Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

May 2, 2014
For Calderon campaigns, it's all in the family


Sometimes it pays to be part of a political dynasty. Literally.

Former Assemblyman and Sen. Charles Calderon has gotten $60,000 in loans for his campaign to become a Los Angeles Superior Court judge from a single source: his son Ian, a first-term Assemblyman who is the fourth Calderon in the last decade to hold a seat in the Legislature.

"Every Calderon has to get elected," as Charles told The Bee back in 2013, so the son-to-father donations - doled out in three chunks over the last few months - seem consistent with that family mantra. All three passed from the Ian Calderon for Assembly 2014 campaign committee to Charles Calderon for Judge 2014.

The fact that Ian can give away tens of thousands in campaign cash suggests he believes he's in a strong position to win a second term. He does not have any Democratic challengers in the heavily Democratic 57th Assembly District, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly two-to-one.

Nothing about the transaction breaks the law. Unlike with legislative races, there are no dollar limits on donations to a judicial campaign. There's no rule prohibiting one family member from giving directly to another.

"At the end of the day he's my father, and I don't think anyone would have a problem with me helping out my father," Ian told The Bee. "I want to do whatever I can to help him be successful."

This isn't the first time inter-Calderon generosity has shown up on official filings. Charles and his brother Ron, a suspended state senator currently battling federal charges, used their campaign committees to purchase each other Christmas gifts, according to gift disclosure forms.

Ian and Charles have escaped unscathed from a scandal that has engulfed other members of the family of Democrats. Charles' younger brothers Tom and Ron, are both facing federal charges including alleged bribe-taking (Ron) and money laundering (Ron and Tom). Neither Charles nor Ian have been implicated in the case.

PHOTO: Then-Assemblyman Charles Calderon, D-Whitter comments on the budget on Tuesday, August 31, 2010. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench.

May 2, 2014
Darrell Steinberg fires Senate peace officer for drug use


Senate leader Darrell Steinberg fired a Capitol peace officer late Thursday, after The Sacramento Bee asked legislative officials about court records showing the officer had cocaine in his system when he was involved in a December 2012 gunfight that left three people injured and one man dead.

Gerardo Lopez was a sworn peace officer and a member of the Senate's in-house law enforcement unit known as the sergeant-at-arms office. An employee of the Senate since 1999, Lopez lost his job roughly seven months after a preliminary hearing in Sacramento Superior Court revealed that he had consumed cocaine and marijuana the night he participated in the fatal shootout in front of his house.

Steinberg's office released the following statement late Thursday:

"This afternoon, the Senate president pro tem was briefed by the Senate's sergeant-at-arms about the details of an ongoing investigation concerning a law enforcement officer employed in the Senate. During that briefing, the Senate president pro tem was informed for the first time that a toxicology report referenced in court documents showed the presence of illegal substances in the employee's blood-stream. The employee, when questioned, confirmed the presence of illegal substances, notwithstanding the disputed circumstances under which they were consumed."

"While the facts in the case will be determined by the court, the presence of an illegal substance fall well below the standards expected of a law enforcement officer in the Senate. At the Senate president pro tem's direction, the employee's service in the Senate has been terminated, effective immediately."

PHOTO: Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, on March 11, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

May 2, 2014
Jerry Brown defends state's business climate as Toyota packs up

brownoaklandport.jpgGov. Jerry Brown, addressing Toyota's plan to close its Torrance headquarters, said Friday it does not appear the state could have done anything to keep the car company in California.

The Democratic governor, speaking to reporters outside a Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce event in Los Angeles, cited a Los Angeles Times story in which Toyota attributed the planned move to Texas not to dissatisfaction with California's regulatory climate, but with a plan for corporate consolidation.

Asked if the state could have done anything to keep the company in Torrance, Brown said, "Based on what they say, it doesn't appear to be. But, in response to your question, I would just incorporate by reference what the Los Angeles Times has said in their very detailed editorial and in their front page story. I think it was reasonably accurate," according to a transcript provided by the governor's office.

Brown, who is seeking an unprecedented fourth term as governor, has been criticized by his Republican opponents, Tim Donnelly and Neel Kashkari, for what they say are burdensome regulations for companies in California.

Brown defended California's business environment, citing venture capital and foreign investment in the state.

"There's a fellow named Schumpeter who talked about the creative destruction of capitalism," he said, referencing the economist Joseph Schumpeter. "And, I put the emphasis on creative, and, change is inevitable. We're getting 60 percent of the venture capital, we're the number one place for direct foreign investment in the United States. Do we have everything in all respects? No. But we have an abundance that constitutes a two trillion dollar economy."

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at an event in Oakland on Nov. 1, 2013. Associated Press/Marcio Jose Sanchez

May 2, 2014
AM Alert: Assembly Democrats hit the links at Pebble Beach

Pebble_Beach.JPGOne of the signature fundraising events for Assembly Democrats, the annual Speaker's Cup golf tournament, tees off today at the famed Pebble Beach resort in Monterey County.

The two-day event, presented by AT&T, will set donors back $30,000-$65,0000 for lodging, dinner, commemorative gifts and perhaps a chance to play a round with a legislator.

Last month, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg cancelled a similar fundraiser for Senate Democrats at Torrey Pines, in the wake of the arrest of state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, and other political scandals at the Capitol.

VIDEO: The proposal to extend California's health care exchange to undocumented immigrants has dim prospects, Dan Walters says.

TOUR OF DUTY: Continuing his recent string of appearances in Southern California, Gov. Jerry Brown will speak at the kickoff breakfast for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce's annual World Trade Week, 9:30 a.m. at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE Hotel.

PROTECTION PLAN: The Senate Committee on Banking and Financial Institutions holds a rare Friday hearing today at 10 a.m. at the Santa Rosa City Hall. The panel focuses on the successes and failures of 2012's "homeowner bill of rights," a package of legislation aimed at protecting homeowners during the foreclosure process.

HEALTH SAVINGS: The Script Your Future campaign hosts a policy roundtable on the importance of taking medication as prescribed and the potential for saving on health care costs, 10 a.m. at the UC Center Sacramento on K Street. Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, will also be recognized at the event for his work with the campaign.

CHOSEN ONE: California Women Lead and Mona Pasquil, appointments secretary in the Office of the Governor, present an appointments training workshop for women attending the California Association of Realtors conference, 6 p.m. at the Sacramento Convention Center. Participants will discuss how to find openings on state boards and commissions and how to navigate the appointments process.

CELEBRATIONS: An early happy birthday to Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley, who turns 55 on Sunday.

PHOTO: Brandt Snedeker follows his shot on the ninth fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Course during the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament on Feb. 10, 2013. The Associated Press/Ben Margot

May 2, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Dim prospects for undocumented immigrant health care

20131016_healthcare0022.JPGThough a bill to extend California's health care exchange to undocumented immigrants passed out of policy committee this week, there is no viable plan to fund the proposal, 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

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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