Archive for July, 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 – 01:00 p.m.

Will San Bernardino County Supervisors send two pension reform measures to the November Ballot?

Probably not?

Why? Egos and ineptitude.

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BY JEFF HORSEMAN
jhorseman@pe.com

Published: 31 July 2012 11:04 AM

Riverside County supervisors voted unanimously this morning to give raises to upper-level managers who aren’t represented by unions.

Sheriff Stan Sniff said the raises, which pertain to 11 executives in his office, were critical to his ability to attract employees to executive posts and keep his department running.

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San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford.

BY IMRAN GHORI
STAFF WRITER
ighori@pe.com

Published: 30 July 2012 07:14 PM

San Bernardino County officials are hoping to get a handle on rising retirement costs with a pair of pension reform proposals that could move forward this week.

What remains uncertain, however, is whether it will be accomplished at the ballot box or the bargaining table.

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SAN BERNARDINO’S FINANCIAL CRISIS

Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/30/2012 06:21:46 PM PDT

Special Section: San Bernardino

SAN BERNARDINO – The city’s bankruptcy is not the only major financial challenge for local officials.

Recent decisions in Sacramento effectively neuter the attempt to preserve redevelopment by creating a nonprofit called the Economic Development Corp.

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Liset Marquez, Staff Writer
Created: 07/30/2012 11:50:41 AM PDT

ONTARIO – Passenger traffic at LA/Ontario International Airport continued its downward trend in June, falling 4.3 percent compared to the same month in 2011.

Overall, numbers of passengers flying in and out of ONT have dropped 6.3 percent for the first six months of 2012 compared to the previous year, according to figures released Monday by Los Angeles World Airports which manages ONT.

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By Neil Nisperos, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Created: 07/31/2012 11:38:00 AM PDT

RANCHO CUCAMONGA — The city is unlikely to file a lawsuit over not being able to receive money from the state to complete its redevelopment projects.

The game changer: new legislation – Assembly Bill 1484 – allows development agencies to apply for bond proceeds they would otherwise have been denied after the dissolution of redevelopment agencies.

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The Upland Professional Fire Fighters Association and the city have reached agreement on a new contract.

By Sandra Emerson, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Created: 07/30/2012 11:45:54 AM PDT

UPLAND — After a year of negotiations, firefighters and city officials have reached a contract agreement.

The Upland Professional Fire Fighters Association’s new two-year contract, which is already set to expire in June 2013, does not include increases in salaries and benefits, but does give firefighters options for using their vacation time.

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By Kevin Yamamura
kyamamura@sacbee.com
Published: Tuesday, Jul. 31, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jul. 31, 2012 – 8:18 am

California’s borrowing from special fund accounts has reached nearly $4.3 billion, more than five times the amount from June 2008, according to a semiannual report issued Monday by the state Department of Finance.

Since the depths of the recession, state leaders have relied heavily on borrowing from special fund accounts that generate money from user fees and regulated industries, among the many patchwork solutions to avoid deeper program cuts in the general fund budget.

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As the governor and lawmakers make ever-deeper cuts, accounting discrepancies mean that large sums, such as $113 million in a recycling program, may be untapped.

 

By Chris Megerian and Paige St. John, Los Angeles Times
July 31, 2012

SACRAMENTO — California may have had hundreds of millions of dollars more on hand than the governor and lawmakers knew about as they struggled to close the budget deficit this year, a Times analysis shows.

Officials are scrambling to explain discrepancies in about two dozen state funds identified in a comparison of balance sheets from the controller’s office and the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown.

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Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
Published: Tuesday, Jul. 31, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jul. 31, 2012 – 8:18 am

Gov. Jerry Brown released an Internet ad the other day, asking voters to embrace his multibillion-dollar tax increase.

But the word “tax” is nowhere to be found. The closest Brown or other speakers in the tightly scripted ad come to the T-word is “new revenues.” Mostly, it touts Brown’s efforts to cut state spending and declares – wrongly – that the state’s credit rating has improved.

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InlandPolitics: This and that!

Monday, July 30, 2012 – 08:45 a.m.

Here’s some news floating across the transom Monday morning.

Former SEIU leader Freeman likely to be indicted this week.

Los Angeles Daily News Columnist Rick Orlov is reporting that Former SEIU Local 735 Leader Tyrone Freeman will be indicted by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles this week.

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THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE
Published: 29 July 2012 06:10 PM

The race for a Riverside-centered congressional seat took to the highways and byways last week.

Democrat Mark Takano lashed out at Republicans following a day of GOP attacks against the Riverside Community College Board trustee, including a roving anti-Takano billboard.

