Archive for March, 2010

Rove

Rove: “The Architect” on RNC bondage bar scandal, Cal politics, Jerry Brown

Call him “the Architect” or “Bush’s Brain,” but former presidential advisor Karl Rove had plenty to say in Lafayette today — about the RNC’s latest scandal, and California’s electoral landscape this year.

First, Rove on the near-$2000 reimbursement to Orange County GOP operative Erik Brown to pay for a “Young Eagles” fundraiser at the now-infamous West Hollywood lesbian/bondage-themed strip club called “Voyeur.” He said he’s called for the RNC staffer responsible for that repayment to be fired; Allison Meyers, the “Young Eagles” director, was indeed — on Monday.

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Meg Whitman

PolitiCal

March 31, 2010 | 7:32 am

Republican Meg Whitman has already donated $39 million of her own money to her campaign for governor — a state record. Her campaign has burned through the cash at an unprecedented rate, leaving her effort a bit thin financially as the final push for the June primary begins.

On Monday, she hinted that reinforcements are on the way.

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Information regarding the Colonies litigation is trickling out and what is being said is not surprising at all.

While state and county prosecutors work to obtain access to privileged legal discussions and materials in an effort to prove their corruption case, InlandPolitics has developed a few fragments of what is being described as a tense litigation process.

While the revelations covered in this story have been briefly touched on over the past several months, a little more clarity is appearing.

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iePolitics: FPPC Complaints Filed

Written by Administrator
March 30th, 2010 at 11:00 am

FPPC complaints have been filed against San Bernardino County Supervisors Josie Gonzales and Paul Biane as well as former County Administrative Officer Mark Uffer.  The complaints all allege that these three individuals, along with countless other politicians and department managers, have been the recipients of free medical services at the county’s hospital, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC), and have failed to report the gifts on their Statements of Economic Interests (Form 700).

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10:00 PM PDT on Tuesday, March 30, 2010

By IMRAN GHORI
The Press-Enterprise

State and local prosecutors will meet again with San Bernardino County Counsel Ruth Stringer next week to discuss the possible release of documents in the Colonies Partners legal settlement.

San Bernardino County Assistant District Attorney James Hackleman described a two-hour meeting Monday between himself, Stringer and California Senior Assistant Attorney General Gary Schons as “productive.”

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RivPE: Two of S.B. County’s managers leave jobs

10:00 PM PDT on Tuesday, March 30, 2010

By IMRAN GHORI
The Press-Enterprise

Two top San Bernardino County managers are no longer employed by the county as of Tuesday, a spokeswoman said.

Jim Lindley, the county’s Public Health Department director, was no longer in that position, county spokeswoman Lynne Fischer said. Allan Rawland, director of behavioral health, has been named as interim director, she said.

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RivPE: Safety agencies lament budget cuts

10:20 PM PDT on Tuesday, March 30, 2010

By DUANE W. GANG
The Press-Enterprise

The leaders of Riverside County’s public safety agencies — including the sheriff, district attorney and fire chief — appealed to supervisors Tuesday to lessen the pain of budget cuts.

Steep reductions would result in fewer deputy sheriffs patrolling unincorporated areas, a delay in a major jail expansion and the closure of fire stations, they said.

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Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 03/30/2010 09:00:19 PM PDT

After nearly eight months, San Bernardino County prosecutors still have not decided whether they will file criminal charges against two top county fire officials who used a fire department trailer to move personal belongings on county time.

“That matter is still under investigation. There’s no real time line yet as to when it might be complete,” said Susan Mickey, spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office.

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The GOP candidate concedes that as governor, she couldn’t force the attorney general to do so but says she would strongly encourage him to.
By Cathleen Decker

March 31, 2010

Republican candidate for governor Meg Whitman said Tuesday that California should move to block the newly signed national healthcare plan because it would deepen the state’s budget deficit, even if some elements were acceptable to introduce down the road.

Whitman was asked by an attendee at a Redondo Beach campaign event whether as governor she would “force your attorney general to file suit” against the reforms, as more than a dozen attorneys general in other states have said they would.

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OCRegister: GOP Senate candidates tangle in Irvine

Published: March 30, 2010
Updated: March 31, 2010 7:57 a.m.

By MARTIN WISCKOL
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

But Campbell and DeVore both attack the hopeful who didn’t show up.

IRVINE – U.S. Senate candidates Tom Campbell and Chuck DeVore took a moment in their debate Tuesday night to compare the pocket editions of the U.S. Constitution that both regularly carry with them.

It was one of the repeated jabs both hopefuls took at their fellow Republican candidate, who skipped the town hall event sponsored by Brandman University in Irvine.

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By Dale Kasler
dkasler@sacbee.com The Sacramento Bee
Published: Wednesday, Mar. 31, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 8B

Led by CalPERS, a group of big institutional investors held a summit meeting with several firms that invest their money Tuesday to discuss management fees and other contentious issues that have been festering for the past year.

