Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

October 22, 2013
Antonio Villaraigosa says 'there's a lot I can learn' at Edelman

Villaraigosa_Press_Club.jpgFormer Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was on the phone Tuesday from Harvard University, where he is a visiting fellow, to talk about his new job at Edelman, the public relations giant where he will work as a senior adviser.

Villaraigosa said he hopes to help companies navigate "that place where ... the corporate world meets public policy and community," but also that "there's a lot I can learn here" about business.

The ability to say four years from now that he has spent time learning about the private sector could help the former labor organizer and Assembly speaker if he chooses to run for governor in 2018, but there are other interests Californians value. Villaraigosa demurred when asked how his appointment compared in resume-building terms to last week's announcement by another potential future candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. He will lead a panel to study legalizing marijuana.

"If you notice, I'm here at Harvard," Villaraigosa said - and also at Edelman and at the Bipartisan Policy Center, where he is a senior fellow, and at Herbalife, the nutritional products company he is advising. Villaraigosa, 60, is on the lecture circuit, and he said he will soon announce an affiliation with another university.

"So I'm kind of continuing the 18-hour days," Villaraigosa said.

On this day the Democrat was between speaking engagements, and The Harvard Crimson, the college newspaper, was waiting for an interview.

"They're calling me here," he said, and with that he had to go.

PHOTO: Antonio Villaraigosa, then mayor of Los Angeles, speaks before the Sacramento Press Club, in Sacramento on Tuesday, April 16, 2013. Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli.

October 22, 2013
Health plans rip Covered California for not posting quality ratings

RBCoveredCalifornia2.JPGKaiser Permanente and two other health plans criticized administrators of California's public health exchange Monday for postponing posting quality ratings for health plans on the exchange's website, saying the delay is a disservice to customers.

"We strongly urge that the display of health plan quality ratings go forward as originally planned, in the interest of both transparency to consumers and fair competition among Covered California's plan partners," the health plans said in a letter to members of the board of Covered California.

In the letter, Kaiser, Sharp Health Plan and Western Health Advantage said "it is unimaginable that consumers would prefer to be kept in the dark when quality information is readily available for their consideration."

Covered California announced this summer that it would delay posting quality ratings for health plans online, saying information used to rate the health plans was out of date.

The letter from Kaiser, Sharp and Western Health comes ahead of a Thursday meeting at which Covered California officials are expected to discuss the issue.

PHOTO: The executive director of Covered California, Peter V. Lee, speaks to members of the media during the launch of Covered California in Rancho Cordova on Oct. 1. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton.

October 22, 2013
AM Alert: Jerry Brown boosts casino hotel construction

20130909_HA_PRISONS0008.JPGThe Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens is getting a new hotel. It's also getting a visit from the governor of California.

Gov. Jerry Brown will be at the launch of the new hotel this morning, lending his blessing to a project that a gubernatorial news release touts for jolting the local economy and creating hundreds of jobs.

A press release from Bicycle estimates that casino revenue comprises nearly half of the Bell Gardens general fund. Joining Brown will be Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens.

It bears noting that the casino has been a big Brown benefactor over the past couple of years. As The Bee's David Siders reported earlier, Bicycle poured $37,000 into his 2010 campaign, $25,000 to the Prop. 30 push and another $14,700 so far into the governor's re-election war chest.

JOB MOVE: Welcome to the private sector, Mr. Mayor: Former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is joining PR titan Edelman as a senior adviser, the company officially announced today.

RALLY: Those protesters massing on the Capitol's west steps this morning are marking a nationally observed Day Against Police Brutality, highlighting instances in which people have died or suffered violence at the hands of law enforcement officers. Expected speakers include former California Supreme Court justice Cruz Reynoso.

COAST: The Pacific Ocean's vitality comes under the lens of a Select Committee on Coastal Protection hearing in Santa Cruz today. For the record, committee chair Mark Stone, D-Scotts Valley, was among the lawmakers who backed a thwarted bill empowering the California Coastal Commission to levy fines on violators. It should also be interesting to see whether offshore fracking surfaces as a discussion topic, given that Stone authored one of a few unsuccessful fracking bills this session. The hearing, featuring a scientist-heavy witness list, gets underway at 1:30 p.m.

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown talks to reporters in Sacramento on Sept. 9, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua.


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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