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Good news for California beer & spirits lovers

There’s good news from Sacramento this week for Californians who enjoy a sip of this or a shot of that.

beer tastingGov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed into law AB 774 by Assemblyman Marc Levine, which will allow limited beer tastings at certified farmers’ markets.

“This bill recognizes that at farmers’ markets brewers meet consumers face-to-face and build a relationship,” Levine, D-San Rafael. “AB 774 allows tastings where brewers are already selling their products at certified farmers’ markets.”

The new law, which also lets nonprofits receive donated beer as items for auction, will give farmers’ market managers full discretion on whether or not to allow beer tastings; limit tastings to one brewery per day per market; allow tastings only in a controlled, cordoned-off area; and limit tastings to eight ounces per adult customer.

Brown one year ago signed Levine’s similar bill to allow wine tastings at farmers’ markets.

Levine also made headway this week with his bill to create a new license for craft distillers so they can sell up to three bottles of distilled spirits per person per day at an instructional tasting; hold private events at the distillery; and have ownership in up to three restaurants. AB 1295 was approved Tuesday by the Senate Governmental Organization Committee.

Current state law prevents distillers from selling their products directly to consumers.

“This historic legislation changes Prohibition-era laws for craft distillers to reflect the modern marketplace,” Levine said, letting craft distillers “operate in a similar manner as wineries and breweries under existing law. This bill helps craft distillers to be competitive with large out-of-state distillers. Growth of the craft distillery industry means jobs in our local communities.”

Bottoms up!

Posted on Wednesday, July 15th, 2015
Under: Assembly, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | No Comments »

Gov. Jerry Brown will visit the Vatican

Gov. Jerry Brown will visit the Vatican this month to speak at a two-day symposium on climate change and modern slavery.

Brown, who was a Jesuit seminarian way back when, will make the trip one month after Pope Francis issued an encyclical on the environment including his call for a partnership between science and religion to combat human-driven climate change. The visit also comes a few months before world leaders will convene in Paris for the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

“In the spirit of the pope’s encyclical, this unprecedented gathering of global leaders is a wake-up call to face up to the common threats of climate change and human exploitation,” Brown said in a news release. “This is about the future of humanity and how we as human beings live and treat one another and the natural world around us.”

The two-day event, hosted by the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences, aims to drive awareness, dialogue and action at the local level on climate change and modern slavery – two pressing, interconnected issues highlighted in the pope’s encyclical. Brown will attend sessions on “Modern Slavery and Climate Change: The Commitment of the Cities” on Tuesday, July 21, and sessions on “Prosperity, People and Planet: Achieving Sustainable Development in Our Cities” on Wednesday, July 22.

It’s a continuation of Brown’s focus on building collaboration among “subnational” governments of states and provinces to combat climate change. He attended the Climate Summit of the Americas this week in Toronto, where Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard signed the “Under 2 MOU,” a first-of-its-kind pact amongst states and provinces around the world to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius – the warming threshold at which scientists say there will likely be catastrophic climate disruptions.

Since the agreement was first signed at a Sacramento ceremony in May, 18 signatories in nine countries and four continents have signed on, collectively representing more than $5.3 trillion in GDP and 130 million people.

Posted on Thursday, July 9th, 2015
Under: Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | 2 Comments »

Brown names five from Bay Area to trade council

Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday named a Berkeley policy consultant with a White House pedigree and several Bay Area business leaders to the board that advises him on expanding international trade and investment for California businesses.

EchavesteMaria Echaveste, 60, of Berkeley – who also serves as policy and program development director at the UC Berkeley School of Law’s Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy – will be vice chair of the California International Trade and Investment Advisory Council. President Obama nominated Echaveste last September to serve as U.S. ambassador to Mexico, but facing stiff opposition in the Senate, she withdrew her nomination in January.

Echaveste works as a public policy consultant focused on issues including immigration, civic engagement, U.S.-Mexico relations and food policy. She was assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff to President Bill Clinton from 1998 to 2001; assistant to the president and director of the White House Office of Public Liaison from 1997 to 1998; and administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division from 1993 to 1997.

