California's budget cuts have fallen on critical sectors of the state's operations, including the $3.7 billion court system. Capitol Weekly's Greg Lucas writes it up, including an interview with state Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye.
"California’s $3.7 billion court system is another of this
year’s budget victims, grappling with its highest single-year reduction since
the state began paying trial court costs 14 years ago."
"Overall, California’s judicial branch – the largest in the nation with nearly
1,700 judges - must reduce costs by $350 million in the fiscal year
that began July 1. And continue doing so each year thereafter."
“These are ongoing cuts. Because we have some institutional foundation, what
we’ve been able to do for the last two or three years is to shift funds to
court operations to keep going without radical cuts,” California Chief Justice
Tani Cantil-Sakauye told Capitol Weekly."
“The day of reckoning is going to be fiscal year 2012-13.”
State Treasurer Bill Lockyer says a propsed spending cap that lawmakers have qualified for next year's ballot will harm higher education if voters ultimately approve it. Steve Harmon in the Contra Costa Times has the story.
"The problem, Lockyer said, is that one of the fastest
areas of government growth, health care spending, grows as much as three times
the rate of inflation. Because no one has been able to figure out how to curb
health care costs, the Legislature would have to go after easier targets, such
as universities and colleges -- which withstood hundreds of millions in cuts
this year alone."
"That's a bad idea," Lockyer said. "It's
bad for our future. It's not the right cap. As a long-term investment strategy
for the state of California to invest in those public sectors that create jobs,
and create good jobs, it's doing exactly what we shouldn't be doing."
"Lockyer praised Democrats for knocking back the state's
structural deficit from $45 billion to $4 billion, calming Wall Street investors and giving the treasurer a
stronger hand to borrow to pay off infrastructure bonds."
The latest in a long line of proposals -- this one from Riverside Supervisor Jeff Stone -- to remove counties from California and create a 51st state is drawing little enthusiasm from his colleagues.
From the OC Register's Martin Wisckol: "A Riverside County supervisor backed off of his call for 13 counties to secede from the state when fellow supervisors threw cold water on the idea Tuesday night."
"As something of a consolation prize, the supervisors endorsed the idea of a statewide convention for local government leaders to discuss possible solutions to the state’s problems – provided no county money was spent on the endeavor."
"Supervisor Jeff Stone, frustrated with Sacramento’s fiscal crisis and legislators decision to take money from four Riverside County cities, had proposed that 13 counties – 12 of them Republican – break away and become the 51st state of South California."
"The effort would be a longshot, in part because it would need the approval of Congress and the state Legislature. Supervisor John Benoit cited approximately 220 secession efforts that went no where."
The attempt in the Legislature to abolish the cityhood of Vernon appears to be making some progress, but the big showdown is still weeks away. Capitol Weekly's Mandy Honeychurch tells the tale.
"Inch by inch, the move by Assembly Speaker John Pérez to
abolish the city is moving forward. Part of his two-bill package to force
disincorporation just emerged from the state Senate Governance and Finance
Committee, making Vernon that much closer to becoming an unincorporated
territory under the jurisdiction of L.A. County. A companion bill, already
approved in the Assembly, awaits action on the Senate floor."
"The bill approved by Senate Finance, AB 781, is the result of intense Capitol
negotiations. It would create protective tax and business regulations designed
to ease the process of disincorporation for businesses in Vernon, of which
there are about 1,800."
"The other bill, AB 46, says that any incorporated community with a population
under 150 must be disbanded. Vernon, with a population of about 95, is the only
California city to meet this requirement."
Roseville's odd anti-dancing drive -- yes, we saw Footloose, too -- pits a local businessman against city officials in dispute that ultimately may have a lot to do with redevelopment. Capitol Weekly's Malcolm Maclachlan takes a look.
"The strange tale of The Station started half a dozen
years ago when a Jewish World War II veteran inadvertently rented the
7,000-square-foot space to an alleged neo-Nazi skinhead. Predictably, that
arrangement went wrong: The property wound up getting trashed during a long
night of vandalism."
"But the city became suspicious, figuring that the property owner was using the
damage as a cover to build a new, larger dance floor."
"Travis, equally suspicious, believes the city is deliberately hassling him."