Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

December 30, 2013
Cal grad Jerry Brown headed to Rose Bowl to root for Stanford

stanfordfootball.jpgGov. Jerry Brown doesn't watch a lot of football, and he's a University of California, Berkeley graduate, to boot.

But the governor will be rooting from the stands for Stanford when the Cardinal play Michigan State in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.

Brown will be joined by his wife, Anne Gust Brown, who graduated from Stanford and went to law school at University of Michigan, a Michigan State rival.

The governor's office said Brown and Gust Brown bought their own tickets to the game. They will not participate in the Rose Parade.

Any wager Brown might make with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder appeared to be unsettled, but the tough talk is already on.

"We'll let you know if there's a wager," Brown spokesman Evan Westrup said in an email, "but based on recent history, our friends from the Big 10 have a big hill to climb if they hope to beat the Cardinal."

No. 5 Stanford is ranked just behind No. 4 Michigan State, but Westrup had recent Rose Bowl history in mind. Big Ten teams have lost eight of nine Rose Bowl games in the last decade.

Editor's note: This post was updated at 3:45 p.m. to include information about team rankings and the Big Ten's struggles in recent Rose Bowl games.

PHOTO: Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan celebrates after a college football game on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, in Stanford, Calif. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

December 30, 2013
FPPC will not investigate Sen. Kevin de León


California's political watchdog agency has decided not to open an investigation of state Sen. Kevin de León, and will instead investigate the political action committee that made a $25,000 contribution to a nonprofit group run by the brother of Sen. Ron Calderon, who is under federal investigation for alleged bribery.

"We opened an investigation into...the transaction itself and not against anyone specifically," said Gary Winuk, chief of enforcement for the Fair Political Practices Commission.

"We are not targeting Senator de Leon."

Yes We Can, a political action committee run by the Latino Legislative Caucus, made the contribution early this year after a fight over leadership of the Latino caucus. Calderon, D-Montebello, was in line to become chairman of the influential caucus, but state Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, did not want to give up the post.

A few weeks after the caucus voted to keep Lara as chairman, the PAC gave $25,000 to Californians for Diversity, a nonprofit group run by Calderon's brother, former Assemblyman Tom Calderon.

An FBI affidavit published by Al Jazeera America in October alleges that de León, D-Los Angeles, brokered a deal between Calderon and Lara to settle the leadership dispute with the $25,000 payment. The affidavit quotes a conversation between Ron Calderon and an undercover FBI agent, in which the senator says he and his brother planned to draw income from the nonprofit group.

No charges have been filed in the federal investigation.

But based on allegations in the affidavit, the state's Fair Political Practices Commission earlier this month sent de León a letter saying it wanted more information about the contribution. The FPPC wanted to know whether it constituted a payment made at the behest of a government official, which has to be reported under California law.

De León maintained that he helped mediate the chairmanship fight but was not involved in any financial transactions.

"Senator De León did not request the contribution, did not recommend the contribution, and was not part of any vote or decision to make the contribution," the senator's lawyer, Stephen Kaufman, wrote in a letter to the FPPC.

Winuk said the FPPC found no evidence that de León behested the payment, but that he wants to open a broader investigation to see who directed the money be moved from the Latino caucus's political fundraising account to Calderon's nonprofit.

"Was it someone who needed to report it?" Winuk said. "And if so, did they report it?"

De León said in an email that he is happy with the outcome.

"I had nothing to do with the contribution and am pleased that after reviewing the evidence the FPPC quickly closed this matter," his email said.

PHOTO: State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, left, with Sen. Ron Calderon, center, and Sen. Kevin de Leon, right, on the last day of the legislative session in September 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Renee C. Byer

Editor's note: This post was updated at 4:17 p.m. on December 30, 2013, to include a response from Sen. Kevin de Leon.

December 30, 2013
Census Bureau, state agree on California's population growth


State demographers and the federal Census Bureau, who once had widely disparate views about California's population growth, appear to be in synch so far in this decade.

A couple of weeks ago, the state Department of Finance calculated that California's population reached 38.2 million on June 30, a gain of 332,000 residents. On Monday, the Census Bureau agreed that California had gained just over 332,000 during that same period, but pegged the total at a slightly higher 38.3 million.

The almost total agreement between the state's estimate and the Census Bureau report stands in sharp contrast to what happened in the previous decade.

Beginning with the 2000 census, the state calculated that California's population growth was much higher than what the Census Bureau figured and by the end of the decade, the difference between two was a million persons. The gap largely stemmed from differing views of how many people had migrated from California to other states.

The 2010 census settled the disagreement in the Census Bureau's favor and since then the state and federal estimates have been in tandem.

The Census bureau says that the nation's population rose by 2.25 million during the 20012-13 period, or 0.07 percent. California's population growth was slightly higher at 0.09 percent. The new California total, 38.3 million, is just over a million higher than the 2010 census found.

PHOTO: Melvin Griffin, 75, center, was hoping to find a job that would give him more hours then his part-time job at the Census Bureau. Sacramento's 16th Annual Career Expo at the Masonic Temple building, was Dec. 11, 2012 in Sacramento, Calif. The Sacramento Bee/Renee C. Byer

December 30, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Unemployment rate belies California's real job problem

As California gets back to work, the increasing disparity between coastal and inland communities is troublesome, Dan says.

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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