Archive for January 14th, 2010

InlandPolitics: Senator Runner remembers his Capitol Chief of Staff Will Smith

Will Smith

Chief of staff to Sen. George Runner dies

Dear Friends:

This past week has been very difficult. My long-time Chief of Staff and good friend Will Smith passed away on Monday. He collapsed while playing a game of basketball, his favorite sport. Will had worked for both Sharon and me for almost 14 years, and became a member of our family as much as he was a colleague.

Will was someone who had his priorities straight. There are so many great things I can say about him, but perhaps one of his strongest characteristics was his incredible dedication to his family and his faith. It was my privilege to adjourn today’s Senate session in Will’s honor. He will be greatly missed, but I take comfort in the fact that he is home with his Lord.

Sincerely,

George Runner

Retail sales drop 0.3 pct in December, plunge for year; new jobless claims rise

By Martin Crutsinger and Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writers , On Thursday January 14, 2010, 3:50 pm EST

WASHINGTON (AP) — Retail sales unexpectedly fell in December, leaving 2009 with the biggest yearly drop on record and highlighting the formidable hurdles facing the economy as it struggles to recover from the deepest recession in seven decades.

In another disappointing economic report, the number of newly laid-off workers requesting unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week as jobs remain scarce.

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The first tidbits of information are already surfacing in the now completed investigation report into alleged misconduct by San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael A. Ramos.

And it isn’t good.

The findings of an investigation conducted by the Santa Monica law firm of Curiale Hirschfeld and Kraemer commissioned by county supervisors at a cost of $140,000 have been delivered to county officials, who have started their review as they prepare to present the matter to county supervisors and the public.

Ramos, who has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing or impropriety has called allegations made against him as being politically motivated.

However, it appears Ramos had only had three options in the matter. The first option, come clean and tell the truth; the second option, say nothing; and the third and final option, lie and deceive.

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09:35 PM PST on Wednesday, January 13, 2010

By IMRAN GHORI
The Press-Enterprise

A Los Angeles law firm conducting an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos completed its report and delivered it to county officials Wednesday.

It was not immediately clear when or if the 200-page report would be released publicly.

County spokesman David Wert said the report is under legal review by the county counsel and human resources department and will probably remain so through the week.

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Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/13/2010 06:38:19 PM PST

Newly appointed San Bernardino County Administrative Officer Greg Devereaux doesn’t begin his new job until Feb. 13, but the Ontario City Manager is already gearing up for some tough challenges.

Hailed for his expertise in land use planning and fiscal management, Deveraux, who served as Fontana’s city manager in the 1990s, took time Wednesday to answer a few questions about his plans to help the county cultivate relationships with cities and thwart its long history of corruption and scandal.

QUESTION: You are coming in at a time of yet another scandal and criminal investigation in which members of the Board of Supervisors and members of their staffs have been questioned by both the Grand Jury and District Attorney investigators. What is your plan to get your arms around this issue and what is your philosophy on managing scandal?

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SBSun: Desjardins charged with alleged campaign sign theft

Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/13/2010 09:21:01 PM PST

SAN BERNARDINO – Councilman-elect Jason Desjardins has been charged with two misdemeanor theft counts for allegedly stealing campaign signs from his opponent and the mayor.

Desjardins, a former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, declined to comment Wednesday except to say the charges are without merit.

“It’s politically motivated,” Desjardins said.

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James Rufus Koren, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/13/2010 05:24:24 PM PST

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will travel to Washington next week to ask federal officials for nearly $7 billion to help balance the state’s budget – a plan lawmakers and the state’s nonpartisan fiscal analyst say won’t pan out.

Schwarzenegger says the feds owe California $6.9 billion because of the state cost of federal programs and because California creates more federal tax revenue than the state ultimately receives from Washington. Over the weekend, he told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he plans to push for that money by meeting with California’s Congressional delegation, which he said has not been “representing us really well in this case.”

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Josh Dulaney, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/13/2010 05:11:34 PM PST

FONTANA – Officials tasked with grim budget decisions said Wednesday the $8.2 million deficit the city faces for fiscal 2010-11 could lead to layoffs and undoubtedly will result in painful cuts to services and community programs.

