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Keyword: yourtaxdollarsatwork

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  • California state, local government workers among best-paid

    01/31/2012 7:04:13 PM PST · by SmithL · 20 replies
    SacBee: The State Worker ^ | 1/31/12 | Jon Ortiz
    California state and local government employees remain among the highest-paid in the nation, according to revised 2010 data released this month by the U.S. Census Bureau. Full-time monthly pay for March 2010 in the District of Columbia averaged $5,900, followed by California at $5,774 and New Jersey' s $5,540. Nationally, the average pay for full-time state and local public employees was $4,388 for the March 2010 period sampled by the bureau.
  • Controller: State to run out of cash in March without action

    01/31/2012 2:04:17 PM PST · by SmithL · 8 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 1/31/12 | Kevin Yamamura
    California will run out of cash by early March if the state does not take swift action to find $3.3 billion through payment delays and borrowing, according to a letter state Controller John Chiang sent to state lawmakers today. The announcement is surprising since lawmakers previously believed the state had enough cash to last through the fiscal year that ends in June. But Chiang said additional cash management solutions are needed because state tax revenues are $2.6 billion less than what Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers assumed in their optimistic budget last year. Meanwhile, Chiang said, the state is...
  • Let Oakland protesters occupy a county jail cell

    01/31/2012 9:02:01 AM PST · by SmithL · 9 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 1/31/12 | Debra J. Saunders
    Occupy Oakland is aptly named. When forces occupy a city, they know that occupied turf is not their home. They can maraud, loot, vandalize, abuse the locals, and then leave. They can treat other people's property as their own. The occupiers don't have to clean up after themselves. They don't have to worry about paying for the workers who clean up after them, either. Occupiers don't have to exert self-control. They can freely act upon their rage, while defenders of occupied territory must concentrate on protecting what others want to harm. Occupiers do not have to fear that they will...
  • California's High-Speed Rail: Going Nowhere, Very Fast

    01/30/2012 5:53:26 PM PST · by Kaslin · 13 replies
    IBD Editorials ^ | January 30, 2012 | THOMAS SOWELL
    California has a huge state debt and Washington has a huge national debt. But that does not discourage either Gov. Jerry Brown or President Barack Obama from wanting to launch a very costly high-speed rail system. Most of us might be a little skittish about spending money if we were teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. But the beauty of politics is that it is all other people's money, including among those other people generations yet-to-be born. The high-speed rail system proposed for California has been envisioned as a model for similar systems elsewhere in the United States. A recent...
  • Quan says she'll call national Occupy leaders

    01/30/2012 2:49:02 PM PST · by SmithL · 29 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 1/30/12 | Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer
    Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said today that she is going to call national leaders of the Occupy Wall Street movement and implore them to disown Oakland's protest movement. Quan said Saturday's demonstration, where 400 protesters were arrested and City Hall was vandalized, showed that the contingent of protesters who have targeted Oakland were not as non-violent as they claim they are. "I plan to call some of the national leadership of Occupy this week to say that the Oakland group is not nonviolent and has not agreed to be nonviolent," Quan said in an interview on KCBS. "The national Occupy...
  • Oakland, Occupy take stock of clash's damage

    01/29/2012 6:55:16 PM PST · by SmithL · 23 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 1/29/12 | Demian Bulwa, Justin Berton, Chronicle Staff Writers
    Oakland officials and Occupy protesters Sunday confronted the fallout from their continuing conflict, a fight that reignited Saturday with a chaotic, often violent day of demonstrations that resulted in at least 400 arrests. A day after Saturday's clashes, city officials took stock of the damage, which included injuries to three police officers and several protesters, as well as vandalism inside City Hall. There, dozens of protesters had broken in with a crowbar, grabbed California and U.S. flags, and ignited them on the front steps. "It's like a tantrum," Mayor Jean Quan said while displaying the damage inside the building, which...
  • Oakland to assess damage after Occupy protests