“I am honored to have Maria Echaveste join me as vice chair of this critically important council,” former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary Eleni Kounalakis, whom Brown named the council’s chair in 2014, said in a news release Friday. “This dynamic group of individuals brings a wealth of experience in international affairs and business development and we are ready to help the Governor and GO-Biz continue to strengthen California’s position in the global economy.”

The council advises the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), helping GO-Biz identify foreign markets with the greatest potential for export expansion and develop specific export strategies for those markets – including the state’s top trading partners, Canada, Mexico and China, and emerging markets such as Brazil and India. The council will hold its first meeting next month in Sacramento. (Did anyone but me notice that the actual acronym for the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development would be GO-BED?)

BleichAmong a dozen other appointees named Friday was Jeff Bleich, 54, of Piedmont, an attorney at Munger, Tolles and Olson who was special counsel to President Obama for a few months in 2009 before serving four years as the U.S. ambassador to Australia. He served as director of the White House Commission on Youth Violence from 1998 to 1999 and is a past chair of the California State University Board of Trustees and past president of the California State Bar.

Carl GuardinoBrown also appointed Silicon Valley Leadership Group President and CEO Carl Guardino, 53, of Monte Sereno. Guardino has been the tech region police advocacy group’s chief executive since 1997, and was its vice president from 1991 to 1995; he was director of government affairs at Hewlett-Packard from 1995 to 1997 and district director for Assemblyman Rusty Areias from 1984 to 1990.

anjamanuelAlso appointed was Anja Manuel, 40, of San Francisco, a cofounder and partner – along with former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates – at RiceHadleyGates LLC, a strategic consulting firm. Manuel, also a lecturer in Stanford University’s International Policy Studies program, was special assistant to Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns from 2005 to 2007, and was an international litigation attorney at WilmerHale from 2001 to 2005 and from 2007 to 2009.

WundermanAnd Brown appointed Bay Area Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman, 57, of Pleasant Hill. Wunderman has led the regional business organization since 2004; earlier, he was senior vice president for external affairs at Providian Financial Corporation from 1997 to 2004; chief of staff to San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan from 1992 to 1995; and special assistant to then-San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein from 1983 to 1987.

These appointments don’t require Senate confirmation and come with a $100 per diem.

Posted on Friday, May 8th, 2015
Under: Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | 1 Comment »

Ted Cruz declares; Jerry Brown is unimpressed

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is the first major Republican candidate to declare his candidacy for president in 2016 – and California Gov. Jerry Brown says he’s “absolutely unfit to be running for office.”

Cruz, R-Texas, launched a 30-second spot Sunday:

And a longer one Monday:

And he formally announced his run with a speech Monday morning at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

“I believe in you,” he told the crowd at the evangelical Christian university. “I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of America. And that is why today I am announcing that I am running for President of the United States.”

But on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Brown was shown a clip of Cruz claiming that science doesn’t support the predictions of climate change “alarmists.” His Jerry-ness was NOT amused.

“What he said is absolutely false. Over 90 percent of the scientists who deal with climate are absolutely convinced that the human activity, industrial activity, generation of CO2, methane, oxides and nitrogen, and all the rest of those greenhouse gases are building up in the atmosphere. They are heat trapping. And they are causing not just warm, drought in California, but severe storms and cold in the East Coast. So it’s climate disruption of many different kinds. And that man betokens such a level of ignorance and a direct falsification of existing scientific data. It’s shocking and I think that man has rendered himself absolutely unfit to be running for office.”

Cruz later told Breitbart News Sunday that if Brown wanted to hurt him politically, Brown would appear on television and praise him; Cruz insisted data doesn’t support climate change.

Posted on Monday, March 23rd, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election, Global warming, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | 6 Comments »

Florida Gov. Rick Scott aims to poach CA jobs

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is taking a page from Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s playbook – coming to California to try to poach some of the Golden State’s businesses, and take some potshots at Gov. Jerry Brown in the process.