“Obviously, every department is going to have to take cuts,” Councilwoman Janice Rutherford said.

Both a $3 million structural deficit and a roughly $2.6 million contractual employee cost adjustment is choking a budget already suffering from revenue shortfalls.

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S&P CITES DEFICIT, SAYS GOVERNOR’S PLAN IS FLAWED

By Dale Kasler
dkasler@sacbee.com
Published: Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 6B

On the eve of another budget battle in the Legislature, California’s worst-in-the-nation credit rating took another hit Wednesday.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services downgraded California a notch to an “A-minus” rating, citing the $19.9 billion deficit and the “impending recurrence of a cash deficiency.”

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By Ed Mendel

CONCORD — A nightmare for retired government employees was aired before an overflow crowd at a Contra Costa County pension board hearing this week — fear not only of a pension cut but of being forced to repay a pension overpayment.

Gayl Belfor said her pension is $2,377 a month, far less than the big pensions received by two fire chiefs that triggered a legal review of the policies of the Contra Costa County Employees Retirement system.

If the board wants a “clawback” or repayment of the pension payments received under the decade-old policy questioned in the review, Belfor said, she calculated that she would owe $15,200.

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January 14, 2010 | Chase Davis

In addition to facing multiple state penalties for failing to properly disclose campaign contributions and expenses, Democratic and Republican central committees in California have been fined at least 18 times by federal regulators since 2000 for a variety of campaign finance violations, according to new data from the Federal Election Commission.

Most recently, the records show approximately $1,600 in fines against the Democratic Party of Sacramento County for allegedly failing to file reports detailing more than $40,000 in contributions in the weeks before the 2008 general election, among other things.

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By John Howard | 01/14/10 12:00 AM PST

Much of Gov. Schwarzenegger’s plan to save the state $1.6 billion by cutting state workers’ pay, boosting their pension contributions and limiting the government workforce can’t be done unilaterally but requires agreements from the public-employee unions or the Legislature – or both.

His proposals to cut workers’ salaries by 5 percent and increase by 5 percent the amount they contribute to their pensions are issues that must be submitted to any or all of the workers’ 21 bargaining units. His plan to gain a 5 percent savings by capping the size of the state workforce can be done internally by the administration as part of its budget plan, although it — like the bargaining agreements — ultimately require legislative approval.

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SacBee: Schwarzenegger renews push for U.S. aid

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

NEW LETTER USES FEINSTEIN QUOTES TO BOLSTER HIS CASE

By Kevin Yamamura
kyamamura@sacbee.com
Published: Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sent another letter to California’s congressional delegation Wednesday asking for help in securing $6.9 billion, this time including past quotes from U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein that the governor implies were contradictory to her criticisms of him last week.

In his budget plan and his State of the State address, Schwarzenegger attacked the federal health care overhaul and blamed Washington for not paying California its fair share in reimbursements and for overburdening the state with Medicaid regulations. Feinstein said in return, “California’s budget crisis was created in Sacramento, not Washington.”

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RivPE: Foreclosures not stablized

09:19 PM PST on Wednesday, January 13, 2010

By LESLIE BERKMAN
The Press-Enterprise

More than 126,000 homes in Inland Southern California received a foreclosure-related notice last year, which was about seven times as many as in 2006 but only 12 percent more than in 2008.

This does not prove that the problem of failing mortgages is stabilizing, but does show that more houses are stuck in a sluggish foreclosure process, according to RealtyTrac, the Irvine company that Wednesday released their annual foreclosure report.

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Liset Marquez, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/13/2010 09:21:00 PM PST

ONTARIO – Fire Chief Chris Hughes has been preparing for three years to be the next city manager.

On Tuesday night, his time came as the City Council unanimously agreed to have him replace outgoing manager Greg Devereaux.

Less than 24 hours after Hughes got the job, the Rancho Cucamonga resident talked about his tenure with Ontario and what the future might bring.

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