Surprise! Another Obama bundler benefits from “green-tech” subsidies

From Hot Air:

Well, surprise isn’t really the correct word in this case.  A better phrase would be, “To no one’s great shock …”  On the heels of the Solyndra fiasco and the Fisker grant that created jobs in Finland, the Washington Post discovers that a “major fundraiser” for Barack Obama — and a member of his 2008 campaign team — ended up benefiting from $50 million in taxpayer-backed green-tech loans:

An investment firm whose vice chairman has been an adviser and fundraiser for President Obama saw one of its portfolio companies win approval this year for $50 million in loans from the administration’s clean-energy loan program.

Washington-based Perseus says its affiliation with James A. Johnson, a major fundraiser for Obama’s campaign, played no role in persuading the Energy Department to award the loan to Vehicle Production Group, a Miami start-up that is manufacturing wheelchair-accessible cars and taxis.

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Don’t like cuts? Controller John Chiang says offer alternatives

From the Sac Bee:

Controller John Chiang said Wednesday that lawmakers who fear the prospect of automatic mid-year budget cuts should find alternatives soon.

In a meeting with The Bee Capitol Bureau, Chiang wouldn’t predict whether “trigger” cuts to education and social services would happen. Under the budget approved by Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers, California is required to impose up to $2.5 billion in cuts if fiscal analysts determine in the next few weeks the state will fall short in revenues this fiscal year.

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Fed cuts growth forecast, boosts jobless rate estimates

From the LA Times:

A new forecast from the Federal Reserve paints a gloomier outlook for the economy in 2012 and 2013.

The Fed on Wednesday cut its forecasts for economic growth and boosted its estimates of unemployment.

In revisions to its June forecasts, the Fed now forecasts that growth in real gross domestic product will be in a range of 2.5% to 2.9% in 2012, down from the previous estimate of 3.3% to 3.7%.

Growth in 2013 is likely to be in a range of 3.0% to 3.5%, the Fed said, down from the previous estimate of 3.5% to 4.2%.

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Group to file suit challenging open carry law

From the Pasadena Sun:

A guns owners’ rights group plans to file a federal lawsuit challenging California’s so-called “open carry” legislation barring public display of weapons, a challenge that may affect  a measure by Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Canada Flintridge) that was signed into law this month.

Portantino authored a bill, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, that bans open display of unloaded weapons. The bill extends a 1967 ban on displaying loaded weapons in public areas.

On Monday, an organization called California Right to Carry announced gun rights advocate Charles Nichols would sue to overturn the 1967 law. 

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Federal lawsuit filed against California congressional maps

From the Sac Bee:

Critics of California’s new congressional districts are taking their case against the political maps to federal court.

Former GOP Rep. George Radanovich and four other plaintiffs announced today that they will file a lawsuit in federal district court arguing that the lines drawn by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission violate the Federal Voting Rights Act and the 14th Amendment.

The lawsuit, which will likely be filed later this week in Southern California, will argue that California’s 14-member commission violated the law by intentionally not creating majority African-American and Latino congressional districts in Los Angeles County when it drafted the state’s 53 congressional districts, according to a release.

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Santa Ana’s Budget Crisis May Put Fire Department on the Chopping Block

From Voice of OC:

Santa Ana officials are now openly acknowledging that deep cuts to public safety are needed to close a budget deficit that could rise as high as $30 million in the next fiscal year.

And in its comprehensive report issued in September, Management Partners Inc., the city’s contract budget analyst, specifically cited the need to reform the Santa Ana Fire Department’s staffing policies. The report went so far as to say that some fire stations could be temporarily closed at night when call volume goes down.

“Management Partners believes that consideration should be given to eliminating the current fixed staffing model,” the report says.

Firefighters union leaders have been less conciliatory than their counterparts in the police department about reopening labor contracts to pare down the deficit.

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Massive Turnover in 2012 CA Assembly

From Fox & Hounds:

The biggest story of Campaign 2012 will be the impact redistricting will have on Assembly races.

When the November 2012 election is behind us and the newly elected members of the state Assembly are sworn in the following month, the new Freshman class will be huge and could conceivably be as large as 42 members – more than half of the 80-member body.

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Occupy Protesters Disapprove of Obama, Survey Finds

From the NY Times:

Zuccotti Park in New York’s financial district is decked out with posters and signs for the wide array of political viewpoints of the Occupy Wall Street protesters. The six-week-old movement has several Web sites to promote various perspectives. But just who are these protesters? What is their political ideology? Do they have jobs?

Costas Panagopoulos, a professor of political science at Fordham University, recently conducted a survey of the Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York.

Dr. Panagopoulos described the protesters as “disgruntled Democrats.” Sixty percent of those surveyed said they voted for Barack Obama in 2008, and about three-quarters now disapprove of Mr. Obama’s performance as president. A quarter said they were Democrats, but 39 percent said they did not identify with any political party. Eleven percent identified as Socialists, another 11 percent said they were members of the Green Party, 2 percent were Republicans and 12 percent say they identified as something else.

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Unions: ‘No Armageddon looming for our pension fund’

From the OC Register:

Gov. Jerry Brown‘s plan for reshaping California’s out-of-whack pension system would raise the retirement age from 55 to 67, require employees to kick in more of their own money,  add a hybrid, risk-sharing plan for new hires, and do more to revamp what many have concluded is an unsustainable system.

The plan is not being greeted warmly by workers, who don’t agree that the problem is as bad as the governor and others make it out to be.

“Let me be clear about one thing: There is no Armageddon looming for our pension fund and no reason to question the long-term sustainability of CalPERS,” said a written statement from Allan Clark, president of the California School Employees Association. ”Despite a ruthless campaign by out-of-state billionaires to generate sensational headlines based on faulty assumptions, CalPERS is not bankrupting the state.”

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GOP Senator wants CA voters to reconsider high-speed rail

From the Sac Bee:

GOP Sen. Doug LaMalfa wants to send California’s high-speed rail project back to the ballot in light of revised cost estimates.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority today released a revised business plan projecting that the total cost of the proposed bullet train could be $98.5 billion over 20 years, far exceeding previous estimates.

LaMalfa, a vocal critic of the project, blasted the authority’s earlier cost projections and pledges for federal and private dollars for the project, saying authority members and supporters “have known all along that these targets would not be met.”

The Richvale Republican said he plans to introduce legislation that would ask California voters to reconsider the $9 billion in bonds approved for the project in 2008.

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