Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

April 25, 2014
Counties press Calif. GOP to endorse Rep. McClintock

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The California Republican Party is poised to endorse Rep. Tom McClintock over a fellow GOP candidate, an unusual move for the organization in primary elections.

The state party in recent years has made it considerably more difficult for candidates - including incumbents - to get its official stamp of approval over intraparty challengers. Still, party officials confirmed they've started the process to endorse McClintock and Republican Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen, a key candidate for state Senate.

McClintock, a conservative icon facing a challenge from Republican Art Moore, has secured the support of 10 county central committees across the sprawling, Roseville-based 4th district. The state endorsement would allow him to present a unified front and burnish his grass roots credentials to help energize volunteers and raise money.

"We felt it was an important statement to make to demonstrate who in fact was and should be the Republican nominee in the 4th Congressional District," Placer County GOP Chairman Dennis Revell said Friday. "Contrary to what his opponent might want to suggest, Congressman McClintock enjoys the unanimous support of all 10 county central committees."

The contest has been personal from the start. Moore, a political newcomer with roots in the district, criticizes the incumbent for not being from the area and espousing intransigent views. McClintock and his supporters took aim at Moore for never voting in an election and for being the creation of moderate political consultants out for conservative blood.

As recently as Wednesday, he suggested Moore's campaign coordinated with a trio of Democrats ahead of the filing deadline to manipulate the field in an attempt to unseat the incumbent in November. Under new rules, the top-two finishers regardless of party advance to the fall election.

Moore and his campaign have repeatedly denied any coordination, though the candidate did acknowledge meeting with one of the Democrats before she decided against a run.

Jeff Wyly, a spokesman for Moore, said it was to be expected the state party would endorse an incumbent like McClintock -- regardless of the bureaucratic hurdles. "Once elected, Art looks forward to working with the state party and helping Chairman (Jim) Brulte rebuild it with fresh ideas," Wyly said.

Nguyen is perhaps her party's most important legislative candidate this cycle. Running against former Democratic Assemblyman Jose Solorio, she is hoping to flip the 34th district seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Lou Correa of Santa Ana.

The GOP for decades had stayed out of primary elections. In 2012, however, party officials met behind closed doors and picked more than 100 candidates.

Started under Brulte, the party's new multi-step endorsement process must be triggered at the local level and requires a two-thirds vote of the board of directors. Officials are barred from weighing in on statewide contests. Republicans without an intraparty challenger are automatically supported.

PHOTO: Rep. Tom McClintock address the Northern California Tea Party Patriots at a rally September 12, 2010 in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee/Paul Kitagaki Jr.

April 25, 2014
California city appealing after redevelopment court defeat

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The city of Brentwood will ask an appellate court to overturn a judge's ruling against a city lawsuit challenging the state's ability to "claw back" former redevelopment money.

The case is one of several post-redevelopment lawsuits that have significant fiscal implications for the state. State officials, including Gov. Jerry Brown, have warned that legal losses could cost it more than $3 billion.

In the Brentwood case, the city challenged a central part of the 2011 law dissolving the anti-blight program. It allowed the state to "claw back" money transferred by redevelopment agencies to their sponsoring cities or counties from Jan. 1, 2011 to Feb. 1, 2012, when redevelopment ceased to exist.

In a December tentative ruling, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Allen Sumner said that provision was unconstitutional. State officials disagreed and in a subsequent court filing said the tentative ruling — if upheld — would create a precedent and prompt a flood of local government demands to reclaim redevelopment money.

The judge ruled in favor of the state earlier this month.

"The court did a 180," attorney Leah Castella, the special counsel to the city on the case, said this week. "We hope the appellate court will see things the way we do."

PHOTO: A mermaid swims in the aquarium at Sacramento's Dive Bar in 2011. Redevelopment helped finance the business. The Sacramento Bee/Lezlie Sterling

April 25, 2014
Leland Yee promises to fight corruption in ballot statement

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Arriving soon in the mailboxes of about 10.6 million California voter households: a pledge from suspended state Sen. Leland Yee to fight corruption.

Yee, indicted earlier this month on corruption and conspiracy charges, paid for a 251-word (at $25-a-word) statement touting his secretary of state candidacy in the voter information guides that began going out Thursday for the June 3 primary..

Yee withdrew from the race shortly after his March 26 arrest — after he had already qualified for the ballot. The San Francisco Democrat's name will be among voters' eight choices for the state's top elections post.

In his candidate statement, Yee plugs his legislation that legalized online voter registration and includes a link to a still-active Yee website, itsyourcalifornia.org, allowing people to register. He also notes that he possesses a "common sense law enforcement record."

"Under the Constitution, the Secretary of State's job is to empower Californians to govern California, to guarantee fair elections, expose special interests, and prevent corruption," Yee concludes. "I am the Democrat who will represent everyone. I hope to be your Secretary of State."

Editor's note: This post was updated at 5 p.m. April 25 to include the number of voter information guides that will be mailed out by the secretary of state's office.

PHOTO: The home page of itsyourcalifornia.org, a website mentioned in suspended state Sen. Leland Yee's ballot statement for secretary of state.

April 25, 2014
California bill would link immigrant taxes to work permits, deportation defense

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Undocumented immigrants would find it easier to file tax returns, and as a result be allowed to remain in the country and work, under a measure by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, prompted in part by Congress' failure to approve an immigration overhaul.

Debates over illegal immigration can often be distilled to a question about resources: whether undocumented immigrants take more, in the form of public services like education and healthcare, than they put back in with taxes.

