Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

July 31, 2013
Poll finds Californians back climate change fight, skeptical on fracking

fracking.jpgAn overwhelming majority of Californians believe the state should act to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new poll, while residents narrowly oppose hydraulic fracturing and support construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Climate change represents a concrete threat for a majority of Californians, according to the new Public Policy Institute of California poll. More than three-fourths of respondents -- 77 percent -- called climate change a "very serious" or "somewhat serious" threat to the economy and their way of life, while more than half reported being "very concerned" about the threat of global warming fueling more severe wildfires.

Nearly two-thirds of residents and 59 percent of likely voters surveyed want the government to act now to limit climate change -- whose effects are already evident, according to 65 percent of respondents -- rather than wait for the economy to mend.


July 31, 2013
VIDEO: Transgender teen delivers signatures to Brown's office

A transgender high school student from Manteca delivered more than 5,700 petition signatures to Gov. Jerry Brown's office on Wednesday in hopes that the governor will sign a measure awaiting his approval.

Sixteen-year-old Ashton Lee spoke at hearings for Assembly Bill 1266, which would allow transgender students to choose the bathrooms, physical education classes and school activities that align with their gender identification.

Lee also created an online petition to urge the governor to sign it.

The Senate approved AB 1266, by Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco, in early July. The Assembly passed the measure in May.

July 31, 2013
UCLA: Recession hit rural baby boomer Californians hardest

RB_Clinical_Test.JPGMiddle-age, low-income workers living in California's rural counties were the most likely to lose their jobs and their health insurance during the severe recession that struck the state six years ago.

That's the conclusion of a new report from researchers at UCLA's Center for Health Policy.

As unemployment more than doubled between 2007 and 2009, the study found, the number of Californians without health insurance rose more than 10 percent to 7.1 million. And while the poorest Californians were able to secure health coverage through the state's Medi-Cal and now-defunct Healthy Families programs, others were left to scramble for coverage.

"Whether because mid-career workers are viewed as too expensive or because there is a deeper bias against older workers, the data suggests the ax is first to fall on the baby boom generation," Shana Alex Lavarreda, the study's lead author, said in a statement accompanying its release. "This might open the door for policymakers to question the fairness of hiring and firing in the next economic cycle."

The study notes that similar impacts of future recessions on health care coverage are likely to be less severe because of the advent of the federal Affordable Care Act. The health care overhaul aims at reducing the state's 7-plus million medically uninsured residents by several million, either through expansion of Medi-Cal eligibility or from private, federally subsidized insurance under the new California Connected health care exchange.

PHOTO: A patient is examined in Carmichael on March 3, 2009. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton

July 31, 2013
University of California 2012 payroll up 6 percent

berkeleycampus.jpgBy Phillip Reese
preese@sacbee.com

The University of California paid its employees across the state $11.22 billion last year, up 6 percent from 2011, according to figures released today.

Academic pay rose by 4 percent to $4.34 billion. Pay for executives and managers rose by 7 percent to $725 million.

"This increase is likely attributable to a combination of factors, including increased research activity and market pressures for more competitive compensation, particularly in the areas of health care, instruction and research," says a statement from UC's Office of the President.

Pay has been a controversial subject across the UC system as tuition continues to increase and state funding has lagged in recent years. The UC Board of Regents recently approved the hiring of a new president, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, at a salary of $570,000 - about $21,000 less than her predecessor.

According to the figure released Wednesday, the number of UC employees grew 2 percent to 191,000 in 2012.

The largest increase in payroll and funding came at the university's teaching hospitals. Pay in health care and allied sciences jumped nearly 10 percent from 2011 to 2012 to $2.56 billion.

Since 2006, UC payroll has increased 37 percent.

PHOTO: This June 1, 2011 photo shows people as they walk through Sproul Plaza near the Sather Gate on the University of California, Berkeley campus Associated Press/Eric Risberg)

July 31, 2013
Big California corporations parking $262 billion offshore

Chevron.jpgA dozen of California's largest corporations are holding nearly $262 billion in foreign earnings in offshore subsidiaries to shield the money from American taxation, according to a new study by a consumer advocacy group.

The 12 are on a list of 105 publicly traded American corporations collectively holding $1.17 trillion in earnings offshore, according to the study by a coalition of state Public Interest Research Group affiliates, including CALPIRG in California.

The critical study is entitled Offshore Shell Games and the PIRG coalition says the practice is depriving federal and state governments of much-needed revenue for public services.

California's Apple, was listed as having has the most offshore holdings of any American corporation, $82.66 billion.

Parking profits in other nations whose corporate tax rates are lower is not illegal, but has been widely criticized by liberal groups.

Chevron, California's largest corporation, is holding $26.5 billion, the report says, and others from the state on the list, by size of the firm, include Hewlett-Packard, $33.4 billion; McKesson, $3.8 billion; Apple, $82.7 billion; Wells-Fargo, $1.3 billion; Intel, $17.5 billion; Safeway, $1.3 billion; Cisco Systems, $41.3 billion; Walt Disney, $566 million; Sysco, $910 million; Google, $33.3 billion; Ingram Micro, $2.1 billion; and Oracle, $20.9 billion.

PHOTO: A Chevron sign is shown in San Francisco, Nov. 2, 2007. Associated Press/Jeff Chiu

July 31, 2013
AM Alert: California hits campaign finance filing deadline

MC_FEDPRES_08.JPGToday, they show us the money.

Midnight marks the deadline for committees -- including those associated with office holders, candidates and ballot initiatives -- to disclose their fundraising data. By the end of the day we'll get a look at where the campaign dollars have coursed in the first half of 2013, offering a preliminary sense of where things stand in, say, the 2014 governor's race.

We'll be on top of it. Check back tomorrow for a report summarizing who gave what to whom in the opening months of 2013.

VIDEO: It wasn't exactly a warm homecoming for Gov. Jerry Brown, who returned from a trip abroad to find a protest of the governor's criminal justice policies, Dan Walters says.

July 31, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Gov. Jerry Brown faces a no-win situation over prison reform

Gov. Jerry Brown has returned from his European vacation only to find himself in a no-win situation over solitary confinement in California prisons, Dan says.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

July 30, 2013
GOP donors urge House Republicans to support immigration bill

immigration.jpgWith a proposal to overhaul the nation's immigration policies apparently stalled in the House of Representatives, about 100 Republican donors and donor groups today urged Republican representatives to embrace a "path to legal status" for undocumented immigrants.

The letter writers include 14 donors and donor groups from California, who sent a separate, nearly identical, letter to House Republicans from the Golden State. The Californians include fast food executive Andrew Puzder, former San Francisco Giants owner Peter Magowan, venture capitalist David Hanna and the Lincoln Club of Orange County.

In their letter, the Republicans call for increased border security and a "path to legal status" for undocumented immigrants.

"Standing in the way of reform ensures that we perpetuate a broken system that stifles our economy, leave millions of people living in America unaccounted for, maintain a porous border, and risk a long-lasting perception that Republicans would rather see nothing done than pass needed reform," they write. "That is not the path for the Republican Party."

July 30, 2013
California will spend $232.9 billion in new state budget

mactaylor.jpgCalifornia will spend $232.9 billion during the 2013-14 fiscal year if the recently enacted state budget is precisely followed.

But the total, outlined in a followup report by the Legislature's budget analyst, Mac Taylor, is only an educated guess, and if past patterns hold true the real levels of income and outgo will be billions of dollars different.

One differential is already known. State revenues are running about $2 billion ahead of the budget's assumptions - as Taylor predicted they would be - and that will affect the money the state must spend on public education, the largest single category in the budget, as well as potentially pay for mid-year increases in health and welfare spending that the Legislature's majority Democrats are seeking.

The state's general fund, from which education and other major state expenditures are financed, is tagged at $96.3 billion in the report, with special funds, such as those devoted to transportation, accounting for another $42 billion, bond spending for $7 billion, and federal funds, mostly for education and health and welfare services, for another $87.6 billion.

Taylor's report - in effect an explanation of the budget in layman's language - not only deals with the money but how it will be spent, including a major overhaul in how school funds are being allocated, with more money going to school districts with large numbers of poor and/or English learner students. It also includes the state's plans to expand Medi-Cal to serve more of the state's medically insured residents, using funds from the federal health care overhaul, and a boost in higher education spending.

PHOTO: Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor, in 2011. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

July 30, 2013
VIDEO: Protesters deliver petitions to end solitary confinement in California

On the 23rd day of a statewide hunger strike in California prisons, protesters on Tuesday delivered more than 60,000 signatures to Gov. Jerry Brown's office in a push to end solitary confinement in California.

Representatives from California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement, the Prison Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition and California Prison Focus delivered the petitions to the Governor's Office Tuesday morning while a group of about 40 protesters waited outside the Capitol.

July 30, 2013
AM Alert: California's Prop. 65 gets another look

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We've brought you news already of the push to reform Proposition 65, a decades-old ballot initiative intended to protect consumers and water supplies from toxic chemicals. The law requires disclosure of dangerous chemicals but has drawn criticism for fueling a cottage industry of exploitative lawyers looking to gin up payments.

The legislative effort, spearheaded by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, is still alive -- the bill has cleared the Assembly and is bound for Senate Appropriations. But there's a parallel push under way via the Brown administration, announced back in May.

Today the administrative route gets a public hearing. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment is hosting a workshop seeking input on potential regulations dictating how to best provide useful warnings per Proposition 65, an effort distinct from the legislative language the governor's office is still crafting. From 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the California Environmental Protection Agency headquarters on I street.

VIDEO: The timing and content of the latest crime report from the Attorney General's office shows Kamala Harris performing damage control, Dan Walters says.

HUNGRY FOR CHANGE: As of Monday afternoon, 561 inmates across the California correctional system continued to refuse food, defying the use of solitary confinement to isolate gang members as the hunger strike -- the third such strike in the last few years -- stretches into its fourth week.

Reform advocates are rallying in Sacramento today, taking up the prisoners' argument that the policy of relegating inmates to the Segregated Housing Unit, at times indefinitely, is inhumane. Spearheaded by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement, the demonstration will begin outside the State Capitol building, where protesters will seek to deliver a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown's office, and will proceed to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation building on S street.

PHOTO: A sample Proposition 65 warning. Image courtesy of the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

July 30, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California crime rates increase in 2012

California Attorney General Kamala Harris posted a crime data press release late Friday afternoon in an attempt to bury the news, Dan says, except the press did not play along.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

July 29, 2013
College students inflate California's poverty rate

MC_GRADUATES_02.JPGCalifornia has one of the nation's higher official poverty rates but a new Census Bureau report indicates that it is fractionally inflated by college students who have low personal incomes.

The Census Bureau made the calculations, it says, because of "numerous telephone inquiries" about whether the presence of large numbers of students had a major impact on poverty rates, which are used for a variety of federal government programs and which also affect a community's image for business development purposes.

The state's official poverty rate during the 2009-11 period was 15.5 percent, a bit higher than the national rate, but when low-income college students not living at home are taken out of the equation, the state's poverty rate declines to 14.9 percent, the Census Bureau calculated. It estimated that 47 percent of California college students not living at home met the qualification for poverty because of their low incomes.

The recalculations were only on the official poverty rate. The Census Bureau is testing an alternative method of calculating poverty, which includes the cost of living, that would give California the nation's highest poverty rate.

July 29, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Scandal continues in San Diego

The San Diego mayor's office has seen a long line of scandals in the years since former Governor Pete Wilson held the office, Dan says.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

July 29, 2013
AM Alert: California Assembly recess enters final week

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Have you missed them?

It has now been three weeks of the searing Sacramento sun beating down on a state Capitol bereft of lawmakers. Assembly members exited a week earlier than their Senate counterparts, courtesy of a scheduling snafu that staggered their respective breaks. That means Assembly members will have the building to themselves when they return a week from today -- the Senate isn't scheduled to reconvene until the following Monday, August 12.

If you're looking for some homework to do in the meantime, you can check out our databases of who exhibited the most partisan loyalty last session, who voted for what and who lobbied them for those votes.

VIDEO: Although San Diego launched the illustrious career of former mayor and California governor Pete Wilson, Dan Walters says the city's subsequent record of leadership has been dismal.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Today is the deadline for industry groups, utility firms, advocates and manufacturers to submit proposals to the California Energy Commission for rule-making around making 15 different products, from toilets to computer monitors to water meters, more energy efficient.

KEEPING IT RAIL: An event honoring high speed rail boosters convenes in Los Angeles today. U.S. Representatives Loretta Sanchez, D-Anaheim, and Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, will receive plaudits at a noon to 1:30 p.m. event sponsored by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The event also features a panel on high-speed rail and a speech by Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, D-West Covina, who turns 38 today.

PHOTO: Soon to be empty no more. The Sacramento Bee/Jeremy B. White.

July 26, 2013
California's crime rates inch up in 2012

KamalaHarris.jpgThe number of violent crimes and property crimes in California inched up between 2011 and 2012, according to a new analysis of crime data released by the Attorney General's office on Friday.

A press release from the office stressed that crime rates are down drastically from their levels 20 years ago. Californians endured 160,629 violent crimes in 2012, far below a 20-year peak of 345,508 in 1992. That reduction comes despite California's population growing by more than six million people since 1992.

Nevertheless, the findings will likely serve as ammunition to critics of Gov. Jerry Brown's criminal justice policies. In an effort to reduce prison overcrowding known as realignment, Brown has presided over a push to send low-level offenders to county jails, in some cases spurring early releases.

Former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, a Republican poised to challenge Brown for the governorship in 2014, has signaled that realignment will likely form a centerpiece of his campaign.

The statewide rates of homicide, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault all ticked up in 2012 compared to 2011 levels. The same holds for the total numbers of burglary, automobile theft and larceny.

Violent crimes increased by less than 3 percent from 2011, marking a rare instance of year-to-year violent crime rates jumping since the level of offenses began receding from its peak two decades ago. The total number of violent crimes has steadily declined since its 1992 apex, rising in 2000 and 2006 before descending again.

Arrest numbers decreased slightly between 2011 and 2012, falling by about 30,000. Driving that was a drop in juvenile arrests: while the number of adults arrested remained essentially static, actually increasing by 143, the state witnessed 28,743 fewer arrests of juveniles.

PHOTO: California Attorney General Kamala Harris speaks at a news conference at the State of California building in San Francisco, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012. Associated Press/ Jeff Chiu

July 26, 2013
On 'The Daily Show,' Leticia Perez says no to Congress

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As consolation prizes go, appearing on a wildly popular TV show isn't too shabby.

Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez threw in the towel on Wednesday in a vigorously fought race for an open Central Valley Senate seat, conceding to Republican farmer Andy Vidak. The election attracted ample attention, including national media coverage.

On Thursday night, Perez got another chance to be in the national spotlight. She appeared in a segment on the Daily Show, Comedy Central's satirical news program. And it turns out that, while her bid to serve in the state Legislature fell short, Perez isn't losing any sleep over whether to run for Congress.

A Daily Show segment on aspiring young politicians in an era of Congressional dysfunction (titled "A**holes wanted") opened with Perez, referred to in a voiceover as "an up-and-coming young Democrat." It then cuts to a sit-down interview with Perez, taped nearly a month before Tuesday's election. She recounts being contacted by the Democratic National Committee, told she is a "rising star" and enticed with an offer to run for Congress.

"I had to say no," Perez says, adding that she did so "resoundingly."

"It's no secret there is remarkable gridlock in DC," she expands. "I don't want to be at a place where I have a good, fancy title but I'm not actually able to deliver for people."

PHOTO: Senate District 16 candidate Leticia Perez talks with staff members in her campaign headquarters in Fresno on Tuesday, July 23, 2013. The Fresno Bee/Craig Kohlruss

July 26, 2013
Calderon-connected water district sues contractor

aboutTheDistrict.JPGThe Central Basin Municipal Water District, a Los Angeles-area entity whose contracting practices and relationship with consultant and former Assemblyman Tom Calderon are under a federal magnifying glass, has sued a firm that reaped contracts worth millions.

Documents show that Pacifica Services has won multiple contracts from Central Basin over the years, including one to help construct a federally-funded pipeline whose utility and cost was challenged by local mayors and water workers.

Now Central Basin is suing Pacifica for overbilling more than $850,000. The water district directed Pacifica last month to stop charging on a contract for professional services, including engineering consulting, but Pacifica has persisted, according to Central Basin spokesman Joseph Legaspi.

"There's a certain amount they were approved to charge us and they went over that," Legaspi said.

The lawsuit comes as Central Basin's newly installed general manager, Antonio Perez, oversees a review of the water wholesaler's relationship with Pacifica Services. Legaspi confirmed that the district has hired someone to comb through old invoices for signs of overcharging or other irregularities.

"I think there's really a focus by the board and all of Central Basin's management to look at all expenses and see how we can reduce them," Legaspi said.

In June, days after FBI agents searched the Sacramento office of Sen. Ron Calderon D-Montebello, the Central Basin received a federal subpoena seeking more information about contracts - including those involving federal stimulus dollars - and about Ron's older brother Tom Calderon, who until recently made more than $11,000 a month as a consultant for Central Basin.

Now, Central Basin is also reconsidering a decision to retain two lobbying firms, Tres Es Consulting and Political Solutions LLC. Tres Es is led by former California State Senate Majority leader Richard Polanco, who is referred to in minutes from a Central Basin meeting as "an iconic figure in Southern California politics" capable of providing "quality state lobbying services and "exceptional local lobbying expertise."

The water district's board of directors voted in May to hire the two firms, but in July Central Basin's communications committee voted against that recommendation and sought to issue a new bid for lobbying services.

PHOTO: The Central Basin Municipal Water District offices are located in Commerce, Calif., seen here in this undated photo. Photo by Central Basin Municipal Water District.

July 26, 2013
Moody's gives blessing to California's additional school aid

brownbudget.jpgThe extra state aid flowing to California's school districts this year after a half decade of cutbacks is a "credit positive," Moody's Investor Service said Friday, while cautioning school officials against overspending the new money.

"The liquidity of all school districts will improve as the budget reduces payment deferrals and thereby improves the timeliness of aid payments," the credit rating house said in its weekly bulletin. "However, the credit positive budget measures are not a panacea because some school districts will continue to be challenged by expense pressures and growing pension costs."

It notes that under the school finance plan championed by Gov. Jerry Brown and adopted by the Legislature, all districts will receive more money, but those with large numbers of poor, English-learner students will receive markedly more.

"The added funding, which is an important credit factor, could enhance these districts' credit profiles," Moody's says. "Nonetheless, effective management and budgeting of the funding enhancements will shape their longer term credit profile."

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown signs the state budget during a ceremony at the Capitol, Thursday, June 27, 2013, in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee/Lezlie Sterling

July 26, 2013
AM Alert: A survey of California ballot initiatives so far

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Yesterday's announcement of a potential ballot initiative to lift California's ceiling on medical practice offers a reminder that, even though we're closer to the 2012 election than the 2014 contest, the Attorney General's office has already fielded a dozen proposals. Since the State Capitol building remains vacant, it seems like an appropriate time to survey the direct democracy landscape and sample what has been submitted:

MICRA: Just filed on Wednesday (with language drafted by Consumer Watchdog), this would raise the $250,000 cap on pain and suffering medical damages and allow the maximum award amount to rise with inflation.

VIDEO: Another chapter in one of the Capitol's longest-running and most expensive political disputes -- one that has spanned both of Gov. Jerry Brown's administrations -- is beginning, Dan Walters says.

OIL TAX: With an oil extraction tax bill by Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, stuck on the suspense file, a ballot measure to tax energy harvesting and channel the proceeds to education and parks becomes the next best thing. Filed by a Berkeley undergraduate, no less.

July 26, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: the battle over the state's MICRA cap is heating up

There is a lot of money and a lot of ego at stake as trial lawyers try yet again to raise or get rid of the cap on medical malpractice damages in California, Dan says.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

July 25, 2013
CSU audit dings globe-trotting employee for suspect spending

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An internal audit by the California State University reveals a pattern of questionable travel expenses by an employee in the university's risk management division, including a tour of a giraffe center in Kenya, excessive lodging costs at hotels in London and Tel Aviv and brief overnight stays in San Francisco, St. Louis and New York City that left no time for conducting business in those cities.

The university's Risk Management Authority, based at the Chancellor's Office in Long Beach, is responsible for assessing the liability of running educational programs around the world, said CSU spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp. Some international travel, he said, is a legitimate part of the job.

But the audit conducted in late 2012 and released on Wednesday uncovered travel expenses that "were often questionable in terms of their appropriateness and business necessity and did not always appear to have clear or demonstrable benefit to... the university," says a statement from CSU.

"Many of the ineligible or questionable expenditures have already been reimbursed by the employee, and the university is currently reviewing further appropriate action," the statement says.

The audit does not identify the employee. Uhlenkamp said the person remains on the CSU payroll. The university web site lists eight employees in the Risk Management Authority.

The audit says the employee incurred close to $159,000 in travel expenses during a 27-month period from July 2010 to September 2012. It does not say what portion of those expenses were inappropriate but points to several examples that were questionable or wasteful. Among them:

July 25, 2013
Census Bureau tool shows California's congressional contrasts

censusmap.pngCalifornia's 51st Congressional District, stretching along the state's border with Mexico, is nearly 70 percent Latino, its median household income is $38,528 a year, fewer than two-thirds of its residents have high school diplomas and just 13.2 percent are college graduates.

The 18th Congressional District lies 450 miles to the northwest, encompassing the San Francisco Peninsula and much of Silicon Valley. Fewer than 17 percent of its residents are Latino, they have median household incomes of $97,001 a year, 93.6 percent have high school diplomas and 57.3 percent have college degrees.

California is a land of great cultural, demographic and economic extremes and that extends to its 53 congressional districts as well, as a new Census Bureau interactive tool demonstrates.

Data about the characteristics of every congressional district in the nation - although not political data - are instantly available on the site, making comparisons easy. About the only similarities between the 51st CD and the 18th CD is that both have virtually the same size populations, 717,000 or so, and both are represented by Democrats, first-termer Juan Vargas in the 51st and 20-year veteran Anna Eshoo in the 18th.

July 25, 2013
Ballot measure filed to raise California's medical damages cap

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The drive to lift California's cap on medical damages could be going to the ballot box.

A coalition that includes Consumer Watchdog and theConsumer Attorneys of California has been lobbying aggressively this year to change a $250,000 cap on pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice lawsuits. They argue the current limit, put in place by the 1975 Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, is outdated and insufficient to cover the prolonged affects of doctor negligence or botched medical procedure.

Now Consumer Watchdog is overseeing a proposed ballot measure filed by proponent Robert S. Pack, whose two children were killed by a driver impaired by prescription drugs given to him by irresponsible doctors, according to Consumer Watchdog president Jamie Court.

"He sued Kaiser and found out that his kids' life was worth $250,000 each, simply because he was suing a doctor," Court said.

July 25, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Democratic supermajority in jeopardy

Even with votes still left to count in SD16, it looks as though Democrats' supermajority in the Senate is increasingly shaky, Dan says. Note that Dan refers to Democrats having 28 seats after the Vidak win. He's assuming that Dems will ultimately pick up the vacancy created by Curren Price going to the Los Angeles City Council.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

July 25, 2013
AM Alert: California's mental health services examined

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A topic close to the heart of Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg- mental health - is the focus of a significant amount of public agency activity today.

The Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission, created by voters in 2004 via Proposition 63, meets in San Francisco to discuss integrating mental health care -- in particular for substance abusers -- into a statewide health care regime. Experts expected to testify include Barbara Garcia, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health; Sandra Naylor Goodwin, president of the California Institute for Mental Health; and Deputy Chief Louise Rogers of the San Mateo County health system.

The California Health Facilities Financing Authority also meets to discuss how to disperse millions of dollars in grants to help counties bolster their mental health services. That comes courtesy of Steinberg-spearheaded budget legislation signed earlier this year that seeks to invest more money in community-based mental health services and crisis response teams.

VIDEO: Andy Vidak's victory in the 16th Senate district sets off some electoral dominoes, Dan Walters says.

FIELD POLL: The latest in a series of Field Polls is out, examining California's relationship with potential presidential contender Hillary Clinton. The analysis is up online, and you can take a look at the data here.

TALKING TAXES: Much of the discussion of California's taxes is framed in terms of the Golden State's tax rates relative to those of other states (we're looking at you, Rick Perry and Phil Mickelson). A talk today by Professor Darien Shanske of UC Davis will take a look at the fiscal issues particular to different states, including a deeper dive into local finances throughout California. From noon to 1:30 p.m. at 1130 K Street.

STEM-CELL SCIENCE: The Independent Citizens Oversight Committee of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which has faced scrutiny over the process by which it awards grants, meets in Burlingame from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. Among other topics, they'll examine their policy around compensating stem cell donors.

PHOTO: The exterior of the Sacramento County Mental Health Treatment Center photographed Wednesday, September 30, 2009. The Sacramento Bee/Carl Costas.

July 24, 2013
Republican National Committee hires California state director

Priebus.jpgThe Republican National Committee announced Wednesday that Clinton Soffer will become its first California state director.

He joins new state directors in 11 other states -- Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin -- as part of a new RNC investment a year ahead of the 2014 elections..

California GOP Chairman Jim Brulte said the state party anticipates Soffer will work as a state field representative in their ground campaign to engage more voters.

"We're rebuilding the California Republican party from the ground up," Brulte said in an interview. "In order to do that, we want a very close relationship with our county parties but also with our national party."

In a statement, RNC chairman Reince Priebus said hiring state directors will allow the party to build "the most expansive field program the GOP has ever seen...Republicans have never made this kind of investment in an off year. The RNC will be in communities engaging with and listening to voters where they live, work, and worship-not months, but years before Election Day."

Soffer, 23, most recently worked on San Diego City Council member Scott Sherman's staff after managing his campaign in the primary election.

Soffer also ran former San Diego Assemblyman and Republican leader George Plescia's ultimately unsuccessful campaign to unseat Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego in 2012.

He graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a bachelor's degree in political science. While in college, Soffer was the state chairman of the California College Republicans.

PHOTO: Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus gestures while speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, March 18, 2013. Associated Press/Manuel Balce Ceneta

July 24, 2013
Leticia Perez concedes 16th Senate District race

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Republicans have won back the 16th Senate District.

Kern County Supervisor and Democrat Leticia Perez has conceded to her opponent, Republican farmer Andy Vidak, ending a costly and heavily contested race for the Central Valley seat.

"The voters have spoken and I want to congratulate Andy on his victory," Perez said in a press release, adding that "Andy has earned the right to represent us in Sacramento."

Perez trailed Vidak by several percentage points as of Tuesday night. The Secretary of State's office estimated on Wednesday morning that thousands of provisional ballots remained to be counted, but Perez said in the press release that "this campaign is over."

The win chips away at Democrats' two-thirds supermajority in the state Senate, reducing it to the minimum. The seat opened up earlier this year when Democratic senator Michael Rubio unexpectedly resigned, citing a desire to spend more time with his family, and took a job with Chevron.

PHOTO: Andy Vidak, in May. Fresno Bee.

July 24, 2013
CA officials encourage Latino students to pursue higher education

latino.jpgLegislators and state officials extolled the power of education to a group of 120 students participating in the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project at the state Capitol on Wednesday.

High school juniors and seniors from across the state gathered in Sacramento for a weeklong leadership program that included meetings with lawmakers and mock policy debates.

Prominent Latino officials, like Anna Caballero Secretary of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing agency and Diana Fuentes-Michel executive director of the California Student Aid Commission, encouraged the students to seek higher education.

Caballero told the students her success would not be possible without education.

"Education is what opened the door to opportunities in my life," Caballero said. "To become a lawyer, to have my own business, to become the mayor of Salinas, to be elected to the state Assembly, and now to be appointed as a cabinet secretary to Gov. Jerry Brown."

More than 90 percent of the 3,800 students who have participated in the 31 years of the program have gone on to attend college. Alicia Vidales-Vera, a 17-year-old student from Wasco., hoped to become one of them.

Vidales-Vera's parents are farmworkers, who she said had to drop off her and her four siblings with a babysitter every day at 4 a.m. to get to work on time. Their struggle to support her family inspired her to apply to the program, she said.

"I am a first-generation college bound, and I am inspired to attend a university," she said. "Without the support given to me by my family and friends, I would not be here today."

July 24, 2013
California health advocates renewing tobacco tax push

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A coalition of health organizations is working to revive a proposed $2-a-pack tax on cigarettes in California.

Carried by Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, the bill would channel revenue from the new tax into health care and smoking prevention programs.

It is currently languishing on the suspense file. But Jim Knox, a lobbyist for the American Cancer Society, said the measure's supporters are "making another run at it."

"We're not taking no for an answer," Knox said. "We're going to push when we come back in August."

July 24, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: 'New grist for the political mill' on prison realignment

After all the controversy surrounding prison realignment in California, a newly contracted PPIC report might provide some answers, Dan says.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

July 24, 2013
AM Alert: Will rising waters engulf California economy?

