Follow the money

Jan 8, 2016

Gov. Brown presented his proposed 2016-2017 state budget to the Legislature, a robust spending document that includes new money for schools, highway maintenance and health care. But the governor also criticized fellow Democrats who, noting the improved economy, want to spend more.


Alex Matthews in Capitol Weekly: "California’s economy is on the mend and revenues are fat, but Gov. Brown offered some words of gloom as he unveiled a $171 billion budget blueprint for the fiscal year beginning July 1."


“If you’re a betting person, you can easily conclude that deficits are more likely than surpluses,” Brown said Thursday as he presented his 2016-17 budget to the Legislature."


“If you don’t remember anything else, just remember everything that goes up comes down,” he added."


"How far down? His worst-case projection calculated a $55 billion revenue drop by the end of the decade and a $14 billion shortfall."


I know, you're thinking Capitol Weekly was the only news organization covering the budget. But no: The annual budget ritual draws reporters like flies. A sampling of other stories can be seen here, here, here, here and here.


San Francisco is going to have to fork over millions of dollars to host Super Bowl 50, but officials say the town will make a lot more money at the other end, from high-spending visitors and football-loving tourists.


Emily Green in the Chronicle has the story: "Super Bowl 50 will cost San Francisco between $3.5 million and $4 million, according to city estimates released Thursday, with most of the costs going to the transportation and police."


"The projections provide the first public accounting of how much the football extravaganza will cost the city — dollar figures that members of the Board of Supervisors have sought repeatedly. The mayor’s office said the expense is minor compared to the projected revenues from Super Bowl-related activities, but critics were unimpressed and said the NFL should pick up the tab."

"The bulk of the city expenses will be spent by just a few departments. The Municipal Transportation Agency estimates it will spend $1.7 million and the Police Department up to $1.5 million."


Speaking of professional sports in San Francisco, always a story that keeps on giving, we hear that foes of a local arena sre suing the city and the Warriors.


From Matier and Ross in the Chronicle: "Opponents of the Golden State Warriors’ planned 18,000-seat arena in San Francisco’s Mission Bay went to court Thursday to make good on their promise to sue the city and the team, claiming that both ignored traffic and other impacts in a rush to win approval for the project."


“The city and Warriors cut so many corners in their desire to jam this project through at the least cost to the team,” said Sacramento attorney Osha Meserve, one of an army of lawyers, consultants and public relations experts hired by the Mission Bay Alliance to challenge the city’s environmental review process."


“We feel strongly about our ability to prevail in this case,” she said. Warriors spokesman Nathan Ballard derided the suit as a “frivolous” and doomed effort “brought by a group of wealthy donors.”


The discussion over public pensions has generally focused on civilian government agencies and employees, but another entity has come joined the fray -- the United States Navy.


From Daniel Borenstein in the Contra Costa Times: "According to the Navy, about 1,700 retirees and former spouses were overpaid starting in 1989. Most will not be required to refund the money."


"But 145, including Hickman, owe more than $10,000 and now await word on whether they must pay it. The military bureaucracy has been spinning on this issue for more than four years and could take another half year or more to resolve it."


"These are not workers caught trying to game a public employee retirement system to improperly spike their pensions. These are military officers who retired from 1989 through 2008 and relied on the Navy to calculate their modest pensions."


The San Bernardino shootings have jolted the views of Californians about terrorist attacks in the Golden State, according to the latest Field Poll.


From the Bee's Christopher Cadelago: "A new statewide Field Poll shows Californians increasingly believe similar bloodshed is very likely to occur here in the near future. One in three of the state’s registered voters think more terrorist attacks are quite probable. By comparison, just 20 percent thought an assault was forthcoming in California following the violence in New York and Washington on 9/11."


“That’s a pretty big change,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the poll. “When the attacks occur in your own backyard it actually impacts public opinion here.”


"...Survey participants were only somewhat confident in the ability of federal agencies such as the FBI and CIA and others in law enforcement to thwart a major incident. The poll found just 21 percent very confident that the officials are prepared to prevent similar types of terror attacks from happening on domestic soil."


Well, it's Friday and now it's time to take note of who had a really bad week in California, #WorstWeekinCA. This one was an easy call: The Yellow Cab Co-Op. in San Francisco, where the new-wave powerhouses Lyft and Uber are rearranging the personal transportation landscape. The companies earlier flexed their political muscle in Sacramento.

From the SF Examiner: "Yellow Cab Co-Op said challenges from tech rivals Uber and Lyft, as well as mounting lawsuits from traffic collisions contributed to the fiscal Hail Mary."


"Those “rideshare” companies are headquartered in San Francisco – their home turf. Regular cab operations will not be affected in the near future and Yellow Cab has no plans to close if it can successfully restructure, representatives said."


"The bankruptcy filing will allow the co-op to shed its mounting debts. But longtime taxi industry sources, who spoke on background, also said the bankruptcy is a result of fierce competition with digital ride-hail rivals, who are not only drawing away business — but scooping up talented drivers as well."


Hope all those Super Bowl visitors can get to the stadium....


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