It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the raw numbers are
jarring, anyway: An increasing
number of school districts in California face the risk
The Bee’s Dan Walters takes a look.
chronic recession and budget crisis appear to be having
a major impact on the
financial health of the state's school districts.
“While the number
of districts and other educational agencies on the
state's list of those unable
to meet their financial obligations has leveled off
somewhat, the number of
those in danger of becoming insolvent has been growing
sharply, a new state
Department of Education report indicates.”
“The lists, moreover,
do not take into account the potentially huge reductions
in state school aid
that loom this year, especially if Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to extend some temporary tax increases continues
to stall in the
Legislature or is rejected by voters. He largely exempted
K-12 schools from his
first round of budget cuts but has indicated they would
be hit if the taxes are
early June election could have the result of disenfranchising
voters, according to the secretary of state’s office. The Times’ Shane
“The window for Gov.
Jerry Brown to hold a special election on tax extensions
on June 7 is fast
closing –- and may already have passed.
and state legislators would have to rewrite California's
election laws if they
are to hold any kind of election in June, as they have
passed the legal
deadline for such balloting. A
spokeswoman for the state's chief elections officer
said Monday that holding an
election on June 7, as the governor has proposed, would now come at a
"great risk to disenfranchising voters."
"I can tell
you the longer lawmakers wait, the greater the risk
will be to voter turnout
and voter disenfranchisement,” said Shannan Velayas, a spokeswoman for
California Secretary of State Debra Bowen.”
Clearly, Gov. Brown likes YouTube: He’s been there before
and he was back again this morning, demanding
that lawmakers put his budget package before the electorate. Capitol Weekly’s
John Howard tells a tale, short.
“Gov. Jerry Brown went directly to the public Monday
morning via YouTube
to sell his fiscal policies, demanding that lawmakers
place his tax-and-cuts
budget before the electorate.”
governor said the state’s fiscal condition was “too big, too irreversible a
matter” to preclude the public’s participation. He urged the public to contact
lawmakers on resolving the $26 billion deficit. He said that half the job has
been done – cuts that lawmakers’ “courageous action” approved last week – but
that the remaining half, a series of taxes, has yet
to be completed.
For those of you who worry about the Sierra snowpack,
this should come as welcome news: The
accuracy of the snowpack measurements is getting a
boost from new technology.
“The Fresno Bee’s Marc Grossi has the story: “Scientists say the snowpack and snowmelt at
these elevations will be the first to change as the
climate warms up. They've
laced a one-square-mile area with sensors, logging details about the snowpack,
underground water and runoff to help predict changes
along the 400-mile Sierra
Nevada in the future.”
“There's a big
bonus in this research for California: more accurate spring runoff predictions,
which are anxiously awaited each year by the $35 billion farming industry and
city officials who deliver water to 20 million residents.”
might not affect delivery allocations that fluctuate
each year because of
drought and federal protections for dwindling fish.
But water managers and
state officials would have a clearer idea of how much
water will come from the
One of the governor's budget ideas is to abolish California's
425 redevelopment agencies and tap into the billions of
property tax dollars they set aside for local projects.
The locals are protesting mightily, but they may have
another problem here: They could faced court fights mounted by bondholders. This is getting ugly. Bloomberg's Mike Marois tells the tale.
"California’s cities and counties may face bondholder lawsuits
if state lawmakers abolish redevelopment authorities
to get at their money, a lawyer for some of the agencies
"About $5 billion in taxes now going to the agencies would be
blended together in a caretaker fund, run by local
governments, that would pay investors holding more
than $20 billion of bonds. The move may damage the credit quality
of the securities, causing their value to fall, said William Marticorena."
“Even a small decline in secondary-market value could produce significant investor losses
and possible damages for state and local government,” Marticorena, head of public finance at the Orange
County law firm of Rutan & Tucker, said in an analysis distributed March 18. “The market-value declines may not be small and the damages could
The devastating tsunami that struck Japan and rippled
across the Pacific is providing lessons to California scientists, reports the LA Times' Abby Sewell.
"Teams of scientists combed the California coast all
last week, comparing damage from port to port and harbor
to harbor. The result will be a set of recommendations
that could give better indications of which areas are
most at risk and how to mitigate damage."
"This will be our best data set of response in California
from a far-afield tsunami yet," said Jose Borrero, a tsunami researcher
with the consulting firm ASR Limited who traveled the
length of the California coast."
"The state has already published inundation maps that
show which areas are believed to be at risk of flooding
in various tsunami scenarios, but the new data will
allow for a more detailed understanding."
And now, let's open our "Gotcha!" file to learn about a Las Vegas drug prosecutor who
was arrested for cocaine possession. This is the guy
who recently handled the Paris Hilton case.
"Metro Police said chief Clark County Deputy District
Attorney David Schubert was arrested in connection
with drug charges Saturday night. Police spokesman Jay Rivera said Schubert was charged
with possession of cocaine and booked into the Clark
County Detention Center."
"Jail records late Sunday afternoon indicated Schubert
was no longer in the detention center. Police planned to release more information about Schubert's
arrest on Monday, Rivera said."