Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

April 23, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Ethical issues abound with money in politics

Capitol_repaint.JPGAs the state Senate prepares for a "day of reflection" on ethics, legislators should consider not just how they fund their campaigns, but the policy decisions they make, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Construction workers erect scaffolding around the Capitol dome on May 1, 2002 in preparation for painting. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench

April 22, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: It's all about the money in session's second half

RBCapitolDome.JPGAs the Legislature returns from spring recess, funding battles will take focus and could determine policy for years to come, Dan says.

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April 21, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Legislature returns from recess facing big problems

Assembly_chamber.JPGAfter a week off for spring recess, the Legislature returns facing ethics violations and funding questions that must be dealt with, Dan says.

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April 11, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Leland Yee arrest harms Legislature's fragile image

yee_press_resized.jpgThe California Legislature has bounced back from record low approval in recent years, but the March arrest of state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, immediately reversed some of those gains, Dan says.

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PHOTO: State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, leaves Federal Court in San Francisco on March 26, 2014. Bay Area News Group/Karl Mondon

April 9, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Controversial SeaWorld bill gets 'soft kill'

SeaWorld.jpgA controversial bill that would ban orca shows in California was held in committee to die quietly, Dan says, probably so as not to cause trouble for incoming Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins of San Diego.

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PHOTO: A SeaWorld trainer performs with a killer whale on Feb. 27, 2010, during the first show after an orca killed a trainer at theme park three days earlier in Orlando, Fla. The Associated Press/Phelan M. Ebenhack.

April 8, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Aging Jerry Brown shows graying government

010311_HA_brown_inaug_01.JPGAs Gov. Jerry Brown's recent passing of the three-quarters-of-a-century mark demonstrates, California's representatives aren't exactly spring chickens.

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April 7, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Name game backfires for unlucky candidates

BettyYee2010[1].jpg

Pity state controller candidate Betty Yee, Dan says, who has the misfortune of sharing a last name with another lately-in-the-news politician.

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April 4, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Diminished Dems change course

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Now that they need Republican votes on some measures, Dan says, Senate Democrats have agreed to accommodate their conservative counterparts.

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April 3, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: FBI follow-up shows Capitol on edge

tony_beard.jpg

It's a sign of the times how people reacted to federal authorities returning to Sacramento on Tuesday, Dan says.

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April 1, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Special election loss haunts Senate Democrats

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From affirmative action to water bonds, the agenda of Senate Democrats will suffer now that Dems have lost their supermajority, Dan Walters says.

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PHOTO: Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, left, gets advice from Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, on his first day in the Senate, at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. Monday, Aug. 12, 2013. The Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli.

March 31, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Election year politicizes Leland Yee scandal

YeeCalderon.jpgThe state Senate's latest scandal is more ammunition for an election year battle over the Democrats' supermajority, Dan says.

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PHOTO: State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, left, speaks on a bill, while his seat mate Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, works at his desk at the Capitol on March 26, 2014. The Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli

March 28, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: State's new financial management system on the right track

computer_system.JPGBreaking with California's ignoble tradition of failed tech upgrades, a new financial management system appears headed for success, Dan says.

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PHOTO: The Los Angeles Regional Transportation Management Center Oct. 18, 2013. The Associated Press/Reed Saxon

March 27, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Another Senate indictment puts Republicans back in mix

Leland_Yee.JPGWith Democrats in the state Senate now below the supermajority threshold, Republican members could swing some key issues this session, Dan says.

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PHOTO: State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, speaks to members of the press in his office at the Capitol in Sacramento on February 14, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton

March 26, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Legislators push for more restrictions in new school funding

education_march.JPGSchool districts and civil rights groups have been at odds over how to spend new school money to close California's "achievement gap," Dan says. Now Democratic lawmakers have weighed in.

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PHOTO: Students, parents and advocates from across the state march around the California Department of Education building on January 16, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench

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.

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

March 24, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Legislators avoid California's teacher pension woes

CalSTRS_building.JPGBillions in unfunded liabilities for teacher retirement grow every day, but California lawmakers just keep putting off the problem, Dan says.

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PHOTO: A bicyclist rides in the shadow of the CalSTRS headquarters building on Riverwalk Park in West Sacramento on September 30, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Manny Crisostomo

March 20, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: High-tech California flubs computer upgrades

computer_system.JPGCalifornia leads the way in technological advances, Dan says. So why does state government have such a poor track record with updating its computer systems?