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SAN BERNARDINO’S FINANCIAL CRISIS

Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/29/2012 01:05:37 PM PDT

Special Section: San Bernardino

View: Annotated Charter

SAN BERNARDINO – The city’s pending bankruptcy has revived talk of major changes for the City Charter for the third time since 2000.

As the city moves closer to a Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing, an immediate focus of debate is whether a charter provision setting a formula for police officers’ and firefighters’ salaries makes financial sense.

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Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
Published: Monday, Jul. 30, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

California’s chronic budget deficits – even in times of economic expansion – testify to its political dysfunction, which is reason to wonder whether a November ballot measure on budget procedures, if enacted, would have much positive effect.

California Forward, a centrist amalgam of civic, political and cultural elites, has proposed what is now Proposition 31 (the numbering sequence is subject to a pending lawsuit). It includes such changes as more public notice on legislation, two-year budgeting cycles and requiring any major new spending program or tax cut to identify an offsetting revenue or savings.

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By Ed Mendel
Monday, July 30, 2012

The IRS is taking a new look at whether public pension systems qualify for tax deferrals, raising questions about nonprofit charter schools in CalSTRS and county systems using “excess” earnings to fund retiree health care.

Taxes on employer-employee contributions to pension systems and their investment earnings can be avoided until retirees are paid. But if the rules are not followed, the IRS can change the tax status and impose fines and penalties.

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Jurupa Valley in Riverside County lost millions when lawmakers tapped funds earmarked for cities last year. ‘Our survival is at stake,’ the mayor says.

By Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times
July 30, 2012, 1:47 a.m.

The jagged foothills, withered pastures and a web of horse trails along the Santa Ana River give the state’s newest city a hint of the Wild West. Jurupa Valley’s money troubles, though, are pure modern-day California.

Jurupa Valley may be broke in a year, even though the city is so new that it has no permanent employees, no generous employee pension plan and runs City Hall out of a leased strip-mall storefront next to the Lucky Wok Chinese restaurant.

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InlandPolitics: Brown administration imperils its own tax measure

Sunday, July 29, 2012 – 11:00 a.m.

It’s either arrogance, incompetence or stupidity.

California Governor Jerry Brown and his own administration would appear to be doing everything possible to blow up a proposed tax increase  measure slated for the November ballot.

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The sheriff and district attorney make the case that their senior staffs stand to earn less than their unionized subordinates

BY JEFF HORSEMAN
STAFF WRITER
jhorseman@pe.com

Published: 28 July 2012 06:04 PM

Raises for top-level prosecutors and senior sheriff’s department staff are needed so managers don’t earn less than the people they supervise, according to Sheriff Stan Sniff and District Attorney Paul Zellerbach.

They’re backing proposals before the county Board of Supervisors to raise non-union managers’ pay so there’s a wider salary gap between them and their subordinates. The board will consider the raises at their Tuesday, July 31, meeting, which starts at 9 a.m. in the board chambers at the County Administrative Center, 4080 Lemon St. in Riverside.

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SAN BERNARDINO’S FINANCIAL CRISIS

Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/28/2012 02:39:43 PM PDT

Special Section: San Bernardino

View: Annotated Charter

SAN BERNARDINO – Momentum may be growing to repeal the section of the city’s charter that sets salaries in the Police and Fire departments, although a deadline is fast approaching and officials who previously championed the idea now say any call for change must come from residents.

Some of those residents say the city’s economic troubles are worsened by Charter Section 186, which sets police and firefighter salaries as the average of 10 similarly sized California cities.

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Supervisor Neil Derry

BY NEIL DERRY

Published: 29 July 2012 01:00 AM

Sugarcoating medicine works for children, but it is counterproductive in situations requiring mature dialogue and communication. San Bernardino County has a public pension problem — a big problem that continues to grow unabated. Our pension fund is currently underfunded by more than $1.7 billion. To put that in perspective, our general fund budget is approximately $2.3 billion.

On Thursday, I will bring before the Board of Supervisors a pension reform proposal that will:

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The PE: REDLANDS: City pays state $3 million under protest

BY JAN SEARS
STAFF WRITER
jsears@pe.com

Published: 28 July 2012 06:10 PM

Redlands had to loan more than $3 million from its general fund to its redevelopment successor agency on Thursday, July 26, to cover an unexpected demand for more money from the state.

The money to cover the $3.1 million loan came from the city’s water department and was transferred, with City Council approval, to Redlands’ former redevelopment agency, now referred to as the successor agency. The agency needed the money to cover a bond payment due this month.

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DailyBulletin: Ontario Convention Center faces deficit

Liset Marquez, Staff Writer
Created: 07/28/2012 12:13:59 PM PDT

ONTARIO – Each year the city-owned Convention Center has operated at about a $1.6 million deficit, but the economic impact the city receives from the facility provides a greater return to its coffers, officials said.

