Archive for February, 2010

InlandPolitics: Blog growth continues

InlandPolitics.com in it’s first three full months of operation has witnessed expansive growth in readership.

As of today, milestones reached by the blog include the preservation of nearly 1,100 archived stories, which have received some 740 comments.

In February, the 40,000 hit per/day barrier was achieved.

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By James Quinn, US Business Editor in New York
Published: 8:20PM GMT 26 Feb 2010

California is a greater risk than Greece, warns JP Morgan chief Jamie Dimon, chairman of JP Morgan Chase, has warned American investors should be more worried about the risk of default of the state of California than of Greece’s current debt woes.

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Sandra Emerson, Staff Writer
Created: 02/27/2010 11:44:11 PM PST

Over the past year, federal stimulus dollars have been making their way to various projects and programs in the Inland Empire.

About $463 million has been awarded in San Bernardino County alone. The money is targeted at variety of goals, coming from federal agencies such as the U.S. departments of Justice, Energy, Housing and Urban Development as well as the Federal Highway Administration.

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February 27, 2010 11:00 AM
FROM STAFF REPORTS

WASHINGTON • As Congressional Democrats look to forge ahead with a controversial health care reform plan — with or without Republicans’ support — Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon and Rep. Jerry Lewis are joining fellow Republicans in a call to begin a new proposal from scratch.

“If we do not start over with a blank page, we ignore the fact that the American public does not want a massive government takeover of health care that does not make health care more affordable,” Lewis, R-Redlands, said in a statement. “They want it fixed, with common sense, step by step reforms.”

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James Rufus Koren, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/27/2010 06:12:50 AM PST

The federal stimulus package has allocated more than $900 million for local projects, but congressional Republicans and Democrats from the Inland Empire disagree about whether the money spent so far has accomplished its main goal: creating jobs.

Republicans say the money has mostly gone to expanding government programs and has not created jobs as promised. But Democrats say many jobs have been either saved or created and that the bill has worked. In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama said the stimulus bill has put to work two million Americans who would otherwise be jobless.

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Wesley G. Hughes, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/27/2010 08:25:27 PM PST

Victorville moved forward Friday in what is expected to be the first of many steps toward healing its economy.

The first foreign investor is willing to put up $550,000 toward a $25 million wastewater treatment plant and site preparation for a $120 million bottling plant to the city.

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A major allegation contained in the recent announcement of charges in the “windshield crack-like” corruption investigation into San Bernardino County government by District Attorney Mike Ramos and Attorney General Edmund “Jerry” Brown has some interesting twists.

Ramos earlier this week announced a series of reforms necessary to put the power of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors in check.

Strangely enough, one of the proposed reforms didn’t involve a measure to curb abuse in the expenditure of campaign funds.

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10:00 PM PST on Saturday, February 27, 2010

By JULISSA McKINNON
The Press-Enterprise

After knocking on doors for five months, John Smelser collected his 5,500th signature supporting term limits for Menifee council members Friday afternoon.

He stopped mid-driveway, checked off the address on his clipboard and modestly pumped his fist before walking to the next house.

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By GRIFF PALMER
Published: February 27, 2010

The Supreme Court decision last month allowing corporations to spend unlimited money on behalf of political candidates left a loophole that campaign finance lawyers say could allow companies to pay for extensive political advertising while avoiding the disclosure requirements the court appeared to leave intact.

Experts say the ruling, along with a pair of earlier Supreme Court cases, makes it possible for corporations and unions to donate anonymously to nonprofit civic leagues and trade associations. The groups can then use the money to finance the types of political advertisements that were at the heart of last month’s ruling, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

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Maywood, which is spearheading the effort with Bell, has requested federal funds for a three-month feasibility study.

By Ruben Vives

February 28, 2010

Citing a decline in revenues and an increase in the cost of law enforcement, several small cities in southeast Los Angeles County are considering a novel approach to policing their communities.

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LATimes: GOP U.S. Senate candidates will debate Friday

PolitiCal

February 27, 2010 | 8:09 pm

The three Republican U.S. Senate candidates will debate for the first time Friday on Sacramento radio host Eric Hogue’s show.

The topics will be national security, terrorism and foreign policy, which is notable because one of the candidates, former Congressman Tom Campbell, came under fire this week for his record on Israel.

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LATimes: Prop. 13 flexes its political muscle

THE WEEK

Meg Whitman’s use of the measure as a weapon against Poizner in the GOP race for governor recalls the politics of 1978, the year the initiative passed.