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PHOTO: The Los Angeles Regional Transportation Management Center Oct. 18, 2013. The Associated Press/Reed Saxon

March 19, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Los Angeles squandering charter school promise

LAUSD_protest.JPGDespite evidence that charter schools are outperforming their public counterparts, California's largest school district is discouraging their development, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Parents protest a Los Angeles Unified order to reorganize elementary school classrooms by English language fluency on October 18, 2013. Los Angeles Times/Al Seib

March 18, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: California has fallen behind on open access

RB_Capitol_Dome.JPGOnce a leader with public records and meetings, California is now playing catch-up to other states, Dan says.

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PHOTO: The California Capitol dome. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton

March 17, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Politicians' legacy projects often spell trouble

Bay_Bridge.JPGFocusing on big ideas at the expense of what needs to get done has been a costly problem for California, Dan says.

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PHOTO: The new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on December 4, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Manny Crisostomo

March 14, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Election year raises create conundrum for legislators

Assembly_chamber.JPGThe possibility of pay raises in an election year is tricky political ground for a Legislature that is still unpopular with many voters, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Twenty-eight of the new Assembly Members undergo orientation inside the Assembly Chambers on Nov. 12, 2008. The Sacramento Bee/Brian Baer

March 13, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Wright, Calderon are legislative 'non-persons'

MC_CALDERON_05.JPGEven as they continue to collect their salaries, the Senate's refusal to acknowledge Sens. Rod Wright, D-Baldwin Hills, and Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, is rather Orwellian, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, at right with Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg on June 10, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Manny Crisostomo

March 12, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Lawmakers use hearings for personal electoral gain

Padilla_hearing.JPGMany informational hearings are just an opportunity for legislators to promote their re-election campaigns, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Senator Alex Padilla, chair of the Senate Energy Committee, listens to testimony on why the state Energy Commission has been unable to spend millions of federal stimulus dollars on August 01, 2011. The Sacramento Bee/Jose Luis Villegas

March 11, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Anti-fracking activists score points for Jerry Brown

brownconventionspeech.jpgA noisy demonstration at the California Democratic Party convention over the weekend helped Gov. Jerry Brown boost his image as a moderate, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown addresses the California Democratic Convention on March 8, 2014, while a protester holds a sign against hydraulic fracturing. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders

March 10, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Health care another looming liability for California

hospital_mask.JPGThe state has billions of dollars in unfunded healthcare costs for public retirees, but it's not doing anything about the problem, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Jose L. Beltran, an RN and Assistant Nurse Manager in the telemetry unit, wears a face mask while working at Sutter General Hospital on February 17, 2011. The Sacramento Bee/Autumn Cruz

March 7, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Gift-giving reforms miss the mark

Democrats are touting a package of political-ethics reforms, but Dan says they're avoiding the central issue.

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March 6, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: California is own biggest employer

DMVoffice.jpgAnnual salaries and benefits paid to state workers equal the entire economy of Vermont, Dan says.

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PHOTO: The DMV office on La Mancha Way in south Sacramento on June 27, 2007. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton

March 5, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Legislators' financial reports reveal political dirt

RB_Capitol_Dome.JPGThe annual filings show who is trying to influence whom in Sacramento, Dan says.

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March 4, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Ron Calderon's leave shakes up Senate plans

MC_CALDERON_02.JPGWith the Democrats unlikely to regain their supermajority this term, hopes for raising taxes or placing constitutional amendments on the ballot have gone down the drain, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, speaks at a news conference at the Capitol in Sacramento on Monday June 10, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Manny Crisostomo

February 28, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Hard to imagine Jerry Brown not winning re-election

micsjerrybrown.jpgThere was never any doubt Gov. Jerry Brown would seek a fourth term, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown talks to members of the press after speaking at a rally for crime victims on April 23, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

February 27, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: California's transportation system is out of whack

freeway_traffic.JPGDespite some of the highest fuel taxes in the country, California has among the worst roads and congestion, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Late morning traffic travels on Interstate 5, in Los Angeles on Feb. 6, 2014 photo. The Associated Press/Damian Dovarganes

February 26, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Democratic supermajority evaporates in Senate

Dem_caucus.JPGAfter much speculation over its potential, the Democratic supermajority may just be an asterisk in California political history, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, walks to a Democratic caucus meeting on Feb. 3, 2009. The Sacramento Bee/Brian Baer

February 25, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: California's Legislature has turned into soap opera

rod_wright.jpgThe latest dramatic twist in this tale of corruption and scandal is that the Senate Democrats may lose their supermajority, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Sen. Rod Wright, D-Baldwin Hills, sits in the state Senate on Feb. 3, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

February 24, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Democrats' legislative wish list will have to wait

Dem_caucus.JPGIn an election year, Gov. Jerry Brown doesn't want to rock the boat, Dan says, so a very liberal agenda is unlikely to become law.

