Keyword: calgov2002

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  • CA: State has used Enron-style accounting tricks to cover its deficits

    02/21/2006 9:11:59 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 7 replies · 507+ views
    Sac Bee ^ | 2/21/06 | Dan Walters
    The allegations against former Enron Corp. chairman Kenneth Lay and others involved in corporate scandals, such as WorldCom, generally revolve about creative accounting - hiding liabilities, inflating revenues and assets, etc. One specific charge in the Enron trial now under way in Houston, for example, is that it cooked the books one year to add a penny to the company's per-share earnings and thus meet Wall Street analysts' expectations. What's striking about the allegedly illegal corporate accounting is its similarity to the gimmicks that California politicians have employed in two state budget crises over the past 15 years. --snip-- Here's...
  • CA: Shelley won't attend legislative hearing-Key legislator gives ground over Shelley (ShmelleyGate)

    02/19/2005 8:16:22 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 2 replies · 399+ views
    Sac Bee ^ | 2/19/05 | Jim Sanders
    Secretary of State Kevin Shelley, who has resigned effective March 1, will not appear Tuesday before a legislative committee investigating his handling of millions in federal voting funds. The Joint Legislative Audit Committee opted not to seek Shelley's testimony, but retains the right to request his presence at a future hearing, said Assemblywoman Nicole Parra, a Hanford Democrat who chairs the committee. "We want to build a foundation before we even discuss calling Shelley forward," Parra said. Tuesday's hearing will focus largely on what Shelley's office is doing to correct problems cited in a state audit, which portrayed his agency...
  • Schwarzenegger, in Washington, meets resistance, partisan sniping

    02/17/2005 4:00:39 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 7 replies · 542+ views
    San Diego Union -Tribune ^ | 2/17/05 | Dana Wilkie - CNS
    WASHINGTON – Thursday's much-touted meeting between Gov. Schwarzenegger and California's congressional delegation to map strategy for getting more money from Washington did not get off to a good start. Partisan sniping occupied much of the day, as did complaints that Schwarzenegger upstaged the strategy meeting by later appearing with Common Cause officials to announce the group's support for his controversial redistricting plan. "In California and around the country we have a broken system where elected officials are choosing the voters they want to represent instead of the other way around," said Common Cause president Chellie Pingree in an afternoon appearance...
  • CA: Officials Get Free Trip to Hawaii

    02/16/2005 8:44:05 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 3 replies · 594+ views
    LA Times ^ | 2/16/05 | Nancy Vogel and Dan Morain
    A mortgage company accused by hundreds of customers of fraudulent sales tactics financed a weekend at the Pro Bowl in Honolulu for the leader of the state Assembly and four other Democratic lawmakers. Officials of the lending company, Ameriquest, last weekend joined others from telecommunications giant SBC, nursing home operators and a liquor merchant at a Hawaiian fundraiser for the state Democratic Party, according to the office of Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles). Nuñez "said we've got an opportunity to spend some time with folks from these different industries and have some fun, and so I said, 'Sure,' "...
  • CA: Perata bill seen as foiling donation probes (How convenient... PeRATaGate)

    02/15/2005 8:46:37 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 6 replies · 473+ views ^ | 2/15/05 | Christian Berthelsen
    Sacramento -- State Senate Democratic leader Don Perata and his Republican counterpart are quietly and urgently pushing a bill that critics say would torpedo a major investigation by election regulators into at least one sitting legislator's campaign finances. The bill, SB25, would make it harder for investigators to prove that a politician may have manipulated contributions to avoid new campaign donation limits. It would lessen the Fair Political Practices Commission's ability to use as evidence letters from political donors to candidates that accompany contribution checks. The so-called "transmittal letters" are said to make up a significant portion of the evidence...
  • CA: Governor touts plans to reform state pension system

    02/10/2005 3:57:23 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 23 replies · 972+ views
    SAN DIEGO – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made a stop in San Diego today to push his plans to reform California's $171 billion pension system. Flanked by two armored cars along San Diego Bay, Schwarzenegger said California's retirement plan is "bleeding our state dry." The governor proposed revamping the California Public Employees Retirement System in his State of the State address last month. He wants to change from a defined benefit to a defined contribution plan for new employees – a switch that must be approved by the state Legislature. Under that plan, state workers would contribute to an investment account...
  • CA: Democrats form umbrella group to take on Schwarzenegger

