Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

October 28, 2013
Man who threatened Leland Yee pleads to 10 counts

RB Leland Yee 1.JPG
A Santa Clara man pleaded no contest today to seven felonies and three misdemeanors in making threats against state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, for his pursuit of gun control legislation.

Everett Basham pleaded to felony counts of making terrorist threats, malicious possession of explosives, forging a military ID and illegal possession of assault weapons, said Alaleh Kianerci, a Santa Clara County deputy district attorney. She said he also pleaded to misdemeanors including carrying a loaded concealed weapon and possession of a destructive device, which was a modified explosive.

The crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years, Kianerci said, adding that Basham is not eligible for probation.

The incident took place earlier this year, when Basham sent Yee an email warning that he would assassinate him if he continued pursuing gun control bills.

"The threat was unlike any of the other ones I've received in the past," Yee said in February. "In the past I've received racial slurs, rants about my ethnicity and culture, about China. But instead this was a rather detailed, deliberate and exact set of strategies as to how he would carry out that threat."

Yee issued a statement today thanking prosecutors for their action on the case and vowing to continue "pushing for common sense gun safety legislation."

"I appreciate that justice was served in this matter and I hope that this man receives all the help he needs," the statement said. "The professionalism of the California Highway Patrol, the FBI, the Santa Clara District Attorney's office and their partners, ensured that a dangerous threat was removed from our community before anyone was hurt."

PHOTO: Sate Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, discusses the death threat against him in February 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton

October 28, 2013
VIDEO: Steinberg talks about trip to Switzerland

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and a small delegation of California state senators recently returned from a trip to Germany and Switzerland to learn about the way those countries teach high school. Today Steinberg visited Sacramento's Health Professions High School, where he talked about what he liked in the Swiss public education system:

October 28, 2013
Steinberg: Making high school relevant is 'top focus'


California high schools could see an infusion of new programs that link academics with career exposure to provide students a richer learning experience. That's the goal of a competitive $250 million grant process Senate leader Darrell Steinberg is promoting to schools and businesses.

The Sacramento Democrat joined several local education and business leaders at Health Professions High School today to highlight a piece of the 2013-14 state budget that he hopes will give high school a boost of relevancy by connecting students to the world of work. Steinberg encouraged schools and community colleges to collaborate with employers in their region and apply together for grants to create more opportunities for applied learning.

"We want business, we want lead industries to step up and see this not just as a philanthropic add-on or something that would be nice to do for kids, but to see this opportunity as the beginning of a change in our American culture," Steinberg said. "For business, helping educate and train the next century work force is an indispensable part of the bottom line."

High schools could use the grants, for example, to hire someone to serve as an internship coordinator to match students with businesses, or to train teachers to teach academic subjects in a more hands-on way that shows how they relate to careers.

Educators bill the approach as "linked learning," and hold up Sacramento's Arthur A. Benjamin Health Professions High School as an example. The school teaches a college-prep academic curriculum but blends it with preparation for careers in health care. During a tour, Steinberg visited an English class where students had read "The Hot Zone," a book about the Ebola virus, and were doing a project about its symptoms.

"Linked Learning students understand how their high school education relates to their next step and beyond," said Deborah Bettencourt, superintendent of the Folsom Cordova Unified School District.

October 28, 2013
AM Alert: Jerry Brown, other governors to sign climate accord


Fresh off his trip to Washington, D.C., Gov. Jerry Brown will join his West Coast gubernatorial brethren and Canadian officials today to ink a climate change accord.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and environmental officials from British Columbia will join Brown in San Francisco to sign the pact. Stay tuned for more details.

VIDEO: As the state's finances improve, Dan Walters says the court system finds itself in the same place as other state agencies scrambling for more money.

CAPITOL TO CAPITOL: Now that's what you'd call a memorable exit: California Fair Political Practices Commission Chair Ann Ravel put an exclamation point on her tenure by announcing a landmark $1 million settlement Thursday with nonprofits that secretively injected millions of dollars into the 2012 election cycle.

Now Ravel is migrating from California to the nation's capital, where she'll monitor monetary machinations for the Federal Elections Commission. The U.S. Senate confirmed her appointment to the panel back in September. Ravel was sworn in on Friday, and today is her first day working for the feds.

SEXUAL ASSAULT: The issue of sexual assault in the military has gained prominence on Capitol Hill recently, and today California lawmakers will examine the lingering repercussions of military sexual assault during a hearing conducted jointly by the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee and the California Legislative Women's Caucus, with witnesses including Lindsey Sin, deputy secretary of women veterans affairs at the California Department of Veterans Affairs and Jennifer Lucero, sexual assault response coordinator for the California National Guard. Starting at 10 a.m. in the Capitol's room 437.

LINKED LEARNING: The concept of high school education tailored to specific careers has apparently captivated Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg for a while now. (He led a Senate field trip to study the concept in Long Beach and traveled to Germany and Switzerland this month to learn more.) Today he's touting a $250 million linked learning grant program included in this year's budget. At 9:30 a.m. at Health Professions High School in Sacramento.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, who turns 48 today, and to Sen. Bill Emmerson, R-Hemet, who turns 68.

PHOTO: California Gov. Jerry Brown unveils his revised budget plan for the fiscal year at the Capitol in Sacramento on May 14, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Renée C. Byer.

October 28, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California courts compete in clamor for cash

With a new agency aimed at ginning up cash, Dan notes, California's court system joins other state agencies in scrambling for a slice of the general fund pie.

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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