Those seeking tighter immigration controls argue that immigrants are a drain on the system; advocates counter that the foreign-born pay a substantial share of property, sales and income taxes even when they are in the country illegally.

Alejo wants to keep the revenue flowing with a bill requiring the Franchise Tax Board to advertise the fact that people can obtain an individual taxpayer identification number and use it to file a return. Unlike having a Social Security number, getting a taxpayer ID number does not require citizenship or legal residency.

"They're only looking for a lawful way so they can work, pay their taxes and continue to contribute to California's economy," Alejo said.

But Alejo's ambition goes beyond generating revenue. He wants to link paying taxes with winning work permits and being exempt from deportation, though both would require special permission from the Obama administration. Alejo said his bill is necessary because Congress has not passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

"My bill is trying to continue to put California on the cutting edge, saying because we have failed to act in Congress states like California are trying to find our own temporary solutions to allow immigrant workers to work lawfully in California and to have relief," Alejo said.

The bill would have Gov. Jerry Brown press the federal government to not pursue deportation cases against immigrants who have filed taxes, unless those immigrants have committed serious or violent felonies. Tax-paying immigrants would also be able to enroll in a pilot program offering work permits.

Tax collectors would not be allowed to share tax filing information with other government entities like the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees deportations. There are similar protections in Alejo's 2013 bill offering driver's licenses to immigrants. California also moved to protect immigrants from federal enforcement last year with a law barring authorities from scooping up immigrants detained for minor crimes, and the bill would similarly inoculate immigrants with clean criminal records.

Assembly Bill 2014 goes before the Assembly Revenue And Taxation Committee at 1:30 p.m. on Monday.

PHOTO: Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville during session in the Assembly chambers in Sacramento, Calif. on Monday, March 11, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua.

April 25, 2014
California had high income growth in 2012

Money.JPGAs it emerged from the worst recession since the Great Depression in 2012, California had the nation's fourth highest growth of personal income, even after adjustment for its high cost of living, according to a new Commerce Department report.

Californians' income increase, 3.4 percent, was more than 50 percent higher than the national increase, ranking fourth behind oil-rich North Dakota's whopping 15.1 percent, and 3.7 percent in Montana and Indiana. While North Dakotans' incomes soared in 2012, neighboring South Dakota was the only state to see an income drop.

Among local metropolitan areas, California's Kings County had the nation's fourth sharpest decline in personal income, 2.3 percent.

For the first time, the Commerce Department adjusted income changes for each state's cost of living, and in that measure, California ranked fifth behind the District of Columbia, Hawaii, New York and New Jersey. Three Bay Area metropolitan regions were included in the nation's six most expensive places to live - a list topped by Honolulu.

PHOTO: What $3.2 million dollars in a stack $20 bills will look like - one of the exhibits on the first floor of the Federal Reserve Bank's San Francisco district headquarters. The Sacramento Bee/Manny Crisostomo.

April 25, 2014
AM Alert: Jerry Brown heads south for sustainability summit

ha_jbrown00189.JPGGov. Jerry Brown will be down in Los Angeles today to deliver the keynote address at a sustainability summit hosted by the Los Angeles Business Council.

The focus of the event is California's energy and water policy and whether it is driving job growth and investment in Los Angeles. State Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, will participate in a panel on the city's renewable energy sector.

The summit begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Getty Center and Brown will deliver his remarks at 1:20 p.m.

VIDEO: Facing unknown rivals in his reelection bid, Brown looks to have the support of even many Republican voters, Dan Walters says.

WHERE HAS ALL THE WATER GONE?: In other water news, the University of California hosts a daylong science, policy and management conference on the state's drought, starting at 8:30 a.m. in Room 4202 of the Capitol. Faculty from across the UC system will discuss the current crisis, its impact on the economy and endangered species, how to cope with drought, and state policy for the future.

MONEY IN POLITICS: Capitol Alert's own Dan Walters is part of a panel discussion on campaign finance reform and legislative ethics at noon in Room 4203 of the Capitol. The event, sponsored by the Capitol Fellows Alumni Association, also features Erin Peth, executive director of the Fair Political Practices Commission, and Phillip Ung of California Forward.

BEHIND THE SCENES: For a peek inside the budget process, the California Capitol Black Staff Association hosts a briefing with representatives from the California Budget Project, the Department of Finance and the Assembly Budget Committee, 10 a.m. in Room 447 of the Capitol.

BEING GREEN: The Sacramento Municipal Utility District and the LegiSchool Project, a public policy outreach program, hold a scholarship art competition for high school students at 11 a.m. on the north steps of the Capitol. Students who attended an energy forum in January will display their artistic renderings of a "green" lifestyle for judging and Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, will present the winners at 2 p.m.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to state Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Rocklin, who turns 56 today, and Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, who turns 40 tomorrow.

PHOTO: Governor-elect Jerry Brown, speaks at a press conference at his Oakland campaign headquarters at his Oakland campaign headquarters on Nov. 3, 2010, a day after he defeated Republican Meg Whitman. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

April 25, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Jerry Brown gaining Republican support for reelection

browncounties.jpgFacing unknown rivals in his reelection bid, Gov. Jerry Brown looks to have the support of even many Republican voters, Dan says.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.



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Capitol Alert Staff


Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. achance@sacbee.com. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee. smith@sacbee.com. Twitter: @DanielSnowSmith

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

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. dsiders@sacbee.com. Twitter: @davidsiders

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

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

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers the Legislature. jwhite@sacbee.com. Twitter: @capitolalert

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

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

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