"The proposal, a late insert into the state budget that lawmakers passed last week, would allow local officials to opt out of parts of the California law that gives citizens access to government documents."
"Under that law, officials now must respond to a request for records from a member of the public within 10 days and are required to make the documents available electronically. The change, which Brown requested as a cost-cutting measure, would allow the officials to skip both requirements with a voice vote. The same vote would permit them to reject requests without explanation and would no longer require them to help citizens identify existing information."
Good-government groups, journalists and newspapers and others are urging Brown to toss out the bill.
From the Bee's Dan Walters: "However, it's doubtful that Brown will respond to those calls. It was his own Department of Finance that proposed the change to reduce the number of "mandates" for which the state must compensate local governments."
"It's rather ridiculous that the state should have to pay local governments to obey such an obviously beneficial law, but another provision of the constitution requires compensation for such mandates."
"That requirement was a part of Proposition 4, a 1979 spending limit measure sponsored by Proposition 13 co-author Paul Gann. The governor of the era, Jerry Brown, enthusiastically backed the measure and even called a special election to get it passed so that he could run for president in 1980 as an advocate of a balanced federal budget."
The 128-year-old Skunk Train, the iconic railway that carries passengers along 40 miles of spectacular Mendocino County, looked like it was coming to a halt but a last-minute reprieve is in the works.
From the Chronicle's Peter Fimrite: "The world-famous Skunk Train, stopped in its tracks earlier this year by a tunnel collapse, was given a new lease on life Tuesday after San Francisco's Save the Redwoods League stepped up with fix-it money."
"The nonprofit conservation group purchased a $300,000 option to establish an easement protecting redwoods and ensuring public access along the 40-mile Skunk Train route in Mendocino County - exactly the amount the cash-strapped Mendocino Railway needed to fix the tunnel."
"Robert Pinoli, the owner and CEO of the railroad, said debris removal and repairs will begin immediately. He expects the train to be up and running from Willits to Northspur by the beginning of next month, with full service restored by mid-July."
From the LA Daily News' Kevin Smith: "As Southern Californians prepare for summer, Southern California Edison is asking customers to be especially conservation-minded to help keep the electric grid stable and reliable during hot weather when energy use spikes, particularly without the power generated from the San Onofre nuclear plant."
"Last summer, SCE customers saved 300 megawatts through conservation measures -- enough to power about 200,000 homes."
"While Edison has been doing all that it can to prepare to supply power without help from the San Onofre plant, customer conservation is still a must," said Erwin Furukawa, SCE senior vice president for customer service. "Now is the time to enroll in our conservation programs and start practicing conservation behaviors that can make a big difference for the grid."
Derek Cressman, a former vice president of Common Cause, says he is running for secretary of state, the vast office that manages California's election system.
From the Bee's Jerem B. White: "Cressman joins a field already populated by Republican Pete Peterson, who heads a public policy school at Pepperdine University, and two Democratic state senators, Alex Padilla of Los Angeles and Leland Yee of San Francisco. Like Peterson, Cressman is positioning himself as an outsider with no interest in ascending the political career ladder."
"I'm running for secretary of state only to be secretary of state," Cressman said in an announcement on the south steps of the State Capitol, promising that if he were elected, he would not run for other public offices while serving as secretary of state."
"With the growing concentration of political power in the hands of an elite few," he added, "it too often feels as if our government has been conquered by an army of special interests, lawyers, lobbyists and career politicians who no longer act on our behalf."
And finally from our "Rainbow's End" file comes a word of advice to those who are young, broke and single: Go to Des Moines, Iowa.
"The actual Money Under 30 criteria for landing such an august ranking included everything from number of bars to unemployment levels to average commute time to number of singles ages 18 to 44. Essentially, “cheap food, cheap beer and cheap thrills,” according to the site."
"Hallelujah. Finally, someone who understands us, said local actor and “Iowa Nice Guy” Scott Siepker."
“In terms of having the ring of truth, we do have cheap beer,” said Siepker, 30. “Being a hit on YouTube is not the amazing money outputter you would imagine it would be, so from an artist’s perspective it’s great to be here.”
As for me, I'm heading to San Francisco ...