Archive for January 18th, 2010

RivPE: Just-hired San Bernardino county administrator subject of gift probe

Greg Devereaux

10:00 PM PST on Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Press-Enterprise

The San Bernardino County district attorney’s office has asked the state Fair Political Practices Commission to determine whether Supervisor Paul Biane and newly hired county administrator Greg Devereaux violated disclosure laws by failing to report gifts they received from an unidentified person.

District attorney spokeswoman Susan Mickey said the office sent a letter to the FPPC a week ago asking for a legal opinion on whether the two men violated political reform laws.

The FPPC is expected to provide an answer within 30 days, Mickey said.

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VVDailyPress: Investigation: Ramos harassment claim unfounded

January 18, 2010 9:03 AM

SAN BERNARDINO • District Attorney Michael A. Ramos did not harass a coworker after their consensual relationship ended, according to portions of an independent investigation released by San Bernardino County’s Department of Human Resources on Friday.

Former District Attorney’s office employee Cheryl Ristow of Redlands filed a $1.5 million claim against the county last week. Ristow originally accused Ramos of sexual harassment last year, saying he pursued her after a 3 1/2-year “intimate relationship” between them ended. Ristow also said she faced a hostile work environment and retaliation, including being written up for prior “trivial” violations.

Ramos denied the allegations, calling them “false and politically motivated.”

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SBSun: 2010 elections to test power of tea parties

James Rufus Koren, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/17/2010 08:37:53 PM PST

Nearly a year after they started springing up in cities across the country, conservative “tea party” groups are still meeting, still passing out copies of the Constitution, still railing against big government.

But as the nation heads into this election year, tea-party groups will, for the first time, see how much influence they have at the ballot box.

This year’s elections, Yucaipa Tea Party organizer Lloyd Rekstad said, are “really the only tangible opportunity that the tea parties have.”

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January 18, 2010 10:48 AM

VICTORVILLE • The city hasn’t repaid an interfund loan it made to itself in 1999, according to its latest audit report — even though state law dictates that this particular loan must be paid back with interest within five years.

Still the audit of the city’s Redevelopment Agency, which is up for approval at Tuesday’s council meeting, shows an unqualified or “clean” opinion on the agency’s financial statements for the 2008-09 fiscal year.

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SFChronicle: Health-plan tax would hit California hard

Victoria Colliver, Chronicle Staff Writer

Monday, January 18, 2010

California could be disproportionately hit by a proposed annual tax in the national health overhaul legislation that critics say penalizes restrictive managed-care policies, which are far more popular in the Golden State than in the rest of the country.

An arcane provision in the Senate health bill calls for paying for expanded health benefits in part by taxing health insurers, like Kaiser Permanente, which covers about 6.6 million Californians, while exempting plans offered by large employers who pay their employees’ claims.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010 at 1:10 a.m.

With President Barack Obama’s approval rating sinking and Washington gripped by fights about health care, climate change and deficit spending, Republicans are confident of recouping at least some of their losses in the past two elections.

Early handicapping of the November midterm election has Republicans picking up at least three Senate seats and between 20 and 30 in the House. Such losses could stymie Obama’s legislative agenda, which has been squeaking by on narrow party-line votes.

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Calpensions: CalPERS finds ‘governance’ begins at home

By Ed Mendel

The giant CalPERS public pension system, a leader in pushing for better management of corporations, has its own problems with big fees paid for helping investment firms get pension fund money.

CalPERS pushes for diversity on corporate boards, pay for performance among executives, improvements in firms placed on an annual “focus” list, and has $4.4 billion invested in funds that try to boost shareholder value by improving management.

Now CalPERS, looking at its own management, has discovered that one of its former board members, Al Villalobos, has received $59.8 million in “placement agent” fees for helping investment firms obtain money from the pension fund.

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By Dan Walters
Published: Monday, Jan. 18, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

As the process of selecting an independent commission to redraw California’s legislative districts gets under way, two rival groups are planning to ask voters to either eliminate the commission altogether or expand its reach into congressional districts as well. That could mean a very expensive political shootout later this year with national repercussions.

Charles T. Munger Jr., a wealthy Southern Californian whose father is billionaire financier Warren Buffett’s partner, has already contributed more than $2 million to qualify a ballot measure to expand independent redistricting to the state’s congressional districts.

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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

By Kevin Yamamura
Published: Monday, Jan. 18, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was insistent at his January budget presentation that his spending plan does not raise taxes.

He said, “I refuse to raise taxes, because there are so many other areas where Sacramento can be smarter, more efficient and save precious taxpayer dollars.”

But Schwarzenegger again proposed a 4.8 percent surcharge on all residential and commercial property insurance to help pay for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The Department of Finance estimates that the surcharge would cost about $48 per policyholder and relieve the general fund by $200 million through June 2011.

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09:37 AM PST on Monday, January 18, 2010

The Press-Enterprise

Special Section: San Jacinto Probe

San Jacinto officials — some now indicted in a sweeping corruption probe — approved permits for a developer also ensnared by the criminal charges, leading county transportation officials to spend thousands more to acquire land for a major regional route, court documents and officials confirmed.

Stephen Holgate, a local developer and one of 15 people indicted in a sweeping campaign corruption probe, was given permits in 2006 to develop property that city and transportation officials knew was part of the planned Mid-County Parkway.

The route one day will connect San Jacinto and Interstate 215 in Perris.

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SBSun: Plans move forward on Chino adult prison expansion

Neil Nisperos, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/17/2010 06:02:35 AM PST

CHINO – State corrections officials are expected to release a master plan this spring for converting the Heman G. Stark youth prison into a major expansion of adult housing operations.

The transition of Stark into an adult facility is moving forward with the public environmental review process. A public meeting to introduce the plan is likely in the spring, said Bob Sleppy, deputy environmental services director for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

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