Rick ScottScott will visit Los Angeles on April 12 and 13, leading a trade delegation and hosting a reception for shipping industry professionals. He sent a letter Thursday to shipping companies urging them to shift their business to Florida after a contract dispute disrupted labor recently at California’s ports. Florida is “on a mission to be the number one destination in the world for jobs,” he wrote.

“Our investment in port infrastructure means Florida’s ports are ready and have the capacity to immediately handle increased cargo that could come to Florida as a result of port congestion on the other side of the country,” he wrote, with more projects under way to increase container-handling capabilities.

“Florida’s low-tax, business friendly climate and our commitment to investing in our transportation infrastructure are great reasons for you to consider shipping your goods through Florida ports,” Scott continued. “In comparison, under Governor Jerry Brown’s tax and spend administration, California has the nation’s highest personal income tax, highest state sales tax, second highest gas tax, and has more than double the state debt per capita than Florida. And for ten straight years, CEOs have ranked California dead last for its business climate.”

Florida has no personal income tax, has paid down $7.5 billion in state debt in the last four years, and is second-ranked in the same business-climate index, he noted. “We’ve made job creation a priority while Governor Brown idly watches businesses flee California, which has the second highest unemployment rate of any state, only behind Mississippi.”

Brown spokesman Evan Westrup said it’s easy to understand why Scott wants to visit California.

“California has the 7th largest economy in the world, we lead the nation in manufacturing, technology and life sciences and we’re at the top of the Fortune 500 rankings,” Westrup said. “Our budget is balanced, our credit rating is up and we created more than a quarter of the nation’s jobs in January. We also believe in climate change. As one of the 60 million tourists expected to visit California this year, we hope the governor’s stay is both enjoyable and educational.”

Hmmm. Well, maybe there are some good opportunities at the Port of Orlando. What, Orlando is landlocked, you say? Maybe not for long! But don’t tell Rick Scott that – he doesn’t like hearing the words “cl—– ch—-.”

Sea Level Rise 6 meters

Posted on Thursday, March 12th, 2015
Under: economy, Global warming, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | 3 Comments »

Field Poll: Gov. Jerry Brown still riding high

If he maintained poll numbers like this, California Gov. Jerry Brown would be hard to beat for a fifth term.

That’s impossible under the state’s term limits, of course. But a new Field Poll finds Brown – who already has served as governor longer than anyone in the Golden State’s history – remains remarkably popular.

Jerry BrownThe poll found 56 percent of California voters approve of Brown’s job performance while 32 percent disapprove and 12 percent offered no opinion. That’s within the poll’s margin of error from Brown’s all-time high during this second go-around as governor; he hit 59 percent approval in April 2014.

Even more California voters – 69 percent – agreed Brown “has the right experience to deal with the problems facing California,” the Field Poll found, a sentiment that extends across party lines: 79 percent of Democrats, 69 percent of nonpartisans and 55 percent of Republicans agreed.

Majorities also agreed Brown “has the vision to lead California into the future” (54 percent) and “deserves credit for turning around the state’s finances” (53 percent).

However, when asked to consider three negative statements that have been made about Brown, 57 percent agreed with one of them: that he “favors too many big government projects that the state cannot afford right now.” (Hey, high-speed rail and Delta tunnels – they’re looking at you.)

Brown’s approval ratings are highest in the Bay Area (69 percent) compared to other regions of the state; among voters with post-graduate education (64 percent) compared to other education levels; among African Americans (67 percent) compared to other races/ethnicities; among ages 40-49 and 65 or older (59 percent) compared to other age groups; and among men (59 percent) compared to women (53 percent).

The poll of 1,241 California voters was conducted Jan. 26 through Feb. 16 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

Posted on Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
Under: Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown, polls | 2 Comments »

Jerry Brown proclaims today ‘Fred Korematsu Day’

Gov. Jerry Brown has issued a proclamation deeming Friday a day for celebration of an East Bay hero:

When Fred T. Korematsu received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998, President Clinton said that “in the long history of our country’s constant search for justice, some names of ordinary citizens stand for millions of souls — Plessy, Brown, Parks. To that distinguished list today we add the name of Fred Korematsu.”