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Earlier this year, graduating Berkeley students got to hear from Gov. Jerry Brown how climate change would be the preeminent issue of their time, with the "very slow but inexorable" effects including gradually mounting sea water levels.

Lawmakers are taking a more detailed look at the implications during a Select Committee On Sea Level Rise And The California Economy hearing assessing how rising water will affect the agriculture, tourism and fishing industries in a state renowned for its coastlines.

Speakers at the hearing, chaired by Assemblyman Richard Gordon, will include Mary Scruggs of the California Department of Water Resources; Norm Groot of the Monterey County Farm Bureau; Zeke Grader of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations; and Jay Chamberlin, chief of the natural resources division for California State Parks. Things get under way starting at 2 p.m. at the Half Moon Bay Department Operations Center.

VIDEO: We may get some hard data on whether realignment is working, Dan Walters says.

POLLING ALONG: New Field Polls assessing Brown's public standing are out. You can take a look at some of the data here and check out our analysis here.

GREEN CHEMISTRY: A panel today will examine the new green chemistry laws that require more disclosure about hazardous substances in goods produced or sold in California. Participants include Dr. Megan Schwarzman of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health; California Department of Toxic Substances Control Director Debbie Raphael; and Dawn Koepke of the Green Chemistry Alliance. Starting at 12:15 p.m. at the law firm Morrison & Foerster's San Francisco office.

PHOTO: A view of the ocean on the Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner traveling from Santa Barbara to San Luis Obispo. The Sacramento Bee/Autumn Cruz.

July 24, 2013
Republican Vidak leads key California state Senate race

vidak.jpgRepublican Andy Vidak emerged early Wednesday with a nearly 6,000-vote lead in a hotly contested special election on Tuesday to fill a Central Valley Senate seat put in play by a Democratic senator's abrupt departure in February.

With 100 percent of the district's precincts reporting but thousands of late mail-in and provisional ballots yet to be counted, Vidak tallied 54 percent of the vote to Democrat Leticia Perez's 46 percent.

In an interview with the Associated Press late Tuesday, Perez said she was hopeful she would overtake Vidak in the coming days as more votes are counted. Vidak told the AP he was "cautiously optimistic" his margin would hold through the vote tally in Fresno, Kings, Kern and Tulare counties.

Former senator Michael Rubio had been considered a moderate Democratic with a potentially pivotal role to play in overhauling the California Environmental Quality Act. But his surprise announcement that he was leaving the Legislature for a job with Chevron threw those plans into turmoil and ignited a fierce competition for the 16th Senate District seat.

Supporters poured millions into both campaigns, with independent organizations also flexing their muscle. Perez enjoyed substantial support from entities funded by powerful interests that include telecommunications firms, energy corporations and Indian tribes, as well as from labor unions. The California Association of Realtors backed Vidak.

If Vidak's leads holds up, the Democratic advantage in the Senate will be whittled to the bare minimum needed for the two-thirds supermajority secured in November elections. Democrats would control 27 seats, although they could bolster their majority if they hold the vacant seat that Democratic senator Curren Price recently departed for a spot on the Los Angeles City Council. The primary for Price's former seat is scheduled for September 17.

The winner will serve the remainder of Rubio's term, which expires in 2014. The current 16th Senate District has evaporated, courtesy of new lines drawn by a redistricting commission in 2010, so whoever wins will likely seek re-election in the newly forged 14th Senate district.

PHOTO: Andy Vidak, in May. Fresno Bee

July 23, 2013
Lawsuit over sale of California state office buildings moves forward

eastend.JPGRemember that plan to sell 11 state office buildings to raise cash during the Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger administration?

The state may no longer be interested in the sell-leaseback arrangement, but the lawsuit from the severed deal lives on.

An investor group sued in 2011 alleging Gov. Jerry Brown improperly pulled the plug shortly after taking office. The $2.3 billion deal included $1.2 billion to assist the then-cash-starved state. At the time, the Legislative Analyst's Office criticized the deal as "poor fiscal policy" due to significant long-term lease costs.

Attorneys for the investor group, California First LP, say they scored a pivotal ruling Monday in their attempts to force the sale. A judge denied the state's motion to dismiss and will allow California First LP to seek monetary damages equal to the amount the group would have earned had the deal gone through.

"This is the most important development in this case to date," said Angela Agrusa, counsel for California First LP.

The state is "considering our options," said Eric Lamoureux, spokesman for the state Department of General Services. "We are evaluating the judge's ruling and determining our next steps."

PHOTO: A flower blooms in this 2003 file photo outside the Capitol Area East End Complex, one of 11 buildings included in a 2010 plan sell state buildings and lease them back. The Sacramento Bee / Dick Schmidt

July 23, 2013
Leticia Perez vs. Andy Vidak: A final look at the money

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The battle for the 16th Senate District seat abandoned by Michael Rubio, culminating in today's election, has been a costly one.

A huge influx of money has accompanied the the race's waning days. Between July 8 and today, just over $600,000 poured into Democrat Leticia Perez's coffers, while Republican Andy Vidak drew an additional $432,965 in the same period.

That comes on top of more than $3 million that had already flowed into the race. According to filings with the California Secretary of State, Vidak's campaign committee garnered $1,549,966 between the start of the year and July 6. Perez eclipsed that total, pulling in $1,845,777 in the same period.

July 23, 2013
Study finds securing Medi-Cal dental care for children difficult

RP COLUSA DENTAL WORK.JPGFinding dental care for children on Medi-Cal is not always as easy as it seems, according to a study released by The Children's Partnership on Monday.

Parents of children on Medi-Cal can search the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website InsureKidsNow.gov to find dentists in their area. Researchers with The Children's Partnership surveyed 145 of the 220 dental providers listed on the website as accepting children on Medi-Cal.

The survey found that nearly 10 percent of dentists who were listed as accepting new patients on Medi-Cal actually would not accept new patients.

Researchers called to schedule appointments for two children, a 10-year-old and a three-year-old. Approximately 19 percent of providers refused to treat at least one of the children because of their age.

July 23, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Bankruptcy, city pensions, and the Supreme Court

Are pensions safe from city bankruptcy filings? It's a question for the Supreme Court, Dan says.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

July 23, 2013
AM Alert: Leticia Perez, Andy Vidak square off for California Senate seat

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Today we get some electoral excitement to interrupt the summer recess tedium: two special elections, one of which has involved millions of dollars in spending, legislative leaders lending a hand and national media coverage.

Yes, we have arrived at the general election for the 16th Senate District seat formerly occupied by Sen. Michael Rubio, who unexpectedly resigned back in February to take a job with Chevron. It initially looked like Republican Andy Vidak had secured the simple majority he needed to win the seat outright, but in the final count Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez eked out enough votes to force today's runoff.

The race has seen some vitriolic campaigning in addition to a surge of spending. More than $2.4 million has flowed into Perez's campaign account, in addition to more than $1 million in independent expenditures, while the Vidak campaign has drawn just under $2 million in addition to heavy spending on his behalf by the California Association of Realtors.

Lawmakers are mobilizing for today's effort. Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, will be in the 16th district. On the Democratic side, legislators expected to put in an appearance include Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, and Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose.

VIDEO: Detroit's woes have the nation wondering whether bankruptcy court should cover pensions, a question familiar to followers of Californian politics.

That's not the only race today. There's also a contest for the 52nd Assembly District seat formerly held by Sen. Norma Torres, D-Pomona, who vacated the position to run for her current Senate seat, which had been left open by the departure of Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Chino. Got that?

It's a Democrat-heavy field with an interesting twist: Ontario Mayor Paul Leon, who finished in the top two for McLeod's old seat before succumbing to Torres in the general, is taking another shot at the state Legislature. Only this time he's registered as having no party preference, a departure from the Republican affiliation he wore during the race against Torres.

FIELD POLL: President Barack Obama has lost some of his heft in California, according to today's Field Poll. Check out the statistical tabulations, provided exclusively to Capitol Alert.

A LOBBYIST BY ANY OTHER NAME: The California Fair Political Practices Commission is meeting today and will consider whether people who provide technical information to state retirement systems should qualify for the scarlet L -- as in lobbyist. The meeting starts at 10 a.m. at 428 J Street.

PHOTO: Republican Andy Vidak in Fresno, California on Nov. 2, 2010. The Associated Press.

July 22, 2013
For Sacramento baseball, it's still political

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It turns out the federalist system doesn't just apply to governing.

In baseball as in politics, states enjoy the autonomy that comes with having identities and duties distinct from the federal government. Take the Sacramento Rivercats, a Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics whose mid-game mascot race mirrors the version in our nation's capital.

During every home game for the major league Washington Nationals (who enjoy a not-insignificant fan base at The Bee's Capitol Bureau), people dressed in big-headed costumes of five of America's most venerated presidents race around the ballpark.

Until late last season, Teddy Roosevelt had never won. His woeful performance against George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln (William Howard Taft was added this season) spurred a grassroots pro-Teddy movement, including the blog Let Teddy Win. Our 26th president finally crossed the finish line first shortly after the Nats clinched their first playoff birth.

In Washington, fans cheer for racing presidents; in Sacramento, naturally, past California governors are vying for the victory.

"I think (the President's Race) sort of inspired this," said River Cats spokesman Mark Ling.

And reputations forged in politics can carry over to sports. Already saddled with the undesirable legacy of being the first recalled governor in California's history, Gray Davis endures the Teddy Roosevelt-like ignominy of never having defeated his opponents, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronald Reagan since the contest began at the start of the 2012 season.

Actually, Davis did manage to eke out a single win - but it was short-lived.

"We recalled it," Ling said.

PHOTO: Ronald Reagan records another victory. Courtesy of The Sacramento River Cats/Sara Molina.

July 22, 2013
AM Alert: Auditor assesses Covered California health exchange

LSCOVEREDCA2.JPGWe're a little late on this one (call it summer recess-induced lethargy), but the State Auditor has produced a report assessing how the state is faring with Covered California, its insurance exchange mandated under the federal health-care overhaul.

California committed to building the exchange early, unlike Republican-controlled holdout states. It also had the largest uninsured population of any state as of 2011, so people are watching this carefully.

Financial stability is a big unknown, and the auditor's report punts on the issue, saying it's impossible to know whether the state's exchange will be solvent until it's up and running. The key variable, of course, is whether uninsured Californians actually enroll -- something officials have acknowledged in committing "a significant amount of its federal funds" for outreach, the report concludes.

The report also gives Covered California a passing grade for spending oversight, including putting in place conflict-of-interest disclosure requirements and pursuing independent audits of how it uses federal money. Despite a statutory ability to keep contracts secret, the exchange has released details on contracting and has followed rules of basic competitiveness on the contracts it has handed out, the auditor's office found. The report, however, dings it for moving slowly on hiring staff for new support centers.

VIDEO: Constant turnover in the Legislature has produced a few upcoming elections that Dan Walters is watching with interest.

TEACHER TRAINING: Local chapter presidents of the California Association of Teachers are gathering at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose today for the start of a four-day training conference. (The CTA, on a related note, registers in our newly updated lobbying database as having spent the third-most of any group in 2011-2012, although spending $771,000 less than in the previous session).

REEVALUATING REALIGNMENT: The Board of State and Community Corrections is meeting at the Resources Building today, where members will be considering a partnership with the Public Policy Institute of California that would gauge how counties, newly tasked with realignment-related responsibilities, track offenders.

PHOTO: Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee addresses the media in Sacramento as the California's health exchange announced its premiums under the new federal health care program on May 23, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Lezlie Sterling.

July 22, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Stakes high in big-money special elections

The huge sums of money that special interests are spending on Tuesday's two special elections show they know how big the stakes are, Dan says.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

July 19, 2013
Gil Cedillo Jr. out at embattled LA water district

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A southern California water district under federal scrutiny has let go of Gilbert Cedillo Jr., the son of former assemblyman and current Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo Sr.

Cedillo had been working since April of 2011 as a business development manager for the Central Basin Municipal Water District, which recently received a federal subpoena seeking more information on the southeastern Los Angles County water wholesaler's federal contracting practices and its relationship with former Assemblyman Tom Calderon, who did consulting work for the district.

"Gil is going to no longer be with the district as of July 31st. He's on administrative leave until then," said Central Basin Municipal Water District spokesman Joseph Legaspi, who added that Cedillo was being let go because there funding is not available for his position through the next fiscal year.

According to Legaspi, Cedillo received an annual salary of $112,970 and had his tuition at Azusa Pacific University covered by the water district. Legaspi attributed the agreement to the district's previous administration, which saw some turnover after a June 2012 election.

"The district did provide professional development assistance," Legaspi said.

PHOTO: The Central Basin Municipal Water District offices are located in Commerce, Calif., seen here in this undated photo. Photo courtesy Central Basin MWD.

July 19, 2013
California prisoners retain ex-Bush appointee in court case

Paulclement.jpgCalifornia prison inmates have an ally in famed Supreme Court litigator, and former Bush administration appointee, Paul Clement.

On Friday, Clement, U.S. solicitor general from 2004-2008, was among the attorneys listed as counsel of record on the brief filed to challenge California's request that the Supreme Court put off deadlines for lowering the state's prison population. Illustrating the brief with graphic, color photographs of crowded facilities, the prisoners' attorneys assert that California officials "are not merely dragging their feet; they are making the problem worse."

Working with the Berkeley-based Prison Law Office, Clement and the other prisoners' attorneys call California's request for more time "truly extraordinary" and denounce what they call "open defiance of the federal judiciary."

Last week, aided by well-known litigator Carter Phillips, the Brown administration asked the Supreme Court to stay an order that calls for nearly 10,000 state prison inmates to be released or moved to other facilities by Dec. 31. The prisoner-release order stems from a 2011 Supreme Court decision that upheld a three-judge panel's determination that the prison system population needed to be reduced to 137.5 percent of design capacity.

California's request for more time was made to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who gave the prisoners' attorneys until 5 p.m. Friday to respond. Kennedy, in turn, has the option of bringing the entire court in to rule on California's request.

"For decades, thousands of...prisoners have been suffering severe constitutional violations at (California's) hands," the newly filed brief argues. "A stay would extend those substantial injuries even further. Enough is enough."

PHOTO:Former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement. U.S. Department of Justice/ MCT

July 19, 2013
AM Alert: Who is lobbying California lawmakers?

STATUECOINS.JPGWe start with a bit of shameless self-promotion today: The Bee's state lobbying database has been updated to include data on the California Legislature's most recent 2011-2012 session.

While you might not be able to get details on the dollars thrown at the current session, you can still comb through the half-billion in lobbying money from last session to get a sense of where the funds are flowing.

