Archive for December 16th, 2009

LATimes: Poll: Dissatisfaction could spell trouble for Democrats in 2010

As President Obama’s supporters grow listless and independents grow irritated, Republicans have a greater opportunity to dominate midterm elections, according to findings of the Battleground Poll.

By Mark Silva

December 16, 2009 | 9:27 a.m.

Reporting from Washington – Anger among independent voters about the economy and the direction the nation is taking offer Republicans a significant opportunity to reclaim power in the 2010 midterm congressional elections, according to the results of the bipartisan Battleground Poll released today.

A lack of passion among President Obama’s core supporters and an absence of confidence that the administration’s policies and congressional spending are producing sorely needed new jobs also pose a serious challenge to the president’s party in 2010.

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10:00 PM PST on Tuesday, December 15, 2009

By IMRAN GHORI
The Press-Enterprise

San Bernardino County supervisors are continuing their search for a new county administrator following a closed-session meeting Tuesday where they came to no decision.

Two weeks ago, the county began a search for a new county administrative officer following the board’s firing of Mark Uffer from the position on Nov. 14. No specific reason was given for the ouster of Uffer, who had been administrator since 2004.

Tuesday’s closed-session agenda included an item listing possible appointment for the position but no decision was announced.

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10:00 PM PST on Tuesday, December 15, 2009

By IMRAN GHORI
The Press-Enterprise

The California Fair Political Practices Commission has agreed to settle a complaint of failure to disclose income against San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos for a $200 fine, a campaign spokesman for Ramos announced Tuesday.

David Ellis, Ramos’ campaign consultant, said the state watchdog agency offered a proposed settlement. Ramos signed the agreement on Dec. 8, according to a news release.

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SBCO Seal

10:00 PM PST on Tuesday, December 15, 2009

By IMRAN GHORI
The Press-Enterprise

Newly-elected San Bernardino County supervisors will be allowed to hire two staff members for up to 45 days before they are sworn in, under a policy approved by the board Tuesday.

The Board of Supervisors approved the transition staff policy on a 3-1 vote with Supervisor Josie Gonzales opposed and Supervisor Paul Biane absent.

The proposal was introduced by Board Chairman Gary Ovitt following a grand jury report in July that recommended the board establish rules for transition staff. In August 2008, the board approved staffing for Supervisor Neil Derry three months before he was sworn in, a process the grand jury report criticized as “arbitrary.”

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Riverside-County-Seal

06:32 AM PST on Wednesday, December 16, 2009

By DAVID DANELSKI
The Press-Enterprise

Riverside County supervisors put off until January a decision on the 11,150-home Villages of Lakeview sought for a scenic valley between Perris and San Jacinto.

The project, next to the San Jacinto Wildlife Area, would be one of the largest in the county.

The delay was sought by Supervisor Marion Ashley, who said the extra time will give county staff a chance to answer questions raised by about 15 people who spoke Tuesday during a public hearing in Riverside.

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10:00 PM PST on Tuesday, December 15, 2009

By DAYNA STRAEHLEY
The Press-Enterprise

Two alternate proposals to cut $18 million for 2009-10 in Corona-Norco schools would either have all employees take five furlough days or lay off an estimated 280 people.

Corona-Norco Unified School District Superintendent Kent Bechler gave both proposals to the board Tuesday but said he won’t ask the board to vote on the cuts until February.

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RivPE: More charged in San Jacinto probe

11:32 PM PST on Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Press-Enterprise

Six more people linked to a San Jacinto corruption probe were charged Tuesday for their alleged roles in funneling money into election coffers at the center of a lengthy Riverside County criminal grand jury indictment.

All are relatives of elected officials charged last month in the 155-count indictment.

Shanda Lynn Mansperger, 34, of San Jacinto; Christopher Ray Mason, 25, of San Jacinto; Marcia Lynn Mathews, 43, of Hemet; Kirk William Mathews, 50, of Hemet; Carol Ann Gehrum, 68, of San Jacinto; and John Richard Gehrum, 40, of Hemet, all appeared Tuesday in Riverside County Superior Court.

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Mike Sprague, Staff Writer
Created: 12/15/2009 10:37:39 PM PST

In three years, up to nine of the 50 Los Angeles County courthouses may be shuttered as a result of state budget cuts, the county’s presiding judge said.

In early 2010, as many as 300 court employees – in addition to 150 employees expected to leave on their own – will need to be laid off, presiding Judge Charles McCoy said Monday.

That probably would cause the closure of 38 courtrooms, he added. It takes about 10 employees to operate one courtroom.

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Sandra Emerson, Staff Writer
Created: 12/15/2009 10:19:08 PM PST

UPLAND – The City Council on Monday approved a four-year labor agreement with members of its Police Department that will save the city $29,476 this fiscal year.

City police unions agreed to defer any raises until July 1, 2011, to address the city’s sluggish fiscal condition.

According to a staff report, the city will:

Open the door to pay raises beginning July 1, 2011.

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VVDailyPress Editorial: This ‘n that

December 15, 2009 10:49 AM

STEVE WILLIAMS
Opinion Page Editor

San Bernardino County’s government, as regularly recurring news of criminal behavior, scandals, and other tawdry revelations keep reminding us, ranks high among the most ethically challenged governmental bodies in the United States. A recent piece by Cassie MacDuff, a columnist for the Riverside Press-Enterprise, cites some figures which help explain why ethical behavior at the county level seems so far removed from the ideal.

For instance, MacDuff points out that while the inflation rate has stayed in the low single digits for the past five or six years, the budget of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors has doubled. In fiscal 2004-05, county supervisors spent a total of $3.25 million to staff the five district offices. By fiscal 2008-2009, that had mushroomed to $6.5 million. In the same period, the number of each supervisor’s staff went from five or six people to today’s 10 to 14.

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Stephen Wall, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/15/2009 06:57:25 PM PST

Congressional Democrats on Tuesday launched a renewed effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

Rep. Joe Baca, D-San Bernardino, is a co-sponsor of the bill that provides a path to citizenship for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the country.

The bill by Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Illinois, would also repeal the 287(g) program that allows local law enforcement agencies to perform some immigration functions.

Baca said the bill is a collaborative effort to “finally fix” America’s broken immigration system that has caused “both a humanitarian and economic crisis for our nation.”

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SacBee: Editorial: State must cool it with the credit

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009 – 12:00 am | Page 20A

Like parents lecturing a group of overindulgent kids, state Treasurer Bill Lockyer and Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor warned an Assembly committee this week that the state’s growing debt load threatens to further imperil California’s ailing general fund.

Over the last 10 years, the general fund grew by 22 percent while its debt service payments shot up an astonishing 143 percent. Interest payments on the state’s debt topped $6 billion this year – double that of a decade ago.

If bonds are issued at the same rate they have been in the past, our debt payments could grow to more than $10 billion within a few years, consuming close to 10 percent of the general fund budget.

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SacBee: CalPERS may boost long-term care premiums by 22%

calpers

Bee Business Staff
Published: Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009 – 12:00 am | Page 8B

The CalPERS board will vote today on whether to raise premiums by as much as 22 percent for enrollees in its long-term care insurance plan.

Members of the pension fund’s Health Benefits Committee on Tuesday recommended increases for 2010 ranging from 15 percent to 22 percent, depending on individual coverage options.

CalPERS said the rate hike is necessary because of heavy investment losses and the disproportionate number of people drawing benefits compared to those paying in.

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