Good morning and welcome to the A.M. Alert! Thank you for reading!
DEMOCRATIC WOMEN’S CAUCUS CALLS FOR FEMALE AG
California Gov. Gavin Newsom should select a woman to lead the state Department of Justice, the Democratic Legislative Women’s Caucus argued in a letter to the governor this week.
The caucus recommends the appointment of Sen. Anna Caballero, former Sen. Martha Escutia, Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, Assemblywoman Eloise Reyes or Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton to replace outgoing Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
“Each of these accomplished attorneys has championed critical legislation, worked to empower all Californians, and fought to protect the rights of our most vulnerable residents. They stand ready to serve as the state’s chief law enforcement officer and protect and serve the people and interests of California,” Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia and Sen. Nancy Skinner, the caucus chair and vice-chair, respectively, wrote in the letter to Newsom.
The letter points out that though women make up just over half of California’s population, they have accounted for just one of the state’s attorneys general: Kamala Harris, who went on to become a senator and soon a vice president.
“Each of the women leaders we recommend for appointment has worked tirelessly over her career to address inequities in our society and advance just causes. They are highly qualified and have the experience and background to lead the Department of Justice’s 4,500 employees in defense of our fundamental rights and interests,” the letter continues.
CA LAWMAKER URGES CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION OF CAPITOL RIOTERS
California State Sen. Dave Min, D-Irvine, has called upon Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer to bring criminal charges against “any and all Californians who took part in the planning and execution of the horrific, unlawful assault on the U.S. Capitol last week.”
Min, a former U.S. Senate staffer called last Wednesday’s storming of the U.S. Capitol “an attack on the United States of America.”
“I was concerned to learn that a number of Orange County residents were identified as being potentially part of the planning and execution of this terrorist attack. I know that many of my constituents are deeply worried about the terroristic threat these extremists pose to our community. I am asking for a private briefing on the status of state and local investigations into the role played by residents of California and Orange County in this attempted coup, and I am urging that any who participated in these criminal acts be prosecuted to the full extent allowed under California law,” Min said in a statement.
Min argued in his letter that anyone who planned or participated in last Wednesday’s insurrection is subject to California criminal prosecution under Section 182 of the California Penal Code, which makes it a crime for two or more people to conspire to commit crimes against the vice president or any senior federal official.
That section of the penal code also provides for punishment for anyone who conspires to commit murder, assault with a deadly weapon, threatening or obstructing government officials, rioting and vandalism.
“With that stated, I believe it is imperative that you and your offices fully and forcefully prosecute Californians who participated in the planning of this attack, using your criminal jurisdiction under Section 182 and any other provisions of the California Penal Code you deem appropriate,” Min wrote in the letter.
Don’t miss: In one of its first big votes of the new year, the Assembly Monday passed a resolution calling for Trump to resign. Here’s our story on the vote.
SACRAMENTO PRESS CLUB TO HOST KAMALA BOOK AUTHOR
Today at noon, the Sacramento Press Club will host club president, journalist and author Dan Morain as he presents his newly published book on the incoming vice president, titled “Kamala’s Way: An American Life.”
Morain will be interviewed by Los Angeles Times California enterprise editor Stuart Leavenworth (formerly of The Sacramento Bee).
Morain, The Bee’s former editorial page editor, has written about Vice President-elect Kamala Harris since 1994, and his book tracks “the events that shaped her from early days in Oakland and Berkeley,” according to the Sacramento Press Club statement.
“He also gets the back story about her climb from a deputy district attorney in Alameda County to San Francisco district attorney, California attorney general and U.S. senator, as well as the behind-the-scenes campaign she waged to become the first Black, South Asian and female vice president in our nation’s history. He covers the key relationships in her rise to power, such as those with former California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and President Barack Obama,” according to the statement.
Morain will talk about what might surprise people about Harris, how he thinks her experience in California will affect how she works with President-elect Joe Biden and also discuss common misperceptions the public has about her.
The event is open to the public, and you can watch it live by visiting here.
TEACHERS GROUP CALLS FOR HALT TO IN-PERSON LEARNING
The powerful California Federation of Teachers is calling for a month-long halt to in-person learning, arguing that drastic action is necessary to halt the spread of COVID-19.
“California’s educators and classified professionals have been eager to safely return to their schools for many months now. We did not sign up for our jobs with the intention of teaching through screens. However, we cannot put our own lives, the lives of our students, and our communities at risk during what is clearly an escalating crisis in our state,” federation president Jeff Freitas said in a statement.
The call comes as one in 15 Californians has now tested positive for COVID-19; in some Los Angeles schools, one in three students have tested positive, according to a statement from the federation.
The federation executive council over the weekend unanimously passed a resolution calling for all Californians, including school workers, to take the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available to them.
The California Federation of Teachers represents 120,000 teachers, faculty and school employees statewide.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“It’s sad that Gorilla’s at our great @sandiegozoo caught COVID. But, to put it in perspective… those gorillas have better health care and access to care than a majority of my district.”
– Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, via Twitter.
Best of the Bee:
Federal law enforcement officials, hate-crime specialists and social media platforms are warning of the possibility of nationwide attacks at state capitols and in Washington, D.C., in the days leading up to the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, via Sam Stanton.
Nearly one in three inmates at California Men’s Colony state prison on the outskirts of San Luis Obispo now has COVID-19, the prison reported over the weekend amid an outbreak that began last month, via Matt Fountain.
California schools would get more money than ever in Newsom’s budget, but can they open? via Hannah Wiley