VIDEO: If you're looking for some sunny First Amendment news, Dan Walters has a cheerful public records anecdote for you.

SD16: It's getting down to the wire in the Senate District Formerly Represented by Michael Rubio (that would be the 16th), with a runoff Tuesday between Democrat Leticia Perez and Republican Andy Vidak. In addition to attracting plenty of money, the race means weekend work for lawmakers -- including Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg -- who will be in Fresno for a get-out-the-vote rally at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

July 19, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Lone editor strikes victory for public records

Tim Crews -- a newspaper publisher, editor and reporter in Northern California -- chalked up a win this week for what Dan calls "a free and open government."

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

July 18, 2013
Report: Online ed project backed by Jerry Brown on pause

udacity.jpgSix months after Gov. Jerry Brown touted a deal between San Jose State University and an online education startup, Inside Higher Ed reports that the arrangement is on pause.

Under the deal, Udacity was to provide entry-level courses for credit online. According to the website:

San Jose State Provost Ellen Junn said disappointing student performance will prompt the university to stop offering online classes with Udacity this fall as part of a "short breather."

Junn wants to spend the fall going over the results and talking with faculty members about the university's online experimentation, which extends beyond the Udacity partnership and has proved somewhat controversial. She said the plan is to start working with Udacity again in spring 2014.

"I think the commitment is to look at the data carefully and make adjustments," Junn said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

Read the full story here.

PHOTO: San Jose State University President Mohammad Qayoumi, right, laughs as Gov. Jerry Brown speaks during a news conference in San Jose on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. San Jose Mercury News/Gary Reyes

July 18, 2013
GOP crosses the (state) line with letter slamming Bera's votes

bera.jpgAccording to the National Republican Congressional Committee, Rep. Ami Bera will be held accountable next year for putting the interests of big business ahead of voters.

In Illinois.

But Bera's constituents in Sacramento shouldn't worry: California may have redrawn its congressional districts, but they remain within the state.

On Thursday, the GOP's House of Representatives campaign arm sent out separate, but largely identical attacks blasting 13 House Democrats it considers vulnerable in next year's elections. including Bera, for voting Wednesday to delay President Barack Obama's health-care law for employers, but not for everyone else.

The NRCC's blast, a type of cookie-cutter communication regularly employed by both parties, are headlined "(Member of Congress) doesn't think you're good enough," and explains that "(Member of Congress) supports giving big business delay from Obamacare, but not (State) families.

"He should be ashamed of himself," it continues. "In 2014, Illinois voters will know that Ami Bera would rather help big business than help them."

Oops.

Another release said Rep. Suzan DelBene of Washington state should be ashamed of how she's representing Illinois voters in Congress.

Andrea Bozek, a spokeswoman for the NRCC, attributed the mistake to a typo.

PHOTO: Democratic congressional candidate Ami Bera talks to campaign supporters during a press conference on women's health issues on Tuesday, October 30, 2012. The Sacramento Bee/Lezlie Sterling

July 18, 2013
UC regents confirm Janet Napolitano as next president

napolitano.jpgUniversity of California regents today confirmed the nomination of President Barack Obama's Secretary of Homeland Security as the next president of the 10-campus UC system.

Janet Napolitano will take the reins of UC in late September, earning annual salary of $570,000 in addition to an annual car allowance of $8,916 and a one-time moving allowance of $142,500.

Her salary is $21,000 less than that of outgoing UC President Mark Yudof. Regent Bonnie Reiss said that UC offered to match Yudof's salary but that Napolitano wanted to make a statement by taking a lesser amount. As Secretary of Homeland Security she earns just under $200,000 a year.

July 18, 2013
Napolitano's salary as UC President: $570,000

ucarrest.jpgUC Regents approved a $570,000 salary for Janet Napolitano but had not yet voted on her nomination as the next university president when protestors disrupted the meeting in San Francisco, temporarily putting the meeting on hold.

Students and immigration activists testified against Napolitano, saying her role as Secretary of Homeland Security makes her a bad fit for UC, which serves a diverse student body that includes immigrants who came to the country legally and illegally.

One protestor jumped over a barrier separating the spectator area from the regents. Several of them chanted, "Undocumented is not a crime," and did not disperse after police warned them to. It appeared that police arrested at least four people.

PHOTO: UC police begin to arrest protestors at today's regents meeting. The Sacramento Bee/Laurel Rosenhall


July 18, 2013
Does California, like Florida, have 'stand your ground' law?

USNEWSTEENSLAIN14OS.jpgThe Bee has gotten a deluge of responses to a report on members of the California Legislative Black Caucus planning to call for a boycott of Florida until the state repeals its much-dissected "stand your ground" self-defense law.

Some readers noted that neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman did not invoke "stand your ground" as he was being tried for shooting down Trayvon Martin. Several argued that California case law establishes something tantamount to "stand your ground" and that Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, who is spearheading the boycott effort, would do better to focus on his home state.

So are they right?

July 18, 2013
Immigration activists oppose Napolitano for UC

regentsprotest.jpgStudents, workers and immigration activists staged a low-key protest outside the UC Regents meeting today in San Francisco as the governing board prepared to vote on Janet Napolitano's nomination as the next president of the 10-campus UC system.

Roughly two dozen protestors waved signs on a sunny plaza on the UCSF Mission Bay campus, chanting "education not deportation" and "undocumented, unafraid."

They criticized Napolitano's track record on immigration issues and said she would be inappropriate as leader of the diverse university that serves many immigrant students. As U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Napolitano oversaw a record number of deportations of undocumented immigrants.

PHOTO: Students from Lowell High School in San Francisco joined a protest today outside the UC Regents meeting to voice opposition to Janet Napolitano being named the next UC president. The SacramentoBee/Laurel Rosenhall

July 18, 2013
California redistributes $4 billion in redevelopment funds

HA_SCHOOL_BUS2565.JPGThe erasure of California's local redevelopment agencies and the redistribution of their revenues and assets resulted in nearly $4 billion in payments, according to a new report from the state Department of Finance.

K-12 schools and community colleges received about $1.5 billion from the redistribution. That indirectly lowered their payments from the state's general fund -- the main rationale for dissolving the local redevelopment agencies.

Most of the redevelopment agencies had been operated by cities, which also received redistributed funds, as did school districts, counties and special districts. Cities got $605 million, the report said, and counties $862 million.

The report lists payments to each local government and school district, along with county totals. Agencies in Los Angeles County, which contains about a quarter of the state's population, received $1.1 billion in redistributed funds.

PHOTO: Students get off a school bus at Pleasant Grove High School in Elk Grove on Friday, Feb. 20, 2009. The Sacramento Bee/ Hector Amezcua

July 18, 2013
AM Alert: Janet Napolitano faces UC confirmation vote

NapolitanoResigns.jpgToday we turn to San Francisco, where the University of California's Board of Regents is voting on whether Janet Napolitano, until earlier this month head of the Department of Homeland Security, should be the next president of the UC system.

The position opened up when the current president, Mark Yudof, announced his intention to relinquish the title he's held for half a decade.

Napolitano is expected to garner the necessary votes, but her selection is not without controversy. Some complain that she hasn't done enough to earn the title by ascending through the ranks of academia, while immigration advocates point to her presiding over a record number of deportations. (Homeland Security oversees immigration law enforcement.)

There's also the question of her salary. Yudof has made more than $600,000 annually in past years, records show. While Napolitano's potential compensation hasn't been made public, acting Gov. Gavin Newsom told The Bee on Wednesday that it seemed reasonable.

VIDEO: Dan Walters weighs in on Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, reneging on a pledge to refuse his state legislative pension.

July 18, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Tom McClintock 'something of a hypocrite'

In the 1980s, former Assemblyman and state Sen. Tom McClintock promised that he would not take the pension he earned as a California legislator, but that promise was broken after he went to Congress, Dan says.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

July 17, 2013
California lawmaker, Black Caucus to seek Florida boycott

20130311_HA_JUDICIARY421.JPGIn the wake of a Florida jury acquitting George Zimmerman in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, California Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, will call for a boycott on traveling to Florida or doing business there.

The case garnered national attention and ignited a debate about Florida's gun laws before a jury on Saturday found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter, concluding that the neighborhood watch volunteer acted in self-defense when he shot Martin.

The verdict could signal an "open season on vigilante-type justice," Holden said Wednesday in a telephone interview. So he is preparing a joint resolution, with the backing of the California Legislative Black Caucus, that advocates a boycott of Florida until the state repeals the "stand your ground" law that helped Zimmerman avoid conviction by invoking self-defense.

"What might be an appropriate way for us to usher in change would be for us to have a boycott that focuses on the seriousness and importance of looking at this law and making some changes," Holden said. "We want encourage those who are traveling and planning vacations and conventions and potential ways of spending dollars in the state to hold back until those changes have been made."

Holden added that he was motivated to call for a boycott in part because he has four college-age sons.

"If we lived in Florida, (the verdict) would send a chilling message about their safety and security," he said.

PHOTO: Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, is shown during the Assembly session in Sacramento on March 11, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua.

July 17, 2013
California's Tim Donnelly laughs off 'hottest conservative' title

PK_Tim_Donnelly_2012.JPGCalifornia Attorney General Kamala Harris isn't the only state politician being singled out as easy on the eyes.

PolitiChicks, a conservative website for women, has named Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, as one of the "hottest conservative supermen in America."

"I thought they must have gotten the wrong guy," Donnelly said Wednesday in a telephone interview. "I told my wife I have to work out and live up to the image."

PolitiChicks gathered a six-woman panel and used five criteria -- intelligence, courage, passion, sense of humor and looks -- when selecting Donnelly as seventh on its list of hottest conservatives in politics. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, led that category.

Other categories included hottest conservative in new media, on TV and on the radio, which were led by political commentator David Spady of Breitbart, Greg Gutfeld of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, who needs no introducing.

The overall hottest conservative title went to AlfonZo Rachel of the web show Zo Nation. Donnelly received honorable mention in the overall category.

The list was created in response to "hot conservative women" lists, to which PolitiChicks said "turnabout's fair play."

"A bunch of my buddies gave me grief," said Donnelly, who has launched a campaign for California governor.

"I certainly was honored to be picked in such company as Sen. Jim DeMint and others," he added, referring to the former Republican senator from South Carolina.

PHOTO: Assemblyman Tim Donnelly waits for the legislative session to open on Jan. 4, 2012, in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee/Paul Kitagaki Jr.

July 17, 2013
Boxer, Feinstein: Immigration bill 'the right thing for California'

Capitol_Building_Washington_Congress.jpgCalifornia Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein wrote to their House of Representatives colleagues Wednesday, pleading for a vote on an immigration bill as a matter of economic and moral imperative for a state that's home to nearly a quarter of the country's undocumented immigrants.

House Republicans have been reluctant to consider a bipartisan bill the Senate approved last month, which would increase spending on border security, create a guest-worker visa program and establish a path to citizenship for the 11 million people living illegally in the U.S.

The letter from Boxer and Feinstein to the 53 House members from California echoed a video last week from the California Chamber of Commerce in making a case that the immigration bill would give the state, and the country, a crucial economic boost.

July 17, 2013
Republican plans secretary of state run on Jerry Brown platform

Republican Pete Peterson said Wednesday that he plans to run for California secretary of state on what he called the same "revolutionary platform" used in 1970 by then candidate Jerry Brown.

"But, you won't see me up here 40 years from now -- I want to do this job and no other," Peterson said at a sparsely attended news conference at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento that geared up his 2014 campaign for the statewide office.

Peterson, executive director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement at Pepperdine University in Malibu, said he hopes to pick up a few moderate Democratic friends as he begins to seek endorsements.

For more, including what he called a "business-related ... fiasco" under Secretary of State Debra Bowen's watch, view the video below.

July 17, 2013
Gavin Newsom: Napolitano's pay at UC 'in the ballpark'

AOC_Gavin_Newsom_097w.JPGLt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said today that Janet Napolitano will be a good leader for the University of California, despite objections from immigration activists about the large number of deportations during her tenure as the U.S. secretary of homeland security.

"She works for the president of the United States. Her job is to execute in that position the policy of the chief executive officer. Those were the president's policies," Newsom said in a phone interview with The Bee this morning.

The lieutenant governor serves on UC's board of regents and is acting governor while Gov. Jerry Brown is on vacation in Europe,

"They were particularly effective on the deportation side to a degree we haven't seen in recent history," Newsom added. "But it was not a policy, I believe, ... that emanated from Janet Napolitano. I believe that policy came from the White House."

July 17, 2013
AM Alert: Water issues saturate California's legislative recess

MC_DELTA_06.JPGLawmakers are taking a break from bill hearings, but a California Water Commission meeting today intersects with several legislative hot topics. They include a presentation from the California Department of Conservation on proposed hydraulic fracturing regulations and an update from the Delta Stewardship Council on its blueprint for balancing ecological imperatives and a sustainable water supply. Starting at 9:30 a.m. at the state's Resources Building on 9th Street.

Speaking of the proposed Delta water project, the organizations crafting the Bay Delta Conservation Plan are meeting today to discuss its recently released final chapters, which detail what it will cost and how to pay for it. Featuring Jerry Meral, deputy secretary at the California Natural Resources Agency, the meeting runs from noon to six at the DoubleTree Hotel and Conference Center.

VIDEO: A greater-than-expected surge in revenue should buoy schools, but Dan Walters says the windfall raises some questions about whether the fiscal boost will prove to be the exception or the rule.

July 17, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Was extra $2 billion a one-time windfall?

California took in $2 billion more in revenue than expected during last fiscal year, and Dan wonders whether this was a one-time windfall or a sign of better economic times.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

July 16, 2013
California AG Kamala Harris adviser Gil Duran resigns

RB Gil Duran 2.JPGCalifornia Attorney General Kamala Harris' communications director, Gil Duran, has resigned less than six months after leaving Gov. Jerry Brown's administration to work for her.

Elizabeth Ashford, Harris' chief of staff, said in an email that Duran had resigned "to pursue other opportunities."

"We will miss him, but the AG supports his decision and wishes him the best," she said.

Duran was Brown's press secretary before leaving the administration in February. Ashford, previously Brown's chief deputy press secretary, left Brown's office in April.

Before coming to work for Brown in 2011, Duran was communications director for U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein from 2008 to 2010.

In an email, Duran said he is currently in Europe.

"As Heraclitus said, change is the only constant," Duran said. "After a decade working for some of the most amazing leaders in California politics, it's time to try something new. Right now I'm traveling in Europe. When I get back to Oakland, I'll probably do some consulting and write a book."

