A blunt-spoken Jerry Brown formally released his plan to fix California's water delivery system and install environmental protections in the sprawling estuary east of San Francisco, a project that ultimately will take a decade to build and cost $23 billion.
From John Howard in Capitol Weekly: "An impatient and feisty Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled an extraordinary plan to bore two tunnels beneath the vast delta east of San Francisco to shift millions of acre-feet of water from northern California south to the state’s farm belt and the thirsty population of southern California."
“I want to get shit done,” Brown declared Wednesday to his surprised listeners at a news briefing. Brown, flanked by ranking state and federal officials, denounced the “analysis paralysis” which he said has led to inaction on California’s longest policy dispute – the equitable distribution of water across a state in which most of the rain falls in the north and most of the people live in the south."
"Even as he spoke, environmentalists and their allies gathered outside the Resources Building and the state Capitol to protest the governor’s plan."
From the Ventura County Star, a map of the proposed project.
The former state official at the center of a fiscal scandal at the state Parks Department says he told his superior about a $54 million cache of funds that remained unspent even though parks were targeted for closure because of a lack of money.
From Matt Weiser in the Sacramento Bee: "In a telephone interview Tuesday, Lopez, 45, made his first public comments about the allegations. He declined to answer some questions, saying he is in the process of hiring an attorney and has been advised by the attorneys he has interviewed not to discuss any of the events that occurred at the parks department..."
"I noticed her about them at least five times over approximately a five-year span," Lopez said. "I did not have the kind of authority to keep those funds hidden within the department."
The travail for bankrupt San Bernardino is just beginning: The filing has been done, but the actual cost-cutting now faces the hapless community.
From Phil Willon in the LA Times: "San Bernardino must cut government spending by a third, almost assuredly resulting in widespread layoffs or pay reductions for city workers, as it prepares to officially file for bankruptcy protection, city officials said."
:"Interim City Manager Andrea Travis-Miller told the City Council that it must cut $45.8 million from the $166-million budget to ensure the city remains solvent throughout the current fiscal year, which runs through next June. Crafting the austerity plan will be required as part of the Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy process."
"By any definition, a 30% budget cut in a single fiscal year is a severe haircut. Indeed, you might even call it a scalping," Mayor Patrick Morris said at a special council meeting on the city's fiscal crisis Tuesday evening."
Meanwhile, state schools superintendent Tom Torlakson says California school districts need to replace and improve their aging schools.
From Theresa Harrington in the Mercury News: "California has a lot to learn about building the schools of the future -- and the time to get started is now," said Tom Torlakson, state Superintendent of Public Instruction, outside the La Escuelita Education Center in Oakland, which is under construction. "The way we build and maintain schools over the next generation will of course make a huge difference to our 6.3 million public school students and to the teachers and school employees who serve them. But our schools matter.."
"He may have been preaching to the choir."
"Voters in the Mt. Diablo school district approved a $348 million bond measure in 2010 that helped pay for an $80 million solar project at about 51 schools that is expected to save millions of dollars in energy costs over 30 years. Oakland voters passed a $435 bond measure in 2006 that helped pay for the $75 million Escuelita center, which will open Aug. 27 and serve pre-K through high school students with services including a health clinic and community center."
Los Angeles wants to keep the movie industry in Los Angeles, and one way to do that, officials believe, is to give the studios tax breaks.
From the LA Daily News' Rick Orlov: "Fearful that Los Angeles will lose more television pilots to New York, the City Council on Wednesday called for studies on how to reduce or eliminate city taxes on film and TV production."
"We have been working for the last decade to make sure we keep productions in Los Angeles," said Councilman Eric Garcetti, who chairs the council's Jobs and Business Development Committee."
"We have seen the blockbuster films leave Los Angeles ... but now we are seeing a loss of television production." Under the proposal, the city would look at eliminating taxes on all pilot productions - the number of which has dropped significantly."
And from our "Jolly Saint Nick" file comes the tale of a man who looked like Santa Claus and got kicked out of Disney World.
"Yule love this one: An Atlanta man who bears resemblance to Old Saint Nick was asked to leave Disney World recently for stealing fame from other costumed staff."
"Some of the park's little elves scolded Thomas Tolbert in the magic kingdom for distracting park-goers. Tolbert says that he while was wearing 'Santa-related' clothing, he was not costumed as the jolly red giant."
"I had a shirt that had--it would be like a collage--and it had Santa faces and it had sayings from 'The Night Before Christmas,'" Tolbert told Local 6."
Ho, ho, ho ...