Archive for January 28th, 2010

SBSun OpEd: Counties can’t keep backfilling funds

Supervisor Paul Biane

Point of View

Supervisor Paul Biane
Posted: 01/28/2010 05:56:51 PM PST

Imagine this – you run a nonprofit business that helps a lot of people. Each year, your budget shrinks, but demand for your services increases, forcing you to dip into your bank account to keep things running.

Meanwhile, your personal expenses steadily increase, yet you still have to run the nonprofit to continue providing people with services they need.

California’s most populous counties – including the County of San Bernardino – find themselves in a similar situation with the numerous state and federal social service programs counties are required to administer.

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The long-awaited investigation into sexual-related misconduct and work place activity of District Attorney Mike Ramos and his department management staff was released yesterday afternoon. The investigation was triggered by allegations made against Ramos and his managers by Cheryl Ristow, an employee in the District Attorney’s office.

True-to-form, San Bernardino County fails to disappoint by creating a bigger mess.

Local newspapers jumped on the “Ramos is cleared” band-wagon immediately. One even attacked the claimant Cheryl Ristow in the headline.

Ramos immediately claimed vindication on all fronts and denied everything once again.

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January 27, 2010 10:12 AM
Natasha Lindstrom

SAN BERNARDINO • An independent investigation into alleged harassment and hostile work environments found San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael A. Ramos and his colleagues did not retaliate against a female employee who filed a $1.5 million claim against the county.

“Ultimately, the weight of evidence compels a finding that there was no retaliation taken against Ristow,” states the report by Santa Monica-based legal firm Curiale Hirschfield Kraemer.

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LEGISLATURE URGED TO BYPASS UNIONS IN REDUCING SALARIES

By Jon Ortiz
jortiz@sacbee.com The Sacramento Bee
Published: Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010 – 7:46 am

The Legislature’s budget analyst on Wednesday recommended that lawmakers go along with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposal to cut state employee pay, even without labor unions’ consent, saying the state’s fiscal distress warrants the action.

The report by Diego Martin and Jason Dickerson of the Legislative Analyst’s Office suggests that the state’s finances are so grim and Schwarzenegger’s bargaining position so weak that the Legislature should use its wage-setting powers to reduce state workers’ pay.

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11:03 PM PST on Wednesday, January 27, 2010

By IMRAN GHORI
The Press-Enterprise

An investigative report into allegations that San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos sexually harassed and retaliated against an employee who says the pair had an affair describes his accuser as having an agenda against him.

The county released the 183-page report Wednesday, a day after a four-hour closed-session meeting in which the Board of Supervisors first saw the report and met with the attorneys who handled the investigation.

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Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/27/2010 07:05:27 PM PST

Download: Investigation Report

A 183-page report released Wednesday clears Bernardino County District Attorney Michael A. Ramos of alleged sexual harassment and workplace retaliation and paints his accuser as lacking credibility.

Cheryl Ristow, an investigative technician for the district attorney’s bureau of investigation, claims she had an affair with Ramos from September 2003 to February 2005.

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New jobless claims, factory order reports disappoint in fresh evidence of an uneven recovery

By Christopher S. Rugaber and Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer , On Thursday January 28, 2010, 11:57 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Evidence that the economic rebound remains sluggish emerged from reports Thursday on new claims for unemployment aid and orders to U.S. factories.

Scant job creation is restraining consumer spending and holding back economic growth. And factory orders for durable goods, a barometer of the manufacturing industry, are rising too slightly to provide much fuel to the rebound.

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By John Howard | 01/28/10 12:00 AM PST

In the intensifying debate over budget-driven releases of state prison inmates, the state’s cash problems are well known. But at least one private correctional company is reaping major rewards.

In three years, a private-prison construction and management company, the Corrections Corporation of America, has seen the value of its contracts with the state soar from nearly $23 million in 2006 to about $700 million three months ago – all without competitive bidding. Even in a state accustomed to high-dollar contracts, the 31-fold increase over three years is dramatic.

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Capitol Journal

It “defies logic to presume that a corporation is entitled to the same constitutional rights as the people,” says Ross Johnson of the Fair Political Practices Commission. (Los Angeles Times)

How about tossing all limits and just fully disclosing?
By George Skelton Capitol Journal

January 28, 2010

From Sacramento

Maybe it’s time — time to junk all the political campaign contribution limits with their jumbo loopholes. Just give it up.

In many ways, the restrictions are useless and counterproductive, driving contributions underground and often through the laundry room.

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LATimes: Testimony ends in same-sex marriage trial

Proposition 8 opponents express confidence. The judge could rule by March; an appeal is expected regardless of the ruling.
By Maura Dolan

January 28, 2010

Reporting from San Francisco – Testimony in the historic federal same-sex marriage trial ended Wednesday, with ebullient attorneys for two gay couples expressing confidence and defenders of Proposition 8 conceding they may have to wait for victory from a higher court.

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By Malcolm Maclachlan | 01/28/10 12:00 AM PST

The battle over whether California Indian tribes can provide Internet poker is coming back to the Capitol, with many in the gambling industry looking towards a hearing next month. Meanwhile, the tribe behind an effort last year to create a state-sanctioned poker site have apparently renewed their efforts to push a bill.

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10:00 PM PST on Wednesday, January 27, 2010

By JIM MILLER
Sacramento Bureau

SACRAMENTO – State lawmakers continue to solicit tens of thousands of dollars in charitable contributions from businesses and other donors with a stake in Capitol decision-making.

Last month, Senate Minority Leader Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Murrieta, steered $120,000 in donations to a nonprofit organization that helped pay for a recent Republican legislative retreat at a beachfront resort in Santa Barbara.

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January 27, 2010 | 9:00 pm

Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown’s lead over former EBay Chief Executive Meg Whitman in the California gubernatorial race has narrowed to just five points, according to a new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California. The poll shows Brown with a 41%-36% advantage over Whitman. Brown enjoys a 44%-29% lead over Republican Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.

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Wendy Leung, Staff Writer
Created: 01/27/2010 09:56:11 PM PST

RANCHO CUCAMONGA – Grant money, capital projects and a new furniture store were some sources of optimism for Mayor Don Kurth, who gave his fourth State of the City speech at Etiwanda Gardens on Wednesday.

Despite a budget shortfall and a shrunken City Hall work force, Kurth remained sanguine, reminding a group of business and community leaders that Rancho Cucamonga is still a “golden city on the hill.”

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Stephen Wall, Staff Writer
Created: 01/27/2010 06:15:55 PM PST

San Bernardino County wants the federal government to pick up the $21 million tab to incarcerate and provide probation services for illegal immigrants.

The funding request is contained in the county’s 2010 priority list for state and federal funds, which was adopted by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

“Immigration is a federal responsibility,” said County Supervisor Neil Derry. “Neither the state nor local governments should be required to bear the burden of the failure of the federal government to secure our borders.”

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SBSun: San Manuels donate $1.7M for aid to Haiti

Melissa Pinion-Whitt, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/27/2010 02:48:40 PM PST

HIGHLAND – The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians on Wednesday donated $1.7 million to the American Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders to help with relief efforts in Haiti.

The funds will help the groups provide everything from food to hygiene items, and will also allow the organizations to train Haitians to rebuild and recover from the disaster.

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10:00 PM PST on Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Press-Enterprise

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced the appointment of two Inland area residents to state boards Wednesday.

Bruce Barton, 49, of Menifee, has been appointed to the Commission on Emergency Medical Services, according to the governor’s office.

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