The unusual meeting, held at a New York hotel, was the latest development in a yearlong movement to level the playing field between investors and their investment partners – mainly private equity firms and hedge funds.

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SacBee: CalPERS trustee faces another late-filing fine

By Dale Kasler
dkasler@sacbee.com
Published: Wednesday, Mar. 31, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 8B
Last Modified: Wednesday, Mar. 31, 2010 – 8:32 am

A CalPERS board member faces another fine for being late with her annual conflict-of-interest statement.

The proposed $3,000 fine against Priya Mathur comes as the California Public Employees’ Retirement System is being investigated over the activities of placement agents, middlemen who help firms secure investment deals from the pension fund.

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Accumulation isn’t enough to make up for the last three dry years.

Posted at 10:43 PM on Tuesday, Mar. 30, 2010
By Mark Grossi / The Fresno Bee

The Sierra snowpack is hefty. Waterfalls are starting to thunder in Yosemite Valley. A spring storm adds to the bounty.

It’s time to celebrate the end of the state’s three-year drought. Right? Wrong.

The El Niño-powered winter apparently was not a drought buster — even though some reservoirs may fill up and rainfall totals are above average in two-thirds of California’s major cities, including Fresno.

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InlandPolitics: Two S.B. County officials fired

Two San Bernardino County officials got their pink slips today.

Public Health Director Jim Lindley and Solid Waste Management Division Chief Peter Wulfman were fired.

The first shoes to drop under newly hired County Administrative Officer Greg Devereaux. Both positions report to Devereaux.

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James Rufus Koren, Staff Writer
Posted: 03/29/2010 05:59:52 PM PDT

Allegations of corruption and sexual harassment don’t appear to have hurt the fund-raising abilities of incumbent San Bernardino County officials who are seeking re-election in June.

District Attorney Mike Ramos, the subject of a harassment claim from a former employee, and supervisors Paul Biane and Gary Ovitt, whose offices are tied to a corruption investigation, have hundreds of thousands in campaign cash, while their opponents have little or no money to speak of, recent campaign finance disclosure documents show.

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SBSun: Prosecutors, county discuss Colonies information

Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 03/29/2010 06:16:08 PM PDT

Local and state prosecutors met with San Bernardino County Counsel Ruth Stringer on Monday to press again for the release of confidential attorney-client information regarding the county’s controversial legal settlement with Rancho Cucamonga-based developer Colonies Partners LP.

Stringer met with Assistant District Attorney Jim Hackleman and Senior Assistant Attorney General Gary Schons for about two hours.

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Delgado

Debbie Pfeiffer Trunnell, Staff Writer
Posted: 03/29/2010 08:15:04 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – On the day when a series of meetings, focused on turning around struggling schools, kicked off in the city, a group of activists gathered at the district office to demand the ouster of Superintendent Arturo Delgado.

The Westside Action Group issued a news release Monday saying the superintendent had done little to further the cause of black students and the San Bernardino City Unified School District could benefit most from changing its leadership.

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10:25 PM PDT on Monday, March 29, 2010

By RICHARD K. DE ATLEY
The Press-Enterprise

An earlier version of this story attributed a $10,000 campaign contribution from Criminal Defense Attorneys to District Attorney Rod Pacheco. The contribution was to opponent Paul Zellerbach.

Campaign finance reports for the first three months of the year show incumbent District Attorney Rod Pacheco leading his only challenger Paul Zellerbach in campaign fundraising.

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Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Created: 03/29/2010 03:44:48 PM PDT

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors will resume private discussion today regarding the purchase of the Carousel Mall property in downtown San Bernardino, where a new government center is being proposed.

The board began the private talks nearly a year ago and has discussed other potential sites for county offices as far west as Ontario.

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RivPE: Highland councilman faces fine for fund misuse

10:00 PM PDT on Monday, March 29, 2010

The Press-Enterprise

Highland City Councilman Larry McCallon faces a $2,000 fine from the state political watchdog agency for misusing campaign funds.

McCallon used $2,800 from his council campaign account to pay for expenses related to his campaign for the San Bernardino County Republican Central Committee in 2008, the state Fair Political Practices Commission announced Monday.

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Rick Orlov, Staff Writer
Created: 03/29/2010 08:16:05 PM PDT

Claremont resident and Los Angeles City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana announced this weekend that he has enrolled in an alcohol treatment center and is temporarily stepping down from his post.

“I do not know how long this stage of my journey will be,” Santana said in a statement. “I apologize to my family, friends, the mayor, the City Council, CAO staff and the entire city family for my irresponsible behavior.

