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February 2, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - Michael Picker, the newest member of the powerful Public Utilities Commission, has a long history with Gov. Jerry Brown: He worked in the governor's mail room during his first term from 1975 to 1977. "I delivered press releases," said Picker, 62, who moved to Sacramento from Echo Park a year after graduating from Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles in 1974. Since then, Picker, has held a number of government jobs, most recently as an elected board member of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and as senior adviser on renewable energy for Brown and his predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
January 31, 2014 | By Joseph Tanfani, Maeve Reston and Mark Z. Barabak
A former close aide to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said through his attorney that the governor knew about the closures of lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge as they were happening, disputing Christie's assertion that he only learned about the traffic mess later. A lawyer for David Wildstein, who engineered the lane closures while working as a Christie appointee at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said in a letter that the closures came "at the Christie administration's order.
January 30, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik
One thing is clear about the revocation of a film's Oscar nomination: It almost never happens. The nullification Tuesday night of an original song nomination for the composer and lyricist of "Alone Yet Not Alone" - an arrangement sung by a quadriplegic pastor in a faith-based movie of the same name - is only the fourth instance of an Oscar nomination being rescinded in the awards' 86-year history. It is the first time an Oscar nomination has been rescinded from a full-length U.S. feature (the other instances involved shorts, docs or foreign films)
January 23, 2014 | By Seema Mehta
Facing a daunting effort to unseat Gov. Jerry Brown, Republican activists in California are openly worrying about whether the party's donors, elected leaders and voters will embrace any of the GOP gubernatorial candidates. If Neel Kashkari or Tim Donnelly - the two major GOP candidates hoping to challenge Brown in November - do not receive enough support to gain momentum, critical races across the state could be lost. They include several tight congressional races that could affect the party's level of power in Washington and enough state legislative contests to affect Republicans' ability to increase their voice in Sacramento by breaking the Democrats' supermajorities there.
January 23, 2014 | By Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO - Gov. Jerry Brown has again asked federal judges for more time to reduce crowding in California's prisons and, in an about-face, proposed to free inmates early if he misses an extended deadline. California is under orders to remove thousands of inmates from state lockups by April 18, a deadline already delayed more than a year. In papers filed in U.S. District Court on Thursday, Brown asked for an additional two years. That is "the minimum length of time needed to allow new reform measures to responsibly draw down the prison population while avoiding the early release of inmates," the documents say. Brown has declared repeatedly that releasing prisoners early would jeopardize public safety.
January 22, 2014 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
SACRAMENTO - So the state of the state's governor is static - at least until he is safely reelected. Until the election year blows over, Gov. Jerry Brown is stationary - in a crouch, protecting himself politically, satisfied with the status quo. In his 30th year in elective office - 12th as governor, after failing in three bids for the presidency and one for the U.S. Senate, and growing up watching his politician father - Brown is instinctively cautious...
January 21, 2014 | By Anthony York
SACRAMENTO - With the state's finances in the black and a probable reelection bid to come, Gov. Jerry Brown's State of the State address Wednesday is expected to hew to a familiar theme: Stay the course. As with the budget blueprint that Brown introduced recently, his address to a joint session of the Legislature is likely to highlight the state's improving financial health and his accomplishments of the last three years. "That's his reelection message: progress," predicted Bill Whalen, a fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution who was a speechwriter for former Republican Gov. Pete Wilson.
January 21, 2014 | By Seema Mehta and Chris Megerian
Former U.S. Treasury official Neel Kashkari announced Tuesday that he is running for governor of California, staking his campaign on his ability to create jobs and improve public schools. "Here today, on this stage, I am announcing that I'm running for governor of California," Kashkari told a few hundred people at a luncheon at Cal State Sacramento. “That's my platform, jobs and education. That's it. That's why I'm running for governor of California. " The 40-year-old Republican has long been mulling a run, and has spent much of the past year meeting with donors, politicians and GOP activists.
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