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Keyword: goldenstate

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  • Is there a Plan B for the state budget if California's Proposition 30 fails?

    11/04/2012 9:31:27 AM PST · by SmithL · 20 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 11/4/12 | Kevin Yamamura
    Gov. Jerry Brown has framed it as a simple choice for voters: Pass Proposition 30 or schools will suffer early shutdowns and college students will pay higher tuition. But education leaders privately have discussed fallback efforts to spare schools from some of the worst consequences, especially after the initiative fell below 50 percent in recent polls. School groups are expected to lobby hard to reverse or ease budget reductions headed their way if voters reject Proposition 30. They have two main paths: the Capitol or the courts. "The education community will use every tool at its disposal to fight the...
  • Gavin Newsom criticizes Jerry Brown in KGO Radio interview

    10/31/2012 6:16:11 PM PDT · by SmithL · 5 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 10/31/12 | Kevin Yamamura
    Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom two weeks ago criticized Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative approach, suggesting to KGO Radio in San Francisco that the governor was slow to hit the campaign trail and that he was telling college students "something that's not true." Newsom spoke to KGO on Oct. 17, a day after Brown appeared at UCLA in the first of several appearances at state colleges and universities. But the interview got little statewide notice until Bee columnist Dan Morain referenced Newsom's caustic words for Brown in today's Bee. Though both Democrats who support Proposition 30, Newsom and Brown have endured...
  • What to do if Proposition 30 fails?

    10/31/2012 9:52:31 AM PDT · by SmithL · 26 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 10/31/12 | Dan Walters
    As the political odds turn against Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown's tax measure, political insiders are turning their attention, however reluctantly, to the fallout should, indeed, voters reject the sales and income tax hike on Tuesday. The measure would deliver $6 billion a year in new revenues and should it fail, Brown and the Legislature have already passed $6 billion in so-called "trigger cuts" that would be imposed, overwhelmingly on K-12 schools. So that would seem to be that. But it's not. As Brown campaigns – with increasing desperation – for the measure, he insists that were it to fail,...
  • Proposition 30 analysis: Does California need more tax money?

    10/28/2012 9:49:17 AM PDT · by SmithL · 12 replies
    San Jose Mercury News ^ | Updated: 10/28/2012 | Mike Rosenberg
    In TV commercials and campaign stops, Gov. Jerry Brown has told Californians that voting against his tax-hike measure, Proposition 30, will mean devastating cuts for public schools. Yet the governor's finance team concedes that state spending will go up next year regardless of your vote.So what's a voter to think? Does the state of California really need more of your money?This newspaper's review of state budget figures found: The estimated $6 billion in extra revenue annually from Proposition 30 quickly would put the state on track to return to peak spending levels before the Great Recession. The inflation-adjusted tax burden...
  • Jerry Brown downplays TV report over Caltrans vehicle use

    10/27/2012 9:32:44 AM PDT · by WilliamIII · 25 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | October 27 2012 | David Siders and Jon Ortiz
    Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday downplayed a Los Angeles television station's report of Caltrans employees using state rental trucks for personal purposes, saying "only God" can watch over every one of the state's hundreds of thousands of public employees. "Caltrans has been looking at it. I would be glad to look into it," the Democratic governor said after a speech to the California state conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "If somebody took some time off to do something, we'll find it, but, you know, to blow it up like it's some major thing –...
  • Jerry Brown's tax boost is in trouble

    10/26/2012 12:25:29 PM PDT · by SmithL · 2 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 10/26/12 | Dan Walters
    The governor of California may not be toast – yet – but, one might say, he's turning browner by the moment in the heat of a political campaign he hoped would be his legacy achievement. Two new statewide polls confirm what political instincts – and Jerry Brown's body language – were already telling us: His tax increase measure, Proposition 30, is fading fast with scarcely a week remaining until Election Day. Proposition 30, a $6 billion per year boost in sales and income taxes that Brown said would resolve the state's chronic fiscal problems, never was particularly popular with voters,...
  • CalPERS objects to bankruptcy filing by San Bernardino, which owes pension fund millions

