Gov.-elect Jerry Brown, in the midst of deep budget cuts,
intends to ask voters next June to decide on a range
of tax hikes, including extensions of higher vehicle, sales and
income-tax rates. The Bee's David Siders has the story.
"While observers have for months expected Brown to propose a tax measure once he takes office next
week, this is the first definitive indication that
he will. The budget deficit is estimated to be as much as $28 billion over 18 months."
"Brown will propose a budget including roughly $10 billion in cuts, about $10 billion in revenue – mostly from the proposed tax extension – and about $8 billion in one-time fixes, a source said."
Controller John Chiang and Treasurer Bill Lockyer have accepted some $150,000 in campaign donations from a developer accused of
bilking the government, reports a trio of LA Times reporters.
"State Treasurer Bill Lockyer and state
Controller John Chiang said they have put the money
into separate accounts
while they await the outcome of a federal probe into
Advanced Development and
Investment Inc. The company has built dozens of subsidized
up and down the state with taxpayer money."
"The Times reported in October that federal
prosecutors are investigating the company after receiving
allegations that ADI
had submitted fraudulent statements to city and state
officials and may have
built substandard housing. Lockyer and Chiang sit on
a panel that awarded
millions of dollars in tax credits to the firm to build
more than 50 projects in Los Angeles, Glendale, Anaheim and other
Meanwhile, the city of Vernon, which has been run like
a family fiefdom for decades, is making a full-court press to beat back legislation that would remove
its cityhood. The LA Times' Sam Allen has the story.
"The scandal-plagued city has hired a Sacramento lobbyist, rallied
support from its business community and issued statements
touting the city's economic value to the region in
an effort to defeat the bill introduced earlier this
month by state Assembly Speaker John Pérez (D-Los Angeles)."
"Sources in the Vernon camp said the city will argue
that the state has no legal authority to disincorporate
Vernon because it is a charter city. Charter cities
have greater control over their affairs than general
law cities, in which many of the laws are handed down
from the state. Vernon is one of about 120 California cities in which voters have adopted a specific
charter that outlines their governmental operations.
The remaining 358 are general law cities."
State Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George steps down in a few days, and he leaves an impressive
legacy of achievement, reports the Times' Maura Dolan.
"George, 70, took big risks as head of the California judiciary,
consolidating courts and bringing them under his authority
to turn the judicial branch into a single, independent
force. He created self-help services for people who could not afford lawyers.
He insisted that courts have interpreters for the non-English speaking. He wrote a 1996 abortion ruling that triggered a campaign to unseat
"But the moderate Republican jurist was legally cautious,
disinclined to take the law to new places. He was what
one law professor called "a tinkerer." The mostly Republican,
relatively conservative court he headed is widely considered
one of the most influential state Supreme Courts in
the country, but was not known for innovative legal
Scores of new laws take effect Saturday in California, targeting everything from donut fat to renewable
energy. The Press-Enterprise's Jim Miller has the story.
"The penalty for
getting caught with small amounts of marijuana will
change from a misdemeanor
to an infraction, the lowest level of crime. Other
infractions include defacing
a government vehicle or running a noncommercial sports-betting pool. The maximum fine for possessing 1 ounce or less of
marijuana remains $100, but making it an infraction will divert thousands
pot cases from overburdened courts."
"Legislation by Assemblyman Paul Cook,
R-Yucca Valley, will prohibit the sale of T-shirts bearing the names of
soldiers killed in Iraq. Supporters said the measure
will respect the families
of dead soldiers. Most of Saturday's laws were passed by the Legislature
this year. Others date from years ago and only now
are going into effect."
Lastly, we turn to our bulging "Life in a Convenience Store" file, to learn the story of the woman customer who
stripped naked and lay down in front of the donut display.
Only in Maryland.
"According to police interviews with store employees,
Riegler walked inside the store, removed all of her clothing and
strolled naked around the store. Police say she then
made sexually suggestive
comments to both customers and employees and engaged in sexually
suggestive behavior prior to lying on the floor in front of the donut
"Store employees assisted Riegler with getting dressed
she waited in the parking lot for deputies to arrive.
When deputies arrived on
the scene, they discovered that Riegler was eating fruit taken from
the store that she had not purchased. Based on what
the store employees
reported to the deputies, Riegler was placed under
arrest. Police say that when
deputies attempted to place Riegler in a patrol car, she kicked one
of them in the groin and another in the hand. Riegler
was subdued and placed
into additional restraints."
And that's the way it is....