The book, he said, will not be about politics.

Editor's note: This post was updated at 5:23 p.m. to include Duran's remarks.

PHOTO: Gil Duran, California Gov. Jerry Brown's press secretary, right, during a news conference in January. The Sacramento Bee/RandallBenton

July 16, 2013
Pérez meets with federal officials to enhance partnership

perezfile.JPGAssembly Speaker John A. Pérez is in Washington, D.C., this week touting an improved California economy and progress he says has been made on issues like health care and veterans' access to benefits and services.

"The whole idea here is figuring out how the state can benefit by maximizing our partnership with the federal government," Pérez said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Pérez is scheduled to meet with federal leaders, such as House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and several other members of Congress. The California Legislature is currently on summer recess.

On Tuesday, he spoke to the Golden State Roundtable, a non-partisan organization of people in business, government and academia with interests in California. Pérez noted that the state's economy is much improved from when he spoke to the Golden State Roundtable last year.

Photo: Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, speaks at the Sacramento Press Club on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

July 16, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Will Filner resign or stay?

The allegations of sexual harassment against San Diego Mayor Bob Filner continue to grow, Dan says.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

July 16, 2013
AM Alert: Casino opponents get their day in court

CASINOSLOTS.JPG

The saga of a controversial Indian casino that the Legislature approved last month gets another airing today -- this time, before a judge.

Opponents of a casino for the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians have brought a lawsuit against the state that is scheduled for a hearing today in Madera Superior Court. Stand Up California, a tribal gambling watchdog group, alleges that Gov. Jerry Brown did not have authority to grant the building of a casino with the tribe when he negotiated a compact with them last year. The land along Highway 99 in Madera County where the tribe wants to build its casino was not yet in federal trust, the process for a tribe to take control of a piece of land.

"He gave a compact and casino approval on August 31, but the land didn't go into trust until February of the following year," said Cheryl Schmit, director of the group.

Her group is also working to defeat approval of the casino through the ballot box, working toward a referendum to overturn the Legislature's approval.

The North Fork proposal is more controversial than most because the tribe wants to build its casino more than 35 miles from the village near Yosemite where tribal members live. Supporters say the tribe's mountainous property is unsuitable for a casino. Opponents say its desire to build a casino near the freeway amounts to "off reservation" gambling.

PHOTO: Pamela Stottlemyre of Sacramento plays a slot machine at the Colusa Casino in April, 2013. The tribe was one of several that opposed a new casino for the North Fork group of Indians. Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench

July 15, 2013
Assemblyman Adam Gray to testify in FBI's Calderon investigation

adamgray.JPGAssemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, is the second state legislator to announce he has been subpoenaed to testify in the federal investigation involving state Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello.

"I'm not particularly surprised they would want to talk to me," said Gray, who served three years on Calderon's staff before being elected to office last year.

"I suspect they want to talk to most folks who worked for Ron throughout the period of the investigation."

FBI agents searched Calderon's Capitol office last month and removed several boxes of material. They have not said what they are investigating but have also raided a Long Beach hospital and subpoenaed a Southern California water agency that has done business with Calderon's brother, former Assemblyman Tom Calderon. Ron Calderon has opened a legal defense fund to raise money to cover expenses related to what he described in a letter to the secretary of state as his "public corruption investigation."

Gray said he does not know what issues authorities want to interview him about when they put him before a grand jury early next month in Los Angeles. As legislative director for Calderon from 2008 to 2011, Gray said his main job was to provide background material on bills before Calderon voted on them.

Gray said he plans to cooperate fully with authorities.

"Now I'm an elected official and it's my job to protect the public interest," he said. "The best way to do that is to be open and forthright answering questions so the authorities can complete their investigation."

Last month, Sen. Kevin de Leon announced that federal authorities had subpoenaed him to testify before a grand jury in the Calderon case. The Los Angeles Democrat has said his office is not a target of the investigation.

PHOTO: Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced. Merced Sun-Star

July 15, 2013
CA governors question realignment, support stay on prisoner release

CALIF GOVERNORS.jpgCalifornia's four living former governors have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to grant Gov. Jerry Brown's request for a stay of a federal court order requiring the state to reduce its prison population by nearly 10,000 inmates.

The Criminal Justice Legal Foundation said today that it had filed a "friend of the court" brief on behalf of Govs. George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson, Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Brown last week asked the Supreme Court to impose a stay on a federal court order requiring the state to reduce its prison population. The three-judge panel that ordered the population reduction said the state had repeatedly failed to act since 2009, when the court first ordered the state to reduce its prison population to 137.5 percent of capacity.

The Brown administration argued the panel failed to consider steps the state has taken since 2009, including improving mental health and medical care for inmates and the diversion, through California's historic prison realignment, of thousands of offenders from prisons to county control.

Yet while the former governors supported Brown in their brief, their argument was sharply critical of realignment. In the first year since it was enacted, the brief said, crime has increased in California's largest cities.

"These preliminary numbers do not, by themselves, prove that prisoner releases pursuant to the order of the three-judge panel are necessarily the cause of the increased victimization," the brief said.

However, the brief said, it is a "very substantial possibility," and it warned reducing the prison population further "will cause even greater increases in victimization."

PHOTO: In this 2004 photo, then-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, center, poses with George Deukmejian, Gray Davis, Jerry Brown, and Pete Wilson, in Los Angeles. Associated Press/ Rene Macura

July 15, 2013
AM Alert: Andy Vidak vs. Leticia Perez race racks up spending

20120604_HA_VOTERS0010.JPGWill the California Senate keep the 16th Senate District in the blue column, or will Democrats in the upper house see their supermajority eroded when the Andy Vidak vs. Leticia Perez race is decided?

Voting closes July 23 in the special runoff, and the matchup isn't cheap. Since the beginning of the month, the California Republican Party has reported contributing more than $186,000 to Vidak's campaign, an amount supplemented by contributions from the Tulare County Republican Party ($21,381) and the San Luis Obispo Republican Central Committee ($40,000).

Union-backed independent expenditure committees, meanwhile, are putting their money behind Perez. Since July 1, the Democrat has benefited from nearly $200,000 spent on mailers, radio buys, Facebook ads and other activities of several IE committees, including those of SEIU Local 1000 and the California State Council of Service Employees.

Vidak reported $124,838 cash on hand as of July 6, while Perez reported $72,455, according to filings with the secretary of state through late last week.

VIDEO: Dan Walters wonders why Janet Napolitano, who resigned last week from her job as homeland security secretary, was picked as the next UC president.

COURT DELAY: Sen. Rod Wright, D-Inglewood, was scheduled to go to trial today on voting fraud and perjury charges, but he's won another delay. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has tentatively set Nov. 4 as the new date, with a status conference scheduled for Oct. 1. A grand jury indicted Wright on the charges back in 2010.

NEW GIG: If you're calling Sen. Kevin de León's office looking for communications director Greg Hayes, you're looking in the wrong place. He started a new job today at KP Public Affairs. Hayes also advised de León on energy issues.

CAKE AND CANDLES: Congratulations to Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, D-Los Angeles, who turned 42 on Saturday.

PHOTO: A Sacramento County election clerk looks over a vote-by-mail ballot on June 4, 2012. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

July 15, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Why Janet Napolitano as UC president?

Dan wonders why Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has been selected as the next president of the University of California system.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

July 12, 2013
Jerry Brown leaving California on Sunday for Ireland, Germany

brownmics.jpgGov. Jerry Brown will leave California on Sunday for a two-week, largely personal trip to Ireland and Germany, though he will hold meetings with government officials in both countries.

Both he and his wife, Anne Gust Brown, have ancestral roots in both countries. "We like to go back and ... connect the dots," the Democratic governor said Friday.

Brown said he will meet with Enda Kenny, the prime minister of Ireland, as well as with labor officials and renewable energy experts in Germany, which has been a leader in green technology.

The governor, who has made the expansion of green energy a priority of his administration, said, "I want to find out how they've been able to accelerate their renewable energy."

Brown, 75, said he will also tour an automobile plant in Munich and visit the Dachau concentration camp.

Brown and the first lady will be joined by Brown's sister Kathleen Brown, the former California state treasurer. They plan to visit relatives and sites connected to Brown's great-grandfathers. One emigrated from Germany in 1848, and the other fled Ireland's potato famine for work as a gardener in Golden Gate Park.

"He lived in a mud hut," Brown said. "The Irish Catholics were pretty well oppressed."

The governor's office said Brown will cover his own costs. He led a trade mission to China earlier this year but has traveled relatively infrequently since taking office.

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown talks to members of the press on Tuesday, April 23, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

July 12, 2013
CalChamber pushes House members to lead immigration debate

ZAREMBERG.JPGThe stalled effort in Congress to overhaul the nation's immigration system is more important for California's economy than any other state's, the head of the California Chamber of Commerce said Friday.

In a video likely aimed at Republicans, Allan Zaremberg, CalChamber's president, says California's members of Congress should dominate the debate instead of lawmakers from other states.

"They can't let somebody else who doesn't have a stake in this determine the outcome," he said.

The Senate approved a comprehensive immigration bill last month on a bipartisan vote of 68-32, but the Republican-majority House of Representatives plans to propose its own version.

The most conservative members of the chamber say the Senate bill isn't tough enough on border security, and many object to establishing a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country, including 2.6 million in California.

CalChamber and 40 local chambers of commerce support stronger border security, a temporary guest-worker program for both high- and low-skill jobs, strict employer verification and an earned pathway to citizenship.

July 12, 2013
Rapid Response: Janet Napolitano is new UC president

napolitanoobama.jpgDepartment of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Friday that she will leave the federal government to become president of the University of California system.

Politicians and officials were quick to issue statements on Napolitano's decision. Here's a few of their reactions:

President Barack Obama

"I want to thank Secretary Napolitano for her outstanding work on behalf of the American people over the last four years. At the Department of Homeland Security, Janet's portfolio has included some of the toughest challenges facing our country. She's worked around the clock to respond to natural disasters, from the Joplin tornado to Hurricane Sandy, helping Americans recover and rebuild. Since day one, Janet has led my administration's effort to secure our borders, deploying a historic number of resources, while also taking steps to make our immigration system fairer and more consistent with our values. And the American people are safer and more secure thanks to Janet's leadership in protecting our homeland against terrorist attacks. I've come to rely on Janet's judgment and advice, but I've also come to value her friendship. And as she begins a new chapter in a remarkable career of public service, I wish her the best of luck."

Gov. Jerry Brown

"Secretary Napolitano has the strength of character and an outsider's mind that will well serve the students and faculty. It will be exciting to work with her."

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein

"I congratulate Secretary Napolitano on this appointment and wish her great success as she meets the many challenges and embraces the opportunities as the next president of this world-class university system. I know Secretary Napolitano to be both smart and competent--qualities she has demonstrated as Secretary of Homeland Security, an enormous organization with 22 departments and more than 240,000 employees. Her recent support for immigration reform--particularly the bipartisan Senate bill--aided its strong 68-vote passage in the Senate. As the well-respected former governor of Arizona, Secretary Napolitano will also bring to UC a distinguished record of executive experience. Janet Napolitano will make a fine president of the University of California. I welcome her to California and look forward to a new constituent."

U.S. Sen. John McCain

"Janet Napolitano has served our nation with honor over the last four years as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security - one of the toughest and most thankless jobs in Washington. We have had our share of disagreements during her time as Secretary, but I have never doubted her integrity, work ethic or commitment to our nation's security. The people of Arizona can be very proud of our former Governor's service, and I wish her all the best as she assumes leadership of the nation's largest public university system."

Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco

"Secretary Napolitano's extensive experience at all levels of government will likely serve her well in the days ahead. I hope she keeps the needs of students, faculty and staff at the forefront after years of devastating tuition increases, questionable spending priorities and a general lack of transparency throughout the UC system. I will be happy to work with her in her efforts to keep the UC's reputation as an affordable means of bringing quality education to all Californians."

Rep. Doug LaMalfa

"It's disappointing to see an individual with such a poor record on civil liberties and government transparency selected to run the University of California. University of California students can look forward to the same authoritarian management style Secretary Napolitano brought to the Department of Homeland Security, hardly a bastion of free speech and open government. While I am pleased to see her leave Homeland Security, Napolitano's views are entirely incompatible with the UC system's history of civil liberties and the decision to appoint her is perplexing."

July 12, 2013
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to head UC system

napolitano.jpgDepartment of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will resign her federal position Friday in order to become president of the University of California system.

Napolitano released a statement confirming a report first made public in the Los Angeles Times:

"After four plus years of focusing on these (homeland security) challenges, I will be nominated as the next President of the University of California to play a role in educating our nation's next generation of leaders," Napolitano said.

Her departure comes as President Barack Obama tries to move a massive immigration overhaul with a divided Congress struggling to find common ground on how to deal with the estimated 11 million people who are in the country illegally.

Napolitano will be the first woman to head the 10-campus system. The former Arizona governor, a graduate of Santa Clara University and the University of Virginia Law School, has previously been mentioned as a potential Supreme Court nominee.

"The opportunity to work with the dedicated men and women of the Department of Homeland Security, who serve on the frontlines of our nation's efforts to protect our communities and families from harm, has been the highlight of my professional career," Napolitano said.

"We have worked together to minimize threats of all kinds to the American public. The Department has improved the safety of travelers; implemented smart steps that make our immigration system more fair and focused while deploying record resources to protect our nation's borders; worked with states to build resiliency and make our nation's emergency and disaster response capabilities more robust; and partnered with the private sector to improve our cybersecurity."

"While some may consider her to be an unconventional choice, Secretary Napolitano is without a doubt the right person at the right time to lead this incredible university. She will bring fresh eyes and a new sensibility - not only to UC, but to all of California," said Sherry Lansing, a University of California regent.

A former movie executive, and chair of the university's presidential selection committee, Lansing added that Napolitano "rose to the top" among some 300 potential candidates considered.

"Janet Napolitano will make a fine president of the University of California. I welcome her to California and look forward to a new constituent," said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, whose husband, Richard Blum, has served as a UC regent.

PHOTO: Janet Napolitano, director of the Department of Homeland Security, shown on April 17, 2013, announced on July 12, 2013, that she will resign. Abaca Press/Olivier Douliery

July 12, 2013
AM Alert: Senate on recess; Vidak-Perez race in its last days

RB_Capitol_Dome.JPGSchool's now out for both houses of the California Legislature, and when senators return from their summer recess Aug. 12, they'll likely know who'll join them from the 16th Senate District -- Republican Andy Vidak or Democrat Leticia Perez.

