Archive for February 4th, 2010

Bloomberg: California Teachers’ Pension Fund Mulls Commodity Investment

February 04, 2010, 04:06 PM EST

By Michael B. Marois and Millie Munshi

Feb. 4 (Bloomberg) — The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, the second-biggest U.S. public pension, is considering investments in commodities to boost returns and provide a hedge against inflation and slumping equities.

The governing board of the fund, with $134 billion under management, is scheduled to hear today a staff report in Sacramento that recommends its first-ever commodity investment. The board will decide whether to seek additional research on strategies and portfolio weightings.

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PolitCal

February 4, 2010 | 11:05 am

The air wars are starting in the race for California governor.

Former EBay CEO Meg Whitman will hit the television airwaves beginning Friday with the first ads in the 2010 gubernatorial race. The buy is believed to be statewide, on both network and cable television, Whitman’s campaign confirmed.

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Policyholders are incensed over rate hikes of as much as 39%, which they say come on top of similar increases last year. State insurance regulators say they’ll investigate.

By Duke Helfand

February 4, 2010 | 7:17 p.m.

California’s largest for-profit health insurer is moving to dramatically raise rates for customers with individual policies, setting off a furor among policyholders and prompting state insurance regulators to investigate.

Anthem Blue Cross is telling many of its approximately 800,000 customers who buy individual coverage — people not covered by group rates — that its prices will go up March 1 and may be adjusted “more frequently” than its typical yearly increases.

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InlandPolitics.com has learned that the outside law firm hired by county supervisors to handle litigation against former Assessor Bill Postmus and five others has already exceeded its budget with little or nothing to show for it.

Attorneys John Hueston and Leeran Factor from the law firm of Irell and Manella were given an appropriation limit of $500,000 by county supervisors last spring. A number already well above any potential recovery in the litigation.

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iePolitics: Supervisor Paul Biane a crook?

Posted by Administrator at 3 February 2010

The story from InlandPolitics below is simply amazing. We all heard the rumors of District Attorney Mike Ramos putting the screws to Supervisor Paul Biane. We heard stories of him being in hiding and waiting for District Attorney investigators to show up at his door to place him in handcuffs. His attendance at Board of Supervisors meetings waned. He looked sullen when he did appear in public. Some suspected it was his alcoholism but those in the know knew it he was scared to death.

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Posted by La Cochita at 3 February 2010

Twelve citizens of the city of Grand Terrace have a filed a request with District Attorney Mike Ramos to investigate one of his many mistresses for Government Code section 1090 violations. Which mistress you may ask. Yes, I realize it is difficult to keep them all straight. This time around it is Bertha Bea Cortes, a councilwoman for Grand Terrace.

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Supervisor Paul Biane

Campaign finance records obtained from the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters reveal a county supervisor retained a criminal defense attorney last year.

Apparently, Second District Supervisor Paul Biane was concerned enough over an investigation by District Attorney Mike Ramos that he retained legal counsel. Records show Biane paid $49,782.53 from his campaign funds to the Los Angeles-based law firm of Corbin, Fitzgerald and Athey LLP for legal services.

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The campaign finance disclosure statements for members of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors show healthy sums for all members with the exception of Jeff Stone who is seeking state legislative office.

Here is the annual summary for all five supervisors who collectively raised $ 1,048,448.90 in 2009.

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New jobless claims rise unexpectedly to 480,000 as layoffs continue, jobs remain scarce

By Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer , On Thursday February 4, 2010, 9:41 am EST

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of newly laid-off workers filing initial claims for jobless benefits rose unexpectedly last week, evidence that layoffs are continuing and jobs remain scarce.

The rise is the fourth in the past five weeks. Most economists hoped that claims would resume a downward trend that was evident in the fall and early winter.

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CapitolWeekly: The death of reform in the Capitol?

By John Howard | 02/04/10 12:00 AM PST

Despite well-heeled backers, two groups pushing for a constitutional overhaul of California’s government appear strapped for cash and must come up with millions of dollars to qualify reform initiatives for the November ballot.

Both groups, Repair California and California Forward, say they can do it in weeks — an April deadline looms – and a quick infusion of cash could change the picture dramatically.

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Ethnic groups say the pool of applicants for a citizen commission to redraw Assembly and Senate districts is too white and too male to reflect the state’s diversity. Others question the expense.