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PHOTO: Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, walks to a democratic caucus meeting on Feb. 3, 2009. The Sacramento Bee/Brian Baer

February 21, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: California cap-and-trade faces legal challenge

California_Greenhouse_Gases.jpgWide-ranging proposals for using cap-and-trade funds have prompted the California Chamber of Commerce to challenge the fee program as an illegal tax, Dan says.

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PHOTO: A tanker truck passes the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond on March 9, 2010. Associated Press/Paul Sakuma

February 20, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: California coming to grips with pension problems

CalPERS_building.JPGThe state has been slow with solutions, but at least it's finally addressing the massive unfunded liabilities of its employee retirement systems, Dan says.

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PHOTO: The CalPERS building in Sacramento.The Sacramento Bee/Anne Chadwick William

February 19, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Instead of legislating, Legislature busy playing political games

Bob_Wieckowski.JPGNot much has happened in the Legislature so far this session, Dan says, except publicity-grabbing hearings that benefit politicians in an election year.

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PHOTO: Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski asks a question during an Assembly Insurance Committee oversight hearing at the Capitol on Nov. 6, 2013. The Associated Press/Genevieve Ross

February 14, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Jerry Brown needs to show us the money

anti_rail.JPGNo one has come up with the tens of billions of dollars needed to build the high-speed rail or the Delta water tunnels, Dan says.

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February 13, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: 2014 could be good year for California Republicans

Kevin_Faulconer.JPGA big victory in the San Diego mayoral race suggests that things could be turning around for California's struggling Republican Party, Dan says.

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PHOTO: San Diego mayoral candidate Kevin Faulconer speaks to his supporters outside his campaign headquarters on Feb. 11, 2014. The Associated Press/Lenny Ignelzi

February 12, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Jerry Brown receives stay of execution on prison cuts

CaliforniaPrisonsHungerStrike.jpgFederal judges have given Gov. Jerry Brown more time to reduce prison population, but with some caveats that could be politically damaging.

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PHOTO: A correctional officer is seen in one of the housing units at Pelican Bay State Prison near Crescent City on Aug. 17, 2011. The Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli.

February 10, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: California is experiencing eruption of corruption

MC_CALDERON_05.JPGWe're not New Jersey or Chicago, Dan says, but California politics are far from squeaky-clean.

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PHOTO: Senator Ron Calderon speaks to the media outside Senate chambers on June 10, 2013, at the State Capitol. The Sacramento Bee/Manny Crisostomo

February 7, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Jerry Brown undermines his credibility on pension issues

CalPERS_building.JPGBy encouraging the public employees' retirement system to address its unfunded liabilities while avoiding action on the teachers' pension debt, Gov. Jerry Brown undermines his own credibility, Dan says.

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PHOTO: The CalPERS building in Sacramento.The Sacramento Bee/Anne Chadwick William

February 6, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Caltrans has lost its way

RP_HIGHWAY_49_SIGN.JPGAs the transportation picture has gotten more complicated, Caltrans no longer knows what it is supposed to do, Dan says.

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

February 5, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Millions spent on lobbying is just a drop in the bucket

JD_CAPITOL_LOBBYISTS_02.JPGWith hundreds of billions of dollars on the line in California's budget, interest groups will spend big to reap even bigger rewards, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Lobbyists crowd the halls outside of Assembly and Senate committee rooms on the fourth floor of the Capitol on August 18, 2003. The Sacramento Bee/John Decker

February 4, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: California's Internet gap reflects broader disparities

computer_girl.JPGBoosting Internet use among black and Latino Californians could help with the "achievement gap" in test scores, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Valeria Cuevas, 10, plays a learning game at River Oaks Elementary School on July 25, 2013 in Galt, Calif. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

