The governor yesterday wrapped up his three-day tour of Washington
, writes Peter Nicholas in the Times. "Much of the day went smoothly, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
and U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer
signaling support for the governor's plans. Then he stopped in to see the senior senator from California, Dianne Feinstein
"Clearly the governor has not yet made a convert of Feinstein. She seemed baffled not just by his goals but also by the way he has branded them. The two made an appearance before reporters that was rare for its spontaneity.
"Feinstein was asked about the governor's "post-partisan politics," his phrase for how Republicans and Democrats in Sacramento are hatching ideas in concert, rather than working at cross purposes.
' Feinstein said, perplexed.
Then, the discussion turned to the governor's redistricting proposal...
"Feinstein didn't know those details and seemed skeptical about the project. 'Who would do it?
' she asked.
"'The people of California would draw the district lines
,' the governor said.
"Feinstein: 'The people would draw? How many people?
"Schwarzenegger: "So it's going to be fun."
"Feinstein laughed. 'Oh, yes. I think I ought to study it some more.'
"On one point, the two seemed to agree. Feinstein said she dislikes term limits for lawmakers, and asked how Schwarzenegger felt. The governor answered that he had never been 'a big fan of term limits.'
Meanwhile, LAT's Paul Pringle reports on criticism of Feinstein and Schwarzenegger for preaching environmental caution while using private jets to fly around
"Aides say there is nothing contradictory between the pro-green pronouncements and the flying habits of the Democratic senator and Republican governor.
"Some environmentalists aren't so sure.
"'There appears to be a discrepancy between calling on people to make personal reductions and using a private jet that exacerbates the problem,' Clean Air Watch President Frank O'Donnell
"A single cross-country round trip on a Gulfstream IV, or GIV, the model owned by Feinstein's husband, churns out about 83,000 to 90,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, experts say. By contrast, on a per capita basis, the average American produces 50,000 pounds from all activities in an entire year.
"Nonetheless, Feinstein and Schwarzenegger intend to continue their noncommercial flying ways because their jobs demand a flexibility the airlines can't match, spokesmen say.
"Schwarzenegger's office said he and a jet-leasing company are establishing a "carbon offset" program for the governor and fellow customers, retroactive to Jan. 1. Carbon offsets are bought from organizations that plant trees and support renewable energy enterprises, among other measures, to offset greenhouse gases produced by the buyers."
The Bee's Deb Kollars reports on the $4.9 billion in flood and related bonds approved in November
. "On Tuesday, for the first time, legislators and the state's top flood officials gathered at the Capitol to start the process of hashing out how they'll spend money from Propositions 1E and 84, which target a range of flood control improvements.
"High on the priority list: how to speed up levee studies and repairs, and how to raise even more money because -- big as they are -- the new bond packages will not be enough.
"Previous estimates pegged California's flood control needs, the bulk in the Central Valley, at $12 billion to $13 billion. Those figures could climb into the $16 billion to $18 billion range, pending further study, according to Lester Snow
, director of the state Department of Water Resources.
"Snow was among those testifying before the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee. Tuesday's hearing was called by state Sen. Darrell Steinberg
, a Democrat from Sacramento who is the new committee chair.
"'This is urgent,' Steinberg said. 'The bottom line is public safety. This is an issue we need to stay on every week and every month.'"
"The prison system's top health care policy adviser has resigned amid a conflict-of-interest investigation
into his investments, but in an interview Tuesday, the official denied any impropriety.
"'There was no conflict of interest,' said Darc Keller
, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's assistant secretary in charge of health care policy until his resignation Friday.
"Keller, 59, said he divested himself of an investment he listed on his statement of economic interest that sparked an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General, which provides oversight to the corrections agency's operations.
"According to Keller's economic interest statement filed last year, he had a $10,001-to-$100,000 investment in Mobile Medical International Corp. The company had performed subcontracting work for Medical Development International, the Florida firm that since last year has provided outpatient physician, billing and scheduling services for inmates on a pilot project at two Southern California prisons."
