"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sought Tuesday to quiet turmoil at the state's air board and reassert his commitment to the environment by appointing an official from past Democratic administrations to the board's top position
," write Evan Halper and Janet Wilson in the Times.
will take over the embattled Air Resources Board, which she chaired 30 years ago under Gov. Jerry Brown. She also served as secretary of resources under Democratic Gov. Gray Davis and as a high-ranking environmental official in the Clinton administration.
"Her appointment follows the recent departure of two top board officials who both complained publicly that meddling by the Schwarzenegger administration on behalf of business interests limited their ability to adopt effective regulations for curbing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality."
Capitol Weekly's John Howard reports on a little-know category of campaign donations that are difficult to track
"These payments don't show up in the normal filings that candidates and donors must make with the Secretary of State. In fact, these so-called "behested payments" are not available anywhere online. Instead, the payments are only available in hard copy tucked away in the sixth-floor office of the Fair Political Practices Commission in downtown Sacramento.
"That's something the head of the state financial watchdog agency would like to change.
"'We believe it is necessary to make this information available to the press and public in a more useful way,' said FPPC Chairman Ross Johnson.
"Unlike campaign donations, some $10.6 million in behested payments since January 2005 that were reviewed by Capitol Weekly carry few restrictions and they do not flow to a politician's campaign treasury. Rather, they are intended for legislative, governmental or charitable causes, although the line between those and campaign politics often appears blurred. Many of the payments go to community advocacy organizations, youth clubs, schools, health organizations, research groups and the like. The payments are legal, and those $5,000 or larger must be reported within 30 days to the state, where they are recorded at the FPPC.
"Attorney General Jerry Brown, a Democrat and former mayor of Oakland, has behested more than $900,000 in six months for two entities - the Oakland Military Institute and the Oakland School for the Arts. The largest single donation, $100,000, came from the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan
The LAT's Paul Pringle looks at the governor's use of a nonprofit to support his overseas travel. "Arnold Schwarzenegger, a millionaire many times over, bills much of his overseas travel to an obscure nonprofit group
that can qualify its secret donors for full tax deductions, just as if they were giving to skid row shelters or the United Way."
"Whether journeying to China, Japan or last week's destinations — Austria, England and France — Schwarzenegger typically flies on top-of-the-line private jets like the plush Gulfstream models and has booked hotel suites that can run thousands of dollars a night.
"By giving to the [California State Protocol] foundation, donors avoid having their identities made public, because charities are not governed by the disclosure rules that apply to campaign contributions. And they can donate unlimited amounts to the nonprofit, which is not subject to contribution ceilings the way campaign accounts are.
"Representatives for Schwarzenegger and the foundation say there is nothing inappropriate about his arrangement with the group, which is closely associated with the California Chamber of Commerce."
"In Hollywood, they say there's no such thing as bad publicity. Apparently nobody bothered to tell Marilyn Monroe
," reports CW's Daniel Macht.
"Monroe has been dead 45 years, but the legendary star is taking center stage in a political and legal fight over her image--and the image of other actors--in the peculiar, high-stakes world known as post-mortem publicity
"Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, herself a popular TV performer from the
1960s, is poised to introduce legislation that she believes will keep images of dead celebrities like Marilyn Monroe from ending up on bottles of sex oils
Her bill, SB 771, originally dealt with stem-cell research. But the bill was gutted and amended to address recent court decisions that limited the scope of after-death publicity rights to family heirs. The courts also found that those rights, transferable after death like jewelry and other property, don't apply to celebrities who died before the law was enacted in 1984. "
Capitol Weekly's Nick Brokaw reports on a new resource for the state to help fight fires -- prison inmates
"As California braces for another bad fire season, the state is turning to an unusual source to fight fires: California's prison inmates.
The inmates are part of the Conservation Camp Program, and they are eligible to take part in the program as long as they have no history of sex offenses, arson, or kidnapping.
"'For every day that they serve, inmates receive two days off of their sentences,' CDCR Spokesman Seth Unger
The Chron's Carla Marinucci looks into how Antonio Villaraigosa's affair was handled by Telemundo
"The story of Villaraigosa's affair, which had been the subject of political gossip for weeks, broke Tuesday in the Los Angeles Daily News. The paper said the mayor, who last month filed for divorce from his wife, Corina, finally admitted to 'a relationship' with Telemundo52 anchor Mirthala Salinas
, a two-time Emmy Award-winning journalist in Los Angeles.
"That might have been an unseemly embarrassment to a news organization not too long ago. But in what is apparently another sea change in outlook regarding the story, the revelation merited a banner with photos on the TV station's Web site, Telemundo52.com.
"The spokesman for Salinas' station, Alfredo Richard
, praised the anchor as 'a great reporter, very professional' and said she hasn't covered politics for at least 11 months.