By Cathleen Decker

February 28, 2010

Proposition 13 made its return to electoral politics last week, proving anew the continued political heft of the 32-year-old measure.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., named for the long-deceased champion of the property tax-limiting proposition, gave its imprimatur to Meg Whitman’s campaign for governor. Though not necessarily surprising, the news dealt another blow to Whitman’s opponent in the race for the Republican nomination, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, who has been grasping for momentum for weeks as Whitman has filled the airwaves with advertisements.

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By Ken McLaughlin, Steven Harmon and Denis C. Theriault

Bay Area News Group
Posted: 02/28/2010 12:00:00 AM PST

The three people vying to be California’s next governor offer differing styles, levels of political experience and degrees of wealth. Here’s a look at Jerry Brown, the ex-governor who’s running unopposed for the Democratic nomination, and the two Republican hopefuls who are battling for the right to face Brown in November.

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SacBee: Dan Walters: California wants and needs fixing

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com The Sacramento Bee
Published: Sunday, Feb. 28, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

Nearly 90 percent of California voters believe that state government needs an overhaul to make it more effective, a new statewide poll found, with virtually identical numbers among Democrats, Republicans and independents.

Just 5.5 percent of voters surveyed by Datamar, an El Cajon polling firm, agreed that state government is “fine the way it is. Exactly what kind of reform voters want is less certain, as the Datamar poll found.

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California Watch
A Project of the Center for Investigative Reporting
Money and Politics

February 27, 2010 | Chase Davis

Amid a crippling fiscal crisis, managers throughout California’s government have routinely allowed their employees to amass unused vacation time, enabling hundreds of workers to end their public-service careers with payouts topping $100,000, a California Watch investigation has found.

One worker combined vacation and compensatory time to walk away with more than $800,000, records show.

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L.A. NOW
Southern California

February 26, 2010 | 1:06 pm

A long awaited audit released by Los Angeles County officials found that the Board of Supervisors often use behind-the-scenes levers to control the inner workings of the Regional Planning Department, whose decisions are key to hotly contested battles over development, environmental protections and code enforcement.

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LATimes: Many borrowers in default stay put as lenders delay evictions

Despite being months behind, many strapped residents are hanging on to their homes, essentially living rent-free. Pressure on banks to modify loans and a glut of inventory are driving the trend.

By Alana Semuels

February 27, 2010

It’s been 16 months since Eugene and Patricia Harrison last paid the mortgage on their Perris home. Eleven months since the notice got slapped on their front door, warning that it would be sold at auction.

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09:27 PM PST on Friday, February 26, 2010

By BEN GOAD and DUG BEGLEY
The Press-Enterprise

In its first year, President Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus program hasn’t been the quick cure proponents had envisioned for the Inland area’s ailing economy, an analysis of state and federal data shows.

Of roughly $1.15 billion in stimulus funds promised to agencies and businesses across the region, less than one-third has been received and only about one-sixth has been spent, according to the stimulus data.

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Michael J. Sorba, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/26/2010 09:27:49 PM PST

COLTON – A utility users tax that generates about $5 million annually is set to expire June 30, 2011.

And when the 2004-approved tax goes away, so will the money. Fearing layoffs or service cuts from the loss of a huge income source, some officials have expressed interest in placing a proposal to extend the tax on the Nov. 2 ballot.

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SBSun: Lawsuit filed to stop San Bernardino annexations

Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/26/2010 07:03:49 PM PST

SAN BERNARDINO – A woman who believes government officials denied her the right to vote on whether her neighborhood should be merged into the city has filed a lawsuit in a new attempt to block the annexation.

Susan Hulse, who attempted to convince officials to undo the annexations, filed the lawsuit in San Bernardino Superior Court on Thursday. The lawsuit names the city of San Bernardino and the San Bernardino Local Agency Formation Commission as defendants.

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RivPE: Cassie MacDuff: Plugging More Leaks

10:00 PM PST on Friday, February 26, 2010

CASSIE MACDUFF

Over the past decade, San Bernardino County has been like the little Dutch boy, plugging the leaks in its ethics dike only to find more ethical leaks spouting here, there and everywhere.

After a sweetheart lease in 1998 on a building owned by a supervisor’s buddies, the county wrote a new policy requiring competitive bidding on real estate leases.

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Calbuzz: Why Meg Went Negative on Poiz; Hell Freezes Over

February 27, 2010

Inquiring minds want to know: Scoop of the week honors to KTVU-TV in Oakland, which did the first story on new, 15-second eMeg spots attacking Steve Poizner, after some anonymous hero saw them suddenly turn up in the ad rotation and heads-upped the newsroom.

