Not to be outdone by New York, California political leaders say they want to enact the nation's toughest gun-control laws. The mayors of San Francisco and L.A. joined legislative leaders at a Capitol dog-and-pony show.
From the AP's Don Thompson: "Weeks after New York enacted the nation's toughest gun laws, California lawmakers said Thursday they want their state to do even more in response to recent mass shootings, particularly the Connecticut school massacre."
"Democrats who control the state Legislature revealed 10 proposals that they said would make California the most restrictive state for possessing firearms. They were joined at a Capitol news conference by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, along with several police chiefs."
The efforts by the governor and leading Democrats to rewrite the state's principal environmental protection law, the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, is being opposed by a coalition of environmentalists and unions.
From Torey Van Oot in the Bee: "More than a dozen environmental, labor and social justice groups announced Wednesday that they are joining forces to oppose an expected push to overhaul the California Environmental Quality Act."
"Members pledged to fight "radical reforms that would limit public input into land use planning, threaten public health, and weaken environmental protections."
The group, CEQA Works, includes the California League of Conservation Voters, Planning and Conservation League, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club California, the California Teamsters Public Affairs Council, State Building and Construction Trades Council, United Food & Commercial Workers and the League of Women Voters of California."
"Los Angeles is caught between a rock and a hard place financially, and without revenue from a March 5 sales tax hike proposal hundreds of police officers will have to be cut from the department. At least that's the word from the city's budget analyst."
From Rick Orlov in the LA Daily News: "Los Angeles' top budget analyst warned that the city could lose 500 cops and be forced to close jails, cut the Fire Department and make other public-safety cuts if a proposed half-percent sales tax doesn't pass on March 5."
"Los Angeles is at a financial crossroads, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana wrote in a detailed report released Thursday."
"Although the city has made significant budget savings in recent years, without new money, the city could have to reverse hard-fought police staffing gains. Santana's report comes as voters consider the Measure A half-percent sales tax increase on the ballot and as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa prepares his final budget for 2013-14."
Petitions for a ballot initiative that would establish public ownership over California's huge investor-owned utilities has been cleared for circulation.
From Chris Clarke at KCET: "Activist Ben Davis, Jr., who led the 1980s initiative campaign to close the Rancho Seco Nuclear Power Plant near Sacramento, now has an even more ambitious initiative project in the works."
"The measure, which was cleared for signature-gathering Monday by Secretary of State Debra Bowen, would abolish the state's investor-owned power companies -- including Southern California Edison (SCE), Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), and replace them with the publicly owned "California Electrical Utility District."
The measure must gain 504,760 voter signatures by July 1 to qualify for the ballot. If the ballot measure gains the needed number of signatures and then wins voter approval, all investor-owned utilities would be replaced by the state-owned utility, managed by an 11-member board of directors elected from districts across the state."
Finally, we have some nice words about education: The Long Beach school district has been named one of the top districts in the world -- and it's not the first time the district has earned international kudos.
From EdSource's John Fensterwald: "The state’s third-largest school district and winner of the Broad Prize for Urban Education was named Thursday one of the five top school districts in the world by Battelle for Kids, a Columbus, Ohio-based nonprofit organization that counsels school districts on school improvement and innovation."
"Long Beach was the only American district cited in Battelle’s report, The Global Education Study; the other four winners – diverse and quite different from one another – were all national or provincial systems: Finland; Singapore; Ontario, Canada; and Hong Kong."
"In the announcement, Battelle said, “We define a high-performing system as one in which low-performing students perform not much differently than top-performing students, and where family socioeconomic status is not a significant driver of student performance. High-performing systems are in the top ranks on quality, equity, and productivity and recognize the importance of international benchmarking.”