Some officials at the Los Angeles Coliseum are cashing in big-time on unused sick leave, including one who was hired to stop spending abuses and who put in for 418 days worth. The LAT's Paul Pringle and Rong-Gong Lin II tell the story.
"Interim General Manager John Sandbrook, a retired University of California administrator, used the sick leave allotment for most of his university career to boost his annual pension by $655 a month for life, to nearly $183,000, UC figures show. The increase represents 418 days — the quota for all but two of his roughly 37 years within the system, which allows 12 sick days a year.
Sandbrook, 62, was hired by the Coliseum Commission to help stop spending abuses at the scandal-shadowed stadium, which is operated jointly by the city, county and state. The man he replaced last year, Patrick Lynch, left with more than nine years of accrued sick time, adding $1,630 annually to his retirement benefits, according to city and state records.
Speraking of public compensation, a public pension initiative aimed at the statewide ballot flopped, but other reform efforts are scheduled for local ballots this year in San Diego and San Jose, to name just two.
From CalPensions' Ed Mendel: "Gov. Brown is urging the Legislature to place much of his 12-point pension reform plan on the November ballot, despite opposition by public employee unions to key parts. He suggests the cost control could boost support for his tax measure."
"The widely watched local ballot measures propose more sweeping changes than the governor’s plan — switching new hires in San Jose to 401(k)-style plans, requiring current San Jose workers to pay more for future pension credits or get lower benefits."
"San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders is scheduled to discuss pension reform today (Feb. 13) at the National Press Club in Washington., D.C. Supporters think the local measure, a potential trendsetter, will draw well-funded opposition from national unions."
State Treasurer Bill Lockyer said his wife was assaulted by an ex-boyfriend she met up with at a Newark motel after the Lockyers fought. Police confirmed they investigated a "politically sensitive" incident on Feb. 3, but declined to provide further details.
From the Chronicle's Matier and Ross: "Nadia Lockyer was treated at a hospital and was released, according to her husband. He said the case was turned over to the district attorney, and that the ex-boyfriend was supposed to have been arrested on suspicion of battery Feb. 4, but that he disappeared. Nadia Lockyer has since obtained a protective order barring the man from coming near her, her husband said."
"Without providing any details, Newark police Cmdr. Tom Milner said the case had been turned over to Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley's office for review. He would not release the suspect's name."
California Democrats gathered in San Diego to schmooze and plot, but while everyone was listening to a Dianne Feinstein speech, one leading Dem -- Gov. Jerfry Brown -- slipped out to a neighboring hotel to host a $25,000-a-plate fund raiser with special backers.
From the LAT's Anthony York: "The fundraising event, which was closed to the media but had about two dozen guests, according to some who attended, provided an intimate audience with the governor for lobbyists whose clients had opened their wallets to back Brown's proposed tax-increase initiative. The governor's supporters are collecting signatures for a ballot measure that he hopes voters will approve in November."
"In his drive to temporarily raise taxes on sales and on incomes above $250,000, Brown has been reaching out to business, tribal and labor leaders who can bankroll a campaign if his measure qualifies for the ballot, which is considered likely. But on Saturday, he seemed unconcerned about building grass-roots support."
The fight over Proposition 8, the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, may give the U.S. Supreme Court an opportunity to redefine gay rights. The Chronicle's Bob Egelko has the story.
"In either event, if the high court grants review, it is unlikely to take up the case until 2013, and judicial orders so far have left Prop. 8 in effect while the appeals continue."
"In the meantime, attitudes have continued to shift. Some recent opinion polls have found majorities, both in California and nationwide, in favor of extending marriage to gay and lesbian couples. Washington is about to become the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage with legislation that received crucial support from former opponents, including Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire."
"On the Supreme Court, the justices' life tenure is supposed to insulate them from politics, and to a great extent from public opinion as well. But as Kennedy's 2003 opinion illustrates, courts can change with the times."