    02/09/2005 5:50:26 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 7 replies · 570+ views
    Bakersfield Californian ^ | 2/9/05 | AP - Sacramento
    SACRAMENTO (AP) - A coalition of labor unions, education groups and health care advocates have established an umbrella political organization to help direct Democratic opposition to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his package of measures expected in a special election this fall. Calling themselves "Seriously, Saving California," the newly formed group would also support alternative initiatives that organizations allied with the state's Democratic Party are sponsoring, said John Hein, a former official with the California Teachers Association who is helping organize the committee. Hein, now a director of a national education advocacy group, said Wednesday the political committee is so new...
  • California stem cell committee aims to defeat anti-cloning bill

    02/09/2005 2:19:03 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 11 replies · 794+ views
    Bakersfield Californian ^ | 2/9/05 | Paul Elias - AP
    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The campaign committee that spent $35 million last year backing California's novel $3 billion stem cell initiative plans to use its considerable fund-raising prowess to fight a federal bill seeking to ban all forms of human cloning. Robert Klein II, the wealthy Palo Alto housing developer who chaired the campaign, said the organization intends to raise $1 million to fight Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, and his anti-cloning allies in the Senate. A Brownback spokesman declined comment. Brownback is sponsoring legislation that would ban the cloning of human embryos for any reason, including medical research. Such a...
  • CA: Legislature shouldn't let Shelley duck testimony (ShmelleyGate)

    02/09/2005 10:00:08 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 5 replies · 614+ views
    Oakland Tribune ^ | 2/9/05 | Op/Ed
    KEVIN Shelley's swift, infamous slide from public office has ended. But his resignation doesn't mean that the soon-to-be-former California secretary of state should be allowed to walk away from the accusations that undermined his credibility. There are too many of them and at least eight investigations at the local, state and federal levels. They are serious and the consequences too important to let him off the public hook just because he finally did the right thing. They must be resolved before Shelley can fade into the next phase of his life. Shelley, 49, said Friday when announcing his resignation that...
  • CA: Big-Ticket Drive Supports Gov.'s Agenda

    02/09/2005 8:53:03 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 328+ views
    LA Times ^ | 2/9/05 | Robert Salladay and Peter Nicholas
    SACRAMENTO — For $100,000, you can sit at the head table with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, hobnob at a reception beforehand and pose for pictures with the Republican governor. --snip-- Billed as "An Evening with Governor Schwarzenegger," invitations to four upcoming events were handed out Tuesday to lobbyists and business interests in Sacramento. They showed that proximity to the Republican governor comes in four varieties: $10,000, $25,000, $50,000 and $100,000. --snip-- "What's so frightening about it is this is Gray Davis revisited," said state Sen. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough). Davis, whom Schwarzenegger ousted in the 2003 recall election, was derided for his...
  • CA: Committee may abandon Shelley probe

    02/08/2005 9:14:52 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 4 replies · 409+ views
    Sac Bee ^ | 2/8/05 | Aurelio Rojas
    Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez's office Monday left in doubt whether a legislative panel will resume hearings on Secretary of State Kevin Shelley's use of millions of dollars in federal voting funds now that he has resigned. On Friday, after the embattled Democrat quit effective March 1, Núñez indicated that the Joint Legislative Audit Committee would proceed with hearings once Assembly and Senate leaders agreed on parameters. But on Monday, the speaker's office said it was uncertain whether the panel - which met only once - will convene again. "The speaker is in the process of consulting with the independent counsel...
  • CA: Patrol car auction protested and draws McClintock's concerns

    02/07/2005 6:29:54 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 8 replies · 2,293+ views
    Bakersfield Californian ^ | 2/7/05 | Tom Chorneau - AP
    SACRAMENTO (AP) - With state Senate hearings scheduled to analyze a struggling procurement program, a Sacramento-based auto dealer accused the Department of General Services Monday of improperly awarding a $21 million police car contract. An attorney representing Downtown Ford, which is filing a formal protest, said state officials violated their own bid policies in giving the contract last month to a rival dealer after Downtown Ford won an initial auction to sell the state up to 1,000 police cars. The protest comes as lawmakers and other officials are paying more attention to the state's "strategic sourcing" program, which has delivered...
  • CA: Money rolls in for Gov. Arnie

