Archive for October 5th, 2010

InlandPolitics: S.B. County supes give final approval to ‘Sunshine Ordinance’

Derry

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 – 03:15 p.m.

The Sunshine Ordinance authored by Supervisor Neil Derry received unanimous support today from the Board of Supervisors and will take effect in 30 days.

A key provision of the ordinance prohibits elected and high ranking officials from citing the “deliberative process” as a means of failing to disclose receipts and other expenditures from public scrutiny. Supervisor Derry believes the right of the people to be fully apprised of all expenditures is sacrosanct and that that right must be staunchly defended.

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InlandPolitics: S.B. County: Basle appointed county counsel

Tuesday, September 5, 2010 – 3:00 p.m.

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors appointed assistant county counsel Jean-Renee Basle as their new county counsel on Tuesday morning.

Basle replaces Ruth Stringer who announced her retirement last week.

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The PE: SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY: Firm to defend Ramos

Ramos

By PE News
on October 5, 2010 11:57 AM

San Bernardino County supervisors approved the hiring of an outside law firm to defend District Attorney Mike Ramos in a sexual harassment lawsuit by a former investigative technician who worked in his office.

Cheryl Ristow of Redlands filed a $1.5 million lawsuit last month against Ramos, claiming they had an affair that ended in 2005. She said she was retaliated against when it appeared the affair would become public.

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InlandPolitics: S.B. County BOS 2: It didn’t take long

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 – 01:10 p.m.

It sure didn’t take long for Matt Brown, former chief of staff to county supervisor Paul Biane, to start in on his former boss.

Today Brown was observed in a cozy lunch meeting with Fontana city council member Janice Rutherford at the Black Angus Restaurant in San Bernardino.

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Allred

Associated Press
October 5, 2010 12:15 PM

(10-05) 12:15 PDT Los Angeles, CA (AP) —

Attorney Gloria Allred has refused again to disclose how she came to represent an illegal immigrant housekeeper Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman employed for nine years.

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Aleman

Monday, October 4, 2010 – 10:00 p.m.
Last Updated: October 5, 2010 – 05:54 a.m.

Day three in the trial of former Assessor employee and Rancho Cucamonga city councilman Rex Gutierrez proved somewhat interesting.

The main revelations out of Mondays proceedings come from key witness, former Assistant Assessor Adam Aleman.

Aleman was spinning a new twist in his testimony from that of the first Gutierrez trial.

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The PE: Cassie MacDuff: Abdicating Oversight

10:00 PM PDT on Monday, October 4, 2010

Cassie MacDuff

What is it they say about history? Those who forget it are doomed to repeat it?

Well, San Bernardino County seems to forget its history all too quickly. Witness the Board of Supervisors’ action of last week.

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The PE: TEMECULA: City manager’s pay is election issue

Nelson

10:58 PM PDT on Monday, October 4, 2010

By JEFF HORSEMAN
The Press-Enterprise

Just five city managers in California — and only one in the Inland area — earned more than Temecula City Manager Shawn Nelson in 2009, according to a survey.

Nelson, 51, earned $336,288 last year, an amount that includes his base salary, deferred compensation and other payouts, according to the survey released last month by the League of California Cities, an advocacy group for cities and towns. Nelson’s base pay is $291,571 a year, according to Temecula.

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Josh Dulaney, Staff Writer
Posted: 10/04/2010 03:31:01 PM PDT

RIALTO – An environmental group has joined with a neighborhood organization on the north side in a lawsuit against the city to stop part of a massive development approved by the City Council in July.

The Endangered Habitats League and Save Lytle Creek Wash have filed a California Environmental Quality Act lawsuit in opposition to three of the four neighborhoods proposed for the Lytle Creek Ranch project, saying the neighborhoods encroach on a delicate flood plain and will endanger the San Bernardino kangaroo rat as well as other species.

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The Sun: Ruth Stringer announces retirement plans

Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 10/04/2010 03:41:11 PM PDT

Ruth Stringer, who has served as San Bernardino County government’s top lawyer for about four years, has announced plans to retire.