    01/29/2012 11:47:47 AM PST · by SmithL · 7 replies
    Associated Press ^ | 1/29/12 | TERRY COLLINS
    OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Oakland officials assessed damage to City Hall caused by Occupy protesters while leaders of the movement claimed Sunday that police acted illegally in arresting hundreds of demonstrators and could face a lawsuit. Mayor Jean Quan was among those inspecting damage caused after dozens of people broke into City Hall on Saturday, smashing glass display cases, spray-painting graffiti, and burning an American flag. That break-in culminated a day of clashes between protesters and police. Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan said nearly 400 people were arrested on charges ranging from failure to disperse and vandalism. At least three...
  • Sunday Morning Math Puzzle

    01/29/2012 6:15:00 AM PST · by SMGFan · 16 replies
    NPR ^ | January 29, 2012 | Ed Pegg JR & Will Shortz
    Next Week's Challenge from listener Ed Pegg Jr.: Write the digits from 1 to 9 in a line. If you put a plus sign after the 2, a times sign after the 4, and plus signs after the 6 and 8, the line shows 12 + 34 x 56 + 78 + 9, which equals 2003. That's nine years off from our current year 2012.? This example uses four arithmetic symbols. The object is to use just three of the following arithmetic operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, in a line from 1 to 9 to get 2012 exactly. The...
  • Editorial: GOP keeps having bad days in court

    01/28/2012 8:10:35 PM PST · by SmithL · 13 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 1/28/12 | Editor
    The California Republican Party keeps making matters worse as it struggles against what seems inevitable. On Friday, the California Supreme Court unanimously decided to leave in place state Senate district maps drawn by the voter-created California Redistricting Commission. This was the second time the GOP turned to the court for help, and the second time it was slapped down. The Republicans spent – and probably wasted – $2 million on its drive to qualify a referendum challenging the maps. It's not certain that the measure will qualify for the November ballot.
  • California passes new auto emission rules

    01/27/2012 11:46:49 AM PST · by SmithL · 31 replies
    Associated Press ^ | 1/27/12 | JASON DEAREN
    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- California air regulators passed Friday sweeping auto emission standards that include a mandate to have 1.4 million electric and hybrid vehicles on state roads by 2025. The California Air Resources Board unanimously approved the new rules, which require that one-in-seven of new cars sold in the state in 2025 be an electric or other zero-emission vehicle. The plan also mandated a 75-percent reduction in smog-forming pollutants by 2025, and a 34 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over roughly the same time. Automakers worked with the board and federal regulators on the greenhouse gas mandates in...
  • Planners want to direct Bay Area residents to live in existing communities to cut back on greenhouse

    01/26/2012 11:49:13 PM PST · by SmithL · 9 replies
    Contra Costa Times ^ | 1/26/11 | Lisa Vorderbrueggen
    Planners want to direct Bay Area residents to live in existing communities to cut back on greenhouse gas emissionsCONCORD -- A Bay Area plan for where to build new houses, shops and offices in a way that helps cut greenhouse gases relies on increased population concentrations some communities may reject, a state homebuilding industry representative told Contra Costa business and political leaders Thursday."My concern is that we are way down the road in this process, but not a lot has been explained to the public," California Building Industry Association attorney Paul Campos said. "There is a near-poetic discussion of the...
  • California settles up -- interest free -- with prison guards union

    01/26/2012 8:23:04 AM PST · by SmithL · 4 replies
    SacBee: The State Worker ^ | 1/26/12 | Jon Ortiz
    California's prison officers union is getting a loan from taxpayers – interest-free – to settle a multimillion-dollar debt it owes the state. The deal sealed on Wednesday closes the books on what the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said was at least $4.5 million the California Correctional Peace Officers Association owed for wages and benefits paid to CCPOA leaders while they were away from their state jobs tending to union business. CCPOA, which represents about 30,000 correctional and parole officers, refused to settle the so-called "union paid leave" tab that has been running since...
  • Judge strikes parole-revocation provisions in California law

