Archive for August 30th, 2010

Fox&Hounds: Two Budget Votes Are Not Enough

By Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee
Mon, August 30th, 2010

The scheduled votes Tuesday on two disparate budget plans for California — one put forth by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the other by legislative Democrats — are fine as far as they go but they do not go far enough. There should be votes on many possible budget plans.

Tuesday’s exercise is designed to consider two different ways to look at spending plans for the state government and to take a measure of where those plans stand with legislators. The outcomes of the votes are obvious.

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By Dale Kasler
dkasler@sacbee.com
Published: Monday, Aug. 30, 2010 – 4:26 pm

Questioned in connection with a bribery scandal at CalPERS, a former board member of the giant pension fund invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination 126 times earlier this month, according to court records filed today.

Charles Valdes repeatedly refused to answer questions from a state lawyer about his relationship with Alfred Villalobos.

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InlandPolitics: Sun newspaper puts its slant on facts

Monday, August 30, 2010 – 4:50 pm

I just read a story published this afternoon on The Sun newspaper website that I’m sure will appear in Tuesday’s edition.

The story is regarding a settlement with recently appointed Assistant Auditor-Controller-Recorder Matt Brown, former chief of staff to San Bernardino County supervisor Paul Biane. Brown filed a complaint with county officials that he was subject to a hostile work environment due to his cooperation with a county corruption probe.

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SBSun: Former Biane aide drops complaint, paid $25,000

By Joe Nelson
Posted: 08/30/2010 12:46:34 PM PDT

The former chief of staff for San Bernardino County Supervisor Paul Biane has withdrawn a complaint alleging he was repeatedly harassed for cooperating in corruption probe as part of a settlement deal with the county.

Matt Brown, who now works as the assistant county recorder, approached County Administrative Officer Greg Deveraux last week to say he wanted to drop his May 3 written complaint addressed to Biane and carbon copied to the other four board members. A human resources investigation was subsequently launched.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010 – 08:30 pm

Pollster Scott Rasmussen of Rasmussen Reports told Fox News channel in an interview this afternoon that Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is maintaining a firm lead over California Attorney General Jerry Brown.

Last week Rasmussen released a poll conducted on August 24th showing Whitman with a firm 48% to 40% lead over Brown. When taking into account leaning voters Whitman captures a majority of likely voters at 51% to Brown’s 43%. Leaning voter’s become increasingly more important after Labor Day.

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Ramos with Attorney General Jerry Brown

Sunday, August 29, 2010 – 11:50 pm

San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos, the architect of a corruption probe against various current and former San Bernardino County officials, has now become the recipient of criticism from senior republicans.

One elected official is even is asserting that prosecutions brought by Ramos may in fact be politically motivated.

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InlandPolitics: The Insider: Was Jerry Brown lied to?

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Sunday, August 29, 2010 – 2:40 pm

It’s finally crunch time in the multi-year corruption probe launched by San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos.

And one has to wonder what Ramos told Attorney General Jerry Brown in regards to his evidence?

There’s a bigger question starting to be asked by some close to the investigation.

Was Brown lied to?

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Sunday, August 29, 2010 – 12:30 pm
Updated: August 29, 2010 – 08:50 pm

It’s baffling to hear the rhetoric, chatter, and the denials regarding the condition of the state and local economy.

Yes, it’s going to get worse. A situation that’s bad for everyone. Politicians, businesses, and everyday folk. Denial is still in full swing.

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PE: Prosecutions of elder abuse cases decline under Brown

11:19 PM PDT on Sunday, August 29, 2010

By CHRISTINA JEWETT
California Watch

The office of Attorney General Jerry Brown has dismissed an increasing number of criminal cases against defendants suspected of elder abuse, while cutting back on surprise inspections to investigate violence and neglect in nursing homes.

A California Watch review of elder abuse prosecutions found Brown’s office in sharp contrast with his predecessor, Bill Lockyer, who made similar cases a top priority during his two terms. In addition to dismissing abuse prosecutions already in motion, Brown’s office has filed fewer new cases per year than Lockyer’s office.