Channel 2’s Frank Sommerville did a report on “Mornings on 2,” about three hours before Poizner put out a release attacking eMeg for the attack, and about five hours before Team Whitman acknowledged the ads in their own release with its link to their “Why We Can’t Trust Steve Poizner” web site.

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SBSun: Judge denies Gutierrez motion to dismiss charges

Mike Cruz, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/26/2010 06:29:20 PM PST

SAN BERNARDINO – A motion filed by Rancho Cucamonga councilman Rex Gutierrez to dismiss his criminal charges was denied Friday morning by a Superior Court judge, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Judge Douglas Gericke denied the Penal Code section 995 motion during a scheduled appearance for Gutierrez in San Bernardino Superior Court. The charges stem from an investigation into alleged misconduct in the county Assessor’s Office, where Gutierrez formerly worked as intergovernmental relations officer.

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San Bernardino County currently sports one of the highest, if not the highest plea bargain rates in the state.

A not so flattering statistic to say the least.

Ramos

Over the last several years county supervisors have gave additional millions in budget funding to District Attorney Mike Ramos. The result. More plea bargains with criminal defendants.

Several months ago stories ran here and on iePolitics.com exposing substantial political contributions to Ramos by two attorneys who control the San Bernardino County criminal defense conflict panel.

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PolitiCal

February 26, 2010 | 2:13 pm

Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman directly attacks her chief primary rival, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, in four new television spots released Friday.

Whitman’s new message is that Poizner can’t be trusted. She has launched a new Web site, CantTrustSteve.com to accompany the new ads. The new ads mark a change in tactics for the Whitman campaign, which has spent its time thus far introducing Whitman to voters and not mentioning Poizner at all.

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SacBee: Unusual poll finds Whitman most popular

Capitol Alert
The latest on California politics and government
February 26, 2010

Former eBay boss Meg Whitman holds a commanding lead over Steve Poizner, her rival for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and runs ahead of Democrat Jerry Brown, a new poll of “high-propensity” voters by Datamar, an El Cajon survey firm, has found.

Datamar took an unusual polling approach by tossing all three candidates for governor into the same polling pot. Whitman came out on top at 29.1 percent, followed by Brown, a former governor who is now attorney general, at 25.1 percent and Poizner, the state insurance commissioner, at 20.5 percent. The found 25.4 percent of voters undecided.

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This morning a Superior Court Judge denied a procedural motion to dismiss all four felony counts against Rancho Cucamonga City Councilman Rex Gutierrez.

The charges stem from Gutierrez’s employment with the San Bernardino County Assessor’s office in 2007-08.

The commencement date of the estimated ten day trial is set for April 12, 2010

San Bernardino County currently sports one of the highest, if not the highest plea bargain rates in the state.

A not so flattering statistic to say the least.

Over the last several years county supervisors have gave additional millions in budget funding to District Attorney Mike Ramos. The result. More plea bargains with criminal defendants.

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Bogh

10:00 PM PST on Thursday, February 25, 2010

By JIM MILLER
Sacramento Bureau

SACRAMENTO – Republican state Senate candidate Russ Bogh and California’s largest private-sector construction union are engaged in a new round of bad blood over recent mailers criticizing Bogh.

The two-sided mailers, which began showing up a few weeks ago, criticize Bogh for spending money from his campaign account to pay for travel to Las Vegas and other activities when he was in the Assembly from 2001 through 2006.

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RivPE: Postmus friend arrested on perjury charge

10:15 PM PST on Thursday, February 25, 2010

By DUANE W. GANG
The Press-Enterprise

San Bernardino County prosecutors, along with the state attorney general’s office, on Thursday charged a longtime friend of former Assessor Bill Postmus with two counts of perjury.

John Dino DeFazio, 50, of Apple Valley, was arrested by district attorney investigators and booked at the Victor Valley sheriff’s station. Bail was set at $50,000.

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Hoops

Lori Consalvo, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/25/2010 11:48:28 PM PST

SAN BERNARDINO – In his first State of the Department address since becoming sheriff 13 months ago, Rod Hoops on Thursday talked about change, accomplishments and a challenging future.

The challenges will come in the form of budget cuts in San Bernardino County that may require restructuring and reorganization, Hoops said.

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Chantal M. Lovell, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/25/2010 05:44:44 PM PST

REDLANDS – Budget cuts and possibly layoffs loom in the near future for the University of Redlands.

The university is beginning a plan to close a $13 million deficit, said UR president Stuart Dorsey. The amount is equivalent to about 10 percent of the school’s operating budget, and is a “persistent structural” shortfall.