    01/26/2012 8:10:30 AM PST · by SmithL · 5 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 1/26/12 | Denny Walsh
    A Sacramento federal judge has struck down as unconstitutional the part of California's so-called Victims' Bill of Rights that governs parole revocation. The law, enacted by voter approval of a 2008 ballot initiative known as Proposition 9, was a sweeping amendment to the state constitution, conferring a long list of entitlements on crime victims. The sections dealing with parole revocation were made part of the state's Penal Code. U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton ruled Tuesday that those sections fall short of providing the minimum due process guaranteed by the Constitution and two U.S. Supreme Court decisions, Morrissey v. Brewer...
  • California air board to vote on landmark electric-car rules

    01/25/2012 7:56:08 PM PST · by SmithL · 26 replies
    San Jose Mercury News ^ | 1/25/12 | Paul Rogers
    In a move that could reshape the American automobile industry, California regulators Thursday are expected to approve sweeping new rules requiring that 15 percent of new cars sold in California by 2025 run on electricity, hydrogen or other systems producing little or no smog. The regulations by the California Air Resources Board, dubbed the "advanced clean car rules," would start in 2018, ramping up each year and ultimately resulting in 1.4 million "zero emission" vehicles on California roads by 2025. Today there are only about 10,000 such vehicles in the state. "This is a really large step. It's transformational," said...
  • Labor board chief to press for new union rules

    01/25/2012 2:53:54 PM PST · by SmithL · 9 replies
    Associated Press ^ | 1/25/12 | SAM HANANEL
    WASHINGTON (AP) -- The chairman of the National Labor Relations Board says he won't let the controversy over President Barack Obama's recess appointments stop the agency from pressing ahead with changes that could help unions win new members. Mark Pearce tells The Associated Press he will urge the board to approve new rules that would make it easier for unions to establish and win representation elections in workplaces.
  • Klamath dam removal costly, but would add jobs, federal report says

    01/25/2012 1:47:12 PM PST · by SmithL · 22 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 1/25/11 | Michael Doyle
    WASHINGTON – The ambitious proposal to remove four Klamath River dams would add jobs and aid fish, a new federal report asserts, but the idea still leaves California lawmakers badly divided. As they approach a make-or-break decision on whether to recommend the dam removal, U.S. Interior Department officials on Tuesday touted anticipated benefits that include improved salmon habitat and 1,400 construction jobs during the year it would take to remove the hydroelectric dams. Long-term Klamath basin restoration efforts would add an estimated 4,600 jobs, the report says. But the dam removals would also cost somewhere between $238 million and $493...
  • Gov. Jerry Brown's tax proposal gains support among voters

    01/24/2012 6:34:30 PM PST · by SmithL · 19 replies
    Contra Costa Times ^ | 1/24/12 | Steven Harmon, Bay Area News Group
    Support for Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative is widening among voters, though not too many are happy with the prospects of paying more sales tax. In a survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, 68 percent of likely voters -- up from 60 percent six weeks ago -- support his plan to increase the sales tax by a half percent and raise income taxes on individuals with an annual income of $250,000 or more. "I think it's our duty to take care of the next generation," said San Ramon resident Elizabeth Moore, a retired high school teacher who was...
  • California lawmakers to sue John Chiang over their pay

    01/24/2012 3:42:01 PM PST · by SmithL · 3 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 1/24/12 | Kevin Yamamura
    Democratic legislative leaders sued Controller John Chiang today for blocking their pay during last year's budget dispute, a decision that drew scorn from lawmakers last summer. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez said the Democratic controller overstepped his bounds when he decided that lawmakers sent Gov. Jerry Brown a flawed budget last June and docked their pay. They said they are not suing for back earnings, but to ask the court whether Chiang can intervene this year if lawmakers face another budget dispute with Brown at the June 15 deadline. The lawmakers filed in...
  • NYC officials dodge blame over 'SHCOOL X-NG' sign

    01/24/2012 11:11:58 AM PST · by SmithL · 18 replies
    AP via SFGate ^ | 1/24/11
    Everyone who's ever gone to school should know how to spell "school." But someone who plastered a school crossing sign on the street in front of a New York City high school got it wrong. The New York Post reports ( that the big white letters in front of Marta Valle High School on the Lower East Side say "SHCOOL X-NG."
  • Rand Paul says Nashville airport went too far after he refused pat-down