    10/25/2012 9:16:19 AM PDT · by SmithL · 13 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 10/25/12 | Dale Kasler
    After getting stiffed by the city of San Bernardino for millions in payments, CalPERS is objecting to the city's right to file for bankruptcy protection. In a lengthy court filing late Wednesday, the California Public Employees' Retirement System suggested San Bernardino is using bankruptcy protection to avoid paying its debts. The city owes CalPERS about $5.2 million. The city's action "raises a serious question of whether its underlying purpose has been merely to 'buy time' and 'evade creditors,'" CalPERS wrote in a filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Riverside.
  • Valero tightlipped about rumored sale of Benicia oil refinery

    10/24/2012 9:10:53 AM PDT · by SmithL · 6 replies
    Vallejo Times-Herald ^ | 10/24/12 | Tony Burchyns
    BENICIA -- Rumors are swirling that Valero is putting its two California oil refineries on the market, including one in Benicia that is the city's largest employer. The speculation follows a Wall Street Journal report last week that said the San Antonio-based company has enlisted Citigroup Inc. to help find a buyer for the facilities. The article cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter. Valero operates a 78,000-barrel-a-day refinery in Wilmington outside Los Angeles and a 132,000-barrel-a-day refinery in Benicia. Together, the plants represent about 10 percent of the company's U.S. refining capacity. Valero, which has been critical of California's...
  • Bankruptcy filings by California cities may spread

    10/22/2012 2:41:40 PM PDT · by SmithL · 10 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 10/22/12 | Dan Walters
    So far this year, three California cities have filed for bankruptcy protection, and it's likely they will be joined by at least a few others in the not-too-distant future. That's not merely journalistic speculation. Moody's Investment Service, which closely monitors state and local governments for the huge municipal bond industry, issued an unusual public warning the other day that other California cities may be headed down the same path. "To summarize," Moody's said, "we expect … more bankruptcy filings and bond defaults among California cities, reflecting the increased risk to bondholders as investors are asked to contribute to plans for...
  • Jerry Brown's tax hike in jeopardy

    10/14/2012 11:08:12 PM PDT · by SmithL · 10 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 10/14/12 | Dan Walters
    As he began his second governorship last year, Jerry Brown warned that California faced a potential "war of all against all" if the state budget was not fairly balanced, or as the former Catholic seminarian put it in Latin, "bellum omnium contra omnes." Brown now has the war he didn't want as Proposition 30, the tax increase ballot measure upon which he has staked his governorship, and perhaps his place in political history, is hammered from the left and the right by two very wealthy siblings, Charles and Molly Munger. Republican Charles, a Stanford University physicist, is giving millions to...
  • Gov. Jerry Brown's budget plans threatened by a determined Molly Munger

    10/12/2012 10:24:59 AM PDT · by SmithL · 23 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 10/12/12 | Kevin Yamamura
    Gov. Jerry Brown hoped a mix of politicking and good fortune would deter negative ads against his tax initiative in the campaign's final weeks. His luck expired in the last few days. Not one, but two, campaigns took aim at the governor's Proposition 30 on airwaves across the state, funded separately by two children of billionaire investor Charles Munger. The Democratic governor now faces a serious threat to the linchpin of his longer-term budget plan. Brown has been particularly frustrated by attorney Molly Munger's ad, which calls his campaign "misleading" and uses an animated sequence to depict politicians taking money...
  • What can public worker unions learn from NFL refs?

    10/04/2012 3:25:13 PM PDT · by SmithL · 4 replies
    SacBee: The State Worker ^ | 10/4/12 | Jon Ortiz
    A new contract for a small band of unionized industry regulators, locked out until last week, literally prompted standing ovations around the country.So, National Football League Referees Association, got any lessons to pass along to public employees?Public unions have a PR problem. Until a few weeks ago, NFL refs were like many government employees: largely unnoticed, occasionally booed. Then a blown call by replacement officials last month handed the Green Bay Packers an undeserved loss at the end of a nationally televised game. A public outcry followed for the league to get the regular refs back on the field.Two days...
  • Pepper-spraying California taxpayers