Fred Korematsu was, in the best sense of both words, an ordinary hero. A native Californian, born and raised in Oakland and a welder by trade, he simply refused to accept his government’s order to relocate under the brutal and misguided policy of Japanese-American internment during World War II. Korematsu’s staunch determination to be treated like the loyal American citizen he was came to define his life story, in both his decades-long legal battle against internment and his later recognition as a leader in the cause of civil rights. On this 96th anniversary of his birth, we remember him as one who resisted injustice during a dark chapter in our nation’s history, and later worked tirelessly to prevent its repetition.

NOW THEREFORE I, EDMUND G. BROWN JR., Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim January 30th 2015, as “Fred Korematsu Day.”

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 30th day of January 2015.

Actor, activist and social-media phenomenon George Takei – who as a child was interned with his family in a relocation camp – will keynote the 5th Annual Fred Korematsu Day Celebration at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the City Arts and Lectures-Nourse Theatre in San Francisco.

Some Bay Area folks were tweeting on Korematsu today:

Also, California isn’t the only state to mark this day, and some would like to see this made a national holiday.

Posted on Friday, January 30th, 2015
Under: Civil liberties, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | No Comments »

State lawmakers react to Brown’s inaugural speech

From state Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose:

Jim Beall“This may have been Gov. Brown’s best State of the State address. He laid out a long-term vision for California’s future. As chairman of the Senate transportation committee, I agree with his mission to maintain our roads, highways, and bridges. By investing in infrastructure maintenance and effective mass transit projects we can cut pollution and create new jobs. The BART extension to San Jose is projected to generate 19,000 jobs (one job for one year). We have to keep the state moving and I’ve introduced SB 9 to allow multi-year funding under the Cap and Trade program for large, innovative mass transit projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“I also agree with the Governor that we can no longer make students the ‘default financiers’ of our colleges. SB 15 would freeze tuition rates and that’s why I co-authored it. I believe there has to be a more public investment in education rather than have the students pick up higher and higher percentages of the cost. The Governor was right to point out that California cannot afford to pour more money into the prison system. This costs higher education dearly because it is money that could be spent on our universities.’’

From Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-Dublin:

Catharine Baker“As we prioritize our budget, we must focus on what is needed for a strong and prosperous state. Education, transportation, and an environment that promotes job growth must be our focus in the coming years.

“I was pleased to hear the Governor’s commitment to some shared priorities we have. Ensuring our schools receive the necessary funding to provide all of California’s children the education they deserve should remain a top priority. We need to ensure that funding for education is going directly to the classroom to benefit our students and teachers, and not to a bloated administrative bureaucracy. And we cannot continue to defend the status quo and the policies addressed in the Vergara decision. Those policies are denying students the opportunity to get a good education. Finally, in the true spirit of local control, we must eliminate the cap on savings reserves that was implemented last year. It endangers the financial health of every school district in our community.

“Republicans and Democrats worked together last year and supported the rainy day fund, and the state needed that reform. Our school districts need a rainy day fund, too, and state law now prohibits them from having the savings they need to protect against cuts. Ensuring we have reserves to continue necessary programs in the midst of a fiscal crisis is the right thing to do. I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that the cap on reserves is eliminated.

“As Vice-Chair of the Higher Education Committee, I will work to fight tuition increases that hinder our students’ ability to attend college, and I hope the Governor will join me in this pledge. Under the UC proposed tuition hike, students and their families will pay 25 percent more for their degrees in 2020 than they are paying today. Lawmakers and the UC must work together on long-term planning to keep higher education affordable, and I will fight for that.

