Capitol Alert: AM Alert: Janet Napolitano to lay out higher education plan

jwhite@sacbee.comOctober 30, 2013 

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Eric Risberg Associated Press University of California President-elect Janet Napolitano answers questions after regents picked her. A letter writer says her election was too secretive.

As former California Fair Political Practices Commission chief Ann Ravel's transition this week to the Federal Election Commission demonstrated, the California-to-Washington pipeline continues to function.

Moving in the opposite direction is Janet Napolitano, the former Obama administration cabinet secretary who has traded homeland security for higher education. The University of California regents confirmed Napolitano as president back in July, and tonight Napolitano will be in San Francisco to deliver a speech billed as the first major public address of her tenure.

While running a public university network may seem less daunting than overseeing America's sprawling national security and immigration systems, Napolitano will have plenty to keep her occupied. A recent report from the Little Hoover Commission called for a radical rethinking of California's public colleges, arguing that a cash infusion alone can't reverse stagnating graduation rates and access lagging behind demand.

Napolitano has also generated a backlash from Californians unhappy with her legacy at the Department of Homeland Security, particularly the record number of deportations. Protesters plan to denounce Napolitano when she arrives at Oakland Technical High School for a speech this morning.

LATTER-YEAR LAWMAKERS: The Assembly and Senate chambers will see their recess tranquility interrupted this week, with aged Californians in town for a meeting of the California Senior Legislature. After hearing yesterday from Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones and Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis, the elder statespeople will hold legislative floor sessions this morning, break for committee hearings in the afternoon and then convene for an evening banquet at the Hyatt Regency.

WATER BOND: Lawmakers will be in Indio today for an Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee hearing focused on regional water needs and the potential solutions contained in a 2014 bond proposal by committee chair Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood. Expected attendees included Rendon and Assembly members V. Manuel Pérez, Brian Dahle and Mariko Yamada. Starting at 2 p.m. in the Indio City Hall Council Chambers.

LINKED LEARNING: Bipartisan alert: two days after Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, was at an area high school touting a quarter billion dollars for high school courses tailored to career preparation, Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, will be in Rancho Cucamonga talking up the same program.

RANGER ARNOLD: For the third time in its history, the U.S. Forest Service will christen an honorary ranger. The recipient of this rarefied recognition? Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will be lauded for his climate change record during a ceremony at the U.S. Department of Agriculture today.

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