    01/24/2012 9:18:38 AM PST · by SmithL · 13 replies
    The Tennessean | 1/24/12 | Brian Haas
    Gannett Newspaper - Link Only:|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE
  • On Spare the Air Days, only firewood dealers burn

    01/23/2012 3:33:28 PM PST · by SmithL · 16 replies
    Contra Costa Times ^ | 1/23/12 | Tom Barnidge, Contra Costa Times columnist
    The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is not just another government agency with an unwieldy title and a lot of directors (22, at last count). It is the state-appointed body that regulates the "stationary sources of air pollution in the nine counties that surround San Francisco Bay." In the winter months, that means it's the fireplace police. When meteorologists determine that cold, still conditions will trap particulate-filled wood smoke close to the ground, the agency declares a "no burn" day, meaning you're forbidden from burning your firewood in your fireplace in the house you own. Put another way: On...
  • California livestock law struck down

    01/23/2012 3:23:33 PM PST · by SmithL · 4 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 1/23/12 | Michael Doyle
    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down California's ban on the slaughter of downed swine, saying the state strayed too far into federal territory. In a case closely watched by other states as well as the multi-billion dollar livestock industry, the court's liberal and conservative justices unanimously ruled that long-standing federal law preempted California's 2008 measure. "The California law rums smack into the (federal) regulations," Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the court. Kagan's 14-page decision emphasized that the Federal Meat Inspection Act covers a "broad range of activities at slaughterhouses" and that it "expressly" preempts the state law.
  • Occupy Oakland tab up to $3 million and counting

    01/23/2012 8:49:44 AM PST · by SmithL · 9 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 1/23/12 | Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross, Chronicle Columnist
    The news spotlight has moved elsewhere, but Oakland continues to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars a month for the Occupy protests. Every week for the past month, more than 100 cops, or roughly one-fifth of the city's patrol force, are called in to work the Saturday night Occupy demonstration held downtown. Estimated cost: about $50,000 a week. City officials now estimate their overall Occupy tab is up to $3 million and counting - this at a time when up to 400 city workers will likely be laid off Feb. 1 for lack of money.
  • SAN FRANCISCO: Plazas and parklets the latest battleground in homeless war

    01/22/2012 8:33:14 PM PST · by SmithL · 9 replies
    SFGate: City Insider ^ | 1/22/12 | Heather Knight
    All those new plazas and “parklets” across the city may seem downright adorable, but they’re the unlikely new hotspot in the never-ending battle over the city’s homeless policy. Supervisor Scott Wiener’s legislation crafting rules for Jane Warner Plaza and Harvey Milk Plaza — both at the intersection of Market and Castro streets — seemed pretty vanilla at first. But let’s face it, nothing’s vanilla in this town. The idea was to set some guidelines for the plazas which are in a sort of no-man’s land because they’re not technically parks, streets or sidewalks, all of which are governed by different...
  • Jerry Brown must win Dems' support to pay off debt

    01/22/2012 6:47:34 AM PST · by SmithL · 11 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 1/22/12 | Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
    Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to finally fix California's finances relies on several dubious assumptions, including that voters approve his proposal to raise taxes in November and that the revenue from those come in at the level the administration projects. But even if those assumptions prove true, the governor faces perhaps an even greater challenge: winning support from his fellow Democrats to pay off billions in debt accumulated through years of budget balancing gimmicks. Brown has put a big target on what he has deemed "the wall of debt," which amounts to $33.5 billion from skipped payments, internal loans and traditional...
  • Final totals show 23 arrested in Occupy protest {Occupy protesters threw Bibles at cops}

    01/21/2012 6:42:36 PM PST · by SmithL · 11 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 1/21/12 | Victoria Colliver, Chronicle Staff Writer
    San Francisco police arrested a total of 23 protesters during Occupy San Francisco's "Day of Action" Friday, including 19 during the bank protests in the day and four people involved the evening's occupation of an abandoned hotel. Of the 19 arrested during the day, police arrested 17 on suspicion of trespassing at Wells Fargo, one at Bank of the West and another for attempting to remove a baton from a police officer, San Francisco Police Department spokesman Carlos Manfredi said Saturday. Police arrested four people in connection with the evening's occupation of the empty Cathedral Hill Hotel at Van Ness...
  • GOP maps strategy in wake of payroll tax debacle