    09/30/2012 6:26:57 AM PDT · by SmithL · 8 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 9/30/12 | Debra J. Saunders
    UC has reached a $1 million settlement with UC Davis students who were pepper sprayed at an Occupy-inspired Nov. 18 demonstration to protest rising tuition. UC will pay student plaintiffs $30,000 each, and the ACLU will pocket up to $250,000. Everything that is wrong in California resides in this story. For $30,000, I'll get pepper sprayed. Students think tuition costs too much, so what do they do? Sue the university - it has deep pockets. This episode began because students know that if they stood around smoking pot and demanding more money from Sacramento, the administration would be tickled pink....
  • State officials on defensive about business climate

    09/29/2012 1:56:05 PM PDT · by SmithL · 10 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 9/29/12 | Dale Kasler
    The decisions by Campbell Soup Co. and Comcast Corp. to eliminate hundreds of California jobs rekindled the debate about the state's business climate – and forced Gov. Jerry Brown and others to leap to the state's defense. The announcements put state officials in familiar yet uncomfortable territory, having to explain why an employer was closing shop in California. Never mind that both companies said the business climate didn't drive their decisions. Even though California's job growth surpasses the U.S. average, the state remains susceptible to the charge that it's an inhospitable land of high taxes and red tape. Friday brought...
  • Air pollution chief rejects calls to change California's new greenhouse gas program

    09/20/2012 12:45:26 PM PDT · by SmithL · 5 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 9/20/12 | Dale Kasler
    California's top air pollution regulator issued a spirited defense today of the state's new cap-and-trade greenhouse gas market, rejecting pleas from businesses to make significant changes to the program. Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, said the carbon market is designed to minimize the impact on businesses. Big business groups, like the California Chamber of Commerce, were scheduled to testify later today about their objections to the cap and trade market, the centerpiece of the state's global warming law, AB 32. Businesses say the market amounts to a $1 billion-plus annual tax that will destroy jobs and...
  • The dark side of Gov. Jerry Brown's tax plan

    09/16/2012 7:40:36 PM PDT · by SmithL · 8 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 9/16/12 | Dan Walters
    Jerry Brown fancies himself a futurist, exhorting us to act now to ensure a better tomorrow – with a bullet train and a more dependable water system his prime examples. Their merits notwithstanding, making decisions with long-term benefits is precisely what politicians should – but rarely – do. One wonders, however, how Brown squares his self-appointed role as progressive pathfinder with his regressive and potentially disastrous approach to the state's chronic gap between revenue and spending. While making some reductions in spending – although how permanent is questionable – the first two budgets that Brown signed during his second stint...
  • Stockton bankruptcy case could test security of public pensions

    09/08/2012 10:05:17 AM PDT · by SmithL · 17 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 9/8/12 | Dale Kasler
    Going to work for the government has always come with an ironclad promise: Your pension benefits will be there when you retire. It's a level of security not found in the private sector, and it's a big reason that government jobs are so prized in Sacramento. Now, however, the city of Stockton's bankruptcy case and the financial problems of other cities are testing whether that promise can be broken. Legal battles over this question loom even though the Legislature just approved an overhaul of public retirement plans throughout California. Lawmakers trimmed billions in pension benefits, but mainly at the expense...
  • Gov. Jerry Brown calls his tax hike 'common sense'

    09/06/2012 2:01:39 PM PDT · by SmithL · 17 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 9/6/12 | Kevin Yamamura
    Arguing for more revenues to bolster the state's finances, Gov. Jerry Brown called his November tax initiative "common sense" Thursday and blamed his predecessor for leaving California with an ongoing budget gap. Brown contended that his Proposition 30 would initially raise roughly the same $7 billion that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger eliminated by cutting the car tax and not raising taxes on out-of-state firms. The governor's Proposition 30 would increase taxes on high-income earners for seven years and sales for four years.
  • Film companies' tax break extension awaits signature

    09/02/2012 9:47:19 AM PDT · by SmithL · 11 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 9/2/12 | Jim Sanders
    A $100 million annual tax break for California motion picture companies would be extended under legislation headed to Gov. Jerry Brown.
  • Unions blast California public pension reform plan

