Archive for the ‘ State of California ’ Category

California Money

Capitol Alert
By Jim Miller
jmiller@sacbee.com
July 2, 2015

  • Personal income, corporate tax collections look to be $541 million above 2014-15 revenue estimates
  • California state budget approved last month reflected governor’s revenue numbers
  • Sales tax, other revenue totals for June still being compiled

The 2014-15 fiscal year came to an end this week, and it will be a long time before officials finish closing the books. Early signs, though, are that revenue for the just-completed fiscal year will exceed estimates in the newly minted state budget by hundreds of millions of dollars.

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Standard and Poor's

By Chris Megerian
July 2, 2015

The Wall Street ratings agency Standard & Poor’s gave a vote of confidence to California’s finances on Thursday, upgrading its credit rating to its highest level in 14 years.

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CPUC

AP California News
July 3, 2015 – 3:38 AM EDT
Janie Har
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Big energy users are set to get a break on electricity while more efficient consumers will see their bills rise under a proposal being considered by California regulators.

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California Money

By Samantha Masunaga
July 2, 2015

If California were a country, it would have the eighth-largest economy in the world, maintaining its ranking from July 2014.

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InlandPolitics: California gasoline price whipsaw not unnoticed

Gas Prices

Thursday, July 2, 2015 – 11:00 a.m.

The abusive gasoline price swings oil companies dished out on California driver’s from February to late June hasn’t gone unnoticed.

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The Sacramento Bee: High court case hits union dues

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
June 30, 2015

  • Orange County teacher challenges California Teachers Association
  • U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear case in next term
  • Were CTA to lose, it would affect its political power

California figured prominently, albeit indirectly, in the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent high-profile decisions on Obamacare, same-sex marriages and congressional redistricting.

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calpers

Business & Real Estate

By Dale Kasler
dkasler@sacbee.com
June 30, 2015

  • Pension fund continues to reshape portfolio
  • Goal is fewer speculative investments

CalPERS said Tuesday it plans to sell up to $3 billion worth of real estate as it continues to overhaul its investment portfolio.

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Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
June 29, 2015

  • Supreme Court validates Arizona’s independent commission to draw congressional lines
  • Arizona Republicans wanted to regain their power to draw districts
  • California’s top-two primary system could have been at risk

Well, it was fun while it lasted.

But the fun – months of chattering by political cognoscenti about the possibility that the Legislature could regain its power to redraw congressional districts – ended Monday.

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Lethal Injection

This Friday, July 25, 2014 file photo shows bottles of midazolam at a hospital pharmacy in Oklahoma City. On Monday, June 29, 2015, The Supreme Court voted 5-4 in a case from Oklahoma saying that the sedative midazolam can be used in executions without violating the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

By Brenda Gazzar, Los Angeles Daily News
Posted: 06/29/15 – 8:07 PM PDT |

A Supreme Court decision upholding a controversial drug used in lethal injection executions in Oklahoma starts the clock for California to come up with its own injection procedures, thus increasing the chance executions could resume here.

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U-T San Diego: Judge wants Edison’s answers

Michael Peevey

At a March 2013 private meeting between a utility executive and then-president Mike Peevey of the California Public Utilities Commission, a framework for the San Onofre closure deal was discussed.

By Jeff McDonald
June 29, 2015 – 4:54 p.m.

The judge in charge of the San Onofre matter pending before the state Public Utilities Commission is seeking more details from Southern California Edison about its participation in a secret meeting in Poland regarding shutdown costs for the failed nuclear plant.

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Tax Reform

AP California News
By Femit Nirappil and Judy Lin
Associated Press
June 29, 2015 – 2:37 PM EDT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California Legislature is holding two special sessions this summer to tackle long-vexing funding shortfalls in the state’s transportation and health care programs. But talk of targeted tax increases has prompted political hand-wringing.

