Term limits, the Republican-pushed move to encourage "citizen legislators" by curbing lawmakers' time in office, hasn't worked out. In fact, since term limits were approved by voters 21 years ago, the result has been a restless campaign culture in which incumbents are perpetually running for office, a new study says.
From the LAT's George Skelton: "California's term limits have not created
an environment in which citizen legislators temporarily serve in the state
Capitol and then return to the private sector," the reports says. Rather,
"professional legislators…continue to seek careers in other government
positions — a form of political musical chairs for governmental office."
"Indeed," the report continues, "politicians are now moving faster and faster to the music."
And, mixing metaphors, it adds, "Most termed-out legislators do not beat their political spears into plowshares and return to the civilian sector....Term limits…have converted the state Legislature into a 'farm team' of potential candidates for other public offices."
A bitter dispute has emergged over an unusual issue -- the right of non-medically trained school employees to give students a drug in emergencies to ease epileptic seizures. Capitol Weekly's Malcolm Maclachlan tells the tale.
"The thorny, unusual issue has taken traditional allies, labor groups and
children’s health care advocates, and turned them into enemies."
"But both sides agree on many of the same facts — for instance, that they would
prefer that the state has enough money to hire a nurse in every single school.
Currently, fewer than half of California schools have a full-time nurse."
"And the legislator now carrying a bill that would allow non-medical personnel
to administer Diastat is a Republican — and many of the parents blame
Republicans for forcing the education and health care cuts they say eliminated
funds to hire school nurses."
"But Sen. Bob Huff, R-Glendora, and others say that even if there were a school
nurse at every school, the bill would still be needed. The goal of the drug is
to stop seizures quickly, within the first five minutes. In many schools, the
nurse could be on the other side of campus and further away than that."
Tight-fisted Californians, battered by an endless recession, would rather ease penalties than build new prisons, according to a new survey. Jack Dolan in the LAT tells the tale.
"Cash-strapped Californians would
rather ease "third-strike" penalties for some criminals and accept
felons as neighbors than dig deeper into their pockets to relieve prison
overcrowding, a new poll shows."
"In the wake of a court order that the state move more
than 33,000 inmates out of its packed prisons, an overwhelming number of voters
oppose higher taxes — as well as cuts in key state services — to pay for more
"The survey, by The Times and the USC Dornsife
College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, shows a clear shift in attitude by
residents forced to confront the cost of tough sentencing laws passed in recent
Amid court fights and strapped budgets, redevelopment agencies are fighting for survival. But one option looms: The use of infrastructure financing districts to get new projects rolling.
From Capitol Weekly's John Howard: "Nobody yet knows how many redevelopment agencies will
make the payment. In an internal survey by the agencies’ trade association,
some 70 agencies reported they likely would not be able to pay the money and
faced extinction, while others said they were unsure."
"In Redding and San Diego – the second-largest redevelopment operation in the
state - officials have decided to pay, and Los Angeles’ main redevelopment
agency is all but certain to act likewise."
"But one path out of the pay-to-play dilemma may be the infrastructure financing
district, a device that’s been used before, although sparingly."
"IFDs are being looked at in the Capitol as a potential
alternative to the redevelopment agencies. The IFDs are similar to
redevelopment agencies but differ in crucial ways. They allow
project-by-project financing without creating a new agency, don’t require a
blight designation, don’t use schools’ tax revenues, don’t require so-called
“backfill” money from the state and don’t require significant new staffing.
They can market revenue bonds that don’t require voter approval to pay for projects."
The House ethics investigation into Rep. Maxine Waters has taken yet another twist: The committee has hired an outside counsel to determine whether its own investigators have behaved properly.
From the LAT's Richard Simon: "In announcing the unanimous decision to hire an
outside counsel, the panel's Republican chairman, Rep. Jo Bonner of Alabama, and top Democrat,
Rep. Linda T. Sanchez of Lakewood, cited "serious allegations" made
about the committee's conduct."
"Memos last year from the committee's then-staff director and chief counsel
Blake Chisam accused two staff members who worked on the Waters investigation
of unauthorized communications with Republican committee members, Politico
reported this week. One document said the contacts could pose a "serious
risk of tainting the fact finder."
"Committee officials have declined to comment on the published report, although
Bonner this year told the staff members, who have moved on to other jobs, that
he had determined their actions to be "consistent with the highest ethical