Archive for December 20th, 2009


Well, here we are. December 2009. The date promised for the arrival of the long-awaited passenger airline.

It’s time to justify the $130 million in taxpayer funds spent on the upgrade and construction of facility improvements to include a new passenger terminal.

I was stationed at the former Norton Air Force Base four more than four years in the 1980’s. I was saddened to see the base close and drain the area of its life blood. I would like nothing more to see air traffic once again fill the sky over SanBernardino . But let’s face the facts. The severe economic downturn enveloping the area and the country has delayed any potential arrival of a air carrier to the converted military base.

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11:09 PM PST on Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sacramento Bureau

SACRAMENTO – Inland cities and counties have been hit with a one-two punch of falling sales tax revenue and a widespread drop in property tax receipts.

The two are the biggest sources of money for parks, public safety, libraries, homeless services and other local programs. Inland officials planning next year’s budgets are weighing salary freezes, service cuts, layoffs and other measures to deal with the downturn in revenue.

Late last month, the state Board of Equalization notified 535 cities and counties that they would be getting smaller sales tax allocations than had been projected because of the steep drop in taxable sales.

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Questionable practice alarms forensic auditor

By Brooke Edwards
Staff Writer

VICTORVILLE • The city has two versions of its Water District audit done by two different firms for the 2007-08 fiscal year — and the reports show the same $51 million used two different ways, the Daily Press has learned.

On the Water District audit completed by Charles Z. Fedak & Company, the district was shown to have $58 million in cash and cash equivalents as of June 30, 2008.

That audit was used to help try and secure bond financing for the city’s wastewater treatment plant, according to Deputy City Manager Doug Robertson. But on the citywide audit for the same time period, completed by Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C., the Water District was listed as having just $7 million in cash.

That’s largely because the city’s audit includes $39 million in interfund loans not mentioned on the Water District audit. The city audit states these loans were needed to plug revenue holes for Southern California Logistics Airport Authority, the city’s utility and its golf courses.

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SBSun: New I.E. Assembly seat likely

Area’s growth seen as helping Democrats
James Rufus Koren, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/19/2009 04:43:34 PM PST

The Inland Empire’s rapid growth over the past decade means the region will almost certainly have more representation – and more elected Democrats – in Sacramento beginning in 2012, experts say.

“There’s no question in my mind, as far as population goes, that the Inland Empire will gain additional seats,” said Tony Quinn, a California political analyst and co-author of the California Target Book, which handicaps political races. “I would expect to see at least one additional assembly seat in your general area, maybe more.”

Political observers say gaining a few more seats – perhaps two Assembly seats and one Senate seat – won’t give the region much more political clout, but new seats could change the region’s political face.

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Budget Cuts

By Steve Wiegand
Published: Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009 – 12:00 am | Page 24A

Six months into the leanest fiscal year in memory, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and California legislators soon will begin wrestling with a new state spending plan – and a new budget deficit.

And while revenues are in relatively short supply, there is an abundance of aphorisms applicable to the looming budget battle.

Things are never so bad that they can’t get worse.

Lawmakers and the governor spent much of 2009 cobbling together a way to close a $60 billion budget deficit, with the full realization that whatever they did, it wouldn’t be enough to fend off a new deluge of red ink in 2010.

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RivPE Editorial: Pension payoffs


10:00 PM PST on Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Press-Enterprise

California should treat the middlemen who solicit investments from public pension funds as lobbyists, for that is what they are in all but name. The state’s largest public retirement fund now supports that approach, and the Legislature should write it into law.

Such a step would not be a panacea, but would help deter the perceptions of insider dealing and influence swirling around the California Public Employees Retirement System. Rules that provide greater public scrutiny and put limits on giving by these middlemen would also help protect taxpayers’ stake in the funds. The pension fund, known as CalPERS, has been rocked by revelations about its dealing with “placement agents.” These middlemen help private companies land investment contracts from pension funds, and receive hefty fees from the companies in return.

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11:07 PM PST on Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Press-Enterprise

The high-profile criminal charges came just weeks apart — one after the other — and now threaten the San Jacinto Valley’s reputation for years to come, residents, local officials and experts say.

Public officials at five prominent institutions were ensnared in bribery, corruption and campaign-finance scandals that could send them to prison.

Now, some residents worry the spotlight might hurt the community’s ability to attract new jobs and residents and stick the region with a corruption label they won’t be able to easily shed.

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