Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

December 24, 2013
Ron Calderon, Chris Hansen head annual naughty list


You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not allegedly take bribes from undercover FBI agents or secretively fund a campaign to block the new Sacramento Kings arena.

Sustaining a seasonal tradition, the Citizen Hotel in downtown Sacramento has posted its list of do-gooders and reprobates from 2013. The catalog of people receiving figurative coal contained few surprises.

Occupants of the naughty list included Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, the subject of an FBI corruption probe that has riveted Sacramento; embattled, substance-abusing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford; over-exposed New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner; and "consultants as lobbyists," a reference to the sometimes-blurry line between what does and does not require lobbyist registration in California politics.

Perhaps the greatest Sacramento villain to make the naughty list, though, was billionaire Chris Hansen. After failing in his effort to lure the Kings to Seattle, Hansen was then exposed as the mystery benefactor of an effort to hold a public vote on the new Sacramento arena, prompting a laconic statement from Kings backer and top Senate Democrat Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento ("Unbelievable.").

The Kings saga did yield kudos for "Shaqramento," an ode to the former Lakers great and Kings nemesis Shaquille O'Neal becoming a part-owner, and for software titan and new owner Vivek Ranadive.

They sat on the nice list alongside the Sacramento Farm to Fork festival, Pope Francis and the San Francisco Batkid. Also on the good list was "functioning government websites," a seeming nod to the fact that Covered California, the state's health insurance exchange, has seen much more robust enrollment numbers than the creaky federal website.

PHOTO: The Citizen Hotel's naughty and nice list, with some reflected palm trees to prove this is in California, on December 24, 2013 in Sacramento. Jeremy B. White/The Sacramento Bee.

December 24, 2013
California governor Jerry Brown pardons 127, mostly for drugs


In the spirit of holiday forgiveness, Gov. Jerry Brown announced pardons on Tuesday for 127 people.

Everyone getting their names cleared finished serving their time more than a decade ago and have stayed out of trouble since, according to Brown's office. The clemency messages also testified that the people in question had become upstanding citizens who "exhibited good moral character" and "lived an honest and upright life."

Most of the individuals receiving full and unconditional pardons had been convicted of drug-related offenses. Of the 127, 93 had been convicted of possessing, transporting or selling marijuana and other controlled substances.

Robberies, burglaries and thefts accounted for most of the rest. In one eyebrow-raising instance, a man drunkenly "stole his neighbor's lawn mower and some frozen food items," according to the pardon message. A California woman burglarized a home "and took food to feed her children," another message states.

The number of people receiving pardons just before Christmas fell one short of the total number of pardons Brown handed down in 2012. Brown pardoned 128 convicted criminals in 2012, 79 of them on Christmas Eve, a marked increase from the 21 pardons he issued in 2011.

The gubernatorial pardons came several days after President Obama commuted the sentences of eight federal inmates serving long terms for crack-cocaine related offenses, Obama's latest effort to soften a legacy of harsh drug-related penalties.

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown after announcing that his office has come to an agreement with four leaders of legislation on prison housing plan, on Sept. 9, 2013 in Sacramento California. 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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