Cash quest

Dec 3, 2010

Gov.-elect Jerry Brown has invited lawmakers, newsies, finance experts and local officials to a sit-down on California's budget mess. This promises to be quite a gathering.


From the Chronicle's Wyatt Buchanan: "On Thursday, Brown, who has been out of the public eye for more than two weeks, announced in a sparsely worded news release that he would hold a meeting in Sacramento on Wednesday "to discuss the state deficit and immense fiscal challenges." The meeting, open to the Legislature, government officials and the news media, will come two days after a new Legislature is sworn into office."


"The meeting, at the Memorial Auditorium near the Capitol, will not be open to the public. Future similar events for the public might take place throughout California, said Sterling Clifford, Brown's spokesman."


Speaking of Brown, the incoming governor may find it's not so easy being green after all, reports the LAT's Anthony York. Hey, we know him -- York, I mean.


"Jerry Brown ran for governor promising to revive the economy through an aggressive expansion of California's green-energy industry — but that agenda could prove costly to consumers."

"Brown wants the state to make major new investments in solar and wind power: building large-scale power plants that run on renewable resources and placing solar panels on parking-lot roofs, school buildings and along the banks of state highways. Although advocates of renewable energy tout the long-term savings of going green, billions of dollars would be required to reach the governor-elect's green-energy goals."


California's High-Speed Rail Authority has approved the first link in the bullet-train chain, a segment deep in the San Joaquin Valley. The LAT's Dan Weikel and Rich Connell have the story.


"Costing at least $4.15 billion, the segment would run from the tiny town of Borden to Corcoran, an area hit so hard by the recession and agriculture declines that it has been dubbed the New Appalachia. Stations would be built in Fresno and Hanford."


"Included in the plan are tracks, station platforms, bridges and viaducts, which would elevate the line through urban areas. The initial section, however, would not be equipped with maintenance facilities, locomotives, passenger cars or an electrical system necessary to power high-speed trains."


Somewhere between Italy and Brazil you find California -- economically that is, reports the Times' Marc Lifsher.


"Despite the worst recession in 60 years and one out of eight workers out of a job, California, if it were its own country, would still be in eighth place with a gross domestic product of $1.9 trillion, according to World Bank figures for 2009."


"California is nestled between No. 7, Italy, and up-and-coming No. 9, Brazil. The United States, with a GDP of $14.1 trillion, has a lock on first place, followed by Japan ($5.1 trillion), China ($5 trillion), Germany ($3.3 trillion), France ($2.6 trillion) and the United Kingdom ($2.2 trillion)."


Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein says the WikiLeaks folunder should be charged as a spy for making public thousands of confidential diplomatic cables.


From the Bee's Foon Rhee: "Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, today urged Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for espionage, along with "any and all of his possible accomplices."


"The unauthorized release of this information, including the recent release of approximately 250,000 State Department documents, is a serious breach of national security and could be used to severely harm the United States and its worldwide interests," the California Democrat wrote to Holder in the letter, which was also signed by the intelligence panel's Republican vice chairman, Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri."


Finally, from our "Staying Svelte" file comes the tale of holiday drinks that really pack the pounds. The grand champ: Starbucks' Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha -- which has the same calorie count as a half-dozen beers. Ouch.


" "For every high-calorie drink you forego in December, it's an hour on the treadmill you won't spend in January," says David Zinczenko, editor-in-chief of Men's Health and author of the "Eat This Not That!" series told The Post. "If you cut out caloric drinks, you can pretty much eat whatever you want this year." The danger is due to the ease at which we can mindlessly consume liquid calories without ever feeling full."


"Zinczenko suggests forgoing a large, sugary, whipped cream-topped drink and instead opting for a small or medium made with skim milk - hold the whipped cream, which account for at least 100 unnecessary calories. Another option would be skipping the specialty holiday drinks entirely and creating your own by adding a flavor shot (only about 5 calories typically) to regular coffee."


I'd rather have a yellow-label Guinness....










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