By Shane Goldmacher

February 3, 2010 | 7:20 p.m.

Reporting from Sacramento – For the first time, voting districts for California’s Legislature will not be drawn behind closed doors in the backrooms of the state Capitol. Instead, a first-in-the-nation citizen commission will do the job, and thousands of everyday Californians are jostling to serve on the panel.

But hopes of taking politics out of the process are fading.

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The attorney general has been coy about announcing his candidacy for governor, but after the recent Democratic loss in Massachusetts, some in the party worry that time is being lost.

By Michael Rothfeld

February 3, 2010 | 6:24 p.m.

Reporting from Sacramento – Jerry Brown, the once and possibly future governor of California, is the only high-profile Democrat hoping to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger — and has long been the front-runner in voter surveys.

Yet nine months before election day, Brown’s bid to win his old job back remains in an “exploratory” phase. And some Democrats wish their candidate had heeded his own joking promises to declare his intentions “when the snows fall in the Sierras.”

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Steve Poizner

The GOP gubernatorial candidate alleges opponent Meg Whitman used attempted bribery and extortion to drive him out of the race. If he’s serious, that calls into question his ability to govern.

By George Skelton Capitol Journal

February 3, 2010 | 5:23 p.m.

From Sacramento

Steve Poizner’s allegation that Meg Whitman used attempted bribery and extortion in an effort to push him out of the gubernatorial race was merely an attention-grabbing stunt by a desperate dark horse, many contend. Hopefully, they’re right.

Because if Poizner was sincerely angry and really does believe — as he wrote state and federal prosecutors — that the Whitman camp deserves criminal investigation, this is scary.

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Josh Dulaney, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/03/2010 07:38:18 PM PST

RIALTO – An increase in the retirement benefits for police and firefighters that is set to begin next year will almost triple the city’s unfunded pension liability, according to a cost analysis by the California Public Employees Retirement System.

The “3 at 50” plan which allows policemen and firefighters with 30 years of service to retire as early as age 50 and collect up to 90 percent of their highest annual salary will boost the unfunded liability from $9.7 million to $26.8 million when it goes into effect in 2011, according to CalPers.

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RivPE: Area sales slowdown pinches tax revenues

10:20 PM PST on Wednesday, February 3, 2010

By KIMBERLY PIERCEALL and JIM MILLER
The Press-Enterprise

There’s no shortage of numbers to describe the recession’s effect on the Inland region.

The unemployment rate hovers at 14 percent.

The number of home foreclosure filings last year reached 126,376.

Bankruptcies were up 50 percent to a total of 29,764 in 2009.

Now there’s another one.

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By Kate Henka | 02/04/10 12:00 AM PST

The Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal adviser says the total $2.7 billion in cuts in Gov. Schwarzenegger’s budget plan involving state employees may be too deep to implement without a serious struggle.

The governor’s proposal for the 2010-11 budget includes shifting a portion of pension contributions from the state to employees, cutting personnel costs and making across-the-board salary reductions.

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VVDailyPress: Victorville calls for voluntary layoffs

February 03, 2010 11:42 AM
Brooke Edwards

VICTORVILLE • The city is calling for employees willing to be voluntarily laid off, with another round of cuts expected soon.

“Due to a severe drop in revenues over the last two years, we are anticipating additional layoffs to occur within the next two months,” states a letter from City Manager Jim Cox, which was sent to city staff on Jan. 25.

It’ll be the second hit in a matter of months, with some 50 employees laid off last summer as the city struggled to close a $13 million deficit in its general fund.

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SBSun: Council recognizes outgoing city manager

Greg Devereaux

Liset Marquez, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/03/2010 05:10:02 PM PST

ONTARIO – Showing gratitude to a man who served as their city manager for more than 12 years, City Council members on Tuesday night presented Greg Devereaux with a key to the city.

Devereaux was appointed last month to serve as the San Bernardino County chief administrative officer.

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SBSun: U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina stresses jobs

GOP women hear plan for employment
Sandra Emerson, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/03/2010 09:51:02 PM PST

POMONA – Republican Carly Fiorina said she is running for the U.S. Senate to bring common sense and real-world experience to Washington, D.C.

In a speech on Wednesday to members of the California Federation of Republican Women Southern Division, Fiorina shared anecdotes from her life and work experience that she believes make her qualified to defeat Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer in November.

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