    08/28/2012 9:23:59 PM PDT · by SmithL · 16 replies
    SacBee: The State Worker ^ | 8/28/12 | Jon Ortiz
    Labor unions wasted no time bashing the pension reform unveiled by Gov. Jerry Brown this morning as a unilaterally-imposed political exercise that needlessly guts state and local public employees' retirement for hundreds of thousands of workers. "This is far more than 'low hanging fruit,'" said Dave Low, chairman of union coalition Californians for Retirement Security in statement issued while Brown was still holding a pension press conference in Los Angeles just before noon. "This is the fruit, the branch, the tree trunk, and the roots." What particularly rankles labor leaders, however, was that none of this was bargained. "When you...
  • Jerry Brown, Democrats reach deal on public pension overhaul

    08/28/2012 11:42:31 AM PDT · by SmithL · 32 replies
    SacBee: The State Worker ^ | 8/28/12 | Jon Ortiz
    Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers have reached a deal that will alter pensions for hundreds of thousand of local and state workers. Brown will announce an agreement that promises future employees less and requires many of them to pay more for it than their tenured colleagues, according to details of the plan leaking out this morning. Brown is scheduled to talk about pension reform tat an 11:30 a.m. Los Angeles press conference. The Democratic governor made cutting public pension costs a key piece of his administrative agenda and has insisted that voters insist on reform before they'll embrace a...
  • Chris Christie calls Jerry Brown ‘an old retread’

    08/27/2012 11:29:20 AM PDT · by SmithL · 30 replies
    Inside Bay Area ^ | 8/27/11 | Josh Richman
    Media including the Los Angeles Times are reporting on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s tirade against California Gov. Jerry Brown this morning as he addressed California’s delegation to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.: “California made the bad choice by going with an old retread,” Christie told California’s delegation to the Republican National Convention here, a crowd that lapped up his message. “Let me tell you this – I cannot believe you people elected Jerry Brown over Meg Whitman. … Jerry Brown. Jerry Brown? I mean, he won the New Jersey presidential primary over Jimmy Carter when I was...
  • Democrats make Akin rape remarks an issue in CA House race

    08/22/2012 5:52:51 PM PDT · by SmithL · 33 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 8/22/12 | Torey Van Oot
    Democrats are working to make a Missouri congressman's controversial comment about rape an issue in the heated 7th Congressional District race. Republican Rep. Todd Akin has come under fire from politicians on both sides of the aisle for saying in a televised interview that a woman's body has the ability to block pregnancy in cases of what he called "legitimate rape." He has apologized for the remarks, but rejected calls from Republican leaders and politicians, including presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, to drop his U.S. Senate campaign against Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Gold River, denounced...
  • Agencies expect more cities to go under { Golden State Bankruptcies }

    08/21/2012 10:42:24 AM PDT · by SmithL · 3 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 8/21/12 | Kathleen Pender
    For the second time in as many business days, a major credit-rating agency said it expects more municipal bankruptcies and bond defaults - particularly in California, where cities have less flexibility to raise revenue or cut spending and face little intervention from the state.On Monday, Fitch Ratings said in a report that it "anticipates an increase in defaults and bankruptcies, although it does not expect them to be widespread." It said that recent bankruptcy filings by Stockton, San Bernardino and Mammoth Lakes "reflect perhaps the most difficult local government fiscal environment in the U.S.," adding that "fiscal crises are more likely in...
  • Jarvis group's new ad calls Jerry Brown's tax bid street robbery

    08/20/2012 7:13:45 PM PDT · by SmithL · 4 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 8/20/12 | David Siders
    The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is up with its second radio advertisement against Gov. Jerry Brown's November ballot initiative to raise taxes, comparing Brown's tax campaign to street robbery. "Hey, lady, hand over your purse or the schools get it," a voice at the top of the ad says. The ad, an issue-advocacy spot running statewide beginning today, comes as the Democratic governor begins in earnest to campaign for Proposition 30, his proposal to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners. The Democratic governor has characterized the election as a choice between higher taxes and...
  • Will jobs be lost with cap and trade?

