Legislators never received ethics training about "gun running or other such sordid activities," California state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg noted during house debate Friday over whether to suspend three senators who have been accused of crimes including corruption, perjury and conspiracy to traffic weapons.
PHOTO: Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, center, leads the Senate Rules Committee in voting unanimously to strip Sen. Ron Calderon of all committee assignments on November 12, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench
The California state senate suspended three lawmakers Friday: Democratic senators Leland Yee and Ron Calderon, who have been accused of corruption, and Rod Wright, who was found guilty by a jury of lying about living in the district he was elected to in 2008.
Residency questions have dogged many legislators, as The Beenoted last month, including Republican Sen. Mimi Walters who appeared at a press conference today following the Senate's suspensions. Capitol Alert asked Walters to clarify where she lives.
PHOTO: Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Niguel, listens to discussion on the main budget bill as senators prepared to vote on the state budget on June 28, 2011. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua
Federal officials raided Democratic Sen. Leland Yee's office at the Capitol on Wednesday, carting away at least nine packages of possible evidence.
Yee was arrested as the FBI said it was executing multiple search warrants and "conducting arrests in multiple locations today." Multiple Bay Area media reports have said he is scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. in San Francisco.
In Sacramento, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Tony Beard told reporters that the officials arrived at Yee's fourth-floor office at the Capitol about 7 a.m. The officials, including representatives from the FBI, were seen leaving just before noon.
On their way out, Beard requested that photographers refrain from shooting their faces.
VIDEO: The Sacramento Bee/Christopher Cadelago.
PHOTO: Senate and federal officials remove several boxes of documents from Sen. Leland Yee's Capitol office on Wednesday. (The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua)
The Capitol plays frequent host to protests and press conferences, but one thing is sure to capture the attention of even the most battle-hardened Sacramento veterans: an inflatable walk-through colon.
Curious onlookers from both inside and outside the Capitol building stopped by the Strollin' Colon on the north steps Monday to learn about the screening process for colorectal cancer and maybe take their picture with a giant pink polyp.
The display, sponsored by pharmaceutical company Sanofi Oncology, was intended to raise awareness for colorectal cancer, which is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society.
"We've done a lot of teaching here," said Lisa Hullinger, a nurse and educator with Sanofi who takes the Strollin' Colon around Northern California, "and at least gotten some people who weren't gonna be screened maybe to think about it a little bit stronger."
PHOTO: Lisa Hullinger, left, of Sanofi Oncology, educates visitors to the Strollin' Colon about colorectal cancer. The Sacramento Bee/Alexei Koseff
Kicking off her high heels, Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Riverbank, demonstrated her skills on an electrically-motorized skateboard Tuesday in support of AB 2054, a bill that would legalize the boards for street use. After a wobbly first run, a barefoot Olsen led the crowd in rides up and down 11th Street across from the Capitol, looking confident enough to give interviews while skating backward.
Early versions of motorized skateboards were prohibited by the vehicle code in 1977 because of concerns over loud and bulky gas motors. Olsen is seeking to allow new electric prototypes, which she said are silent and environmentally-friendly, to operate where bicycles are allowed.
"It's a great, viable transportation option for those short commutes," Olsen said.
She also promoted the job-creating possibilities of companies that make the electrically-motorized skateboards, introducing the founders of ZBoard, a start-up that manufactures its boards in Riverbank, to share their story.
"It just doesn't make any sense to allow an industry to build in California, but not to grow roots here," Olsen said.
PHOTO: Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Riverbank, rides an electrically-motorized skateboard across the street from the Capitol on March 11, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/Alexei Koseff
OAKLAND - Forty years after he first ran for governor, Jerry Brown, now 75 and with a lifetime of politics behind him, strode into a dimly lit elections office Friday and filed paperwork one more time.
"I just completed the papers to run for re-election," the third-term Democrat told reporters down the hall. "I do so with humility and a realization that there's a great responsibility in the work that lies ahead."
The filing follows months of fundraising and his widely expected announcement the previous day that he would seek re-election to an unprecedented fourth term. Brown is the clear frontrunner in a race against two Republicans in this Democratic-leaning state.
Brown did not mention either of his challengers by name, and he suggested he may not ever - at least not until after the primary election in June.
"No, not yet," Brown said when asked if he had an opinion about the Republicans, Neel Kashkari and Tim Donnelly. "I don't want to comment until, certainly until filing is closed, certainly not until after the primary, and even then we can talk about it."
Brown said wants to keep working on the state budget and on the implementation of education funding and prison policy changes he has overseen during his third term.
"Frankly, I like the work," he said. "I understand what it is."
Brown was joined in Oakland by first lady Anne Gust Brown and his political consultants Ace Smith and Dan Newman, whose company, SCN Strategies, ran Brown's ballot initiative campaign to raise taxes in 2012.
Brown and Earl Warren are the only California governors ever elected to three terms, and Brown, governor before from 1975 to 1983, would be the only one elected to four. Term limits preclude him from running for a fifth term, and he has said he does not plan to run again for president.
But Brown could not say that this would be his final run for office.
"I'm not going to say it's the last race, because there's always some races around," Brown said.
The former secretary of state, attorney general and mayor of Oakland said he gathered signatures for his re-election paperwork at Oakland's city hall, for example, and that it seemed an "exciting place to be."
Unless he loses and runs again, however, this will be Brown's last campaign for governor, a fact he appeared to take with some regret.
"I had the experience of ... walking through the governor's office and realizing the years go by so fast, and pretty soon it's time to leave," Brown said. "I like this kind of work, and I hate to leave."
PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown files paperwork for re-election in Oakland on Feb. 28, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders
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