City officials said they don’t necessarily view the $1.2 million figure and another $400,000 it invests for building improvements as a drain on the city’s general fund.

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Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
Published: Sunday, Jul. 29, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Sunday, Jul. 29, 2012 – 8:22 am

When June’s employment data were released last week, some analysts quickly hailed them as indicators of a strong California recovery from the deepest recession since the Great Depression.

Steve Levy, who directs the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy, was particularly upbeat, to wit:

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LATimes: Newsom calls eminent domain plan in San Bernardino County ‘bold’

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom believes a plan under consideration by Inland Empire communities to seize and restructure troubled mortgages deserves a look. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

By Alejandro Lazo
July 27, 2012, 4:36 p.m.

One of California’s highest-ranking politicians, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, has told an investor group to “back off” and allow San Bernardino County to explore a controversial plan that would employ its eminent domain powers to seize and restructure troubled mortgages.

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The front entrance to the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula.(File Photo)

 

RICHARD K. De ATLEY, STAFF WRITER
rdeatley@pe.com
Published: 26 July 2012 05:29 PM

A mistrial was declared Thursday, July 26 in the trial of an insurance broker and the former chief financial officer for Pechanga Resort & Casino who were charged with bilking the tribe out of about $4 million in what prosecutors describe as an overcharging scam.

Jurors were deadlocked after about a day and a half of deliberations and multiple votes. On Thursday the panel heard nearly two hours of re-read testimony before the foreman handed Riverside County Superior Court Judge Elisabeth Sichel a note saying they could not agree on verdicts.

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PolitiCal
On politics in the Golden State
July 27, 2012 | 7:35 pm

Gov. Jerry Brown has quietly handed out pay raises to three of his aides in recent months before pushing through pay cuts for most other state workers, including his staff.

Brown has asked employees in his office to take the same roughly 5% pay cut hitting other state workers, but a spokeswoman said raises were justified for three staffers because they were underpaid for the jobs they did.

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Facebook will free up nearly 1.7 billion shares — four times the number now trading — starting next month as provisions that barred employees from selling their holdings begin to expire.

 

By Walter Hamilton and Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times
July 28, 2012

Think the plunge in Facebook’s stock after its sluggish earnings report was bad? Wait until a torrent of new shares hits the market in a few weeks.

Facebook will free up nearly 1.7 billion shares — four times the number now trading — starting next month as provisions that had barred employees from selling their holdings begin to expire.

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InlandPolitics: This and that!

Friday, July 27, 2012 – 01:30 p.m.

Here’s some news of interest traveling across the transom this week.

U.S. Economy slows, second quarter GDP Falls to a tepid 1.5%.

The U.S. economy grew at a cooling-down pace of just 1.5% in the 2nd-quarter of 2012. The news isn’t good for those hoping for a economic recovery.

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Friday, July 27, 2012 – 12:45 p.m.

Sources are telling InlandPolitics.com The Sun newspaper is shuttering its North San Bernardino facilities and will relocate back to the city’s downtown.

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A group called Save Our San Bernardino which calls itself SOS has become much more involved since the city authorized a bankruptcy filing. (Staff)

Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/26/2012 05:23:55 PM PDT

Special Section: San Bernardino

SAN BERNARDINO – Concerned citizens say the city’s shortage of cash and budget deficit have revealed other problems – and other solutions.

“We had a bankruptcy of civic engagement,” said Roxanne Williams, who recently moved to San Bernardino and now is vice-chairwoman of a group called Save Our San Bernardino, which formed four months ago. “I’ve always been concerned about the lack of vision of San Bernardino, so our concern actually predated the fiscal bankruptcy.”

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Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/26/2012 05:30:00 PM PDT

A founder of a San Francisco company behind a proposal for local government to use eminent domain to take control of underwater mortgages predicted other companies may follow them and take the plan national.

Mortgage Resolution Partners co-founder and chief strategic officer John Vlahoplus said in an interview Thursday that he believes the controversial plan will survive legal challenges and may be emulated by other firms in areas heavily affected by the post-2007 housing market bust.

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The PE: LIBERTY QUARRY: Supervisors feuding over revised plan

Supervisor John Benoit/(File Photo)

 

BY JEFF HORSEMAN
STAFF WRITER
jhorseman@pe.com

Published: 26 July 2012 07:31 PM

A rift has developed between two Riverside County supervisors over re-submitted plans for the Liberty Quarry.

Supervisor John Benoit, who represents desert cities, is supporting efforts to fast track plans for the Temecula-area open pit gravel mine.

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VVDailyPress: Grand jury: Should Victorville run SCLA?

July 27, 2012 8:40 AM
Brooke Edwards Staggs, City Editor

VICTORVILLE • It’s been discussed by local leaders — often heatedly — on and off for several years.