    01/16/2012 3:59:22 PM PST · by SmithL · 20 replies
    Associated Press ^ | 1/16/12 | DONNA CASSATA
    WASHINGTON (AP) -- When last seen in Washington, House Republicans were furious with their own leader, Speaker John Boehner, and angry with their Senate Republican brethren over how the showdown over the Social Security tax cut turned into a year-end political debacle. The holidays and three weeks away from the Capitol have tempered some of the bad feelings, but several GOP lawmakers' emotions are still raw as Congress returns for a 2012 session certain to be driven by election-year politics and fierce fights over the size and scope of government and its taxing, spending and borrowing practices. In the week...
  • New diversity guidelines can break college barriers

    01/15/2012 8:01:41 AM PST · by SmithL · 50 replies · 1+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 1/15/12 | Linda J. Wong, Estela Mara Bensimon and Alicia Dowd
    The Obama administration's decision to make it easier to consider race in promoting diversity in our schools comes at a propitious time for California. Race and ethnicity are front and center in the state's education system with minorities now representing 70 percent of public school students and more than half of those attending community colleges. The billions of dollars in education budget cuts have and will continue to hit these students the hardest. But new federal diversity guidelines, if followed, hold out new hope for these students' college-going prospects. Under the Bush administration, colleges and universities were advised to avoid...
  • Jerry Brown's tax increase is a big risk

    01/13/2012 11:06:28 AM PST · by SmithL · 16 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 1/13/12 | Dan Walters
    "Soak the rich" has a populist ring that resonates in a period of economic uncertainty, and making the rich pay their "fair share" of taxes has become a rallying cry for those on the political left with no small appeal to those in the middle. Gov. Jerry Brown hopes to tap into that sentiment with a ballot measure that would increase everyone's sales taxes a bit while hitting the very affluent with higher income taxes. If he's successful, however, there are downside risks, beginning with the possibility that some will move legally, if not physically, to states with lower or...
  • Judge rules innovative Bay Area development guidelines are flawed

    01/13/2012 8:35:35 AM PST · by SmithL · 3 replies
    Contra Costa Times ^ | Ipdated 1/13/12 | Denis Cuff
    Development review guidelines meant to cut air pollution, the first of their kind when approved in 2010, are in limbo after a judge ruled their adoption by the region's air board was flawed. One building industry leader predicted the ruling would force a rewrite of land-use guidelines that he said delay and add costs to "infill" development of homes and businesses from San Jose to Oakland and Walnut Creek. "The air district is going to have to rescind its entire action," said Paul Campos, an attorney for the California Building Industry Association, which sued over the guidelines. Bay Area air...
  • California high-speed rail head Roelof van Ark resigns

    01/12/2012 6:54:45 PM PST · by SmithL · 10 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 1/12/12 | David Siders
    Roelof van Ark, chief executive officer of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, announced this afternoon that he is quitting, the latest setback for the state's beleaguered campaign to build a nearly $100 billion rail network in California. His resignation, announced at a board meeting in Los Angeles and effective in two months, comes at a critical point for the project, with rail officials bidding for Legislative approval to start construction in the Central Valley this fall. Public opinion about the project has fallen sharply, according to a recent Field Poll, and the Legislature is highly skeptical. Minutes after van Ark's...
  • Oakland to give layoff notices to hundreds of workers

    01/12/2012 2:11:05 PM PST · by SmithL · 15 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 1/12/12 | Carolyn Jones, Chronicle Staff Writer
    Oakland -- Hundreds of City of Oakland employees will receive layoff notices next week, as the city embarks on severe cost-cutting measures to make up for the loss of redevelopment funds, city staff said Thursday. The pink slips will arrive next week, when City Administrator Deanna Santana releases the 2012-2012 budget.The redevelopment agency - which will be nearly eliminated due to state cutbacks - has 158 full-time positions and more than 200 workers. But because of seniority rules, some of those employees might be transferred to other departments.
  • California's redistricting battle comes to a head

