Ballot battles

Mar 7, 2012

Gov. Brown is pushing forward with his budget-balancing plan to raise income and sales taxes in a November ballot initiaitve, even though his competes with at least two other tax-hike measures. Conventional wisdom holds that voters may vote all of them down if too many appear at the same time. 


From the Chronicle's Marisa Lagos: "The Democrat argued that because the other two tax initiatives - one supported by the California Federation of Teachers, one by wealthy civil rights attorney Molly Munger - earmark the money they would raise for education and other specific local programs, they would still leave the state's general spending account with a multibillion-dollar budget deficit.


"That outcome would devastate health and human services that have already suffered deep cuts, put at risk major reforms of public safety programs enacted last year and alienate voters who thought they were approving such a fix, he said."


"It's not good for schools, it's not good for public safety and it's not good for public confidence, because we go through all this and end up exactly in the mess where we started," Brown said. "People will be angry because they voted for this and nothing happened."


Brown may be moving ahead with his plan, but backers of a spending cap likely are putting theirs on hold until 2014. The Bee's Kevin Yamamura reports.


"Waiting until 2014 could be a blow for the California Republican Party. Chairman Tom Del Beccaro in recent weeks has touted the spending cap initiative as central to motivating GOP voters to polls in November and winning targeted legislative races."


"There was no question we had the resources to qualify," Coupal said. "The issue was whether the business community was having second thoughts about whether we'd have the resources to run a credible campaign. I think they looked at the political landscape much like we did and saw some of the tax measures on the ballot and some of the proposals in the Legislature and felt like the timing was not right for spending cap."

California Fish and Game Commission President Dan Richards, in hot water for shooting a mountain lion in Idaho, is being pressured to step down by critics. And it's not the first time those foes have been involved in a similar issue: They went after another commission member five years ago.


From Paul Rogers in the Mercury News: "On Sept. 10, 2007, 34 Republican state lawmakers signed a letter to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger urging that Fish and Game Commissioner Judd Hanna be removed from the powerful five-member body. Hanna, a Republican hunter, former fighter pilot and rancher from Tehama County, supported banning the use of lead bullets in condor habitat as a way to reduce lead poisoning of condors, a position that several hunting groups opposed."


"Mr. Hanna's behavior has raised serious questions about his suitability to hold this position," the letter said, adding: "He has become an outspoken advocate seeking to achieve his own personal objectives by influencing the commission's actions."


The release of an investigative report into the widely publicized pepper spraying by a campus police officer of an Occupy demonstrator at UC Davis has been temporarily blocked by an Alameda County judge acting at the request of a police union.


From the LAT's Larry Gordon: "The matter is scheduled to return to court on March 16 for a hearing on whether the temporary restraining order should be dropped or a permanent injunction granted."

"Police union attorney John Bakhit said he was not seeking to squelch the entire report about the police tactics, which was written by a task force chaired by former state Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso with help from a security consulting firm headed by former Los Angeles police Chief William J. Bratton. But Bakhit said he wanted UC to cut out the portions containing what he said appeared to be confidential personnel information that he likened to a patient's hospital records. Even though the names of two of the officers are widely known and have appeared in media reports, other information about them has not been disclosed and other officers have not been identified, he added."


A long-standing effort in Sacramento to develop a new sports complex won approval of the city council, despite cautionary words from some among members of the public. It's a $391 million package, a big bit for a town that has been hit hard by the recession and has pink-slipped police officers and teachers.


From the Bee's Ryan Lillis, Tony Bizjak and Dale Kasler: "Critics argued the plan presented too much risk for a city that has laid off police officers, shut down Fire Department rigs and slashed parks maintenance in an ongoing cycle of historic budget deficits."


"Is it worth risking the future financial stability of the city of Sacramento for this project?" asked Bob Blymyer, the head of the Sacramento Taxpayers League. "I don't think so."



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