The Riggs Report: Democratic dysfunction in Sacramento

May 25, 2017

California’s party in power faces internal drama

There are very good reasons why Gov. Jerry Brown and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein did not attend last weekend’s Democratic party state convention in Sacramento.

They were following an axiom that Jim Brulte, now chair of the state Republican party, was fond of reciting to me when he was Senate Republican leader.

“Only harm can come to an elected official at events like this,” Brulte said to me prior to a GOP gathering in Los Angeles. And as usual, Brulte was right.

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The Riggs Report: Governor’s race could get more crowded

May 18th, 2017

Former hedge fund executive Tom Steyer is reportedly polling voters

When billionaire Democratic activist Tom Steyer, the founder of Farallon Capital Management, started showing up in TV ads across California last year, it was widely seen as the tactic of someone laying the groundwork for a campaign for governor.

So it was anything but a surprise when The Hill newspaper reported this week what many expected all along. Quoting multiple Democratic sources, the paper reported that Steyer had commissioned a pollster to survey what voters know about him; a traditional step to…

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The Riggs Report: Looking back at the Los Angeles riots

May 4th, 2017

25 years ago, urban warfare shook Southern California

A quarter century has passed since chaos gripped the Los Angeles region in the wake of the acquittal by a Simi Valley jury of four police officers charged with the beating of Rodney King; a series of riots killed more than 60 people and caused nearly $1 billion in property damage.

I never covered conventional warfare during my years as a reporter—the kind of shooting war that we associate with Iraq, Syria or even Vietnam. But the four days I spent in Los Angeles,…

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The Riggs Report: When free speech is no longer free

April 27, 2017

Ann Coulter cancels her UC Berkeley appearance due to safety concerns

It came as no surprise this week when conservative speaker Ann Coulter announced to media outlets that she would no longer appear on the UC Berkeley campus for a planned speech, backing away from her earlier insistence that she would show up despite prospects of violent protests.

Coulter indicated that the last straw came when her original sponsors, the Berkeley College Republicans and Young America’s Foundation, withdrew their support in the face of an increasingly hostile and tense atmosphere.


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The Riggs Report: Brown’s road-repair pitch

​April 6, 2017

Plan depends on no Democratic defectors

Gov. Jerry Brown’s powers of persuasion are being put to a crucial test this week: He’s facing the daunting task of convincing every single Democratic lawmaker at the Capitol to get on board with his comprehensive road repair plan, and more important, the tax increases it will require.

There’s been a lot said and written about the supermajority that Democrats hold in both the Senate and the Assembly. But in practical terms, it sounds more impressive than it is.

Like any caucus group, Democrats are…

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Randle Communications Promotes Julie Hooper to Vice President of Public Affairs

April 5, 2017

SACRAMENTO, CA – Randle Communications President & CEO Jeff Randle today announced that the firm’s Director of Public Affairs, Julie Hooper, has been promoted to Vice President of Public Affairs. Hooper joined the firm in 2012 and has played a critical role building the public affairs practice, while creating and managing Randle Communications’ proprietary digital public affairs program. In her new role as Vice President of Public Affairs, Hooper will lead the public affairs practice as well as work directly with the owners of the business on implementing the vision and plan for the firm.

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Riggs Report: California’s health care hit

​March 24, 2017

Gov. Brown gets heated over cost of GOP’s new health care bill

During his trip to Washington this week, Gov. Jerry Brown initially didn’t engage in the fiery rhetoric of resistance that’s become a favorite theme of Democratic leaders at the state Capitol.

Instead, he met with House Republicans, including Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, as well as House Democrats and President Trump’s transportation secretary.

As Brown noted to reporters, he was in D.C. not to throw bombs but to “make friends and advance the cause of California”—at least until Wednesday.

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The Riggs Report: Health care repeal spells budget trouble for CA

Medi-Cal funding faces big cuts

California was a notably enthusiastic early supporter of the Affordable Care Act after it was signed into law by then-President Barack Obama in 2010. The state pursued newly available federal dollars in an effort to reduce the number of uninsured.

Given current efforts to repeal and replace the law, that early embrace may cost the state dearly.

The ACA included substantial federal funds to expand Medi-Cal, the state’s safety net for children, seniors, and low- to moderate-income workers. According to state records, about 3.6 million more Californians have gained health care coverage…

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The Riggs Report: How political heroes are made

​March 2, 2017

Last week’s ejection of Sen. Janet Nguyen gives her new status

Sometimes, rules are made to be broken.

Sen. Janet Nguyen, R-Orange County, knew that she was in violation of Senate policy last Thursday when she attempted to offer remarks critical of the late Sen. Tom Hayden and his storied opposition to the Vietnam War—that was no surprise.

It should have also come as no surprise to Senate Democrats that Nguyen’s forcible removal from the floor by security officers would be a PR disaster for them, and a PR bonanza for…

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Riggs Report: Jerry Brown’s defiant turn

January 26, 2017

State of the State speech foreshadows political warfare

Gov. Jerry Brown was as fired up and animated this week as I’ve seen him in recent years. He used his State of the State address, not to outline a broad agenda of policy goals as he and other governors, have done in the past. But instead, he delivered a passionate pledge before a joint session of the Legislature to defy the Trump Administration’s moves to roll back protections related to health care, immigration and the environment.

“The future is uncertain and dangers abound,”…

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