12, 2013
AM Alert: California SEIU lobbies lawmakers on health care

20120620_HA_WALKER0026.JPGThe Service Employees International Union California, fresh off a major local securing a tentative contract agreement that includes a raise, is marshaling its members this morning to lobby lawmakers.

Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, and Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, are scheduled to address attendees, who will be pressing health-related initiatives such as a Medi-Cal expansion as well as legislation to prohibit large employers from paying employees a wage low enough that they would qualify for Medi-Cal. The rally starts at 10 a.m. on the Capitol's south steps.

VIDEO: Dan Walters looks at why the latest state budget deal is missing the enterprise zone overhaul that Gov. Jerry Brown wants.


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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