Back in action

Aug 2, 2010

The Legislature returns from a month-long recess with no spending plan in place and just one month left before the end of the legislative session. Democrats say they will flesh out their budget plans this week, while Republicans say Democrats need to "step up".


But really, this is the beginning of the end of the Schwarzenegger governorship. There are just six weeks left for bills to be moved and signed or vetoed. And barring a budget stalemate that drags into the fall, all but the details of the Schwarzenegger govenrorship may be over by Sept 12.


David Siders says while Meg Whitman is filthy rich, Jerry Brown in no pauper.


"They were in complete agreement, however, on one point: Her Democratic rival Jerry Brown will keep bringing it up. In doing so he risks a certain counterpunch: Brown, the Democratic nominee, has enjoyed some of the same advantages of wealth and power for which he criticizes Whitman.


"He invested money in a tax shelter and sat on a corporate board. He accepted free memberships to exclusive clubs and a Gold Pass to a less exclusive one, Disneyland. He lives in a $1.8 million house.


"Neither of the candidates has released copies of their tax returns, and it's impossible to say just how much they are worth. But as a longtime public figure, Brown has left a trail that provides a picture of his standard of living."


Hey, he renounced those vows of poverty years ago.


Jerry Brown discussed his spirituality and his vision for California in San Francisco this weekend.


"Many revolved around spirituality, such as when Lea asked Brown to recall times when his faith had a major effect on his life. Brown recounted his decision to join the seminary (which he later dropped out of, a fact he did not mention) and his time volunteering for Mother Teresa in India, when he helped care for the destitute and dying.


"She would take your hand and say, 'What you do to the least of these, you do to me,' " Brown said of Mother Teresa. "When I would pick up someone and help them shower or shave, I could actually sense this is Jesus in my hands. That faith came from encountering that, but also being in the environment that Mother Teresa has created and the Missionaries of Charity. The power of their faith was very contagious, and made it much easier, made it actually a joy to be in that special place."


George Skelton talks to former Secretary of State George Schultz about his new role as an advocate for California government reform. 


Shultz, 89, has been there, done a lot and thought through much — from the time he was President Nixon's first budget director to when he was President Reagan's chief strategist for ending the Cold War. In between, he became president of Bechtel, the engineering giant.

He's now with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

And he's co-chairman of the campaign against Proposition 23 on the November ballot.

Prop. 23, largely bankrolled by two Texas oil companies ( Valero and Tesoro) that operate refineries in California, would significantly hamper this state's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Former Assemblyman Keith Richman died in Los Angeles on Friday night.


"Richman died Friday night at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. He was 56.


"Keith Richman was a great leader and passionate public servant," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said. "He advocated for so many important causes in California, including health care and pension reform, and his work for our state made a lasting impact that will be remembered."


"Colleagues remembered the longtime Northridge resident's political courage in being one of the few prominent elected officials who supported San Fernando Valley cityhood before the movement became popular.


"There are few people that have done so much for the San Fernando Valley," said Richard Close, who was chairman of the secession effort.


Rod Wright is hoping to legalize sports betting in California. Patrick McGreevy writes, "State Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood), who chairs the committee that oversees gambling, supports a lawsuit filed by New Jersey officials challenging federal law that limits sports betting to Nevada and a few other states. Wright said he might ask the Legislature to join the suit.


"If you took the sports book in Nevada and other places, it's a pretty healthy piece of money, and we currently don't get squat,'' Wright said. "I don't know how much longer we can afford to basically be providing the revenue to all these other states from California people.''


"Under California law, it is a misdemeanor to bet on a sporting event. And the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act prohibits the state from sanctioning sports betting, according to Whittier Law School professor I. Nelson Rose, an expert on gambling law.


Win or lose, we know a juice bill when we see one...


Other cities will be on the hook to pay the pensions of Bell's high-priced administrators.


Catherine Saillant reports, "The unfolding story of the high salaries paid to municipal officials in Bell has delivered a surprise twist to taxpayers in Glendale, Simi Valley, Ventura and several other Southern California cities — they're on the hook for the pension bills.

More than half of former city manager Robert Rizzo's $600,000-a-year pension will be spread among 140 small cities and special districts such as Norco, La Cañada Flintridge and Goleta that are in the same pension liability pool as Bell.

The rest would be shouldered by his former employers, Hesperia and Rancho Cucamonga, according to estimates made by The Times and reviewed by pension experts."


And finally, Wendy's is all about customer service. But they don't seem intersted in helping the guy who's complaining about the lousy haul after robbing a Wendy's in Atlanta.


"Police say a man who robbed a fast-food restaurant with a gun was so mad about the amount of loot that he called back twice to complain. The man walked up to the drive-through window of an Atlanta Wendy's late Saturday night, wearing a ski mask and holding a gun.


"He demanded the cash drawer, grabbed it and ran away. But police say he later called the fast food restaurant to complain about the amount of cash.

Police say in one call he said that "next time there better be more than $586."




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