"After visiting the British prime minister, French president and friends in Austria, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger returns today to Sacramento with no spending plan in place
four days before the start of the fiscal year," writes Kevin Yamamura in the Bee.
"Besides traveling to Europe, the governor last week addressed health care executives, mayors and political junkies at three conferences in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
"But the Republican governor still has not convened a 'Big Five' meeting with legislative leaders in his Capitol office to hash out the budget. Instead, he has asked them to resolve their differences on their own, a contrast from previous governors who would preside over budget meetings with leaders on a daily basis.
"'This is the same sort of leadership that led to the infrastructure bonds and the prison reform package
,' said Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear
. 'He thinks it's better to have respect for all four caucuses and allow them to do their jobs.
"'It's worked in the past,' [Don] Perata
said of the governor's strategy. 'I think this year he's going to have to come in and lift a little more because we are quite a bit apart. The only way we're going to close that gap is by having the governor force that gap to be closed.
Assemblywoman Laura Richardson defeated Jenny Oropeza
in the race to replace Juanita Millender-McDonald
Well, technically, Richardson must face in the top vote-geter in each political party in a run-off next month, but that is just a formality in a safe Democratic district, which includes Compton, Carson, much of Long Beach and parts of South Los Angeles.
Speaking of Congress, "California's congressional Republicans united Tuesday in support of independent redistricting
, leaving House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
and her fellow Democrats as holdouts on a nonpartisan redrawing of the state's House districts," reports the LAT's Nancy Vogel.
"All 19 Republican representatives signed a letter urging Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to include Congress, along with the Legislature, in pending plans to revamp the way political boundaries are determined. "It is vital that any reform undertaken must include congressional districts," the letter said.
"'We're putting people before politics,' said Rep. Kevin McCarthy
(R-Bakersfield), who gathered the 19 signatures.
"In the past, some in the state's congressional GOP delegation have opposed independent redistricting for the House.
"The united stance puts the Republicans at odds with Pelosi (D-San Francisco), who has said that letting average citizens, rather than state legislators, perform the once-a-decade task of redoing congressional districts could jeopardize her party's tenuous majority in Congress."
"California Republican Party officials might have violated federal immigration law
by hiring an Australian immigrant for a top finance post without ever demanding to see his proof of legal residence, immigration officials said Tuesday," report Carla Marinucci and Lance Williams in the Chron.
, who heads the California Republican Party, admitted Tuesday that he -- and as far as he knows, any party officials -- never saw the green card
that would prove that Michael Kamburowski
, an Australian citizen hired as the state GOP's chief operations officer, was a legal resident.
"A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement Division said Tuesday the law is clear that 'it is the responsibility of the employers to check and see that someone is legally in the country and eligible to work.'"
"The Chronicle reported Sunday that Kamburowski -- an Australian immigrant who was hired as the GOP's chief operations officer in March to oversee the party's multi-million-dollar campaign accounts -- was ordered deported in 2001, later was jailed on visa violations in 2004 and since has filed a $5 million wrongful arrest lawsuit against U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials, according to court documents on file in U.S. District Court."
"Faced with broad opposition by law enforcement groups, legislation to reopen disciplinary hearings and records of police officers to the public stalled in a key state Assembly committee Tuesday
, failing to get a single vote and virtually ensuring that the bill would not pass this year," reports the LAT's Patrick McGreevy.
"'Would somebody turn the lights out in this room, please
,' bill sponsor Sen. Gloria Romero
(D-Los Angeles) said angrily after Assembly Public Safety Committee members refused to move for a vote on the bill.
"The legislation passed the state Senate 21 to 10 this month, but Tuesday it drew opposing testimony from dozens of police officers from Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Fresno, Berkeley, Modesto, Anaheim, San Bernardino and Riverside. Many of them warned that disclosure of officers' personnel information would jeopardize their lives.
"'We still consider it an anti-law enforcement bill
,' Ron Cottingham
, president of the Police Officers Research Assn. of California, told the committee. 'It will endanger our officers. It will endanger their families.'"
Also in Public Safety, "[t]he Assembly Public Safety Committee cleared three bills Tuesday aimed at preventing wrongful convictions
, but the governor might veto the measures because of law enforcement opposition," reports Henry Weinstein in the Times.
"All the measures stem from the recommendations of the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice, which the state Senate created in 2004 to study problems in the criminal justice system that have put innocent people in jail.
"One bill, aimed at reducing the number of false confessions, would mandate electronic recording of interrogations of suspects in homicides and violent felonies who are in police custody. Another would require corroborating evidence for the testimony of jailhouse informants, who have been shown to lie sometimes to receive reduced sentences or other benefits. A third bill calls on the California attorney general, in consultation with other key stakeholders in the criminal justice system, to develop new guidelines for lineups presented to eyewitnesses to see if they can identify suspects."
"Legislation barring hospitals in California from transporting a patient to a location other than the person's residence without the patient's consent cleared an Assembly committee Tuesday after the author agreed to water down the bill
," writes the Bee's Aurelio Rojas.
"Originally, hospital administrators convicted of "patient dumping" under Senate Bill 275 would have been subject to a misdemeanor, a $2,000 fine and up to one year in jail -- and the hospital fined up to $10,000.
"Patient dumping is most pervasive in Los Angeles' Skid Row, but also occurs in other cities in the state, including Sacramento.
"State Sen. Gil Cedillo
, D-Los Angeles, agreed to a phase in the penalties in his bill after the Democrats who control the Assembly Health Committee balked at criminalizing the first offense -- and threatened to kill the legislation."
Just a note to all you playground deal-makers -- that pinky-swear promise may not be enough, according to a Santa Ana judge
"A Nietzsche-quoting judge said a promise penned in blood by a businessman was not an enforceable contract. Superior Court Judge Corey S. Cramin ruled Monday that Stephen Son could not be forced to repay Kim Jin-soo more than $140,000 that Kim provided to Son's companies, not to Son himself.
"Son punctured his finger and drafted the promise in a restaurant after his companies accepted cash from Kim but failed to turn a profit.
"Son was not required to guarantee those transactions, the judge said