The special runoff to fill Michael Rubio's seat takes place July 23, a week and a half away. Elections officials in Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties have till Aug. 2 to send certified vote tallies to Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

Bowen then has until Aug. 30 to certify the results, but as the election calendar notes, "It is the intention of the Secretary of State to issue a certificate immediately after receipt of the results of the official canvass."

Perez initially conceded to Vidak in the primary before vote tallies pulled Vidak's total under 50 percent. More recently, the California Association of Realtors has paid for a mailer featuring Perez and a maimed puppy. If you missed Laurel Rosenhall's story about that mailer, you can catch up on it here.

VIDEO: Dan says there's a Southern California politician who's likely to get the last laugh in the scandal surrounding San Diego Mayor Bob Filner.

July 23 also marks the date for the special primary in the 52nd Assembly District, but the field is far more crowded for that seat, which Norma Torres left to join the state Senate. Among the contenders are several local elected officials hoping to move up to Sacramento, including Ontario City Councilman Paul Avila, a Democrat who endorsed Ontario Mayor Paul Leon in Leon's bid for the 32nd Senate District seat that Torres ultimately won.

Leon still wants to jump to the Capitol and is running against Avila and seven other candidates for Torres' Assembly seat. Leon lost to Torres as a Republican but has since changed his registration to "no party preference."

Rounding out the field are six Democrats -- Chino City Councilman Tom Haughey, Pomona City Councilman Freddie Rodriguez, Pomona Unified school board member Jason Rothman, Ontario consultant Manuel Saucedo, the late legislators Phil and Nell Soto's granddaughter Danielle Soto, and Pomona union organizer Doris Wallace.

Only one Republican is running -- Dorothy Pineda, who owns an industrial repair business in Ontario with her husband.

July 12, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Who will get last laugh in San Diego scandal?

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is in the middle of a political scandal, and Dan wonders who will get the last laugh.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

July 11, 2013
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner apologizes amid harassment allegations

San_Diego_Mayor_Bob_Filner.jpgSan Diego Mayor Bob Filner has apologized for sexual harassment allegations lodged against him:

I begin today by apologizing to you. I have diminished the office to which you elected me.

The charges made at today's news conference are serious. When a friend like Donna Frye is compelled to call for my resignation, I'm clearly doing something wrong. I have reached into my heart and soul and realized I must and will change my behavior.

As someone who has spent a lifetime fighting for equality for all people, I am embarrassed to admit that I have failed to fully respect the women who work for me and with me, and that at times I have intimidated them.

It's a good thing that behavior that would have been tolerated in the past is being called out in this generation for what it is: inappropriate and wrong.

I am also humbled to admit that I need help. I have begun to work with professionals to make changes in my behavior and approach. In addition, my staff and I will participate in sexual harassment training provided by the city. Please know that I fully understand that only I am the one that can make these changes.

If my behavior doesn't change, I cannot succeed in leading our city.

In the next few days, I will be reaching out to those who now work in the Mayor's Office or have previously worked for me - both men and women - to personally apologize for my behavior.

I will also be announcing fundamental changes within the Mayor's Office designed to promote a new spirit of cooperation, respect and effectiveness.

You have every right to be disappointed in me. I only ask that you give me an opportunity to prove I am capable of change, so that the vision I have for our city's future can be realized.

Thank you.

PHOTO: This Nov. 7, 2012, file photo shows San Diego Mayor Bob Filner smiling during a news conference at a park in San Diego. Associated Press/Gregory Bull

July 11, 2013
Jerry Brown signs California enterprise zone overhaul

Brown_Enterprise_Zones_Cali.jpgGov. Jerry Brown today signed legislation overhauling an enterprise zone program of hiring tax credits that have provided employers in locally designated areas large tax breaks for years.

The legislation signed in San Diego, including Senate Bill 90 and Assembly Bill 93, would significantly scale back such hiring credits, instead providing a sales tax exemption for manufacturing and biotech research companies and other tax credits negotiated on a case-by-case basis with the administration.

The Democratic governor and labor unions criticized the existing enterprise zone program as wasteful and ineffective. A modified version of Brown's proposal to overhaul the program was approved by the Legislature after Brown negotiated a series of changes, including extending to 10 years from five years a carry-forward provision for hiring credits under the existing enterprise zone program.

"This legislation will help grow our economy and create good manufacturing jobs," Brown said in a prepared statement. "Through our great university system and through the companies we have, California can build on the strength of intellectual capacity. Let's get to work!"

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown, center, visits Takeda, a biotech firm, in San Diego, where he signed Assembly Bill 93 and Senate Bill 90 overhauling the state's enterprise zone program on Thursday, July 11, 2013. U-T San Diego/Carolyne Corelis

July 11, 2013
California Senate confirms Jeffrey Beard as new prisons chief

JeffreyBeard.JPGAfter a partisan debate in which Republicans criticized Gov. Jerry Brown's nominee to run the state's prisons and Democrats praised him as the best man for the job, the California Senate today voted to confirm Jeffrey Beard as secretary of the state's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The move comes as nearly 29,000 prisoners are holding a hunger strike to protest the use of solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison, inmates at two San Joaquin Valley prisons are getting sick with valley fever and recent reports of prison doctors sterilizing female inmates in violation of prison rules.

July 11, 2013
California poised to regain No. 8 ranking in global economy

MAJ_PORT_OF_OAKLAND_051007.JPGCalifornia's economic recovery and economic crisis in Europe should allow the state to regain its No. 8 ranking in the global economy, according to the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy.

Steve Levy, the Palo Alto-based organization's director, cited the latest data on California's $2 trillion economy and numbers from the World Bank to conclude that the state should stand alone in the No. 8 position behind the entire United States, China, Japan, Germany, France, United Kingdom (Britain) and Brazil.

July 11, 2013
AM Alert: Jerry Brown heads to San Diego for bill-signing

LS_BUDGET_SIGN_3.JPGGov. Jerry Brown will be wielding his pen this morning in San Diego, where he's ceremoniously signing two measures overhauling California's economic development programs.

Assembly Bill 93, which restructures the state's enterprise zone program, sparked intense lobbying from business interests and local communities. Senate Bill 90 strips strip clubs of hiring tax credits, among other things.

The legislation includes a sales tax exemption on purchases of manufacturing equipment or research and development equipment for biotech and manufacturing companies, so it's no surprise that the 11:30 a.m. ceremony is taking place at Takeda California's headquarters. The firm received FDA approval earlier this year for three new medications to treat type 2 diabetes.

Republican Sen. Anthony Cannella of Ceres, who co-authored SB 90, will be among those joining the governor.

VIDEO: Dan says advocates of transparency in government have won some and lost some in California.

Ohman_Sutter_Brown_070713.JPGSUTTER WATCH: Bee cartoonist Jack Ohman hasn't met Gov. Jerry Brown yet, but he's been able to snag an interview with the governor's furry surrogate. Ohman, who had been drawing first dog Sutter Brown sight unseen since he started at The Bee in January, posed "a critical political question" he says he asks every pooch. We've got the video. Ohman also chronicles the meeting in this column published Sunday in The Bee.

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown signs the state budget during a ceremony at the Capitol on June 27, 2013, in Sacramento. He'll be signing his economic development plan today. The Sacramento Bee/Lezlie Sterling

CARTOON: Jack Ohman draws Sutter Brown before and after their recent meeting.

Editor's note: The time for the bill-signing ceremony has been changed from 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

July 11, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: War over open government never ends

Advocates for open records and government transparency have seen recent victories, but CalPERS' decision to delay its release of pension records is a big setback, Dan says.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

July 10, 2013
VIDEO: Darrell Steinberg wants MICRA negotiations

Darrell_Steinberg_HA_031113.JPGSenate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg sat down with the Capitol press corps today for a chat on a variety of issues. One question that came up was about the 1975 law known as MICRA -- the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act -- which limits the amount courts can award victims of medical negligence for pain and suffering to $250,000.

It's an explosive issue in the state Capitol that pits lawyers against doctors -- two influential interest groups that few legislators want to cross.

Attorneys have mounted a publicity campaign to make the case that the the $250,000 cap needs to be lifted. Many lawyers won't take on medical malpractice cases, they argue, because the award limit is too low to make it worth their time. While the cost of everything else has risen in the last 38 years, they argue, the MICRA cap has not, leaving families with injured loved ones inadequately compensated for their duress. Consumer Attorneys of California and Consumer Watchdog say they plan to file an initiative this summer if the Legislature doesn't take action to lift the cap.

Doctors, hospitals and other medical groups take the opposite view. They say lifting the $250,000 cap on damages would make malpractice insurance more expensive, ultimately making health care more costly for consumers and causing some clinics to go out of business. The California Medical Association and other health groups are urging lawmakers to maintain the status quo.

Steinberg thinks the sides need to get together.

PHOTO: Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, gestures during session in the Senate chambers in Sacramento on March 11, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

VIDEO: Senate leader Darrell Steinberg talks to the Sacramento press corps on July 10, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Laurel Rosenhall

July 10, 2013
California tax revenue beats projections, Chiang says

brownsigns.jpgThe state collected about $1.2 billion more in tax revenue last month than Gov. Jerry Brown projected, ending the fiscal year about $2 billion ahead of expectations, the state controller reported today.

Controller John Chiang put tax revenue in June, the last month of the budget year, about 10 percent higher than Brown estimated the previous month, with revenue for the full year up about 2 percent.

Brown persuaded lawmakers in budget negotiations this summer to accept relatively modest revenue estimates for the fiscal year beginning July 1, resulting in a budget that increased spending on social services far less than many Democratic lawmakers hoped.

"Rising employment, economic expansion and voter-approved tax increases have generated revenues outperforming even the rosiest of projections," Chiang said in a prepared statement. "However, California's history of boom or bust revenue cycles should be a cautionary tale that informs our spending decisions and incentivizes policymakers to prudently pay down accumulated debt."

July 10, 2013
AM Alert: How best to decommission San Onofre nuclear plant?

US_NEWS_SAN_ONOFRE_3_OC.jpgWhat's the best way to decommission the San Onofre nuclear plant? How should California replace the electricity it used to generate?

Southern California Edison announced last month that it would permanently close the plant, whose official moniker is the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. The Senate Energy Committee is looking at how best to shut down the nuclear facility, which has been offline for a year and a half.

The panel will hear from representatives of Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, as well as Mike Florio of the California Public Utilities Commission; Robert Weisenmiller, the California Energy Commission's chairman; and Steve Berberich, the CEO of the California Independent System Operator. The hearing starts at 9:30 a.m. in the Capitol's room 4203 and will be streamed live at the CalChannel website.

VIDEO: Dan Walters speculates about a Democrat vs. Democrat race that's shaping up in the Assembly.

VIDEO GAMES: Speaking of committee hearings, a subpanel of the Senate Public Safety Committee is examining research on the effects of the violence found in video games and other media on child development and public health, as well as possible solutions viewed through a constitutional lens. The hearing runs from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the Capitol's room 113.

ATHLETES, ETC.: The Senate Labor Committee lists just two bills on its agenda. Assembly Bill 26, by Concord Democrat Susan Bonilla, would classify money from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund as public funds that could be used for work at an oil refinery only for specified reasons to cut emissions. Assembly Bill 1309, by Fresno Democrat Henry T. Perea, which would deny workers' compensation to out-of-state athletes, passed the Assembly 57-1 in May. That hearing starts at 9:30 a.m. in room 2040.

SENATE LEADER SPEAKS: Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, is not only talking to The Bee's editorial board this morning, he's holding a press availability at 10:30 a.m. If you have any suggestions for questions to ask of him, shoot the Capitol Bureau's Laurel Rosenhall an email at lrosenhall@sacbee.com.

PHOTO: With the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station as a backdrop, a surfer walks along San Onofre State Beach in San Clemente on June 7, 2013. Orange County Register/Mark Rightmire

July 10, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Will labor pay big bucks to defeat Glazer?

Not only has organized labor placed Gov. Jerry Brown's former adviser Steve Glazer on its "do not hire" list, but things could get even more interesting now that Glazer is eyeing an Assembly seat, Dan says.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

July 9, 2013
Opponents file referendum to block Madera County casino

CASINOSLOTS.JPGOpponents of a Madera County Indian casino have lost with the Legislature but are hoping they can win with California voters.

Cheryl Schmit, director of the gambling watchdog group Stand Up for California, filed a referendum with the Attorney General's Office today that seeks to reverse lawmakers' approval of a casino for the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians. The casino is more controversial than most in Indian country because it would be built along Highway 99, more than 35 miles from the mountainous village where tribal members live.

Opponents consider the project an "off reservation" casino, and say approval will set a precedent for similar developments around the state near freeways and urban communities. Supporters say the North Fork tribe historically migrated between the casino land on the Valley floor and the tribe's current home in the mountains near Yosemite, and that few other tribes have a similar situation.

Gov. Jerry Brown supports the project as an economic development opportunity for the impoverished tribe, and labor unions lobbied hard for it. Many other gambling tribes oppose the casino because it would create competition for their business.

Lawmakers narrowly ratified the North Fork compact last month and the governor signed it last week.

For Schmit's referendum overturning the compact to reach the 2014 ballot, her group must gather 504,760 voter signatures in 90 days.

PHOTO: Pamela Stottlemyre of Sacramento plays a slot machine at the Colusa Casino in April, 2013. The tribe was one of several that opposed a new casino for the North Fork group of Indians. Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench

July 9, 2013
Igor Birman considering 2014 race against Ami Bera

igorbirman.jpgIgor Birman, Rep. Tom McClintock's chief of staff, is thinking about joining the field of Republican challengers vying for Democratic Rep. Ami Bera's seat in 2014.

Birman, 31, said he has an exploratory committee looking at the possibility of a run in the 7th Congressional District, and the reception so far has been "very favorable."

"Having been active in Republican politics in California since my college days, everything I've heard has been encouraging," Birman said.

After Birman and his family emigrated from Russia to the United States in 1994, he lived in the Sacramento area and attended UC Davis. He cited his experience as an immigrant as his motivation to go into politics.

"My parents risked their lives and everything they possessed to escape (the Soviet Union) and eventually they did. I want to preserve the same freedom we found in this nation for other families," Birman said. "That's what has led me into politics and that's what has led me to consider this race."

If he runs and wins in 2014, Birman said he thinks he would be the first Russian American member of Congress. He is currently registered to vote in Oakland, but said he would move back into the district if he decides to run. Birman said he would announce his decision around Labor Day.

July 9, 2013
Boxer pushes for Senate vote on EPA nominee McCarthy

ha_boxerblack.JPGSen. Barbara Boxer, said Tuesday that the Senate could vote next week on Gina McCarthy, President Barack Obama's nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which Boxer chairs, approved McCarthy's nomination in May, but with no Republican votes.

