CalPERS & CalSTRS: cracking down on ‘spiking’


In a settlement of a wrongful firing, a suburban San Diego water district agreed six years later to put its former general counsel back on the payroll for one year at $222,000, with a leave of absence that left him free to take another job.

The rancorous firing of Thomas Harron and six others by the Otay Water District in 2001 was alleged to be a race-based purge. A lawsuit contended that a district board member said: “We got to get rid of all of the gringos.”

Harron acknowledged during a CalPERS board hearing yesterday that the one-year return to the payroll in February 2008, with a prohibition against returning to district offices, was intended to increase his pension.

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Putting a Halt to Special Interest Money

From the OC Register:

Tustin attorney Mark Bucher has been turned back twice by unions in his effort to make it harder for them to collect dues for political spending, but he has a broader target this time around.

Make it harder for both unions and corporations to contribute to campaigns, and ban contributions from government contractors to elected officials involved in hiring those contractors.

The campaign for his proposed statewide ballot measure has submitted 920,000 signatures toward qualifying for the ballot next year, he said. Of those, 504,760 must be valid registered voters. Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley recommends petitioners gather 50 percent more than the number need, a ratio Bucher has well exceeded. Kelley said Orange County received 64,738 of those petition signatures. The verification process is expected to begin next week.

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California businesses and jobs hardest hit by recession

From the OC Register:

California suffered the greatest loss of jobs and businesses of all sizes during recession, according to a new analysis by the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

“Recessions are felt most deeply in terms of lost businesses and lost jobs,” said SBE Council Chief Economist Raymond Keating. “No one performed well in the abysmal economy prevailing in 2008 and 2009. The question is: Which states performed least poorly vs. which states did the very worst.”

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Americans Blame Government More Than Wall Street for Economy

From Gallup:

Americans are more than twice as likely to blame the federal government in Washington (64%) for the economic problems facing the United States as they are the financial institutions on Wall Street (30%).

Both of these large entities have been the target of protest groups this year. The Occupy Wall Street movement has focused on large financial institutions on Wall Street, while the Tea Party movement continues to focus mainly on the federal government.

There appears to be no shortage of blame for either of these entities. The Oct. 15-16 USA Today/Gallup poll asked Americans how much they blame the federal government for the economy and, separately, how much they blame financial institutions on Wall Street. More than three-quarters of Americans, inboth cases, say these entities deserve a great deal or a fair amount of blame for the economic problems facing the U.S. Still, reflecting the results of the forced-choice question, the percentage saying the federal government deserves a great deal of blame is 11 points higher than the percentage for financial institutions on Wall Street.

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Wall Street to Dems: you can’t have it both ways

From Politico:

After the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent a recent email urging supporters to sign a petition backing the wave of Occupy Wall Street protests, phones at the party committee started ringing.

Banking executives personally called the offices of DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and DCCC Finance Chairman Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) last week demanding answers, three financial services lobbyists told POLITICO.

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Analysis: Perry vs. Romney on Immigration

From Fox News:

The issue of  immigration was front and center in last GOP debate, and the heated clashes over the issue between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, coupled with renewed calls for a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border by their other opponents, made clear the issue isn’t going away. It’s a major fault line between Perry and Romney as they court a Republican primary electorate that generally takes a hardline view against people who are in the country illegally.

At every turn, Perry, the Texas governor, has been forced to defend his signing of a law that allowed some undocumented immigrants to get in-state college tuition. And now Romney is having to answer for the fact that some groundskeepers who had worked on his lawn were undocumented.

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Republicans take off gloves in Vegas debate

From the LA Times:

The Republican presidential candidates clashed bitterly and personally over healthcare and immigration in a snarling Tuesday night debate that featured some of the most barbed and heated exchanges of the months-long campaign.

The event, staged in a hotel casino on the Las Vegas Strip, broke little new substantive ground as the candidates — facing one another for the sixth time in as many weeks — restated mostly familiar positions.

But there was a heightened degree of animus in the air, which pushed the usually unruffled Mitt Romney into a series of raised-voice, finger-jabbing confrontations, most dramatically with Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

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Six-figure GOP donation pumps life into California map fight

From the Sac Bee:

Bolstered by a new $400,000 donation from the California Republican Party, officials of a referendum campaign to overturn the state’s newly drawn Senate districts say 400,000 voter signatures have been collected and a full-court-press has been launched for more.

“I’m confident that we’re going to do it,” political strategist David Gilliard, who is running the campaign, said of prospects for gathering the required 504,760 valid voter signatures by Nov. 14 to place the issue before voters next year.

Gilliard said that signature-gathering had slowed temporarily because campaign coffers were draining, but the California Republican Party’s six-figure contribution last week cured the problem and “we were able to unleash our people back again.”

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Tough Talk on Immigration at Debate Turns Off Some Latinos

From the SJ Mercury:

Today, Republican candidates are competing over who can talk the toughest about illegal immigration — who will erect the most impenetrable border defense; who will turn off “magnets” like college tuition benefits.

But after such pointed proposals heated up yet another Republican debate Tuesday, some party officials see a yellow light signaling danger in battleground states with large Latino populations in November 2012. Will Latino voters remember and punish the eventual Republican nominee?

“The discussion of creating electrified fences from sea to sea is neither prudent nor helpful,” said Ryan Call, chairman of the Republican Party of Colorado, where Latinos cast 13 percent of votes in 2008 and helped President Barack Obama flip the state to blue. “They’re throwing red meat around in an attempt to mollify a particular aspect of the Republican base.”

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SF Plan Would Offer Tax Break for Hiring Felons

From the SF Chronicle:

San Francisco businesses that hire people with felony convictions would get a tax break, under legislation expected to be introduced today.

“Ex-felons are among the most challenged populations in getting work,” said Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who is crafting the plan.

Persuading an employer to hire a convicted felon, particularly in this economy when the unemployment rate is hovering just under 10 percent, is difficult, especially when there’s a wide pool of job applicants without felony records.

But offering businesses a monetary incentive may get them to consider hiring someone with a criminal past, said Mirkarimi, who chairs the Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety Committee and is a candidate for sheriff in the Nov. 8 election.

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