"With lawmakers about to resume debate on another big wave of gambling expansion, a Senate committee asked yesterday why the state is doing so little to confront a growing number of compulsive gamblers
," reports James Sweeney in the Union-Tribune.
"A recent survey done for the state estimated that California has 1.2 million problem and pathological gamblers and up to an additional 2.7 million 'at risk' gamblers. One expert testified yesterday that up to 40 percent of the state's prison inmates can trace their troubles to gambling addiction.
"Yet the state spends little more than $3 million a year, largely on a public information campaign and hotline for those seeking help. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed budget for 2007-08 would increase that to $3.3 million.
"But there are few treatment programs available and few professionals with the training and experience to help compulsive gamblers, specialists in the field told the Senate Governmental Organization Committee.
"'As we sit here today, there are people who are sleeping in their cars, cashing in their 401(k)s, thinking about suicide, getting divorced
,' said Bruce Roberts
, executive director of the California Council on Problem Gambling, an independent nonprofit.
"'These aren't statistics we're talking about. They're people,' he said. 'They're families, and there is a way through treatment to put their lives back together.'"
And then, there's the gambling issue in Pakistan, where gamblers are apparently wagering children
. "A teenage girl in southern Pakistan, whose late father lost her in a poker game when she was 2 years old, has asked authorities to save her from being handed over to a middle-aged relative.
"Rasheeda, 17, said she has filed applications with the police and a local councillor asking them to prevent Lal Haider, 45, from taking her to his home. Her mother, Nooran said her husband racked up a debt of 10,000 rupees ($151) to Haider playing cards."
"Toys and child care products that contain certain chemicals would be banned in California under a bill introduced Tuesday
by a San Francisco assemblywoman.
"Democrat Fiona Ma
's "toxic toy'' bill, which mirrors a San Francisco law, would ban the manufacture, sale and distribution of the products beginning in 2009 if they contain bisphenol A. The chemical is a building block of hard, polycarbonate plastic.
"The legislation would also limit chemicals called phthalates, which soften polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, in products intended for children 3 and under.
"Environmental groups support the bill; chemical manufacturers and some toymakers and retailers oppose it."
The AP's David Kravetz reports, "California's $3 billion stem cell agency withstood another challenge to its constitutionality
when a state appeals court rejected claims by abortion foes and anti-tax advocates that the agency's managers had conflicts of interest.
The 1st District Court of Appeal upheld a decision by a lower court judge who last year ruled in favor of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which was created when Proposition 71 was passed by 59 percent of the electorate in 2004.
Opponents of the stem cell agency said after Monday's ruling that they likely would appeal to the state Supreme Court."
That's the good news for the agency. The bad news is the new state auditor's report, summarized by the Merc's Steve Johnson. "State auditors Tuesday criticized California's $3 billion stem-cell institute for lax travel and entertainment rules that let its officials sometimes get chauffeured rental cars, pricey meals and first-class air fare
The report by California State Auditor Elaine Howle also faulted the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine for using questionable data in justifying its salaries, which in some cases seemed excessive to the auditors.
In addition, the report said, the institute offered vague reasoning for its policies governing how much revenue and other benefits the state should receive from those who develop products from the institute's stem-cell grants."
will spend another week as a Garden Grove City Councilwoman – rather than her first as an Orange County supervisor – after her future colleagues Tuesday postponed placing her in the seat she won by seven votes
"Sidestepping a legal and political mire, the four members of the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to seat Janet Nguyen next week because second-place finisher Trung Nguyen
challenged the legitimacy of the recount. A fresh, final outcome in an election now three weeks old could be decided by a court if Trung Nguyen can convince a judge to hear his case.
"Janet Nguyen didn't attend the supervisors meeting but said after the vote that she understood and appreciated the supervisors' diligence.
"'You have to respect the system,' she said. 'You gain respect by giving respect.'"
Finally, from our We All Go For Spago Files
, Reuters reports, "A Sports Illustrated bash for its annual swimsuit issue has turned into a health scare for stars in Hollywood after a caterer working for celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck may have exposed them to acute Hepatitis A
And to make things worse, Scott Baio may have given them pink eye