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RivPE: Emmerson camp descries “deceitful” ads

By PE Politics
on March 30, 2010 11:56 AM

Bill Emmerson’s campaign is not happy with the latest independent expenditure TV ads that alternately tout GOP opponent Russ Bogh and trash Emmerson.

Here’s our previous post about the commercials and how they were paid for.

And here’s a statement from the Emmerson campaign this morning:

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By Ed Mendel

The nation’s two biggest public pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTRS, were big investors in debt-laden private equity during the boom years. Now some worry that a wave of debt coming due in two years could limit borrowing needed for refinancing.

A page-one New York Times story this month said massive corporate and federal government debts are coming due at the same time, causing worry that “some companies will have trouble getting new loans, spurring defaults and a wave of bankruptcies.”

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RivPE: Riverside County departments outline budget cuts

10:00 PM PDT on Monday, March 29, 2010

By DUANE W. GANG
The Press-Enterprise

Eliminating more than 100 people from the public defender’s office. Cutting nearly 50 positions from Animal Services. Reducing public health clinic hours in Corona, Banning, Hemet and Jurupa.

Those are just a few of the scenarios Riverside County administrators said Monday would result if supervisors impose 25 percent budget cuts as they work to close a growing budget gap.

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State leaders’ inability to balance the budget has stalled construction of low-income housing units. Wary Wall Street lenders are contributing to delays.

By Shane Goldmacher

March 30, 2010

Reporting from Sacramento – The din of construction is missing from the eastern edge of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where workers had hoped to break ground on a 70-unit affordable-housing complex months ago. No nail guns are firing. No hard hat-wearing workers are milling about.

And it’s not the only would-be construction site that’s silent. Plans to build more than 16,000 housing units in California, many of them for low-income residents, have been frozen in bureaucratic limbo since July.

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InlandPolitics: From the Don Kurth for Assembly campaign

Don Kurth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2010

Mayor Don Kurth Protects Bible Study;
Pastor Praises Mayor’s Quick Response

“The City of Rancho Cucamonga stands behind the right to religious freedom for all Americans,” declared Mayor Don Kurth. “We are proud that so many churches and bible studies have chosen our city as their home.”

“On behalf of everyone in our congregation, I want to thank Mayor Don Kurth for his strong support of our Bible Study and his quick action to address our concerns. Local residents are blessed to have such an active and responsive leader,” said Bible Study Leader Pastor Puredi Hillary.”

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CCTimes: Meg-mentum has some Democrats nervous

Meg Whitman

By Steven Harmon
Contra Costa Times
Posted: 03/29/2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Updated: 03/29/2010 07:10:34 AM PDT

SACRAMENTO — Patience is a tough virtue to uphold for Democrats following the gubernatorial race, especially as Republican Meg Whitman’s unfettered run on radio and TV has catapulted her to the center of California’s political universe.

Whitman, the billionaire ex-CEO of eBay, has been on air continuously since last summer, parlaying $46 million into a lead in at least two statewide polls over Jerry Brown, the Democrats’ lone major candidate.

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Campbell

CALIFORNIA ELECTIONS

In his third try for the Senate, Tom Campbell, who holds a law degree from Harvard and a doctorate, may not have the fire that the party’s primary voters crave this year.

By Seema Mehta

March 29, 2010

Reporting from San Mateo, Calif. – In the days before the healthcare vote, Republicans passionately argued that the reform package was an affront to personal liberty and threatened the nation’s very future. One GOP leader angrily declared that it would lead to “Armageddon.”

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More is less for schools
Canan Tasci, Staff Writer
Created: 03/28/2010 07:39:20 PM PDT

After 14 years and more than $10 billion spent for smaller class sizes, many California classrooms in the fall will move in the opposite direction.

In just a few months, classrooms across the state will increase their student-to-teacher ratios in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms from 20 students to as many as 30, essentially reversing what was advocated more than a decade ago in better economic times.

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California Watch
A Project of the Center for Investigative Reporting
Health and Welfare

March 29, 2010 | Christina Jewett

State budget cuts under consideration in Sacramento could lead to losses of well over 400,000 jobs, many held by workers most likely to spend their earnings in state, an analysis by the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education.

The group’s report notes that if the governor and Legislature eliminate the In-Home Supportive Services program, more than 360,000 jobs would disappear. Those workers care for the disabled who need help with basic tasks. And they’re low-wage workers, the report says, meaning they’re likely to pour their incomes right back out into their local economies.

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Democrats Cheer Now, but Grim November May Lie Ahead
By JOHN HARWOOD

In politics, as in sports, the thrill of victory sometimes pales alongside the agony of defeat. In 2010, Democrats remain on track to experience both.

Achievement of their decades-long quest for comprehensive health care legislation left Congressional leaders and White House aides jubilant. It broke, at least temporarily, the psychology of failure that threatened President Obama’s administration as it had burdened President George W. Bush’s tenure.