Asked if Boxer would support a rule change that would allow McCarthy's confirmation with a simple majority rather than the customary 60 votes, the California Democrat said, "I'd like to see her confirmed, period."

"She should get a huge majority," Boxer said. "She deserves it."

Many Republicans oppose Obama's plan to fight climate change by reducing emissions from coal-fired power plants and other sources of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. McCarthy, who's currently an assistant EPA administrator, would help implement Obama's plan.

July 9, 2013
AM Alert: Are California card rooms gearing up for a fight?

Cards.JPGIt's a slow week in the Capitol, with the Assembly on summer recess and the Senate fielding several absences. The Senate whipped through many non-controversial bills yesterday, though seven senators did not attend the floor session, and the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee couldn't vote because it was short a quorum.

Today, at least two senators are doing business out of state. Sen. Kevin de León will be making a presentation in Colorado, while Sen. Ricardo Lara is getting schooled in Cambridge, Mass. De León is addressing the Aspen Institute's "Financial Security Summit" to talk about his bill from last year that paves the way for retirement savings plans for private-sector workers. Lara is attending a program at the Harvard Kennedy School for senior executives in state and local government. He's one of 10 gay public officials who are attending the $12,000 training on a fellowship sponsored by the Victory Fund and the David Bohnett Foundation.

KNOW WHEN TO HOLD 'EM: The state's card rooms appear to be gearing up for a fight, forming a new 501(c)4 association and hiring at least two Sacramento lobbying firms. "Communities for California Cardrooms" is trying to make the case that the state's 88 card rooms are important economic drivers for their localities. The group has retained Darius Anderson's Platinum Advisors as well as Rodney J. Blonien and Associates. Does that mean there's movement on an internet poker bill that might not sit well with card rooms? "That has not been on our radar screen yet," said Austin Lee, a spokesman for the new group. But Internet poker could soon become important, he said, "because there are some competitive issues there."

IMMIGRATION: Unions and other Democratic groups are staging events across the state today to put pressure on Republicans in Congress to support the so-called path to citizenship as they consider the nation's immigration policies. They'll be rallying in Burbank, Bakersfield, Fresno, Arcadia and Orange County.

WEDDING BELLS: Capitol Alert sends its congratulations to lobbyist Jodi Hicks and political number-cruncher Paul Mitchell, who were married Friday in San Francisco City Hall by West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon. The couple originally planned to marry in 2008, but decided to wait until the state's ban on gay marriage was lifted. And that, conveniently for the newlyweds, came just before the Legislature's summer recess.

PHOTO: Minh Chang of Sacramento plays Pai Gow poker at the Capitol Casino in downtown Sacramento, 2006. Sacramento Bee/ Brian Baer

July 9, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Press reports pushed Bay Bridge delay

Dan says Monday's decision to delay opening the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is evidence of the press doing its job.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

July 8, 2013
AM Alert: Jerry Brown talks up solar energy in San Francisco

AASOLARGOV5.JPGTens of thousands of people are expected to gather this week in San Francisco for the Intersolar North America conference, and attendees might get a chance to hear the merits of solar energy extolled in Latin: Gov. Jerry Brown gives the opening ceremony's keynote address tonight at the Intercontinental Hotel. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee will welcome the conference.

On a vaguely related note, the governor is getting some love from the education community after pushing successfully for a massive overhaul of school spending. The National Education Association decided Friday to name Brown the country's best governor. Brown's budget this year changed how money is distributed to districts and doled out a surge of new money, including grants targeted at low-income and English-learning students as well as a billion dollars for the new Common Core standards.

VIDEO: Don't let the Assembly's recess fool you into thinking state politics is taking a break: Dan Walters points to an intensely contested race he's watching.

July 8, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Leticia Perez vs. Andy Vidak race heats up

While all might be quiet in the California Capitol this week, that isn't the case for the San Joaquin Valley's 16th Senate District race, Dan says.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

July 6, 2013
Former Jerry Brown aide among consultants blacklisted by labor

Glazer.jpgThe California Labor Federation, an ally of Gov. Jerry Brown, has formally blacklisted Brown's former political adviser, Steve Glazer, and pollster Jim Moore, punishing them for their work in two divisive Assembly races last year.

The labor federation recently posted on its website a "California Labor 'Do Not Hire' List," rebuking Glazer (right), Moore and four other consultants for their involvement "in two campaigns in 2012 that directly attacked labor unions and caused damage to the labor movement."

The campaigns were Democrat-versus-Democrat Assembly races that pitted labor against the California Chamber of Commerce, whose influential political action committee Glazer advised. Glazer and the other consultants did work opposing incumbent lawmakers Michael Allen and Betsy Butler or supporting their opponents, Marc Levine and Richard Bloom, respectively. The challengers were successful in both races, in the Santa Rosa and Los Angeles areas.

The "do not hire" list names consultants Glazer, Moore, Dave Metz, Jim Stearns, Jim Crounse and Sean Sullivan. Labor Federation spokesman Steve Smith said the list was published within the past two weeks, after federation officials decided in May to blacklist the consultants.

July 5, 2013
Fourth of July claims Senate per diem expenses

emptysenate.JPGFireworks and barbecue for daily expenses.

That's the tradeoff members of the California Senate made this week, when the Fourth of July interrupted the schedule that usually keeps their $160-a-day per diem allocation flowing.

To claim that money, lawmakers have to meet at least every three days. Typically that allows them to convene on Thursday, head to their districts on Friday and be back on Monday in time to satisfy the rule.

When there's a Monday holiday, legislators will often meet briefly on Friday to make sure they're entitled to their per diem for the intervening days. That's what happened earlier this year on the Friday preceding President's Day weekend, for instance.

But that wasn't the case this week -- the state Capitol was bereft of lawmakers on Friday (the Assembly is out on recess), and lawmakers are forfeiting the expense payment from Thursday through Sunday, according to the secretary of the Senate's office.

PHOTO: Empty Senate chambers. The Sacramento Bee/Jeremy B. White.

July 5, 2013
Bill Lockyer opens 2018 campaign account to 'mete out justice'

lockyer.jpgState Treasurer Bill Lockyer has opened a campaign account for lieutenant governor in 2018, suggesting not a run for any seat but that Lockyer may remain involved in state politics as a campaign donor long after he retires from elected office in 2015.

The former attorney general and Senate president pro tem had accumulated more than $2.2 million for a campaign for controller next year before announcing last month he will retire when his term as treasurer ends.

Politicians often open campaign accounts for offices they do not intend to seek, using them solely to manage campaign stockpiles.

Lockyer spokesman Tom Dresslar said in an email today that Lockyer opened the account to "have a place to park his money for use beyond 2014."

"He wants to make sure he has the ability to support select candidates and causes, or as we like to say, mete out justice," Dresslar said.

PHOTO: Bill Lockyer in 2012. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench

July 5, 2013
Fair Political Practices Commission names executive director

erinpeth1.jpgErin V. Peth will serve as the California Fair Political Practice Commission's new executive director, the campaign finance watchdog decided in a closed session meeting today.

Peth will take over a position that has been filled on an interim basis since Roman Porter stepped down back in 2011. Peth has been working as a deputy legal affairs secretary in the governor's office. Before that, she was a deputy attorney general in the California Department of Justice.

"The Commission has appointed an outstanding person to the position of executive director," FPPC Chair Ann Ravel said in a statement. "Her years of experience with the Political Reform Act and with state government will serve the FPPC well."

Ravel herself could be on the way out. President Barack Obama announced in June that he would nominate Ravel for a spot on the Federal Elections Commission, a post that would require a Senate confirmation.

PHOTO: New FPPC Executive Director Erin Peth. Photo courtesy FPPC.

July 5, 2013
AM Alert: Ron Calderon still hoping for more fireworks

Fireworks.JPGDid you have a good Fourth of July? Let's hope you got to enjoy the weather (OK, maybe not if you remained in Sacramento) and indulge in some time-honored rituals involving grilled food and aesthetically pleasing explosions.

A bill by Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, could ensure that those types of celebrations blaze through chillier times. Currently, you can buy fireworks in California from the end of June to just after the Fourth of July. His Senate Bill 777 would open a window between Dec. 26 and just after New Year's to indulge your pyrotechnic desires. Calderon tried this last year too, but the Assembly Appropriations Committee doused his hopes.

VIDEO: Confusing, off-putting, inconvenient -- Dan Walters has some harsh words for the Senate and the Assembly taking on different vacation schedules.

July 5, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: It's legislative vacation time -- or not

The Assembly is heading off on vacation while the Senate stays in town, and that says something about the California Legislature, Dan notes.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

July 3, 2013
Senate OKs bill letting transgender students pick facilities

20110405_ha_anti_bullying6958.JPGLegislation that would allow California students to choose the bathrooms, locker rooms and sports teams that best match their individual gender identities squeaked out of the Senate with a 21-9 vote Wednesday.

The Assembly passed the bill in May. Its next stop is the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown.

Authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, Assembly Bill 1266 generated pointed questions about whether a bill couched in tolerance and inclusiveness could alienate some students and parents. Skeptical lawmakers said it might encourage biologically male students to join women's teams and dominate.

Calling the legislation "an extraordinarily consequential bill," Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, said the bill would impose "no standard of evidence to verify what gender (students) declare that day."

July 3, 2013
California Legislature stalemates over teacher discipline bill

Buchanan.jpgThe Legislature appears to be in a stalemate over changing the disciplinary process for teachers -- an issue that arose out of a high-profile molestation case involving a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Last year, the Senate passed a bill by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, that would make it easier to fire teachers who are accused of gross misconduct, such as sexual abuse. But the measure, Senate Bill 1530, died in the Assembly Education Committee due to strong opposition from teacher unions.

The measure's demise generated broad editorial criticism, and the political fallout reverberated in last year's elections. One Democratic Assembly member who refused to vote for the bill, Betsy Butler of Santa Monica, lost her seat to fellow Democrat Richard Bloom, who hammered her on the issue.

This year, the unions sponsored their own teacher discipline bill, essentially streamlining the process now engraved in the law but not going nearly as far as the Padilla measure.

The union-sponsored measure, Assembly Bill 375, whizzed through the Assembly with strong Democratic support but on Wednesday was rejected by the Senate Education Committee.

The bill, carried by Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, garnered four votes from Democrats on the committee, one short of the five required, but no other members voted -- echoing how Padilla's measure had died in the Assembly Education Committee.

Wednesday's non-voters included the chairwoman of the committee, Sen. Carol Liu, D-La Cañada Flintridge. Buchanan chairs the Assembly Education Committee and had voted against the Padilla bill last year.

PHOTO: Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan D-Alamo, in 2009. The Sacramento Bee/Manny Crisostomo.

July 3, 2013
California bill to restrict long-term school bonds moving again

SCHOOLS_0154.JPGLegislation to crack down on California school districts' issuance of long-term "capital appreciation bonds," which had stalled in the Senate after passing the Assembly, is moving again.

On Wednesday, the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, on a 5-0 vote, approved the measure, Assembly Bill 182, after its author, Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, softened its restrictions on the bonds.

The changes, however, did not placate school district representatives, who continued to oppose the measure, arguing that it will damage their ability to meet needs for new school construction and upgrading, especially in areas with relatively low levels of taxable property.

State Treasurer Bill Lockyer pushed for the legislation, arguing that the use of the CABs, as they have been dubbed, puts local taxpayers on the book for interest payments to bond buyers that may be 10 times or more of the original loan amounts.

July 3, 2013
Protesting at Jerry Brown's office not always productive

sitinbrown.jpgThe anti-deportation activists who staged a sit-in at the governor's office Tuesday were milling about a Capitol hallway when a passerby shook his head and offered some advice.

A sit-in would accomplish nothing, said Irwin Nowick, a longtime Senate staffer, certainly not the activists' stated goal of a meeting with Jerry Brown.

"You don't jam this guy," he said.

There is precedent for this opinion. Brown was governor before, from 1975 to 1983, when a fired state janitor hoping for an appointment with Brown waited in his reception room five days a week for 475 days, at times sleeping in his car.

The sit-in only ended in 1983, when Brown left office and his successor, George Deukmejian, met with the fired janitor, Jonathan LaSalle.

The anti-deportation activists had a shorter time horizon in mind - six or seven hours, perhaps. Nearly a dozen of them arranged themselves on the floor and on chairs in Brown's reception area.

They hoped to press Brown to support a bill that would prevent local police from detaining people based on their immigration status unless they have been convicted of a felony or serious crime. Brown vetoed similar legislation last year, but he suggested in his veto message that it could be amended to gain his support, and administration officials said they are working with lawmakers on that revision.

Over the course of the afternoon the protesters outside Brown's office ate lunch and huddled around their laptops and their smart phones. The number of people inside Brown's office dwindled.

By the time Blanca Vazquez, of Oakland, emerged, six remained.

"They offered to let us sit on the couches," the 23-year-old woman said, "but we refused."

The office closed, and after 7 p.m., two people were cited and released.

The protesters left without meeting the governor, they said, but members of his administration will see them next week.

Bee photographer Hector Amezcua contributed to this report

PHOTO: Five immigration activists, including a legal observer, sit in Jerry Brown's reception area to lobby him on an immigration bill on Tuesday, July 2, 2013. Pictured, from left to right, are Hugo Gonzalez, Kenia Alcocer and Alex Aldana. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

July 3, 2013
AM Alert: Summer break starts for California Assembly

assempty.JPGThe weather report says we're likely to suffer under the sweltering Sacramento sun for a few more days, but at least some of us to get to escape: Members of the California Assembly are heading back to their districts after the end of business today, when their summer recess officially begins.

In a more contentious budget year -- particularly one in which lawmakers didn't risk losing their pay -- they might be compelled to stick around.

But because the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown have wrapped up their budgetary business, the summer schedule proceeds as planned. Members of the lower house return in early August.

VIDEO: What is potentially the most important bill going through the Legislature this year? Dan Walters' answer might surprise you.

APPROPRIATIONS ACCUMULATION: Before Assembly members leave, though, they'll have to work their way through a mountain of bills looming before the Appropriations Committee today. There are about 90 bills on the file today -- think of it as a pre-recess final exam for lawmakers.

July 3, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California's new oil boom?

Senate Bill 4 deals with the controversial issue of fracking in California, and Dan says its potential long-term effects may make it the most important piece of legislation this year.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

July 2, 2013
Immigration activists stage sit-in in Jerry Brown's office

sitin.jpgAbout a dozen protesters -- some of them said by activists to be undocumented immigrants -- are staging a sit-in this afternoon in Gov. Jerry Brown's office to lobby him on an immigration bill, prompting law enforcement officials to block the door to his reception area at the Capitol.