    08/19/2012 10:31:07 PM PDT · by SmithL · 11 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 8/19/12 | Dan Morain
    Extraordinarily smart people at the California Air Resources Board have taken to using the term "leakage" as they go about devising the experimental cap and trade system for reducing greenhouse gases. Homer Perez, head boiler mechanic at Pacific Coast Producers' tomato cannery off East Main Street in Woodland, might use a word that is more familiar to the rest of us: "layoff." The cannery has been operating under one owner or another since the 1920s. A cooperative of 16 growers in Yolo, Solano and Sutter counties owns it now. Perez has worked there for 28 of the past 29 years....
  • California's general fund spending has dropped -- but that doesn't tell the whole story

    08/18/2012 10:57:28 PM PDT · by SmithL · 6 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 8/18/12 | Kevin Yamamura
    Democrats say voters need look no further than California's $91 billion general fund budget to see how dramatically they have cut. That spending total is 11 percent below the state's pre-recession peak. But the number can be misleading. While California has cut education and services for the poor, budget writers also have relied on creative revenue streams and accounting maneuvers to move programs off the general fund books rather than cut them. That has made comparisons difficult and, experts say, contributed to state bookkeeping disparities that have emerged in recent weeks. "We've been through a period of extreme financial difficulty...
  • CALIFORNIA: U.S. senators, legislative leaders call for tax cease-fire

    08/17/2012 12:02:48 AM PDT · by SmithL · 16 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 8/16/12 | Kevin Yamamura
    In a pointed letter critical of Gov. Jerry Brown's tax rival, California's two U.S. senators along with state legislative leaders called Thursday for a cease-fire from campaigns backing the two multibillion-dollar tax hikes on the November ballot. U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, as well as Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, said in a letter to the California State PTA that the Proposition 38 campaign has "become increasingly negative" and "engaged in personal attacks against Governor Jerry Brown and Prop. 30." The PTA has joined wealthy attorney Molly Munger in backing Proposition...
  • Censorship rears its ugly head in California Senate

    08/10/2012 9:13:15 AM PDT · by SmithL · 12 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 8/10/12 | Dan Walters
    Let's not mince words about what the state Senate's Democratic leader did Wednesday. It was self-serving censorship, the sort of thing that one expects from tinpot dictators, not from those who fancy themselves to be progressive civil libertarians. Someone acting for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg suddenly cut off cable television access to a legislative hearing to air facts and arguments about pending ballot measures. The Senate Governance and Finance Committee called the hearing – as required by law – into three tax increases (Propositions 30, 38 and 39) and altering the state's budgetary procedures (Proposition 31). As it...
  • Chevron claims seen as not worth trouble

    08/09/2012 12:54:43 PM PDT · by SmithL · 10 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 8/9/12 | Carolyn Jones, Chronicle Staff Writer
    Two days after toxic black smoke from the Chevron refinery fire enveloped Richmond, a second phenomenon swept through the city: the rush for money. More than 1,000 residents claiming to have coughs, nausea, scratchy throats and psychological trauma visited a downtown law office Wednesday in hopes of receiving a payout for their suffering. Another 1,000 contacted Chevron directly. Chevron was so overwhelmed, it set up a storefront downtown to accommodate the claims and answer questions. But what claimants are likely to receive - at the most, a few thousand dollars each - is not enough to buy a long-term solution...
  • Three California cities' bankruptcy cases reverberate

    08/08/2012 11:51:38 AM PDT · by SmithL · 8 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 8/8/12 | Dan Walters
    The back-to-back bankruptcy filings of Stockton and San Bernardino, following Vallejo's insolvency a few years earlier, have sparked finger-pointing about causes and speculation about whether more cities may go under. Those on the political right say the bankruptcies resulted from local politicians' caving in to pressure from unions for higher pay and more generous pension and health benefits. Those on the left – unions particularly – contend that the collapse of the real estate market, caused by rapacious Wall Street bankers, is to blame. The reality is more nuanced. All three cities on the suburban peripheries were facing urban decay....
  • California reaches deep into special funds to pay for schools, prisons, social services

