Fight for Yamada seat: A tale of two counties

Tracks in the Napa wine country at St. Helena. Photo: Hank Shiffman.

Thanks to newly redrawn district boundaries, Napa County has a chance to put its first lawmaker in the state capitol in more than a generation. The race to replace termed-out 4th District Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis, promises to be hotly contested, featuring family connections, Democrats going head-to-head and a scramble for campaign funds.

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News

ARB, Tesla at odds over rebate cuts for electric vehicles

New Teslas at the company's factory in Fremont. Photo: Steve Jurvetson

Electric vehicles costing more than $60,000 may be eliminated from a major rebate program and the rebates themselves would be reduced to a fifth of their current level – moves that would cut popular Tesla Motors’ models from the rebates.

News

Senate scandals dim voters’ view of Legislature

State Capitol, Sacramento. Photo: Wikimedia

In the aftermath of the corruption scandals now affecting three State Senators, California voters have changed their views about the performance of the Legislature. During the week immediately prior to Yee’s arrest, 46% of voters approved and 40% disapproved of the Legislature’s performance, a finding that showed continuing improvement from previous Field Polls conducted over the past two years.

News

Of Orcas, Atkins and the new Assembly

A killer whale performs at SeaWorld. Photo: Ed Schipul

Politics in California’s Capitol is rarely black and white – even when dealing with orcas. Earlier this week, a bill that would ban animal parks from keeping killer whales in captivity met an unceremonious death in the Assembly Parks and Wildlife Committee. The bill was reduced to a “study bill,” which is how lawmakers often handle issues they want to disappear.

News

Field Poll: Brown on a roll

Voter approval of the job that Democrat Jerry Brown is doing as Governor has reached a new high. At present, 59% of registered voters approve of his performance in office, nearly twice the proportion (32%) who disapprove. Brown also holds a huge preference lead when likely voters in the June open primary election are asked whom they would support if the election were being held today.

News

Farms feel drought’s wrath

A view of the California drought from Marine One during President Obama's recent visit. Photo: White House

California’s severe drought is having a profound effect on farming and an unprecedented amount of acreage likely will be left fallow, the Brown administration’s top agriculture official says. Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross told an Assembly budget subcommittee that “no doubt there will be a tremendous impact on agriculture this year.”

News

Capitol debate brewing over beer

A stout beckons at a craft brewer's tasting. Photo: Maxy M., Shutterstock.

A debate is brewing in Sacramento over regulating California beer. “There has been a concern that there has been inadequate enforcement staff available,” said Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, D-Arcata, whose district includes at least 15 breweries. The issue is whether the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has enough people to effectively regulate brewers, especially the increasingly popular craft brewing industry.

News

Fed grand jury indicts Leland Yee

Suspended state Sen. Leland Yee, caught in a years-long FBI undercover investigation into a Chinatown-linked criminal network, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on corruption charges, wire fraud and conspiracy to smuggle guns. Yee, 65, is one of 29 people named in the indictment handed down Thursday and unveiled Friday. Yee, arrested March 26 in a pre-dawn raid, is free on $500,000 bond.

Opinions

Captive orcas: Proposed ban is ill-advised, anti-science

Orcas perform at SeaWorld in San Diego. Photo: Cunimedia Photography

OPINION: More than 9 million students and teachers have participated in SeaWorld’s formal education programs. SeaWorld scientists have published more than 30 studies specific to killer whales, and the park’s successful care and husbandry of its population of killer whales – supported by a three-year, $70-million investment in their habitat – allows them to manage a healthy population of animals, while keeping young calves with their mothers and respecting the whales’ social structure.

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