At issue is legislation that would prevent local police from detaining people based on immigration status unless they have been convicted of a felony or serious crime.

Assembly Bill 4, by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, was being considered in a legislative committee as the protesters began their demonstration about noon. It is an expanded version of legislation Brown vetoed last year.

July 2, 2013
Brown schedules special elections to replace Blumenfield, Price

Enterprise_Zones.jpgGov. Jerry Brown issued proclamations on Tuesday to schedule special elections to fill two vacancies in the California Legislature.

The special elections to replace former Los Angeles legislators Sen. Curren Price and Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield will be held on Nov. 19. The primary elections will be held on September 17.

Price and Blumenfield both left the Legislature last week to take posts on the Los Angeles City Council. Price will represent District 9, and Blumenfield will serve District 3.

The departure of Blumenfield caused the Assembly lose its Democratic supermajority. Before Blumenfield's last day, the lower house crammed in several votes on bills that required a two-thirds margin to pass.

The timing of the special elections Brown set Tuesday means the Assembly will regain its supermajority before this year's session adjourns on Sept. 13 only if a Democrat captures 50 percent of the vote in a crowded special election field on July 23 in an inland Southern California district. There are seven Democrats, one Republican and one non-partisan -- Ontario Mayor Paul Leon -- in the race.

PHOTO: Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield called for passage of his enterprise zone measure before lawmakers at the Capitol in Sacramento on Thursday, June 27, 2013. Associated Press/ Rich Pedroncelli.

July 2, 2013
Another California 'job killer' bill falls by the wayside

139654.ME.0724.bigrig.1.AJS.jpgAnother bill on the California Chamber of Commerce's "job killer" list fell by the wayside Tuesday when Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson pulled a measure to bar a car dealer, including a rental company, from selling or leasing a used vehicle subject to a manufacturer's recall.

Jackson, a Santa Barbara Democrat, declared after a committee debate that she would put the bill over until 2014.

A spokeswoman for Jackson said later, "She did not have the votes. It is a two-year bill, and Senator Jackson will continue working on it."

July 2, 2013
2014 water bond talks begin with 'proposed principles'

KLAMATH_DAMS.jpgPublic discussions of a revised state water bond for the 2014 ballot were launched Tuesday with release of "proposed principles" by the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee.

An $11.1 billion bond issue was approved by the Legislature at the behest of then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009, coincident with approval of a process that resulted in a proposed twin tunnel project to carry water under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

While the tunnel project would be financed by water users south of the Delta, the bond would pay for a number of ancillary projects, including the beginning of work on two new reservoirs, and thus is a battleground for proponents and opponents of the tunnels.

The bond issue was to go on the 2010 ballot but was postponed first to 2012 and then again to 2014 as legislative leaders and Schwarzenegger's successor, Jerry Brown, concluded that it would likely fail. They say the bond issue should be made smaller and eliminate some specific projects that critics termed "pork."

The committee staged a brief discussion of the one-page outline that hinted at the political conflict over how large the bond should be and how the funds should be allocated.

One principle would "prohibit earmarks to specific water projects," which would appear to bar the specific allocations for the two water storage projects that Republicans, backed by farm groups, had insisted on including in the 2009 version, as well as some of the local projects that were placed in the bond for political purposes.

The latter included removal of two power dams on the Klamath River and a parks project in the district of Rep. Karen Bass, who was speaker of the Assembly when the bond was being written.

PHOTO: Water flows back into the Klamath River on Aug. 21, 2009, outside Keno, Ore., after being diverted by J.C. Boyle Dam upstream and running through the powerhouse shown here to make electricity. PacifiCorp announced Sept. 30, 2009 the terms for giving up four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath so they can be removed by the government to help struggling salmon runs. Associated Press/ Jeff Barnard

July 2, 2013
Muni bond industry betting on better California credit rating

Standard_Poor_2011.jpgThe multi-trillion-dollar municipal bond industry appears to be betting that California's balanced state budget and improving economy will pay off in an improved credit rating.

The Bloomberg financial news service reported Tuesday, in the wake of a generally positive appraisal by Standard & Poor's, that bond investors are demanding lower premiums for California bonds.

"The perception of California from an investor's perspective is that it's on an upswing," said Robert Miller, an executive at Wells Capital Management in Menomonee Falls, Wisc., told Bloomberg. "I don't think there is anybody out there who doesn't think that they are going to receive an upgrade at some point."

The state's credit plummeted to one of the nations lowest during years of deep recession and chronic budget deficits, but has been rising slowly.

An index of economic health devised by Bloomberg says that California's growth in the first quarter of 2013 was faster than the four next largest states, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois. Among the factors were rising home prices and lower unemployment rates.

The state budget situation is also improving with revenues during the just-concluded 2012-13 fiscal year running about $1 billion above the level assumed by the 2013-14 budget.

PHOTO: Tourists drive past Standard & Poor's headquarters in New York's financial district on Aug. 6, 2011. Associated Press/ Karly Domb Sadof

July 2, 2013
AM Alert: How to build a California water bond

AerialDelta.JPG

There has been plenty of coverage, including in the newspaper that Capitol Alert calls home, of the contentious questions swirling around Gov. Jerry Brown's massive proposed water project. Much of it has focused on the environmental repercussions, the consequences for Central Valley farmers and the north-south standoff over water resources.

But still pending is the question of a water bond measure that is politically tied to the project. The Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee is holding a hearing today on putting together the multi-billion dollar water bond currently scheduled to appear on the 2014 ballot (it was initially going on the 2012 ballot, but the Legislature decided to postponed it). Starting at 9 a.m. in room 437.

VIDEO: The sweltering heat wave punishing California has people jacking up the air conditioning, straining the power grid and making Dan Walters wonder if renewable energy can really support the state's needs.

July 2, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: 'When the heat wave hits'

With thermometers rising across California, Dan wonders if the state will meet its goal to have one-third of its electricity come from renewable energy by 2020.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

July 1, 2013
Jerry Brown says UC, CSU leaders pledged to pursue online ed 'vigorously'

brownlcff.jpgGov. Jerry Brown said today that he vetoed his own budget proposal to earmark $20 million for online education at the University of California and California State University systems only after leaders of those institutions assured him they would pursue online course offerings on their own.

"I had an agreement from both the segments that they would carry out online vigorously," Brown told reporters at an event in Sacramento. "As the leader of both governing boards, I'm actively engaged with both the University of California and the Cal State."

One of a relatively small number of line-item vetoes made by Brown to the state's $96.3 billion spending plan last week, Brown left the $20 million in funding for the UC and CSU systems intact, but without tying it to online education. He said he is "completely confident" the UC and CSU systems will expand their online course offerings without a budget requirement.

Brown's tone was different last fall, when he started regularly attending UC meetings to call for spending reductions and increased efficiency.

"We are going to have to restrain this system in many, many of its elements," the Democratic governor said in November, "and this will come with great resistance."

This afternoon, Brown said of the university systems, "I didn't want them to be too tightly constrained."

Brown's remarks came during an event celebrating the passage of his proposal to shift more K-12 education money to poor and English-learning students, a priority of the governor's this year. A modified version of Brown's proposal was approved in budget negotiations last month, and Brown traveled to Los Angeles earlier today to sign legislation required to implement the overhaul.

The school funding bill also eliminates most of California's categorical funds - money that can be used only for certain purposes.

At California Middle School in Sacramento's Land Park neighborhood, Brown called the legislation a "step forward for local control."

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown poses for photographs at an event in Sacramento to celebrate the enactment of a school funding overhaul on July 1, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders

July 1, 2013
Data breaches accessed information of 2.5 million Californians

PK_DATA_0268.JPGElectronic data breaches put the personal information of 2.5 million Californians at risk in 2012, according to a new report released Monday by Attorney General Kamala Harris.

State law requires businesses and government agencies to notify consumers when a data breach might have put their personal information at risk. A bill passed in 2012 also requires companies to report a breach to the attorney general when more than 500 consumers' information has been accessed.

The report's description of 131 breaches of consumer information marks the first time the information has been made available to the public. California law requires companies to report breaches of information whether the breach was malicious or unintentional.

The report details when each breach occurred and what private information was affected. The list of organizations that experienced data breaches in 2012 includes the California Department of Health Care Services, the state Department of Child Supportive Services, American Express and State Farm Insurance.

July 1, 2013
Pink is order of the day at California Legislature

standwithwendy.JPGCalifornia Democrats rarely find themselves praising the decisions of Texas officials -- more often they're antagonists, if the airwave spat between Gov. Jerry Brown and Texas Gov. Rick Perry earlier this year is any indication -- but for at least a day, Wendy Davis changed that.

A Democratic state senator from Texas, Davis became an instant icon for reproductive rights after her filibuster against an abortion-related bill last week. Inspired by her example, the California Legislative Women's Caucus asked lawmakers and staff to wear pink to work on Monday.

You can see the results above. Style choices ranged from pink dresses to pink ties to pink sneakers, the final category a nod to the red running shoes Davis wore during her ordeal (because when you're forced to stand for hours, comfort comes first).

PHOTO: California lawmakers and staff pose in their pink outfits on the steps of the State Capitol in Sacramento on July 1, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Jeremy B. White.

July 1, 2013
Ratings agency: California finances better, but debt issues linger

brownsigns.jpgThe Wall Street credit rating agency Standard & Poor's said today that California is in a better financial position than it has been in years, but it criticized the politicization of state revenue estimates and warned long-term spending commitments could frustrate efforts to pay down debt.

"Overall, we believe the state ... begins its fiscal year in a stronger position than it has in several years," the rating agency said in a report on the first day of the new fiscal year. "Its liquidity and structural budget positions both reflect materially better conditions."

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the main budget bill last week after persuading legislative Democrats to accept his relatively modest revenue estimates. In a concession to lawmakers, however, Brown reduced by about $650 million the amount of money he originally proposed to pay down debt owed schools under Proposition 98, California's school-funding guarantee.

"Standard & Poor's Ratings Services believes the higher-than-expected cash receipts presented the state an opportunity to accelerate its plans for retiring the $26.9 billion in budget liabilities that remain leftover from prior years' deficits," S&P said. "Compared with what the governor recommended in May, however, the final budget agreement moves in the other direction, decelerating somewhat the repayment of a portion (of) these debts."

That Brown and lawmakers could negotiate at all about the amount of tax revenue they expect the state to collect this year troubled S&P. More than half of states rely on independent revenue bodies, the ratings house said, and it criticized the budget process in California for highlighting "what we view as one of the weaker elements of California's fiscal institutions - that of allowing political negotiation to influence the revenue estimates used in the budget."

California's $96.3 billion spending plan includes additional money for the state's welfare-to-work program, college scholarships and dental care for poor adults - with commitments to spend an increasing amount in future years.

S&P expressed concern about revenue volatility. By enacting even a modest expansion of ongoing spending commitments, the agency said, "we detect a softening of resolve when it comes to paying down the internal debts."

The report said, "We believe that by opening the door to new programs while waiting for future (uncertain) revenue to repay some internal debts, the state delays, or jeopardizes altogether, its ability to confront the long-term liabilities."

PHOTO: Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, D-Woodland Hills, chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, far left, celebrates after being presented one of the pens that Gov. Jerry Brown, seated, used to sign a copy of the state budget at the Capitol in Sacramento on Thursday, June 27, 2013. Associated Press/ Rich Pedroncelli

July 1, 2013
AM Alert: California lawmakers go pink for Wendy Davis

US_NEWS_TEXAS-ABORTION_10_DA.jpgThose who make a living at the California Capitol sure seem fond of symbolic style choices, from awareness-raising denim to summer-celebrating white linen. Today it's pink.

The California Legislative Women's Caucus is encouraging people to wear pink sneakers and/or ties in honor of Texas state senator Wendy Davis, who riveted much of the nation last week with a filibuster to block a controversial abortion-related bill. Participants can join a group photo on the Capitol's south steps at 11:45 a.m.

VIDEO: The California Chamber of Commerce-headed business coalition continues to run up a remarkable winning record, Dan Walters says.

MIDWIFE MOVEMENT Members and supporters of the organization California Families for Access to Midwives will be rallying on the west steps at 11 a.m. against what they call onerous regulations that make it difficult for midwives to practice. With them will be Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, who has a bill before the Senate Business, Professions And Economic Development today that would loosen some of those restrictions.

KENNEDY IN CALIFORNIA: Former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, to be exact. The erstwhile Rhode Island Democrat will be in the building to testify at a Senate Select Committee on Mental Health hearing on the future of mental health services, something he championed in Congress, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in room 4203.

LIMO LEGISLATION: Lawmakers have been looking for ways to enhance limousine safety after a string of limo fires, and today an urgency bill by Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, requiring fire extinguishers in limousines goes before the Senate Appropriations Committee.

LATINO NUMBERS: Much has been made of the demographic forces reshaping California's population and electorate, and today the Latino Democratic Club of Sacramento celebrate a milestone. Members will be gathering on the north steps at noon today to mark, imprecisely, the moment when the number of Latinos in California matches the number of non-Hispanic whites. (Latinos could surpass whites and become the state's largest ethnic group soon, perhaps as early as the end of this year.) Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, is expected to attend.

HOT TICKET: What could that phrase describe? A Beyoncé concert? A political fundraiser, perhaps? How about both? Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Compton, is pulling in some campaign cash by inviting donors to join him in a private suite during Ms. Knowles' show at the Staples Center in Los Angeles tonight. No word on how many of Hall's supporters are single ladies.

ABOUT FRACKING TIME As we've noted, since we started out this session with a gusher of legislation aimed at regulating hydraulic fracturing, lawmakers have drilled down to a single bill. The sole remaining fracking bill, by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, goes before the Assembly Natural Resources Committee today. In room 447 after session ends.

PHOTO: Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis spends a quiet moment after her filibuster was halted on the final day of the legislative special session, as the Texas Senate considered an abortion bill in in Austin, Texas, on June 25, 2013. Dallas Morning News/Louis DeLuca.

July 1, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: 'Job killer' bills biting the dust in California

So far, Dan says, the California Chamber of Commerce is doing a good job killing the "job killers" in the Legislature.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.



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Capitol Alert Staff


Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. jwhite@sacbee.com. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. achance@sacbee.com. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee. smith@sacbee.com

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. ccadelago@sacbee.com. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert. mmassimino@sacbee.com

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. lrosenhall@sacbee.com. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. dsiders@sacbee.com. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. dwalters@sacbee.com. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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