Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

March 25, 2014
Pérez holds large fundraising lead in controller's race

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Assembly Speaker John Perez.JPG
Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez held a 17-to-1 cash-on-hand advantage over fellow Democrat Betty Yee as of mid-March in the race for state controller, according to the latest campaign filings.

Yee, a member of the state Board of Equalization, and Pérez are running to succeed Controller John Chiang, who is running for state treasurer.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, the top Republican in the contest, only declared her candidacy earlier this month and did not file a report by Monday's deadline.

The chart below compares Pérez and Yee's fundraising totals for Jan. 1 through March 17:

PHOTO: Assemblyman John Perez, D-Los Angeles, talks with reporters after it was announced that he would replace Karen Bass, right, as the new California Assembly Speaker in December 2009. The Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli)

March 25, 2014
Jerry Brown appoints former reporter Greg Lucas as state librarian


Gov. Jerry Brown announced Tuesday that he has appointed Greg Lucas, a former San Francisco Chronicle political reporter who has, most recently, been a political blogger and host of a television interview show, as the state librarian.

Lucas, son of former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Malcolm Lucas, is also the husband of Donna Lucas, who runs a political public relations firm in Sacramento and is a former adviser to Republican governors.

The new librarian, who will earn $142,968 a year, is a Democrat. He left the Chronicle in 2007 after 19 years with the newspaper and has been an editor for the Capitol Weekly newspaper in recent years. He also hosted an informal political discussion program for the California Channel.

In his new job, Lucas will manage the California State Library, which is located near the Capitol. It houses historical books and documents, provides research to the governor and Legislature and acts as a liaison with local libraries.

PHOTO: The renovated Stanley Mosk Library & Courts Building. (The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

March 25, 2014
Tim Donnelly holds less than $11,000 in race for governor

donnellyscrum.jpgRepublican Tim Donnelly continued to lag behind in fundraising in California's gubernatorial race in the first three months of the year, with less than $11,000 in cash on hand mid-way through March, according to a campaign finance statement filed Monday.

In addition, Donnelly's campaign posted $149,068 in outstanding debts.

Donnelly, a tea party favorite, reported contributions from Jan. 1 to March 17 of $182,206, mostly in relatively small donations. But he posted payments of more than $190,000 including more than $59,000 to campaign consultants and campaign workers.

Donnelly, a Twin Peaks assemblyman, is in far worse financial shape than his Republican rival, Neel Kashkari, who has banked $903,478.

The two Republicans are competing in a longshot bid to unseat Gov. Jerry Brown, and they remain far behind him in fundraising. The Democratic incumbent reported Friday that he holds nearly $20 million in cash on hand.

PHOTO: Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly speaks with reporters at the California Republican Party's biannual convention in Burlingame on March 15, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders

March 25, 2014
AM Alert: Mike Morrell seeks to replace Bill Emmerson in SD23

Emmerson.JPGCalifornia's 23rd Senate District was vacated last fall when former state Sen. Bill Emmerson abruptly announced he would resign effective December 1, saying his "passion has waned" after nine years in the Legislature. A month later, Emmerson joined the California Hospital Association to oversee its lobbying operation.

Voters in the Republican-leaning district, which takes in swaths of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, will head to the polls today for a special election primary to replace Emmerson. The top two are scheduled to face off on the June ballot, though the race could be over by tonight if one candidate gets at least 50 percent of the vote.

The presumptive favorite is Assemblyman Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, whose 40th Assembly District overlaps with about half of the 23rd Senate District. He faces Republican San Jacinto councilwoman Crystal Ruiz, Libertarian Calimesa Councilman Jeffrey Hewitt, Democratic health care consultant Ameenah Fuller and Democratic real estate educator Ronald O'Donnell.

The special election is expected to cost at least $1.1 million for Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

VIDEO: The budget may be balanced on paper, but we're running up debts with deferred maintenance on our crumbling highway system, Dan Walters says.

THINK OF THE CHILDREN: The Advancement Project has put together a buzzworthy list of names to discuss educational and economic opportunities for young children at its sixth annual Water Cooler Conference, taking place at the Sheraton Grand Hotel on J Street starting at 8:30 a.m. Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof will deliver the keynote address at noon. Also scheduled to speak are state Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles; Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles; Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego; State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson; and Camille Maben, executive director of First 5 California.

BEHIND THE TIMES: New legislation from Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, seeks to address a backlog of untested rape kits in California by outlining timeframes for law enforcement agencies and forensic labs to process forensic evidence from sexual assaults. The bill appears before Assembly Public Safety Committee at 9 a.m. in Room 126 of the Capitol.

COVER UP: The first enrollment period for Covered California ends March 31 and users won't be able to sign up for the health care exchange again until the fall. Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, joins with Diana Dooley, state secretary of health and human services, at Sacramento Fire Department Station #2 on I Street at 9:30 a.m. to publicize these final days of open enrollment.

FREE YOUR MIND: The Senate Select Committee on Emerging Technology: Biotechnology and Green Energy Jobs holds a hearing at 10 a.m. in Room 113 of the Capitol to discuss the BRAIN Initiative, a federal brain-mapping project announced last year, and the role California could play in the research.

MAZEL TOV: A new legislative caucus emerged earlier this session to focus on issues pertaining to the Jewish community. The Legislative Jewish Caucus, which includes nine lawmakers who identify as Jewish and several who do not but wanted to participate, kicks off its first event at 5:30 p.m. at Chops on 11th Street.

IT'S ALL DOWNSTREAM FROM HERE: Hoping to increase the odds of survival for salmon this year, state and federal fish and wildlife agencies are embarking upon a two-and-a-half month program to truck the fish from hatcheries to downstream release points, bypassing hazards in drought-depleted streams. The effort begins today with a demonstration in Rio Vista at 9:15 a.m.

March 25, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: State debt should account for crumbling highways

RP_HIGHWAY_49_SIGN.JPGThe budget may be balanced on paper, but we're running up debts with deferred maintenance on our crumbling highway system, Dan says.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

PHOTO: California Highway 49 sign. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench


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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