Jul 6, 2012

The fate of California's high speed rail project hinges on a tight vote scheduled in the senate today.


From David Siders and Torey Van Oot in the Sacramento Bee: "Hours before a critical vote today on California's high-speed rail project, Democratic legislative leaders weren't certain they could line up enough Senate votes to approve it."


"...Rail officials said Thursday that if the funding measure fails, the $68 billion project is effectively dead."

This has been a big week for state infrastructure projects: the state water bond has been pushed off November's ballot and is now slated for a vote in 2014.


From Wyatt Buchanan at SF Gate: "A massive $11 billion bond intended to pay for what lawmakers in 2009 said was a crucial upgrade of California's water infrastructure has been pulled from the November ballot and delayed until 2014."


"The Legislature voted for the postponement Thursday, the second time lawmakers have removed the proposition from the state ballot. It was a move leaders had been talking about for months. Gov. Jerry Brown said in January he supports a delay, which means the bond won't be on the same ballot with the governor's tax-raising measure."


The mayors of San Diego and San Jose are expressing concern that the pension reform measure that state lawmakers are crafting will upend the results of  recent elections that lmited benefits.


From Anthony York at PolitiCal: "Have Sacramento lawmakers been scheming to unravel tough new measures voters imposed to limit pensions of public employees in San Diego and San Jose?"


"Mayors in both those cities fear they have been, and letters they sent to key lawmakers this week raise new questions about what caused talks in Sacramento over overhauling the pension system statewide to fall apart earlier in the week."


Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that over 10,000 students have earned the State Seal of Biliteracy


From Greg Lucas at California's Capitol: "More than 10,000 graduating high school students across California have earned the first state recognition in the nation for achieving proficiency in multiple languages, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced July 5."


"The 'State Seal of Biliteracy' was established by Assembly Bill 815 — authored by Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, a Santa Monica Democrat — to recognize high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading and writing in one or more languages in addition to English."


Last month it appeared that the zombie apocalypse might be dawning, with reports of Miami and Canadian cannibal creeps dominating the news.   Not quite as sinister, but still disturbing are new reports documenting a wave of naked criminals in Phoenix, where cops have arrested four men in their birthday suits over the past two weeks.  


"'We have had some bizarre incidents. They are driving vehicles, hijacking vehicles, wild things, and they have no clothes on,' said Officer James Holmes of the Phoenix Police Department."


Police suspect hard drugs such as PCP and 'bath salts' may be involved, but then again, maybe it's just too dang hot in Arizona.

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