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VVDailyPress: VESD to send 126 pink slips

February 25, 2010 8:27 AM
Natasha Lindstrom

VICTORVILLE • The Victor Elementary School District Board of Trustees voted Wednesday night to send 126 initial pink slips — a move that axes 76 classroom teachers and eliminates every school-site health clerk and music instructor.

The preliminary layoffs aim to help patch a $10.5 million budget shortfall, or roughly 13 percent of the district’s operating budget, for 2010-11 as officials grapple with state cuts and declining revenue. The reduction in teachers alone saves more than $5 million.

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10:06 PM PST on Thursday, February 25, 2010

By DUANE W. GANG
The Press-Enterprise

Riverside County supervisors this week approved a plan to create an alternate public defender’s office to handle only death-penalty cases.

The goal of the office, which will cost about $3.5 million a year, is to reduce the number of cases in which the county must hire more expensive private attorneys to provide the criminal defense, Assistant Public Defender Robert Willey said Thursday.

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LATimes: Whitman no rookie at playing hardball

Meg Whitman

The GOP gubernatorial candidate, a hard-nosed ex-CEO, tried to push a rival from the race and threatened labor leaders with retaliation if they funded attacks against her. But the moves carry risks.

By Michael Rothfeld

February 26, 2010

Reporting from Sacramento – Meg Whitman is campaigning for governor as a political outsider, but behind the scenes she is playing classic political hardball in her quest for the Republican nomination.

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By Ken McLaughlin

Mercury News
Posted: 02/25/2010 06:40:27 PM PST
Updated: 02/26/2010 12:39:52 AM PST

WALNUT CREEK — Gays and lesbians should be allowed to adopt, but not marry. Illegal immigration is a huge problem, but immigrant children shouldn’t be punished for the sins of their parents. And California is a mess, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to fail.

In her first major interview since kicking her campaign into high gear, Meg Whitman, the front-runner for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, revealed her views on issues ranging from the “right to carry” movement to offshore oil drilling, Sarah Palin, the state budget and education reform.

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February 26, 2010

By Mark Paul
Special to Calbuzz

Meg Whitman says she wants to run California state government like a business.

Given all we’ve learned in the past decade about business — Enron, IndyMac, Bernie Madoff, Wall Street — some people hear that as a threat. I prefer to be hopeful. Long mired in consultant-speak and ideology, California government and politics could use a dose of the practices by which the best businesses thrive — open-eyed realism about a firm’s strengths and weaknesses; rigorous analysis; strategic thinking.

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10:00 PM PST on Thursday, February 25, 2010

Riverside County Auditor-Controller Robert Byrd announced this week he is not seeking re-election to a third four-year term.

Byrd was first elected auditor in 2002 after three years as an assistant auditor-controller and a total of 24 years with Riverside County.

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YahooFinance (AP): January home sales fall 7.2 percent

Home sales fall 7.2 percent in January in second straight month of declines

By Alan Zibel, AP Real Estate Writer,
On Friday February 26, 2010, 10:29 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of previously occupied homes took a large drop for the second straight month in January, falling to the lowest level since summer. It was another sign the housing market’s recovery is faltering.

The National Association of Realtors said sales fell 7.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.05 million from a downwardly revised pace of 5.44 million in December.

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On Friday February 26, 2010, 9:56 am EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Consumer sentiment was weaker in February, as Americans grew more impatient with the government’s gridlock over efforts to stimulate jobs, a survey released on Friday showed.

While not fearful of another spike in layoffs, consumers have turned more gloomy about their job and income prospects, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s Surveys of Consumers.

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Economy surges at 5.9 percent pace in Q4, but growth spurt unlikely to last; home sales sink

By Jeannine Aversa, AP Economics Writer
On Friday February 26, 2010, 1:26 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The economy rocketed ahead at a 5.9 percent pace in the final quarter of 2009, stronger than initially estimated. But the growth spurt isn’t expected to carry over into this year.

The fresh reading on the nation’s economic standing, released by the Commerce Department on Friday, was better than the government’s initial estimate a month ago of 5.7 percent growth. It would mark the strongest showing in six years.

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InlandPolitics: Lewis Group of Companies and the 11,150 home development

.

One has to ask why would the Riverside County Board of Supervisors vote to approve a project that will eventually lead to the construction of 11,150 homes, with an ongoing major recession not likely to end anytime soon?

Yes, I wrote 11,150.

This very approval happened last Tuesday. The beneficiary of course was the Lewis Group of Companies.

Lewis will be the master developer for the development known as the Villages of Lakeview.

