Gov. Brown, stymied thus far by Republicans in his
attempts to get bipartisan support for a special election
on his tax-and-cut budget, is considering crafting a November ballot
initiative that would let voters decide if they want
to extend taxes. Two Republicans, not speaking for
attribution, said they had been told of the latest
The Contra Costa Times' Steve Harmon has the story: "As Gov. Jerry Brown continued to negotiate with Republican
legislators on his plan to extend taxes, he also has
begun to weigh going it alone, sources said Tuesday."
"That could take two paths -- forcing a special election onto the ballot through
a majority vote in the Legislature, or going forward
with an initiative campaign for November. The more
likely route, sources said, would be with a November
election rather than risking legal challenges to muscling
it through on a majority vote."
"Brown is seriously considering a November initiative
campaign, two Republicans speaking on background said
they've been told..."
"The governor's office insisted Brown remains in the
hunt for Republican votes. He needs two Republicans
in the Assembly and two in the Senate to get a two-thirds vote required to qualify a tax measure for the
The majoriity-vote option, buttressed in part by a legislative counsel
opinion, also is under active discussion, according
to people who have discussed the issue with the governor,
notes Capitol Weekly's John Howard.
"Gov. Brown’s options are starting to take shape in increasingly
fractured budget negotiations with Republican lawmakers."
"In private conversations, the governor noted that
was considering alternatives – long discussed -- that include placing a tax-and-cut budget package on the ballot via simple-majority votes of the Legislature, Capitol sources
said, a maneuver that would allow his plan to get to
the ballot without Republican backing."
"Publicly, the governor said he remains hopeful at
a bi-partisan budget package and was not considering anything
less than that."
All the speculation about that Brown is going to do
-- and what Republicans aren't going to do -- is leaving Democrats in a muddle, notes the Chronicle's Matier & Ross.
"Democratic lawmakers in Sacramento are starting to
like passengers in a slow-moving train wreck, with new Gov. Jerry Brown doing
little more than tooting the whistle.
With time ticking down, his efforts to swing four
Republican votes in the Legislature for a special June
election to extend tax
hikes remain in limbo."
"His move to abolish redevelopment agencies, which
lawmakers at odds with their local governments back
home, has fallen short of
the needed votes as well."
"Democrats had been hoping that Brown would set a Friday
deadline for Republicans to come onboard on the tax
extensions - and if they
didn't, then put the taxes on the ballot without them."
The big problem in Sacramento is that Republicans posture
but don't negotiate -- or make demands that traditionally, and narrowly,
please their constituencies but don't serve the larger
communnity, says one observer.
From the Ventura County Star's Timm Herdt: "They say they want regulatory reform, but in past
negotiations those have been code words for trying
to roll back a couple of
laws that are of fundamental importance to environmentalists
labor — the California Environmental Quality Act and the eight-hour workday."
"They say they want pension reform, but to some that
eliminating guaranteed retirement benefits for public-sector workers and
replacing pensions with defined-contribution plans, which, among their other
shortcomings, are typically voluntary."
"They say they want a spending cap, but any hard formula
implemented now would have the effect of forever locking
in place historically
low state-spending rates that have been depressed by three straight
The administrator of the state courts system is stepping
down, following widespread reports of problems and cost spikes
in the courts' computer system. The Chronicle's Bob Egelko tells the tale.
"State court administrator William Vickrey, who has
managed California's judicial system during a historic
realignment but came
under legislative attack for his handling of an expensive
new computer system,
said Tuesday he will retire in September."
"Vickrey, 63, was appointed administrative director of the
California courts by then-Chief Justice Malcolm Lucas in 1992."
"A series of laws has since transformed the courts
locally run to a state-run system, consolidating former Municipal and Superior
Court offices into a single Superior Court in each
county and transferring
court buildings to state ownership. Chief Justice Ronald
George, who served
from 1996 until this January, engineered the changes, with Vickrey
From the "NoTell Motel File" comes the startling disclosure that it costs more
per night to keep an inmate in federal custody than
it does to rent a decent motel room. There's probably
more sex in prison, too, although the auditt doesn't
get into that.
"A report released Monday reveals the federal government
will sometimes pay more than $100 a night to house detainees at state and local
corrections facilities. For that price, you can get
a clean room, cable TV, and
a buffet breakfast at many national motel chains."
"An audit conducted by the Justice Department's Office
Inspector General charges that the federal government
is paying $1.2 billion a
year -- and at least $15 million too much -- for jail space. Ironically, the
report also found that the feds are often being ripped
off by their
correctional colleagues in state and local government."
"We found that state and local detention facilities
at times take advantage of a shortage of options for
federal detainees and
demand rates that appear to generate excessive profits
-- sometimes in the
range of millions of dollars," the IG report states.
Good wakeup calls, though...