Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

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


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 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


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.


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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