Majority Report Disses Senate Republicans on Pension Reform

From CA Majority Report:

Senate Republicans will march in front of reporters today to pound fists and call for a special session on pensions. But perhaps someone should remind them that lawmakers from both houses and both partiesalready are holding interim hearings to examine California’s pension system.

Or maybe someone should show them the report issued just yesterday by the Legislative Analyst’s Office warning that it would be a huge mistake for California to rush through pension changes. The LAO made it clear: “The Legislature Should Take a Few Months to Get the Details Right.”

“…with several thousand public employers and many different pension and retiree health packages offered to public employees, it is very difficult to fashion a workable, fair, sustainable set of legislative provisions that accomplishes the type of changes envisioned by the Governor. We strongly urge the Legislature to take several months to fashion a pension plan in response to the Governor’s proposals.”

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More Solyndra docs, subpoena “rebuffed”

From Hot Air:

Friday is always the designated “take out the trash” day in Washington and this week was no exception. After receiving increasingly heated demands from the Energy and Commerce Committee – not to mention a subpoena – for all documents related to the failed solar panel manufacturer, the White House responded. Of course, “responded” can mean different things to different people.

The White House on Friday rejected House Republicans’ subpoena for all internal communications related to the $535 million Solyndra loan guarantee, instead providing 135 pages of documents that administration officials say meet the “legitimate oversight interests” of congressional investigators.

In a letter to top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee Friday, White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler said the documents “do not contain evidence of favoritism to political supporters or any wrongdoing by the White House in connection with the Solyndra loan guarantee.”

So apparently the people being served with subpoenas are now in the best position to be the judge of what meets the “legitimate oversight interests” of those doing the overseeing. It’s comforting to know that when they were deciding which documents to deliver and which to sit on, none of the ones they turned over showed “evidence of favoritism to political supporters or any wrongdoing.”

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Hayashi’s Campaign Donation Irony

From Capitol Weekly:

Accounting details can be a snooze, but every once in a while you spot a nugget buried in the incoming/outgoing and you just can’t pass it up. Such was the case of Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, who got popped for allegedly lifting more than $2,400 from a high-end retailer – Neiman Marcus, in fact – in San Francisco. But now comes the irony: She got campaign donations of nearly $2,400 from the California Retailers Association Good Government Council. The amounts don’t balance out, of course, but it works fine for the Skinny.

As for Hayashi, she’s got a court appearance next week. Even if the allegation is proved up – the incident apparently was caught on tape by a Nieman Marcus security camera – she likely will do little, if any, time because she’s got no criminal record. About the only negative on Hayashiin the Capitol is that she’s hard on her staff. And that isn’t against the law – at least not yet. But if it ever becomes unlawful, we’ve got a long list of suspects we’ll be happy to provide.

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L.A. County jails may be out of room next month

From the LA Times:

Los Angeles County’s jails could run out of space as early as next month because of an influx of state prisoners, prompting officials to consider releasing potentially thousands of inmates awaiting trial.

The state’s new prison law, which establishes a practice known as realignment, is expected to send as many as 8,000 offenders who would normally go to state prisons into the L.A. County Jail system in the next year.

Currently, defendants awaiting trial account for 70% of the jail population, but Sheriff Lee Baca said that might need to drop to 50%. The department is studying a major expansion of its electronic monitoring and home detention programs to keep track of inmates who are released.

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Cityplace affordable housing project opens

From the Bakersfield Californian:

As the state Supreme Court was hearing oral arguments in a case that will determine the future of such redevelopment efforts, Bakersfield officials were cutting a ribbon at Cityplace, a 70-unit affordable housing project just east of the Mc Murtrey Aquatic Center.

“There was a great need for affordable housing in our community,” said Councilman Rudy Salas Jr. “This is going to fulfill that need.”

Cityplace is a “poster” example of how redevelopment should work, said James Schmid, CEO of Chelsea Investment Corp., the developer. He said it was the biggest transformation of a blighted neighborhood his company has seen, and remarkably, was financed during the most difficult financing period of his career.

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State revenue forecast looks grim

From the SD Tribune:

State Controller John Chiang on Thursday said state revenues were $1.5 billion short of projections for the first four months of the fiscal year, which could mean substantial mid-year cuts to programs if the trend holds.

He said revenues for the month of October fell $810.5 million short of projections in the state budget approved in June. Further, Chiang said state expenditures are over projections by $1.7 billion.

Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers in June adopted an $86 billion general fund budget that contains what’s called a “trigger” mechanism inserted to assure investors and financial markets that the state is determined to live within its means. That’s because the spending plan assumes there will be $4 billion in new revenue.

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Brown will ask legislators to OK billions for bullet train

From the LA Times:

Gov. Jerry Brown said Thursday that he will formally request that the Legislature approve billions of dollars to start construction of the California bullet train next year and will work hard to persuade skeptical lawmakers that the project is critical to the state’s future.

In his first extended remarks on the $98.5-billion project since a controversial business plan was unveiled last week, Brown said that the state will have a broad need for the system in the long term and that it represents a significantly cheaper alternative to additional highway and commercial aviation investments.

“As an idea, if you think of California as growing and expanding, then it fits into it,” Brown said at a meeting with The Times’ editorial board. “It is based on an optimistic assessment of where California is going.”

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Quan’s lack of leadership attacked

From the Oakland Tribune:

Faith in Mayor Jean Quan’s leadership and her handling of the Occupy Oakland protests continues to deteriorate as business leaders, the City Council and her own crisis communications adviser all distance themselves from her.

A new poll commissioned by the Oakland Chamber of Commerce found that 73 percent of 1,100 city voters surveyed disapprove of the way she has handled Occupy Oakland.

At least one council member has requested a vote of no confidence in Quan’s leadership, according to Council President Larry Reid.

And to top it off, Nathan Ballard, a respected crisis communication expert hired by Quan in the wake of police Chief Anthony Batts’ departure last month, quit his post as adviser to the mayor.

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GOP group files signatures for vote on California redistricting

From the LA Times:

Republican activists trying to overturn new state Senate districts began filing signed petitions Thursday for a California-wide referendum on the issue.

Referendum proponents, calling themselves Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting (FAIR), have until Sunday to file the minimum 504,000 signatures needed to get the matter on the November 2012 ballot.

FAIR charges that the maps, drawn for the first time by a citizens commission instead of the Legislature, bear “trademarks of gerrymandering” to favor Democrats. The maps include “bizarre shaped districts, numerous unnecessary county and city splits and the division of key communities of interest,” the group said in a statement Thursday.

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Cut public employee pensions, California voters say

From Contra Costa Times:

From San Francisco to Modesto, California voters Tuesday sent a strong message that they want to cut generous public employee pensions, whose soaring costs are devouring funds for cops, libraries and other services.

The results cheered local officials such as San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, who’s seeking a March special election on his own controversial pension reform proposal, as well as advocates for a statewide measure aimed at slashing the costs of public retirement packages.

“It certainly demonstrates solid public support for pension reform,” Reed said Wednesday. “Even in a labor-friendly town like San Francisco, 68 percent said yes.”

Yet voters Tuesday also signaled that there are limits to how far they’re willing to crack down on police, firefighters, teachers, librarians and other public workers. San Francisco voters approved the milder of two pension reform proposals on the ballot, one backed by the mayor and many labor leaders. They rejected a tougher measure by Public Defender Jeff Adachi, author of a similar measure that failed last year.

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