Apr 28, 2011

California voters, a fickle bunch at best, want to have an election on the budget as urged by Gov. Brown, but they don't want to approve taxes -- which is the whole point of the election in the first place. At least, that's the sentiment expressed in the latest survey of the Public Policy Institute of California.


From Wyatt Buchanan in the Chronicle: "A large majority of Californians favor the outline of Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to eliminate the state budget deficit, but they strongly oppose key elements of the proposal that would increase the personal income tax and the state sales tax, according to a new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California."


"The poll found deep concern among Californians about the state of public schools - and the potential impact of further cuts. Most said they would support increasing taxes for wealthy state residents to stave off further cuts to education."


"State residents "really want to protect K-12 education and they're really reluctant about raising taxes," said Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California. He said the poll shows how tough it will be to sell fickle voters on taxes even to stave off cuts to popular state programs."


On schools, people told PPIC that they would be amenable to taxing the wealthiest Californians in order to keep the schools open, but that they didn't want to pay new taxes themselves -- a disconnect that drew the eye of LAT pundit George Skelton.


"This is the illogical world we live in: Parents say their children's schools are underfunded and worry about program cuts. But they don't want to pay higher taxes to avoid deeper cutting."


"They think someone else — the wealthiest Californians — should fork out more to stabilize their kids' schools."


"Actually, guess that's logical after all. As the late Louisiana Sen. Russell Long used to say: "Don't tax you, don't tax me. Tax that feller behind the tree."


Speaking of elections, next year there will be quite a show as legislators and candidates for congress run in newly draw districts. Capitol Weekly's John Howard tells the tale.


"Next year, the first time since 1992 that legislative and congressional candidates will run in districts not drawn by politicians, there likely will be races in which more districts are competitive, local GOP fundraising efforts are hampered and organized labor may get heavily involved in Republican primaries."

"The timing of the presidential primary – a stand-alone election currently set for February – will play a critical role in local races if it is consolidated with the state’s primary in June."

"Those are some of the issues raised in a look-ahead to the 2012 elections jointly authored by GOP strategist Jim Brulte and Democratic consultant Garry South. Capitol Weekly reviewed a copy of their study which was released last month in Indian Wells at a gathering of the partners of California Strategies."


Also in Capitol Weekly: Should the state attorney general be hiring more paralegals to save money?  CW's Malcolm Maclachlan takes a look.

"But there appears to be one cost-cutting trend in the legal industry that the AG’s office has not kept up with: hiring more paralegals. These are lower-cost employees who can do much of the support work for attorneys, including some tasks that are often carried out by attorneys."

“There has been a push, and clients have forced the push, starting in the early or mid '90s to lower the costs of their legal bills and use as many lower-level, inexpensive people as they can,” said Tom Chase, owner of Chase Legal Professionals Inc. in Folsom."

“Paralegals are definitely part of that process,” added Chase, who is not an attorney but has managed four different law firms. He also taught a course on law firm management at the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge Law School from 1989 to 2004."


Federal authorities are looking into the PG&E gas pipeline explosion that devasted a San Bruno neighborhood last year and killed eight people. The AP's Garance Burke has the story.


"Prosecutors have requested a vast array of records, including Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s maps, reports and emergency plans, in a broad inquiry into last year's blast that killed eight people and destroyed dozens of homes, according to letters the AP obtained through a public records request to state regulators."


"Josh Eaton, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, confirmed Wednesday that prosecutors in the San Francisco office were looking into the explosion but declined to offer any details."


"Relatives of those who died in the gas-fueled fireball that swept through the San Bruno neighborhood on the evening of Sept. 9 said they hoped the federal probe would hold accountable those responsible for the accident."


An odd tale is developing over an Isleton marijuana farm that was established with the approval of local authorities. Isleton is a Delta community in Sacramento County, and the county grand jury is investigating the issue. The Bee's Sam Stanton and Peter Hecht tell the tale.


"Wednesday must have been a bad day to get any city business done in Isleton."


"The entire city government spent the day cooling their heels in a Sacramento Superior Court hallway waiting to be called before a county grand jury probing last year's approval of a massive medical marijuana farm in the Delta community."


"Most said they had done nothing wrong and would invoke the Fifth Amendment to refuse to answer questions in the probe, which includes allegations of kickbacks and payoffs to officials in exchange for approval of the farm."


Finally, from our "Get Shorty" file is a serious report on the secret fears of men. Well, at least one of them.


"Researchers at the Mayo Clinic are warning men who are obsessed with the size of their penises to think twice before investing time and money into pills, pumps and procedures that are as likely to disappoint as they are to cause harm."

"So, what is normal? While there are variations, many sources say the average penis measures between 3 and 4 inches (7.6 to 10.2 centimeters) when flaccid and between 5 and 7 inches (12.7 to 17.8) centimeters when erect."

"As more and more men are exposed to magazines and websites filled with ads for penile enlargers, male body issues are on the rise, experts say. Pornography doesn't help either, they add, with many men feeling that they don't measure up to the extra-endowed stars on the screen."


At Capitol Weekly, we've been insisting for years that size doesn't matter...



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