From the Chronicle's Wyatt Buchanan: "The poll - an early measurement of a proposal that has far to go until voters can weigh in in November - found that 65 percent of all adults surveyed support his plan, which would increase the sales tax by a half cent and raise taxes on high-income earners, starting with individuals who make more than $250,000 per year."
"The poll also found deep concern among state voters about further cuts to K-12 public education and that Californians see their local government services as significantly impacted by multiple years of state budget cuts as lawmakers and the governor have struggled to balance the budget."
"These findings come as the Brown administration will announce today what automatic midyear budget cuts will be implemented."
"As part of the state budget deal signed earlier this year, automatic cuts that could total $2 billion would be implemented if tax revenues roll in at a lower level than anticipated."
"During the final weeks of the legislative session this summer, a team of attorneys and lobbyists from Vernon were desperately trying to kill a bill that would disincorporate the scandal-tainted city when state Sen. Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) came to them with a highly unusual offer.
De Leon, an early supporter of the bid to disband Vernon, told them he would help defeat the legislation if the city set aside $60 million to fund community projects in the small, working-class cities that surround Vernon and agreed to a series of government reforms.
Vernon accepted the deal, and De Leon came out against disincorporation. Officials in neighboring Huntington Park, which stands to receive some of the Vernon grant money, also switched positions and showed support for Vernon. The legislation was defeated the next week.
Three months later, Vernon is still figuring out how it will pay the hefty sum. The city has struggled financially in recent years, and some within its business community are questioning whether Vernon can afford to provide generous handouts to other cities.
From the LA Times' Patrick McGreevy: "Durkee is already facing a federal charge of mail fraud that includes allegations of mishandling campaign funds from a state lawmaker's account. A separate investigation by the state Board of Accountancy now has determined that she lacked a license, which board spokeswoman Lauren Hersh said would be a misdemeanor that could result in up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines."
"The state filed its report with the Burbank city attorney's office for possible prosecution, because Durkee's office is in that city. But the agency turned down the request, citing a potential conflict of interest."
"Durkee was the campaign treasurer for a Burbank City Council member who took part in the appointment of the city attorney and will be involved in future evaluations of her work."
"The most ambitious and expensive water program to confront California voters since the State Water Project was approved more than 50 years ago may wind up getting reduced by billions of dollars, a victim of politics and the economy."
"The assumption is that recession-weary voters won’t approve a big-ticket bond, so the problem is this: How do you cut back a complex, $11.1 billion package that was put together — barely – with a fragile agreement in which each piece needed a signoff by rival political forces? If one piece is removed, does the whole structure start collapsing?"
“There’s a lot of head-scratching right now,” said Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, the chair of the Assembly water committee."
"When the economy is weak, California voters traditionally reject big borrowings. The water bond, approved in 2009, had been planned to before voters last year. As the recession took hold, nervous lawmakers decided – again, with two-thirds votes — to push the measure back to November 2012."
And finally from our "Forget Me Not" file comes the tale of the impressive memory powers of tax drivers, whose brains actually undergo a transformation in order to remember the fastest routes through the big cities. Really.
"Turns out, the intensive training required of London taxi driver candidates may alter the drivers' brains, changing the part of the brain in charge of memory and spatial navigation, the new study suggests."
"The training is known as "the knowledge" and includes memorizing 25,000 London streets and their complicated layouts, as well as 20,000 landmarks. After learning "the knowledge," trainees must take a series of exams, with only about half of the candidates ultimately passing."