    08/03/2012 11:12:19 AM PDT · by SmithL · 7 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 8/3/12 | Dan Walters
    California drivers pay fees for smog checks, vehicle registrations and new tires, all supposedly for programs that benefit roadway use. Consumers pay fees to recycle beverage containers, televisions and computers. Doctors and accountants pay license fees to regulate their industries. But for more than a decade, the special funds collecting these dollars have served a second purpose: helping California pay for schools, social services and prisons that are supposed to be funded by general taxes. California has 560 funds deemed "special" because in theory they're walled off from general state expenditures. In the face of two recessions, however, California reached...
  • Villaraigosa says he'd like to be governor of California [LA Times]

    07/31/2012 5:41:28 PM PDT · by joinedafterattack · 13 replies
    Los Angeles Times ^ | 7-31-12 | Los Angeles Times
    As Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa prepares to take the gavel for the Democratic National Committee’s national convention in Charlotte this summer, Yahoo! News asked whether the termed-out mayor could be the nation’s first Latino president. Villaraigosa assured his interviewer that he has no interest in national office, but he does have another job in mind after 2013, when he will be forced from Getty House. "The job I've said to people I would like is I would like to be governor of the state of California," he said.
  • Jerry Brown may be the issue in California's tax initiative duel

    07/31/2012 7:10:54 PM PDT · by SmithL · 15 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 7/31/12 | Dan Walters
    Gov. Jerry Brown released an Internet ad the other day, asking voters to embrace his multibillion-dollar tax increase. But the word "tax" is nowhere to be found. The closest Brown or other speakers in the tightly scripted ad come to the T-word is "new revenues." Mostly, it touts Brown's efforts to cut state spending and declares – wrongly – that the state's credit rating has improved. "We've made progress, but we still have very serious budget problems in California," Brown says in the ad. "We simply have to take a stand against further budget cuts for schools or for our...
  • Up to $2.3 billion in California public funds hiding in plain sight

    07/30/2012 8:16:13 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 17 replies
    San Jose Mercury News ^ | 7/27/2012 06:23:51 AM PDT | By Mike Rosenberg
    Finance officials are now trying to piece together why the balance sheets for "special funds" are off by $2.3 billion -- money that appeared to be right under their noses amid California's financial meltdown. The fund that gives restitution to violent crime victims was off by $29 million. The one that provides children with low-cost health insurance was $30 million out of balance. The fund that rewards people for recycling bottles and cans was $113 million off. "Where are these dollars?" asked state Senate budget chairman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who said it was a "big problem" that the special...
  • Incumbents uneasy over political changes

    07/29/2012 6:38:30 PM PDT · by SmithL · 11 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 7/29/12 | Willie Brown
    Between the new congressional district lines and the new open primaries, people who hold elected office in California are running for their lives. In previous years, maybe 10 percent of congressional and legislative districts were competitive. Now everybody thinks they're at risk. Even well-known incumbents in Democrat-dominated districts - people like Reps. Barbara Lee and John Garamendi - fear they might get beat. As a result, they are scooping up and holding onto as much campaign cash as possible. It's all putting a pinch on Rep. Nancy Pelosi's hopes of the Democrats retaking the House. You see, in the past...
  • Calif mental health dollars bypassing mentally ill {Prop 63 Millionaire's tax}

    07/28/2012 11:15:38 PM PDT · by SmithL · 4 replies
    AP via SacBee ^ | 7/28/12 | HANNAH DREIER
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- As state mental health services have crumbled under budget cuts, tens of millions of dollars raised through a tax designed to help the mentally ill have gone to "wellness" programs like horseback riding for teens and yoga classes for city workers. And that's by design.Voters approved Proposition 63, the so-called "millionaire's tax," in 2004 to make up for decades of mental health cuts. The ballot summary said it would "expand services and develop innovative programs" for the mentally ill and the text of the measure stipulated 20 percent of the funds would go to programs "effective in...
  • Donors who bailed out California state parks want their money back

    07/28/2012 11:29:00 AM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 20 replies
    San Jose Mercury News ^ | 07/26/2012 05:43:29 PM PDT | By Paul Rogers
    Betrayed by the discovery of $54 million hidden in two state parks accounts, groups that donated money to keep California state parks from closing this year now say they want a refund -- or at least a binding promise from lawmakers to spend the extra money on parks. "They sort of came to us under false pretenses. They cried wolf, and we responded," said Reed Holderman, executive director of the Sempervirens Fund. "An elegant solution would be for them to refund the nonprofits, and put whatever is left into parks." State Parks Director Ruth Coleman resigned Friday and her top...
  • California parks director resigns amid scandal