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Wendy Leung, Staff Writer
Created: 03/28/2010 07:02:37 AM PDT

Some good news may arrive for a group of teachers at the Chino Valley Unified School District. The board is expected to approve a recommendation this week to rescind many of the 71 preliminary layoff notices sent to teachers earlier this month. The move is possible after 160 senior teachers agreed to early retirement.

Also in the Daily Bulletin this week, there will be updates concerning Pomona’s Lanterman Developmental Center.

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RivPE: DUI conviction won’t block Riverside chief’s pension

10:54 PM PDT on Saturday, March 27, 2010

By ALICIA ROBINSON
The Press-Enterprise

As Riverside Police Chief Russ Leach prepares to undergo 30 days of home monitoring after pleading guilty Thursday to driving under the influence, the clock already is ticking on his official retirement.

The misdemeanor conviction won’t affect his ability to retire and collect a pension, officials said. He has filed an application for industrial disability retirement, and Riverside City Attorney Greg Priamos said it is expected to be effective April 12.

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SBSun: Five run for 2 Loma Linda council seats

Petersen won’t seek sixth term; Ziprick aims to retain his seat; ex-mayor in race
Stephen Wall, Staff Writer
Posted: 03/27/2010 10:16:54 PM PDT

LOMA LINDA – One City Council veteran is calling it quits after two decades in public service while another longtime elected official hopes to return to office.

The June 8 City Council election features five candidates vying for two seats.

Councilman Floyd Petersen, who teaches statistics at Loma Linda University, opted not to run for a sixth term, citing family and work-related commitments.

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SBSun: City manager unveils plan to revamp SB government

Proposal seen as way to streamline services
Andrew Edwards
Posted: 03/27/2010 07:06:05 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – City Manager Charles McNeely on Saturday presented a plan to streamline city government without requiring changing the City Charter.

The proposals would reshuffle city operations in an attempt to focus city administrators on core duties, McNeely said.

Although McNeely said the adjustments would not require changes to the Charter, the idea of charter reform is still on the table.

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By Dan Morain, Senior editor
dmorain@sacbee.com The Sacramento Bee
Published: Sunday, Mar. 28, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 1E

Linda Ronstadt’s greatest hits played on a stereo in the upstairs Thayer apartment. A powder-blue Plymouth Satellite was parked on the street below.

Capitol denizens past and present filed in to the N Street building, having paid $2,500 to $10,000 to eat sushi and other Asian food, drink wine and get reacquainted with the featured attraction.

Where, exactly, was that attraction?

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A visit to ‘Republican country’ shows the massive expenditures may not translate into massive support.

By Steve Lopez

March 28, 2010

The numbers are astronomical.

Some might say obscene.

Billionaire Meg Whitman, Republican candidate for governor, could have bought an atoll with what she’s spent on her campaign. She could have bought half a dozen California newspapers and filled them with photos of herself and stories about nothing else.

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

Californians are very worried about the state’s recession-wracked economy, recent polls have found – and with very good reason.

As the state’s once-booming housing industry went bust, the recession hit here somewhat earlier and harder than in the rest of the country. The national economy shows some signs of recovery, but they’re difficult to find in California.

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By Jon Cohen and Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 28, 2010

Americans overwhelmingly see the new health-care law as a major shift in the direction of the country, but they remain as deeply divided today over the changes as they were throughout the long congressional debate, according to a Washington Post poll.

In the days since President Obama signed the farthest-reaching piece of social welfare legislation in four decades, overall public opinion has changed little, with continuing broad public skepticism about the effects of the new law and more than a quarter of Americans seeing neither side as making a good-faith effort to cooperate on the issue.

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InlandPolitics: Biane the corruption fighter?

Biane

Well just when you thought you’ve seen it all it.

Now we present Second District Supervisor Paul Biane the corruption fighter and reformer?

Nah! It’s election season.

I haven’t quite figured out what precisely has caused this uncharacteristic behavior from Biane, who is serving in his eighth year on the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.

After all, Biane has always displayed a “taxpayer be damned” attitude in his own conduct, especially when it comes to blowing money.

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RivPE: Lawsuit filed in Riverside County DA race

10:00 PM PDT on Friday, March 26, 2010

By RICHARD K. DE ATLEY
The Press-Enterprise

A lawsuit challenges a candidate statement by Riverside County district attorney candidate Paul Zellerbach that prosecution conviction rates for cases taken to trial have been less than 45 percent of all charges filed.

Zellerbach on Friday defended the statistics, which cover the past three years.

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SBSun: Erwin lawyer wants judge’s recusal

Mike Cruz, Staff Writer
Posted: 03/26/2010 06:08:07 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – A lawyer for former Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin is seeking to recuse the Superior Court judge hearing Erwin’s case because the judge once belonged to the same private law firm as a lawyer representing District Attorney Michael A. Ramos.