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Don Kurth

The San Bernardino City Professional Firefighters have announced their endorsement of Dr. Don Kurth, Mayor of Rancho Cucamonga for election to the California State Assembly – 63rd District.

The seat is being vacated by Bill Emmerson (R – Redlands), who is termed out. Emmerson is currently campaigning to replace John Benoit in the State Senate.

Benoit resigned to fill the seat of the late Roy Wilson on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors

Kurth has already been endorsed by the San Bernardino County Safety Employees Benefits Association (SEBA).

SEBA represents county peace officers.

So now San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos has decided county supervisors have too much power.

It’ll be interesting to see if county supervisors in California’s other 57 counties agree. Not likely.

In an obvious campaign maneuver Ramos made the rounds with local newspaper editorial boards this week touting his so-called “white paper” on reforming county government.

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A High Desert developer tied to two local political action committees related to an ongoing corruption investigation by the San Bernardino County District Attorney was arrested this morning on two counts of perjury.

John DeFazio was arrested by District Attorney investigators this morning. His bail is set at $50,000.

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RivPE: Veteran judge to challenge DA in Riverside County

11:01 PM PST on Wednesday, February 24, 2010

By RICHARD K. DE ATLEY
The Press-Enterprise

Paul Zellerbach, a one-time Riverside County prosecutor who has taken an unpaid leave of absence as a Superior Court judge, announced Wednesday he will run for Riverside County district attorney against incumbent Rod Pacheco in November.

“I think it is time for a change. The citizens of Riverside County deserve better from a district attorney. They are not getting what they are paying for,” Zellerbach, 56, said.

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Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/24/2010 09:45:41 PM PST

District Attorney Michael A. Ramos on Wednesday released a slate of proposed governmental reforms he feels are necessary to thwart the legacy of corruption in San Bernardino County.

During a meeting with The Sun’s editorial board, Ramos said cleaning up corruption in the county will be part of his platform in his re-election campaign this year.

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Troy Anderson, Staff Writer
Created: 02/24/2010 09:21:59 PM PST

A federal judge said this week he would need more time to review a request for a preliminary injunction barring Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley from retaliating against prosecutors who joined the union.

The hearing was held in response to a lawsuit the 300-member Association of Deputy District Attorneys filed against Cooley, alleging he retaliated against veteran prosecutors by transferring them to remote parts of the county, increased their health insurance payments, demoted them and downgraded their performance evaluations. Read the rest of this entry »

Brown

Carla Marinucci, Chronicle Political Writer

Thursday, February 25, 2010

As California’s two GOP gubernatorial candidates rushed in recent days from NASCAR races to town hall meetings, Attorney General Jerry Brown – the Democrats’ lone hope for governor this year – has been so low-key and out of the limelight that Republicans have begun a daily chant: “Where’s Jerry?”

The California Republican Party’s caustic jabs hit the former two-term governor for being MIA while others are grabbing the campaign headlines – even Zsa Zsa Gabor’s husband, Prince Frederic von Anhalt, has jumped into the race.

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By Anthony York | 02/25/10 12:00 AM PST

This week, the constitutional deadline for the Legislature to respond to the fiscal emergency declared by Gov. Schwarzenegger came and went. But Democratic leaders in both houses are slowing down new cuts to state services in hopes that the state’s economy continues to improve, and the need for cuts eases by this summer.

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By Dale Kasler
dkasler@sacbee.com
Published: Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 8B

California’s two big public pension funds would be barred from investing in real estate deals that depend on bumping tenants out of rent-controlled housing under a bill recently introduced in the Legislature.

Assembly Bill 2337 is a direct response to a pair of controversial investments made by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System.

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Calbuzz: eMeg Offshore Tax Dodge? Why’s Poiz Waiting?

February 25, 2010

By pledging to release his income taxes for public inspection, Steve Poizner has set a trap for Meg Whitman: If she doesn’t release them, you gotta ask, “What’s she hiding?” And if she does, we can expect a treasure trove of damned interesting reading.

To wit: The question raised by the California Accountability Project – a wholly owned, million-dollar subsidiary of the Democratic Governors Association – “Is Meg Whitman still shifting her millions into offshore tax havens to avoid having to pay her fair share?”

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By Rob Hotakainen
rhotakainen@mcclatchydc.com
Published: Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 1A

WASHINGTON – While Anthem Blue Cross proposed a 39 percent rate increase on thousands of its California customers, its parent company paid 39 of its top executives more than $1 million each and spent more than $27 million on 103 lavish executive retreats, according to congressional investigators.