“The office of County Counsel has been a fantastic place to have a career in legal practice,” Stringer, 61, said.

Stringer has not set a date for her final day in office, but hopes to be retired around December, she said.

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DailyBulletin: Aleman takes stand at Gutierrez trial

Adam Aleman, former San Bernardino County assistant assessor, refers to information from court exhibits during his testimony Monday in the trial of Rancho Cucamonga City Councilman Rex Gutierrez. (Rick Sforza/Staff Photographer)

Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Created: 10/04/2010 06:43:45 PM PDT

Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum was instrumental in the hiring of Rancho Cucamonga Councilman Rex Gutierrez at the San Bernardino County Assessor’s Office in 2007, and had a “shadow influence” over office operations, according to court testimony Monday.

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The PE: Corruption trial witness’s credibility attacked

10:12 PM PDT on Monday, October 4, 2010

By IMRAN GHORI
The Press-Enterprise

A key prosecution witness in a San Bernardino County corruption case came under attack Monday as he alleged that a former assessor’s official got away with doing little at his job due to his connections to an influential developer.

Adam Aleman, a former assistant assessor, testified that Rex Gutierrez, a Rancho Cucamonga city councilman, was hired by former assessor Bill Postmus in February 2007 as a favor to Jeff Burum, a Rancho Cucamonga developer.

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The PE: CD45: Miss Mack, Mack, Mack lashes back, back back

By PE Politics
on October 4, 2010 12:25 PM

In his bid to unseat Inland Rep. Mary Bono Mack, Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet enlisted a group of school-age children for a new ad portraying the incumbent as being out of touch with her constituents.

The ad, which takes aim at congressional pay increases during the economic downturn, features a woman in a business suit accepting a briefcase full of cash while a group of girls puts a new twist an an old schoolyard song.

Bono Mack’s campaign was not amused.

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Liset Marquez, Staff Writer
Created: 10/04/2010 09:02:01 PM PDT

ONTARIO – When it comes to employee staffing and the wages they earn, LA/Ontario International Airport is in a class by itself.

A report recently released by the city, “Ontario International Airport – A Recovery Plan,” found the higher number of employees and their bloated compensations are some of the leading factors in ONT’s economic woes.

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07:42 PM PDT on Monday, October 4, 2010

By LESLIE BERKMAN
The Press-Enterprise

Leaning on a slowly recovering economy, California’s housing market is in for “a very long and very bumpy” comeback, with median home prices and sales predicted to increase about 2 percent next year, according to a real estate industry forecast released Monday.

While the housing sector has led the nation out of previous recessions, this time it will take longer for housing to revive because of an unprecedented fall in home values that was caused by a crisis in the financial market, the California Association of Realtors said in releasing its 2011 forecast.

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The PE: Lewis Group buys Fontana land for future homes

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07:42 PM PDT on Monday, October 4, 2010

By LESLIE BERKMAN
The Press-Enterprise

Trying to carefully choose a location that will be among the first to see a home-buying revival, the Lewis Group of Cos. has acquired more than 76 acres in north Fontana from an affiliate of Wells Fargo Bank for single-family home development.

Upland-based Lewis closed escrow Sept. 3 on land that was previously being planned for development by the Empire Cos., which went bankrupt. The purchase price was undisclosed.

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PolitiCal
On politics in the Golden State
October 4, 2010 | 5:20 pm

California officials are cutting off use of state-issued welfare debit cards at casinos across the country and on cruise ships, in the wake of Times reports that the aid cards have been used to spend or withdraw millions of dollars in benefits at popular vacation spots including the Las Vegas strip and on ships sailing from ports around the world.

More than $69 million meant to help the needy pay their rent and clothe their children was accessed in all 49 other states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam, according to data obtained by The Times from the California Department of Social Services.

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SacBee: Poll finds state in dark mood

(Click image to enlarge)

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By Darrell Smith
dvsmith@sacbee.com
Published: Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 6B

Californians’ gloom over the present and future economy is at a level rarely seen, according to the latest Field Poll released today.

Californians are profoundly, even historically, pessimistic about the state’s economy, their personal finances and job opportunities and have little faith that prospects will improve anytime soon, as voters confront sinking incomes, foreclosures and high unemployment.