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Calpensions: New rules try to spotlight hidden retirement debt

Pension Reform

By Ed Mendel
June 29, 2015

An accounting board best known for requiring the calculation and reporting of the debt owed for retiree health care promised government workers, which often turned out to be shockingly large, is having another moment.

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The Sacramento Bee: Staff shakeup at California Democratic Party

Barbara Boxer+John Burton

John Burton, California Democratic Party chairman, introduces U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, during a California Democratic Party’s convention in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, April 17, 2010. | hamezcua@sacbee.com

Capitol Alert
By David Siders
dsiders@sacbee.com
June 27, 2015

  • Executive Director Shawnda Westly steps down, takes role of ‘senior strategist’
  • Chairman John Burton confirms he will leave office in 2017

California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton confirmed Saturday he will not seek re-election when his term ends in 2017, and the party’s executive director, Shawnda Westly, has stepped down in anticipation of his departure.

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The Sacramento Bee: Opinion: Governor has two big wishes

Dan Walters

Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
June 27, 2015

  • Jerry Brown wants two big water tunnels
  • He also wants north-south bullet train
  • Both projects face bumpy roads

Jerry Brown has a vision, or a hope, or perhaps just a fingers-crossed wish.

It is that when he finally departs from the governorship in January 2019, construction will be unstoppably underway on two immense public works projects.

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U-T San Diego: Utilities: Let San Onofre deal stand

Are You Kidding Me

Edison, SDG&E, say $4.7 billion pact is in the public interest

By Jeff McDonald
June 26, 2015 – 4:58 p.m.

Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric have petitioned state regulators to reject the suggestion that the $4.7 billion settlement deal for the failed San Onofre nuclear plant be reopened.

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U-T San Diego: Utility regulators held post-Poland lunch

Michel Florio

Commissioner Michel Florio of the California Public Utilities Commission, left, discussed the closing of the San Onofre nuclear plant at a legislative hearing in 2013. (AP file/Rich Pedroncelli)
Peevey briefed colleague shortly after secret San Onofre meeting in Warsaw

By Jeff McDonald
June 26, 2015 – Updated: 5:16 p.m.

The regulator overseeing an investigation into the failure of the San Onofre nuclear plant met privately with then-California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey days after Peevey returned from a secret meeting about the matter in Poland.

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Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
June 25, 2015

  • Budget trailer bill gives drivers a break
  • Amnesty, however, doesn’t go far enough
  • Overhaul of traffic fines should be next

Capitol politicians are patting themselves on the back for opening an escape hatch for millions of motorists whose licenses have been suspended for failure to pay past-due tickets.

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The Sacramento Bee: California vaccine bill clears Assembly

Hypodermic Syringe

Capitol Alert
By Jeremy B. White
jwhite@sacbee.com
June 25, 2015

  • Legislation would require pupils to be fully vaccinated
  • Vote follows furious protest from some parents
  • Bill now returns to the state Senate, then to Brown

The state Assembly passed a closely watched bill Thursday compelling schoolchildren to be fully vaccinated, approving the measure on a 46-30 vote that blurred party lines.

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calpers

By Dean Starkman
June 25, 2015

  • CalPERS investment chief said fund returned only 3% over 10 months
  • The performance, which trails the broader stock market, has implications for city and state finances

The nation’s biggest public pension fund is falling far short of its annual investment goals.

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Randy Adams

Randy Adams, former police chief of Bell, in 2013. A California pension board decided to slash Adams’ retirement benefits because his salary was not approved in public. (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

By Paul Pringle
June 25, 2015

A California pension board’s decision to slash the retirement benefits of former Bell Police Chief Randy Adams because his salary was concealed from the public will serve as a precedent for other cases in which government officials receive hidden pay, the panel has announced.