February 3, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Less water means more water politics

delta_aerial.JPGFriday's major announcement on water deliveries is just the latest major policy consequence coming out of California's drought, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Aerial photos of the region to be affected by the Delta water tunnels and intakes in the Courtland area on Wednesday, April 10, 2013. Highway 160 and Randall Island Road are seen near the top of the frame. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton

January 31, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: California falling behind in critical infrastructure

truck_driving.JPGThe state's beleaguered transportation system deserves more attention from the Legislature than the trivial issues they focus on day in and day out, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Drivers navigate their vehicles through blowing sand east of Owen's lake on Highway 136 near Lone Pine, Calif. on November 21, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench

January 30, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Assembly seeks solution for teacher pension debts

CalSTRS_building.JPGUntil the state figures out how to deal with its massive unfunded liabilities, any claim of a balanced budget is wishful thinking, Dan says.

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PHOTO: A bicyclist keeps her sweater handy with dark clouds looming as she rides in the shadow of the CalSTRS headquarters building on Riverwalk Park in West Sacramento on September 30, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Manny Crisostomo

January 29, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Rod Wright's conviction could be blow to state Senate

Rod_Wright.JPGIf state Sen. Rod Wright, D-Inglewood, loses his seat after being convicted of perjury and voter fraud, it would be a major loss of knowledge and common sense, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Senator Rod Wright, D-Inglewood listens to the vote on the budget plan on Feb. 18, 2009. The Sacramento Bee/Brian Baer

January 28, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: New school construction bond wouldn't gibe with Brown's budget priorities

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for HA_SCHOOL_BUS2565.JPGThe bond fund that finances school construction and repairs has run out, but Gov. Jerry Brown is unlikely to support placing a new one on the November ballot, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Pleasant Grove High School students get off their bus onFeb. 20, 2009. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

January 27, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: New leadership not Legislature's only big change

de_Leon_Wright.JPGWith Southern California politicians set to take control of both houses, new term limits and a majority freshman Assembly, the California Legislature could begin to look very different, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Senators Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles talks with Senator Rod Wright, D-Inglewood during legislative informational hearings on gun laws on Jan. 29, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

January 24, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Net emigration slows California population growth

citizenship_oath.JPGThough births and foreign immigration keep California growing, more residents are leaving the state than coming these days, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Immigrants take an oath of citizenship at a naturalization ceremony at Raley Field in West Sacramento on July 10, 2012. The Sacramento Bee/Renee C. Byer

January 23, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Jerry Brown's speeches have lost their way

Brown_card.JPGGov. Jerry Brown's State of the State address this year illustrated how he has become too staid and cautious with age, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown shows a card with the state budget as he delivers the 2014 State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature on Jan. 22, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

January 22, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Republican gubernatorial battle is internal

Tim_Donnelly.JPGWith Gov. Jerry Brown practically unbeatable, Neel Kashkari and Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, are really running to determine the future of California's Republican party, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, announces he's running for California Governor, in Baldwin Park, Calif., on Nov. 5, 2013. The Associated Press/Nick Ut

January 21, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Crises define a leader's legacy

AmericanRiver.jpgNow that Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a drought emergency in California, he will be held responsible for how it turns out in the long run, Dan says.

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PHOTO: A pair of fishermen stand near the shallow water of the American River below Watt Ave on January 11, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton

January 17, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Jerry Brown will dominate November election

brownup.jpgWith a viable challenger yet to emerge, could Gov. Jerry Brown approach the record re-election rate of former Gov. Earl Warren?, Dan wonders.

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PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown talks to members of the press on April 23, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

January 16, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Affluence is no excuse for bad behavior

Thumbnail image for Gatto.JPGA new bill from Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, would outlaw "affluenza" as a legal defense, but that's just common sense, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D- Los Angeles, leaves a hearing on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011. The Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli.

January 15, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Government owes better access to public info

Senate_website.jpgNew website plans from CalPERS and the state Senate obscure, rather than reveal, how they're using taxpayer money, Dan says.

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PHOTO: The recently redesigned and relaunched state Senate website.

January 14, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Congressional retirement sets up game of musical chairs

George_Miller.jpgU.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, has announced that he will step down at the end of the year, shaking up the entire conversation around California's legislative leadership, Dan says.

