Democrats in the Legislature, who last year -- grudgingly -- backed the governor's mix of cuts to social services and education, are balking at Gov. Brown's attempts to put more controversial cuts in place this month.
From the Bee's Kevin Yamamura: "They oppose Brown's plan to halve the amount of time that unemployed adults can receive welfare-to-work benefits and to slash grants to children. Assembly Democrats have voted against his proposal to cut scholarship aid for 26,000 low-income students through higher grade requirements for Cal Grants."
Speaking of Democrats-vs.-Democrats, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, in a shot aimed directly at California's trial bar, urged the state Senate's Democratic leader to lead a crackdown on "predatory" disability-access lawsuits. Feinstein, also a Democrat, said she would author federal legislation if the issue isn't addressed.
From The Recorder's Cheryl Miller: "It appears these suits and demand letters are driven by a unique California law that, unlike the federal [Americans with Disabilities Act], permits the recovery of damages for noncompliance," Feinstein wrote. "As a result, I respectfully ask that you use your leadership position in the California State Senate to help advance legislation that will address this problem."
"Feinstein's letter marks a significant departure from typical access litigation politics in California, where majority Democrats have traditionally voted to maintain the rights of disabled patrons to sue while Republicans have tried, unsuccessfully, to limit such lawsuits."
Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, the Legislature's only Tea Party member, pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor counts stemming from his toting a loaded firearm into Ontario International Airport. He received a $2,215 fine, but no jail time. All in all, it appears that Donnelly was able to skate.
From Imran Ghori in the Riverside Press-Enterprise: The charges carried a maximum penalty of 18 months in jail."
"At the Capitol, Donnelly declined to comment on the plea. He also declined to say who the gun was registered to. Security officers at the airport discovered the loaded handgun in his carry-on baggage as Donnelly arrived for a flight to Sacramento. He was cited and released although authorities have arrested people on similar charges in the past, officials said."
"The gun had an ammunition magazine containing four bullets, although the firing chamber was empty, according to authorities. A spare magazine containing five bullets also was found in the bag while Donnelly was at a security checkpoint in Terminal 4."
In San Francisco, a man held in the murders of five people had earlier served a prison term for robbery and had been destined to be extradited to his native Vietnam, but immigration authorities released him after Vietnam refused to accept him.
From the Chronicle's Kevin Fagan, Henry K. Lee, Justin Berton: "Binh Thai Luc, 35, of San Francisco was released under the terms of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said undocumented immigrants must be released after six months if their country of origin won't allow them to return, according to officials with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency."
"Luc is the only suspect to have been arrested in the killings in a home near City College of San Francisco. A source familiar with the investigation said authorities suspect the killer or killers may have been trying to collect on a gambling debt."
And from our "Happy Traveling" file comes the tale of massive, systematic luggage thefts at JFK airport in New York. And nobody seems to be doing anything about it.
"Law enforcement sources told Kramer that thefts at the airport have increased at a staggering and alarming rate. There are now more that 200 a day — and that’s every day. Baggage handlers, jetway workers and even security people are all in on the ongoing scam to steal you blind."
“The belly of the airplane has become like a flea market for airport employees. They go in there and go through all the luggage unencumbered, unchecked,” JFK security lawyer Kenneth Mollins said."
"Mollins is representing Lamberg as she tries to get reimbursed by the airline. Former NYPD detective Frank Shea was hired by other clients who were also ripped off at the airport. They both said the theft problem at JFK is a nightmare that is going unchecked."
Next time, take the train....