In the race for mayor in Democrat-rich Los Angeles, contender Wendy Greuel gets smacked in a Spanish-language ad for once being Republican, and a Pete Wilson Republican at that.
From the LAT's Kate Linthicum and Seema Mehta: "The 30-second commercial, which was produced by a "super PAC" backing Greuel's opponent in next week's election, draws links between Greuel and Wilson, the former California governor who pushed a 1994 initiative to block immigrants in the country illegally from accessing state social services."
"The ad splices together photos of Greuel and Wilson and says: "During the anti-immigrant era of Pete Wilson, Wendy Greuel was a Republican."
"The Greuel campaign says the ad is misleading because Greuel, who switched her party affiliation from Republican to Democrat in 1992, "vehemently and publicly opposed" Wilson's initiative."
Among the twists and turns in the governor's budget is a move to have the counties pay for key services from money they save in health care costs.
From the U-T's Michael Gardner: "California’s counties are leery of Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget maneuver to immediately siphon money from local coffers, leaving behind an IOU that would be repaid through savings realized much later..."
"Brown argues that overall counties will save as much as $300 million immediately — and $1.3 billion annually in three years — when thousands of low-income Californians become eligible for subsidized health care starting Jan. 1 under the new federal Affordable Care Act."
"In a complicated move, Brown wants to quickly lower by a like amount state payments to counties for welfare programs, such as CalWORKS and child care. That would force the counties to shift health care savings to pay a bigger share of those programs."
Speaking of the budget, Gov. Brown in unveiling his rewritten budget demanded prudence and restraint, but a number of groups already are challenging him for more money, led by advocates for the poor.
From the Mercury-News' Steve Harmon: "Democratic legislators and liberal advocacy groups signaled Wednesday they are ready to fight to restore safety net programs devastated by years of cuts, a day after Gov. Jerry Brown emphasized a sober economic outlook in a revised budget that leaves little room for improving the lot of the poor."
"Brown vowed to spend within the state's means, proclaiming he is the "backstop" to the "big spending machine" of interest groups and liberal legislators sure to bang on his door for help."
"Brown scaled down hopes with a $96.4 billion budget that was $1.3 billion smaller than he'd proposed in January, saying that federal "sequestration" cuts, lower wages and a hike in Social Security taxes had quelled economic growth."
The state isn't the only one with budget issues: In LA, officials are finding out that they don't know exactly how much money may be tucked away. Sounds like a reprise of the state Parks and Recreation Department.
From KPCC's Alice Walton: "The recent discovery of an extra $43 million in the Department of Transportation's budget shows just how little Los Angeles city leaders know about so-called "special funds," the chair of the Budget and Finance Committee said Wednesday."
"There are between 600 and 700 special revenue funds on the City of L.A.'s books. These funds hold money from grants and taxes that are set aside for specific projects. And in the case of LADOT, sometimes the funds hold city dollars that should be reimbursed back to the General Fund."
"There was a change in management in the Department of Transportation," Councilman Paul Krekorian told KPCC's Take Two. "And there was an early detection around October 2011 that this fund seemed to have more money that it should have in it, so they launched a forensic accounting effort that involved reviewing of 11,000 documents."
As 2014 approaches, it is becoming clearer that the counties are unable to cope with the new influx of patients.
From Alexa Underwood in HealthyCal: "More than one million people in California suffer from mental illness – the largest number of any state. When the final phase of the new federal health care law starts in January of next year, more California residents than ever before will be able to seek help for problems ranging from depression, anxiety, and addiction to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder."
"But mental health providers in the state’s Central Valley are unprepared for an influx of thousands of patients. State and county officials remain in the planning phases, even though new patients will be able to access these services in less than nine months."
"Manuel Jimenez, director of Merced County’s Mental Health and Alcohol and Drug Services, said that they haven’t begun expanding programs just yet."
Finally, on a serious note but reminding ourselves that most political junkies like beer, from our Beer Gardens file comes a tale of complaint from a beer writer who is fed up with hops.
"That’s when I realized that I had a problem. In fact, everyone I know in the craft beer industry has a problem: We’re so addicted to hops that we don’t even notice them anymore."
"Hops are the flowers of the climbing plant Humulus lupulus, a member of the family Cannabaceae (which also includes, yes, cannabis), and they’re a critical ingredient in beer. Beer is made by boiling grain to turn its starches into sugar, which is later converted to alcohol by yeast."
"While the grain is boiling, brewers add hops to tone down the mixture’s sweetness—without hops, beer would taste like Coke. Recipes usually call for only a few grams of hops per gallon of beer produced, but those little flowers pack a big punch. In addition to their bittering properties, hops impart strong piney, spicy, or fruity flavors and aromas. They also contain antimicrobial agents that act as natural preservatives."