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PHOTO: Rep. George Miller talks about his 40-year career in the U.S. Congress at his Martinez, Calif., home on on Jan. 12, 2014. Bay Area News Group/Jim Stevens

January 13, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Brown's debt talk is no action

brownbudgetrevise.jpgSimply acknowledging the state's billions in unfunded liabilities is not enough, Dan says. Gov. Jerry Brown must do more than hold a poster above his head at a press conference.

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PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown discusses his revised budget plan at a news conference at the Capitol on Tuesday, May 14, 2013. Renée C. Byer/Sacramento Bee

January 10, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Budget leak is a political game

budget2.JPGPoliticians try to keep secrets and journalists try to figure out what they are, Dan says.

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PHOTO: California Governor Jerry Brown addresses members of the press about the State Budget for 2014-2015 at the Capitol in Sacramento on January 9, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton

January 9, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Legislature's refusal to deal with pension debt is irresponsible

Creating new programs instead of dealing with unfunded liabilities is like skipping a house payment to buy a sports car, Dan says.

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January 8, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Legislative leaders break with budget tradition

Announcing their budget priorities before Gov. Jerry Brown presents his 2014-2015 budget was an unorthodox--and highly political--move by state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, Dan says.

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January 7, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: New legislative session is like first day of school

Lawmakers were like eager students on the first day of session, Dan says, though one has already been sent to detention.

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January 6, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Lawmakers also have an eye on internal elections in 2014

With both Senate and Assembly leadership up for grabs, internal politics will play a big role in the Legislature this year, Dan says.

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January 3, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Inside Capitol and out, groups push for new taxes

Dan asks whether 2014 will be the year to raise taxes in California?

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January 2, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: New year promises dividing lines over fiscal priorities

With additional money to either save or spend in the 2014-15 budget, there are sure to be policy battles between Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature in the new year, Dan says.

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December 31, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: New law spotlights California's poverty

It says a lot that a state as rich as California has so many poor students, Dan says.

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December 30, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Unemployment rate belies California's real job problem

As California gets back to work, the increasing disparity between coastal and inland communities is troublesome, Dan says.

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December 20, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Special election reform has undercurrent of power grab

There have been an unusually large number of special elections this year, but that's no reason to give even more control to the governor, Dan says.

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December 19, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Brown presidential rumors are nonsense

Gov. Jerry Brown wants to end his career on a high note, not a fourth failed campaign, Dan says.

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December 18, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Prepare for a crowded ballot next November

With nearly 50 initiatives seeking to qualify for the November 2014 ballot, next fall could be overloaded with multimillion campaigns on hot-button issues, Dan says.

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December 17, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Education establishment and reformers battle

Dan says a big battle is looming between California school districts and reformers over education spending.

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December 16, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California's slowing population growth has huge effect

California's current population growth is at less than half the rate of its peak, which affects everything from education to real estate, Dan says.

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December 13, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Californians have mixed feelings about life in the state

Poll numbers are on the upswing, but enthusiasm for California living is still soft, Dan says.

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December 12, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Budget season kicks off with new spending plans

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez would like to use most of next year's projected budget surplus, but will Gov. Jerry Brown be on board, Dan wonders?

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December 11, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California tackles its hostile business environment

California politicians deny that the state's high taxes and extensive regulations discourage business investments, but actions speak louder than words, Dan says.

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December 10, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Gov. Jerry Brown can't afford his legacy

California's proposed high-speed rail system and Delta water tunnels could be the signature achievements Gov. Jerry Brown is looking for, Dan says, but not if they remain in funding limbo.

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December 9, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Legislature's rising popularity not its own doing

The Legislature's once-dismal poll numbers are turning around, but that's simply a reflection of the state's economic health, Dan says.

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December 6, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Ridley-Thomas elected because of father

Dan argues that a family connection is the best path to an Assembly seat these days.

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December 5, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: San Bernardino's police salary increase makes no sense

Bankrupt San Bernardino is mandated by its city charter to raise police salaries by $1 million this year, a move that Dan says is dumb.

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December 3, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Newsom's higher ed report lacks solutions

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom commissioned a new report on postsecondary education by the Committee for Economic Development that identifies plenty of problems with California's higher education system. But Dan says it lacks meaningful insight into possible reforms.

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December 1, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Democrats push back on education funding plan

After backing the governor's plan for a new school funding formula, Democratic lawmakers are raising questions about how the money will be spent.