Lawyer Rajan Maline said Friday in San Bernardino Superior Court that he learned Thursday night that Judge Duke Rouse was a former partner of lawyer Richard Marca, who represents Ramos.

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Michael J. Sorba, Staff Writer
Created: 03/26/2010 05:43:45 PM PDT

More than 2,100 new jobs were created in February in the Inland Empire after 29 consecutive months of job loss, according to new figures released by Northern California-based Beacon Economics.

The unemployment rate of Riverside and San Bernardino counties also dropped a tenth of a percentage point from 14.6 to 14.5 percent when comparing seasonally adjusted numbers from January to February, Beacon said.

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Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 03/26/2010 06:28:18 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – The second day of the City Council and Mayor’s retreat was dedicated to long-range thinking as top officials jotted down wish lists for the kinds of improvements they want to see by 2025.

Whereas the retreat’s Thursday evening session was something like a college class on local government, Friday’s gathering was more like an all-day brainstorming session. In their second consecutive day together, the City Council and Mayor Pat Morris attempted to articulate a vision for what San Bernardino should become by 2025.

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10:00 PM PDT on Friday, March 26, 2010

By PAUL LAROCCO
The Press-Enterprise

A Temecula attorney is objecting to a recent search of his office by San Bernardino County district attorney’s investigators, part of the ongoing county corruption probe.

Alan Mohill is representing former Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin in civil matters. Erwin also worked as Supervisor Neil Derry’s chief of staff. Erwin is charged criminally as part of an investigation into the county’s $102 million settlement with developer Colonies Partners in 2006.

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RivPE: Cassie MacDuff: Facing Error of His Ways

10:00 PM PDT on Friday, March 26, 2010

Cassie MacDuff

You’ve got to hand it to Russ Leach. He’s willing to take his lumps. That’s more than you can say for a lot of public officials who get in trouble.

The Riverside police chief pleaded guilty on Thursday to drunken driving in connection with the Feb. 8 accident that left his Chrysler 300 shredded.

Leach saved the public the expense of drawn-out court procedures by admitting the crime just three days after he was charged.

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SacBee: Criminal probe reported of CalPERS placement fees

By Dale Kasler
dkasler@sacbee.com
Published: Saturday, Mar. 27, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 6B

The probe of possible influence-peddling at CalPERS and other public pension funds has become a criminal investigation, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.

Quoting unnamed sources, the newspaper said Friday that U.S. Justice Department investigators in Los Angeles are examining whether investment decisions at CalPERS and other funds were influenced by illegal payments.

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SacBee: Fiorina slams California’s global warming law

Carly Fiorina

By Rob Hotakainen
rhotakainen@mcclatchydc.com
Published: Saturday, Mar. 27, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

Calling it an “unbelievable job killer,” GOP Senate candidate Carly Fiorina on Friday urged the elimination of California’s landmark global warming law.

If AB 32 is not scrapped, Fiorina said, she will back an effort to suspend the law until unemployment in the state drops to 5.5 percent and stays there for one year.

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LATimes: Meg Whitman: immigration reform, with respect

Meg Whitman

Opinion

It’s an issue vital to California, but we must debate it without becoming divisive.

By Meg Whitman

March 27, 2010

California has the most to gain from sensible immigration reform, and the most to lose from the failed status quo. We need common-sense solutions to the problem of illegal immigration while preserving the many benefits our state derives from legal immigration.

Too often, the rhetoric surrounding this issue has been overly divisive and disrespectful to Latino American citizens. The country needs to have a thoughtful debate about how we stop the tide of illegal immigration that strains budgets and angers taxpayers. But the immigration debate must take place in a measured way that reflects our national aspirations toward tolerance, hope and opportunity.

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Steve Poizner

Opinion

The state should go after employers who hire them, curb taxpayer-funded benefits, deploy the National Guard to help the feds at the border and penalize ‘sanctuary’ cities.

By Steve Poizner

March 27, 2010

The United States, and California in particular, has been built by immigrants who legally crossed our borders in search of a brighter future. For generations, these legal immigrants have made immeasurable contributions to creating a unique and vibrant California. As Americans and Californians, we are right to welcome people from all over the globe when they obey our laws and are willing to play by the rules.

Illegal immigration is another matter entirely. With the state budget in tatters, millions of residents out of work and a state prison system strained by massive overcrowding, California simply cannot continue to ignore the strain that illegal immigration puts on our budget and economy. Illegal aliens cost taxpayers in our state billions of dollars each year. As economist Philip J. Romero concluded in a 2007 study, “illegal immigrants impose a ‘tax’ on legal California residents in the tens of billions of dollars.”

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By Dale Kasler
dkasler@sacbee.com
Published: Saturday, Mar. 27, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 6B
Last Modified: Saturday, Mar. 27, 2010 – 12:12 am

Layoffs returned to California last month, state officials said Friday, suggesting the economic recovery has yet to pick up steam even if the worst seems to be over.

