"The Legislative Analyst’s Office is projecting that there may be as much as $12 billion in new Proposition 98 money for the fiscal year starting July 1. In the state budget he will release next month, Gov. Jerry Brown will likely dedicate a big portion as one-time money – for paying off late payments or deferrals to schools and implementing Common Core, perhaps – but the increase for districts’ operating budgets will likely be sizable nonetheless."
The implementation of the Affordable Care Act has is prompting new questions in California on consumer privacy.
From the LAT's Chad Terhune: "Raising concerns about consumer privacy, California's health exchange has given insurance agents the names and contact information for tens of thousands of people who went online to check out coverage but didn't ask to be contacted."
"The Covered California exchange said it started handing out this consumer information this week as part of a pilot program to help people enroll ahead of a Dec. 23 deadline to have health insurance in place by Jan. 1."
Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, forced from office by mutiple allegations of sexual harassment, faces sentencing today. He's not likely to get jail time.
From the LAT's Tony Perry: "In what could be the final act in a long-running drama, ex-Mayor Bob Filner is set to appear in court Monday to be sentenced on three counts of mistreating women, the kind of accusations that drove him to resign."
"The judge is widely expected to approve a plea bargain that includes no jail time, three months of home confinement, a reduction in his city pension, mandatory mental health counseling and a bar against seeking public office."
Meanwhile, the two battling it out to succeed Filner, both of them on the San Diego City Council, are locked in a dead heat.
From the Union-Tribune's Craig Gustafson: "Faulconer, a Republican, has a slight lead with support from 47 percent of likely voters compared to 46 percent for Alvarez, a Democrat. Seven percent of voters remain undecided."
"Both candidates saw their numbers increase following the Nov. 19 special election in which Faulconer finished first with 42 percent and Alvarez was second with 27 percent. Since no one received more than 50 percent, they will now compete in a runoff expected to be held in early February."
The value of property in the Bay Area and elsewhere may be going up dramatically, but property taxes aren't -- thanks to Proposition 13, which voters approved 35 years ago.
From the Mercury-News' Tracy Seipel: "Under the landmark tax-revolt measure passed in 1978, county tax officials can increase a home's assessed value each year by 2 percent or the inflation rate -- whichever is lower."
"And now, for the eighth time in 35 years, California's inflation rate is lower -- less than a half of 1 percent. Oddly, a big drop in Southern California gas prices dragged down inflation statewide even though the cost of living in Northern California jumped by almost 2 percent."
In what can only be called a remarkable turnaround, the public's approval ratings of the Legislature is on the rise.
From the Oakland Tribune's Thomas Peele: "Nearly as many California voters now approve of job the Legislature is doing as those who don't, the best public view of the elected representatives working under the state Capitol's golden dome, according to a statewide Field Poll released Friday."
"The Legislature received a 40 percent approval rating, its highest grade in the last 19 polls. That 44 percent of the voters still disapprove of the lawmakers' performance is a far lower number than just three years ago, when 80 percent gave legislators a thumbs down."
Merrill Newman, the octagenarian with lots of frequent flyer miles who was just freed from North Korea, went home to Santa Cruz -- finally.
From the Santa Cruz Sentinel's Shanna McCord: "A relaxed Merrill Newman walked outside his Santa Cruz home on Sunday morning and was immediately greeted by a neighbor with a giant hug."
"The neighbor told Newman how she "just knew" he would return unharmed from the daring vacation he took to North Korea that turned into an American's worst nightmare just as he was about to depart on an airplane back to China."
And from our "Keep Your Eye on the Ball" file comes word of the use of two drugs to treat blindness in the aged. Both apparently do similar things, but there's a difference: one costs 40 times the other.
"The two drugs have been declared equivalently miraculous. Tested side by side in six major trials, both prevent blindness in a common old-age affliction. Biologically, they are cousins. They’re even made by the same company."
"But one holds a clear price advantage."
"Avastin costs about $50 per injection."
"Lucentis costs about $2,000 per injection."
"Doctors choose the more expensive drug more than half a million times every year, a choice that costs the Medicare program, the largest single customer, an extra $1 billion or more annually."
Your tax dollars at work ...