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November 29, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Jerry Brown election watch continues

Regardless of coy Gov. Jerry Brown has been about his plans to run for another term, Dan says four more years is close to a sure thing.

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November 26, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Will high-speed rail keep rolling ahead?

Dan breaks down how a mixed ruling will shape the fate of California's controversial high-speed rail project.

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November 25, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Health law fractures California Democrats

A decision to let Californians's health insurance plans get canceled has Democrats running for cover, Dan says.

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November 22, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: A day the other news halted

Dan remembers where he was, then a young reporter, on the day the president was shot.

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November 21, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California Dems face ballot backlash

Dan finds some signs that the Democratic grip on California politics is loosening a bit.

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November 20, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California's slippery sales tax stats

What's my sales tax again? Calculating the answer in California has become an increasingly convoluted exercise, Dan says.

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November 18, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Political hijinks a source of guilty pleasure

It's hard not to smile a bit at politicians running for cover in Washington, D.C. and Sacramento, Dan says.

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November 15, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Jerry Brown gets real with UC regents

Dan takes a look at the harsh funding truth that Gov. Jerry Brown offered to leaders at the University of California.

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November 14, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Playing with California's poverty numbers

Accurately gauging California's poverty rate can be a slippery process, Dan says.

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November 13, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Legislature's selective ethics on display

While Sen. Ron Calderon is under scrutiny for allegedly taking bribes, Dan notes that some lawmakers have had no trouble packing their bags for Hawaii.

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November 12, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Jerry Brown's predicament on poll numbers

How can a California electorate seemingly pleased with Gov. Jerry Brown's performance be so lukewarm about giving him another term? If nothing else, Dan says, it shows the political distance Brown has traveled.

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November 11, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Stockton not only California city in trouble

Rising pension costs continue to imperil California's cities, Dan says.

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November 8, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Funds among 'Capitol's dirty little secrets'

A whopping fine could change how California politicians think about spending the money they pull in from donors, Dan says.

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November 7, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Federal, state governments flub tech projects

A hearing on California's unemployment insurance issues, coupled with the probe of the federal healthcare website's failings, has Dan shaking his head.

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November 6, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Why Maldonado, Donnelly are really running

Republican gubernatorial candidates Tim Donnelly and Abel Maldonado don't really stand a chance of unseating Gov. Jerry Brown, Dan says. Instead, their campaigns will reflect internal Republican Party dynamics.

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November 5, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Sacramento no stranger to scandals

Sordid revelations have Dan wondering whether things ever really change in California's capital city.

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October 28, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California courts compete in clamor for cash

With a new agency aimed at ginning up cash, Dan notes, California's court system joins other state agencies in scrambling for a slice of the general fund pie.

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October 25, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California National Guard going too far

Years after a Sacramento Bee investigation found lapses at the California National Guard, Dan says the guard has reacted overzealously.

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October 24, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California bungles Napa veterans home

Dan wonders why California continues to maintain an antiquated veterans home rather than converting it into some assets to build a new one.

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October 23, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Bond sale tests California's finances

Financial markets are closely watching California's ability to pay off bonds given an increasing dependency on wealthy Californians for revenue, Dan says.

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October 21, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Gavin Newsom goes to pot

Lt Gov. Gavin Newsom continues to position himself for his next move with a new push to legalize marijuana, Dan says.

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October 18, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California consumers changing car customs

Despite California's population soaring over the last few decades, gasoline consumption hasn't kept pace. Dan takes a look at why.

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October 17, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California's shrinking burden of bills

Despite Gov. Jerry Brown grumbling about a mountain of bills trapping him in the California Capitol, Dan points out that historically things used to be a lot worse.

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October 16, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Jerry Brown's prison problems persist

Gov. Jerry Brown continues to spar with the federal courts over California's prisons, and Dan says the feds just recorded a victory.

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October 15, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California flubs another technology project

An unemployment benefits backlog shows California's latest blunder in rolling out a state computer system, Dan says.

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October 14, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California teacher termination bill tanks

Once again, Dan says, California has failed to enact a law making it easier for school districts to ax bad teachers.

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October 11, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California pension push could head to ballot

Of the ballot measures that could go before voters in 2014, Dan says an effort to rein in public pensions could be the most significant.

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October 10, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California politics heading into the off-season

We're in a non-election year and rapidly approaching the deadline for Gov. Jerry Brown to decide on bills -- which means, Dan says, that things are about to get awfully quiet in Sacramento.

