Capitol Weekly reports there are some problems with the governor's health care plan
"One of the principal supporters of the health-care proposal sponsored by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
and Speaker Fabian Nunez
is threatening to pull its support of the initiative that would fund the health care plan – a move that would all but sink the November initiative campaign
"Sources say the California Hospitals Association is threatening to pull its support of the health care deal, which includes an increase of hospital fees by 4 percent, or an estimated $2 billion, unless the initiative is changed. The association, which insiders say planned to spend $20 million to win approval of the plan
, is apparently bristling at language buried toward the end of the initiative that would allow the Legislature, with a two-thirds vote, to raise that 4 percent fee even higher, and use the money for services other than health care."
"The hospitals will voice their concerns in a meeting Wednesday morning with Gov Schwarzenegger, Sen. leader Don Perata and Speaker Nunez
That's the bad news. The LA Times poll has some good news for the governor.
"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger continues to enjoy high approval ratings among voters
even as most think the state is heading in the wrong direction, a new poll shows," reports Evan Halper in the Times.
"The grim financial picture the governor presented last week, including proposed steep cuts to schools, healthcare programs and other state services, has not hurt his standing with Californians. He enjoys the approval of 60% of registered voters
, according to a Times/CNN/Politico poll conducted by Opinion Research Corp. immediately after he unveiled the proposals as part of his blueprint for closing a $14.5-billion budget deficit. Interviews were conducted Friday through Sunday.
"'He still rides the wave of the outsider trying to shake up the entrenched forces of government,' said Barbara O'Connor
, a professor of communications at Cal State Sacramento. 'Voters really don't like the Legislature and tend to blame it for the state's problems, given the opportunity. They assume the governor is doing his best in an intractable situation.
, president of the Public Policy Institute of California, notes that voters remained pleased with Schwarzenegger in the weeks after he unveiled those plans -- much as they do today, following the release of his tough budget blueprint. In 2005 it was months later, after the details sank in and opponents had organized their campaign against the governor, that Schwarzenegger's approval rating sank to 37%."
But first things first, apparently. "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger rolled into San Jose Tuesday to sell Silicon Valley political and business leaders on his controversial plan to fix California's budget crisis
," writes Joshua Molina in the Merc News.
"The state faces a $14.5 billion deficit over the next 18 months, and the governor has proposed dramatic spending cuts that have been widely criticized by analysts, labor and political watchdog groups.
"About 50 people - business owners, CEOs and elected officials - attended Schwarzenegger's early afternoon talk at the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce. He kept his talk general and struck a tone of inclusiveness, urging those in the audience to work together to bring California out of its budget hole.
"I need each and every one of you to help," Schwarzenegger said."
"Backing away from his neutral stance, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday urged the California Coastal Commission to approve a controversial tollway in Orange County that would pass through San Onofre State Beach
, one of California's most popular parks," report Dan Weikel and David Reyes in the Times.
After all, San Onofre is one of the beaches that would close under the governor's state budget.
"'I have concluded that this project is essential to protect our environment and the quality of life for everyone in California,' Schwarzenegger said in a letter to Patrick Kruer
, chairman of the Coastal Commission.
"'The project can be built in a manner that will enhance and foster use of the coast and protect coastal resources.'"
"California State University, Sacramento, will close applications to incoming freshmen Feb. 1 as the college system braces for possible state budget cuts
this summer. The unexpected decision moves up the fall application deadline by a full six months," reports Judy Lin in the Bee.
"CSU Chancellor Charles Reed
this week instructed all 23 campus presidents, including Sacramento's Alexander Gonzalez
, to close admissions early regardless of whether the campus has met attendance targets.
"CSUS officials said the university will be sending out letters to high schools informing students about the early application deadline. No decisions have been made about transfer and graduate students. Last year's deadline for incoming freshmen for fall semester was Aug. 10.
"The chancellor's move was in response to the governor's proposal to reduce state support for an already overcrowded university system, CSU representatives said. Currently, officials say CSU is underfunded by 14,000 students. Under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to close a $14.5 billion deficit, CSU would not be able to absorb next year's enrollment growth, which had been estimated to be around 10,000."
Meanwhile, Fiona Ma has drawn the attention of the New York Times
to a bill she introduced last week.
The NYT's Rebecca Cathcart writes: "Web sites that promise to give the dirt on prospective dates abound. A guy has a roving eye? Look him up on DontDateHimGirl.com.
"But a California lawmaker says the background checks can be far more serious. The lawmaker, Assemblywoman Fiona Ma
, the San Francisco Democrat who is the majority whip, introduced a bill last week to create an online database of men and women convicted of domestic violence in California.
"Other states like Florida have databases used by law enforcement officials. Her proposal, Ms. Ma said, would be the first available to the public.
"'If you’re online, Googling and looking for information on someone you met in a bar or on MySpace, this would provide a tool for people to go and look to see if someone who is suspicious and a little creepy has a history of violence
,' Ms. Ma said."
And you thought searching the Capitol Weekly salaries database
And in another example of lawmakers in other states introducing important legislation, "It's one thing to dangle fuzzy dice from a rear view mirror, but decorating a trailer hitch with a large pair of rubber testicles
might be a bit much in Virginia.
"State Del. Lionel Spruill
introduced a bill Tuesday to ban displaying replicas of human genitalia on vehicles
, calling it a safety issue because it could distract other drivers.