Repeat after me

Dec 23, 2010

Jerry Brown's trifecta: Thirty-fve years ago, in January 1975, Jerry Brown first took the oath of office to become governor of California, and four years later he did it again. On Jan. 3, he'll do it a third time -- this time at the Memorial Auditorium.  


From the Contra Costa Times' Steve Harmon: "It will be a low-key inaugural, a spokesman said, followed by an invitation-only reception at the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento. Brown is expected to give a short address that sticks to the theme of austerity that he has developed since his election last month, said Evan Westrup, spokesman for Brown's transition."

"He wanted to have a modest, no-frills, low-key event," Westrup said, "and the address will very much reflect that."

California votes may have muffed their chance in 2009 to do some budget balancing, but not to worry: Brown may give them a second chance. LA Times' columnist George Skelton lays it out.

"So Brown — if he can get some Republican support in the Legislature — is expected to ask voters in June to reconsider those expiring tax hikes and extend them for two years or more."

"Of course, voters would need to be offered more than a tax increase, er, extension. That's why there's a move afoot in the Legislature, primarily the Senate, to gradually redirect the increased tax revenue to local governments and schools. Keep the tax money at the local level. Make that part of a gradual "realignment" — government-speak — of state and local responsibilities."

California was the center of a political firestorm in 2010, topped by Brown's defeat of billionaire Meg Whtiman in the race for governor. Capitol Weekly's John Howard gives an overview of the year through a political lens.

"But from first to last, the big political story of the year was the dramatic election of a governor who had been governor twice before, who had left office the first time around embattled and excoriated and returns 28 years later to take the oath again."

"The grouchy, ambitious and relentless Jerry Brown – a cheapskate by his own admission -- defeated billionaire Meg Whitman, despite her $160 million spending spree that broke national records and blanketed the airwaves for months with campaign ads that dulled even the most fervid TV watcher. In the end, he outmaneuvered her, nearly matched her spending late in the campaign and engaged with voters in a way that clearly eluded Whitman. His double-digit victory wasn’t a landslide or even a mandate -- but it was decisive."


Something else appears back on track -- at least for now. California's high-speed rail program has approved the first segment of the $43 billion, statewide project in the form of a length of track deep in the San Joaquin Valley. CW's Christine Mai-Duc has the story.


"This latest move, which will connect the Valley's two largest cities along the inaugural 123 miles of track, could mark a shift in the project's initial phase, dubbed the “high-speed train to nowhere.”

“It was a bad move to have a line between two cities nobody knows,” said state Sen. Bob Huff, chair of the Republican caucus. “To have the rail line go from Fresno to Bakersfield, at least that is from somewhere to somewhere.”


Meanwhile, major health insurers in California will resume offering policies to children, reports the Times' Duke Helfand.


"California's largest health insurers, fearing they'll lose new customers in the state's lucrative individual insurance market, have canceled controversial decisions last fall to stop selling policies for children."

"The insurance companies abruptly halted the sale of individual policies for kids in September rather than comply with provisions of the nation's new healthcare law that required them to accept all youngsters under age 19 regardless of their medical conditions."

And finally, we turn to our "Nice Doggie" file to learn about the pit bull that attacked a carriage horse in Old Sacramento. Quite an eyeful for Christmas shoppers.

"The dog just bit it, like up on its face. The horse was trying to get the dog off and it was just dangling," witness Angela Vidales said."

"John Dixon said that when he saw the fracas, he ran up and kicked the dog. The dog let go of the horse and ran off. Dixon said he ran after it, pinning it down until police arrived."

"Sacramento police said the dog became more aggressive and that officers had to shoot the dog because they couldn't control it."

Wonder if it had a license....

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