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LATimes: Fiorina and NRSC air new ad attacking Boxer

PolitiCal
On politics in the Golden State
October 4, 2010 | 4:11 pm

The campaign of Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have joined forces to air a new ad that accuses Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of presiding over a state that has fallen into disrepair.

NRSC officials initially said they planned to spend at least $1.75 million to help Fiorina during the final week of her campaign to unseat the three-term senator. But after several weeks in which Fiorina has slid behind Boxer in the polls, the NRSC has moved up the timing — devoting $2 million to reinforce the message of the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive.

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As the liberal city’s district attorney campaigns against L.A.’s Steve Cooley for state attorney general, her opposition to the death penalty and stances on other issues could work against her.

San Francisco Dist. Atty. Kamala Harris, right, who is running for California attorney general, is adamantly opposed to the death penalty. That may not go over well elsewhere in the state. (Al Seib, Los Angeles Times / October 4, 2010)

By Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times

October 4, 2010|10:37 p.m.

Reporting from San Francisco —
In Kamala Harris’ successful, hard-fought campaign for San Francisco district attorney in 2003, the Democrat and her two rivals found rare common ground on the nationally hypercharged issue of the death penalty. All three adamantly opposed it.

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By David Siders
dsiders@sacbee.com
Published: Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010 – 12:17 am

The California Supreme Court handed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger a victory when it ruled Monday that state worker furloughs were legal and employees are not owed back pay.

But by unanimously pinning responsibility on the Legislature, the court rejected the governor’s bid to expand executive power, making it more difficult for future governors to order unpaid days off. The decision said Schwarzenegger had no authority to act on his own.

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Calpensions: Pension rules shakeup: Will GASB do it again?

By Ed Mendel

Proposed changes in public pension accounting rules scheduled to be heard in San Francisco next week are drawing fire from both sides — critics of the current system say massive debt will remain hidden, and supporters say costs could jump.

A previous rule change telling state and local governments to report the cost of retiree health care promised current workers revealed an estimated $118 billion debt in California, sparking a move to begin setting aside money to pay for it.

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By Kevin Yamamura
kyamamura@sacbee.com
Published: Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 1A

After reaching a handshake deal Friday to end the longest budget dispute in state history, legislative leaders and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will now seek to promote the victories they believe justified their long holdout.

Nobody is walking away from the table with champagne in hand. As Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said Friday night, there was “not a lot of celebrating” once the deal was struck, given the dreary solutions necessary to bridge a $19 billion deficit.

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The list comprises mostly medical personnel and department heads, but also includes firefighters, the sheriff and district attorney. Thirty employees made more than $80,000 in overtime.

By Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times

October 5, 2010

Nearly 200 Los Angeles County employees earned more than a quarter of a million dollars in 2009, according to a list of the county’s top earners released late Monday in response to a Public Records Act request from The Times.

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By Bobby Caina Calvan
bcalvan@sacbee.com
Published: Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

California’s push to be the first in the nation to establish a health benefits exchange is being closely watched by other states as they act on implementing key elements of the national health care overhaul law.

Last week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation that will establish a state-run health insurance exchange, which will open for business by 2014 and help millions of Californians obtain medical coverage under the federal law.

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A law school study discovers 707 cases in which state, U.S. and appellate courts found misconduct in opinions between 1997 and 2009. The authors criticize the State Bar for disciplining only 6 prosecutors.

By Jack Leonard, Times Staff Writer

October 5, 2010

Hundreds of prosecutors in California — including many in Los Angeles County — have committed misconduct with near impunity as authorities failed to either report or discipline them, according to a report released Monday.

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

October 5, 2010 | Agustin Armendariz

A blog catering to private investigators has compiled an impressive list of links to various sources of public employee salary data around the country.

In the wake of the salary scandal in Bell, uncovered by the Los Angeles Times in June, state officials have called for more transparency in the disclosure of public employee compensation around the state. Robert Rizzo, the former Bell city administrator, was paid nearly $800,000 and could be eligible for $1 million a year in pension.

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