“One question we asked is where does all of this money go? Corporate executives at WellPoint are thriving, while its policyholders are paying the price,” Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman of Los Angeles said Wednesday at a House subcommittee hearing, where results of the investigation were announced.

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By Jon Ortiz
jortiz@sacbee.com The Sacramento Bee
Published: Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010 – 6:05 am

A little over a year ago, this column asked whether California’s state employee unions were in retreat. It’s now clear that the answer is yes.

First the big picture: Last year, unions nationwide lost 10 percent of their private-sector members, the largest drop in more than 25 years, according to federal stats. The impact on labor: fewer members, less dues money.

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SFChronicle: Jerry Brown, the stealth candidate

Debra J. Saunders

Thursday, February 25, 2010

With the other name Democrats out of the race, Attorney General Jerry Brown basically has a lock on his party’s primary election. That’s good for Brown, who won’t have to blow millions of dollars on a primary. But it’s only good for Democrats if Brown can win in November.
Debra J. Saunders

Brown is not without baggage. He’s so yesteryear. At age 71, Brown hit his political peak decades ago when he was governor in the 1970s and early ’80s. When Brown reminds Democrats of those bygone days (as he does frequently), even supporters start to wonder if they’re trapped in a Nickelodeon rerun.

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InlandPolitics: Riverside County: Zellerbach to announce run for DA

The Press Enterprise is reporting that Superior Court Judge Paul Zellerbach will run for Riverside County District Attorney. Zellerbach has scheduled a press conference for 11:00 A.M. this morning.

Incumbent Rod Pacheco has already announced he is seeking re-election to another term.

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InlandPolitics: S.B. County: Political war escalates

The escalation of actions between the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and District Attorney Mike Ramos can be described in no other words than “Political War”.

While county supervisors sweep their offices for surveillance devices, Ramos tramples over Title 18 of the United States Code in his quest for political dominance in the county.

Title 18 covers violation of civil rights under color of law.

Something that now appears to have finally caught the eye of federal investigators.

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Ongoing investigations by the county, and state and federal agencies appear poised to deal devastating blows to the reputation of San Bernardino County-owned Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC).

Investigations have revealed multiple instances of medical malpractice highlighted by failures to properly diagnose.

At least one critical instance of misconduct resulting in permanent catastrophic injury was concealed from the parents of the victim. The failure to make a simple diagnosis in a timely manner was the cause.

Read the rest of this entry »

YahooFinance (Reuters): New home sales hit record low

Reuters – Homes under construction are seen in Walnut, California, February 16, 2010. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni …

On Wednesday February 24, 2010, 10:23 am

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sales of newly built single-family homes unexpectedly fell to a record low in January, according to government data on Wednesday that hinted at potential trouble for the fragile housing market recovery.

The Commerce Department said sales dropped 11.2 percent to a 309,000 unit annual rate, the lowest level since records started in January 1963, from an upwardly revised 348,000 in December.

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10:00 PM PST on Tuesday, February 23, 2010

By DUANE W. GANG
The Press-Enterprise

Amid heated discussion over a technical error and whether one firm received special treatment, Riverside County supervisors on Tuesday delayed granting a new contract to handle criminal defense for poor defendants.

When the public defender’s office declares a conflict of interest, such as when there are multiple defendants in a single case, the county must use an outside law firm to provide legal representation to those who cannot pay.

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RivPE: Lake Elsinore recall effort against Buckley rejected

11:36 PM PST on Tuesday, February 23, 2010

By GENE GHIOTTO
The Press-Enterprise

An effort to remove Lake Elsinore Councilman Thomas Buckley from office failed Tuesday night.

With all precincts counted, just over 56 percent of the city’s voters rejected a recall effort.

“It’s a victory for the city,” Buckley said in a phone interview. “I understand my imperfection. But the people of the city understand this was about more than me. This was about being able to keep going forward and not giving into intimidation and lies.”

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SBSun: GOP lawmaker’s bill targets ‘sanctuary cities’

Stephen Wall, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/23/2010 06:24:44 PM PST

A Republican state lawmaker has introduced a bill seeking to bar “sanctuary cities” from sending suspected illegal immigrants with criminal backgrounds to other counties.

Sanctuary cities are municipalities that refuse to allow their funds or resources to be used to enforce federal immigration laws.

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By Dale Kasler
dkasler@sacbee.com
Published: Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 8B

CalPERS says it has lost $475 million on an investment that yielded controversial placement agent and former CalPERS board member Alfred Villalobos his biggest single payday.

The loss is based on June 30 figures and appears to have shrunk somewhat in the months since. Because the loss is still on paper, it could rebound some more before CalPERS chooses to sell it. Nevertheless, the deal remains deeply in the red, according to figures released Tuesday by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.

