This is a sampling from Bay Area News Group's Political Blotter blog. Read more and post comments at www.ibabuzz.com/politics.

Aug. 29

In a somewhat unusual move, Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed a Bay Area judge -- who has a familiar name -- to another county's bench, perhaps in order to help facilitate her husband's planned run for Congress.

Carrie McIntyre Panetta, appointed to the Alameda County Superior Court bench in 2007 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, was named to the Monterey County Superior Court bench Thursday by Brown.

Panetta, 46, is the daughter-in-law of former Secretary of Defense and CIA director Leon Panetta; her husband, James, is a deputy district attorney who moved from Alameda County to Monterey County in 2010.

James Panetta, a former Navy Reserve intelligence officer who was awarded the Bronze Star for his 2007-08 deployment to Afghanistan, earlier this year said he's interested in succeeding Rep. Sam Farr, D-Santa Cruz, in representing California's 20th Congressional District.

Carrie Panetta was an Alameda County deputy district attorney from 1999 to 2007 and an associate at Brobeck Phleger and Harrison LLP from 1992 to 1999. A Democrat, she holds a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and a bachelor's degree from the University of North Dakota. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Monterey County Superior Court Judge Terrance Duncan. A superior court judge's annual salary is $178,789.


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UPDATE @ 3:02 P.M.: Brown spokesman Evan Westrup said he would leave it to Carrie Panetta to explain the move, and he acknowledged that it's not common for a judge to be reappointed from one county's superior court to another's. A voice mail message left at Panetta's courtroom in Oakland has not yet been returned.

UPDATE @ 10:35 A.M. FRIDAY: "We're excited, very excited about the appointment and the move," Carrie Panetta said Friday morning, noting that her husband has been working in the Monterey County District Attorney's office since 2010. "It was really to get the family back together full-time ... we had decided we want to make the Monterey Peninsula our home, raise our girls there."

Aug. 30

Don't mistake the Assembly Budget Committee's unanimous passage of Gov. Jerry Brown's prison plan Thursday for a clear sail through that chamber.

Committee chairwoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, said Friday that the committee acted largely in order to beat the deadline for fiscal committees to move bills to the floor -- not because every member agrees completely with the plan put forth by Brown, Assembly Speaker John Perez, Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff and Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway.

Skinner demurred when asked whether she prefers this plan to the alternative put forth by state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. "All of this stuff is still being discussed and negotiated," she said.

She's not the only Bay Area liberal lawmaker who's undecided on which plan to side with.

Aug. 16 was the last day for policy committees to meet and report bills, so the Brown/Perez/Huff/Conway plan doesn't have to go through the Public Safety Committee, which is led by Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco.

I asked whether Ammiano would care to discuss the competing prison plans as chairman of the committee that would've had to hear them had they come earlier. "I think he'd rather stay away from the hypotheticals, and has yet to make a decision on how to vote when the Brown/Perez bill gets to the floor," spokesman Carlos Alcala said late Thursday afternoon.