From our Must Be Nice Files, Meg Whitman decided to
reload Monday, dumping another $20 million into her campaign for governor. Michael Rothfeld reports, "Whitman, the billionaire
ex-chief of EBay, donated another $20
million to her campaign for governor late Monday afternoon,
$59 million the total she has contributed from her own
pocketbook as she
seeks to secure the Republican nomination, according
spokeswoman, Sarah Pompei.
"Whitman is far ahead of opponent Steve Poizner, the
commissioner, in public opinion polls for the June
8 primary election,
and she holds a narrow lead for the general election
against Atty. Gen.
Jerry Brown, the likely Democratic nominee.
"Whitman's campaign has reported spending nearly $46 million, a
record-breaking pace for a California governor's race, through
California's liability from pension payments could
create a $500 billionover the next 15 years, according to a new report. Denis Theriault
reports, "A summary of the report, released Monday,
also said the current recession has cost the three systems — for the
state's public employees, schoolteachers and University
workers — $109.7 billion in lost investment value. The report says the
systems' basic growth assumptions are too rosy.
The study earned an I-told-you-so from Gov. Schwarzengger. "This study
reinforces the immediate need to address our staggering
the governor said in a statement. "The consequences
increasingly large portions of state funding for programs
hold dear such as schools, parks and health care will
be diverted to pay
for this debt."
Reps. Jim Costa and George Miller are getting ready for a
Delta smelt smackdown.
Christine Bedell reports, "Costa declared political "war" against a fellow member
California congressional delegation Monday over the ongoing fight to
both protect fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and keep
delivering desperately needed water to the San Joaquin
"Costa, D-Fresno, offered to do battle with Rep. George Miller,
D-Richmond, after Miller was quoted as promising at a
last week to push for tougher restrictions on water
diversions to valley
farms and cities. Northern California fisherman in
large part blame the water pumping
for declining salmon populations and, by extension,
The Legislature appears close, again, to passing a
bill to help homeowners who are forced to make short sales
of their homes. Jim Wasserman reports, "State
lawmakers said Monday they plan to cancel the state
with a vote Thursday. Shannon Murphy, spokeswoman for Assembly
Speaker John Pérez, D-Los Angeles, said legislation will go before the
Assembly Revenue and Tax Committee today and the Appropriations
Committee on Wednesday, and will receive a full vote
"A similar Senate floor vote planned Thursday would
send the bill
immediately to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has
repeatedly stated his
support. The new bill is similar to one he vetoed
March 25. But this
time it omits a part he opposed – financial penalties for businesses
that routinely seek state tax refunds. Democrats removed
despite their contention that some firms "fish" for
refunds whether or
not they're owed."
Dan Walters remembers former Sen. Al Rodda, who died at the age of 97.
"Rodda was a genuinely sweet man – modest, even diffident, in demeanor,
high-minded and learned, painfully sincere – who nonetheless not only
survived two decades in the rough-and-tumble ambience of Capitol
politics, but rose to power.
"The quintessential Rodda moment – one perfectly reflecting his all-too-rare traits – came in 1975 when the Senate took up a very controversial bill
to decriminalize homosexual acts. Rodda quietly told
colleagues that he'd spent hours studying the issue,
consulting history books and even the Bible, to decide
how he'd vote, and concluded that legalizing sex between
"consenting adults" was morally correct.
Rodda's "aye" vote created a very rare 20-20 tie and allowed Mervyn Dymally, then the lieutenant governor, to cast the decisive
vote in favor of the bill after rushing back to California
Today in the Capitol: The long-awaitied pairing of Dean Florez and
Gloria Allred will finally take place (We can't believe we didn't
think of this team together sooner!). Alred will be on hand to lend
support for Florez's anti-cyber harassment bill. TV coverage to follow,
no doubt. Speaking of stories designed to land on TV,
Jerry Brown is
in LA today to discuss the death of Corey Haim and his office's
efforts to crack down on prescription drug abuse.
And finally, from our Utah Files, we go to the Beehive
State where high school students made a giant replica of a master
work using breakfast cereal, and fed it to pigs. "High school students in
northern Utah have completed a 6,400-square-foot replica of Vincent van
Gogh's "Starry Night" out of breakfast cereal. Doyle
Geddes, a humanities teacher at Sky View High School,
than 150 students on the project, which used two tons of colorful
Malt-O-Meal spread across the gymnasium floor.
Geddes says he conceived of the ambitious project as
a way to better
connect students with art.
"The replica was taken apart later Saturday. The cereal
was given to a
farmer to feed pigs."