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Los Angeles Times: Group seeks better deal on San Onofre closure

San Onofre

Under an agreement, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. ratepayers would pay $3.3 billion of the San Onofre shutdown costs, or 70%. Edison says the deal is “fair and reasonable.” (Allen J. Schaben, Los Angeles Times)

By Jeff McDonald
June 24, 2015

The San Francisco consumer group that helped broker the $4.7-billion deal dividing costs for the shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear plant said Wednesday that it no longer supports the agreement and called on regulators to reopen talks.

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California Money

By Chris Megerian
June 24, 2015

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new $167.6-billion budget Wednesday that expands child care, boosts funding for public schools and opens the state’s public healthcare program to children in the country illegally, but leaves some key issues unresolved.

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Thief

By Michael Finnegan
June 24, 2015

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) said Thursday that a former treasurer of his reelection committee had embezzled more than $170,000 from the campaign.

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The Sun: No help from Sacramento for San Bernardino

No

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 06/23/15 – 6:01 PM PDT |

  • Jerry Brown: California’s governor has turned down San Bernadino’s request for help.

SAN BERNARDINO >> Gov. Jerry Brown has given his response to the optimistic request for help on six different fronts that Mayor Carey Davis and his allies made in a trip to Sacramento.

The answer is no.

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California Courts of Appeal

Politics Blog
By Bob Egelko
June 23, 2015 – 4:39 PM

Like his last state Supreme Court appointee, one of Gov. Jerry Brown’s latest appellate court nominees is a young Obama administration lawyer with no judicial experience. The current pick, Lamar Baker, is stirring up a certain amount of controversy.

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U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

California
June 23, 2015
The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court revived a lawsuit Tuesday brought by a media outlet over a failure by the court in a California county to make some civil complaints available on the same day they are filed.

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Money

Capitol Alert
June 22, 2015
By Jim Miller
jmiller@sacbee.com

  • Senate officials say extra money helps solve upper house’s budget problems
  • Assembly’s increase is the largest since before recession

California’s legislative branch will be among the beneficiaries of the $115.4 billion general fund spending plan on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, with both houses receiving funding increases nearly 10 times last year’s rate.

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The San Francisco Chronicle: Report blasts secret talks between utilities, CPUC

CPUC

By Jaxon Van Derbeken
Monday, June 22, 2015 – Updated 7:19 pm

The ability of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and other utilities to engage in back-channel talks with top California Public Utilities Commission officials unfairly skews decisions in favor of big-money interests, and the practice should be banned in rate cases, a review requested by the state agency concluded Monday.

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Capitol Weekly: 2016 ballot a fight over everything

Ballot Measures

By Dorothy Mills-Gregg
Posted 06.22.2015

Bottled water, immigration, condoms, hospital fees, plastic bags, statehood, alimony – those are just a smattering of the issues on or trying to get on California’s 2016 statewide ballot.

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Debra J. Saunders

By Debra J. Saunders
Published: Friday, June 19, 2015 – 03:00 p.m.

Everyone has a story: The time an unlicensed driver rear-ended me. The time an unlicensed driver ran a red light and killed a co-worker’s dog as her husband was walking the dog in a crosswalk. It seems as if there are so many unlicensed drivers in California that authorities are not capable of deterring the unlicensed from getting behind the wheel.

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The Sacramento Bee: This time for real: Legislature passes (another) budget

State Capitol

Capitol Alert
By David Siders and Jeremy B. White
dsiders@sacbee.com
June 19, 2015

Three days after Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders reached agreement on a $115.4 billion general fund state spending plan, lawmakers in both houses on Friday ratified the deal.

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unemployment

By Chris Kirkham
June 19, 2015

  • California adds 54,200 jobs in May; unemployment rate slightly up to 6.4%
  • California continues nearly four-year streak of monthly job growth, adding 54,200 jobs in May

California employers continued a nearly four-year hiring streak by adding 54,200 jobs in May, one of the largest monthly employment jumps in the last year.