    01/11/2012 4:46:20 PM PST · by SmithL · 12 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 1/11/12 | Dan Walters
    The three-pronged battle over which state Senate districts will be used for this year's elections is reaching a climax that will determine whether Democrats can achieve a two-thirds majority in the upper legislative house. The state redistricting commission released maps for Senate, Assembly and congressional districts last August. It immediately became evident that with a little luck, Democrats could gain two seats in the 40-member Senate, thus reaching the two-thirds threshold and empowering them to pass tax bills without Republican support. Republicans filed suit to block the Senate maps, only to be rebuffed by the state Supreme Court, but also...
  • California's 'wall of debt' is really a mountain

    01/10/2012 7:14:26 AM PST · by SmithL · 14 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 1/10/11 | Dan Walters
    Gov. Jerry Brown's new budget says that the state's shaky finances are "exacerbated by an unprecedented level of debts, deferrals and budgetary obligations," which he describes as "a wall of debt." However, California's debt, much of it run up over the last decade, is more like a mountain, at least a Mount Whitney and perhaps a Mount Everest. Brown's budget cites the $33 billion in on- and off-the-books debt run up in recent years to cover the state's operational shortfalls – notwithstanding various constitutional prohibitions on deficit spending. It also cites constitutional obligations to restore school financing and mounting payments...
  • Berkeley city manager not unique retiring with bigger pension than salary

    01/09/2012 3:21:08 PM PST · by SmithL · 9 replies
    Contra Costa Times ^ | Updated 1/9/12 | Daniel Borenstein, Staff columnist
    In November, Berkeley City Manager Phil Kamlarz traded his $250,000-a-year job for retirement with a starting pension of about $266,000 annually. The deal highlights the city's generous pension program, which is one of the better plans in the state but by no means unique. The costly program is also $420 million underfunded, a shortfall equal to more than three years of city payroll, according to the city's latest actuarial reports. Kamlarz's hefty retirement pay was predictable. Three years ago, Mayor Tom Bates successfully persuaded his City Council colleagues to grant the city manager a series of raises to keep him...
  • See Jerry Brown's California government streamlining plans

    01/09/2012 3:00:12 PM PST · by SmithL · 13 replies
    SacBee: The State Worker ^ | 1/9/12 | Jon Ortiz
    Now that we've had time to digest Gov. Jerry Brown's hastily-unveiled 2012-13 budget proposal summary, we've boiled down the full list of changes he's suggesting to streamline state government: Agency restructuring: • Eliminates the California Volunteer Agency and shifts its programs into the Office of Planning and Research. • Eliminates the cabinet status of the California Emergency Management Agency and makes it an office that reports directly to the governor. • Eliminates the California Technology Agency and places its functions under the new Government Operations Agency. • Establishes a new Business and Consumer Services Agency which will oversee: Consumer Affairs...
  • It's time to kill California's bullet train boondoggle

    01/08/2012 8:48:35 AM PST · by SmithL · 29 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 1/8/12 | Dan Walters
    JIt's one thing for politicians, ordinary citizens, lawyers or even media pundits to say that California's bullet train project is fatally flawed and should be scrapped before it becomes a hopeless money pit.Bullet train zealots dismiss those naysayers as uninformed or biased, and even reject milder criticism from the Legislature's budget analyst.But when the California High-Speed Rail Authority's own "peer review" committee of transportation experts says the project is half-baked and should be put on hold, Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature should pay heed. And that's exactly what happened last week. The peer reviewers, headed by former Caltrans director...
  • Labor board ruling allows group claims in court

    01/07/2012 4:53:39 PM PST · by SmithL · 5 replies
    AP via SFGate ^ | 1/7/12 | MICHELE SALCEDO, Associated Press
    Employers can't require workers to sign arbitration agreements that prevent them from pursuing group claims in court, the National Labor Relations Board said Friday, in a decision that some experts say could have wide repercussions. The NLRB said agreements that required private sector workers to make claims only as individuals and only to an arbitrator violated their right to join together in "concerted action" under the National Labor Relations Act. . . . The board voted 2-0, with one recusal, in favor of the ruling against the Fort Worth, Tx.-based company. The NLRB said Brian Hayes, the board's only Republican,...
  • Palestinian Sesame Street ails without US funds