    07/20/2012 1:22:21 PM PDT · by SmithL · 16 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 7/20/12 | Matt Weiser
    State Parks Director Ruth Coleman resigned this morning and her second in command has been fired after officials learned the department has been sitting on nearly $54 million in surplus money for as long as 12 years. The moves come in the wake of a scandal, revealed by The Bee on Sunday, in which a deputy director at State Parks carried out a secret vacation buyout program for employees at department headquarters last year. That buyout cost the state more than $271,000. The Bee began inquiring about rumors of a surplus when it learned about the buyout, and submitted a...
  • San Bernardino Is Third California City to Opt for Bankruptcy

    07/11/2012 6:16:30 AM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 24 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 07/11/2012 | Michael B. Marois and Alison Vekshin
    San Bernardino’s City Council voted to become the third California city this year to file for bankruptcy, as it struggles with declining tax revenue, growing employee costs and accounting discrepancies in its ledgers. The council voted 4 to 2, with one abstention, last night to authorize a filing under Chapter 9 of U.S. bankruptcy law. The city of 209,000, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) east of Los Angeles, is so broke it can’t make its Aug. 15 payroll, interim City Manager Andrea Travis-Miller said. “If the employees are not paid on Aug. 15, on Aug. 16 there will be a...
  • California bill would allow a child to have more than two parents

    07/02/2012 2:52:57 PM PDT · by Altura Ct. · 9 replies
    Sac Bee ^ | 7/2/2012
    Beaver had June and Ward. Ricky had Ozzie and Harriet. Mom and Dad, same-sex couples or blended families, California law is clear: No more than two legal parents per child. When adults fight over parenthood, a judge must decide which two have that right and responsibility – but that could end soon. State Sen. Mark Leno is pushing legislation to allow a child to have multiple parents. "The bill brings California into the 21st century, recognizing that there are more than Ozzie and Harriet families today," the San Francisco Democrat said. Surrogate births, same-sex parenthood and assisted reproduction are changing...
  • Stockton California Files For Bankruptcy, And Murder Is Surging After Police Corps Gets Gutted

    06/27/2012 9:08:20 AM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 71 replies
    Business Insider ^ | 06/27/2012 | Ben Duronio
    Stockton, California is filing for the largest bankruptcy of any U.S. city in history due to the decline in the once hot housing market and an intake of debt during its boom years. The city has cut more than $90 million in spending over the past few years, specifically in its police department. The city has cut over one quarter of its police jobs, which has led to a "surge in murders," and has created an "emboldened criminal element" in the city. According to police spokesman Joe Silva, the city has had 87 murders since the start of 2011, 29...
  • Bill Lockyer endorses tax measure, stays mum on scandal

    06/21/2012 8:38:47 PM PDT · by SmithL · 16 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 6/20/12 | David Siders
    State Treasurer Bill Lockyer said this afternoon that he will vote for Gov. Jerry Brown's November ballot initiative to raise taxes, despite concerns about the measure's burden on California's highest-income earners. Lockyer, who said last year that California had neared its reasonable limit for taxing the rich, told the Sacramento Press Club that the alternative -- billions of dollars in spending reductions, including to education -- is intolerable. "I'm voting for the governor's tax proposal," said Lockyer, a Democrat. "The cuts to education if it doesn't pass are so severe that it will injure our ability to produce an informed...
  • Brown tax plan looks very shaky

    06/12/2012 11:13:26 PM PDT · by SmithL · 13 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 6/12/12 | Dan Walters
    The state budget that the Legislature will enact this week will assume that half of its deficit will be covered by voter approval of new income and sales taxes next November. However, it's looking steadily less like a reasonable assumption and increasingly like just another in a long string of budget gimmicks, not unlike last year's bogus assumption that the tax system would generate an extra $4 billion. Indeed, one could say that Gov. Jerry Brown and fellow Democrats are doubling down on miracle money, from last year's $4 billion to this year's $8.5 billion. History does not favor new...
  • Unions fire Internet blast at California ballot measure

