"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger joined other political leaders Sunday to push for increased
federal spending on infrastructure projects as a way to stimulate the economy and said that 'one has to look at' increasing the gasoline tax as a way to pay for such
public works improvements," reports Ari Bloomekatz in the Times.
"'In order for the economy to thrive and to live up to
100% of its potential, you need to have moved people and
goods around very quickly; and so if that falls behind, then the economy falls
behind,' Schwarzenegger told host David Gregory on 'Meet the Press.'
"Gregory asked Schwarzenegger how he would finance more
infrastructure projects and if 'an increase in the gas tax is a place to start?'
"'I think one has to look at it,' Schwarzenegger said. 'That's the next question . . . how do you finance all of
this. But I think the important thing is that there's a willingness amongst the people to pay for it. It
doesn't all have to be done through public money. We are
talking here about public-private partnerships.'
"The governor's appearance on the weekly news show comes less than
a week after he announced that the first $625 million of federal stimulus money would be used for
state infrastructure projects. The money will allow
state workers to begin work on 57 transportation projects, including a $75-million job to repave three miles of the 710 Freeway."
Schwarzenegger's latest visibility blitz brings up the question of
what's next for the termed-out governor, writes Carla Marinucci in the Chron.
"With a year until primaries begin for the 2010 elections - and an
energetic crowd of Republicans and Democrats already
replace Schwarzenegger in the governor's seat - political observers say
the latest developments have tripped off a new round
in the guessing
game of what his next step may be. Another political
campaign, a move
into the Obama administration, or something entirely
"'I do think he really wants legacy and that may be his
sole and continued focus,' said Barbara O'Connor, professor of political communication at Cal State
Sacramento. 'And that's contingent on passing the (reform) propositions, on getting health care reform, on getting
a water deal and blowing up the boxes. And he's moving on all those fronts.'"
Did she say boxes, or Boxer?
Rob "Stutzman said many believe Schwarzenegger will never be a good
fit with the often ponderous role as a legislator in
Washington - one of a cast of 100 in the U.S. Senate.
"But no one can ever predict what cliffhanger he'll be starring in next.
"'The great thing about Arnold is he doesn't rule anything out - even in his own mind - until it's game time
,' Stutzman said."
The LAT's Patrick McGreevy looks at the consequences for the six GOP lawmakers that voted for
"Just weeks after [Dave] Cogdill and five other Republican lawmakers joined the Legislature's majority Democrats to raise sales and income taxes
and vehicle license fees, the "Sacramento Six" are facing a backlash from conservative activists
and regular voters alike.
"State Republican Party leaders have voted to cut off
campaign cash to the six, and three are facing recall
threats from furious activists.
"Cogdill, 58, is bracing for a challenge in the 2010 Republican primary; a group in his district is trying to find a candidate
to run against him. He has already been deposed as
Senate minority leader by Republican colleagues, been
booted from a big office and had his pay slashed by
$17,000 a year.
"Sen. Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria), whose vote clinched the tax deal, also pictures trouble
"'It's easy for any political consultant to write a piece
of mail against any of us six to say we raised taxes
on the people of California,' said Maldonado, 41. 'And they are going to use that from now on until I'm a hundred.'"
Like the freeway running through his district, Abel
plans to return to prominence at 101.
Speaking of the budget deal, the U-T's James Sweeney considers Proposition 1A's spending cap.
"Opponents and an independent analyst say there are
certain to be unforeseen consequences if Proposition
1A is approved. Hanging in the balance is $16 billion in temporary tax increases that depend on
Proposition 1A's passage.
"'The idea is simple,' said Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, a Sacramento Democrat and unlikely supporter of a
spending limit. 'We want to make sure that during bad economic times,
we have a sufficient reserve so that we can avoid the
most difficult decisions, especially on the cuts side.'