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Money & Company
Tracking the market and economic trends that shape your finances.

February 23, 2010 | 6:47 pm

California Treasurer Bill Lockyer’s plan to sell up to $2 billion of tax-free municipal bonds next week has been postponed by the Assembly’s delay in passing a budget-related bill.

Read the rest of this entry »

By Jon Ortiz
jortiz@sacbee.com
Published: Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010 – 6:39 am

Despite their full-throated support for cutting public employee pension costs, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the leading GOP candidate to replace him, Meg Whitman, have backed away from supporting a ballot measure that would do just that.

Their decisions, part of the complex calculus of California politics, are the death knell for the initiative drafted the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility. The Citrus Heights-based group had courted both the governor and the former eBay CEO.

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LATimes: Whitman refuses to commit to releasing tax returns

PolitiCal

February 23, 2010 | 7:42 pm

Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman demurred Tuesday when asked if she would release her tax returns, as Democrat-backed groups have been demanding that the billionaire former EBay chief do in recent days.

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10:00 PM PST on Tuesday, February 23, 2010

By DAVID DANELSKI
The Press-Enterprise

Riverside County supervisors on Tuesday approved one of the county’s largest developments ever, the 11,150-home Villages of Lakeview, which is expected to eventually bring 30,000 residents to an area between Perris and San Jacinto next to a state wildlife preserve where hunting is allowed.

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YahooFinance (Reuters): Regulators report 27 percent jump in problem banks

On Tuesday February 23, 2010, 10:05 am EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of “problem” U.S. banks jumped 27 percent during the fourth quarter of 2009 to 702, the highest level since 1993 and a sign the industry’s recovery is still shaky, regulators reported on Tuesday.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp said the industry overall eked out a profit of $914 million for the quarter, benefiting from a healing economy, but said the improvement was concentrated in the largest banks.

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iePolitics: Throwing stones from glass county building

Ramos

So our illustrious San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos is concerned about expenses paid by former Assessor Bill Postmus out of Postmus’ campaign war chest—not exactly new news.

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RivPE: Cassie MacDuff: Crimes or Omissions?

Cassie MacDuff

10:00 PM PST on Monday, February 22, 2010

Why does one public official’s failure to disclose a gift, income or property warrant criminal charges, while others get off with mere fines?

I’ve wondered about that since the arrest last year of former San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin on 10 felonies.

Erwin is headed for trial on charges related to not disclosing a trip back East on developer Jeff Burum’s private jet and a Rolex watch Burum gave him.

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February 22, 2010 3:53 PM
Natasha Lindstrom

SAN BERNARDINO • To ensure there’s not somebody planting secret recording devices in the San Bernardino County Government Center, county supervisors have approved a $22,500 purchase order for five sweeps to hunt for hidden surveillance equipment.

County spokesman David Wert said the surveillance sweeps aren’t tied to the ongoing public corruption investigation by District Attorney Michael A. Ramos, who two weeks ago charged former county officials Bill Postmus and Jim Erwin with felonies related to bribery in what prosecutors are calling the biggest corruption scandal in county history.

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SBSun: Barstow mayor charged with sexual battery

Stacia Glenn, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/22/2010 06:15:59 PM PST

BARSTOW – Barstow Mayor Joseph Dennis Gomez Jr. was charged with sexual battery on Monday, two months after a police officer’s wife reported that he assaulted her during a holiday party.

San Bernardino County sheriff’s investigators have been looking into the Dec. 18 incident, which allegedly took place in an unincorporated area of the desert city.

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10:00 PM PST on Monday, February 22, 2010

By DARRELL R. SANTSCHI
The Press-Enterprise

The Grand Terrace City Council tonight will begin grappling with a budget crisis that could drain the city’s treasury for years to come.

In the short term, council members must trim $423,000 from the city’s general fund budget for the 4½ months remaining in the current fiscal year.

Then, they must find a way to pay back $2.6 million funneled since 1990 from the city redevelopment agency to balance the general fund that pays for day-to-day expenses.

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Sandra Emerson, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/22/2010 06:50:13 PM PST

The Legislature this week is considering a package of Democrat-backed proposals that would cut the $20 billion deficit by $5 billion through fund shifts and tax hikes.

Some of the largest proposals include tax increases on property insurance and fund shifting on fuel taxes, which are undergoing heavy debate from lawmakers on both sides.

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By Kevin Yamamura
kyamamura@sacbee.com
Published: Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

Facing a deadline to act on the state’s fiscal crisis, lawmakers on Monday sent a handful of budget solutions to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, but Democrats and the Republican governor remain divided on tax-related proposals.

