Helping hand

Jul 8, 2010

Democrats say they agree with Gov. Arnold. Schwarzenegger on how to close more than half of the state's $19 billion budget hole. It's all part of the spin wars that mark the annual budget standoff.


Capitol Weekly reports, "This is the time of year when the legislative leaders begin to get a little sensitive about the notion that they are standing idle as the budget stalemate drags on. To that end, Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg is trying to promote the idea that progress is being made between Democrats and Republicans in the Capitol over closing the state’s spending gap.

"Steinberg insists the fight between Republicans and Democrats is really over a $7 billion hole, not the entirety of the state’s $19 billion budget problem. But trying to get specifics about what is in the $12 billion of reported agreement between the two sides can be tricky. In fact, the notion itself was rejected by a Schwarzenegger spokesman this week.

Once the Democrats produce a budget bill, there very well may be some things we agree on,” said Schwarzenegger’s press secretary, Aaron McLear. “Every day they fail to do this, the problem gets $52 million worse.”


The governor's office even got their handy-dandy deficit ticker out of the closet for one last go-round.


Kevin Yamamura reports, "Despite the clock's implication, the $19.1 billion state deficit is not growing on a daily basis. The projected deficit size essentially remains fixed. What changes is the amount of time that California  has to reduce it.


"Schwarzenegger divides $19.1 billion into 365 days for an average of $52.3 million a day. If the budget had been on time, the state in theory would have reduced its expenditures and increased revenues by that daily amount on average in the 2010-11 fiscal year.


"The actual impact of a budget delay is not as simple as the budget counter suggests. That's because not all deficit solutions have a daily impact."


John Howard looks at the most important telecom bill of the year, which snuck through the state Senate without a committee hearing.

"Pushed by AT&T and Verizon, among others, the legislation – SB 1375 by Sen. Curren Price, D-Los Angeles –  would eliminate the requirement, which dates from 1995, that the phone companies maintain so-called “warm lines” indefinitely.

"Warm lines are land lines that once carried regular phone service that has since been disconnected, either because the customer didn’t pay the bill or shifted to cellular or other service. The abandoned lines can remain “warm” – electrified – for years and they can still be used to make 9-1-1 calls, so even low-income people have access to emergency services – the point of the original law."


Jerry Brown is set to make an announcement about his plans for Latino outreach this afternoon in Los Angeles. We're guessing it's something along the lines of "Pete Wilson=bad." Guess that Field Poll showing Whitman only trailing by 12 points among Latino voters  and those new Whitman billboards must have served as a wake-up call...


Despite polling showing voters in an anti-incumbent mood, Barbara Boxer touted the value of political experience during a campaign stop Wednesday.


Maeve Reston reports, "For months, her Republican opponent Carly Fiorina has contended that Boxer is a "failed senator" with little to show for her time in the Senate. Fiorina's supporters tailed Boxer on Wednesday with signs bearing that message, and her spokeswoman, Julie Soderlund, kept up the criticism by accusing Boxer of trying to "rewrite the facts about her record and pretend she has actually accomplished something for the people of California.


"To refute those attacks, Boxer's staff has spent the last few months cataloging every amendment, earmark and executive order that the senator has worked on over her three terms — posting many of them on her website and assembling packets of the "highlights" for local reporters in each city in her two-day campaign swing across California. The trip marked the formal campaign kickoff for Boxer."


Gov. Schwarzenegger is seeking a $1-million federal grant to strengthen the state’s review of health insurance rates. Duke Helfand reports the governor "moved Wednesday to implement a major element of the new national healthcare overhaul, seeking a $1-million federal grant to strengthen the state’s review of health insurance rates.

Much of the money would pay for actuaries to evaluate premium hikes sought by insurers. Schwarzenegger also wants insurance companies' planned increases to be posted on their websites and on the websites of state regulators.

The healthcare law requires states and the federal government to establish a process to review “unreasonable” rate increases. The definition of "unreasonable" is still being developed, but the law provides grants to states to begin the evaluations. The grants will be announced in August."


African American groups are seeking the ouster of the leader of the state's NAACP for her support of a measure that would legalize marijuana."Bishop Ron Allen and other members of the International Faith-Based Coalition said Proposition 19 on the November ballot would hurt African Americans, and he criticized Alice Huffman's backing of the measure," writes the LAT's Patrick McGreevy.

"Why would the state NAACP advocate for blacks to stay high?" Allen said at a Capitol news conference. "It's going to cause crime to go up. There will be more drug babies."


And finally, "Authorities have charged a 29-year-old man with aggravated assault and false imprisonment after they allege he held his mother hostage for failing to iron his clothes. Carroll County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Marc Griffith said the man remained in jail Wednesday without bond. The unidentified woman was not harmed in the June 30 incident.


"Griffith said the man, who lives with his parents, wanted his mother to do some ironing because it was "woman's work." When she refused, authorities allege he pulled out a gun, and took his 51-year-old mother's keys and cellphones and refused to let her leave for at least six hours."


Good help is so hard to find these days...


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