Days after a story in her hometown newpaper questioning
her fitness to serve in office, Sen. Pat Wiggins announced she will not seek reelection
Nathan Halverson reports, "A tearful state Sen. Pat Wiggins told supporters Sunday
will not seek another four-year term in the Legislature next year.
“The best decision, at this time, is that I will not
re-election in 2010,” Wiggins said Sunday at a campaign fund-raiser at
the Kendall-Jackson Wine Center outside Santa Rosa.
about Wiggins' health and political future had intensified in recent
months amid outbursts, odd displays of affection and
senator's apparent inability at times to focus or remember
making her announcement, Wiggins acknowledged she had
disabilities throughout her career. But she did not
address why she was not seeking another term, and she
and her staff
declined comment Sunday."
Senate leader Darrell Steinberg released a statement
Sunday saying, "I am thankful for her service, better for her friendship
and hopeful that she will
continue to work in her community with the same love
and dedication that she
showed in Sacramento."
Wiggins' decision clears the way for Assemblywoman Noreen Evans to run for her seat,and could lead to other former
lawmakers entering the fray as well.
Meanwhile, the Assembly will take another crack at
working out a prisons deal today. They have already
agreed to make changes to the Senate version of the
package passed Thursday, but some issues still remain.
Michael Rothfeld reports, "State prisons, criticized as unwieldy and inefficient
by experts in
California and across the country, have in recent years become the most
sacred area of state government, seemingly impervious to transformation
because of politics, fear and mistrust.
"You have an absolute hysteria," Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los
Angeles) said last week. Crime and corrections, she said, are
With federal courts this month ordering the state to
reduce the prison
population by 40,000 inmates, a budget crisis that makes it crucial for
the state to do so and a major riot recently at a crowded
the likelihood of relieving pressure and saving money
correctional institutions has appeared higher than
George Skelton says the pressure is on to do something.
"California's 33 prisons hold roughly 153,000 inmates in facilities
originally designed for 80,000. Another 6,000 are housed in fire camps
or local facilities. And 8,000 have been transferred to out-of-state
"When you put a bunch of human beings in an environment
in which they're living in quarters designed for a population half
size, with all the tensions that go into a prison anyway,
to have an explosion," says Steve Merksamer, who runs a political
law-lobbying firm. In the 1980s, he was chief of staff for Gov. George
Deukmejian, a lock-'em-up former attorney general.
not exactly a docile population. There's a great deal of racial and
ethnic rivalry. . . . The only thing that surprises
me is we haven't
had a Chino situation far more often."
Matier and Ross report Gavin Newsom is trailing in
his home town.
"On the statewide level, a poll taken last week of 600 likely Democratic voters by the Sacramento firm Moore Methods showed Brown in the lead for the 2010 primary, 49 percent to 20 percent.
"A second poll by David Binder of
423 likely Democratic voters in San Francisco - where Newsom has
enjoyed years of record-high approval ratings - has him trailing even
"The Binder poll, taken Aug. 15-18, showed Brown leading Newsom 51
percent to 34 percent among San Franciscans who have either made
their minds or who are "leaning" in one direction. Only 8 percent said
they were undecided, with the rest saying they wouldn't vote for either
Steve Harmon writes Meg Whitman's failure to debate her rivals is raising questions.
Whitman's refusal to debate in the early months of her campaign
governor is beginning to raise questions about whether
it's part of a
long-term strategy to limit her exposure and carefully control
image she wants to project."
As the only gubernatorial candidate
with no background in elective politics, the billionaire
chief executive officer of eBay has eschewed head-to-head
confrontations with her Republican primary opponents
she looks forward to debates.
Insurance Commissioner Steve
Poizner's campaign accused her of trying to "get around" the typical
vetting process of a campaign, taking her to task for
failing to agree
to participate in an Oct. 18 debate in Orange County. Whitman skipped a
debate in Sacramento, prompting the Poizner campaign
to create a Web
site, MegaDuck2010.com, which calls her the "candidate who won't debate."
clear that her strategy will be to spend millions of
dollars on TV ads
without having to get into specifics," said Jarrod Agen, Poizner's
communications director. "There's a giant learning curve in running a
campaign. What we're seeing is that she's not ready for prime time.
She's being very cautious and not wanting to say the wrong
because she's not used to the political arena."
In a bit of good news for the Capitol press corps,
the Center for Investigative Reporting announced the hiring of "11 reporters, multimedia producers
and editors to produce investigative, high impact reporting
new California Watch initiative."
The team will be led by former Orange County Register
Capitol reporter Mark Katches, and former LA Times reporter Bob Salladay will work in Sacramento as a contributing editor.