Summer break is over, legislation looms

Aug 4, 2014

Lawmakers return from summer recess with scores of bills, and an unresolved water bond.


Jeremy B. White reports in the Sacramento Bee: “Just as the looming election lends urgency to the water bond debate, it also hovers over the votes legislators will cast before voters head to the polls in November. Legislators are returning from a month spent largely back in their home districts, among constituents. The question for many, said emeritus San Jose State politics professor Larry Gerston, is: “Does the elected official feel heat?””


““When there are issues that could complicate the re-election effort or threaten the re-election effort, then that elected official is faced with a decision: ‘Do I vote my conscience or vote for what the party wants, or do I in the name of survival give in on this issue so I can be around to do other things?’ ” Gerston said. “So that becomes a district-by-district matter.””


The laidback beach city Santa Cruz is enforcing the toughest water rationing laws.


Paul Rogers reports in The Mercury News: “Across the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California, hundreds of communities have adopted rules asking people to conserve water, but often with no fines or penalties for violators. Santa Cruz is much different.”


“Since May 1, every residential property has been allotted a monthly ration: 10 units of water, or 7,480 gallons, for a family of four, to cover all uses, including lawn watering. Each unit averages about $3. But for people who go much above the limit, the cost skyrockets to $50 per unit, meaning monthly water bills can easily top $500 for families who don't conserve.”


The top-two primary was expected to moderate things, right? Well new data suggests California has the nation’s most polarized Legislature.


Christopher Cadelago reports for the Sacramento Bee: “New data show the Golden State continues to have the nation’s most polarized Legislature by a measure of the ideological divide between Democrats and Republicans. Researchers have noted that the polarization has not been a real obstacle to lawmaking here, given the Democratic party’s dominance.”


“Closely following California are Colorado and Arizona.”


The governor criticizes House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy for using the high-speed rail as a “political football,” and McCarthy guarantees the project no federal support.


Alejandro Lazo reports for The Wall Street Journal: “The majority leader said in a statement Sunday that the program originally sold to California voters in 2008 is "a far cry" from the current one the governor is pushing, and he would continue to fight the program in Congress.”


“"I will do all that I can to ensure not one dollar of federal funding goes to boondoggles like California's high-speed rail," Mr. McCarthy said. "The government's handling of hard earned taxpayer dollars must be based on merit and facts, not upon a desired legacy."”


Neel Kashkari’s homeless stint earned him a moment in the viral spotlight.


Carla Marinucci reports for The San Francisco Chronicle: “Within 24 hours of revealing his unorthodox six-day foray on the streets of Fresno, Kashkari hit the social media jackpot, trending on Twitter with nearly 5,000 tweets and reaping 70,000 views for a 10-minute video he posted to Facebook.”


“The video documented the GOP candidate roaming the town with a five o'clock shadow, a toothbrush and $40 as he looked for a job, and ended with Kashkari's findings: He couldn't even spot a "help wanted" sign, let alone land gainful employment.”


And over the weekend more than a dozen fires charred the state.


Lauren Raab reports in the Los Angeles Times: “Thousands of firefighters on Sunday continued to battle 14 large wildfires -- most sparked by lightning strikes -- in northern and central California that combined were burning more than 117,000 acres Sunday, officials said.”

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