    01/06/2012 11:23:44 PM PST · by SmithL · 21 replies
    AP via SFGate ^ | 1/7/12 | DANIELLA CHESLOW, Associated Press
    RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- It's quiet time on Palestinian Sesame Street. The iconic children's program, known as "Sharaa Simsim" in Arabic, has been put on hold for the 2012 season because of a funding freeze by the U.S. Congress. Sharaa Simsim is one of many U.S.-funded Palestinian programs suffering after Congress froze the transfer of nearly $200 million to the U.S. Agency for International Development in October. The suspension aimed to punish the Palestinians for appealing to the United Nations for statehood. The funding suspension — affecting hospitals, education, and government ministries that all rely on American aid —...
  • Medi-Cal care trumps California's fiscal woes, judge rules

    01/06/2012 8:51:22 AM PST · by SmithL · 7 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 1/6/12 | Darrell Smith
    The state's fiscal crisis does not outweigh access to health care, a federal judge said in temporarily blocking state Medi-Cal cuts that rural hospitals say would have endangered skilled nursing care for their elderly and long-term patients.The ruling by U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder in Los Angeles federal court Dec. 28 puts the brakes on Medi-Cal cuts that were intended to save California up to $623 million by trimming reimbursement rates to care providers by as much as 10 percent. An earlier round of cuts, also temporarily blocked by the courts, would double the reductions. Medi-Cal, the state's federal Medicaid...
  • Jerry Brown's budget eliminates 3,000 state jobs, axes agencies

    01/05/2012 4:31:36 PM PST · by SmithL · 9 replies
    SacBee: The State Worker ^ | 1/5/12 | Jon Ortiz
    Gov. Jerry Brown's new budget plan would eliminate a few thousand state jobs and consolidate or ax nearly 50 state organizations, according to documents released this afternoon. Brown's first draft of the budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year that begins July 1 envisions reducing the state workforce by some 3,000 positions, mostly from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The cuts fill a small part of the $9.2 billion budget hole projected through June 2013. When asked whether state workers could expect layoffs or job elimination through attrition, Department of Finance Director Ana Matosantos said the goal is "reductions in...
  • Jerry Brown budget cuts $1 billion from California welfare

    01/05/2012 4:27:13 PM PST · by SmithL · 15 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 1/5/12 | Kevin Yamamura
    Gov. Jerry Brown proposed Thursday slashing nearly $1.4 billion in welfare and child care aid for the poor while holding voters liable for $5 billion in education funding with a November tax measure. The Democratic governor announced his January budget plan this afternoon after his proposal was inadvertently leaked on his Department of Finance website. He estimates the state faces a $9.2 billion general fund deficit through June 2013, which he proposes to bridge with mostly cuts and taxes. Brown will ask voters to pass a $6.9 billion ballot measure in November that raises taxes on sales and income starting...
  • CALIFORNIA: Pension reform debate is about to heat up

    01/05/2012 9:55:39 AM PST · by SmithL · 2 replies
    SacBee: The State Worker ^ | 1/5/12 | Jon Ortiz
    The next few weeks will draw the lines more sharply in the 2012 debate over public employee pensions. A road map:On Monday, the attorney general's office expects to issue the titles and descriptive summaries for two potential November ballot initiatives that aim to cut government pension costs.One of the measures backed by California Pension Reform would put newly hired state and local government workers into "defined contribution" plans similar to a 401(k) account. The group's other measure would put those future employees into "hybrid" plans that blend smaller guaranteed pensions with defined-contribution savings accounts for retirement.Gov. Jerry Brown has a...
  • California lawmakers return to budget woes, personal issues

