Archive for November 23rd, 2009

iePolitics Commentary: Local newspapers display arrogance, Part 2

The ink wasn’t even dry on the this evenings earlier commentary, when hot out of the Riverside Press Enterprise editorial board comes another gem titled Enough evasion.

Last time I heard, the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights just might lead one to believe that citizens of this great country were entitled to due process under the law and the right to be judged by a jury of their peers.

Not the editorial board of a local newspaper.

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RivPE Editorial: Enough evasion

10:00 PM PST on Monday, November 23, 2009

The Press-Enterprise

Jim Erwin’s legal assault on the San Bernardino County district attorney showcased all the worst aspects of the county’s political atmosphere: a failure to accept any personal responsibility, a ready willingness to blame others and an ethical standard set to the lowest common denominator.

And the county has to change those attitudes in order to put embarrassing high-level scandals behind it. County government needs people who realize that public service requires a higher standard of behavior than merely being no worse than anyone else.

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In a long and expansive news article on the collapse of the San Bernardino County Republican Party that appeared this past Sunday in the San Bernardino Sun, one quotable source is none other than Drew Mercy, longtime political consigliere to the husband-and-wife team of GOP State Senator George Runner and Assembly member Sharon Runner.

The Runners have occupied legislative seats in San Bernardino County’s High Desert region for nearly a decade. Sharon Runner first won election in 2002, and George Runner entered San Bernardino County as a state senator in 2004.

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iePolitics Commentary: Local newspapers display arrogance

Over the last few days we have been treated to two editorials from the local newspapers. Both pieces were in response to the firing of former San Bernardino County Administrative Office Mark Uffer by the Board of Supervisors.

The Sun newspaper column is titled “How new will direction be?” and in the Press Enterprise it’s “Why the ouster?

After reading these two gems I wanted to propose disbanding all governmental bodies across the nation and replace them with editorial boards. Not really, but the thought crossed my mind for a fraction of a second.

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NYTimes: Wave of Debt Payments Facing U.S. Government


Payback Time

Published: November 22, 2009

WASHINGTON — The United States government is financing its more than trillion-dollar-a-year borrowing with i.o.u.’s on terms that seem too good to be true.

But that happy situation, aided by ultralow interest rates, may not last much longer.

Treasury officials now face a trifecta of headaches: a mountain of new debt, a balloon of short-term borrowings that come due in the months ahead, and interest rates that are sure to climb back to normal as soon as the Federal Reserve decides that the emergency has passed.

Even as Treasury officials are racing to lock in today’s low rates by exchanging short-term borrowings for long-term bonds, the government faces a payment shock similar to those that sent legions of overstretched homeowners into default on their mortgages.

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Senor Blogger
November 23, 2009

In a story yesterday in the San Bernardino Sun newspaper, the new chair of the San Bernardino County Republican Party, Robert Rego, blames the party’s serious woes on, who else? Bill Postmus.

Now everyone knows that Bill Postmus, who served as chair of the county party from 2004-2007, is currently facing legal challenges, and earlier this year battled a damaging drugs addiction. Ouch!

Although Postmus maintains his innocence, his name nonetheless has become synonymous with political trouble.

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The Associated Press
Monday, November 23, 2009; 2:33 PM

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford faces ethics charges he broke state laws more than three dozen times by violating rules on airplane travel and campaign money, according to details of the allegations released Monday.

The civil charges, which carry a maximum $74,000 in fines, stem from a three-month investigation by the state ethics commission and could be pivotal in a push by some lawmakers to remove him from office. The state attorney general is deciding whether the governor would face any criminal charges.

The allegations include 18 instances in which Sanford is accused of improperly buying first- and business-class airline tickets, violating state law requiring lowest-cost travel; nine times of improperly using state-owned aircraft for travel to political and personal events, including a stop at a discount hair salon; and 10 times he improperly reimbursed himself with campaign cash.

Sanford’s attorneys and spokesman did not immediately respond to messages left seeking comment.