Now, armed with a recommendation from the San Bernardino County grand jury, talk of shifting control of Southern California Logistics Airport from Victorville to the regional Victor Valley Economic Development Authority has resurfaced.

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The Sun: San Bernardino must go with Plan B

John Weeks, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/26/2012 03:12:18 PM PDT

Last Wednesday we charted the history of San Bernardino in a way that made the city’s recent bankruptcy filing seem predictable, even predestined.

We saw how the city was abandoned in its infancy by its founders and how it has been a troublemaker ever since, acting out its aggression in ways that have kept it poor, disreputable and always under suspicion. (To read again, head online to sbsun.com and click on Opinions, then Columnists, then on my column titled “SB bankruptcy both inevitable, impossible.”)

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BY JAN SEARS
STAFF WRITER
jsears@pe.com

Published: 26 July 2012 10:53 PM

Candidates seeking office in Redlands’ November elections will be asked to abide by voluntary limits on fundraising, the City Council agreed Thursday evening, July 26.

Councilman Bob Gardner sought limits on both campaign spending and fundraising, but agreed to focus on fundraising alone when other councilmen began raising questions about his proposal.

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By Mike Rosenberg mrosenberg@mercurynews.com © Copyright 2012, Bay Area News Group
Posted: 07/26/2012 06:02:30 PM PDT

SACRAMENTO — A week after uncovering a hidden-funds scandal at the state parks department, finance officials are now trying to piece together why the balance sheets for similar “special funds” are off by $2.3 billion — money that appeared to be right under their noses amid California’s financial meltdown.

An analysis by this newspaper of California’s little-known 500-plus special funds — like the ones that included $54 million in parks money shielded from the Department of Finance — shows tens of millions of dollars in discrepancies in numerous accounts.

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OCRegister: County’s CEO resigns, gets $270,000 severance

July 26th, 2012, 4:58 pm
Posted by Andrew Galvin

Tom Mauk agreed Thursday to resign as the county’s highest non-elected official, the latest executive departure since former O.C. Public Works manager Carlos Bustamante was charged with 12 felonies for alleged sexual abuse of female employees.

Mauk will receive about $270,000 in severance payments, said John Moorlach, chairman of the county’s Board of Supervisors. That includes 10 months of pay and 410 hours of accrued vacation time and is a bit less than Mauk would have been entitled to under his contract if he’d been fired, Moorlach said.

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Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Published: Friday, Jul. 27, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

If you and the Internal Revenue Service disagree about your federal tax bill, the path of resolution is clear – several layers of bureaucratic appeal and, if that process doesn’t do it, a trip to tax court.

Characteristically, California’s tax adjudication process is much more convoluted and, on occasion, much more political.

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LATimes: Bankrupt San Bernardino must cut spending by a third

Widespread layoffs or pay reductions for city workers are expected. The city is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection.

 

By Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times
July 25, 2012, 7:50 p.m.

San Bernardino must cut government spending by a third, almost assuredly resulting in widespread layoffs or pay reductions for city workers, as it prepares to officially file for bankruptcy protection, city officials said.

Interim City Manager Andrea Travis-Miller told the City Council that it must cut $45.8 million from the $166-million budget to ensure the city remains solvent throughout the current fiscal year, which runs through next June. Crafting the austerity plan will be required as part of the Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy process.

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Congressman Gary Miller (Dennis Cook /AP)

BY BEN GOAD
WASHINGTON BUREAU
bgoad@pe.com

Published: 25 July 2012 06:15 PM

WASHINGTON – One of them is among the most vocal advocates in Congress for comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

The other has championed legislation to end birthright citizenship altogether for the children of the undocumented.

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The PE: RIVERSIDE: New bonds will save money on old debt

BY ALICIA ROBINSON
STAFF WRITER
arobinson@pe.com

Published: 24 July 2012 06:21 PM

Riverside will save about $300,000 per year, for a projected total of $2.3 million, by borrowing money to repay older debt, officials said.

The City Council voted Tuesday, July 24, to issue up to $48 million in bonds that will pay off debt issued in 2003. The new bonds will be at a better interest rate, saving about 5.27 percent when compared with the existing debt, according to a staff report.

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The Sun: San Bernardino to consider short-term cuts

Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/24/2012 11:12:13 AM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – The City Council gave itself a little breathing room Tuesday, agreeing to defer about $12 million of payments over the next three months so it can meet its other obligations while it prepares a more comprehensive set of cuts.

The unanimous vote delays some payments, keeps some positions vacant and continues concessions made by several unions, but officials emphasized that Tuesday’s vote was only a stopgap measure to resolve a cash-flow problem that would otherwise prevent the city from paying its employees on Aug. 15.

