Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

November 25, 2013
Barack Obama presses for immigration changes

obamaapseattle.jpgSAN FRANCISCO - President Barack Obama pressed House Republicans to make changes to the nation's immigration laws Monday, seeking to refocus attention away from a federal healthcare overhaul whose bungled rollout has damaged him politically.

"It's long past time to fix our broken immigration system," Obama said to applause at the Betty Ong Recreation Center in San Francisco.

Obama's speech was interrupted by the shouting of a man on the riser behind him who called for Obama, by administrative action, to "stop deportation now." Obama engaged in an exchange with the man, saying America is a "nation of laws."

Obama arrived in California with his public approval rating at a record low, standing to benefit from any shift in attention away from thel healthcare overhaul. In addition to his remarks on immigration, Obama is expected to address the economy at an event Tuesday in Southern California.

The two policy speeches were folded into a West Coast fundraising swing ahead of next year's midterm elections, with fundraisers in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles for the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The prospect of significant federal action on immigration is in doubt. The U.S. Senate approved legislation earlier this year that would pay for increased border security and create a guest-worker program and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. But the measure is stalled in the House, with many Republicans resistant.

Obama briefly mentioned healthcare, saying "states like California are proving the law works." Nearly 80,000 customers enrolled in the state exchange from its launch Oct. 1 through Nov. 19..

PHOTO: President Barack Obama departs Seattle under foggy skies on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, heading for San Francisco. Associated Press/Elaine Thompson

November 25, 2013
California kids get early introductions to fast food meals

fastfood.JPGCalifornia's young children appear to be getting early introductions to the taste -- and perhaps the perils -- of fast food, according to a new study by UCLA's Center for Health Policy Research.

The study found that 60 percent of California's children between the ages of 2 and 5 had eaten fast food at least once in the previous week -- and it climbed to 70 percent among Latino children, the state's largest ethnic cohort.

"A weekly happy meal is an unhappy solution, especially for toddlers," Susan Holtby, the study's lead author," said in a statement accompanying release of the report. "Hard-working, busy parents need support to make healthy food selections for their kids."

The 60 percent figure is actually a few percentage points lower than a previous study covering 2007-09.

The results were taken from the California Health Interview Survey, aimed at examining the nutritional practices of children and their parents.

Among other findings:

  • Asian children eat the fewest fruits and vegetables of any ethnic group, with only 40 percent consuming at least five servings a day, the recommended level, well under the 57 percent recorded for all children.


  • Parents of children in the state's poorest families, those below 100 percent of the federal poverty level, are the least likely of all parents to say they have "a lot" of influence over their children's food intake.


  • Children who ate three or more fast food meals a week were "much more likely" to drink sugary sodas than children who ate less fast food.

The results, researchers said, indicate that targeted messages are needed to persuade parents both to exert more control over their children's diets and to make those diets healthier.

"Simple messages and programs can reinforce what every parent wants -- the good health of their children," Camille Maben, executive director of First 5 California, said in a statement. "This shows there is more work to be done to reach families with the critical education and support they need."

First 5 California commissioned the UCLA study.

PHOTO: A young girl on a scooter passes by three fast-food restaurants on Elk Grove Blvd. in Elk Grove on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2009. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench

November 25, 2013
AM Alert: Progressive California budget priorities on display

CaliforniaBudget.jpg

We got a little preview of the coming year's budget negotiations earlier this week, when designated room-inhabiting-adult Gov. Jerry Brown responded to a glowing fiscal forecast by urging that an expected revenue surge be tucked away to cushion against more turbulent times.

An event in San Francisco this morning will offer the counterpoint. Hosted by the liberal Greenlining Institute and attended by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, the "Equity in California's State Budget" talk will feature the type of social safety net menders likely to push for Brown and lawmakers to restore funding this year.

In addition to Leno, speakers are expected to include Raquel F. Donoso of the Latino Community Foundation, Chris Hoene of the California Budget Project, Mai Yang Vang of California Forward, Ellen Wu of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network and Valerie Cuevas of The Education Trust--West. From 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Public Policy Institute of California's Bechtel Conference Center.

VIDEO: California's roadmap for implementing federal health care reform has shaken up Democrats, Dan Walters says.

GATTO FUNERAL: On a sad note, today is the funeral for Joseph Gatto, father of Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles. The elder Gatto was fatally shot at home earlier this month. The Gatto family is asking that in lieu of flowers donations be sent to The Historic Italian Hall Foundation; the Los Angeles Community Garden Council; or The Tuition Magician. The service is planned for 10 a.m. in Los Angeles.

EXECUTIVE DECISION: President Barack Obama will be in San Francisco and Los Angeles for some Democratic National Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee/Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee events. Obama will also be delivering some public remarks at San Francisco's Betty Ann Ong Chinese Recreation Center, and a White House preview emphasized not health care or filibusters but immigration, with the president expected to urge passage of a reform package that has receded from the spotlight.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to whippersnapper Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, who turns 39 today.

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown discusses his revised state budget plan during a Capitol news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, May 14, 2012. .AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli.

November 25, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Health law fractures California Democrats

A decision to let Californians's health insurance plans get canceled has Democrats running for cover, Dan says.

Have a question you'd like Dan to answer? Post it on our Facebook page.

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.



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Capitol Alert Staff


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

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

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee. smith@sacbee.com

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

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert. mmassimino@sacbee.com

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

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. dsiders@sacbee.com. Twitter: @davidsiders

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

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