Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

Thumbnail image for High Speed Rail.JPGCalifornia's proposed high-speed train was left in the lurch last week when a Sacramento Superior Court judge ordered the rail authority to rescind its original funding plan. The ruling halts state bond funding for the $68 billion project until a new plan is established and opens the door for the train's opponents to further challenge its financing.

Members of the California High-Speed Rail Authority will meet with counsel today at 9 a.m. in the Sacramento City Council Chambers for a closed session on this case and other pending litigation. Several groups have challenged the high-speed train project on financial and environmental grounds, making it increasingly difficult for construction to get started.

That discussion will be followed by a public meeting at 10 a.m., covering updates on the construction process and including an opportunity for public comment.

VIDEO: The city of San Bernardino is bankrupt, but it is still increasing police salaries this year, an act that Dan Walters calls "dumb conduct."

MR. POPULAR: As subscribers to the Capitol Alert Insider app learned last night, Gov. Jerry Brown's popularity is on the upswing. A new Field Poll reveals that approval of his job performance among California voters is up seven points since July, to 58 percent, with only 33 percent disapproving. Though he has not declared his intentions to run for a fourth term, Brown is also the overwhelming choice in a simulated primary gubernatorial race. Reporter David Siders has more on Brown's surging poll numbers.

Here are the statistical tabulations provided exclusively for Capitol Alert.

OPENING UP: Between budget deficits that threatened the closing of state parks and revelations of long-hidden cash surpluses, the California Department of Parks and Recreation had a rocky 2012. State Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, will be at McConnell State Recreation Area, one of the parks that faced cuts, today at 10 a.m. to announce new legislation aimed at increasing transparency in state agencies. He will be joined by members of Save Our River Parks, an organization that raised private funds to keep McConnell and Hatfield State Recreation Areas open during the 2012-13 fiscal year.

SCIENCE BREAK: Agricultural biotech has been a controversial topic, with public debate about genetically modified organisms becoming increasingly heated. Alan McHughen, who has served on several National Academy of Sciences panels investigating GMOs, will explore the environmental, health and public policy impacts of modern food production during a presentation today at noon at the University of California Center Sacramento on K Street.

PENSION CHAT: Sacramento Bee reporters Dale Kasler and Jon Ortiz will host a live online chat discuss how recent rulings on pensions may affect Californians. Join at www.sacbee.com/live at 11:30 a.m. Friday, December 6, to share your questions and comments.

PHOTO: A rendering of a high-speed train moving through a wind farm in the proposed high-speed rail network. Image courtesy of Newlands and Company Inc.



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