"Democratic leaders met with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
to discuss a compromise that includes long-term budget reform, spending cuts and a sales tax increase,
but a final budget deal remains elusive. Both legislative
houses considered bills on subjects other than the
budget, and the Senate held a lengthy floor tribute
to termed-out Sen. Jim Battin, R-Palm Desert," reports the Bee.
Dan Walters writes:
"Secretary of State Debra Bowen says Saturday is the deadline [for the Legislature to place measures on the ballot] but Capitol types believe
it could be stretched a week or two. And the deadline,
whenever it may be, is an important ingredient in any
budget deal, because at least one of the pending elements
would have to be placed before voters.
"The central element is what Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
calls "budget reform" – some new constitutional provisions aimed at preventing
future fiscal problems by creating a "rainy day" reserve and giving governors more authority to cut
spending when revenue falls short.
"He's willing to trade some new taxes – especially a temporary boost in sales taxes that would
raise about $6 billion a year – for those reforms, even though Republican legislators
balk at new taxes and Democrats don't like spending curbs.
"'We believe they need to come out of their partisan
corners,' Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear
said Tuesday, adding that if there's no deal before the ballot deadline, there will be
a 'total meltdown.'"
The LAT's Michael Rothfeld writes that the governor is expected to miss parts of the border governors summit
he's hosting in L.A. starting today
"But Schwarzenegger will have to miss some of his own
party because of a far less glamorous side of his life: the summer budget stalemate in Sacramento.
"He said he would fly in his private jet between budget
talks in the state capital and the governors conference
in Los Angeles, which ends Friday.
"The other governors will understand that 'the budget is the most important thing right now,' he said; they too have states to run.
"The event is just one example of how the budget deadlock,
now in its seventh week, has crimped Schwarzenegger's high-flying style. Schwarzenegger said that if the impasse
lasts three more weeks, he will not attend the Republican
National Convention, which begins Sept. 1 in Minneapolis. He has been discussing a possible
high-profile speaking slot at that event with the campaign
of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), but that 'is off right now,' the governor said.
"'I will not make any commitments,' Schwarzenegger said Tuesday. 'I will not go on vacation. I will not leave the state.
I will not do anything until I have a budget.'"
So, how's this for a conspiracy theory? Maybe Barack Obama
wants to delay the budget so Schwarzenegger doesn't go to Minneapolis. Discussion will begin on the grassy
knoll in 15 minutes.
"Warning that California faces catastrophic water shortages
from a worsening drought, Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Tuesday upbraided state lawmakers for failing to rally behind
a proposed $9.3 billion water bond for the November ballot.
Hey, taking pot shots at legislators. Maybe she can be governor...
"Feinstein has joined Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
in calling for major improvements to state water storage
and delivery systems. But their water bond plan has
run aground in the Legislature.
"Lawmakers, particularly Democrats, have been loath
to support the program, which would include $3 billion for water storage and $1.9 billion to repair levees and restore the ecosystem
of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
"Legislative efforts to place the measure on the November
ballot have also stumbled amid the state's bitter budget standoff.
"In a speech to the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber
of Commerce, Feinstein urged lawmakers to end the budget
stalemate and put the water infrastructure proposal
on the ballot."
"The state's ongoing drama over eighth-grade algebra escalated Tuesday as state Superintendent
of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell issued a $3.1 billion ultimatum to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger," writes Deb Kollars in the Bee.
"At a news conference, O'Connell announced it would cost that much for schools
to be able to teach Algebra 1 to all eighth-graders starting in three years. He called on Schwarzenegger
– who pushed for the eighth-grade algebra requirement last month against O'Connell's wishes – to come up with the money.
"The $3.1 billion represents the overall cost of a new 'Algebra 1 Success Initiative,' which O'Connell released Tuesday. It calls for reduced class
sizes, more instructional time, summer programs, teacher
training and many other efforts.
"The state is in a fiscal crisis and budget stalemate.
When asked where the cash would come from, O'Connell shrugged, saying the algebra mandate was something
'the governor foisted upon us.'
"Schwarzenegger did not respond to the specific call
for $3.1 billion. Instead, he issued a statement saying he
looked forward to 'working with the education community' to determine the best path toward the new algebra
"A bill allowing cities and counties to set up hot lines
and ensure confidentiality for whistle-blowing employees who report alleged fraud, waste and
mismanagement has been approved by the state Legislature," reports the Chron's Christopher Heredia.
"Assemblyman Sandré Swanson, D-Alameda, who authored the bill at the request of Oakland
City Auditor Courtney Ruby, applauded the Assembly's 74-0 vote last week in favor of the measure. The Senate
passed previously passed the bill by a 24-8 vote.
"Swanson said the bill will be held until the Legislature
approves a budget, because Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
has said he will not sign bills until then.
"'Public employees are a direct line of defense against
waste, fraud and abuse,' Swanson said in a statement. 'This is a piece of legislation which was long overdue.'
"Ruby said the bill will buttress an Oakland ordinance,
which the City Council adopted last month, that established
a whistle-blower hot line in the city and designated the auditor's office as the lead investigating unit for reports
of fraud in city government."
"Reversing course from only a week ago, the Los Angeles
County Board of Supervisors voted 3 to 2 on Tuesday to put a sales tax increase for mass transit
and road projects on the Nov. 4 ballot," reports Steve Hymon in the Times.
"However, the board also voted 3 to 2 to officially oppose the measure.
"Confused? Hey, it's local politics.
"First, the ballot issue.
"Last month, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority
board voted to put a half-cent sales tax increase on the general election ballot.
"But last week, the supervisors -- three of whom say the sales tax wouldn't spread money evenly across the county -- refused to put the initiative on the regular ballot.
"Instead, they forced the sales tax onto a supplemental
"However, after learning that a supplemental ballot
would cost county taxpayers an additional $10 million, Supervisor Don Knabe said he would change his vote, even though he continued
to oppose the sales tax increase."
Hey, maybe some Republicans up here can vote for the
budget, even though they oppose it...
"The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission voted Tuesday
to issue nearly
$15,000 in fines against Councilman Jose Huizar, after investigators
determined that he had improperly used a fundraising
conduct political research on former school board member
David Tokofsky," reports the LAT's DAvid Zahniser.
"Huizar has created two legal defense funds, which allow
him to collect private contributions to pay the fines.
And Bay Area supernerds, beware. The strong arm of
the law is coming for you.
The Chron's Michael Cabanatuan reports, "Fears of out-of-control Segways careening about BART trains and
stations are prompting the transit agency to consider
limiting use of
the devices to people with disabilities.
"BART planners are recommending the restrictions after
in May and June, including one in which a person at the 24th Street
Mission Station lost control of his Segway and jumped
off. The rogue
device kept running, rolled off the platform and onto
the tracks, where
it was hit by a train. No injuries resulted, and the train was not
damaged, but the accident caused extensive delays and
forced the train
to be taken out of service/"
Oh, what we would pay to see a YouTube video of that...