The construction industry in particular continues to struggle, the new statistics show.

Across all industries, employers eliminated 20,400 jobs in February, wiping out most of January’s gains, the Employment Development Department said. The state unemployment rate held at 12.5 percent.

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10:00 PM PDT on Friday, March 26, 2010

By BEN GOAD
Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON – Efforts to re-establish American production of rare earth elements at a San Bernardino County mine gained momentum in recent days, as lawmakers in Congress voiced their support for the plan to end China’s virtual monopoly on the minerals.

During a congressional hearing last week, House members on both sides of the aisle spoke favorably about the push to ramp up operations at the Mountain Pass Mine, with one of them introducing a bill that could help yield funding for the $450 million plan.

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Bloomberg: Half of U.S. Home Loan Modifications Default Again (Update1)

By John Gittelsohn

March 25 (Bloomberg) — More than half of U.S. borrowers who received loan modifications on delinquent mortgages defaulted again after nine months, according to a federal report.

The re-default rate of loans modified in the first quarter of 2009 was 51.5 percent by the end of the year, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision said in a joint report today. The figure, which measures payments at least 30 days late, climbed to 57.9 percent for changes made in the prior 12 months.

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RivPE: Campaign ad suit dismissed

STATE SENATE RACE: The judge says the case was filed too late and was “lacking any showing of malice.”

10:00 PM PDT on Thursday, March 25, 2010

By DUANE W. GANG
The Press-Enterprise

A Riverside County judge dismissed a lawsuit Thursday against Supervisor John Benoit over a campaign mailer sent during Benoit’s 2008 Republican state Senate primary.

Bogh Construction, Inc., the family business of Benoit’s GOP opponent, former Inland lawmaker Russ Bogh, sued Benoit and others for libel last month over a mailer by a group called the Inland Empire Taxpayers Association.

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RivPE: Judges’ benefits continue in new agreement

10:00 PM PDT on Thursday, March 25, 2010

By IMRAN GHORI
The Press-Enterprise

San Bernardino County Superior Court judges will continue to receive judicial benefits — automobile, security and education allowances — under an agreement approved by county supervisors this week.

The agreement, which spells out payments and services between the courts and the county, is the first since the Board of Supervisors rejected a proposal last year by Supervisor Neil Derry to eliminate judicial benefits.

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RivPE: Police chief guilty of DUI gets probation

11:41 PM PDT on Thursday, March 25, 2010

By PAUL LAROCCO
The Press-Enterprise

Without appearing in person, Riverside police Chief Russ Leach pleaded guilty Thursday to driving under the influence during his post-Super Bowl ride in a heavily damaged city-car.

The 62-year-old, who consumed 11 drinks in the hours prior to being stopped, was sentenced at arraignment to three years probation and a 30-day home monitoring program. He’s required to pay more than $1,700 in fines and take an alcohol education class. He stepped down as chief on Feb. 11 and is seeking a medical retirement.

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DailyBulletin: Gerrymandering takes toll

James Rufus Koren, Staff Writer
Created: 03/25/2010 03:39:51 PM PDT

At its widest point, the 59th State Assembly District stretches nearly 80 miles.

It covers parts of two counties, two National Forests and five area codes. It’s impossible to drive from one end to the other without leaving the district.

Also impossible, experts say, is to run a successful campaign in the sprawling 59th without raising and spending lots of cash.

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Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Created: 03/25/2010 09:32:41 PM PDT

RANCHO CUCAMONGA – If San Bernardino County wants to grow smart in coming years, it must ensure that quality medical care, education and infrastructure are in place and that economic opportunities are ripe for businesses.

But faced with an unemployment rate of 15 percent, some of the poorest performing schools in the country and a gloomy business climate, the county has its work cut out for it.

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Michael J. Sorba, Staff Writer
Posted: 03/25/2010 06:46:19 PM PDT

Tim Graston of Adelanto hasn’t had much luck during the recession – he’s been unemployed for two years.

Living on an income provided by unemployment benefits, Graston’s been able to pay for his basic needs. But starting next week that will end when his benefits expire.

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WSJ: Calpers Deals Part of Probe by Justice Into Pay-Play

MARCH 26, 2010

BY JOHN R. EMSHWILLER

LOS ANGELES—-Federal criminal investigators are looking into possible wrongdoing involving investment transactions of public pension funds including Calpers, according to people familiar with the matter.

Justice Department investigators in Los Angeles have been looking at whether potentially illegal payments were made to influence decisions on where to invest public pension-fund money, these people said. Among the matters being examined, they said, are investments made by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the nation’s biggest public pension fund by assets.

The Calpers-related inquiries are focused on a small number of individuals, said one of the people.