    06/11/2012 10:49:37 PM PDT · by SmithL · 8 replies
    SacBee: The State Worker ^ | 6/11/12 | Jon Ortiz
    The organized labor coalition fighting a November ballot measure that would end payroll-deducted money for political spending -- the channel through which unions raise funds to play in politics -- has launched a new video blasting the proposal. The unions' message attacks the measure as an unfair idea that would put new limits on the influence of organizations that speak up for working people while exempting self-interested elites. As we mentioned in our Sunday story on the battle ahead over the proposition, look for labor to continue connecting the words like "exempt" and "Wall Street" to tar the measure.
  • California budget process has reverted to secrecy

    06/11/2012 9:44:40 AM PDT · by SmithL · 9 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 6/11/12 | Dan Walters
    As the Capitol churns toward Friday's deadline for a new state budget, the macro-issues are well known, such as whether health, welfare and child care services should be slashed by billions of dollars to close the deficit. There are, however, other aspects of the annual budget wrangle that go largely unnoticed, such as the march into secrecy – or, more accurately, sneakiness. For decades, a few key legislators drafted the entire budget in secrecy with virtually no public exposure or input, but about 40 years ago, there was an internal revolt because one powerful senator had loaded up the budget...
  • Gov. Jerry Brown, Democratic leaders seek common ground on budget cuts

    06/11/2012 9:40:35 AM PDT · by SmithL · 5 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 6/11/12 | Kevin Yamamura
    Democratic lawmakers have vowed all spring to fight spending cuts to programs that serve the poorest Californians, including welfare-to-work and Cal Grant scholarships. In a Capitol where fiscal maneuvers have flourished in recent years, Gov. Jerry Brown says he wants real cuts to health and welfare programs because the state cannot afford what it provides. Facing a Friday deadline to pass a balanced budget, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg are meeting with Brown behind closed doors to find middle ground. Deal or no deal, it is nearly certain that lawmakers will send the...
  • Group says Calif. air regulations discriminate

    06/10/2012 5:12:20 PM PDT · by SmithL · 19 replies
    AP via SFGate ^ | 6/10/12
    A coalition of environmental groups is alleging that California's Cap and Trade program violates the 1964 Civil Rights act. The groups filed a complaint Friday against the California Air Resources Board charging that minority groups will be disproportionately harmed by the program that allows polluters to discharge more emissions by buying credits from other less-polluting industries. The complaint alleges that African-Americans, Latinos and Asians are more likely to live in the low-income neighborhoods near refineries and power plants and will not receive the benefit of emission reductions intended under Cap and Trade.
  • CALIFORNIA: Stunning vote gap in Contra Costa supervisor race traced to multiple factors

    06/09/2012 8:20:19 PM PDT · by SmithL · 16 replies
    Contra Costa Times ^ | 6/9/12 | Lisa Vorderbrueggen
    The 32½-point margin of victory in Danville Mayor Candace Andersen's win Tuesday over college board President Tomi Van de Brooke in the Contra Costa supervisor election is a stunner. Internal polling reportedly showed Andersen's strong ballot designation -- mayor and attorney -- gave her a boost but "not 30 points worth," one political consultant observed wryly. Some of those points were undoubtedly due to Andersen's higher name recognition in the San Ramon Valley, where she has held public office for nearly a decade and where the population outnumbers the northern part of the district in Lamorinda. But other than a...
  • Brown's tax plan has 'tenuous' lead, poll finds

    06/09/2012 8:13:58 AM PDT · by SmithL · 23 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 6/9/12 | Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
    Gov. Jerry Brown's tax-raising ballot initiative has the support of a slight majority of registered voters, while a competing measure headed to the November ballot has little chance of passing, according to a Field Poll released Saturday. The poll found 52 percent of those surveyed said they would vote in favor of Brown's initiative, 35 percent were opposed and 13 percent were undecided. The measure would raise the income tax for seven years on individuals making $250,000 or more a year and the sales tax for four years. The money would help fund education, along with a host of other...