While California state legislators pay lip service to local decision-making, they also claim a divine right to intervene in local conflicts by siding with one faction or the other, even when it means overturning ordinary governmental and legal processes.
State Sen. Juan Vargas, who made it back into the Legislature last year by the skin of his teeth, embraces that dubious, time-dishonored practice with measures that would intervene in two local development flaps. Read More
When former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s spectacular betrayal of his marriage was discovered, some pundits tried to make it connect to his failings as governor, but one has nothing to do with the other.
Mostly, when Schwarzenegger failed, it was not because of his own lapses. California’s political structure generates failure regardless of who occupies the office.
Gov. Jerry Brown, his successor, has spent all of his adult life in politics and has no history of personal scandal. But he is not faring any better than Schwarzenegger on cutting the budget deficit. Read More
The B-word — bankruptcy — is being bandied about in Stockton these days as the city faces a $37 million budget deficit with no light at the end of the fiscal tunnel.
Mayor Ann Johnston uttered it recently, telling local civic leaders, “We will do everything, absolutely everything, in our power to avoid bankruptcy.”
Vallejo filed for bankruptcy a few years ago under circumstances that are remarkably similar to those now facing Stockton. Read More
Voters along Los Angeles County’s southern coast conducted a test run of the state’s new top-two primary-election system this month, and the outcome is a harbinger of next year’s elections in 153 newly redrawn congressional and legislative districts.
The special election in the 36th Congressional District was triggered by the resignation of Democratic Rep. Jane Harman. Read More
Arnold Schwarzenegger attended Santa Monica Community College after emigrating from Austria, and as governor of California was a champion of community colleges in the capital’s perennial money fights.
Schwarzenegger also adopted the San Joaquin Valley and lavished money and attention on the economically depressed region.
Schwarzenegger’s two interests merged late last year, just before he left office, when he appointed Isabel Barreras, a trustee of Fresno’s State Center Community College District, to the state community college Board of Governors. Read More
Gov. Jerry Brown says California has a “wall of debt” that must be reduced — and is now using it as his chief rationale for a temporary boost in taxes.
At the same time, however, he is proposing to borrow billions more by issuing some of the bonds that voters have authorized for public works projects. And therein lies a rub.
Brown’s “wall of debt” refers mostly to an estimated $35 billion in loans and deferred payments that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature adopted to paper over the state budget’s chronic deficits. Read More
When California’s tax revenue began to increase, it complicated Gov. Jerry Brown’s months-long campaign for raising income, sales and car taxes.
Republicans went so far as to contend that with the revenue surge, the state’s budget deficit could be closed without raising taxes at all. Read More
You have to remember that the Capitol operates like Wonderland, Lewis Carroll’s fictional and nonsensical society where nothing is what it appears to be.
That’s why good news — that the state of California’s revenues finally appear to be moving up rather than down — may be bad news to Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature’s dominant Democrats. Read More
As Gov. Jerry Brown and legislators struggle — so far unsuccessfully — to close the state’s chronic budget deficit, local governments and schools throughout California face fiscal crises of their own.
The stubborn recession that exacerbates the state’s budget problem has also adversely affected local governments’ property and sales tax income. Meanwhile, counties and schools have been hit by their dependence on Sacramento for support. Read More
California Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders of both parties obviously don’t have a clue as to how this year’s version of the annual state budget wrangle will turn out.The once-intense negotiations on Brown’s plan to close the budget deficit with a combination of spending cuts and voter-approved tax extensions have become desultory at most.Meanwhile, the Legislature has turned its attention to hundreds of nonbudget bills while everyone involved in the budget awaits the “May revise” of income and outgo numbers to jump-start new talks. Read More
The timing could not have been more perfect — or more ironic.
As the Legislature mulls Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to abolish local redevelopment activities, a San Diego judge has issued a denunciation of one redevelopment agency for running roughshod over private property owners in its zeal to underwrite a big condominium.
National City, a suburb of San Diego, wanted to seize the property under eminent domain to facilitate construction of a 24-story condominium building. Read More
California pretends to have a death penalty for murder and other heinous crimes. That is, judges and juries sentence violent felons to die in San Quentin State Prison’s execution chamber.
But that is just a pretense because, in fact, almost no one is ever executed.
Instead, supposedly about 700 condemned inmates reside for years, even decades, on what’s called “death row.” They’re in greater danger of dying of old age — or boredom — than in taking the long walk. Read More
California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is nothing if not adaptable, as demonstrated by his latest dealings with the Sacramento Kings NBA team. The team’s current owners, the Maloof family, have fallen on bad times and clearly want to move the team to greener pastures, specifically Anaheim.
In 1997, Steinberg was a Sacramento city councilman and the Kings were owned by Jim Thomas. The Sacramento City Council floated bonds to give the team a $70 million loan because Thomas said if he didn’t get the loan, he’d be forced to move. Read More
Gov. Jerry Brown’s insider attempt to crack California’s budget nut has been no more successful than Arnold Schwarzenegger’s outsider attack.Both relied on unrealistic assumptions about Capitol reality — Schwarzenegger because he was a newbie and Brown for reasons known only to him.Brown offered a complex mixture of spending cuts and tax extensions tailored to the supposed predilections of a disaffected California electorate.Nearly four months later, however, the Capitol is stalemated — and not merely because of its deep ideological divisions. Read More
If the California budget’s whopping deficit were not the Capitol’s preoccupation this year, the Legislature’s most important piece of work might have been Assembly Bill 18.Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica, who chairs the Assembly Education Committee, said she introduced the bill to create a more rational and equitable financing mechanism for public schools. Read More