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Brinker

Point of View

Tobin Brinker
Posted: 07/24/2012 03:23:34 PM PDT

Three cities San Bernardino could learn from are San Francisco, San Jose and San Diego. All three are older, larger charter cities. All three have dealt with the employee pension issue proactively as an effort to avoid bankruptcy.

The main idea is simple – employees must pay the employee share of pension costs.

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Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/24/2012 12:28:10 PM PDT

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a ballot measure for the November general election that, if approved, would keep their salaries and benefits in line with counties of similar size and population.

That measure is in direct response to a competing ballot measure by the county’s two largest labor unions, the San Bernardino County Safety Employees Benefit Association and the San Bernardino Public Employees Association, which proposes to reduce supervisors’ pay and benefits to $60,000.

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Joe Nelson and Neil Nisperos, Staff Writers
Created: 07/24/2012 08:00:34 PM PDT

Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Tuesday a bill that will allow the state Fair Political Practices Commission to enforce new campaign finance rules in San Bernardino County.

It is the first time the state’s political watchdog will contract with a county to enforce its campaign contribution limits.

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SFChronicle: State duns cities for millions of dollars

Wyatt Buchanan
Updated 11:01 p.m., Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sacramento –California cities are in a high-stakes fight with officials in Sacramento over money that the state says the cities owe as part of the winding down of redevelopment agencies.

County officials, under the state’s direction, have sent letters of demand to cities throughout the state in recent weeks, many for millions of dollars. Several cities, including El Cerrito, refused to pay and sued the state, which is threatening to penalize cities by withholding sales tax revenue that cities rely on to pay for police, parks and other general operating expenses.

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Capitol Alert
The latest on California politics and government
July 25, 2012

As it slowly recovers from its worst recession since the Great Depression, where does California’s economy fit into the global marketplace?

A massive new economic forecast from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. confirms that were California a nation, it would place No. 9 among the globe’s economies, just behind No. 8 Italy and just ahead of Russia.

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The PE: SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY: Supervisors’ alternative to big pay cut

San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford.

BY IMRAN GHORI
ighori@pe.com
Published: 23 July 2012 06:40 PM

Faced with a November ballot measure that could reduce their pay by 73 percent, San Bernardino County supervisors are considering putting a competing measure before voters that would keep their compensation in line with neighboring counties.

If the board agrees to go forward with the proposal, it could head off efforts backed by county employee unions to cut $92,000 from supervisors’ yearly pay. The county proposal would give voters two measures to choose from. The one with the largest number of majority votes would take effect.

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The Sun: Editorial: Stage set for SB County pension reform

Editorial

Posted: 07/23/2012 04:07:32 PM PDT

Momentum is building toward needed reforms of San Bernardino County’s pension system.

Today the Board of Supervisors is expected to discuss proposals by 2nd District Supervisor Janice Rutherford related to capping benefits, restricting pension spiking and requiring voter approval for any increases to pension benefits.

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Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/23/2012 08:48:27 PM PDT

Special Section: San Bernardino

SAN BERNARDINO – The city’s decision to file for bankruptcy protection has reignited the debate about whether the city, as a potential cost-cutting measure, should dissolve its police and fire departments and contract with the county for those services.

Last week, the City Council declared a state of fiscal emergency and directed staff to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. It came a week after city officials said a $45 million budget deficit and cash-flow quagmire could leave the city unable to meet its Aug. 15 payroll.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sun: San Bernardino to consider short-term cuts

Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/24/2012 01:00:00 AM PDT

Special Section: San Bernardino

SAN BERNARDINO – The first steps toward fixing a shortage of cash that would otherwise leave city employees unpaid on Aug. 15 are scheduled to be decided at a special City Council meeting today.

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Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/23/2012 06:13:16 PM PDT

Special Section: San Bernardino

SAN BERNARDINO – Bankruptcy reorganization may lead to a literal reorganization of city government. Early proposals to restore the city to financial health include the outsourcing of some city functions or merger of city departments.

Potential moves include outsourcing Animal Control to San Bernardino County or merging Parks and Recreation with the Library Department.

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BY JAN SEARS
STAFF WRITER
jsears@pe.com

Published: 23 July 2012 05:47 PM

A resolution that would encourage candidates for two Redlands City Council seats in November to adhere to voluntary fundraising or spending limits likely will be considered at the council’s first September meeting.

The council last week, over the objections of Councilman Jerry Bean, asked city officials to prepare the resolution. Council members didn’t decide whether the limits would be on spending, contributions or both, or precisely what those limits would be.

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Neil Nisperos, Staff Writer
Created: 07/23/2012 12:02:08 PM PDT

A number of Inland Empire cities are planning to continue posting discussion agendas for the public to review well ahead of meetings, despite the state’s suspension of that Brown Act requirement.

