Gov. Brown, who has been meeting for weeks behind closed
doors with the caucuses of both parties, took his pitch public Thursday as he urged the two-house conference committee to approve his budget plan
that includes extending taxes. Otherwise, he said, he'll cut $25 billion from the state budget.
From the Bee's Kevin Yamamura: "And it's going to be turbulent," the governor added.
"Because I don't want to be here four years and play
games or evasion, and everything just erodes. I think
we've got to meet the moment of truth now. And it's
either the tax extensions and the $12 billion. Or it's $25 billion or as close to that as we're going to get.
And if we can't do that, then maybe we don't get a
"Legislative aides believe it was the first time a
sitting governor had testified before a budget committee
since at least the 1960s. The novelty of the act drew scores of reporters
and cameras, few of whom typically show up for budget
committee hearings. It also won praise from legislators
in both parties. Brown's appearance went over well,
but his budget still had a ways to go."
Across the street from the Capitol, in the basement
of the Ellis building, the Little Hoover Commission adopted a scathing report
detailing the ills of the public pension system. One recommendation: Cut the benefits of current government employees.
From Capitol Weekly: "California’s public pension system is abused, bloated and based
on faulty math, and state lawmakers should take immediate
steps to reduce the retirement benefits of current
employees, not just new hires, the Little Hoover Commission
“The situation is dire,” the study said, adding that public employers should
be permitted to make the same sorts of cuts that those
in the private sector have done. The commission’s report, which reflects proposals already floated
by some Republican lawmakers and even the governor,
is all but certain to intensify the political debate
over California’s $25.4 billion budget shortage."
Voter-approved mandates such as Proposition 98 restrict the state's budgeting process, but their signficance sometimes is used as a scapegoat
for lack of legislative action, notes Michael Gardner in HealthyCal.
"It does make the whole fiscal landscape more complicated,
but it’s not as serious as many people would argue,” Taylor said. “I still think we have a lot of flexibility over our
Others are even more critical. “This is a scapegoat issue that distracts attention
from the real problem, which is the government’s inability to balance the competing interest groups.
We just haven’t figured out a way to say no,” said John Matsusaka, professor of business and law
"It is true that the biggest constraint – Proposition 98, which controls education spending – can be set aside with a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, the same super-majority that was required for approving the budget
until this year. But even if lawmakers vote to suspend
Proposition 98, they still are obligated to “re-pay” the schools in the future, when the economy improves."
Former Congressman Tom Campbell, a frequent candidate
for statewide office, has been named the new dean of Chapman University
School of Law in Orange County.
From the LAT's Larry Gordon: "Campbell, who was an unsuccessful candidate in last
year’s California Republican primary for U.S. Senate, represented
Valley for five terms in Congress, served two years
in the state Legislature
and was budget chief for former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He has a law degree
from Harvard University and a doctorate in economics
from the University of
Chicago. Campbell was business school dean at UC Berkeley
and taught law at
“Tom Campbell brings a wealth of experience as a teacher,
educator and public servant,” Chapman University President James L. Doti said
in a statement about the hiring, which takes effect
Farmers always want more water and they may actually get it, under a new agreement
on Delta pumping, reports the Frfesno Bee's John Ellis.
"The deal, which runs through June 30, still allows pumping
to be restricted if smelt are in danger of being sucked
into the pumps, but the
cutbacks wouldn't be as deep as before. Tom Birmingham, general manager of the Westlands Water
District, said the new pumping levels are "significantly
better ... I
think it is a positive development."
who also signed on to the agreement, however, said
the new, less restrictive
pumping levels are only an experiment and are not guaranteed,
especially if the
pumping harms the smelt."
From the "Art for Art's Sake File" comes the tale of the chilly Venus in Minnesota. Somebody
tried to give her some clothes.
"A billboard for a Minneapolis museum has been replaced
after someone spray-painted clothing and the word "Brrr!" in red over
its depiction of nudity from a 16th-century Venus painting."
"The advertisement is for the Minneapolis Institute
Arts' exhibition of works by the Italian master Titian.
The museum chose to
feature the famous "Venus Rising from the Sea" painting
on the billboard
because "it's very typical of paintings in the show,"
spokeswoman Anne-Marie Wagener…"
"We said 'We think it's funny, just leave it, don't
bother replacing it,'" Wagener said Thursday. But she said Clear Channel Outdoor, the company that
the billboard, has a policy that ads with graffiti
must be taken down so as not
to encourage vandalism"