Around The Capitol

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THE NOONER for January 5, 2015




It's inauguration day for statewide officials, with Jerry Brown being sworn in at 10am in the Assembly chambers. After the oath with Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Brown will give a two-fer inauguration and State of the State address. Of course, by the time you read this, it'll likely be over. 

Here's the speech. The word of the day is "covetousness."

The biggest item I noticed was the line "For the next effort, I intend to ask our state employees to help start pre-funding our retiree health obligations which are rising rapidly." I'm betting SEIU would prefer to use the surplus for pre-funding.

The budget release is planned for Friday at 10 a.m.

The LAT's Chris Megerian writes:

The governor has expressed interest in new pollution restrictions, expanding efforts to combat climate change and finding ways to continue stabilizing California's notoriously unpredictable finances.

Brown has also pushed forward with the $68-billion bullet train project, which was approved by voters before he returned to the governor's office in 2011, but has suffered declining popularity and uncertain funding.

As the Legislature convenes, John Myers previews the session's hot topics:

  • The legacy of Jerry Brown
  • From Fergusen to Staten Island ... to Sacramento?
  • Barbara Boxer watch
  • A new era for Sacramento leadership
  • Jerry Brown vs. Janet Napolitano
  • Will Legislature tackle tenure?
  • Budget brickbats or bouquets in Sacramento?

"So ... get set ... 2015 is going to be a fun year to watch."

The Bee's Jeremy B. White and Laurel Rosenhall also list big issues for the year ahead:

  • Medical marijuana
  • University of California tuition
  • Taxes
  • Technology
  • Immigration 

Tough budget choices await Brown and Legislature [LAT Editorial] - "Monday is Sacramento's opening day. It has a long season ahead of it, and let's hope for a successful one. And, while we're at it, maybe a little more rain."

The disappearing Gov. Brown [Dan Schnur op-ed in LAT]

From Debra Bowen's Facebook page: "At noon my service as Secretary of State comes to an end. In the morning, I should be present for the swearing in of Governor Brown and the State of the State address. But I may miss both. My husband's attorney agreed to a short extension of time - but because I made a paperwork error, my husband is refusing to change the date. So I may miss my last morning as SOS in order to defend against a motion my husband has filed in divorce court. Pretty sad, huh."

President Underwood and others join Billy Joel in a performance of Piano Man.

#CAKEDAY: Light those candles for Reid Milburn!

FAREWELL: Former Assemblymember Peter Chacon (1925-2014) [UTSD]




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  • Learn the legislative process and best practices for effective lobbying. Cover the complete spectrum of governmental advocacy in two days. Veteran lobbyist Ray LeBov presents "Lobbying 101" and "Lobbying 201" seminars January 29-30. $250 each. Essential for lobbying firm principals / support staff, organizations / public agencies that employ lobbyists. Complete info / registration: or 916 442 5009.
  • University of California Office of the President
    The Executive Director to represent the University of California in Sacramento on the University's long range/annual budget, capital resource acquisition/allocation plans, and other finance-related topics including investments, procurement, risk management, and accounting. Salary: Commensurate with Experience.

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  • Join Emerge California's 2015 East Bay Reception on Saturday, January 10 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at The Den at the Fox Theatre located at 1912 Telegraph Ave in Downtown Oakland. To join the Host Committee, please contact Nazneen Rydhan-Foster at or visit the event page here.
  • ASSEMBLYMEMBER RICHARD BLOOM (D-Santa Monica) discusses chairing Assembly Budget Subcommittee #3 in this exclusive interview:
    Know a current or former elected official in Southern California we should interview? Our TV program reaches California's #1 zip code for campaign contributions. Send suggestions to:
  • California State Association of Counties (CSAC) is seeking two legislative advocates. Great opportunity to work in a challenging, professional environment on behalf of California counties. Salary DOQ; excellent benefits. Interviews expected week of 1/26/15. More details available here. Send cover letter/resume to DeAnn Baker at



Tough Budget Choices Await Brown And Legislature
Jerry Brown takes his fourth and final oath of office as California governor on Monday, and members of the Assembly and state Senate , having been sworn in last month, are gearing up for Brown's 13th state budget proposal. That spending plan will come at a time of fiscal and economic recovery brought on in part by the last four years of relatively disciplined budgeting — and in large part by voters' decision in 2012 to adopt Proposition 30, Brown's temporary sales and income tax increases.

Planned sale of 6 hospitals to for-profit ignites debate
Victoria Colliver @
The state attorney general’s office will hold a series of public hearings this week on the controversial sale of six nonprofit hospitals, including Seton Medical Center in Daly City and O’Connor Hospital in San Jose, to a for-profit Southern California company.

Will Brown Propose Paying Judges Pension Debt?
Ed Mendel @
In what has been a futile annual ritual, CalPERS President Rob Feckner sent the governor and Legislature a letter last March urging advance funding of a closed judges pension plan, a change estimated to save $753 million to $2.3 billion in the long run.

Am Alert: Jerry Brown Swearing-in, State Of State Launch New Year Of California Politics | The Sacramento Bee
Jeremy B. White @
Welcome back to California politics!

Gov. Brown Appoints Gareth Elliot To UC Board Of Regents
Gov. Jerry Brown has filled the last seat on the University of California Board of Regents, officials with his office have announced.

