CalPERS, the nation's largest public pensions fund, is weighing in on Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire news mogul whose British operations are besieged by scandal. CalPERS says it doesn't like the two-tier stock structure of Murdoch's News Corp. and is wondering what to do about it. CalPERS, by the way, owns News Corp. stock.
The Bee's Dale Kasler tells the tale: "Having two tiers of stock enables company founders to
maintain control. News Corp.'s Class B shares, owned mainly by the Murdochs,
carry special voting
rights. All told, the family has 40 percent of the voting power over
News Corp. even though it owns just 12 percent of all the shares."
"This is a corruption of the governance
system," said Anne Simpson, senior
portfolio manager at CalPERS for corporate governance, in a statement released
by the pension fund."
"Simpson added, "The situation is very serious and
we're considering our options. We don't intend to be spectators – we're
News Corp. stock has fallen about 9 percent in the past
two weeks. The California
Public Employees' Retirement System owns nearly 6.9 million
Speaking of investments, California will be seeking a $5 billion short-term loan to get around the debt-ceiling issue debated in Washington. The LAT's Tom Petruno has the story.
"Treasurer Bill Lockyer had planned to sell at least $5
billion in so-called revenue anticipation notes to investors in August. The
state typically sells such notes at this time of year to bridge the gap between
its cash needs and the arrival of tax revenue later in the fiscal year."
"But Lockyer’s office said Thursday he opted to raise cash
more quickly by borrowing from banks to guard against “potential financial
fallout from a debt ceiling impasse.”
"If the ceiling isn’t raised the U.S. Treasury has said it
will be unable to pay all of its bills. That has raised the specter of a debt
default, which could drive U.S. interest rates higher across the board."
Meanwhile, the hassles of California's nascent bullet train project are intensifying, as a Southern San Joaquin Valley group believes the train's route will leave them out of the loop.
From the Fresno Bee's Lewis Griswold: "No one is answering our questions" is the most
common complaint that Assembly Member David Valadao, R-Hanford, said he gets
from Kings County residents."
"I have been contacted by numerous constituents who
feel they have been pushed aside, ignored and in some cases mistreated,"
"To try to get some answers, Valadao held a community
forum Thursday in Hanford at which local officials, agricultural interests and
the public got a chance to address him and other legislators."
"California High-Speed Rail Authority officials answered
questions, and sitting with Valadao at the forum were state Sens. Alan
Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, and Doug La Malfa, R-Rocklin, and Assembly Member
Diane Harkey, R-Rancho Viejo."
Sacramento's redevelopment agency is the latest in a number of agencies around the state who say they'll pay a hefty amount to stay in business, thus meeting the demands of a new law that says pay or close your doors.
From the Bee's Loretta Kalb: "They aren't happy about it, but officials of Sacramento-area
redevelopment agencies that must dissolve by Oct. 1 or pay to stay in operation
say they're likely to fork over millions of dollars to the state."
"The Folsom City Council will consider an urgency
ordinance Tuesday night that would require a payment of up to $3 million to
keep its redevelopment doors open.
"Do we like it? No," Folsom City Manager Kerry Miller said
Thursday of the proposed ordinance. "This is Plan B."
"West Sacramento's City
Council, sitting as its redevelopment agency, voted Wednesday night to pay the
price of staying alive – potentially as much as $6.5 million.
"We are intending to opt in, but under
protest," said Charline
Hamilton, West Sacramento community
The indepdendent redistricting commission is taking up the thorny task of renumbering the existing 40 Senate districts -- a process that may sound simple but is tricky indeed. The Press-Enterprise's Jim Miller tells the tale.
"That ended Thursday, as the Citizens Redistricting
Commission began to address how to number 40 state Senate districts without
disenfranchising millions of voters next year, even if it means peeking at the
highly criticized 2001 lines that were designed to protect incumbents and
maximize parties' strengths."
"Assembly and congressional seats are on the ballot every
two years. State senators have four-year terms. Odd-numbered districts are on
the ballot in 2012 and even-numbered districts will be on the ballot in 2014."
"Depending on how the commission numbers new Senate
districts, however, people scheduled to vote for a senator next year might be
shifted to a district that does not vote until 2014."