    02/07/2005 5:21:16 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 23 replies · 722+ views
    SF Examiner ^ | 2/7/05 | Chirstopher Caen
    SOMETHING VERY ODD is happening up Sacramento way, and it concerns our own Governator, the Arnold himself. Arnold was finally forced by campaign laws to fess up to how much money he has been raising recently. Now, we have all been vaguely aware of the pile of sawbucks that our anointed leader has raised. But the hard, cold reality of it burst onto the scene this week. Are you sitting down for this? You really should be, so I will wait. OK, here we go. Last year the big Moneynator raised $33 million. Sadly, he is now destitute, that impressive...
  • CA: Perata sets up defense fund (PeRATaGate )

    02/06/2005 12:34:31 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 8 replies · 540+ views
    Contra Costa Tmes ^ | 2/6/05 | Capitol Beat
    Senate leader Don Perata, whose business dealings are the subject of an FBI public corruptions probe, has set up a legal defense fund headed by Howard Janssen, a former assistant district attorney for Alameda County. The fund committee sent letters to 200 friends and supporters this week asking for donations. The Senate president pro tem is following the model established by former President Clinton by seeking support only from people who do not have any pressing legislative interest, spokesman Jason Kinney said. The fund "allows elected officials to focus on doing the people's work without being distracted by the unfortunate...
  • CA: Potential Replacements - Shelley's job a political plum

    02/05/2005 3:01:06 PM PST · by calcowgirl · 9 replies · 537+ views
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | February 5, 2005 | Lynda Gledhill
    Potential Replacements - Shelley's job a political plum Mid-term appointment gives governor a rare chance to put a Republican in office Sacramento -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is said to be eyeing a list of former Republican lawmakers and at least one member of his Cabinet as he considers filling the now-vacant secretary of state's position. The resignation of Kevin Shelley represents a rare opportunity for Schwarzenegger to appoint another Republican to statewide office. Any appointee could be rejected by a majority of either the Senate and Assembly, which are controlled by Democrats. The governor said in a statement that he...
  • Schwarzenegger banking on star power

    02/05/2005 10:52:19 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 20 replies · 732+ views
    Mercury News ^ | 2/5/05 | Ann E. Marimow and Dion Nissenbaum
    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger may deride critics as ``girlie men,'' ``stooges'' and ``losers.'' But California's celebrity governor says it's all in good fun, a way to inject a healthy dose of Hollywood into the dreary world of politics and ensure that no one views him as a ``boring'' politician. ``That's what gets you headlines,'' Schwarzenegger told the Mercury News editorial board Friday. ``This is what makes people pay attention to you. This is not to be offending anyone. This is not belittling to anyone. I mean, I have respect for all those guys, even if they have a different opinion.'' Democrats...
  • CA: Reversal by Matsui: No debate

    02/05/2005 10:46:40 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 8 replies · 425+ views
    Sac Bee ^ | 2/5/05 | Kevin Yamamura
    Doris Matsui will not debate her opponents in the congressional race to replace her late husband despite saying last week she intended to do so. The decision by the Democratic front-runner sparked criticism Friday among her opponents, several of whom have been calling for public debates leading up to the March 8 special election to replace the late Rep. Robert Matsui. Nick Papas, a spokesman for Doris Matsui, said there are too many candidates - 12 in all - to have a useful forum on the issues. Instead, Matsui plans to hold a series of town hall meetings throughout the...
  • Big Five, Big Mistake (Tom McClintock's article)

    02/04/2005 10:18:24 PM PST · by GOPXtreme20 · 28 replies · 1,039+ views
    State Senator Tom McClintock ^ | Feb. 3rd. 2005 | Tom McClintock
    Big Five, Big Mistake by Senator Tom McClintock Date: February 3, 2005 Publication Type: Column Print Version Of all the factors contributing to California’s fiscal woes, one of the most fundamental and pervasive is the collapse of the constitutional process by which the state budget is developed in the first place. Ever since the Magna Carta, it has been a settled principle of governance that the authority that requests funds should not be the same one that approves them. This is the heart of our separation of powers, and the most important single mechanism to check the excesses and abuses...
  • CA: State scraps plans to reopen private prison in wake of call for audit

    02/04/2005 4:59:06 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 3 replies · 869+ views
    Bakersfield Californian ^ | 2/4/05 | AP - Sacramento
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The state has scrapped plans to reopen a private prison in Bakersfield, a week after a state senator called for an investigation into the deal. California Department of Corrections officials announced the sudden reversal Thursday, saying a dip in the inmate population made the prison unnecessary. CDC officials closed three minimum-security private prisons in December 2003, saying the number of prisoners had dropped significantly. By the end of last year, prison officials concluded the population was again rising. A decision was made to work on no-bid contracts with two firms to reopen the Mesa Verde Community...
  • CA: State calls off contract with prison firm

