Randy Pench/ rpench@sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at a press conference at the state Capitol on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in Sacramento.

Gov. Jerry Brown has nominated a Mexican-born Stanford Law School professor to the California Supreme Court, his office announced Tuesday.

Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, 41, was a special assistant for justice and regulatory policy in the Obama White House in 2009 and 2010 and was co-chair of the Obama transition’s immigration policy working group in 2008 and 2009, the governor’s office said.

He has taught at Stanford since 2001 and was co-chair of Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation from 2011 to 2013. He worked at the U.S. Treasury Department from 1997 to 1999.

“Tino Cuéllar is a renowned scholar who has served two presidents and made significant contributions to both political science and the law,” Brown said in a prepared statement. “His vast knowledge and even temperament will – without question – add further luster to our highest court.”

GFA2M4ACP.2Senior Photojournalist
Renee C. Byer/ rbyer@sacbee.com
A flag is placed on the wall of names during the 15th annual "Never to be Forgotten" ceremony at the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial on May 25, 2014 in Sacramento.

California’s 5,822 soldiers killed or missing in action during the Vietnam War are honored with a memorial in Capitol Park that lists their names on 22 black granite panels. But what about veterans who returned home, only to die from wounds they sustained abroad?

After realizing last year that one soldier had been inadvertently left off the list, veterans groups sponsored a bill that established an annual review of names to be added to the memorial. The law, which was signed in September, expanded the criteria to include deceased veterans whose deaths can be traced to an illness or injury from the war.

Now the Vietnam Memorial Name Committee is beginning the work of determining who can qualify to be placed on the wall. The committee will discuss the parameters that will be used to evaluate which names are added each year, 10 a.m. at the Department of Veterans Affairs on O Street.

VIDEO: No one is claiming responsibility for the crumbling Board of Equalization building, leaving taxpayers holding the bag, Dan Walters says.

Rich Pedroncelli/ The Associated Press
Warnins flags hang on the parking garage of the State Board of Equalization building in Sacramento on July 2, 2014.

No one is claiming responsibility for the crumbling Board of Equalization building, leaving taxpayers holding the bag, Dan says.

Have a question you’d like Dan to answer? Post it on our Facebook page.

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

Autumn Payne/ The Sacramento Bee
The Big House Museum is currently located in a 900 square foot building that was constructed in the 1880s. Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill obligating the state to lease the museum land for expansion.

Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill that would have obligated the state to enter into a lease with a non-profit group that runs a museum at Folsom State Prison.

The non-profit Old Guards Foundation Inc. sponsored the bill by Assemblywoman Beth Gaines, R-Roseville, hoping to land property for an expansion of the small museum it operates on Folsom prison grounds with nine volunteers. Private donations and grants would have paid for the museum expansion, said James Brown the foundation’s secretary-treasurer.

“We thought, ‘This isn’t going to use any taxpayer money at all. How could anybody object?” James Brown said.

Brown said Monday that he rejected the measure because the state already has a process for leasing property to nonprofits.

GL82M3HQD.2Senior Photographer
Paul Kitagaki Jr./ pkitagaki@sacbee.com
A man drinks from a fountain surround by brown grass at the State Capitol in Sacramento, where officials have allowed the lawn to die, on July 3, 2014.

For Californians caught between a drought and a brown space, a newly signed bill could offer some relief.

Introduced amid a withering drought, Assembly Bill 2100 bars homeowners associations in common interest developments from fining residents who stop watering their lawns during drought emergencies. Gov. Jerry Brown declared such an emergency back in January and has signed AB 2100, his office announced Monday.

Since the law applies only to homeowners associations, it would not aid a Los Angeles area couple facing a $500 penalty from the city of Glendale for letting their lawn languish. According to a bill analysis, common interest developments – a category that encompasses condominiums and some apartment projects – account for some 4.9 million housing units statewide.

California has taken the unprecedented step of authorizing a $500 penalty for wasting water, so Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose, called her AB 2100 necessary to ensure no one is punished for complying. The law takes effect immediately.

Brian Baer/ sabeephotos@sacbee.com
Del Oro High School Golden Eagle football player Tyler Meteer (8) runs with the ball after his catch on Friday, November 8, 2013.

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation limiting full-contact football practice for California teenagers, his office announced Monday.

The legislation comes amid increasing concern about brain injuries in football. Assembly Bill 2127, by Assemblyman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, prohibits middle school and high school football teams from holding full-contact practices during the off-season and limits them to no more than two full-contact practices per week during the preseason and regular season.

Nineteen other states have banned full-contact high school football practices in the off-season, according to a legislative analysis.

Brown signed the bill without comment, one of 23 measures the Democratic governor announced signing Monday. Among other bills, Brown signed legislation allowing underage winemaking students to taste alcohol.

Jane Tyska/ AP
This April 12, 2012 file photo shows Nadia Lockyer at a meeting in Oakland.

Nadia Lockyer, the wife of state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, is lashing out at Attorney General Kamala Harris for not pursuing charges against a former boyfriend she said assaulted her, promising “the opposition of the Lockyer family” if Harris ever runs for higher office.

In a Facebook post last week, the former Alameda County Supervisor accuses Harris of making an “unjust, anti-feminist, anti-victims rights decision to not prosecute the man that almost killed me.”