Redlands has already passed a resolution saying it will continue to follow the open-meeting rules, while Rancho Cucamonga’s City Council plans to consider a similar resolution at its next meeting.

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DailyBulletin: Upland delays evaluation of city manager

Sandra Emerson
Created: 07/23/2012 09:57:54 PM PDT

UPLAND – The Upland City Council on Monday decided to table the closed session evaluation of the city manager as well as approval of his contract.

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PolitiCal
On politics in the Golden State
July 23, 2012 | 1:16 pm

Two of California’s leading good-government groups joined with some of the state’s most powerful labor unions Monday to denounce Proposition 32, the November ballot measure that promises to eliminate special-interest money in politics.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dan Walters

Published: Tuesday, Jul. 24, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

Warring factions will spend untold millions of dollars on political propaganda to sway California voters on Proposition 32 this year, and while each denounces the other as a pack of scoundrels, neither likes the media’s capsule description, “paycheck protection.”

Twice before, in 1998 and 2005, voters rejected measures that would restrict unions from collecting political funds via payroll deductions, so backers came up with a new wrinkle in 2012.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012 – 05:00 p.m.

Earlier this year San Bernardino County unions ganged up on the Board of Supervisors by qualifying a charter amendment designed to cut board member pay, benefits and staff budgets.

Ironically, this measure is the brain child of convicted former Assessor and County Supervisor Bill Postmus, who enlisted the financial support of a wealthy Wrightwood businessman to bankroll initial signature gathering.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012 – 04:30 p.m.

San Bernardino County’s largest employee union is teeing up on two county supervisors it believes are unfair towards its members.

Why?

Pension reform.

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CNBC: US Economy Going from Bad to Worse: Roubini

Published: Monday, 23 Jul 2012 | 4:00 AM ET
By: Patrick Allen
CNBC EMEA Head of News

A robust and self-sustaining U.S. recovery is not on the cards, and we should now expect below trend growth for many years to come, according to Nouriel Roubini, the economist famed for his bearish views.

Roubini, best-known for calling the 2008 economic crisis, outlined five reasons the bulls have been wrong and argued that an American economic cold will lead the rest of the world to catch pneumonia in a post on the Project Syndicate website.

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The PE: FIRE FEE: First bills going out next month

The $150 fee goes into effect in communities where the state handles firefighting responsibilities

BY JIM MILLER
SACRAMENTO BUREAU
jmiller@pe.com

Published: 22 July 2012 08:52 PM

SACRAMENTO More than a year after lawmakers approved it, the state soon will begin collecting a $150 fire-prevention fee on hundreds of thousands of houses and other habitable structures in rural parts of California where the state has the main firefighting responsibility.

The Board of Equalization will start sending out bills early next month.

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The Sun: OpEd: Property seizure is not the answer

Point of View

David H. Stevens
Posted: 07/22/2012 07:04:38 AM PDT

California, once ground zero of the housing crisis, is and will continue working its way back to a stable real estate finance market.

However, the radical use of eminent domain to take over underwater mortgages could cause a spiraling effect of withdrawal of mortgage credit, declining home values and a threat to local economic recovery. Rather than taking actions which increase uncertainty, reduce the availability of credit and focus on the problems from the past, policymakers should look to homebuyers of the future and do what they can to efficiently get the process moving again.

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Canan Tasci, Staff Writer
Created: 07/22/2012 07:04:34 AM PDT

The Chino Superior Court in Chino will be closed at the end of the year. (Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Staff Photographer)
CHINO – Furlough and hiring freezes alone couldn’t save the Chino courthouse from closure.

San Bernardino County Superior Court announced the court will shut its doors on Jan. 1 as part of a significant court budget shortfall – $13.5 million this year, growing to $21 million annually thereafter.

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Neil Nisperos, Staff Writer
Created: 07/22/2012 07:04:25 AM PDT

The closure of the Chino courthouse is expected to increase workload and operations at the other nearby courts in the San Bernardino County Superior Court system, but the details on how exactly have yet to be determined, officials said.

The system announced July13 that the Chino courthouse on Central Avenue would close effective Jan. 1 due to budgetary issues.

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CNBC: Earnings Show Recession May Be ‘Fast Approaching’

By Jeff Cox | CNBC
Sunday, Juu 22, 2012
@cnbc on Twitter

While this quarter’s earnings reports have crossed a substantially lowered profit bar, future expectations through the year indicate a recession could be on the way.

Estimates for the third and fourth quarters have been dropped to levels not seen since the days of the 2008 financial crisis, below even the muted 2 percent expected level of inflation.

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County Supervisor Neil Derry left. Former San Manuel Tribal Chairman James Ramos right.

