"84,000 low-income elderly and disabled people across the state
lose some or all of those services (provided by the state) under the revised state budget released Wednesday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger," reports the LAT's Mary Engel.
"About 400,000 low-income disabled and elderly Californians receive
state-subsidized in-home support services; about one-fifth of them
would lose services or see hours reduced.
"In addition, the governor's spending plan would freeze the state's
contribution to service workers' wages and eliminate cost-of-living
adjustments for Supplemental Security Income, a federal-state program
that provides a monthly cash benefit to low-income aged, blind or
"The governor himself has said that these are difficult
decisions in a
really tough fiscal situation," said John Wagner, director of the state
Department of Social Services.
"The proposed budget would preserve in-home support services for the
most severely impaired, those who score in the top
two tiers of a
five-tier disability scale, Wagner said.
"In the June 3 ballot showdown over governments' power to take private property, both sides agree on one thing : Their opponents rely on tainted money that reveals
their true motives," reports John Hill in the Bee.
side gets much of its money from landlords and mobile
home park owners
that stand to benefit from Proposition 98's ban on rent control.
"The other side opposes Proposition 98 and supports a far less
restrictive initiative, Proposition 99. Much of its campaign money
comes from local government groups that resist major
curbs on their use
of eminent domain.
"Both sides have made an issue of the other's campaign cash, using it to discredit their stated
"'It's pretty clear,' Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis
Taxpayers Association, one of Proposition 98's sponsors, said of the
initiative's opponents. 'It's the interests that benefit from being
able to take property rights from other people.'
"Opponents of Proposition 98 counter that the measure's financial base
shows it is really about ending rent control, not eminent
"'Prop. 98 was written by landlords, is paid for by landlords,
for the sole financial benefit of landlords,' said Janis Hirohama
, president of the League of Women Voters of California."
The Chron's Christopher Heredia profiles the race for SD09.
"Democrats Wilma Chan and Loni Hancock are battling it out in the June 3 state primary to replace Sen. Don Perata , D-Oakland, who is being forced out of office at year's end by term limits.
"Both candidates are popular in the liberal Ninth Senate
District - a
slice of the East Bay that runs from Richmond south
to the Oakland-San
Leandro border and east beyond Livermore and includes
Oakland as well as some of the Bay Area's richest and poorest
"Chan, 58, served six years as 16th District assemblywoman before being
termed out in 2006. During that time, she rose to Assembly majority
leader, becoming the first female and first Asian American
to hold the
position. She also served as an Alameda County supervisor
in the late
1990s, after being elected as an Oakland school board member.
"Hancock, 68, will be termed out in the Assembly at year's end after
finishing her third two-year term. Before that, she was Berkeley's
first female mayor, serving in the late 1980s and early 1990s before
working for the federal Department of Education.
"While the campaign has been mostly civil, the candidates
have tangled over their endorsers and campaign expenditures
- with Hancock criticizing Chan for reneging on an agreement
to a $724,000 spending cap and continuing to list as her endorsers
people who have signed on with Hancock's campaign, including [former] Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez."
Meanwhile, there's a hot primary just a few miles from the Capitol.
The Bee's Jim Sanders reports: "Republican voters in termed-out Assemblyman Alan Nakanishi's district will choose June 3 among the "real conservative," the "committed conservative" and the "staunch fiscal conservative ."
"That's how GOP candidates David Sander, Paul Hegyi and Jack Sieglock, respectively, describe themselves in campaign pitches
for an Assembly district that tilts distinctly to the
"Liberal is a fighting word among GOP candidates polishing
their 'no-new-taxes' pitch in a district that stretches from northern Stockton
to Rancho Cordova, encompassing Amador and parts of
Sacramento, El Dorado and San Joaquin counties.
"'It's a district that's not safely Republican but has a strong Republican
bias,' said Allan Hoffenblum, publisher of the California Target Book, which handicaps
"District voters supported President Bush's re-election in 2004 by 14 percentage points, but two years later, they favored
moderate Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein's re-election bid by six percentage points over Republican
"With the June 3 primaries fast approaching, the three GOP Assembly
candidates are scrambling for dollars and position."
Dan Walters writes that personal nastiness has replaced real policy differences
in many primary races.
"The most obvious example is in the very Democratic
3rd Senate District,
covering much of San Francisco and sprawling into Marin
Sen. Carole Migden's prickly personality and a much-publicized traffic
mishap have left her vulnerable.
"Four hundred miles to the south, two African American
leaders, state Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas and Los Angeles City Councilman
Bernard Parks, are vying for a much-coveted seat on the Los Angeles
County Board of Supervisors in a contest that's not only divided the
black community but drawn much money and other resources
"The two nastiest primary contests, however, may be
among Republicans for two open state Senate seats in
the Orange County's 33rd Senate District former Senate GOP leader Dick
Ackerman's departure due to term limits has set up a no-holds-barred
fight between Assemblywoman Mimi Walters and Anaheim City Councilman
Harry Sidhu, and both campaigns are airing television ads attacking
other for alleged character defects. While Sidhu hammers
casting pro forma votes for Democrat Fabian Núñez as speaker of the
Assembly, she hits him for being soft on illegal immigration.
the east, with Jim Battin termed out in the 37th Senate District,
there's a duel in the desert between Assemblyman John Benoit and former
Assemblyman Russ Bogh that has included anonymous Internet assaults and
attack ads. Bogh accuses Benoit of misusing taxpayers' money to stage
campaign-like events while Benoit has attacked Bogh for shifting
between accounts to skirt campaign finance laws."
