Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

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.


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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