Sunday, July 22, 2012 – 11:30 a.m.

San Bernardino County Supervisor Neil Derry picked up an unexpected supporter for his pension reform proposal this past week.

His opponent.

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The PE: REGION: Cities say they’re not going bankrupt

Officials with other Inland cities say they’re not in danger of declaring bankruptcy like San Bernardino.

BY JEFF HORSEMAN
STAFF WRITER
jhorseman@pe.com

Published: 21 July 2012 05:05 PM

It’s an obvious question after San Bernardino sought bankruptcy — is my city next?

The early answer, at least in the Inland area, is probably not. While three California cities plan to file for bankruptcy and more could follow, local officials say their finances aren’t at the breaking point.

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Members of San Bernardino City Fire Station 221 prepare to conduct training exercises in downtown San Bernardino. The recent filing of bankruptcy by the city may cause the city management to reconfigure the amount it contributes to all city employee pensions, including fire and police departments. (Gabriel Luis Acosta/Staff Photographer)
Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/21/2012 04:27:18 PM PDT

Special Section: San Bernardino

The deterioration of San Bernardino’s public finances to the point where city officials are willing to declare bankruptcy could be the prologue to another fight over public employee benefits.

Pension costs are not the only source of San Bernardino’s financial ills. The city’s own financial analysis blames weak revenues, deficit spending and accounting errors for a $45 million deficit.

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Supervisor Neil Derry

Point of View

Supervisor Neil Derry
Created: 07/21/2012 07:11:11 AM PDT

Over the last couple of years there has been growing discussion and dialogue about public employee pensions in San Bernardino County. My colleagues on the board have demonstrated leadership and expressed their support for the need to reform this growing financial burden on taxpayers – a liability that now exceeds $1.7 billion dollars. To put that in perspective, our general fund budget is $2.3 billion.

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SFChronicle: State parks scandal may undercut tax pitch

Wyatt Buchanan
Updated 10:28 p.m., Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sacramento –The scandal over a stash of $54 million in California’s Department of Parks and Recreation, which led to the resignation of the department’s director and firing of a deputy on Friday, will likely create problems for Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax measure in November, political observers said.

The governor used the threat of park closures as part of the narrative of the state’s desperate financial crisis even as some critics said it was merely a strategy to inflict unnecessary pain on the public to drum up support for new taxes. Now, the admission by top-level state officials that they were unaware the parks department had tens of millions in extra funds could undermine Brown’s pitch to voters that the state needs more of their tax dollars.

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Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
Published: Sunday, Jul. 22, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

As noted in this space and other venues, many provisions of the so-called “budget trailer bills” that the Legislature wrote in secret and hastily enacted last month had nothing, in fact, to do with the budget.

To establish a tenuous connection to the budget, Democratic legislators inserted token $1,000 appropriations in measures that make major changes in law.

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LADailyBuster: Pensions loom as budget buster

By Rick Orlov, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/21/2012 06:12:34 PM PDT
Updated: 07/22/2012 12:31:52 AM PDT

While some causes of San Bernardino’s fiscal crisis are unique to that Inland Empire city, at least one poses a growing threat to other municipalities throughout California: pension benefits.

San Bernardino has seen its pension obligations double in the past six years, and they are soon expected to take up about 15 percent of the city’s overall spending.

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High levels of hexavalent chromium, a toxic heavy metal, add to the hurdles Cadiz Inc. faces in its plan to ship water to the Southland.

 

By Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times
July 21, 2012

The Mojave Desert groundwater thatCadiz Inc.wants to sell to Southland suburbs contains hexavalent chromium, a carcinogen, in amounts that are hundreds of times greater than the state’s public health goal for drinking water.

The presence of the toxic heavy metal, which occurs naturally in the aquifer Cadiz proposes to tap, could force the company to undertake expensive treatment, driving up the cost of the project and ultimately the price of its water.

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InlandPolitics: S.B. County pension fund earns 0.75% in latest fiscal year

Friday, July 20, 2012 – 08:00 p.m.

The weak investment climate has stung another California public employee pension fund.

Sources say the pension system for San Bernardino County, California earned an estimated 0.75% in its latest fiscal year ending June 30, 2012.

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Friday, July 20, 2012 – 10:30 a.m.

San Bernardino County has apparently struck a deal with its public safety union.

The agreement with the San Bernardino County Safety Employees Benefit Association (SEBA) appears to be a major win for the union.

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Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/20/2012 07:58:22 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – The city’s slide toward bankruptcy is creating new worries for business owners who are wondering when – or if – they will be paid for work performed for either the city or its defunct redevelopment agency.

The City Council voted Wednesday evening to declare a state of fiscal emergency and to seek Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.