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PE: Most Inland lawmakers oppose bill on loan modifications

10:54 PM PDT on Sunday, August 29, 2010

By JIM MILLER
Sacramento Bureau

SACRAMENTO – A bill that would set new rules for the foreclosure process is the focus of a fierce end-of-session fight between the lending industry and consumer groups.

Loan delinquency and foreclosure rates are down from the worst of the housing downturn but Riverside and San Bernardino counties remain among the hardest-hit parts of the state.

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10:00 PM PDT on Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Press-Enterprise

Just when does Senate Republican leader-elect Bob Dutton get to drop the “elect?”

The transition had long been set for Wednesday. Earlier this month, Senate GOP head honcho Dennis Hollingsworth said Dutton would be taking over then, “rain or shine, budget or no budget.”

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SBSun: San Bernardino considers parking meters

Streets surrounding courthouse would get the timers
Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/29/2010 09:51:43 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – City leaders’ quest for new revenue may result in parking meters being installed on the streets surrounding the Central Courthouse.

“You can’t find a place to park around the courthouse, and we should be getting a parking fee from the people who are over there to do business or take care of legal matters,” said Rich Lawhead, president of the San Bernardino Police Officers Association.

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SBSun: San Bernardino’s till near empty

City had only $1.7M in reserve on June 30
Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/29/2010 09:49:33 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – Budget reserves are so low that City Treasurer David Kennedy says there was no real alternative to the latest round of budget cuts.

San Bernardino officials have yet to complete their accounting of the past fiscal year, but they expect to find the ending fund balance as of June 30 was a mere $1.7 million.

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SBSun: Sites stir suspicion

Are they near casino for safety or money?
Michael J. Sorba, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/29/2010 09:49:31 PM PDT

It’s the letter no one wants: One informing a hapless driver that he or she was photographed running a red light at an intersection equipped with enforcement cameras.

The violation comes with a hefty fine of around $400 and more in traffic school fees if the driver wants to avoid a record that could auto insurance costs to rise.

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DailyBulletin OpEd: Scheduled budget vote just a drill

Sen. Bob Dutton
Created: 08/29/2010 08:06:40 PM PDT

For the past year, the state budget process has dragged along at a markedly slow pace with precious little in the way of progress to talk about. It may have come as a pleasant surprise to some then that a budget vote is scheduled for this Tuesday. But despite the assurances you might hear from Democrat leaders, make no mistake, this is only a drill.

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DailyBulletin: Donnelly gains support

GOP big guns back newcomer
Rebecca Kimitch, Staff Writer
Created: 08/29/2010 09:53:49 PM PDT

In June, a few hundred votes separated them. Now Tim Donnelly and Chris Lancaster are fighting on the same team.

Donnelly, a self-described grass-roots Tea Party Republican and former Minuteman, narrowly beat Lancaster in the Republican primary for the 59th Assembly District, which stretches between Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.

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Spitzer

Posted: Sunday, August 29, 2010 12:22 am | Updated: 12:55 am, Sun Aug 29, 2010.

NORBERTO SANTANA, JR.

Saturday, August 28, 2010 | Former state Assemblyman and county Supervisor Todd Spitzer spoke out Saturday, saying he was improperly fired from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office over a routine phone call to the Public Guardian’s Office to check into the status of a case.

Spitzer made the call on behalf of Huntington Beach resident Teddie Alves, who had called Spitzer at the Harbor Justice Center and asked him to look into allegations of domestic violence and elder abuse at the Public Guardian’s Office.

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Political analysts who wanted the Democrat to press Meg Whitman hard now express admiration for his ability to stay even in the polls.

By Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times

August 30, 2010

Democrat Jerry Brown is running for governor, but voters in California might not know it. Since winning the primary in June, he has spent almost nothing, has rarely appeared on the campaign trail and has yet to air a single ad against Republican rival Meg Whitman.

