Former Assembly Speaker “Huggy” Bob Hertzberg is about to enter the senate for what he hopes will be eight years. He has big plans – and, he says, the experience to get things done. Michael Finnegan profiled the former speaker for the Los Angeles Times.
“Four goals drive what he hopes will be an eight-year run in the Senate: expand renewable energy, strengthen California's water system, shift state authority to local government and overhaul the state's boom-and-bust tax structure…
“At 60, he is well positioned to influence state policy in a way that few other legislators can. Like Gov. Jerry Brown, a fellow devotee of the long view, Hertzberg has spent the better part of four decades steeped in California politics.”
CalPERS is approaching a milestone number: retirees will soon outnumber active employees. What does that mean for the world’s biggest pension fund? Ed Mendel at CalPensions:
“The growing number of retirees, partly due to aging baby boomers, is one reason a staff report last week argues that CalPERS has too much ‘risk’ and should consider a number of options during a board workshop early next year.
“Among the options listed are a more conservative investment allocation, a lower earnings forecast, an employer choice of asset allocations with different risk and expected returns, and workers sharing the risk through contributions, benefit design or cost sharing.”
Twenty years ago, California overwhelmingly passed Prop 187, a harsh anti-immigrant ballot measure. Yet, last week, Californians largely supported President Obama’s actions to reprieve roughly five million immigrants from the threat of deportation. What happened? Josh Richman and David Early tell the tale in the San Jose Mercury News.
“[When] President Barack Obama last week signed executive orders to protect about 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation, there were only muted protests in the Golden State. And polls show that more Californians back Obama on this than oppose him.
"’It's a very different atmosphere from what we had in the 1990s, when there was more fear,’ said pollster Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California.”
Business groups spent heavily on business-friendly Democrats this past election, with impressive results. Will their backing make the legislature more moderate? Jeremy White has the story at the Bee.
“Newly elected Democratic candidates aided by business-funded groups posted an impressive record. In seven out of 10 races to fill open seats, the Democratic candidate who benefited from independent spending by business groups prevailed.
“Those results have prompted talk of a new generation of business-friendly Democrats assuming office. Some groups that spent lavishly on behalf of those Democrats are touting their success.”
New Senate Pro Tem Kevin De Leon eliminated nearly 40 jobs in the state senate Friday, calling the layoffs “fiscally necessary.” Laurel Rosenhall and Jeremy White have the story at the Sacramento Bee:
“[The] scale of Friday’s layoffs caught many in the Capitol by surprise. The 39 layoffs represent about 4 percent of the Senate’s overall staff, but more than a quarter of the 150 people who work under the administrative arm. Some of them were veteran aides earning six-figure salaries. Others were secretaries who earned less than $40,000 a year…
“The layoffs include all 21 people who work for the office services unit, a pool of administrative assistants who fill in during vacancies; nine of 12 people who work in the Senate’s floor analysis unit, which is responsible for writing bill analyses; and seven of the 24 people who work in the office of research, a unit whose duties include vetting gubernatorial appointees. Officials also eliminated two positions in that office that had been vacant.”
This past weekend marked the 51st anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, and the subsequent assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man charged with his murder (and that of Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit). Americans tend to distrust the official “lone shooter” Warren Report version of the events and LOVE to speculate on the ‘true’ story behind the assassination. Given the occasion we thought we’d revisit thirteen JFK conspiracy theories, ranked in descending order of ‘crazy,’ including: Joe DiMaggio done it; JFK’s limo driver done it; and, supporters of the Federal Reserve Bank done it. Illuminati, anyone?