    02/04/2005 8:36:56 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 2 replies · 588+ views ^ | 2/4/05 | Mark Martin
    Sacramento -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration this week abruptly canceled a no-bid contract it was set to award to a private prison company that employs two former high-ranking state corrections officials. After pursuing a deal with the company for several months, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections said the department decided Wednesday that it was no longer interested in finalizing a $5.7 million contract that would have reopened the Mesa Verde Community Corrections Facility in Bakersfield. The contract would have been with a Massachusetts-based company called CiviGenics, which recently hired two retired Department of Corrections officials. The company...
  • CA: Dems fight borrowing plan - (Gov wants to use 2 Billion in transit funds to balance budget)

    02/04/2005 8:33:16 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 9 replies · 542+ views
    LA Daily News ^ | 2/4/05 | David M. Drucker
    Democratic lawmakers will oppose Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to borrow $2 billion in transportation funds to balance the state budget, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez said Thursday. Highway and transit projects would be delayed if the governor gets his way, and Nuñez, D-Los Angeles, called that an unacceptable burden on the middle class. "We've got to deal with the issue of folks spending more time on the roads and highways than at home with their families, and if we're going to be a first-class state we've got to make sure we keep up to speed with the improvement of our roads...
  • CA: Assembly leader (Nunez) would excuse Shelley from testimony if he resigns (ShmelleyGate)

    02/03/2005 4:36:06 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 9 replies · 568+ views
    SACRAMENTO (AP) - Embattled Secretary of State Kevin Shelley should not be forced to testify before a legislative panel if he decides to resign his offices, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez said Thursday. Shelley's appearance before the Joint Legislative Audit Committee was pushed back at least three weeks after independent counsels appointed by both parties said they needed more time to review the case. The reprieve also means that legislative leaders have more time to negotiate the possible conditions of Shelley's resignation, which has been rumored in the Capitol for weeks. Nunez, D-Los Angeles, said he did not think Shelley should...
  • CA: Calif. Pension Plan Faces National Fight (CalPERS)

    02/02/2005 9:07:40 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 2 replies · 630+ views
    AP on Yahoo ^ | 2/2/05 | Jim Wasserman - AP
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Democratic officials from five states launched a nationwide campaign Wednesday to fight Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (news - web sites)'s plan to privatize California's public pension systems. California Treasurer Phil Angelides, who is leading the effort, called the Republican governor's proposal a major assault on the movement to reform corporate America following a wave of scandals. Angelides said Schwarzenegger's plan "is part of a concerted effort to break apart the powerful voices of public pension funds that have stood up for ordinary investors in corporate boardrooms." The attack came hours before President Bush (news - web sites) was...
  • CA: Caltrans officials make case for switching Bay Bridge design

    02/01/2005 5:48:28 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 6 replies · 720+ views
    Bakersfield Californian ^ | 2/1/05 | Terence Chea - AP
    SACRAMENTO (AP) - State transportation officials faced intense questioning Tuesday over their proposal to replace the eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge with a structure that is less spectacular but presumably less expensive than the badly over-budget project currenty planned. Will Kempton, director of the California Department of Transportation, attempted to persuade skeptical lawmakers to scrap the approved design - a so-called single-tower suspension bridge - and instead complete the two-mile span with a towerless concrete skyway. "We need to get a seismically safe bridge built as soon as possible," Kempton told lawmakers at the Senate Transportation Committee...
  • CA: Governor raked in $28.8 million from '04 donors .. doubles what Davis collected his first year

    02/01/2005 5:45:19 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 7 replies · 476+ views
    Sac Bee ^ | 2/1/05 | Dan Smith and Alexa H. Bluth
    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has set box office records and bodybuilding records. Now he has a campaign fund-raising record. The Republican governor pulled in $28.8 million from campaign donors last year, more than twice as much as former Gov. Gray Davis collected in his first year in office. Davis, the Democrat whom Schwarzenegger ousted in the 2003 recall election, still holds the single-year mark with a $29.1 million haul in 2002. Schwarzenegger didn't do it for his own possible re-election campaign in 2006 - those accounts had less than $700,000 in them at the end of 2004. Most of the cash...
  • CA: Memo adds to questions Shelley faces (ShmelleyGate)