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October 9, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Jerry Brown has a history with insects

Decades after a flying pest embarrassed a younger Jerry Brown, Dan notes that there's still a fly on a Capitol wall.

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October 8, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Recruit Billy Beane to run for political office?

With the perennially underfunded Oakland A's again in playoffs, Dan wonders whether Oakland manager Billy Beane could have a future in California politics.

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October 7, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Jerry Brown faces key decisions this week

With decisions made on "low-hanging" legislation, Dan says, Gov. Jerry Brown must turn to the more momentous bills awaiting his verdict.

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October 3, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: iPad giveaway creates Los Angeles schools debacle

How, Dan wonders, could Los Angeles Unified School District officials think they could issue
$1 billion worth of tablets without running into trouble?

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October 2, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California could make, break health care law

The ultimate success or failure of President Barack Obama's massive health care overhaul could hinge largely on the Golden State's participation, Dan says.

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October 1, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California missing key student data

A new report on truancy in California's schools highlights a glaring lack of data collection stemming from a faulty state law, Dan says.

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September 30, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California immigrants win big in 2013

Immigrants who are in California illegally turned out to be one of the biggest benefactors of state legislation this year, Dan says.

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September 20, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Teacher pension plans may punish California

Once again, Dan says, the Legislature adjourned without tackling the huge deficit in California's teacher retirement system.

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September 19, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Gauging Gov. Jerry Brown's bill decisions

With the fate of many bills now in the hands of Gov. Jerry Brown, Dan says the governor will discover friends and allies he didn't realize he had.

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September 18, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: In California, campaigns never cease

Despite a legislative recess in a non-election year, Dan finds plenty of political action -- including some of the "heavy-duty" variety.

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September 17, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California not done singing recession blues

Despite California's gradual economic recovery, Dan says, the results have varied widely across the state.

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September 16, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Steinberg overreaches on CEQA

In the last hours of the 2013 legislative session, Dan says, we saw a rare misstep by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento.

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September 13, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Willie Brown returns to the Capitol

Willie Brown has been gone from the Capitol for nearly 20 years, but Dan says the former speaker was here in spirit this week.



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September 12, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California's prison saga will continue

Dan says the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown may have approved a prison housing plan, but it is far from certain that it will succeed.



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September 11, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Whither gun control in California?

Dan wonders if the momentum for gun control, so vigorous at the start of 2013, is subsiding in the final days of session.

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September 10, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Inmate lawyers control prison plan's fate

California legislative leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown are touting a compromise on prison overcrowding, but Dan says that the issue looks likely to be around for a long time.

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September 6, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Will Kings arena bill survive?

Dan Walters ponders the fate of Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's last-minute push to help his home city of Sacramento build a new arena.

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September 5, 2013
Dan Walters: California prison plan may be too little, too late

After years of lawmakers neglecting prison issues, Dan says, there is little hope they'll resolve the serious underlying problems in the remaining days of the current legislative session.

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September 4, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Legislature needs answers on Bay Bridge

Dan says hearings in the California Senate should get to the bottom of the cost overruns and delays with the just-opened eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

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September 3, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Big issues still before California Legislature

Dan surveys the landscape as the 2013 legislative session hurtles towards its conclusion.

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August 30, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Last per diem session for California lawmakers

Today marks the final time this year the Legislature will meet on Friday in order to claim their $140-a-day stipend, Dan says.

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August 29, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California budget reserve dwindling fast

It wasn't that long ago that Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers were celebrating a budget reserve, but Dan points to developments threatening to drain the extra funds.

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August 28, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Prisons fight caps California legislative session

An end-of-session plan to reduce prison overcrowding faces a rocky path through the Senate, Dan says.

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August 27, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Lawmakers keeping bills, constituents in suspense

Dan Walters reflects on how bills get exiled to -- and return from -- the Suspense File, one of the Legislature's preferred tools for behind the scenes decision-making.

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August 23, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: What's wrong with San Diego's mayors?

Dan says Bob Filner is just the latest San Diego mayor to flame out in scandal.

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August 22, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: At session's end, 'mushroom bills' proliferate

With the remaining days to pass bills dwindling, Dan says to be on the lookout for bills whose intent suddenly and drastically changes.

