Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

March 9, 2014
Longtime business leader William Hauck dies

Hauck.JPGWilliam Hauck, former longtime head of the California Business Roundtable and a current member of the California State University Board of Trustees, has died.

Mr. Hauck died Friday evening at Sutter Roseville Medical Center after an eight-month battle with brain cancer, said Rick Brandsma, a close family friend. He was 73.

Mr. Hauck was a prominent figure at the California Capitol for decades, having served in leadership posts for politicians of both parties, including former Democratic Assembly Speakers Bob Moretti and Willie Brown and Republican Govs. Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

From 1996 to 2011, Mr. Hauck headed the California Business Roundtable, a leading public policy advocacy association for businesses. He later joined the Sacramento-based Goddard Claussen/West (now Redwood Pacific) political consulting firm as senior adviser.

At the time of his death, Mr. Hauck had served more than 20 years on the CSU board, having been appointed by Wilson and re-appointed by Gov. Gray Davis and later Schwarzenegger. He also was a member of the board of directors of Blue Shield of California.

Private services are planned.

PHOTO: Bill Hauck, president of the Business Roundtable, addresses the media Tuesday, May 19, 2009 after the failure of Proposition 1A. The Sacramento Bee/Carl Costas

March 9, 2014
Betty Yee criticizes, John A. Pérez cheers state party in controller race

perezconvention.jpgLOS ANGELES - Betty Yee, the state Board of Equalization member competing against Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez in the Democratic race for state controller, issued a vague but stinging indictment of the state party Sunday, suggesting its leadership has become too heavy-handed and is disconnected from grassroots activists.

Her remarks, on the final day of the California Democratic Party's annual convention here, highlighted the intensity of a fight for the party's endorsement in the race, one of the most competitive statewide contests.

In delegate voting following two days of lobbying, neither Yee nor Pérez received sufficient support to win the endorsement. The speaker, with nearly 48 percent of the vote, finished ahead of Yee by just more than 3 percentage points.

In his convention speech, Pérez, a former labor organizer, recounted legislative achievements and electoral pick-ups made by Democrats in the Legislature during his tenure.

"We're expanding the map everywhere," he said. "In California, red to blue is not a slogan. It's a reality."

Without offering specific examples, Yee accused some members of the party of bullying activists "so power may remain in the hands of a few political leaders." She said "grassroots activists often are relegated to ridicule."

PHOTO: Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez addresses the California Democratic Party convention in Los Angeles on March 9, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders

March 9, 2014
California Democrats add marijuana legalization, fracking moratorium to platform

conventionoverview.jpgLOS ANGELES - The California Democratic Party added planks to its platform Sunday calling for the legalization of marijuana and a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.

The platform's adoption, on a unanimous or near-unanimous voice vote, reflected the influence of the party's more liberal wing at its annual convention. Both positions are at odds with Gov. Jerry Brown. The Democratic governor has expressed reservations about legalizing marijuana and faced protests when he spoke here Saturday over his permissiveness of hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method of oil extraction.

The platform calls for the party to "support the legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana, in a manner similar to that of tobacco or alcohol."

On hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the party calls for "an immediate moratorium on fracking, acidizing, and other forms of oil/gas well stimulation" until more restrictive regulations are enacted.

The platform change comes a week after Brown made headlines with remarks critical of marijuana legalization.

"Well, we have medical marijuana, which gets very close to what they have in Colorado and Washington," Brown said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I'd really like those two states to show us how it's going to work."

Brown feared advertising and the legitimization of marijuana use could lead to a lack of alertness by the citizenry.

"The world's pretty dangerous, very competitive," Brown said. "I think we need to stay alert, if not 24 hours a day, more than some of the potheads might be able to put together."

In a speech to delegates on Saturday, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a supporter of legalization, said "it's time to legalize, it's time to tax, it's time to regulate marijuana."

He said, "This is a serious debate for serious people ... This is not a debate about stoners."

PHOTO: The California Democratic Party convenes during its annual convention in Los Angeles on March 9, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders

March 9, 2014
VIDEO: Gavin Newsom, Wilson Phillips celebrate 'winter of love'

newsomparty.jpgLOS ANGELES - Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom's Twitter handle and photographs of gay weddings he oversaw while mayor of San Francisco lit up the side of The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites on Saturday night, and for a few hours at the California Democratic Party's annual convention no politician was in higher demand.

At a celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the "winter of love" - the precursor to years of debate over same-sex marriage and, eventually, the overturning of California's gay marriage ban - hundreds of supporters drank cocktails on a poolside patio and crowded around Newsom to heap praise on the lieutenant governor.

"If you were any cuter, I might throw up right now," said Carnie Wilson, a member of Wilson Phillips, which played at the event. "Gavin, you are one awesome human being."

For gay rights advocates, the event highlighted how far their movement has come in the years since gay marriage was outlawed here.


For political watchers, it was a reminder that Newsom has not always occupied the least influential of statewide offices, and that he maintains a base of support that will benefit him if he runs for higher office in four years.

"I'm grateful for the folks behind me, for their courage, for standing on their principle," Newsom told the crowd. "They didn't have to show up in 2004 when we opened up the doors. They didn't have to show up and say, 'I do,' and continue with the sense of faith and love and devotion and constancy as they have for the last ... 10 years."

A decade ago, he said, "We started a conversation ... It was millions of those conversations that were won that ultimately has led to where we are today."

PHOTO: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom addresses supporters at a party at the California Democratic Party convention in Los Angeles, while an image of his Twitter handle is projected on a wall on March 9, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders


Capitol Alert Staff

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. Twitter: @DanielSnowSmith

Jim Miller Jim Miller covers California policy and politics and edits Capitol Alert. Twitter: @jimmiller2

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

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

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

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers the Legislature. Twitter: @capitolalert

Koseff Alexei Koseff edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @akoseff

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

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