It wasn't a ringing endorsement, but the Senate gave its approval to a number of state-employee union contracts, a move that saves the state less than Gov. Brown predicted.
From LAT's Patrick McGreevy and Jack Dolan: "Despite complaints by GOP lawmakers that Gov. Jerry Brown did a
poor job of negotiating labor contracts covering 51,000 public employees, the
state Senate approved the agreements Monday."
"Brown had vowed to save the state more than $500
million in negotiating the six contracts. But he came up $200 million short,
prompting several Republicans to call for a return to the negotiating table."
"Among those covered by the accords are state
prison guards, who have a potential windfall when they retire. In the contract,
the Brown administration removed a decades-old limit on the number of vacation
days they can save during their careers. Those days can be cashed in at
Speaking of retirement, the Assembly may look into the case of a Salinas public hospital district that gave its departing chief $4 million in addition to his $150,000 pension.
Sam Allen in the LA Times has the story: "Downing, who retired last
week, earned a base salary of $668,000, along with additional benefits such as
a car allowance and paid time off. His 2009 total wages of $790,000 made him
one of the best-paid public employees in California, according to the state
"In addition to the executive benefits, Alejo asked
that the state investigate whether there are any conflicts of interest between
the hospital and its elected board members."
"Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-San Bernardino) of the
Joint Legislative Audit Committee said he would "absolutely" support
Alejo's request. "I think the taxpayers deserve to know how
something like this could happen," Donnelly said."
The bar pilots commission, which regulates the highly-trained seafarers who bring big ships into San Francisco Bay and other bays, is getting a tough look from Alyson Huber, who is wondering whether the commission is necessary at all.
From Capitol Weekly's Malcolm Maclachlan: "Huber, an El Dorado Hills Democrat and chair of the
two-house Joint Sunset Review Committee, is flexing that body’s power to
discontinue boards and commissions via a Capitol process known as the “sunset,”
in which the panels have to demonstrate their worth or face extinction. One of
her early targets is an obscure yet sometimes controversial body representing a
group of very highly-paid professionals: the Board of California Pilot
"Huber’s AB 656, which was heard Monday in the Assembly
Transportation Committee, would place a Jan. 1, 2013 sunset date on the
Commission, which has been in existence since 1850."
"Her bill does not actually abolish the Commission. It
sets up an upcoming legislative review that would force it’s supporters to
justify its existence, and possibly phase it out if they cannot do so to the
For those who oppose Brown's plan to abolish redevelopment agencies, the timing of a judicial decision in San Diego couldn't come at a worse time. The Bee's Dan Walters tells the tale.
"Last month, Denton issued a 50-page ruling that found
National City's claim of blight to be bogus. "Because most or all of the
conditions cited as showing dilapidation or deterioration are minor maintenance
issues, the court cannot determine with reasonable certainty the existence or
extent of buildings rendered unsafe to dilapidation or deterioration," he
"Dana Berliner, a lawyer for the Virginia-based Institute
for Justice, an anti-eminent domain organization that backed the Community
Youth Athletic Center, put it
this way: "Their blight designation was a total sham."
"Denton's decision, if it survives, is important because
it indirectly upholds state redevelopment reform laws that have tightened up
the definition of "blight" and compelled local redevelopment agencies
to prove its existence to continue their activities."
The state's budget-balancing decision to tap the funds of the children's program known as First 5 is having an immediate impact.
From the Bee's Brad Branan: "The First 5 Sacramento Commission on Monday slashed $48.5
million from programs serving young children in the county."
"The cuts were necessary because the state recently took
$1 billion in reserve funds from First 5 commissions across California to help balance the state budget. First 5 Sacramento responded mostly by reducing
appropriations by a quarter to one-half for a range of programs over the next
"The biggest cut, $17 million, was made to a project that
will provide water fluoridation to parts of the county. Dentists lobbied for
the project, saying it would reduce tooth decay and other problems."
Our "Wanted Dead or Alive" file raises a question: Who gets the $27 million reward on Osama bin Laden's head?
"But U.S. authorities have offered some reason to doubt
whether the bin Laden reward will ever leave the bank. That's because
investigators say they pieced together bin Laden's whereabouts from many
different bits of information. Intelligence officials told reporters Monday
that no single person is responsible for putting investigators on his trail."
dynamic produced some friction in the case of Zacharias Moussaoui, who
eventually pleaded guilty to terrorism conspiracy charges. A flight instructor
and former Navy pilot who taught at the Minnesota school that Moussaoui
attended collected $5 million after testifying about his suspicions at his
other employees at the same flight school later complained that they had done
more – even going so far as to call the FBI to report Moussaui. One of those
men later got $100,000 from the Rewards for Justice program."