George Skelton writes that, while ballot-box budgeting got us into this mess, it may be the only way to get out of it.
"Legislators currently are so spooked by voters and
and polarized by political ideology, that they seem
to be hopelessly
heading once again into another summer stalemate of
Legislature and governor have failed in 17 of the past 21 years to
enact a state budget by the July 1 start of the fiscal year, creating
havoc with school districts, local governments and
private vendors. In
seven of those years, the politicians quarreled into
August or beyond.
perhaps this year the lawmakers themselves should ask
intervention. Extend the old budget, with some trims,
November election and give voters a choice:
"Raise taxes? Or take a machete to government
The Bee's Steve Weigand gets the explanation how John McCain and Barack Obama signs ended up in
front of the Schwarzenegger mansion.
"'My wife (Maria Shriver) came out and endorsed Obama … and my daughter and her put the sign up in front of
the gate. So I couldn't have that sign alone, so I had to go and tell my
guys, 'Get me a McCain sign, we've got to put one right next to it.' So we have both.'"
"The guv said the political comity extends inside the
gate as well. 'There are no arguments ever about any of that,' he said. But he did admit that 'sometimes there is a bit of eye-rolling and those kinds of things.'"
Ah, there is a kind of consistent schizophrenia about
the whole thing...
And we are just shocked...shocked!...to learn that
red light cameras may be more about generating revenue
for a city than public safety. The LAT's Rich Connell reports, "In Los Angeles, officials estimate that 80% of red light camera tickets
go not to those running through intersections but to
rolling right turns, a Times review has found. As London
day in court, her turn was illegal because she did
not completely stop
"One of the most powerful selling points for photo enforcement
which now monitor 175 intersections in Los Angeles County and hundreds
more across the United States, has been the promise
collisions caused by drivers barreling through red
"But it is the right-turn infraction -- a frequently misunderstood and
less pressing safety concern -- that drives tickets and revenue in the
nation's second-biggest city and at least half a dozen others across
The Union-Trib's Michael Gardner reports that the drought isn't bad news for everybody.
"In one of the most volatile years of their
farming experience, California's rice growers eagerly planted a new
crop this spring that could reap record profits.
"Drought in Australia, food riots in Egypt and a
shortage of other food grains such as corn because
of the move to
ethanol are just a few of the complex global ingredients
global market for rice, a diet staple for half the
"The immediate fallout has brought surging
prices, sporadic panic buying and limits on exports
by some countries.
Whether those responses are permanent or a temporary
reflex will not be
known for some time.
"The fall 2007 rice harvest will fetch nearly $20
for every 100 pounds when the final sales are logged later this
"The preliminary estimate for the 2008 crop is approaching $25. By
comparison, just four years ago the price was $13.50 for every 100
And here is the list of top fundraisers from 5/15-17, brought to you by ElectionTrack.com:
Yes Prop. 98: $800,880
No 98/Yes 99: $366,000
Bill Berryhill For Assembly: $101,000
Friends of Jeff Denham Against The Recall: $97,100
Dr. Phil Polakoff For Assembly 2008: $52,000
Karen Bass For Assembly 2008: $42,500
Torres For Assembly: $37,224
John A. Perez For Assembly: $37,200
Paul Fong For Assembly: $34,650
Dymally For State Senate: $33,500
While driving without a hands-free device will be illegal come July 1, you'll be happy to know that you can still text and drive, reports the Merc's Gary Richards.
"When state Sen. Joe
Simitian first proposed a hands-free law seven years ago, text
messaging was not a big deal. Few used cell phones
for that purpose.
"Two years ago, when the issue of texting finally came
up in debates
about the hands-free bill, Simitian decided not to include it in his
bill for fear that support might unravel - but he did get the ban
approved for drivers under 18. Now he wants to see how the new law
works before taking aim at older motorists foolish
enough to put
themselves and others at risk by this behavior.
"'I had to make a judgment call,' Simitian said. 'It had taken six years to move the bill. I didn't want do anything to jeopardize its success.'
"Starting July 1, drivers
caught talking without a hands-free phone will be hit with a $20 fine
for a first offense - up to $76 including penalties - with subsequent
offenses reaching as much as $190 with fees and penalties added in.
Meanwhile, the most important political convention of the year
is already underway in Denver, according to the AP.
"Picking a winner of the presidential contest is front
and center at
what's being billed as the largest astrologers' convention in years.
"More than 1,500 astrologers from 45 countries have descended on Denver, site of the Democratic
National Convention in August, for the "United Astrology Conference: Rockin' the Universe."
"The gathering concludes Tuesday with a panel predicting
a presidential winner in November.
"Key to those picks: Astrological charts for John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. And integral to those charts: The candidates' exact birth times.
"A hush fell over the convention hall late Thursday
astrologer Joni Patry announced a birth time for Obama — one she said
she got from a client with connections to the campaign: Aug. 4, 1961,
at 7:11 p.m.
"McCain's birth time was embedded like a gold nugget in a Mother's Day campaign ad. His mother, Roberta, mentioned that her son was born Aug. 29, 1936, at 11 a.m.
"Clinton's birth time remains a moving target.
"'I think they're hip to us and just don't want us to know that
information,' joked astrologer Shelley Ackerman, who will serve on
What, no birth time for Bob Barr?