“The Governor and I agree that it is time Republicans and Democrats come together to address California’s transportation needs. We have a crumbling infrastructure that was built for a population a fraction of the size it is now. But directing public funds to High Speed Rail as it starts breaking ground this week is a poor use of taxpayer dollars. We should be breaking ground on BART to Livermore, expanding parking at BART, and improving our road capacity instead of funding the bullet train project. This is money that should be spent easing congestion and increasing mass transit in the most high traffic regions of the state.

“I applaud the Governor and my predecessors that have worked to turn our economy around over the past few years. There is a still a great deal of work to be done, and our economy is fragile. Unemployment is dropping, but there are still too many Californians out of work and too many businesses leaving our state. We have to make it easier for employers to do business here. I would like to have heard the Governor address this, but I look forward to working with him on improving California’s business economy.”

More from the Bay Area’s lawmakers, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, January 5th, 2015
Under: Assembly, California State Senate, Catharine Baker, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown, Jim Beall, Phil Ting | 1 Comment »

The tastes of Gov. Jerry Brown’s 4th inauguration

Experience the tastes of Gov. Jerry Brown’s fourth inauguration.

The Orange County Employees Association, California Labor Federation and other partners are holding a “People’s Inauguration” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the State Capitol’s north lawn, serving up free hot dogs. The labor groups say inaugurations usually are exclusive events designed for politicians, lobbyists and other insiders, but their party is a testament to Brown’s commitment to representing all Californians.

“During his last inauguration, Gov. Brown came out and shared a hot dog with the people he represents, right in the middle of the crowd,” OCEA General Manager Nick Berardino said in a news release. “It’s inspiring that he stands with all the people – especially all of us in the cheap seats.”

But if Brown grabs grabs a frank, I’d bet he’ll be saving room for the “Taste of California” reception, hosted from 5 to 7 p.m. at the California State Railroad Museum by Visit California and California Grown with food, wines, beers and ciders produced here in the Golden State.

“Visitors come from all over the world to enjoy California’s culinary bounty, and this reception is an opportunity to showcase the wine and food that make our state a premier travel destination,” Visit California President and CEO Caroline Beteta said in a news release.

California Grown is an initiative of the Buy California Marketing Agreement, a joint effort of agricultural industry groups representing the products of California’s farms, ranches, forests and fisheries. Working as an advisory board to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, BCMA brings together industry and government resources to increase the awareness, consumption and value of California agricultural products.

BCMA Executive Director Nick Matteis said the menu will include:

  • Braised chicken mole tosdadas
  • Roasted pasilla pepper and artichoke cream cheese on California endive
  • Beet hummus on crostini with goat cheese
  • Harris Ranch Oak smoked prime rib slider with creamy horseradish sauce on a smoked Gouda cheese roll
  • Hamachi poke on taro chip with ginger beef sauce and micro shiso
  • Duck pastrami in a rye cup with sauerkraut salt
  • Grappa-soaked cherries and micro greens
  • “I can’t think of a better way to make sure that the Governor and his guests are enjoying the best agriculture products in the world,” California Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross said in the release.

    UPDATE @ 3:10 P.M.: And in case you wondered how Jerry Brown takes his hot dog, the Sacramento Bee has video:

    Posted on Monday, January 5th, 2015
    Under: Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | No Comments »

    Governor Jerry Brown’s fourth inaugural address

    My esteemed colleague Jessica Calefati has the story on Gov. Jerry Brown’s fourth inauguration and address – a speech encompassing not only the sweep of California’s history, but also the governor’s own:

    “As I embark upon this unprecedented fourth term as governor, my thoughts turn to a time long ago when I first entered this chamber, January 5, 1959, for my father’s inauguration. I sat there in front of the rostrum, next to my 81-year-old grandmother, Ida Schuckman Brown, feeling awkward in my priestly black suit and Roman collar. My perspective was different then. The previous August, as a young Jesuit living in what was then a pre-Vatican II seminary, I had taken vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. To me, the boisterous crowd, the applause, the worldliness of it all was jarring.”

    Read the entire text of Brown’s inaugural speech, after the jump…
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted on Monday, January 5th, 2015
    Under: Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | No Comments »