“So this pledge stands,” she wrote in all caps. “If Kamala Harris ever runs for higher office she will have to face the opposition of the Lockyer family and all those truly committed to victims’ rights.”

The Facebook post, first reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, refers to a heavily publicized case two years ago, when Nadia Lockyer’s affair with a methamphetamine addict and own drug use became public. Lockyer told police in 2012 that she was injured in a violent assault by her former boyfriend, Stephen Chikhani, a methamphetamine user she met in an addiction treatment program.

GS12LNQUA.2Senior Photographer
Paul Kitagaki Jr./ The Sacramento Bee
Viternam veteran Lester Washington, 60, left, is among the homeless people who have set up tents on Union Pacific Railroad property near 7th and B streets in Sacramento on November 3, 2007.

Facing no organized opposition, Proposition 41, a measure authorizing $600 million in bonds for housing and other services for homeless veterans, passed with more than 65 percent of the vote in June.

That could go a long way to helping California’s veterans, which are overrepresented in the homeless population. At nearly 15,000 on any given night, they also make up more than a quarter of homeless veterans nationwide, according to the state Department of Housing and Community Development.

But now comes the difficult part of figuring out how the money will be spent, including which regions have the greatest need for funding assistance. The Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Program has hosted a series of meetings across the state over the past two weeks, and it will get Sacramento’s input today at 2 p.m. at the HCD Headquarters at 2020 West El Camino Avenue in Sacramento. A final meeting takes place tomorrow in Santa Ana.

Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama visited Los Angeles and called upon the county to end homelessness among veterans. Los Angeles County has more than 6,300 homeless veterans, the most in the nation.

Randy Pench/ rpench@sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown talks about revisions to his budget during a press conference at the state Capitol on May 13, 2014.

Once a prolific public commenter, Gov. Jerry Brown barely discusses anything since he returned to California's highest office, Dan says.

Have a question you’d like Dan to answer? Post it on our Facebook page.

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

GCF2LG00U.3Senior Photographer
Manny Crisostomo/mcrisostomo@sacbee.com

Bribed surgeons implanted counterfeit spinal hardware into the backs of potentially thousands of patients as part of a vast scheme overseen by Michael D. Drobot, the former hospital executive who as part of a plea deal admitted to bribing indicted California state Sen. Ron Calderon, according to a new lawsuit.

The federal case against Calderon, who has been suspended from the state Senate, includes charges that the Montebello Democrat accepted money to try to preserve workers’ compensation rules that helped Drobot. In the years leading up to being indicted for fraud, Drobot was a prolific donor to California Democrats.

While Calderon’s case remains unresolved, Drobot has struck a plea deal in which he admitted to funneling bribes to Calderon. He also acknowledged overstating the price of medical implants for which he sought reimbursements and paying kickbacks to doctors and marketers who brought patients to Drobot’s hospitals.

Now one of those patients has sued doctors, hospitals and medical device distributors allegedly wrapped up in the scheme. Mary Cavalieri underwent multiple spinal surgeries at Drobot’s Pacific Hospital and said knockoff devices were inserted into her spine.

Hector Amezcua/ hamezcua@sacbee.com
Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, on the first day of session in December 2012.

Assemblyman John A. Pérez abandoned his recount in the California controller’s race Friday, ending an effort to overcome a narrow third-place finish after picking up only a handful of votes amid increasing impatience from Democratic activists and others worried about its impact on the fall election.

Perez called off the recount a week after it started. Election workers had finished hand recounts in less than a tenth of the more than 4,100 precincts in 15 counties listed in Pérez’s July 6 filing for what would have been the largest recount in state history.

“While I strongly believe that completing this process would result in me advancing to the General Election, it is clear that there are significant deficiencies in the process itself which make continuing the recount problematic,” Pérez said in a statement Friday. “Even in the effort so far, we have found uncounted ballots, but there is simply not enough time to see this process through to the end, given the fact that counties must begin printing ballots in the next few weeks in order to ensure that overseas and military voters can receive their ballots in a timely manner.”

Pérez, D-Los Angeles, finished 481 votes behind Board of Equalization member Betty Yee, also a Democrat, for second place and a slot in the Nov. 4 general election against Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, a Republican who finished first in the balloting.

Rich Pedroncelli/ AP
Former Democratic campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee leaves the federal courthouse in Sacramento, Calif., in November 2012 after she was sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison for defrauding high-profile clients, such as U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

California’s political ethics agency has begun posting the names of campaign treasurers who have repeatedly run afoul of state rules, with the goal of alerting candidates and party officials.

The action by the Fair Political Practices Commission stems from a recommendation following the arrest of former campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee, who pleaded guilty in March 2012 to stealing at least $7 million from Democratic candidates, party committees and various nonprofits in the largest campaign embezzlement case ever prosecuted. Durkee was sentenced to eight years in prison in November 2012 and ordered to pay $10.5 million in restitution.

Durkee had had repeated run-ins with the FPPC before her September 2011 arrest. Some of her victims complained they had no inkling of those red flags and would have switched treasurers if they had.

“The purpose of this is so people can have some place where they can find treasurers who have had frequent enforcement actions,” Gary S. Winuk, chief of the FPPC’s enforcement division, said of the new site.

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