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The Sacramento Bee: Opinion: Our roads are just shameful

Dan Walters

Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
June 18, 2015

  • Gov. Jerry Brown calls for new roadway financing
  • Californians already pay very high gas taxes
  • Would be it more gas tax or another levy?

There was a time when California was teaching the world how to build first-class highway systems.

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California-Bar-Association

The State Bar of California does not consistently protect the public from bad lawyers and lacks financial accountability, a new state audit concludes.
To read audit, click the following link: State Bar Audit

Kathy Robertson
Sacramento Business Journal
Jun 18, 2015 – 1:07pm PDT

The State Bar of California does not consistently protect the public from bad lawyers and lacks financial accountability, according to a state audit released Thursday.

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calpers

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System spends $8 billion annually on healthcare for 1.4 million employees, retirees and dependents.

By Chad Terhune
June 18, 2015

  • CalPERS: HMO rates are rising 7.2% for 2016; PPO premiums are up 10.8%
  • CalPERS pins higher premium increases on rising drug costs, including hepatitis C drug Sovaldi

Citing higher drug prices, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System said its HMO premiums are rising by 7.2% next year.

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The Sun: San Bernardino bankruptcy plan criticized in court

San Bernardino Seal

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 06/17/15 – 11:24 PM PDT |

RIVERSIDE >> The attorney representing bondholders who’ve invested about $50 million in San Bernardino came out swinging Wednesday in the first bankruptcy hearing since the city filed a bankruptcy exit plan that would pay bondholders only 1 percent of that.

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Sledgehammer

By Carolyn Said
Wednesday, June 17, 2015 – Updated 9:26 pm

An Uber driver is an employee, not an independent contractor, the California Labor Commission ruled this month, in a decision that foreshadows a big challenge to Uber’s business model and potential seismic changes to the nation’s classifications of workers.

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Jerry Brown

California Gov. Jerry Brown discusses his revised state budget plan during a news conference at the Capitol in Sacramento last month. On Tuesday, Brown and top Democratic lawmakers struck a deal on the budget. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

By Chris Megerian and Melanie Mason
June 17, 2015

Immigrant children who are in the country illegally would receive public healthcare coverage in California under a budget deal announced Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders.

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The Union Democrat: Brown, lawmakers agree on $115.4 billion California budget

Calculator+Finance+Budget

By Judy Lin
Associated Press
Jun 16, 2016 – 8:03 PM EDT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A $115.4 billion budget deal would make California the first in the nation to offer state-subsidized health care to children who are in the country illegally while expanding other social welfare programs, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders said Tuesday.

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Jerry Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at a gathering of political, business and community leaders at the annual California Chamber of Commerce Host Breakfast in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, May 28, 2015. | Rich Pedroncelli AP

Capitol Alert
June 16, 2015
By David Siders
dsiders@sacbee.com

  • Brown says he wasn’t asked about keeping tax pledge in fourth term
  • He was asked, but ducked the question

Gov. Jerry Brown, asked Tuesday if he would now be willing to sign tax increases without voter approval, said that is an “open question.”

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Dan Walters

Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
June 16, 2015

  • Obamacare enrollees have difficulty finding providers
  • Legislative budget raised reimbursement rates in California
  • Spending deal axes rate increases, leaving issue in air

The Supreme Court will soon decide whether residents of states that refused to implement Obamacare are entitled to federal insurance subsidies.

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The Sacramento Bee: Lawmakers send Jerry Brown incomplete budget

California Capitol

Capitol Alert
By David Siders and Jeremy B. White
dsiders@sacbee.com
June 15, 2015

  • Vote meets deadline, ensuring lawmakers continue to be paid
  • Spending plan comes despite ongoing negotiations with governor
  • Republican lawmaker: ‘It’s the legislative paycheck protection act’

The budget California state lawmakers passed Monday did not reflect a deal with Gov. Jerry Brown and, for that reason, has almost no hope of being enacted.

Negotiations are ongoing.

