Politics & Government

The Buzz: Government crossroads -- Ravel heads east; Napolitano faces music in California

State, federal officials swap coasts

Top California politics watchdog Ann Ravel’s transition this week to the Federal Election Commission demonstrated that 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 chancellor 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 a commission called for a radical rethinking of California’s public colleges, arguing that a cash infusion alone can’t improve enrollment and graduation statistics.

Napolitano has also generated a backlash from Californians unhappy with her legacy at the Department of Homeland Security, particularly the record number of deportations.

– Jeremy B. White


The union representing about 11,000 state government engineers, most of them Department of Transportation employees, says its members have overwhelmingly ratified a two-year labor deal that includes a raise. Professional Engineers in California Government spokesman Ryan Endean said 84.6percent of the ballots cast approved the contract deal made last summer with Gov. Jerry Brown. PECG’s deal, which expires July 1, 2015, includes a 3.3percent raise effective on the contract’s last day.

–Jon Ortiz