    02/01/2005 9:17:50 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 4 replies · 495+ views
    Contra Costa Times ^ | 2/1/05 | Mark Gladstone and Dion Nissenbaum
    SACRAMENTO - Buried amid thousands of pages collected by auditors investigating Secretary of State Kevin Shelley is a memo from a state consultant who attended a union-sponsored "Take Back the White House" rally. The consultant wrote that he "was there to represent the SOS office" at the April 3, 2004, event and a state investigator's note on the document indicates that one of Shelley's top deputies asked the consultant to go. Shelley aides have vigorously denied that the Secretary of State's office misused federal voter outreach funds to send consultants hired with the money to partisan political events. Shelley's spokeswoman...
  • CA: (Bay) Bridge tower to blame for soaring costs (Caltrans)

    02/01/2005 8:53:48 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 21 replies · 958+ views
    Oakland Tribune ^ | 2/1/05 | Sean Holstege
    State transportation secretary Sunne Wright McPeak returns to the Capitol today to explain her thinking on the Bay Bridge reconstruction, but this time she'll be armed with a report of her own. The 68-page report, released Monday, shows that a team of outside consultants agrees with her: The tower design for the new eastern span is responsible for just over half of the $2.5 billion-cost increase last year. It's backed up by five academics from around the country and is the most detailed support yet for McPeak's decision to scrap the tower for a skyway. "We're very hopeful this information...
  • CA: Gov. may upend state politics

    01/31/2005 9:59:52 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 5 replies · 512+ views
    Oakland Tribune ^ | 1/31/05 | Steve Geissinger
    SACRAMENTO — If this was a movie, this would be the scene where a bloodied but determined Arnold Schwarzenegger charges against impossible odds then, at the last minute, saves the day. But far less certain is the outcome of the actor-turned-governor's sudden, sweeping moves against powerful foes on myriad, complex fronts in the unscripted real world, say analysts and political players. Win, lose or draw, though, his bid to remake politics and state government — probably by going directly to voters this year on everything from state spending to changing lawmakers' district lines — will likely reverberate for decades, they...
  • CA: Once invincible Governator sees popularity dip

    01/30/2005 12:52:11 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 16 replies · 820+ views
    Bakersfield Californian ^ | 1/30/05 | Beth Fouhy - AP
    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger rode an extraordinary wave of popularity in his first year, thanks to a blend of celebrity, political smarts, and a bit of rookie luck. But the so-called Governator now faces so much criticism that many wonder whether he might be a mere mortal after all. The Republican governor who negotiated tough agreements with Democrats, charmed legislators with visits to his smoking tent and met rapturous crowds at shopping malls across California has hit a sophomore slump, marked by a series of actions that his adversaries are calling naive and even hypocritical. His state...
  • Governor ready to push package of initiatives

    01/29/2005 5:24:04 PM PST · by SmithL · 3 replies · 399+ views
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 1/29/5 | John Wildermuth
    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is threatening to call a special election if Democrats don't back his controversial budget proposals, but it could take an action-hero-like effort to get a package of initiatives qualified for an anticipated Nov. 8 election. Measures mimicking Schwarzenegger's proposals to change the way California pays its teachers, draws its political boundaries, designs its budget and pays for its workers' retirement already are creeping through the initiative process. But even the popular governor could have problems collecting the hundreds of thousands of signatures needed to qualify the various initiatives by the mid-April deadline. Schwarzenegger pledged Monday to leap...
  • CA: Panel widening Shelley probe (ShmelleyGate)

    01/29/2005 9:52:19 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 3 replies · 434+ views ^ | 1/29/05 | Christian Berthelsen
    Sacramento -- California campaign-finance regulators are investigating whether Secretary of State Kevin Shelley illegally accepted a political donation in his government office from a contributor seeking help with a tax problem, The Chronicle has learned. Investigators from the state Fair Political Practices Commission have met with at least one potential witness in the case, seeking details about a meeting in June 2003 between Shelley and the donor, and about how the campaign check was delivered, according to a person who was questioned. "They were clearly trying to dot their i's and cross their t's," said the person, who spoke on...
  • CA: Governor Seeks Outside Donors for Campaigns (to fund fight over voting districts and pensions)

