Former President Bill Clinton, no slouch as a campaigner, stumped California on behalf of Jerry Brown's campaign
Sharon Noguchi of the Contra Costa Times reports: "Clinton trumpeted Brown's past achievements, praised
his values and lambasted those of Republicans. Clinton derided GOP gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman's
plan to repeal the capital-gains tax in California, calling it a move that would
benefit only the wealthy."
"Speaking about himself and Brown, Clinton said, "We
were raised to believe if you were fortunate, you were
supposed to give back to your community."
The LA Times' Mark Barabak takes a look at the voters of bellwether San Benito
County, who want substance in the gubernatorial campaign.
"The last several weeks of the campaign, dominated
by debate over an inadvertently recorded epithet and
Whitman's illegal immigrant housekeeper, have seemed
especially pointless. "A sideshow," said Margo Michael, a cook. "Silly,"
said Jerry Caperton, a retired firefighter."
"For the last 16 years, San Benito County has been California's political
bellwether, a slice of rich farmland just south of
the San Francisco Bay Area with an unparalleled record
of matching statewide voter sentiment. In 2002, Gray Davis won reelection with 47% of the vote; in San Benito County he received 49%. In 2006, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger cruised to victory with 57% support. In San Benito County, he got 56%."
Will Democrats, particularly young Democrats, go to the polls on Nov.
2? Linda Goldston of the Mercury News reports it out.
"Anything can happen this election, but the youthful
tidal wave that helped sweep Obama into the White House
in 2008 may have dried up. With Barbara Boxer holding a slight
lead over former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, there's a chance California
may not get socked by anti-incumbent fever as badly as other states, but there's
no question -- many Democrats are struggling to find a reason to
"What I'm noticing is that we don't have a candidate
on the top of the ticket that's generating a lot of
excitement in the electorate," said Mark Baldassare,
president of the Public Policy Institute of California.
"And we don't have a ballot measure attracting the
excitement Proposition 8 did last time around, so turnout will be significantly
less that we had in the presidential election."
One candidate in a local water board election in Riverside is something of a
mystery: Just who is Jeff Hall? The Press-Enterprise's Alicia Robinson takes a look.
"As leader of the California chapter of the National
Socialist Movement, Hall has helped organize several
rallies in Riverside, including one to protest illegal
immigration at a gathering site for day laborers and
another in which movement members displayed swastika
flags outside a synagogue."
"Hall, the candidate, gave the county registrar of
voters an e-mail address identical to one that Hall, the National
Socialist leader, uses at NewSaxon.org, a neo-Nazi website.
Stepping off the campaign trail for moment, we see
air-pollution control officials in the Central Valley considering
a new strategy: charging motorists for pollution, reports Felicity Barringer of the NY Times.
"Faced with a fine of at least $29 million for exceeding federal ozone limits, the San
Joaquin Valley’s air quality regulators are proposing an annual surcharge of $10 to $24 on registration fees for the region’s 2.7 million cars and trucks beginning next year. A decision
is expected when the governing board meets on Thursday."
"Although the surcharge is not expected to change how
much people drive or what cars or trucks they buy,
air pollution experts say it is a harbinger of the
future. After decades of forcing industry to clean
its smokestacks, retool car and truck engines and fine-tune gasoline, regulators are exploring what they can
do to force consumers to face up to the pollution they
Those regulators aren't the only officials looking
for new revenue. Across the state, cities are getting creative in the
search for dough, reports the LAT's Alana Semuels.
"In Central California's San Benito County, whose 14.8% unemployment rate is one of the highest in the state,
officials recently opted to allow more garbage from
outside the county to enter a public landfill. Importing
trash isn't the sexiest of economic development strategies,
but the projected half-million dollars a year of extra revenue will help keep
libraries open, Benito County Supervisor Anthony Botelho
said. "It's not a cure-all for our budget woes, but it does help," he said.
"Closer to Los Angeles, officials in Whittier are considering
allowing oil companies to drill on land set aside for
a park. Some residents are apoplectic. But Whittier's
sales tax revenue has tumbled 25% since its peak in 2007-08, City Controller Rod Hill said. Much of that decline
can be attributed to the closure of seven car dealerships,
which won't be easy to replace."
And as the sun rises slowly in the east, we turn to
our "It's About Time" file for positive vibes -- and we actually find them. Consider the tale of 95-year-old George Vujnovich, who was honored 66 years after rescuing 500 American airmen during World War II.
"The 95-year-old New York City man was awarded the Bronze Star in
a ceremony Sunday at Manhattan's St. Sava Serbian Orthodox
Cathedral. He received a standing ovation from a crowd
of several hundred."
"Better now than never," says Vujnovich, a retired
who lives in Queens."
"He was an officer of the OSS — the precursor of today's CIA — in Italy when about 500 pilots and other airmen were downed over Serbia in
the summer of 1944 while on bombing runs targeting Hitler's oil fields
in Romania, according to U.S. goverment field station
files, stored in the National Archives."