Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

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.


Capitol Alert Staff

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

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

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee.

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

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert.

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

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

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

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