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Jerry Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown Jr. is joined by, from left to right, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen, Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, as they head to a press conference at the state Capitol. | Randy Pench rpench@sacbee.com

Dan Walters

Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
June 15, 2015

  • Budget passage meets constitutional deadline
  • Actions set stage for negotiations with Gov. Brown
  • Legislature’s leaders can blame governor for blocking their programs

Some years ago, a state senator publicly accused a colleague of uttering “mindless blather.”

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CHP logo

Transportation
By Denny Walsh and Sam Stanton
dwalsh@sacbee.com
June 15, 2015

  • Evidence in a Sacramento court case suggests officers are encouraged to increase traffic stops
  • Judge says CHP ‘should be ashamed’ of evidence presented
  • California Highway Patrol flatly denies quotas exist

For years, the California Highway Patrol has consistently denied that its officers are subject to a quota for the number of traffic tickets they write each month.

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Los Angeles Times: State lawmakers set to approve budget with increased spending

Jerry Brown

California Gov. Jerry Brown

By Chris Megerian
June 14, 2015

The Legislature is expected to approve a budget Monday that bets on California’s economy to continue growing and sets the stage for higher state spending in coming years.

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Absentee Ballot

By Martin Wisckol / Staff Columnist
June 14, 2015 – Updated 10:42 p.m.

The latest Sacramento proposal to spur voter turnout would radically reduce the number of polling places and would send ballots to every registered voter. Voters could then mail them back, drop them off or vote at one of the remaining polling places

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Bark Beetle

Tom Coleman, forest entomologist for the U.S. Forest Service, chips away at the bark on a Jeffrey Pine to look for Bark Beetles in the Barton Flats area of the San Bernardino National Forest in May. (Sarah Alvarado — Staff photographer)

By Jim Steinberg, The Sun
Posted: 06/13/15 – 9:51 PM PDT |

They are insects the size of rice grains, with miniscule mandibles that bring down forests.

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U-T-San Diego: Where did Peevey party proceeds go?

Peevey Dinner Photo

Organizers aren’t saying what happened to funds rejected by Berkeley

By Jeff McDonald
June 12, 2015 – 7:17 p.m.

Tens of thousands of dollars in proceeds from a February tribute dinner for former utility regulator Michael Peevey was turned away by the University of California after Peevey fell under the shadow of criminal investigation.

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Dan Walters

Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
June 13, 2015

  • Anthropologist would find Legislature fascinating
  • Its two houses have distinct cultures
  • Senate now the bastion of bad behavior

Anthropologists probe the evolution of primitive societies, which makes the Capitol a perfect laboratory.

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IE Business Daily: California Legislature’s continuous insanity

IE Business Daily

By IE Business Daily
June 13, 2015

Nearly every two year legislative cycle in the California Legislature, among the thousands of new laws proposed by its 120 inhabitants, there are always a few to micromanage local governments. You see, many of the undereducated people that somehow get elected to the State Assembly and State Senate, often think that because they got elected, they know better than the other 32 million of us how things should be.

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Drought in California

By Lisa M. Krieger, San Jose Mercury News
Posted: 06/12/15 – 8:49 PM PDT |

SACRAMENTO >> In a historic step, California is cutting water allotments to some of the state’s most senior rights holders, who have depended upon essentially unlimited water from the state’s rivers and streams for more than a century.

Read the rest of this entry »

Debra J. Saunders

By Debra J. Saunders
Friday, June 12, 2015 – Updated 3:08 pm

“There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false — the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally,” President Obama proclaimed in a 2009 speech to Congress. It was a memorable event in part because Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., shouted, “You lie.” Editorial-page umbrage followed.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dan Walters

Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
June 11, 2015

  • Jerry Brown has reduced ‘wall of debt’
  • He excluded $10 billion owed to feds
  • Ignoring it could create big problem

Three years ago, Gov. Jerry Brown added “wall of debt” to the political lexicon.