"Republicans insisted on a spending cap as part of any
agreement that included tax increases to close the
breathtaking deficit. They linked the plan to the tax
increases to discourage public employee unions and
other potential opponents from weighing in against
"Assembly GOP leader Mike Villines of Clovis said Proposition 1A promises critical structural changes that could restore
“fiscal sanity” to a state that has endured a seemingly endless string
of budget crises.
"'There is no way to game this,' Villines said. 'It is not perfect . . . but it will force us to live
within our means.'"
We'll put our money on folks finding a way to game it...
The Bee's Jim Sanders reports:
"The Assembly is expected to vote this week, probably
today, on a bill that would pave the way for California to extend
its lifeline for out-of-work residents by five months at federal expense.
"The measure would ensure an extra $2.5 billion to $3 billion in federal funds for emergency benefits at
a time when California is mired in recession, with
an unemployment rate above 10 percent.
"Passage would mean $6,140 in additional benefits for an out-of-work person receiving the state's average benefit of $307 per week. Benefits range from $65 to $475, based on previous income earned.
"In a separate but related issue, the Legislature also
is considering permanent changes to eligibility rules
that would allow about 26,000 seasonal workers to qualify for unemployment benefits."
Dan Walters writes about the impact of declining taxable sales
"This recession may mark the historic decline of traditional
brick-and-mortar retail sales, which had been force-fed in recent years by infusions of home equity loans
and other debt. And shrinking sales tax revenues are
symbols of that phenomenon.
"Shrinking taxable sales also affect the deficit-ridden state budget. The budget deal approved last
month raises sales taxes by one percentage point. State
officials are hoping that a blue ribbon commission
studying the state's tax system will recommend extension of the sale tax
to services. That would relieve its reliance on declining
sales of tangible and taxable goods such as cars."
LA Daily News's Rick Orlov writes on the loneliest man in city hall.
"If City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo had his way,
the people of Los Angeles would remember him standing
atop a bulldozer
knocking down gang hangouts.
Or perhaps as the fighting prosecutor who took on hospitals
insurance companies that dropped off the indigent on
Skid Row rather
than pay for their treatments.
"Instead, like the old Maytag man, he could be remembered
as the loneliest guy in City Hall."
Meanwhile, Kevin Johnson may be endangering millions in federal
stimulus dollars for the city of Sacramento, reports the Bee's
Ryan Lillis, Tony Bizjak and Denny Walsh. "
"The city of Sacramento likely is barred from getting
– including tens of millions the city is expecting from
stimulus package – because Mayor Kevin Johnson is on a list of
individuals forbidden from receiving federal funds,
according to a
leading attorney the city commissioned to look into
authorities placed Johnson and the nonprofit Hood Corps
founded on the federal list last year – before he was elected mayor –
following a preliminary investigation into allegations
that the urban
Peace Corps-style program had misused federal funds. Federal officials
said the allegations were so serious the funding suspension
"City Attorney Ellen Teichert wrote in a separate memo that "it may be appropriate for the
mayor to abstain from … any decisions involving City projects for which
federal funding may or will be sought."
From our Media Deathwatch Files, LA Observed reports,
the Los Angeles Times newsroom expect the next wave of forced
departures to come down today, along with revelations of colleagues who
choose this moment to retire or take the severance
money and run. Most
guesses I'm hearing put the number at more than 50, with the editor
ranks expected to take the heaviest hit. These are
the delayed execution (second memo)
of the previously foretold exits tied loosely to the
demise of the
daily California section. If the talk among Timesers
is correct (and
frankly, it usually is about these things), there will be names that
Among those that are leaving the Times are Capitol
bureau reporter Jordan Rau.
And finally, from our Darwin Award files, "Three Vietnamese men were killed while trying to saw
through a war-era shell to salvage metal and explosives, police said.
men, between 19 and 44 years old, were trying to break open a 105mm
shell when the blast happened in southern Tay Ninh
province on Friday,
local policeman Nguyen Minh Kha said.
"'The poor men wanted to sell the metal for money. They
could not escape the sudden blast,' he said."