Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

June 17, 2013
Matsui completes food-stamp challenge with a few cents to spare

matsuidinner.jpgThree days and $13.37 later, Rep. Doris Matsui of Sacramento said she was struck by how challenging it was to eat properly on a food-stamp budget.

Matsui was among 30 House Democrats who took part in the SNAP Challenge to protest cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program proposed in Congress. She and her colleagues lived on the average benefit of $4.50 a day.

"While this was temporary for me, it is reality for the millions of Americans who are never sure where their next meal will come from," Matsui wrote on her Facebook page. "As we debate the Farm Bill in the House this week I will continue to oppose outlandish cuts to the SNAP program."

What was on the menu: Bread, pasta, Ramen noodles, canned peaches, American cheese, eggs and coffee.

What wasn't: Meat or fresh fruits and fresh vegetables except broccoli.

Matsui began her challenge Thursday and concluded it Saturday. On the last day, she made French toast - and used the canned peach juice in place of syrup.

"I was struck by how challenging it was to find foods that would fit the tight budget and also provide meals for the three days," she said.

A Senate-passed version of the farm bill would cut $400 million a year from food assistance over a decade. The Republican-majority House of Representatives is considering even deeper cuts - $2 billion a year over 10 years.

Matsui said such cuts would deprive 2 million Americans of food assistance and 200,000 children of school lunches.

"This is unconscionable," she said.

PHOTO: From Rep. Doris Matsui's Facebook page, her dinner of pasta with broccoli, cheese toast and water.

June 17, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: New chapter for California school finance

Dan gives a history of school finance in California and says the latest budget adds another controversial chapter to that saga.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

June 17, 2013
AM Alert: 'You know you're the newest Assembly member ...'

Social_Media_Teens.jpgNow that the California Legislature's deadline for passing the state budget has come and gone, Capitol Alert takes advantage of Monday morning analysis to parse related bursts emanating from the Twitter-verse.

It was, of course, the first budget votes for Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the San Diego Democrat sworn in to the lower house May 28.

"You know you're the newest Assembly member when someone speaks & you have to ask your seat mate 'Who is that?' (Answer: Mr. Patterson)," she tweeted, referring to Fresno Republican Jim Patterson. (@LorenaSGonzalez)

Several other Assembly members took advantage of a lull Friday by playing off the NSA leak and the dark-humor meme "NSA called to tell me (fill in the blank)."

The latest state budget adds another controversial chapter to the saga of school finance in California, Dan Walters says.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles: "#TheNSACalledToTellMe that @Talk2Melissa needs to change her twitter handle and that @JeffGorell says @CurtHagman plays too many video games." (He was referring to Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore.)

He kept going. Apparently, 140 characters just weren't enough. (@mikegatto)

Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo, shot back: "#nsacalledtotellme my floor speech sucked." (@JeffGorell)

Melendez was not to be outdone: "#nsacalledtotellme that @JeffGorell and @mikegatto are jealous of @JoinTravisAllen hair," invoking fellow Republican Travis Allen of Huntington Beach. (@Talk2Melissa)

Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, weighed in from the upper house: "@JeffGorell #nsacalledtotellme I thought I'd let you know they told me first." (@tedlieu)

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, took a far more serious tone, tweeting often to explain his votes, which usually fell on the "no" side. (@AsmTimDonnelly)

Democrat Susan Eggman of Stockton took note, quoting Donnelly as saying, "I wish I had a semiautomatic no vote on my desk." (@SusanEggman)

Some of the snarkiest comments, sometimes posted with Twitter pics, came from the anonymous @VanityCaucus ("If they let me get close enough I plan on taking Donnelly's tie away") and @SanityCaucus ("I'm officially in love with a republican '@JeffGorell: bi-partisan boredom.' ").

Capitol Alert can't wait for end-of-session legislative bingo.

CELEBRATIONS: Assemblyman Mark Stone, D-Scotts Valley, celebrates his 56th birthday today.

PHOTO: A view of an iPhone on Tuesday, May 21, 2013. Associated Press/ Evan Vucci


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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