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El Nino Heat Map

This map shows the change in ocean water temperature above or below normal in Celsius. The warming ocean temperatures along the equator indicate the strengthening El Niño weather pattern, which if it persists and is strong through the winter, could help bring storms to California during its rainy season. (National Weather Service)

By Rong-Gong Lin II
June 11, 2015

  • Good news for California: El Niño is showing some staying power

Will California get a wet winter and maybe a little drought relief? Scientists are beginning to think so.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lou Desmond

Thursday, June 11, 2015 – 04:00 p.m.

On the Lou Desmond and Company Show tonight, Jay Prag is in the Toyota of San Bernardino Recording Studious. Up first, Inland Empire companies and cities continue sending contracts to Orange County and Los Angeles. What can be done to keep jobs here?

Read the rest of this entry »

California Roads

Efforts to chip away at the estimated $59 billion in upgrades needed for California highways and bridges would become more difficult if the state faces new shortfalls. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

By Chris Megerian
June 10, 2015

Even as California’s leaders prepare a new state budget that is flush with cash, Gov. Jerry Brown has increasingly raised the specter of another recession that could undo years of hard-won financial progress.

Read the rest of this entry »

Proposition 13

By Phil Willon
June 10, 2015

Saying a major “loophole” allows some business to unfairly avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes, two Democratic state senators on Wednesday filed a proposed constitutional amendment to revise Proposition 13, the landmark property tax initiative approved by California voters in 1978.

Read the rest of this entry »

California Money

By Julia Horowitz, The Associated Press
Posted: 06/10/15 – 10:35 PM PDT |

SACRAMENTO >> After taking a significant recession-era hit, California’s economy has bounced back up to the seventh largest in the world as the state’s gross domestic product reached $2.3 trillion in 2014, according to figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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CalPERS

Business & Real Estate
June 10, 2015
By Dale Kasler
dkasler@sacbee.com

Setting up a possible showdown with CalPERS, two bond firms are reviving their legal campaign to win a bigger share of the money being doled out by bankrupt San Bernardino.

Read the rest of this entry »

Moreno Valley seal

An environmental report on the proposed project — which would stretch 700 football field — could be vulnerable to court challenges, air board says. The developer, however, sticks by the report.

Published: June 9, 2015
Updated: June 10, 2015 – 8:02 a.m.

State air quality officials say that Moreno Valley’s environmental analysis of a proposed warehousing complex with enough indoor space for 700 football fields is “legally inadequate” and needs major revisions. The developer countered Tuesday that the report “meets all the requirements” of the state’s environmental quality law.

To read story by David Danelski in The Press-Enterprise, click here.

California Taxes

California Sens. Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley), left, and Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) want offices and factories to be regularly reassessed for property taxes.

By Chris Megerian
June 10, 2015

SACRAMENTO — Two Democratic state senators plan to introduce legislation Wednesday to overhaul Proposition 13, the state’s landmark restrictions on property taxes, so local governments can raise more revenue from commercial and industrial properties.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dan Walters

Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
June 9, 2015

  • State Chamber of Commerce fights with four liberal groups
  • Most of its targeted bills fall by wayside
  • Top-two primary system helps business win

The Capitol’s longest-running conflict pits business against four liberal groups – labor unions, consumer advocates, personal injury attorneys and environmentalists.

Read the rest of this entry »

Capitol Weekly: FPPC gets new enforcement chief

fppc logo

By John Howard
Posted 06.09.2015

Galena West, a veteran lawyer at the Fair Political Practices Commission, has been named chief of enforcement at the agency, which serves as the state’s campaign ethics watchdog.

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The Press-Enterprise: ASSEMBLY: Sabrina Cervantes to run in 60th district

Campaigns

Published: June 8, 2015 – Updated: 11:48 a.m.

The district director for Assemblyman Jose Medina, D-Riverside, has declared her candidacy for a neighboring Assembly district.

