Republican Tom Del Beccaro announces U.S. Senate run

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

Tom Del Beccaro, a former chairman of the California Republican Party, announced his campaign for the U.S. Senate on Sunday, promising to focus on the state’s uneven economic recovery and punishing drought in his bid to succeed Democrat Barbara Boxer.

Del Beccaro, an attorney and published author who will pair his run with an upcoming book tour, said he plans to advocate for a nationwide flat tax. He also will campaign to make California a water-technology leader.

“I support a flat tax nationwide, the repeal of California’s high-speed rail bond and a comprehensive water infrastructure and acquisition program for California,” Del Beccaro said in a statement. “California, which historically has been a high-tech leader, should be the world leader in water technology to meet the challenges of tomorrow, and we need a new generation of leaders who will champion the policies necessary to foster that.”

UC administrative staff tripled in two decades

As reported by Capitol Weekly:

Rising university tuition costs have been a hot topic in California, where Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers have tangled with UC executives over budgets, spending and state investment levels in higher education.

Long story short: The University of California says the state needs to increase its investment in its public universities to stave off tuition hikes, while the state wants UC to be more creative and willing when it comes to penny-pinching.

This political tension is rooted in the fundamental question recently asked by the New York Times: Why does college cost so much?

California is typical of other states. Since 1993 …

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Dianne Feinstein helped keep drones with CIA

As reported by Politico:

Nearly two years ago, President Barack Obama called for moving the drone war from the CIA to the Defense Department to give the controversial counterterrorism program greater oversight.

But it hasn’t happened.

Then-Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein expressed concerns, and intelligence sources say she inserted a classified amendment in a spending bill last year requiring that the administration certify that giving the Pentagon a greater role would not have negative impacts on the war on terrorism.

Feinstein’s office declined to comment on the classified amendment, but the White House, in response to the amendment, has been slow to make any changes.

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Pentagon to launch cyberstrategy push in Silicon Valley

As reported by the L.A. Times:

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter will unveil a new military cyberstrategy Thursday in the heart of Silicon Valley, reaching out to Facebook Inc. and other companies to help boost the nation’s digital defenses.

The two-day visit underscores a long-delayed shift in Pentagon priorities to recognizing cyberattacks on government agencies, major companies and crucial infrastructure as a major threat to U.S. national security.

Carter’s visit to Silicon Valley is the first by a Pentagon chief since the mid-1990s when the Internet was in its infancy, Wi-Fi and smartphones didn’t exist and America’s digital dominance was unquestioned. …

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Answers demanded after vets’ disability claims found in cabinet

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

One number will hang over a congressional hearing Wednesday looking into mismanagement at a U.S. Veterans Affairs regional office in Oakland: 13,184.

That’s the number of compensation and disability claims that were found in 2012, wrongfully stashed in a filing cabinet — some dating to the mid-1990s and many unprocessed. But what the number represents remains the source of fierce debate.

Employees who came forward about the claims say it’s the number of veterans whose much-needed benefits may have been delayed, or not paid altogether, because of what they described as organized negligence that continued even after the cabinet was emptied. …

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Carson City Council approves NFL stadium project for Raiders, Chargers

As reported by the Orange County Register:

CARSON – On a night when dozens of jersey-wearing, flag-waving Chargers and Raiders fans turned Carson City Hall into an indoor tailgate, the Carson City Council on Tuesday night approved the Chargers’ and Raiders’ plans to build a $1.65 billion, 70,000-seat stadium next to the 405 Freeway.

That eliminated a significant obstacle for the two NFL franchises as they race to catch up with an already-approved $1.86 billion Inglewood stadium project backed by Rams owner Stan Kroenke.

The council’s unanimous vote not only was a major step toward the NFL returning to the Los Angeles-Orange County market after a 20-year absence, but it also put additional pressure on already-embattled officials from San Diego and Oakland to come up with plans in the coming weeks to keep the Chargers and Raiders in their current home markets. …

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Stadium plan for Chargers, Raiders near Los Angeles advances

As reported by the Associated Press and featured in the Sacramento Bee:

A proposed stadium near Los Angeles that could become home for the NFL’s San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders hit an early milestone Wednesday.

Organizers said sufficient petition signatures have been verified by election officials to qualify the proposal for the ballot in Carson, where the project would be built on a former landfill.

The Raiders and Chargers are planning a shared stadium in the city on the edge of Los Angeles if both teams fail to get new stadiums in their current hometowns.

Hillary Clinton buoyed by Bay Area donors, tech talent and goodwill

As reported by the San Jose Mercury News:

Not many candidates can draw more than 10,000 people into the Bay Area’s streets for a campaign rally, but two did so eight years ago — one of them is now president, and the other is running to succeed him.

As Hillary Clinton officially begins her quest for the White House by courting voters this week in Iowa, her campaign will feel a westward tug toward the money, technology and brainpower in the Bay Area. For months, Clinton supporters have been holding fundraisers and scouting Silicon Valley talent.

Days before Sunday’s announcement that she was running for president, Clinton hired Stephanie Hannon, Google’s director of product management for civic innovation and social impact, as her campaign’s chief technology officer — probably the first of many local hires, if the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaigns are any measure. …

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State lawmakers take aim at UC brass’ lofty salaries

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

State lawmakers from both parties are sending the University of California an angry message by advancing a bill to cap compensation for UC employees at $500,000 under penalty of losing public funding.

The bill, approved by the Assembly’s higher education committee last week, is a prime example of how Gov. Jerry Brown’s concerns over high spending at the public university have spread to the state Legislature, where the bill is one of five in play — all meant to bring UC to its knees by reining in its spending, restricting its ability to raise tuition and ending its constitutional autonomy.

The measure, AB837, and the other bills get at the heart of the irritation that students, lawmakers from both parties and Brown feel toward UC. Their complaint: The university keeps increasing compensation for its highest-paid employees while demanding that students pay more tuition and that the state contribute more toward its bottom line. …

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State prison officials aim to halt prisoner’s sex reassignment

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

California prison officials moved Friday to halt a transgender prison inmate’s court-ordered sex reassignment surgery, arguing that the unprecedented order was medically unnecessary and would subject prison health care to “an inmate’s personal preferences.”

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation asked U.S. District JudgeJon Tigar to suspend his April 2 ruling — allowing Michelle Lael-Norsworthyto undergo male-to-female surgery — while the state asks a federal appeals court to overturn the ruling. It was the first such judicial order in California and the second in the nation.

Lael-Norsworthy, 51, was convicted of second-degree murder in 1987. She has identified as a woman since the mid-1990s, has received hormone therapy in prison since 2000 and has the appearance and voice of a woman. She remains housed in men’s prisons.

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