The board membership of California's mammoth public
pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTRS, are getting a new look. The evolving corruption scandal at CalPERS is one reason
and the severity of the state's fiscal crisis is another. Ed Mendel at CalPensions takes a look.
"Should the makeup of the governing boards of the two
state pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTRS, be changed? The issue edged into the spotlight last week, pushed
the shadows by rising government pension costs and
a CalPERS corruption
"It’s not the major overhaul advocated by some, where the
traditional stakeholder board of management and labor
replaced by a board majority chosen for their expertise
in finance and
"That kind of change happened in San Diego, one of
first public pension meltdowns, and in San Jose, where
Mayor Chuck Reed
successfully pushed pension reform ballot measures
Gov. Brown and lawmakers, snared in interminable negotiations
over the state budget, are sparring over whether a spending cap should be
imposed, a lid on spending pegged to cost of living and population
From the Bee's Kevin Yamamura: "But GOP lawmakers are pursuing a new spending cap
condition for placing tax hike extensions on the ballot
to help solve a
remaining $15.4 billion deficit."
"Republicans want spending to increase no faster than
rate of inflation and population growth, with
extra money going primarily to reserves and debt repayment."
"Democrats believe such a restriction would lock in
spending at recessionary levels and hamper the state's
ability to pay for future
needs, especially as health care demands are expected
As a party, California Republicans are facing a difficult
political future and they believe the voter-approved "top-two" primary contained in Proposition 14 isn't helping matters. Therefore, the GOP decided to hold a mail-in primary before Proposition 14 takes effect -- no easy task.
The LAT's Seema Mehta tells the tale: "The move, made at the California Republican Party
convention last weekend, was prompted by Proposition
14, which changed the
state's electoral system. Under it, candidates from
all parties compete in a
primary, after which the top two vote-getters compete in a general election —
even if they are members of the same party. The ballot
measure, approved last
year, was intended to create competition and loosen
the grip that the state's
most partisan voters have on primary elections."
"Democrats are expected to take up the matter when
hold their convention next month."
"Under the GOP measure approved last week, the candidate
who wins a mail-in nomination contest will be listed as the official
candidate on party mailers and will have access to
party resources. The plan
beat out two competing proposals — one by party leaders in which a small number
of insiders would anoint nominees, and one by elected
officials where in most
cases incumbents would be automatically endorsed."
The primary is one thing, the numbers are another: The Reeps are clearly in trouble, out of step in an
increasingly blue state. Bee columnist Dan Walters takes a look.
"First were the results of the 2010 census that confirmed
anew the state's incredible demographic and cultural
change. California's rapidly
aging white population, an overwhelming majority a
few decades ago, has now
dropped to scarcely 40 percent, while the rapidly growing Latino and Asian
populations are now more than 50 percent."
"The second set of numbers was a new voter registration
report, showing Republicans dropping to 30.9 percent, their lowest level in
recorded history, while rival Democrats maintained
their share at about 44 percent. The Republican losses have not been gains
for Democrats but rather
have fueled the sharp growth of independents to about
"It's not a stretch to say that the Republican Party,
which once dominated California politics and
was very competitive into the 1990s, has devolved into a party of rapidly aging
white people, and as they disappear, its fortunes may
Down in Santa Clara, local officials are poised to
get to work on a new NFL stadium to house the 49ers -- even though complaints are arising about the use of
redevelopment funds. Lisa Fernandez in the Oakland Tribune tells the story.
"Construction workers are poised to install fire hydrants,
move high voltage poles and conduct environmental tests
on Santa Clara's site
for a future 49ers football stadium, despite criticism that the city's
leaders are playing a shell game with redevelopment
"Acting Assistant City Manager Carol McCarthy said
the $4 million the council approved last week to advance
the 49ers company for
work on the stadium site, she expects between $700,000 and $800,000 will be
spent through December on basic improvements at the
site. In a controversial
move, the council scrambled last week to give the team
the money before state
lawmakers vote on Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to disband
to help balance the state budget."
"But 49ers fans shouldn't consider this a stadium
groundbreaking. That still could be years off with
plenty of questions looming
about how the team and city will finance the $937 million project next to the
Great America theme park."
Leaving the world of politics, we enter the world of
terror, Iowa-style, courtesy of our "LIfe in the Heartland" file. Officials want to hold an anti-terror drill and guess who's complaining? The terrorists...
"An anti-terrorism drill based on a fictional scenario
involving white supremacists angry over an influx of
minorities and illegal
immigrants was canceled Friday after officials of the
school that was hosting
the training exercise said they received threatening
phone calls and emails..."
"During the last 24 hours, the Treynor
school system has received threats to their employees
and buildings due to the
planned 'active shooter' exercise," county officials
said in a statement.
"After consultation with the Treynor school district
and the Pottawattamie
County Sheriff's Office, we have jointly decided to
cancel the exercise due to
these threats which we must consider viable. The Pottawattamie
Department is now actively investigating the threats."