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THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE
Published: 20 July 2012 07:26 PM

It’s been a grim couple of weeks for San Bernardino as city officials decided to declare a fiscal emergency and file for bankruptcy due to a cash-flow crisis and budget deficit. Still, even amid serious discussions, the council found a few moments to debate 19th Century military history at its July 10 meeting.

Echoing a phrase used by one public speaker, Councilman Fred Shorett suggested that this could be a “Waterloo opportunity” allowing the city to get its financial house in order.

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Sandra Emerson, Staff Writer
Created: 07/20/2012 05:19:43 PM PDT

The Inland Empire’s jobless rate rose nearly one full percentage point in June but economists say it was because more people entering the work force rather than there being more unemployed.

The San Bernardino and Riverside counties saw a jump in unemployment from 11.8 percent in May to 12.6 in June, which could be a sign of people starting the job search following the end of the school year, said Johannes Moenius, an economist with the University of Redlands.

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SacBee: Hidden California state parks funds spark outrage

By Matt Weiser and Kevin Yamamura
mweiser@sacbee.com
Published: Saturday, Jul. 21, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Saturday, Jul. 21, 2012 – 12:23 am

California state parks Director Ruth Coleman resigned and her second-in-command was fired Friday after officials discovered the department has been sitting on “hidden assets” totalling nearly $54 million.

The money accumulated over 12 years in two special funds the department uses to collect revenue and pay for operations: $20.4 million in the Parks and Recreation Fund, and $33.5 million in the Off Highway Vehicle Trust Fund.

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LATimes: California gains jobs, led by trade and tourism

The state’s 2% job market growth outpaces the national rate, with improvement in tech firms, tourism and even the battered construction industry.

 

By Ricardo Lopez, Los Angeles Times
July 21, 2012

While the nation’s job engine sputters, California’s is revving up, thanks to another month of solid employment growth with international trade and tourism leading the way.

Employers statewide added 38,300 net new jobs in June with gains in most industries, including construction and professional services, according to a report Friday by the state Employment Development Department.

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InlandPolitics: Brown myopia has unintended consequences for California

Brown

Friday, July 20, 2012 – 09:00 p.m.

Is Governor Jerry Brown’s cash grab to help balance California’s budget having unintended and unforeseen consequences?

You bet it is.

And he didn’t even see it coming and, more importantly, really doesn’t seem to care either.

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The PE: SAN BERNARDINO: City working on short-term budget

Having set a fiscal emergency and headed for a bankruptcy filing, San Bernardino must make painful cuts to survive the next month.

BY IMRAN GHORI
STAFF WRITER
ighori@pe.com

Published: 19 July 2012 08:32 PM

A day after declaring a fiscal emergency, San Bernardino city officials were clustered in meetings Thursday, July 19, working on plans to keep the city operating until it files a bankruptcy petition.

Interim City Manager Andrea Travis-Miller and Finance Director Jason Simpson will present a short-term budget plan to the City Council on Tuesday, city spokeswoman Gwendolyn Waters said. It’s not clear yet how long a period the plan will cover, only that it will determine spending until a full fiscal year’s budget is adopted.

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A view of City Hall in downtown San Bernardino on Wendesday evening. In the wake of the City Council’s formal declaration of a fiscal emergency and filing for bankruptcy, the city’s leaders and residents wonder what’s next? (Gabriel Luis Acosta/Staff Photographer)

By Andrew Edwards, The (San Bernardino County) Sun
Posted: 07/19/2012 02:11:12 PM PDT

Related story: San Bernardino declares fiscal emergency, approves bankruptcy
Catch up: Read more about the San Bernardino financial crisis.
Photo gallery: A state of emergency: San Bernardino formally declares bankruptcy

SAN BERNARDINO – The next step in the city’s move toward filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection will be to prepare a short-term budget that will almost certainly call for a round of layoffs.

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Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/19/2012 07:17:19 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – A criminal investigation into allegations of kickbacks and placing falsified bids on publicly funded construction projects at the city Parks and Recreation Department is under way.

Robert Lennox, the former deputy director of the department, and Chris Evans, hired by the city as construction manager for various parks and recreation projects, have been named in a search-warrant affidavit filed in San Bernardino Superior Court on June 27.

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DailyBulletin: OpEd: Pension imbalance is a job killer

Supervisor Janice Rutherford

Point of View

Supervisor Janice Rutherford
Created: 07/19/2012 11:50:12 AM PDT

You, your spouse and your children owe roughly $1,000 each to cover the unfunded pension liabilities of San Bernardino County employees. And, if reform doesn’t come soon, that growing tab could cripple our economy for decades to come.

In the just-approved county budget, we are spending $375 million on pension obligations. This year we are spending $48.4 million more than last year. Just imagine what could be accomplished with those millions of dollars.

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