Richard Pan Precincts On Nov. 4 Had Republican Flavor | The Sacramento Bee
Jim Miller @
The Democrat-on-Democrat race for the 6th Senate District was among the most competitive and expensive in the state. In the end, Pan won with 53.8 percent of the vote in the Sacramento-based district, where Democrats comprise 48.3 percent of registered voters, Republicans 24.9 percent, and no-party preference voters 21.6 percent.

Big battles ahead over electronic cigarettesâ
Victoria Colliver @
With the Oxford Dictionaries naming “vape” as 2014’s Word of the Year and a new study showing e-cigarette vaping has surpassed traditional cigarette smoking among U.S. teens, the debate over whether the practice is safe for users and those around them is heating up. Federal and state lawmakers are grappling with how to regulate electronic cigarettes — alternatively called e-cigs, vape pens, e-hookahs, vaporizers — while health experts try to decide whether they help people quit smoking cigarettes or serve as a gateway into the habit. Most health experts consider e-cigarettes — battery-operated tubes that produce an inhalable vapor from liquid nicotine — to be safer than combustible cigarettes because they expose the user to fewer toxic chemicals. The campaign, part of the city’s Tobacco Free Project funded by the state tobacco tax, calls e-cigarettes harmful and says the flavored ones “hook teens on nicotine to replace smokers.” A study published in the medical journal Pediatrics found that 29 percent of teens in Hawaii have used e-cigarettes. With e-cigarette sales predicted to grow by 24 percent annually through 2018, big tobacco companies such as R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard and Altria are jumping into the business by buying up brands. E-cigarettes fall into a legislative gray area — they’re not medical devices and they’re not actually smoked, so they are largely unregulated. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced plans in April to start regulating e-cigarettes, and cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York enacted laws last year that treat the devices much like traditional cigarettes, meaning they can’t be used where smoking is banned. The industry group encouraged people who use vapor products to use common sense even in the absence of regulations — meaning, don’t vape on planes and other places where smoking is generally prohibited. [...] depending on who you ask, there’s probably a report someone can bring up that supports their (opposing) argument as well, said Seibo Shen, founder and chief executive officer of VapeXhale, a San Francisco company that encourages healthy vaping by using specific techniques and materials in its products. Shen’s company creates home-based vaporizers mainly for medical marijuana but is working to create portable devices.

After Two-year Delay, Construction On California's Bullet Train Is Set To Start
California's bullet-train agency will officially start construction in Fresno this week on the first 29-mile segment of the system, a symbol of the significant progress the $68-billion project has made against persistent political and legal opposition.

California's Ag Kamala Harris To Target Crimes Against Kids | 89.3 Kpcc
Southern California Public Radio @
California Attorney General Kamala Harris speaks onstage at the 2014 Variety Power of Women presented by Lifetime at Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons on October 10, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Variety

Opinion: California Often Follows Social Activism At Local Level | The Sacramento Bee
Dan Walters @
California voters apparently will decide whether single-use plastic bags commonly used for groceries and other consumer goods should be banned.

Little-known Tax Break For Wealthy Helps Low-income College Students
Wealthy individuals and corporations have an opportunity to do good this year — while they do well, thanks to a new and little-known tax break.

Taiwan's Ex-president Receives Medical Parole After 6 Years In Prison
After serving about one-third of a 20-year sentence on corruption charges, Taiwan’s ex-president, Chen Shui-bian, was granted medical parole Monday. The move was seen as a conciliatory gesture by the ruling Nationalist Party – weakened in recent elections – to political opponents who favor a more hardline approach toward mainland China.

New School Performance Model Takes Shape
Tom Chorneau @
During the past three years, school managers have been forced to keep up with an almost unprecedented pace of change – first with adoption of new national curriculum standards in math and English and then a complete restructuring of the school funding system.

Same-sex marriages to begin in Miami-Dade, Fla., Monday afternoon
Same-sex marriages are set to begin in Florida's Miami-Dade County Monday afternoon, hours before same-sex couples in the rest of the state will be allowed to wed.

For Republicans In California, Goals Come With A Side Of Delusion
Perhaps no profession leans on the power of delusion so much as politics.

Jerry Brown to begin historic fourth term in Capitol
Chris Megerian @
When Jerry Brown takes the oath of office on Monday morning, it will be the fourth time he's recited the same 84 words.

December Rains Stoke Big Flows In Bay Area Waterfalls
From the Santa Cruz Mountains redwood groves to Mount Diablo bay and oak forests to Sunol-Ohlone Wilderness rocky peaks, heavy December rainfall has opened the steep natural spigots.

Owner Of St. Louis Rams Plans To Build NFL Stadium In Inglewood
The owner of the St. Louis Rams plans to build an NFL stadium in Inglewood, which could pave the way for the league's return to Los Angeles.

4 Killed As Political Protests Roil Bangladesh
Violence erupted across Bangladesh on Monday as the nation marked the anniversary of controversial elections last year. Four people were killed and more than 400 were injured in politically motivated clashes.

L.A. City Council's Eye For Efficiency Can Anger Some Angelenos
Outraged chants erupted at the Los Angeles City Council last month after dozens of people who had come to the meeting discovered they wouldn't get a chance to speak.

Controversial DNA Startup Wants To Let Customers Create Creatures
Stephanie M. Lee @
With the latest technology and generous funding, a growing number of startups are taking science and medicine to the edge of science fiction. In the works or on the market are color-changing flowers, cow-free milk, animal-free meat, tests that detect diseases from one drop of blood and pills that tell doctors whether you have taken your medicine.