Archive for January 3rd, 2010

VVDailyPress: $90M in SCLAA bonds at near-junk status

Bonds downgraded as property values plunge $1.6 billion

BY BROOKE EDWARDS
STAFF WRITER

VICTORVILLE • Moody’s Investors Services has downgraded more than $90 million in Southern California Logistics Airport Authority bonds to near-junk status, citing concern over whether the city will be able to continue covering the hefty debts amid plummeting property values.

Moody’s reports that property values are down more than $1.6 billion from last year in the 90,000-acre redevelopment area surrounding former George Air Force Base.

As property values drop, so does the amount of tax revenue flowing to every local city as members of the redevelopment area managed by the Victor Valley Economic Development Authority.

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RedlandsDailyFacts: Budget will challenge city in 2010

Jesse B. Gill, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/02/2010 10:04:17 PM PST

By JESSE B. GILL

Staff Writer

REDLANDS – The city’s budget will present plenty of challenges for its officials in 2010.

The city’s staff is working to close a budget gap of $3.4 million by the end of the fiscal year June 30. After making deep cuts to balance the budget since 2007, the city’s budget – and the services it funds – will again keep city staff and the City Council busy trying to find solutions this year.

“(Our challenge is) anything we can do to stabilize our financial picture and create the ability to forecast the return of revenues,” said Councilman Pete Aguilar.

In December, the City Council approved $669,902 in cuts from city departments to go toward closing the gap.

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SBSun: New county courthouse to be 11 stories high

Mike Cruz, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/02/2010 04:56:47 PM PST

SAN BERNARDINO – Details have begun to emerge about the county’s new downtown state courthouse – an 11-story facility amassing 362,000 square feet.

The facility will have two main sections: a three-story section for clerk’s offices, jury assembly and courts support space and an 11-story, 200-foot tall tower for 35 courtrooms, two hearing rooms and judicial offices.

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SacBee: Dan Walters: Schwarzenegger needs to man-up on budget

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
Published: Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

Arnold Schwarzenegger came into the governorship six years ago on a promise to end “crazy deficit spending” and bring order to the state’s tangled finances. But as he begins his last year in office, the harsh reality is that so far he’s utterly failed to cure California’s fiscal ills.

The qualities that had fueled Schwarzenegger’s highly successful careers as a bodybuilding competitor and movie star – primarily his boundless self-confidence – did not translate well in the confines of the Capitol. His first months as governor were marked by contradictory words and actions that undermined what should have been a single-minded concentration on fixing state finances.

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By JUDY LIN, Associated Press Writer

Saturday, January 2, 2010

(01-02) 16:27 PST Sacramento, Calif. (AP) —

During last summer’s fiscal crisis, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger borrowed the title of a film classic to describe California’s budget, saying it contained “the good, the bad and the ugly.”

He was referring to welfare reforms and the streamlining of state boards that he was able to broker, along with deep spending cuts for schools, health care programs for the poor and AIDS-prevention efforts.

All that’s left in 2010 is the ugly.

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January 2, 2010
Chase Davis

Politicians and their supporters routinely funnel money through county-level political party committees around the state, avoiding strict limits on campaign giving and hiding the source of millions in donations, a California Watch analysis shows.

By using county parties as middlemen both Democrat and Republican donors can contribute far more money than the law typically allows to highly contested races in California where the extra cash could make the difference between winning and losing.

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By Sean J. Miller – 01/02/10 05:35 PM ET

Southern California Republicans are uneasy with the “middle of the road” strategy adopted by former eBay CEO Meg Whitman (R) in the race to succeed California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R).

“We’ve seen that before. Case and point would be [Richard] Riordan’s strategy when he ran for governor,” said John Cozza, vice chairman of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County. A moderate Republican who served as mayor of Los Angeles, Riordan touted his business acumen during the 2002 gubernatorial Republican primary but lost to conservative Bill Simon. Riordan “ignored the base and focused on a general election strategy and we saw how well that worked out for him,” Cozza said.

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By Betty Liu and Matthew Leising

Dec. 31 (Bloomberg) — Taxpayer losses from supporting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will top $400 billion, according to Peter Wallison, a former general counsel at the Treasury who is now a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

“The situation is they are losing gobs of money, up to $400 billion in mortgages,” Wallison said in a Bloomberg Television interview. The Treasury Department recognized last week that losses will be more than $400 billion when it raised its limit on federal support for the two government-sponsored enterprises, he said.

The U.S. seized the two mortgage financiers in 2008 as the government struggled to prevent a meltdown of the financial system. The debt of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks grew an average of $184 billion annually from 1998 to 2008, helping fuel a bubble that drove home prices up by 107 percent between 2000 and mid-2006, according to the S&P/Case- Shiller home-price index.

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