To read post by Jeff Horseman in The P-E Political Empire Blog, click here.

california_state_flag

Capitol Alert
By Jim Miller
jmiller@sacbee.com
June 8, 2015

California’s finances have mostly moved beyond the fund shifts, deferrals, borrowing and other budgeting maneuvers that became common during past fiscal downturns, according to a new study of budget transparency by an organization led by former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, which warns that the “state’s fiscal culture” could revert if revenue falls.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
June 8, 2015

  • Legislature supports ‘sunshine laws’ for others
  • However, it exempts itself from those laws
  • Mild reform is shelved without vote

California legislators are steadfast champions of transparency in government – until it comes to themselves.

Read the rest of this entry »

fined

By Josh Richman, San Jose Mercury News
Posted: 06/08/15 – 7:06 PM PDT |

California drivers can now appear in court to challenge their traffic tickets without paying a fine first, under a new rule adopted unanimously by the state’s Judicial Council on Monday.

Read the rest of this entry »

calpers

The nation’s largest pension fund is planning to slash the number of Wall Street firms its uses to manage its investments.

By Dean Starkman
June 8, 2015

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System plans to cut in half the number of Wall Street firms it pays to manage its $303 billion fund, an effort to cut down on high fees that drag down returns.

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Calstrs

Business & Real Estate

Teachers’ pension fund was pressured to dump holdings

By Dale Kasler
dkasler@sacbee.com
June 8, 2015

Ending a lengthy effort that had frustrated school teachers, CalSTRS has sold its investment in the firearms manufacturer linked to the 2012 massacre at a Connecticut elementary school.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sacramento Bee: Opinion: A shortage of teachers hits home

Dan Walters

Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
June 7, 2015

  • California schools enjoy bounty of new money
  • It’s supposed to be spent on ‘high-needs’ students
  • Teacher unions, districts want money for salaries

As a severe recession gripped California a half-decade ago, the state budget took a beating and it hit education hard.

Read the rest of this entry »

California Drought

Houseboats are moored on a shrinking arm of the Oroville Lake reservoir, which is now at 25% capacity because of the drought. (Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images)

By Rong-Gong Lin II
June 7, 2015

A panel of water experts on Sunday mapped out the challenges California faces in meeting future demands for water at a time when water sources are under stress and future supplies appear uncertain.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
June 6, 2015
dwalters@sacbee.com

  • Unemployment drops, state revenue soars
  • But California’s recovery is not even
  • Gov. Jerry Brown worries about another recession

California’s economy is recovering from its worst recession since the Great Depression – more or less.

Read the rest of this entry »

california_state_senate

By Matthias Gafni
mgafni@bayareanewsgroup.com
Posted: 06/05/2015 03:24:52 PM PDT
Updated: 06/05/2015 04:05:25 PM PDT

SACRAMENTO — The leader of the state Senate announced Friday that his legislative body will not appeal a Sacramento Superior Court judge’s order to turn over key calendar information for two suspended senators, saying he supports the ruling on a lawsuit filed by Bay Area News Group, publisher of this newspaper, and Los Angeles News Group.

Read the rest of this entry »

Proposition 13

By Martin Wisckol / Staff Columnist
June 5, 2015 – Updated 11:39 p.m.

Activists are again agitating for a ballot measure that would end Proposition 13 protections for commercial buildings. But while a poll last week shows a bare majority support such a “split roll” plan, a decent campaign by opponents could quickly erode that advantage.

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Blue Shield of California

Blue Shield of California is seeking state approval for its $1.2-billion purchase of Care1st, a Medicaid insurer based in Monterey Park. Above, Blue Shied’s San Francisco headquarters. (Eric Risberg / Associated Press)

By Chad Terhune
June 5, 2015

  • Blue Shield of California takes on its critics in seeking state OK for a $1.2-billion acquisition of Care1st
  • Consumer groups dispute Blue Shield’s claim that the nonprofit doesn’t hold charitable assets

Health insurance giant Blue Shield of California is facing more questions over its loss of tax-exempt status as it tries to win state approval of a $1.2-billion acquisition.