By Steve Harmon
Thursday, March 25th, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Mike Murphy, the chief strategist for Meg Whitman — yes, the same consultant who was listed under Bonaparte Films in Whitman’s spending report who’s been paid $495,582 since coming on board on Nov. 25 — says the media have it all wrong in our collective gasp over Whitman’s record $46 million spending spree.

His point is that for a state as large as California, the money Whitman has spent on advertising so far — about $28 million total — is not so far out of line when you index it by the number of registered voters.

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SFChronicle: Personal income falls 2.5% in California

Tom Abate, Chronicle Staff Writer

Friday, March 26, 2010

Personal income in California fell last year for the first time since the Great Depression, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

State income plunged even more sharply in 2009 than the similar, historic drop that occurred on a national basis, a notable reversal given that California generally has beaten the national averages throughout the 80-year history of this report.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 22, 2010
Contact: Mark Szymanski
202-463-5874

U.S. Chamber Launches National Advertising Campaign: ‘Jobs, Not Lawsuits’

LOS ANGELES, CA—The U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) today released its survey ranking the states with the best and worst legal climates in the country. According to the survey, the states with the worst legal climates are California (46th), Alabama (47th), Mississippi (48th), Louisiana (49th), and West Virginia (50th). The states with the best legal climates are Delaware (1st), North Dakota (2nd), Nebraska (3rd), Indiana (4th), and Iowa (5th).

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InlandPolitics: The Colonies Partners settlement: The Answers – Part 7

This article is the seventh in a series of in-depth stories related to the controversy surrounding the settlement of Quiet-Title litigation between the County of San Bernardino Flood Control District, County of San Bernardino, and Colonies Partners, L.P.

In this story, we will further simplify the settlement agreement covered in part six and also attempt to provide some little known issues related to the settlement.

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Meg Whitman

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

March 24, 2010 | Lance Williams

Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman has built a 50-point lead over rival Steve Poizner in the Republican governor’s race and has edged past Democrat Jerry Brown as well, says a Public Policy Institute of California survey released Wednesday.

The survey of about 2,000 likely voters also shows that public disaffection with California’s political leadership has hit a new low.

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RivPE: Supervisors recuse themselves from Colonies talks

11:32 PM PDT on Wednesday, March 24, 2010

By IMRAN GHORI
The Press-Enterprise

Two San Bernardino County supervisors who have been linked to a corruption investigation into the 2006 Colonies Partners settlement announced Wednesday that they would not take part in discussions of whether to share legal information with prosecutors.

Meanwhile, the state attorney general and San Bernardino County district attorney continued to pressure the county to waive its attorney-client privilege in the case, welcoming an offer from the county to meet to discuss the request.

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RivPE: Cassie MacDuff: Right Move to Step Aside

10:00 PM PDT on Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cassie MacDuff

Stepping aside from discussions on whether to give prosecutors legal documents in the Colonies settlement was the right move for San Bernardino County supervisors Paul Biane and Gary Ovitt.

Both voted in favor of the controversial $102 million settlement in 2006; Biane and Ovitt’s chief of staff are unnamed co-conspirators in alleged criminal wrongdoing.

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10:00 PM PDT on Wednesday, March 24, 2010

San Bernardino County managers have agreed to give up salary increases as the county prepares to deal with a $90 million shortfall for the next fiscal year.

The Board of Supervisors approved the changes to non-union employees’ compensation Tuesday. County Administrative Officer Greg Devereaux said the action affects over 500 employees and saves the county about $5.4 million.

To read entire story, click here.

Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 03/24/2010 07:24:26 PM PDT

State and local prosecutors on Wednesday asked to meet with the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on Monday in an effort to convince the board to waive its attorney-client privilege and allow closer scrutiny of the talks leading to a $102 million settlement with developer Colonies Partners LP in 2006.

County officials have agreed to make the county’s top lawyer available for a meeting with prosecutors next week but it was not immediately clear Wednesday whether the board members themselves would take part.

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InlandPolitics: Statement issued by Jeff Burum

Statement from Jason Kinney on behalf of Jeff Burum

“With or without a waiver, the facts will establish that the settlement was overwhelmingly fair, saving the County at least $100,000,000 in damages and tens of millions in additional legal fees. Colonies has been and continues to be willing to discuss a waiver. But we would like some assurances that it will be in the interest of establishing the truth and objectively assessing the fairness of the process, not for scoring political points or making reckless accusations.”

Paul Biane

SAN BERNARDINO – San Bernardino County Second District Supervisor Paul Biane released the following statement on Tuesday regarding his decision to voluntarily recuse himself from participating in the Board’s vote on whether to waive attorney client privilege as requested by the Attorney General.

“I stand by my earlier statements that I did absolutely nothing wrong or unethical when I made the very difficult decision to settle the lawsuit following Judge Warner’s tentative ruling indicating the County would likely not prevail in court.

