Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

John Burton, right, seen chatting in 2010 with Jerry Brown, doesn’t want the California Democratic Party to take sides in contested primaries for state positions.

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  • By the numbers

    The Education Coalition, a consortium of unions, school boards and administrators, told a state Senate budget subcommittee Thursday that despite increases in school spending, the state should raise the level to the per pupil average of the nation's 10 highest-spending states on education. No number was mentioned, but Census Bureau data indicate that reaching that goal for 6 million K-12 students would cost about $36 billion more a year.

    – Dan Walters

The Buzz: John Burton pledges neutrality in Dem races for California controller, secretary of state

Published: Thursday, Mar. 6, 2014 - 10:04 pm

Chairman Burton prefers neutrality during primary

As California Democrats open their annual convention in Los Angeles today, the party’s leader has declared neutrality in the two competitive statewide Democratic primary fights: controller and secretary of state.

In an e-mail to activists, California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton said he has heard complaints that “my name’s being used one way or the other or that people are being bullied one way or the other” by the competing campaigns.

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, faces fellow Democrat Betty Yee, a member of the state Board of Equalization, in the race for controller. State Sens. Leland Yee and Alex Padilla and former California Common Cause official Derek Cressman are Democrats running for secretary of state.

Burton said he had asked the five in January not to seek the party’s endorsement, with mixed success. Pérez and Padilla continue to push for the party’s embrace. “I thought it was in the best interest of the party not to have fights about endorsements between good Democrats. I still feel that way,” Burton wrote. “They’re all friends and they’re all good Democrats.”

– Jim MIller

Worth repeating

“We’re done with this. We’re moving on.”

SENATE LEADER DARRELL STEINBERG, Sacramento Democrat, saying he will no longer entertain Republican floor motions to expel Sen. Rod Wright.

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