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Kevin McCarthy

Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield last month in Washington. At the time of his election last summer to the No. 2 post in the House, McCarthy had spent fewer than four full terms in Congress. He was the most junior person to reach a top leadership post since the early 19th century. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

By Noah Bierman and Evan Halper
June 5, 2015

Rep. Kevin McCarthy celebrated his first election to Congress at an In-N-Out Burger, sipping sodas from paper cups at Formica tables with his wife and children. The understated evening fit perfectly into the Bakersfield Republican’s image as the son of a firefighter who started his first business, a deli, with proceeds from a winning lottery ticket.

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KPCC: Anti-poverty bills may pile up on Governor Brown’s desk

Gov. Jerry Brown

Governor Jerry Brown has faced criticism he’s not doing enough for California’s poor. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Rina Palta
June 04, 05:47 PM

As legislative deadlines near, a handfuls of bills aimed at aiding the poor are advancing through the state legislature this week.

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The Sacramento Bee: Opinion: Pensions destined for ballot

Dan Walters

Dan Walters
June 4, 2015
dwalters@sacbee.com

  • Reformers, unions to square off
  • Two former city officials sponsor measure
  • Are pension costs cutting vital services?

California’s seemingly endless debate over public employee pensions may be approaching a climax.

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Los Angeles Times: Support dwindles for changing Proposition 13

Proposition 13

By Phil Willon
June 3, 2015

Support has dwindled for removing commercial properties from tax limits imposed by Proposition 13, the landmark property tax initiative approved by voters in 1978, according to a new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California.

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California Republican Party

1001 K St., soon to be the home of the California Republican Party headquarters, will be named the Ronald Reagan California Republican Center. | Jon Ortiz The Sacramento Bee
  • $1.6 million paid for fourth floor in 1001 K St. building
  • Burbank headquarters sold for $2.1 million
  • New HQ will be dubbed Ronald Reagan Center

By Jon Ortiz
jortiz@sacbee.com
June 3, 2015

After three decades with a Burbank mailing address, the California Republican Party is moving its base to downtown Sacramento.

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Cell phones

The California Senate has approved a measure requiring a warrant or wiretap order to search a person’s smartphone or tablet.

By Patrick McGreevy
June 3, 2015

The state Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that would require law enforcement in California to obtain a search warrant or wiretap order before searching a person’s smartphone, laptop or other electronic device or accessing information stored on remote servers.

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Lou Desmond

Wednesday, June 3, 2015 – 04:30 p.m.

Tonight on the Lou Desmond and Company Show: Lou is joined by Ryan Hagen, at the San Bernardino Sun, and Cliff Cummings, owner of Toyota of San Bernardino, to discuss San Bernardino’s recent trip to Sacramento to lobby the Governor for assistance in the bankrupt city.

After that, Heidi Harris, radio host in Las Vegas, joins to program discuss about several topics. On the list: “White Privilege” training in St. Paul, pot in Riverside, and Pools vs. Lawns.

Then, Phil Naman, host of the Firing Line Radio Show, joins Lou to discuss political goings-on in Sacramento. Healthcare will be extended to illegal immigrants. And the state Senate voted to raise the minimum wage. How does that work out?

To listen to the full show, click here.

Follow Lou on Twitter @WiseGuyLou and on Facebook at “The Lou Desmond & Company Show.”

 

 

Gas Prices

After weeks of slow but steady declines, California gasoline prices ramped up again in mid-May.

By Thomas D. Elias, San Bernardino County Sun
Posted: 06/01/15 – 3:17 PM PDT |

Just about two years ago, when gasoline prices in most of California last moved well above the $4-per-gallon level, crude oil cost $147 a barrel. Oil companies said the high price of crude was a major factor in that price spike.

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