The governor declared a fiscal emergency in January and called a special session of the Legislature to tackle part of the state’s $19.9 billion deficit within 45 days, the last of which was Monday. Schwarzenegger asked lawmakers to resolve $8.8 billion of the gap, while the Legislature on Monday sent about $2.3 billion in solutions to the governor.

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By David Lazarus

February 23, 2010

It’s wrong to say that Bob Iritano is fighting for his life; he knows he’s lost that battle. What he’s fighting for is time.

You wouldn’t know it to look at him, but Iritano, 50, has terminal cancer. It’s not a question of whether he’s going to die. The only question is when, and how much longer he’ll be with his family.

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Victoria Colliver, Chronicle Staff Writer

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

State investigators accused Anthem Blue Cross on Monday of committing more than 700 violations of California law, including misleading consumers, failing to pay claims on time and ignoring inquiries from regulators in the state insurance commissioner’s office.

Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner had some harsh words for the health insurer, accusing the company, a subsidiary of WellPoint Inc., of being “belligerent” in its failure to cooperate with the Department of Insurance and “low-balling” customers in settlement discussions.

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Calbuzz: Does The Commish Have an Outside Game?

Steve Poizner

February 23, 2010

Meg Whitman’s capture of the influential endorsement of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association is a big blow to Steve Poizner’s inside game campaign approach. So the key, emerging question for The Commish in the race for the Republican nomination for governor is: does he have an outside game?

For months, Poizner has pursued a tortoise-beats-the-hare game plan, patiently traveling the state, appearing at every conservative talk show and ed board that asked and rounding up grassroots endorsements from no-name local elected officials and GOP county committee chairmen.

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SBSun: San Bernardino attorney Prince arrested

Former candidate jailed after domestic violence call
Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/22/2010 05:33:37 PM PST

SAN BERNARDINO – Attorney and former political candidate Tim Prince was arrested Monday on suspicion of domestic violence and threats.

Prince was arrested shortly before 9 a.m. after police responded to “a call from a female victim alleging domestic violence at her house,” police Lt. Dan Keil said.

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SBSun: Grand Terrace to discuss budget problems

Stephen Wall, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/22/2010 04:18:57 PM PST

GRAND TERRACE – The nation’s economy may be starting to rebound, but the city’s budget woes are not over.

The City Council will hold a 4 p.m. workshop today to talk about how to close a $423,000 mid-year budget shortfall in the General Fund.

Spending and revenue projections have changed since the start of the 2009-2010 budget year in July.

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RivPE: Lake Elsinore voters to decide Buckley’s fate

10:18 PM PST on Monday, February 22, 2010

By GENE GHIOTTO
The Press-Enterprise

Voters go to the polls today in Lake Elsinore to decide whether to recall or retain Councilman Thomas Buckley.

The polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Voters will be asked whether they want to recall Buckley or keep him in office. Voters also will be asked who they want to replace Buckley with if he is recalled.

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SacBee: Howard Jarvis tax association endorses Meg Whitman

Meg Whitman

Capitol Alert
The latest on California politics and government
February 22, 2010

Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman polished her fiscal conservative credentials this morning by announcing a key endorsement from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association’s political action committee.

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SFChronicle: Has the Golden State gone bust?

Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau

Monday, February 22, 2010

(02-22) 04:00 PST Sacramento —

California’s dire and ongoing budget predicament is raising a tough – and touchy – question about the state’s finances, one that some at the Capitol do not want discussed: Is California bankrupt?

Leaders and would-be leaders from both major parties have raised the b-word in the past weeks, and the Golden State is frequently labeled as bankrupt by people nationwide.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

As California stumbles through its continuing budget crisis, 60% of likely voters in the state now believe it would be better if most incumbents in the state legislature were defeated in this November’s elections.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in California finds just 17% think it would be better if most of the legislative incumbents were reelected. Another 23% are undecided.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Republicans and 60% of voters not affiliated with either major party say it would be better if most incumbents were defeated, a view shared by just 52% of Democrats.

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SBSun: It’s cuts or crisis, says Rialto manager

Josh Dulaney, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/21/2010 04:58:26 PM PST

RIALTO – The top manager believes the city could face a financial crisis in three years unless employee bargaining groups agree to sweeping concessions.

“It is a 36-month window,” City Administrator Henry Garcia said. “I don’t anticipate new revenue to occur of a significant nature.”

Garcia said the city’s General Fund budget is at $53 million with roughly $31 million in economic reserves.

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