"Still, Salinas, addressing her Spanish-language Telemundo viewers on June 8, did open the show with this bombshell: 'The rumors are true ... Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa confirmed today that he is separating from his wife, Corina, after more than 20 years of marriage.'"
Analysts debate the impact the issue will have on Villaraigosa's expected gubernatorial run.
"'It's a story for now (for Villaraigosa) and may continue for a month or so, but I don't think it'll have long-lasting legs that will impact the 2010 elections,' said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll. 'It's become such a commonplace occurrence that it doesn't weigh down the political ambitions of candidates who get divorced or have an affair.'"
"Still, Villaraigosa can expect a full rehashing of events during a gubernatorial campaign, judging by past years.
"During the 2003 recall campaign, Schwarzenegger had to apologize publicly after the Times reported that several women claimed he groped or humiliated them during his acting career. He said he had 'behaved badly.'
, who ran Democratic gubernatorial campaigns for [Gray] Davis and former state Controller Steve Westly, said Villaraigosa will face unprecedented scrutiny during a long statewide run.
"'I don't think the revelations are helpful, and I think anyone would be a fool to think they would not have an impact when you have to run a high-visibility, high-scrutiny race for governor,' South said. 'What kind of person you've been will play a factor
"SB 840 cleared the Democratic-controlled committee on a 12-5 vote but faces a certain veto
by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Schwarzenegger has criticized [Sheila] Kuehl
's plan as 'government-run health care,'" reports Aurelio Rojas in the Bee.
"The governor and Democratic legislative leaders are pushing separate health plans that would give insurance companies more business -- in Schwarzenegger's case, by requiring individuals to purchase coverage. Under both plans, insurance companies would be required to cover patients like Campbell with pre-existing conditions.
"Kuehl is undeterred that Schwarzenegger vetoed her single-payer bill last year and has said he will do so again. She maintains that only a single-payer plan will provide universal and comprehensive coverage.
"'Californians have been left pretty helplessly stranded as their health care system crumbles around them,' Kuehl told the committee.
"But Republican opponents said SB 840 will lead to higher taxes and health-care rationing, stunt business growth and deter medical innovation."
"An appeals court has denied California's request to float $525 million in bonds to cover government pensions
because the state didn't ask voters for their permission," reports Judy Lin in the Bee.
"The California 3rd District Court of Appeal on Tuesday affirmed a lower court's ruling that the pension obligation bonds are not exempt from the state's constitutional debt requirement, which prohibits the Legislature from borrowing more than $300,000 without a two-thirds vote in each house plus the approval of a majority of the state's voters.
"The state announced it will not appeal the ruling, which means elected officials will not get to rely on the bonds to help fill the budget gap.
"'This is a great Fourth of July gift to Californians,' said Harold Johnson, an attorney representing the Fullerton Association of Concerned Taxpayers, which challenged the state. 'The court upheld the basic right of the people of California to chart their fiscal destiny and have the ultimate say over major state borrowing.'"
"The Schwarzenegger administration has reached an agreement with legislative budget writers on a plan to stop sending less-serious and nonviolent juvenile criminals to state institutions
, beginning this year," writes Andy Furillo in the Bee.
"If the full Legislature goes along with the plan, the decade-long population decline at the Division of Juvenile Justice would continue, dropping over the next two years from 2,600 currently to 1,500, according to the agency's projections.
"Instead of being housed in the state's eight juvenile facilities, less-serious juvenile offenders would be retained at the local level.
"'We're trying to figure out the right environment for the right population,' Bernard Warner
, the division's director, said in an interview."
And every America owes a debt of thanks to Joey Chestnut
, who wrestled the competitive hot dog eating championship away from Japan's Takeru Kobayashi
, and brought the trophy of gluttony back where it belongs, in the old U.S. of A. [Cue the Star Spangled Banner...]
AP reports, "In a gut-busting showdown that combined drama, daring and indigestion, Joey Chestnut emerged Wednesday as the world's hot dog eating champion, knocking off six-time winner Takeru Kobayashi in a record-setting yet repulsive triumph.
Chestnut, the great red, white and blue hope in the annual Fourth of July competition, broke his own world record by inhaling 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes — a staggering one every 10.9 seconds
before a screaming crowd in Coney Island.
"Kobayashi, the Japanese eating machine, recently had a wisdom tooth extracted and received chiropractic treatment due to a sore jaw. But the winner of every Nathan's hot dog competition from 2001 to 2006 showed no ill effects as he stayed with Chestnut frank-for-frank until the very end of the 12-minute competition
"Once the contest ended, the runner-up suffered a reversal — competitive eating-speak for barfing — leading to a deduction from his final total. Kobayashi finished with 63 HDBs (hot dogs and buns eaten) in his best performance ever."
That makes us want to have a reversal ourselves...