Newsletter: Essential Politics: From Moonbeam to global stage


I’m Christina Bellantoni, the Essential Politics host today. Let’s get started.

The world has caught up with Jerry Brown.

California’s governor has long displayed a desire to minimize society’s footprint on the Earth, Chris Megerian writes on Wednesday’s front page, but that stance is gaining a global platform when Brown arrives in Paris to participate in the U.N. summit on climate change.

The quote from the story that resonated with most people who remember Brown’s first term in the 1970s was, of course, from environmental activist and former state legislator Tom Hayden: "They’re not calling him Moonbeam anymore."

That was a different era, in both state and mind.

From Megerian’s profile:

In his first State of the State speech in 1976, Brown said there was no more time for "glib statements" about protecting the environment, that an "era of limits" meant California would need to ration its natural and financial resources. Four years later, as he prepared his second presidential campaign, Brown said, "the American nation is over-committed to consumption." Unless changes are made, "the generation that follows us will have to make an even more painful transition."

When asked if climate change is a personal issue for him, Brown told Megerian, "You are a person. The products of a person could be called personal."

Megerian details how the Democrat melds past, present and future by planning an eco-friendly home on his great-grandfather's land, though Brown did say he plans to move into the governor’s mansion by Christmas.

Read the whole story here.

Megerian will be in Paris tracking Brown and the state’s delegation. Follow him on Twitter and check out our liveblog covering the summit. (You can catch up on what’s happened so far here.)


Assemblymember Henry T. Perea, the leader of an influential group of moderate Democrats, surprised Sacramento watchers Tuesday by announcing he would resign later this month instead of finishing out the rest of his term.

Melanie Mason got the early details and reported that Perea said taking a government relations job could be a "generational opportunity."

She also examined the ethics of the move and found even though there is a one-year waiting period for lawmakers-turned-lobbyists, it is easy to skirt that idea by not registering as one and instead acting as a consultant or an advisor.

The environmental community, which battled with Perea and other business-friendly Democrats over climate change legislation, minced few words in criticizing his decision.

Read Mason's story here.


Mason also reports that one of the most influential behind-the-scenes staffers also is stepping aside at the state Capitol: Greg Campbell, chief of staff to Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), will resign on Dec. 15.

Campbell has worked in the statehouse for roughly 20 years and has been in the speaker’s office since 2002, including serving as chief of staff to former Speaker John A. Pérez. He will be leaving to start his own political consulting and lobbying firm.

"I’ve had a wonderful career in the Assembly," Campbell told The Times. "It feels like it’s time to start a new chapter in my life."


The chorus isn’t quite "Yes we can," but there’s a new song supporting Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders. It goes something like, "The Bern, the Bern, feeeeeeel the Bern. Feel the heat in our eyes."

The folksy music video is the creation of Josh Fox, the filmmaker behind the Emmy winner "Gasland," and Alex Ebert, lead singer of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

"I felt like Bernie presented the first opportunity for me to feel honest in writing a sing-along in the simple tradition of social movements focused on a presidential candidate," Ebert said in a news release. "The intention is for the verses to be improvised and changed as circumstances dictate, with only the choruses are the consistent refrain."

More from the lyrics:

No more lying — no more empty talk

Cause all this money got it twisted

He walks the walk

For Each and Every Life — Each and Every Life.

The artists met while speaking on a panel about political engagement and music in Colorado.

It begins not with verse, but with Sarah Silverman’s intro of Sanders at his August rally in Los Angeles and splices in television interviews featuring the senator. (Worth noting, as we reported in October, the comedian was not one of his third-quarter campaign donors, and actually has contributed to Hillary Clinton’s bid.)

Watch "Feel the Bern."


— Howard Blume reports that nearly $2.3 million in donations made by charter school supporters during this year's Los Angeles school board races were shielded from disclosure until after the election was over, a review of records shows.

— Might a projected budget surplus sap the political energy in Sacramento to revise a hotly debate health care tax? John Myers explores the question.

— California cut its water use by 22% in October, its first month falling short of the mandatory 25% target set in June.

— Democrats continue to push for the special committee investigating Planned Parenthood to be disbanded.

— Congress reached a deal on a transportation bill. Sarah Wire detailed what it means for California.

— The House voted 422-1 Tuesday on legislation sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough) to extend congressional approval for a breast cancer research stamp through 2019. Money from sales of the stamp have raised $81 million for breast cancer research since 1998, according to Feinstein’s office.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is in Los Angeles on Wednesday to speak to members of the California Nurses Assn./National Nurses United about how the climate crisis affects public health. Javier Panzar will be there covering the event.

— Doyle McManus writes for the Opinion section that polls at this point are "the junk food of political journalism."


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