"Assembly Republicans on Sunday blocked a proposed spending plan that would have closed the state's $15.2-billion shortfall with the help of tax hikes on the
wealthy and corporations," reports Evan Halper in the Times.
"The failure of the Democratic plan means the state
will continue to operate with no budget more than a
month and a half into the fiscal year, heightening
uncertainty for schools, healthcare providers and other
"The move by GOP lawmakers came as little surprise on
the Assembly floor since Republicans have long said
they would vote against the tax proposal. But as public
pressure mounted on lawmakers to take action on the
budget, and back-room negotiations continued to falter, Democrats decided
to bring the measure to the floor Sunday night.
"The Assembly heard nearly four hours of debate
which 49 members spoke. In the end, the plan garnered a 45 to 30 plurality, but fell short of the 54 votes, or two-thirds majority, it needed. No Republican voted for
...and neither did Nicole Parra, who wants a water bond first.
"'The bottom line is we cannot solve a $15-billion deficit without new revenue,' said Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles).
"Republicans, almost all of whom have signed a pledge
not to raise taxes, said the proposal would do irreparable
damage to the state economy.
"'This budget runs the risk of putting California on
the brink of bankruptcy,' said Assembly Budget Committee Vice Chairman Roger Niello (R-Fair Oaks). 'It is time for Democrats to take their heads out of
As the clock keeps ticking on the state budget, the
deadline approaches to get the water bond approved
for the ballot.
The U-T's Michael Garder writes:
"The bond proposal is packed with spending for popular
clean-water, conservation and Sacramento delta restoration
programs. But there also is a handful of unresolved
issues, any one of which could draw away enough support
to keep the measure from securing the necessary two-thirds vote of lawmakers and the governor's signature before it can be placed on the ballot.
"Among those: a $700 million annual bill to repay the bond debt, power
struggles over who would set spending priorities and
suspicions that it lays the groundwork for a redrawn
north-to-south aqueduct, an idea defeated when it went to voters
as the Peripheral Canal in 1982.
"And, of course, dams. More specifically, the proposed
Sites Reservoir, located 16 miles in an isolated bowl west of the Sacramento River
near Colusa, and Temperance Flat, not far from Fresno,
where a dam would stretch the length of several football
fields across the San Joaquin River.
"U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein
, lobbying state Democrats
to accept a bond deal favorable to new reservoirs,
said California has to own up to reality. Dry spells,
increased demand and environmental restrictions on
deliveries leave the state little choice, Feinstein
“'California cannot afford to not do it,' said Feinstein, a Democrat from San Francisco. 'If we don't have water, everything goes. We're the largest ag state. Ag goes. We're the largest biotech community. Biotech goes. . .
. You can't function if you don't have water.'"
Joe Matthews has a solution to breaking the logjam
-- move the capital.
"California is a big state, and there's no
particular reason that legislators have to gather and
budget in hot and humid Sacramento. So here's a budget reform that
should have no trouble winning the support of two-thirds of the
Legislature. Let's move the Legislature and governor out of Sacramento
and give the state a new capital.
"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had surgery Saturday evening to repair torn cartilage
in his right knee, his communications director said Sunday," reports Amy Chance in the Bee.
"Democratic Lt. Gov. Gov. John Garamendi served as acting governor during the hourlong procedure."
What, Brett Favre was unavailable?
"The 61-year-old Republican governor tore his meniscus, cartilage
that acts as a shock absorber in the knee, while working
out in the gym earlier this month, aides said Saturday.
He skipped a scheduled appearance with Sen. Dianne
Feinstein, D-California, at a Lake Tahoe Forum in South Lake Tahoe
and saw his doctor in Los Angeles.
"Communications director Matt David said Schwarzenegger opted for immediate athroscopic
surgery, which involves small incisions in the skin
and a lighted scope, and was under anesthesia for a
little less than an hour.
"'The surgery overall was a success,' David said. 'He went to church this morning.' He said the governor is not expected to need crutches,
as he did for two months after he broke his right leg
in a skiing accident in Sun Valley, Idaho, in December
Is CSU being run like the defense department?
You decide. "Three former senior employees in the California State
relations office say they were forced out of their
questioning the way Chancellor Charles Reed hired and
high-profile labor consulting firm, which so far has received
$2 million," reports the Chron's Jim Doyle.
"The chancellor's office hired the firm in December 2005 without going
to competitive bids, and two of the three former employees
firings were directly related to questioning the contracts
as a misuse
of public funds."
The Bee's Gina Kim looks at the Controller's computer system, and asks whether COBOL is really to blame.
The LAT's Jessica Garrison looks at the debate over Proposition 8 at the school board dais. "When it comes to political views, Jim Gibson of Vista and Mike Katz-Lacabe of San Leandro are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
"Gibson, 54, a father of four, is a conservative and an evangelical
Christian; Katz-Lacabe, 40, describes his politics as 'hippie-liberal-granola.'
"But the two men have a bond: Both are school board members in small California
districts who have proposed that their boards wade
into the debate on Proposition 8, the initiative that would amend the state Constitution
to ban same-sex marriage in California.
"The initiative is the most hotly contested social issue
on the ballot this fall, and although the boards' actions would have little effect in the classroom,
both men said they thought it was important for their
school boards to take a public position."
The Chron looks at a post-bankruptcy Vallejo. "Three months after it became the largest California
city to declare bankruptcy, this San Francisco suburb
is facing an exodus of police officers as residents grow anxious about a surge in robberies
and other crimes," writes Terence Chea in the Chron.
"Vallejo, a scrappy city of 120,000, filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection in May, blaming its fiscal woes
on shrinking tax revenue and escalating costs for police
"Now a growing number of officers are helping to reduce
the city's payroll expenses — by leaving the police department. About 25 of its 150 officers have retired or left for other law enforcement
agencies over the past year, and at least 18 more are in the process of applying for jobs elsewhere
in Northern California, where cops are in high demand,
according to Lt. Richard Nichelman, a department spokesman.
"Some officers say they're worried about their personal finances, burnt out
from working overtime and tired of being blamed for
the city's budget problems. Meanwhile, other police departments
are eager to hire them."
Perhaps the only thing more elusive than a budget comprmise
is, well, Bigfoot. "Results from tests on genetic material from alleged remains
of one of the mythical half-ape and half-human creatures, made
public at a news conference on Friday held after the claimed
discovery swept the Internet, failed to prove its existence.
"One of the two samples of DNA said to prove the existence
of the Bigfoot came from a human and the other was
from an opossum, according to Curt Nelson, a scientist
University of Minnesota who performed the DNA analysis.
"Biscardi said the DNA samples may not have been taken
correctly and may have been contaminated, and that
proceed with an autopsy of the alleged Bigfoot remains,
currently in a freezer at an undisclosed location."
Results are scheduled before a budget deal is announced.