Capitol Alert

AM Alert: California adjusts formula for assisting ‘disadvantaged’ areas

A tanker truck passing the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond on March 9, 2010.
A tanker truck passing the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond on March 9, 2010. The Associated Press

As climate change once again took center stage at the Capitol this year, much of the legislative push involved making “disadvantaged communities” a bigger part of California’s greenhouse gas and pollution reduction efforts. In addition to requiring that regulators prioritize the impact on poor areas when setting new climate policies, a long-awaited deal to spend money raised by the cap-and-trade program hinged on directing more of those dollars to the neediest parts of the state.

But what exactly constitutes a disadvantaged community? California is still refining its definition. It recently released a draft for the third version of its CalEnviroScreen database, which assigns scores to more than 8,000 census tracts in the state based on environmental and socioeconomic factors such as the presence of hazardous waste facilities and the unemployment rate.

Not everyone is totally satisfied. Some groups in the Bay Area have complained that they are missing out on funding because the methodology favors Southern California and the Central Valley, where pollution is worse.

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and the California Environmental Protection Agency will lead a community workshop on proposed changes in the latest CalEnviroScreen draft, 6 p.m. at the Fruit Ridge Community Collaborative on 44th Street.

WORTH REPEATING: “Maybe Sutter is available for this project, too.” - Connie Conway, former Assembly GOP leader, joking that Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown would lend his dog to push college students to vote. Brown used Sutter in 2012 to urge a tax hike vote on campuses.

NOT TAKING CHANCES: Assemblyman Kevin McCarty should not have a difficult reelection campaign. The first-term Sacramento Democrat won 99.5 percent of the vote in the June primary, and now faces a 21-year-old bisexual, pro-choice Republican Sacramento State student who secured his spot on the November ballot with 254 write-in votes. But one can never be too careful – or too generous to colleagues in more competitive races – so McCarty is hosting a fundraiser at 5 p.m. at the Oak Park Brewing Company on Broadway. Tickets are between $50 and $2,500.

BY THE NUMBERS: All those mailers, TV ads and other advocacy efforts by outside spending groups in California legislative races don't come cheap. So far this month, Realtors, unions and others have donated almost $3.2 million to various outside spending committees. The Chicago-based National Association of Realtors wrote a $440,000 check on Sept. 14 to the California Alliance for Progress and Education, “an alliance of small business organizations” which has been active on behalf of Republican candidates in five Assembly and Senate contests.

See more at The Money Trail.

$AYONARA: In Sacramento, even goodbye to a departing lawmaker can be said with one’s checkbook. Termed-out state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, has yet to publicly announce his future political plans, but he has still invited supporters to contribute to whatever those may be with a farewell lunch at noon at Mayahuel on K Street. The fundraiser ($500 for “a pat on the back” or $1,000 for “a kick out the door”) benefits a 2018 lieutenant governor campaign account, an example of the out-year committees that legislators often open to raise money while they are figuring out what office they actually want to run for next.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblyman Devon Mathis, R-Visalia, who turns 34 today.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff. Jim Miller of The Bee Capitol Bureau contributed to this report.