Archive for September 21st, 2010

SJMercuryNews: AP Investigation: Calif. pension bonuses examined

By CATHY BUSSEWITZ Associated Press Writer
Posted: 09/21/2010 12:13:25 AM PDT

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—As its investment portfolio was losing nearly a quarter of its value, the country’s largest public pension fund doled out six-figure bonuses and substantial raises to its top employees, an analysis by The Associated Press has found.

Board member Tony Olivera said the California Public Employees’ Retirement System tried to reduce the bonuses but was under contractual obligations to pay them.

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L.A. NOW
Southern California — this just in
September 21, 2010 | 11:23 am

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley filed charges against eight current and former Bell officials Tuesday, alleging that they misappropriated $5.5 million in public funds. Robert Rizzo, Bell’s former city manager, has been charged with 53 counts of misappropriation of public funds and conflict of interest.

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The PE: Dutton still not the leader

By PE News
on September 21, 2010 9:19 AM

Inland state Sen. Bob Dutton was supposed to become Senate GOP leader on Sept. 1, budget or no budget. Then it seemed like the switch would happen after the Labor Day weekend.

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The PE: Riverside City Council to discuss ethics

10:00 PM PDT on Monday, September 20, 2010

By ALICIA ROBINSON
The Press-Enterprise

More than 100 Riverside residents have weighed in on possible changes to the city’s ethics code, after Councilman Paul Davis asked for their opinions in an e-mail.

The council will vote tonight on possible changes to the ethics code. Some residents say local controversies, such as improper use of police license plates, as well as the salary scandal in the city of Bell, have them paying more attention this year to the annual review of the code.

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10:00 PM PDT on Monday, September 20, 2010

By DUANE W. GANG
The Press-Enterprise

Special Section: Inland Wildfires

Riverside County is close to receiving $2 million in financial relief from Cal Fire, a move the county’s top administrator said will help bridge the fire department’s $5.5 million budget gap.

The county contracts with the state agency for fire protection and for months has been concerned about the administrative fee Cal Fire charges.

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The PE: Tribes key in backing gubernatorial candidates

10:08 PM PDT on Monday, September 20, 2010

By JIM MILLER
The Press-Enterprise

SACRAMENTO – The last time California changed governors, the final weeks of campaigning were marked by TV ads demanding that tribes with casinos pay “their fair share” to the state.

But as Republican Meg Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown fight to succeed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, their campaigns have offered nothing but warm words for tribes and the state’s politically influential multibillion-dollar tribal gaming industry.

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The Sun: City pushes impound yard to ’11

Mayor breaks tie to delay funding idea
Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 09/20/2010 09:00:12 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – The question of whether the Police Department will set up its own vehicle impound yard to recover some traffic enforcement costs will not be answered until 2011.

Mayor Pat Morris broke a 3-3 council tie on Monday to pass a motion delaying further considerations of the controversial proposal until the first meeting in January. The motion also ordered City Manager Charles McNeely to research other possible “cost-recovery options” related to the police department’s interactions with towing companies.

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DailyBulletin: Feds, county at odds

Overseer criticized officials for unspent stimulus money
Joe Nelson and Josh Dulaney, Staff Writers
Created: 09/20/2010 06:58:08 PM PDT

San Bernardino County’s Transitional Assistance Department spent less than a third of the $3.5 million it received from the federal government for job-placement programs during a nine-month review period, according to the state inspector general for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The department spent only 27 percent ($954,057 out of $3,586,571) of its money received for subsidized employment between July 1, 2009, and March 31, according to Laura Chick.

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Lawmakers have taken in $6.9 million in campaign contributions — many from companies with business before the state — since the fiscal year began July 1. Meanwhile, the state’s bills go unpaid.

By Shane Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times

September 20, 2010|7:04 p.m.

Reporting from Sacramento —
While state legislators have done little to tend to California’s dwindling treasury during this summer’s record-setting budget impasse, they’ve focused aggressively on filling their own coffers.

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By David Siders
dsiders@sacbee.com
Published: Tuesday, Sep. 21, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Tuesday, Sep. 21, 2010 – 8:21 am

Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman said Monday that she would place pension cutbacks on the ballot if negotiations with state workers fail and would consider using her personal fortune not only to win office but to advance her agenda if elected.

Taking the issue to voters is “not my first choice,” she told The Bee’s editorial board. “But if we have to … this is an issue we have got to take up.”

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SFChronicle: Prison guard union endorses Jerry Brown

Politics Blog

Posted By: Joe Garofoli | September 20 2010 at 05:28 PM

The state prison guard union — technically, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association — has endorsed Jerry Brown for guv.

No huge surprise, but important as the guards still swing a lot of power in their (financial) billy clubs. And they’re not reflexively Democrat-backers. The 30,000-member union endorsed Republican Meg Whitman’s campaign chair Pete Wilson twice for guv. They spend a lot on campaigns…OK, so they don’t always pick the winner. Hint: Don’t mention the word “Angelides” around the guards.

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By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
Published: Tuesday, Sep. 21, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

Meg Whitman ran a major corporation. Jerry Brown has been enmeshed in California politics for four-plus decades, including an eight-year stint as governor.

Both are old enough, smart enough and experienced enough to know that the state budget is a complete mess. In fact, both of them are highly critical of the deficit-ridden budget and the convoluted non-process by which it is cobbled together every year.

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Draft report alleges that $95,000 in city money was put in Robert Rizzo’s retirement accounts to repay loans he had made to himself. An expert says the allegations could amount to federal wire fraud.

By Ruben Vives and Jeff Gottlieb, Los Angeles Times

September 21, 2010

Apparently acting without City Council approval, Bell spent nearly $95,000 to repay loans that then-City Manager Robert Rizzo made to himself from his retirement accounts, a draft state audit reviewed by The Times shows.

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L.A. NOW
Southern California — this just in
September 20, 2010 | 10:01 pm

The campaign for Proposition 19, the initiative on the November ballot that seeks to legalize marijuana, plans to announce Tuesday that it has won the endorsement of the state council of the Service Employees International Union, the largest labor union in California.

The endorsement could bring a boost to the campaign, which has not been able to raise enough money for television advertisements and is relying on grass-roots outreach.

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

September 21, 2010 | Lance Williams

Here’s one reason why the unemployment rate in California’s Inland Empire is stuck above 14 percent.

A San Bernardino County jobs program obtained $3.58 million in federal stimulus grants to provide local jobs and failed to spend most of the money, says state Inspector General Laura Chick.

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By Dale Kasler
dkasler@sacbee.com
Published: Tuesday, Sep. 21, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Tuesday, Sep. 21, 2010 – 8:08 am

There – feel better now?

The recession was declared over Monday. It lasted 18 brutal months and ended in June 2009, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private organization that tracks the U.S. business cycle.

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OCRegister: Marijuana dispenseries targeted by county

September 20th, 2010, 12:21 pm · posted by Kimberly Edds, Staff Writer

Medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated Orange County could be banned under a proposed 45-day moratorium as the county prepares for the possible legalization of marijuana by voters in November’s statewide election.

The county ordinance, which would ban new dispensaries and dispensaries without permits, must be approved by 4/5 of the board of supervisors. The board meets Tuesday to debate the issue.

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