    01/05/2012 9:50:13 AM PST · by SmithL · 10 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 1/5/12 | Torey Van Oot
    Lawmakers returned to Sacramento with a bang Wednesday, kicking off 2012 with a flurry of new bills, a leadership transition and no shortage of drama involving members' personal troubles.While tackling a projected budget deficit of roughly $12 billion over the next 18 months will be a top priority, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg predicted that members would take action on a long list of issues during the second year of the two-year session, including public employee pensions, the state's high-speed rail project and an $11 billion water bond slated for the November ballot. The Sacramento Democrat said he felt...
  • California seeks public input on American pika

    01/04/2012 12:24:05 PM PST · by SmithL · 17 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 1/4/11 | Matt Weiser
    State wildlife officials are seeking public comments on the status of the American pika in California. This tiny member of the rabbit family, a high-mountain resident, is thought to be threatened by climate change. . . . Comments must be submitted by March 15 to Department of Fish and Game, Nongame Wildlife Program, Attn: Scott Osborn, 1812 Ninth St., Sacramento, CA 95811; or by email to
  • California review group blasts high-speed rail's funding plan

    01/03/2012 11:08:59 PM PST · by SmithL · 11 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 1/3/12 | David Siders
    In another setback for high-speed rail in California, the project's peer review group told lawmakers today that it could not recommend bond funding for high-speed rail construction until its prospects for long-term funding are clearer. "The fact that the Funding Plan fails to identify any long term funding commitments is a fundamental flaw in the program," the California High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group said in a letter to legislative leaders. "Without committed funds, a mega-project of this nature could be forced to halt construction for many years before additional funding could be obtained." The peer review group, chaired by former...
  • Tennessee woman shouldn't be punished for doing right thing with gun

    01/03/2012 5:02:44 PM PST · by SmithL · 66 replies
    Knoxville News Sentinel ^ | 1/3/12 | Editor
    Free Meredith Graves! Just about everyone in the country now knows about the Louisville, Tenn., woman who was arrested when she tried to check her gun at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. The nurse and medical student had driven to New York with her husband to interview for a residency at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital in Long Island. While in the Big Apple, they decided to do a little sightseeing. Graves has a Tennessee handgun carry permit and had a loaded .32-caliber Kel-Tec in her purse. When she saw the no-guns symbol at the memorial, she asked a guard...
  • California Legislature returns to face more budget woes, new election rules

    01/03/2012 8:33:41 AM PST · by SmithL · 4 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 1/3/12 | Jim Sanders
    Happy new year, lawmakers?Don't bet on it.The California Legislature will reconvene Wednesday amid a flood of red ink, a long history of partisan bickering, and a coming statewide election using newly drawn districts and a new way of choosing the top two candidates for legislative seats. Key issues ranging from public employee pension changes to whether the state should regulate health-care insurance rates remain from last year, but political insecurity and fiscal instability are likely to make lawmakers reluctant to cast controversial votes, analysts say."I think they'll be more interested in filling up their campaign accounts than filling up the...
  • Jerry Brown tries inside game at the Capitol to no avail

    01/01/2012 9:23:41 AM PST · by SmithL · 5 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 1/1/12 | Dan Walters
    When Jerry Brown began his first term as governor 37 years ago, his ambition to quickly vacate the office soon became obvious.Scarcely a year later, Brown launched the first of three unsuccessful presidential campaigns. And in between two presidential forays, Brown ran for re-election to a second term as governor and then, as his governorship expired, lost a U.S. Senate bid.Or to put it another way, his eight-year reign was a perpetual campaign with interludes of governing that were dominated by symbolic acts to impact his campaign of the moment. When Brown ran for governor again in 2010, after stints...
  • Some Elk Grove teachers are 'working to the contract' and no more

    12/31/2011 8:18:36 PM PST · by SmithL · 18 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 12/31/11 | Diana Lambert
    My Phan, a senior at Monterey Trail High School in Elk Grove, says she can't get help from teachers before or after school.She and other members of the school's National Honor Society no longer can meet on Wednesday mornings because the teacher isn't in the classroom."Teachers used to be at school early – about an hour before classes started," Phan said. "But now they show up 15 minutes before the bell rings. They leave right after school." Many Elk Grove Unified teachers are "working to the contract." They are putting in their required 7.5-hour days and nothing more, said Maggie...