Capitol Alert

Top 100 power people revealed + Dynamex decision sparks dueling rallies + PPIC questions McCarthy

Anne Gust Brown listens to her husband Gov. Jerry Brown deliver the State of the State in the Assembly Chamber at the State Capitol on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016 in Sacramento, Calif.
Anne Gust Brown listens to her husband Gov. Jerry Brown deliver the State of the State in the Assembly Chamber at the State Capitol on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016 in Sacramento, Calif.


Capitol Weekly has released its annual list of 100 leaders (excluding lawmakers) who are shaping California politics and public policy.

The list reflects major changes, including the death of Nancy McFadden — who occupied the top spot last year. The former executive secretary to Gov. Jerry Brown died earlier this year at 59 following a battle with ovarian cancer. Filling McFadden’s spot at the top of the list this year is Anne Gust Brown, wife and unofficial top adviser of the governor.

Here are the top 10 names on this year’s list:

  1. Anne Gust Brown
  2. Diana Dooley — Health and Human Services agency secretary
  3. Mary Nichols — Chair, Air Resources Board
  4. Michael Cohen — Director, Department of Finance
  5. Mona Pasquil — Appointments Secretary, Governor’s Office
  6. Robbie Hunter — President, State Building & Construction Trades Council of California
  7. Eric Bauman — Chair, California Democratic Party
  8. Allan Zaremberg — President and CEO, California Chamber of Commerce
  9. Mac Taylor — Legislative Analyst
  10. Elaine Howle — State Auditor

About a fifth of the names on the list are new, according to John Howard, Capitol Weekly’s editor. Some notable additions include Brown’s press secretary, Evan Westrup (No. 23), millionaire consumer privacy advocate Alastair Mactaggart (No. 48), and public relations executive Robin Swanson (No. 95). Also named was VISA advocate Adama Iwu (No. 50), who led the launch of the Capitol’s #WeSaidEnough movement.


California’s Supreme Court recently established a stricter standard of what constitutes an independent contractor, prompting debate over who is considered an employee. A pair of dueling rallies will be held this morning on the west steps of the Capitol.

Supporters of the decision from the Alliance for Independent Workers will arrive at 9 a.m. with taxi drivers calling for greater worker benefits in the gig economy. “This is an issue of corporations pushing unsustainable factors onto the workers and saying, ‘Go find a way to survive. Good luck succeeding,’’’ said Edward Escobar, leader of the group.

Opponents from the I’m Independent Coalition will hold a 10 a.m. rally featuring hundreds of independent contractors. They are calling on the Legislature to delay implementation of the Dynamex decision.


House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, is participating in a conversation with the Public Policy Institute of California at 11:30 a.m. today. The event will be broadcast live on PPIC’s website at 11:45 a.m.


A resolution from Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, is going to the Assembly floor calling on the Legislature to revise existing law and pending legislation to avoid the use of gendered pronouns. In a news release, Low said, that the use of gender-neutral pronouns would ensure the state “celebrates its non-binary community.”


A consumer watchdog group is hosting a 10 a.m. news conference today on the south steps of the Capitol, urging the governor to give less authority over California’s energy grid to the Trump administration. On behalf of Food & Water Watch, actors wearing Trump and Brown heads will perform a bedroom skit with fossil fuels.


UC Center Sacramento is hosting an undergraduate research open house at noon today for student interns to showcase their public policy research projects.


Paul Mitchell (@paulmitche11) — “People say people in cars and people on bikes should both follow the law, and that’s good and all… but we should acknowledge that the latter is spending half their time in fear that the former is going to kill them. Both are equals, but it’s not an equal playing field.”


As wildfires continue to rage, what are California’s biggest environmental challenges? Influencers have plenty to say.

“Nearly everyone agrees that climate change is the biggest environmental challenge facing California and the world. Communities across California are experiencing firsthand the effects of devastating wildfires, persistent droughts, agricultural anomalies and public health crises because of our changing climate. The next question is ‘What are we going to do about it?’ CSU campuses are at the front lines of confronting this challenge through outstanding research and partnerships with business, communities and government. Most importantly – and what encourages me to believe that we will all step up to this challenge – is the incredible spirit of sustainability and innovation inherent in our students, employees and alumni.”

Timothy White, California State University Chancellor

MUST-READ: ‘Shut down the Senate!’ Supreme Court confirmation roils Feinstein race.


The Bee’s Editorial Board wants the California Legislature to pass bills calling for changes in policing practices.

Former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper says California must change its rules on police deadly force.

Ledisi Young, a 12-time Grammy-nominated R&B and jazz recording artist, actress and author, urges the Legislature to pass Senate Bill 933, which she believes will enable California schools to jumpstart arts education programs.


Jack Ohman launches into space with Trump’s new Space Force