The governor faced reporters yesterday
following the defeat of his goal to place an infrastructure bond on the June ballot and pledged to have a package agreed to for the November ballot.
"Schwarzenegger said Thursday he can 'guarantee' that he and the Legislature will agree on an infrastructure bond package for the November ballot, despite their failure to work out a plan for the June primary," write Amy Chance and Andy Furillo in the Bee.
"Holding his thumb and index finger an inch apart, Schwarzenegger told reporters 'we actually came this close'
to arriving at an agreement for June, but that in the end, 'we fell a little bit short on the whole package.'"
"But as the deal fell apart Wednesday, Assembly Budget Committee Chair John Laird
, D-Santa Cruz, was skeptical that more time would help that cause."
"'By the time November comes around, it's four months for everybody to poke at it,' Laird said. 'It's much easier for everybody to have this on the ballot when the governor's face is not on the ballot. ... So politically, in addition to a public policy basis, it made much more sense to do this in June.
"'The governor may have underestimated the depth of Republican concerns about borrowing,' said Dan Schnur
, a Republican consultant who worked for former Gov. Pete Wilson
," writes Mark Martin
in the Chron.
"Details do in fact matter,' said Sen. Dave Cox
, R-Fair Oaks (Sacramento County), who opposed Democratic suggestions for spending money on urban parks and some housing issues. 'This is not like voting on a bad budget, which you can fix in the next year. This is about committing a lot of money over the next 30 years.'"
Dan Walters writes that "If nothing else, the comic opera collapse of the two-month political quest for a plan to improve highways, levees and other strained and deteriorating public facilities should finally convince Californians that their Capitol is a broken institution
, endemically incapable of dealing with major policy issues."
Michael Finnegan writes in the Times
"... Schwarzenegger's inability to strike a deal before negotiations fell apart Wednesday night underscores the continuing trouble he faces in trying to recover from the political damage left by his failed pursuit last year of an agenda that enraged Democrats and organized labor."
"'This is a real sign of how terribly weak the governor is
,' said Tony Quinn
, a Republican who is co-editor of the nonpartisan California Target Book election guide."
L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also lost
in the failure to reach an agreement on a bond, writes Duke Helfand in the Times. "Villaraigosa was counting on tens of millions of dollars from the bonds and had even boasted privately in recent days that Los Angeles would reap a bonanza from the public works package."
"Now, several of his pet projects, and his vision for Los Angeles, could face uncertain prospects."
"'I'm deeply disappointed that we weren't able to take advantage of the opportunity to invest in California's infrastructure,' Villaraigosa said in an interview. 'I believe that we can't allow this opportunity to be denied by partisanship.
It is just too important to the future prosperity of our city and our state.'"
From our Let There Be Light
Files: "University of California regents, scrambling to get on top of a months-long controversy over executive compensation, announced plans Thursday for a major reorganization of the UC president's office
, aimed at bolstering its business practices," writes Rebecca Trounson in the Times.
"The overhaul will begin immediately and, for the first time at the university, may include the creation of positions for a chief financial or chief operating officer, or both, said board Chairman Gerald L. Parsky
as the regents wrapped up a two-day meeting at UCLA."
The Regents also reiterated support in UC President Robert Dynes
. "The board chairman, who heads a Los Angeles investment firm, said the changes are needed to bring the university's problematic business practices in line with its well-regarded academics. 'Going forward, the regents have full confidence that President Dynes understands that concern
and shares with us a commitment to addressing the problems that face the university,' Parsky said."
Specifically, the policy provides that "Dynes must personally approve projects costing more than $25,000
at any of the 10 chancellors' homes and offices. And the regents will have to endorse any project worth that much involving the president's home or office. UC also plans to begin sending the regents an annual report on capital projects approved for the chancellors' homes and offices," write Tanya Schevitz and Todd Wallack in the Chron.
"'It would be reasonable to say that some of the things that have happened over the last several months have convinced me that more oversight is necessary
, more oversight by me and more oversight by the regents,' Dynes said outside the meeting."
"Dynes initially announced a $10,000 renovations approval threshold for the president and the regents but later increased the amount to $25,000 at the suggestion of the regents."
The new policy follow disclosures that "...UC spent $30,903 in 2004 to construct an upstairs kitchenette in Dynes' home, even though he already had access to a private kitchen down a flight of stairs."
"UC also spent $30,000 building a dog run at the university-owned home of UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Denice Denton
-- part of a home-renovation project that cost up to $600,000."
Meanwhile, the board threw a bone to students and faculty by agreeing to a divestment plan
of its investments in Sudan.
"'This is a great day for the university,' said Adam Rosenthal
, a student regent, during the board's afternoon session at UCLA. The vote sends a message to the U.S. and Sudanese governments that the UC system will 'never stand by' while refugees suffer, he said."
From our Footloose
Files: The Chron's Simone Sebastian reports on Bay Area schools cracking down on behavior at school dances
. "Last month, Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa began requiring students and their parents to sign a form prohibiting 'intimate touching, sexual squatting or sexual bending' during school dances
Going forward, Chubby Checker's "The Twist" must be done from a fully erect position.
"At the first dance under the new policy, student attendance dropped by half
, said Principal Bill Stirnus
. Students at Montgomery, as well as some other schools where freak dancing has been banned, say the style is the only dancing they know."
"'It's unfortunate that kids don't have a wider variety. In my day, slow songs were more sexual,' said Stirnus, 58. 'Today, the hip-hop is more sexual and during the slow songs, students walk off the dance floor.'"
Meanwhile, there won't be any intimate touching, sexual squatting or sexual bending in Neverland any time soon. The AP reports "Michael Jackson has closed the house on his Neverland Ranch
and laid off some of the employees there but has not completely shuttered the sprawling estate, the pop star's spokesman said."
"'It is public knowledge that Mr. Jackson currently resides in the Middle Eastern country of Bahrain. He therefore decided to close his house and reduce his work force. This is a common practice when a residence is vacant for an extended period of time,' Jackson spokeswoman Raymone K. Bain
said late Thursday night in a statement."