    01/29/2005 8:04:08 AM PST · by calcowgirl · 7 replies · 538+ views
    Los Angeles Times ^ | Robert Salladay and Peter Nicholas
    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Friday he would enlist donors from across the country to fund a multimillion-dollar fight over California's public pension system and its voting districts — reforms being watched with keen interest on Wall Street and a bit of panic in Washington, D.C. The governor's comments signaled that his ambitions for 2005 could flood California with campaign contributions from lucrative new sources. And raising money on a national scale would allow Schwarzenegger, frequently mentioned as a presidential hopeful even though the Constitution bars foreign-born citizens from serving, to take a wider stage and expand his fundraising network. In...
  • Governor, Democrats gird for mother of all political battles

    01/28/2005 12:48:22 PM PST · by SmithL · 12 replies · 759+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 1/28/5 | Dan Walters
    If anyone still doubted it, this week's verbal jousting between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders underscores the certainty that in seeking a sweeping overhaul of state government, the governor is igniting the mother of all California political battles, whose outcome will determine the course of political policy for years, perhaps decades, to come. Schwarzenegger castigated the Legislature for not moving quickly on the agenda he laid out in his State of the State speech three weeks ago, saying all he had heard since then was "a lot of excuses, a lot of complaints, a lot of finger-pointing." He's clearly...
  • CA: Shelley's committee appearance to present rare spectacle

    01/28/2005 5:28:15 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 6 replies · 565+ views
    Bakersfield Californian ^ | 1/28/05 | Jim Wasserman - AP
    SACRAMENTO (AP) - Secretary of State Kevin Shelley's expected appearance before an obscure legislative committee next week presents a rare spectacle in a state Capitol where few statewide elected officials have ever found themselves so engulfed in controversy. While many lawmakers have endured scandals and some seen the insides of prison walls, Shelley has few precedents as he prepares to testify before a committee that has traditionally concerned itself with auditing humdrum issues such as grazing fees and Medi-Cal overpayments. Though the 14-member Joint Legislative Audit Committee is also making headlines with its probe of cost overruns on the Bay...
  • CA: Pension revamp bills exploding

    01/28/2005 12:23:27 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 3 replies · 523+ views
    Sac Bee ^ | 1/28/05 | John Hill
    Under threat of an initiative to scrap California's traditional public pensions, legislators and others are scrambling to craft bills to repair the system instead. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has endorsed the initiative to replace public pensions, which guarantee retirement income based on salary and years of service, with 401(k)-style investment accounts. Strong interests - especially public employee unions and their allies - oppose abandoning the existing system. Now, they're under the gun to fix it. In the recent past, proposals to rein in pension costs haven't gained much traction. This year, however, the initiative threat is leading to a bumper crop...
  • Capitol Battle Lines Harden: GIRLIE-MEN, GOVERNATOR FACE OFF

    01/28/2005 7:46:34 AM PST · by Cinnamon Girl · 8 replies · 667+ views
    KTLA from LA Times ^ | January 28, 2005 | By Peter Nicholas and Robert Salladay
    Schwarzenegger is ratcheting up the rhetoric against legislators, but Democrats are refusing to hew to his agenda. SACRAMENTO -- There's no more talk of friendly dinners at Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Brentwood home, of lawmakers parading into the governor's smoking tent in the Capitol courtyard to bridge differences and end gridlock. The governor who once embraced the Legislature as a helpful "partner" now depicts it as a plodding hindrance. Schwarzenegger has made it clear that he has no appetite for the pragmatic concessions to the Legislature that defined his first year in office. Unless lawmakers pass his 2005 agenda within weeks,...
  • CA: Administration: Prison plan would fix 'improperly managed' system

    01/27/2005 7:07:18 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 3 replies · 870+ views
    Bakersfield Californian ^ | 1/27/05 | Don Thompson - AP
    SACRAMENTO (AP) - Changing the bureaucracy of California's troubled youth and adult prison system would again make the state a national leader in imprisoning criminals and then rehabilitating them, representatives of the Schwarzenegger administration said Thursday. The corrections plan is the leading edge of Schwarzenegger's larger proposal to reorganize state government. Lawmakers, union leaders and inmate advocates said the proposal merely shuffles organizational chart boxes, and particularly objected to more closely affiliating the California Youth Authority with the adult Corrections Department. But the plan won general praise from members of the watchdog Little Hoover Commission. The prison plan and a...
  • CA: Biowasteful spending? DHS can't say how it spent $100 million

