The Bee's Kevin Yamamura sets the scene for the new year, and
the same old budget problem.
"With budget talks trudging along, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's aides
are preparing a January budget plan that attempts to
California's entire $40 billion gap by June 2010.
governor and Democratic leaders had hoped to agree
on a midyear budget
solution to wipe away $18 billion of the general-fund deficit before
Schwarzenegger's annual spending plan release, but they have made
little progress since their last in-person meeting a week ago.
spokesman Aaron McLear said Friday that Democrats were
to the governor's demands for deeper spending cuts and an economic
stimulus package, but reported Monday that the leaders
are still "far
away" from a deal.
"State Controller John Chiang was undergoing
tests at a Texas hospital Monday after experiencing
chest pains while
visiting family for the holidays," the LAT reports.
"Spokeswoman Hallye Jordan
said Chiang checked himself into Harris Methodist Hospital
Worth on Friday and was resting comfortably.
"She said she did not know whether the 46-year-old controller had any past medical problems."
Maybe he got a sneak peak at the governor's January budget...
The Chron's Matthew Yi adds , "If the controller becomes incapacitated, Deputy Controller
Wong-Martinusen would take over until the governor nominates
Legislature approves a replacement to serve the remainder
of the term,
Chiang, a Democrat, was elected in 2006. He became more widely known
during the summer's record-setting budget impasse when he refused to
follow Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's executive order to slash pay for
thousands of state workers to federal minimum wage
as a cash-saving
Dan Walters writes the governor is still sighting a war with public employee
unions. "Four-plus years later, the budget is hemorrhaging even more
Schwarzenegger is still battling with Democrats over
what to do about
it, and a powerful subtext is his scarcely concealed
desire to compel
them to adopt policies that public employee unions
all the media attention given the centrist governor's ideological
conflicts with his fellow Republicans, his struggles
with the unions
and their Democratic allies have been more important
factors in his
"Schwarzenegger won re-election in 2006, but the past two
years have seen a steady re-escalation of the mutual animosity between
the governor and the public worker unions, especially
Teachers Association and the California Correctional
Association. He's locked into perpetual battles with the former over
school finances and with the latter over a new contract
guards and control of the prison system.
Schwarzenegger appears to have a broad agreement with
Democrats on a
plan to reduce the budget deficit by $18 billion, they've balked at his
insistence on measures that public unions abhor, such
state workers, privatizing some functions and trimming
in-home health care services.
The LAT's Dana Parsons can't understand why former Orange County Sheriff Mike
Carona did not accept a plea bargain deal . "this is a case largely built around the testimony of
Sheriff Don Haidl, a onetime Carona confidant who became
government's chief witness. Haidl's testimony, combined with the
secretly recorded conversations involving him and Carona,
are the guts
of the case.
"Only Haidl testified about cash payments he allegedly
made to Carona over a four-year period ending in 2002. He even testified that Carona refused the last payment
because he felt bad about the legal trouble then enveloping
Haidl's son. If Haidl made up the cash-payment story, you've got to give him credit for adding a creative flourish."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein wants more air traffic controllers
her call for more air traffic controllers, Sen. Dianne
(D-Calif.) on Monday warned President-elect Barack Obama's nominee for
Transportation secretary that chronic staff shortages
at Los Angeles
International Airport and the main radar facility that
between airports pose an "alarming risk" to aviation safety in Southern
In a two-page letter to Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.),
Feinstein recommended that the Federal Aviation Administration
immediate steps to hire more controllers at LAX and
California Terminal Radar Approach Control in San Diego."
Ellie Nesler, who sparked a national debate about vigilantism after
killing her son's accused molester in a courtroom in 1993 , has died of
cancer," the Union-Trib's Tracie Cone reports.
"Nesler died Friday morning at UC Davis Medical Center
Sacramento, according to hospital spokeswoman Phyllis
Brown. She had
battled breast cancer since 1994.
"Nesler made headlines when she shot Daniel Driver five
times in the
head in a Tuolumne County courtroom during a break
in his preliminary
hearing for allegedly molesting four boys, including
then-6-year-old son William, at a Christian camp. Some hailed her
exacting her own justice, while others condemned her
for taking the law
into her own hands."
And finally, from our Flyover State Files, "A new Web site for campaign finance information in Wisconsin includes the state Capitol in Madison in front of a striking skyline — of Minneapolis. State Sen. Jeff Plale noticed the geography gaffe
after looking at the site created by the Government Accountability Board.
"I'm looking at that thinking, 'What the heck?'" the South Milwaukee
Democrat said. "I don't think a lot of Minnesota legislators care about
our Government Accountability Board."
"The board said it's paying Bloomfield, Conn.-based PCC Technology Group
about $1 million to develop the site as part of a new system
tracking campaign fund raising and spending."
Worth every penny...