At a meeting with the Bee editorial board, the governor admitted yesterday that "he proposed closing 48 state parks to 'rattle the cage' at the Capitol
but fully expects lawmakers to come forward with alternatives – including higher fees – to keep parks open," writes the Bee's Judy Lin.
"'The budget is always a proposal, that's why it's called a budget proposal. … What I was doing with this budget is just say, 'Here's the reality,' and the reality will rattle the cage
,' Schwarzenegger said during a 90-minute meeting with The Bee's editorial board.
"Last week, the governor released a $101 billion general fund spending plan that was balanced largely through government spending reductions. Closing 48 state parks would eliminate 136 positions and help the parks department save 8.9 percent of its budget – or $13.3 million."
Also at the Bee, "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Wednesday he personally called U.S. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne
and asked him to give "some attention" to four Indian gambling compacts before the federal government reversed itself and finalized the agreements last month
," reports Judy Lin in the Bee.
"The action has led to widespread speculation that one or more of the tribes might claim the deals to expand their casinos are valid, even if voters reject the compacts next month.
"Schwarzenegger, who wants voters to authorize 17,000 more slot machines at four Southern California casinos, told The Bee editorial board that he's unclear whether the federal action would override voters should they reject the agreements.
"'I thought if the voters did not approve it, it's gone,' he said. 'But maybe you're asking me that … because there is a way out of it? That will be quite interesting. I don't know.
"Four tribes – the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation – are seeking an expansion of slot machines at their casinos. They say the compacts could bring $9 billion to the state over two decades."
Well boys and girls, it's time to play everyone's favorite Roundup game. It's time for another tantalizing round of Meet Your Would-be Assemblymember
. In today's edition we meet Larry Dick
, who's running in the 60th Assembly District in Orange County. Mr. Dick was asked about his thoughts on Indian gaming, and came up with a response that, well, wasn't exactly the most culturally sensitive. Let's go to the tape...
For those of you who can't watch the video, here's a partial transcript:Dick
: I am a pretty firm believer in local control, but you know there's some things that don't belong to local control because there's already laws in place. It's a little challenging for me that Tommy Two Trees can open a casino, and Tommy Houllihan can't
. But that's not a choice that I get a voice in. These Indian nations have been named a sovereign nation by the federal government. I have a friend of mine that suggests the answer may be to require a passport to go to Pechanga
Hmmm, guess that tribal endorsement is out of the question...
CW's John Howard discovers another huge loophole in state campaign financing laws
. Not surprisingly, lawmakers found it first.
"Some lawmakers are raising money through local campaign committees they control that are not subject to the limits on state political contributions and allow big-money donors to get funds to favored lawmakers. The process, although on a small scale thus far, is starting to get traction.
"At issue is the practice of a state official setting up a campaign committee for a local elective post — such as supervisor or city council member, for example — then tapping the local money, directly or indirectly, for the state official’s use. Depending on the local jurisdiction, political donations may be limited — or they may not. The procedure is allowed by law. Some counties have contribution limits, such as San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento. Others do not."
Meanwhile, the governor also made it to Redding yesterday to build support for his budget plan. "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asked about 130 people gathered at the Redding Library on Wednesday to support his new state budget proposal
, saying California must level out the wild ride of overspending and spare residents and programs further whiplash," writes Kimberly Ross in the Redding Record-Searchlight.
"'Every time we do the budget we have to take them on a roller-coaster ride where they have to hang on for their life. That is not fair,' the governor said.
"Invited members of the Redding East Rotary Club, elected officials and others filled the seats of a library meeting room and posed questions about the budget, workers' compensation, a gun restriction, park closures and other concerns."
"An initiative that would prohibit governments from using eminent domain to transfer property to private developers qualified
for the June ballot Wednesday," writes John Hill in the Bee.
"The measure would still allow state and local governments to condemn land for traditional public uses, such as roads and parks, though the owner must receive "just compensation."
"In 2006, another initiative, Proposition 90, fell short with 48 percent of the vote. It would have barred governments from using eminent domain to take property for use by a private developer.
"But it also contained a more controversial provision requiring governments to compensate property owners when regulations and laws resulted in "substantial" economic losses."
CW's Malcolm Maclachlan reports "Assemblyman Kevin De Leon
, D-Los Angeles, said he will bring back controversial legislation that would impose new restrictions on the sale of firearms ammunition
. When he does, he will jump into a gun law debate that could find California moving toward an all-purpose ID card for guns and ammunition.
"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has dropped a request that lawmakers remove a $9.9 billion high-speed rail bond from the November ballot
but wants legislation that could tie spending the money to guarantees of support from the federal government and private sector," reports the AP's Steve Lawrence.
"Such a requirement could delay the project indefinitely even if the bond measure is approved by voters.
"Officials with the authority charged with overseeing the high-speed rail line say they expect the state, federal government and private investors to each cover about a third of the cost of building the project. But they say private companies will not commit until they see the state making a significant investment."
"In a report called "California's Post-Partisan Future," [PPIC's Mark
] Baldessare spells out a downward spiral in which primary elections produce increasingly partisan elected officials whose inability to work together and solve problems further disenchants voters who abandon the traditional parties
," reports Lisa Vorderbrueggen in the Contra Costa Times.
"The institute calls for broad reforms designed to boost citizen involvement in the political process and move the state away from the deep partisan divide that dominates public policy debate in Sacramento.
"Proposals include a conversion to open primaries, in which voters select their two favorites regardless of party affiliation, or the elimination of primaries in favor of instant run-off general elections.
"The state could also convert the members of the Legislature to nonpartisan status, much like city councils or school boards.
"Public financing of elections would help moderate and independent candidates compete against party stalwarts, and reforming the way political boundaries are drawn would reduce the influence of political party registration on the process.
And from our Are You Ready for Some Football?
Files, AP reports, "Upset that his 7-year-old son wouldn't wear a Green Bay Packers jersey during the team's playoff victory Saturday, a man restrained the boy for an hour with tape and taped the jersey onto him.
was cited for disorderly conduct in connection with the incident with his son at their home in Pardeeville, Lt. Wayne Smith of the Columbia County Sheriff's Department said. Pardeeville is about 30 miles north of Madison.
"The boy refused to wear the jersey Saturday, when the Packers beat the Seattle Seahawks in a playoff game, Smith said. Smith said the incident sounded strange when reported at first, but the mother took pictures with her cell phone and that type of evidence is difficult to dispute.
"Kowald, contacted later Wednesday by the Portage Daily Register, said the incident started as a joke. His son challenged him by saying he wouldn't root for the Packers. When he tied the boy up, the youngster was laughing while his wife took pictures, he said.
"'Then he couldn't get out and he got upset and that's it. It lasted a minute,' he said. 'I didn't mean no harm, and he knows that, but I haven't been able to tell him that.'"