    01/27/2005 3:40:47 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 3 replies · 488+ views
    Sac Bee ^ | 1/27/05 | Op/Ed
    California politicians love to gripe about how the state gets shorted by the federal government. Those complaints sound peculiar against the background of some recent news. Over the last three years, the state Department of Health Services has received about $100 million in federal funds to fight bioterrorism, and officials there can't seem to account for it. Where has the money gone? DHS officials can't seem to say. Department officials were unable to provide Bee science writer Edie Lau last week with a detailed breakdown of how the $100 million was spent. And this comes after two recent reports that...
  • CA: Rules set for probe of Shelley (ShmelleyGate)

    01/27/2005 9:10:30 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 5 replies · 464+ views ^ | 1/27/05 | Christian Berthelsen
    Sacramento -- Legislative leaders agreed Wednesday to hire independent counsels to manage an investigation of embattled Secretary of State Kevin Shelley, who said through a spokesman that he did not plan to resign. Following the model established in the Legislature's investigation of former state Insurance Commissioner Charles Quackenbush, each party's members on the Joint Legislative Audit Committee will retain their own independent counsel. The agreement on ground rules and procedures came after the investigation got off to a rocky start, with many questioning why the committee chairwoman, Nicole Parra, D-Hanford (Kings County), had called Shelley to testify even before an...
  • Poll: Schwarzenegger's support still high ( Independent and Dem support waning)

    01/27/2005 8:59:54 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 4 replies · 463+ views
    Bakersfield Californian ^ | 1/27/05 | Tom Chorneau - AP
    SACRAMENTO (AP) - Overall support for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger remains high among voters, but he is losing his appeal among Democrats and independents, according to a poll released Thursday. The survey from the Public Policy Institute found 60 percent of Californians favor the way the Republican governor is doing his job, but 49 percent of Democrats disapprove. Six in 10 independent voters still give Schwarzenegger high marks - the same as last year - but the number of independents who disapprove of him has almost doubled, from 18 percent last year to 32 percent this year. The numbers may come...
  • CA: Lawmakers grill Caltrans officials over troubled Bay Bridge

    01/26/2005 5:56:53 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 18 replies · 911+ views
    Bakersfield Californian ^ | 1/26/05 | Terence Chea - AP
    SACRAMENTO (AP) - Lawmakers grilled state transportation officials Wednesday over efforts to replace the seismically unsound eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, a multibillion-dollar project that has been plagued by delays, cost overruns and political infighting. Sunne Wright McPeak, secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, and Will Kempton, director of the California Department of Transportation, faced intense questioning about why costs for the Bay Bridge project have nearly doubled and why Caltrans officials waited so long to notify lawmakers. "People expect accountability," Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, said at the Senate Transportation Committee hearing. "We're not...
  • CA: Some GOP House members have doubts about Schwarzenegger redistricting idea

    01/26/2005 5:51:23 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 1 replies · 376+ views
    Bakersfield Californian ^ | 1/26/05 | Erica Werner - AP
    WASHINGTON (AP) - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's push to redraw political district lines is running into skepticism from California House members, including from some fellow Republicans who fear the party risks losing seats. "From a realistic standpoint, it looks like we can lose more than we gain," Marysville Republican Rep. Wally Herger said Wednesday, a day after the state's GOP House delegation met on the issue. "My sense is the majority were probably against it, but I think everybody has their ears open ... and wants to do what's best for the state." As part of the reform plan he unveiled...
  • (San Diego) City Hall cover-up? Officials defy federal authorities at their peril

    01/26/2005 9:11:15 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 5 replies · 811+ views
    San Diego Union -Tribune ^ | 1/26/05 | Op/Ed
    Only a few months ago, this question never would have occurred to us, but now it must be asked: Are city officials engaged in a cover-up of incriminating information sought by federal authorities investigating San Diego's financial irregularities? Highly disturbing evidence is mounting that some city officials have been less than cooperative with the separate civil and criminal probes being conducted by the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Securities and Exchange Commission. In the last two weeks, an SEC lawyer found it necessary to remind city officials by letter that subpoenaed documents "within the possession, custody or control of the...
  • CA: Schools chief (O'Connell) offers 'P-16' plan