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The Sentinel: $65,000 more for DA Probe (Update 1)

mike ramos2

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors this week voted to dramatically increase the depth and intensity of a sexual harassment investigation the county is carrying out against district attorney Michael Ramos.

Since he was sworn in as district attorney in 2003 following his electoral victory the previous year, Ramos has garnered a reputation for profligate womanizing, in large measure by enjoying the company of several women employed in various capacities in his office, from evidence technicians to deputy prosecutors.

Because of the authority of his position and the power he embodied, Ramos was extended a degree of protection and insulation from wide public exposure of these dalliances.

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LATimes: California budget’s going to be dreadful

California Flag


Until long-term structural issues are fixed, there is no way legislators can produce an honest spending plan so the state lives within its means.
By George Skelton

Capitol Journal

November 22, 2009 | 8:32 p.m.

From Sacramento

The Capitol’s budget oracle projects $20.7 billion in new red ink for the next 19 months. Here’s my projection: More punting, “kicking the can down the alley” and numbers-rigging.

Hope we’re both wrong. Hope there’s an economic miracle or political heroism, which would require sacrifice to the demagogues. But, based on history and facts, that’s too much to hope for.

Here’s how nonpartisan Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor gently put it last week in calculating the latest general fund deficit: “Addressing this large shortfall will require painful choices, on top of the difficult choices the Legislature made earlier this year.”

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SacBee: Brown stances define issues, make waves

jerry brown

By Jack Chang
Published: Monday, Nov. 23, 2009 – 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Monday, Nov. 23, 2009 – 6:22 am

As the undeclared Democratic front-runner in the governor’s race, Jerry Brown keeps a low profile and stays mum on divisive issues, saying he’ll talk more if and when he actually runs.

As California’s attorney general, however, the 71-year-old former governor is winning headlines nationwide for protecting taxpayers from unscrupulous banks and green-lighting deep salary cuts for legislators.

That dual role has fueled criticism that Brown is using his day job for partisan gain, a charge he has vehemently denied.

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RivPE: Pork indulgence

10:00 PM PST on Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Press-Enterprise

The $11.14 billion water bond the Legislature passed this month offers further proof that legislators live in an alternate reality, disconnected from the rest of the state. California faces years of daunting budget crises, yet legislators see nothing wrong with adding to the state’s already substantial public debt just to fund political pork.

Risking vital improvements to the state’s water system to pay for politicians’ pet projects is reckless nonsense, particularly given the state’s economic distress. Legislators should junk the pork and refocus the bond on projects necessary to ensure a reliable water supply for California.

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10:41 PM PST on Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Press-Enterprise

It took three times on the ballot for Steve Di Memmo to get elected to the San Jacinto City Council, and now, after almost a year in the post, some are calling him the last man standing.

The city’s four other councilmen have been indicted in a sweeping corruption probe. Di Memmo says they should resign in the best interest of the city.

The Nov. 12 corruption indictment accuses the four councilmen and five others of laundering tens of thousands of dollars in campaign money as well as tax fraud, bribery, perjury and filing false government documents.

Di Memmo won’t comment on specifics of the allegations but he issued a statement the day after the indictments were issued:

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Riverside County Seal

11:07 PM PST on Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Press-Enterprise

Holding off on new vehicles, buying used furniture and using video conferencing to cut down on mileage will help Riverside County save an estimated $37 million this year.

That’s according to a new report headed before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

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SBSun Editorial: Back to battling gaping deficit

Posted: 11/22/2009 07:01:44 PM PST

Now, just a few months after the Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger agreed on yet another budget revision, the Legislative Analyst’s Office tells us that we’re in the hole once again – to the tune of $21 billion over 18 months.

Will the red ink never stop drowning us? Well, no, it won’t, not until our leaders – and we voters – get realistic about balancing revenues and expenses.

Until some happy future day when the citizen commission just formed redraws legislative districts so that more pragmatic moderates of both major parties can get elected, we can’t look to members of the Legislature to get together on this and talk turkey.

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