Back off!

Aug 17, 2012

California's two U.S. senators, both Democrats, are demanding a cease-fire of sorts from the Proposition 38 forces, saying that campaign's effort to raise money for schools is making personal attacks on the governor, who is backing a rival initiative, Proposition 30. Billions of dollars are at stake.


 From the LAT's Anthony York: "Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer sent a letter to the head of the California State PTA, the sponsor of Proposition 38, imploring them to stop what they call “personal attacks against Gov. Jerry Brown” that they fear could sink the governor’s tax measure, Proposition 30."


"Proposition 38, which has been financed by wealthy Pasadena attorney Molly Munger, seeks to raise income taxes across the board to help raise money for schools. Brown’s measure uses a mix of taxes on the wealthy and sales to raise money that would be used to close the state’s chronic budget gap."


"We have watched the campaign for Prop. 38 become increasingly negative ..." the Senators wrote in a letter, co-signed by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento). "These attacks should stop."


Rep. Pete Stark, 80, the venerable East Bay incumbent whose penchant for verbal miscues is landing him in hot water as he seeks re-election, has burned bridges over the years and now that's costing him.


From the Chronicle's Carolyn Lochhead: "Stark has falsely accused his opponent, Eric Swalwell, of taking bribes and a Chronicle columnist of donating to Swalwell. He retracted both charges. At a Chronicle editorial board meeting in May, Stark confused defunct solar-panel maker Solyndra with high-flying Tesla Motors, both nationally famous companies with ties to his district..."


"This month, he excoriated former California Assembly leader Alberto Torrico for endorsing his opponent, threatening to ruin Torrico professionally."


"Stark has a long record of attacking those with whom he disagrees. Many did not forgive him. In 1990, he called Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan, an African American, a "disgrace to his race" because he differed with Stark on health care. In 1995, he accused a female GOP colleague of learning about health care from "pillow talk" with her husband."


California's gasoline prices, which have spiraled upward for days following a refinery blaze, may have peaked.


From the LAT's Ronald D. White: "Since the fire at Chevron Corp.'s Richmond Refinery in the Bay Area on Aug. 6, the average retail price of a gallon of regular gasoline in California has shot up 25.8 cents. At one point, it jumped 5 cents overnight."

"Although part of the refinery damaged by the fire is still shut down, the rise in prices has cooled."


"Southern California gas prices have actually only risen by about 2 cents since Sunday, and most of the week-to-week increase occurred last Friday and Saturday," Auto Club spokesman Jeffrey Spring said."


Raising the profile of the importance of technology in education, legislation is moving through Capitol to expedite the use of online tools.


From Tom Chorneau in the Cabinet Report: "On the same day that a blue ribbon panel on education technology cited California’s strict school funding mechanism as a key barrier, lawmakers moved legislation aimed at adding flexibility to encourage online learning."


"Nearly six months ago, state schools chief Tom Torlakson convened a task force of educators and business representatives to provide recommendations for bringing the promise of new technology into the state’s public school system. Their report, released Thursday, includes a call for California to ensure that every student have individual access to Internet devises as part of the school day."


"Meanwhile, the state Senate’s Appropriation committee also Thursday gave the green light to legislation that would go a long way in meshing the state’s existing funding system based on average daily attendance with the less formal world of digital learning."


In the Assembly, an effort to limit freebies to lawmakers died quietly. Not the first time this has happened, either.


From the Bee's Jim Sanders: "Legislation to restrict free tickets and other gifts to lawmakers died quietly Thursday without a public vote in an election year.The measure targeted freebies ranging from golf outings to spa treatments given by individuals or groups that hire lobbyists."


"The Assembly Appropriations Committee shelved Senate Bill 1426, so it will not reach the Assembly floor and no committee member will be on record opposing it."


And we end the week with a peek at our "The Sharks of New Jersey" file, this time to see a toothy beast caught by a kayaker. 

"The catch was made about 200 yards from the 58th Street beach according to WCAU TV."


"The shark, a a 6-foot Thresher,  was released back into the ocean after people gathered around the shark and took pictures as it lay on the beach."


At least it wasn't a loan shark ... 



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