It was during my sophomore year of college when I took a course called “Reporting for the Public Good.” I had a passion for writing dating back several years, but this class instilled in me a tremendous sense of purpose. Through journalism, I realized I could inform my local community, report on issues affecting them and hold individuals and institutions accountable for their actions.
For me, journalism is a public service. It works best when reporters make themselves accessible and carefully listen to their audience. With that in mind, please allow me to introduce myself: My name is Bryan Anderson, and as of June 11, I am a political reporter for The Sacramento Bee.
I was born and raised in Burlingame, California, where I developed a passion for watching and playing sports. That passion led me to report for my high school newspaper and Prep2Prep, a Bay Area high school sports website. After high school, I honed my journalism skills at Elon University in North Carolina. During the summer of 2016, I worked as a political reporting intern — and eventual correspondent — for the Raleigh News & Observer. The following summer, I landed a fellowship in Phoenix, where I reported on U.S. water quality and government oversight of the Superfund program for News21. These experiences, and several others, helped me get to the position I currently occupy at The Bee.
Fun facts/dirt: I once bowled a 199. I am a board game aficionado. I can rap decently to “Alphabet Aerobics.” I’ve never had coffee. I have a notorious addiction to water bottles and a profound distrust of sushi and salads. Finally, I am (usually painfully) a die-hard Oakland Athletics and San Jose Sharks fan.
That’s enough about me. Now, I’d like to hear from YOU.
Over the next several weeks, I will be gathering input on how the twice-daily Capitol Alert newsletter could be improved. I will also be navigating through the Capitol to meet with policymakers. Most importantly, I will be connecting with readers like you.
Got a story idea? Complaint about something The Bee isn’t covering? General questions, comments, or concerns? If you have something to say, I want to hear it. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Call me at 916-326-5538. Tweet me at @BryanRAnderson. Find me on Instagram or Facebook. Now is not the time to get fatigued by the onslaught of news. Stay engaged!
As a political reporter, I am here to represent you. I can only be as good as the audience I am serving. Based on the people I’ve met thus far inside and outside the newsroom, I suspect I will be in great shape.
Now to the news of the day...
GOP PUSHES BACK ON PROP 47 REPORT
A Public Policy Institute of California report is receiving strong backlash from Republican lawmakers. A Capitol Alert published last week recapped the report, highlighting PPIC's findings about Proposition 47 — the 2014 ballot measure aimed at reducing penalties for certain nonviolent drug and property crimes. Mia Bird, a research fellow at PPIC, said Proposition 47 succeeded in its "intended effect of reducing incarceration numbers."
Though the violent crime rate increased by 13 percent in the two years following Proposition 47, the PPIC report said the actual crime rate is closer to 5 percent when accounting for unrelated changes in how crimes were reported. PPIC concluded Proposition 47 did not lead to higher violent crime rates, upsetting those who oppose the measure. But PPIC did find some evidence that the measure led to a 9 percent rise in larceny, which is mostly attributable to motor vehicle thefts. While recidivism remains a major issue in California, PPIC concluded that the measure led to lower recidivism rates among lower-level offenders, reducing their re-arrest and re-conviction rates by 1.8 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.
Republicans accuse PPIC of overstating the positive effects of Proposition 47 and understating the negatives.
State Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, told me last Thursday that PPIC "is doing a disservice to Californians by giving them a false sense of hope that everything is all well." His office provided a copy of a Department of Justice report, which found that five in six state prisoners were arrested at least once during the nine years after their release. According to Nielsen, the federal statistics undermine PPIC's findings.
It's worth noting that the report Nielsen's office provided only examined recidivism from 2005-2014 — before Proposition 47 was passed by 60 percent of California voters in 2014.
Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba CIty, and Nielsen said Proposition 47 is handcuffing law enforcement agencies by preventing them from going after lower-level criminals. Gallagher conceded the measure "is keeping people out of jail," but said that people are emboldened to continue committing crimes. "Law enforcement officers know that, at most, because it's a misdemeanor now for a petty theft, larceny, all these things, they know that they're only going to spend, at most, a couple days in jail. So it's not even worth the booking."
IS IT TIME TO IMPEACH TRUMP?
Tom Steyer, the man behind the movement to impeach President Donald Trump is coming to Sacramento today and will sit down with The Bee for a morning interview. Later in the day, he'll host a town hall at 7 p.m. at Beatnik Studios. The impeachment debate has caused a rift within the Democratic Party ahead of midterms.
A campaign spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pointed to past statements that were highly critical of the effort to impeach Trump. In April, Pelosi told reporters in a briefing that raising the issue of impeachment would be a "gift to Republicans."
INFLUENCER OF THE DAY
"The issue of housing affordability strikes low-income and middle-class communities, but there is little incentive for developers to build for this consumer market. Just as much as we look to expand affordable housing efforts, we should also look to implement policies that ensures market rate housing stays affordable. If we need to build up rather than out, we need to create policies that incentivize developments that are considering the working, middle-class — not just affordable housing and luxury units. Now, more than ever, more young professionals are moving out of their parents’ homes later rather than sooner. When young adults and low-wage workers begin to make more money, we need to have the next affordable option readily available for them."
— Kim Yamasaki, Executive Director of Center for Asians United for Self Empowerment
Legislative activities resume today, after lawmakers in the Assembly and Senate passed the state's 2018-19 budget on June 14. The Legislative LGBT Caucus will recognize June 2018 as Pride Month at 1 p.m. on the Assembly floor and honor LGBT individuals and organizations.
SENATE TO HOLD SEXUAL MISCONDUCT HEARING
At 10 a.m. today, the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development will hold a hearing to examine how sexual misconduct is reported in the medical profession. The hearing, chaired by State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, comes in response to revelations that the University of Southern California allowed a second prominent doctor who had been the subject of misconduct complaints to quietly leave the university. USC did not notify the appropriate authorities, a Los Angeles Times investigation revealed.