This is a sampling from Bay Area News Group's Political Blotter blog. Read more and post comments at www.ibabuzz.com/politics.
After months of Rep. Mike Honda rolling out high-profile endorsements, the fellow Democrat who's challenging him announced today he has one of California's statewide electeds in his corner: Ro Khanna has Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom's support.
"I'm proud to support Ro. I know he will govern from a place of courage and authenticity," Newsom said in a statement issued by Khanna's campaign. "He has many innovative ideas to grow California's economy and to apply technology to make government better for all his constituents."
Khanna, 36, of Fremont, said he's grateful to be endorsed by Newsom, whom he called "a public servant who represents all the best qualities of the 17th District. He is truly a pioneer in finding ways to technologically transform government to achieve a more open and efficient democracy."
Khanna also said Newsom's "early leadership on same-sex marriage makes him a public figure to admire and emulate."
Making politics more tech-friendly and vice versa is a key theme in Khanna's campaign, just as it is of "Citizenville," Newsom's recent book on how to modernize government and increase political participation among the nation's increasingly diverse citizenry. And both Khanna -- a former Obama administration Commerce Department official -- and Newsom have tried to cast themselves as younger, more dynamic alternatives to an older political dynamic.
Khanna just formally announced his candidacy a few weeks ago, but rumors have been flying for many months. Honda, D-San Jose, used that time to roll out a series of endorsements from the likes of President Barack Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, current and former chairs of the Democratic National Committee, and almost all of California's House Democrats.
Hot from having successfully opposed last year's ballot measure to abolish California's death penalty, prosecutors now are pushing legislation to put condemned inmates to death faster.
The two bills by state Sen. Joel Anderson, R-El Cajon, and sponsored by the California District Attorneys Association, will be heard April 30 by the state Senate Public Safety Committee.
"Removing unnecessary impediments to carrying out the punishment meted out by judges and juries will ensure timely justice," Anderson said in a news release. "It is clear that the death penalty needs reforming when condemned inmates are often living longer on death row than their victims did their entire lives."
SB 779 makes various reforms, including speeding up the appointment of appellate counsel and certification of the record, which under current law can take years. SCA 13 would let California's appellate courts hear death penalty appeals; for now, only the state Supreme Court hears them, creating a legal bottleneck.
CDAA last year opposed Proposition 34, which would have repealed the death penalty; the initiative was rejected by 52 percent of voters in November. The initiative's supporters had argued in part that capital punishment is too costly for the state to afford, given the many years of legal wrangling and special incarceration that it requires.
"Prosecutors seek justice and stand for victims," CDAA president Carl Adams said in the news release. "Regardless of the fate of these two bills, CDAA will continue to carry this banner and hold the state to its promise to appropriately punish the worst offenders."
California now has 733 condemned inmates. It has executed 14 since reinstating the death penalty in 1978, with the last of those in January 2006. A federal judge later that year found the state's lethal-injection procedure was unconstitutional because it might cause the inmate pain; new regulations were enacted in 2010 but have never been used.