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August 21, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Filner finale forthcoming

As the drumbeat calling for San Diego Mayor Bob Filner to resign gets louder, Dan sees little chance the encircled pol will survive.

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August 20, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Chances of CEQA consensus

Will lawmakers strike a deal on the California Environmental Quality Act before the end of the legislative session? Dan weighs the odds.

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August 19, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Blame all around for shoddy state spending

Soon after staff working for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg issued a report faulting state spending on a payroll project, one of Steinberg's big policy accomplishments also came in for criticism.

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August 16, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California bucks big projects

With the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge span finally set to open, years behind schedule, Dan wonders what took so long.

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August 15, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California Legislature faces fracking finale

Will California lawmakers find a way to pass regulations of hydraulic fracturing before session ends on Sept. 13? Dan isn't sure.

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August 14, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: With California session's end, fundraising flares

The end of session brings busy days at the State Capitol, Dan says - and busy nights for the various Capitol restaurants and venues hosting fundraisers.

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August 13, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Salary-severed Senate strikes back

Two years after State Controller John Chiang deprived lawmakers of their salaries, the state Senate has gotten its revenge, Dan says.

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August 12, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Jerry Brown faces transgender decision

A controversial bill on transgender students sits on Gov. Jerry Brown's desk, but Dan says the bill is "just practice" for an impending surge of decisions on which bills become law.

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August 9, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Shoddy voting procedures not to be tolerated

A new state auditor's report is the latest blot on Secretary of State Debra Bowen's tenure in office, Dan says.

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August 8, 2013
Dan Walters: Assembly's priorities on public safety are puzzling

With California facing a U.S. Supreme Court directive to release more prisoners, the Assembly Public Safety Committee held a hearing on ... drones? Dan is confused.

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August 7, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Medical-related issues mark session's end

With California lawmakers looking at the home stretch of the legislative session, health care issues with billions at stake will receive prominent attention. Dan surveys what lies ahead.

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August 6, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Bill opponents brace for home stretch

Gun owners and taxpayers associations are among the interest groups playing defense now that the Legislature is returning for the waning weeks of the 2013 session, Dan says.

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August 5, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: 'Welcome to the circus'

With the Assembly back in session this week and the Senate to follow, bills will start coming out of the woodwork, Dan says.

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August 2, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Marin County makes a good move

Dan praises Marin County for increasing transparency for taxpayers.

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August 1, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Legislature needs to put people under oath

Dan wonders when the Legislature will start taking on more substantive issues now that a report from the Center for Investigative Reporting and CNN has found that drug rehabilitation clinics bilked the state of California out of millions of dollars.

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July 31, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Gov. Jerry Brown faces a no-win situation over prison reform

Gov. Jerry Brown has returned from his European vacation only to find himself in a no-win situation over solitary confinement in California prisons, Dan says.

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July 30, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California crime rates increase in 2012

California Attorney General Kamala Harris posted a crime data press release late Friday afternoon in an attempt to bury the news, Dan says, except the press did not play along.

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July 29, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Scandal continues in San Diego

The San Diego mayor's office has seen a long line of scandals in the years since former Governor Pete Wilson held the office, Dan says.

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July 26, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: the battle over the state's MICRA cap is heating up

There is a lot of money and a lot of ego at stake as trial lawyers try yet again to raise or get rid of the cap on medical malpractice damages in California, Dan says.

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July 25, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Democratic supermajority in jeopardy

Even with votes still left to count in SD16, it looks as though Democrats' supermajority in the Senate is increasingly shaky, Dan says. Note that Dan refers to Democrats having 28 seats after the Vidak win. He's assuming that Dems will ultimately pick up the vacancy created by Curren Price going to the Los Angeles City Council.

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July 24, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: 'New grist for the political mill' on prison realignment

After all the controversy surrounding prison realignment in California, a newly contracted PPIC report might provide some answers, Dan says.

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July 23, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Bankruptcy, city pensions, and the Supreme Court

Are pensions safe from city bankruptcy filings? It's a question for the Supreme Court, Dan says.

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July 22, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Stakes high in big-money special elections

The huge sums of money that special interests are spending on Tuesday's two special elections show they know how big the stakes are, Dan says.

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July 19, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Lone editor strikes victory for public records

Tim Crews -- a newspaper publisher, editor and reporter in Northern California -- chalked up a win this week for what Dan calls "a free and open government."

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