    01/25/2005 8:50:04 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 10 replies · 720+ views
    Sac Bee ^ | 1/25/05 | Lauren Rosenhall
    The difference between K-12 and P-16 is more than a shuffling of letters and numbers in the proposal outlined Monday by Jack O'Connell, the state's superintendent of public instruction. California's philosophical approach to education would gain five years and a broader scope under goals O'Connell set for the state's children in his annual address on the condition of public schooling. O'Connell advocated state-sponsored preschool available free to all 4-year-olds whose parents want them to attend. Instead of a system that begins with kindergarten and ends with the senior year of high school, he said California should approach education as a...
  • CA: Report: Governor's Bay Bridge plan could end up costing more

    01/24/2005 8:42:11 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 12 replies · 861+ views
    Monterey Herald ^ | 1/24/05 | Steve Lawrence - AP
    SACRAMENTO - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's attempt to save money by replacing the eastern span of the Bay Bridge with a towerless concrete skyway could end up costing more than the suspension bridge favored by local leaders, the legislative analyst said Monday. The analyst, the Legislature's adviser on budget matters, said the skyway could run into design and environmental problems that would add to its current estimated construction costs, which range from $800 million to $1.7 billion. The suspension bridge would be more complicated than the skyway and would cost $1.2 billion to $2.1 billion to build, according to current projections....
  • CA: State education chief calls for more funds for schools

    01/24/2005 6:56:40 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 23 replies · 622+ views
    San Diego Union -Tribune ^ | 1/24/05 | Jennifer Coleman - AP
    SACRAMENTO – Saying funding for public education is "bottoming out," Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell said Monday he will focus on increasing state money for schools and will campaign to reduce the threshold necessary to pass local parcel taxes. In his State of Education speech to education advocates, O'Connell criticized Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's spending plan, saying it was wrong to frame the budget woes as a choice between cutting health care for the elderly or public education. "It is a choice between tax relief for the wealthiest Californians – those who have benefited most from federal tax policies –...
  • CA: Mystery Shrouds Perata Inquiry (PeRATaGate)

    01/24/2005 8:34:17 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 7 replies · 671+ views
    LA Times ^ | 1/24/05 | Tim Reiterman
    OAKLAND — The world of Frank Wishom was collapsing fast in 2003 when he started talking to the FBI. The high-tech company he had nurtured for a decade was failing. The woman in his life for 20 years had dumped him. And his diabetes was flaring so severely he expected to lose his legs. Then, after undergoing vein surgery in fall 2003, the 62-year-old businessman had a heart attack and died. Whatever he said to the FBI remains a mystery, because officials refuse to talk about the federal investigation that now threatens California's new state Senate leader. But Wishom's friends,...
  • Aides: Shelley may resign (ShmelleyGate)

    01/24/2005 8:28:50 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 3 replies · 582+ views
    Sac Bee ^ | 1/24/05 | Gary Delsohn
    --snip-- Kevin Shelley, who faces another rebuke Tuesday with the release of a highly critical report on his personnel practices, has told aides and others close to him that he may resign from office rather than answer all the allegations he's facing in multiple investigations. The embattled Democrat had insisted for months that he had done nothing wrong and would not be forced from office. But a number of sources close to Shelley, while not predicting what he ultimately will decide, said he has repeatedly brought up the subject of resignation in recent days. "It's hour by hour with him,"...
  • Schwarzenegger Aims at State Pension System

    01/23/2005 11:22:27 AM PST · by calcowgirl · 17 replies · 1,099+ views
    New York Times ^ | January 23, 2005 | JOHN M. BRODER
    LOS ANGELES, Jan. 22 - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, echoing language used by those who claim Social Security is headed for a crisis, contends that California can no longer afford a generous traditional pension plan for state employees and teachers and should force all new workers into a 401(k)-style plan of private accounts. California's $300 billion pension system for its public employees is the largest state system in the nation and as early as this summer, Californians will be asked to vote on the proposed changes. The change that Mr. Schwarzenegger has endorsed is supported by a number of Republican state...
  • CA: Lockyer pegs job he wants: Governor

    01/22/2005 10:55:15 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 16 replies · 640+ views
    Sac Bee ^ | 1/22/05 | Andy Furillo
    State Attorney General Bill Lockyer has all but officially declared that he's running for governor next year, seeking endorsements in a letter to Democratic legislators in which he also said, "It's the job I want." California's top cop is one of three statewide Democratic officeholders whose names have been prominently mentioned over the past year as leading prospects to take on Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in next year's balloting. Lockyer, who previously served as the state Senate's president pro tem, provided his strongest signal on his intent in the Jan. 10 letter he sent to the Democratic members of the...