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Neil Derry

To read statement issued by Supervisor Neil Derry regarding Attorney General request for waiver of privilege, click here: Statement by Supervisor Neil Derry

To read statement issued by Board of Supervisors Chairman and Fourth District Supervisor Gary Ovitt regarding Attorney General request for waiver of privilege, click here: Statement by Supervisor Gary Ovitt

To read statement issued by Senior Assistant Attorney General Gary Schons regarding waiver of privilege, click here: Statement issued by California Attorney General

InlandPolitics: Statement issued by Colonies Partners

To read statement from Attorney George B. Speir on behalf of Colonies Partners regarding Attorney General request for waiver of privilege, click here: Statement by Colonies Partners

To read statement regarding the Attorney General request for waiver of privilege, click here: Statement by County of San Bernardino

11:27 PM PDT on Wednesday, March 24, 2010

By DAVID OLSON
The Press-Enterprise

For the third year in a row, Riverside County’s growth continued to outpace the state’s, while more people moved out of San Bernardino County than moved in, according to newly released 2009 census population estimates.

The data reveal that, despite a slightly higher unemployment rate than San Bernardino County and higher housing prices, Riverside County continues to attract more new residents than its neighbor.

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By Mike Cruz
Posted: 03/24/2010 06:02:07 PM PDT

Computer disk drives and documents were seized from the Temecula office of a civil attorney representing former Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin as part of the District Attorney’s ongoing investigation into county corruption.

Deputy District Attorney Lewis Cope confirmed Wednesday that investigators collected the potential evidence while serving a search warrant Mar. 18 at the office of lawyer Alan Mohill, in the 43000 block of Blackdeer Loop. Cope would not quantify how much was seized.

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RivPE: Money race on between Benoit and Jeandron

By PE Politics
March 24, 2010 1:52 PM

The money race is on between Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit and challenger Gary Jeandron.

The two are vying for the board’s 4th District seat, which was once held by the late Supervisor Roy Wilson. Benoit was appointed to the post late last year after Wilson resigned shortly before his death.

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L.A. NOW
Southern California — this just in

March 24, 2010 | 5:22 pm

State election officials announced Wednesday that an initiative to legalize marijuana will be on the November ballot, triggering what will likely be an expensive, divisive and much-watched campaign to decide whether California will again lead the nation in softening drug laws.

Los Angeles County election officials Wednesday turned in their official estimate of the number of valid signatures, putting the statewide figure above the 433,971 needed for the measure to make the ballot. The county, where one-fifth of the signatures were collected, was the last to report its count, filing just before 5 p.m.

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Carly Fiorina

By DENA BUNIS
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

GOP hopefuls all in tight race with Democratic incumbent Boxer

Update: Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has caught up to former Rep. Tom Campbell in the Republican primary race for Sen. Barbara Boxer’s seat, according to the results of a new Public Policy Institute of California poll.

Both Republican challengers would be neck and neck with the third-term incumbent Democrat if the election were held today.

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InlandPolitics: The Colonies Partners settlement: The Answers – Part 6

This article is the sixth in a series of in-depth stories related to the controversy surrounding the settlement of Quiet-Title litigation between the County of San Bernardino Flood Control District, County of San Bernardino, and Colonies Partners, L.P.

In this segment, we make available to you the 2006 Settlement Agreement between the Colonies Partners L.P., County of San Bernardino Flood Control District, and the County of San Bernardino.

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Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 03/23/2010 08:40:05 PM PDT

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors announced Tuesday that it will not release confidential attorney-client information to prosecutors from the county’s four-year legal battle with Rancho Cucamonga developer Colonies Partners LP.

State and local prosecutors had asked the board to waive its attorney-client privilege so authorities can interview attorneys and examine documents from the case to determine if the controversial $102 million settlement with the developer in November 2006 was justified.

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VVDailyPress: County freezes salaries of 560 employees

Supervisors also push to protect local coffers
March 23, 2010 5:45 PM
Natasha Lindstrom

SAN BERNARDINO • Facing a $90 million budget gap, San Bernardino County supervisors on Tuesday canceled scheduled salary hikes for 560 employees to save $5 million in 2010-11.

“We are facing extremely difficult times and decisions,” County Administrative Officer Greg Devereaux said in a statement. “The board is taking actions that reflect real change in the way the county’s business is being managed. We cannot predict when the local economy will stabilize and unfortunately we’ve yet to see the full effects of the state’s financial difficulties.”

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Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 03/23/2010 07:20:00 PM PDT

The state Assembly Public Safety Committee on Tuesday voted to advance proposed legislation that would provide San Bernardino County with additional grand juries to investigate local government.

Sponsored by Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, the legislation, if passed by the full legislature and signed by the Governor, would allow San Bernardino County’s presiding judge to impanel two grand juries solely to probe complaints about local government.

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