But as Labor Day, the traditional start of the general election season, approaches, polls show that Brown and Whitman are locked in a tight race, despite Whitman’s putting $104 million of her personal wealth into her campaign and spending $20 million on television ads over the summer.

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Voters need to be told why a political old-timer like him would be better than neophyte Meg Whitman

By George Skelton, Capitol Journal
August 30, 2010

From Sacramento-

There was a blonde sitting at a Lake Tahoe waterfront bar recently who had Jerry Brown’s problem nailed.

“Millions of Democrats are waiting for a reason to vote for Jerry Brown and he isn’t giving them one,” she said, interrupting the tortured analyses spewing from me and some other political junkies.

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Barbara Boxer                 Carly Fiorina

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August 30, 2010

As the U.S. Senate candidates prepare to debate Wednesday evening, Republican Carly Fiorina and Democrat Barbara Boxer face two, very different challenges:

Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, wants to make the case that Boxer is a left-wing extremist who should be tossed out of Congress and that she would make a solid replacement for her rival.

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By David Siders
dsiders@sacbee.com
Published: Monday, Aug. 30, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 1A

Former Gov. Pete Wilson provided Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman a valuable endorsement in the GOP primary, when he declared she would be “tough as nails” on illegal immigration.

But what made that recommendation resonate for many conservatives – Wilson championed Proposition 187, the 1994 initiative that sought to deny public services to illegal immigrants – has become a liability now that Whitman is trying to win over Latino and independent voters.

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As lawmakers rush to pass bills before the deadline, lobbyists and others are busy making deals.

By Shane Goldmacher and Evan Halper, Los Angeles Times

August 30, 2010

Reporting from Sacramento —
It happens every year at this time. Overtired legislators are only days from the deadline to pass new laws, and there is so much bustle in the Capitol that keeping track of all the drafts of bills is almost impossible. That’s when special interests can capitalize on the chaos.

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Calpensions: CalSTR pays $600,000 for funding drive help

By Ed Mendel

CalSTRS is paying two public affairs firms up to $600,00 this fiscal year to help tell system members and legislators about the need to begin closing a huge funding shortfall.

The contract with Edelman and Lucas Public Affairs allows two top executives to bill at the rate of $250 an hour, three others at $225 an hour, two at $210 an hour, and three at $150 to $125 an hour. The firms also can bill CalSTRS for travel expenses.

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Published: Aug. 29, 2010
Updated: Aug. 30, 2010 6:49 a.m.

By FRANK MICKADEIT
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Did anybody really think D.A. Tony Rackauckas ‘s anointment of Todd Spitzer to replace him in four years was going to go smoothly?

Well, naïve little me thought it might. But under either of the two prevailing theories as to why T-Rack fired Spitzer on Friday, this was a marriage that was doomed.

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SFChronicle: No end in sight to state budget deadlock

Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
San Francisco Chronicle
Monday, August 30, 2010

(08-30) 04:00 PDT Sacramento – —

As California’s budget impasse moves into record-breaking territory, and as the consequences of inaction multiply, people around the state and at the Capitol say it’s anyone’s guess as to when a spending plan will be passed.

The Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger are facing increasing criticism from the public and each other that they lack a sense of urgency to pass a budget that solves the state’s $19 billion deficit.

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By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com The Sacramento Bee
Published: Monday, Aug. 30, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

One can find broad agreement in the Capitol – and probably in the public – that California’s tax systems, which collect upwards of $200 billion a year, are a mess.

But that’s where accord on taxes ends. Everyone, it seems, has a different take on how taxes should be made fairer, more relevant and easier to administer – usually reflecting an old adage: “Don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax the fellow behind the tree.”

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By Jon Ortiz
jortiz@sacbee.com
Published: Monday, Aug. 30, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 1A

California state government’s “Help Wanted” sign drew nearly 23,000 new employees in the past year and a half, although the overall size of the state work force remained relatively flat.

Seasonal firefighters, highway patrol cadets and unemployment insurance workers were among the largest groups in the 22,781 workers who were new to state service. The numbers, from January 2009 through June of this year, were produced by the state controller’s office.

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