Big bucks, again

Oct 4, 2012

If any election exemplified the infusion of huge chunks of political cash, it's this one. The latest example: A fast $10 million to oppose Gov. Brown and labor unions.


From the Bee's Jon Ortiz: "Charles Munger Jr. has given another $9.9 million to a committee with a dual mission: defeat Gov. Jerry Brown's tax measure, Proposition 30, and support a measure that is anathema to unions, Proposition 32."


"A filing with the Secretary of State's office posted online this afternoon shows Munger gave the money to Small Business Action Committee PAC, No on 30/Yes on 32.

Munger gave the money on Tuesday, putting his total donations to the dual-purpose committee at $20 millionsince Sept. 17."


Speaking of Proposition 30, some new ads boosting the tax initiative are raising eyebrows because they make dubious claims that the money raised could not be touched by politicians.


From Wyatt Buchanan in the Chronicle: "The statements are technically true because the Prop. 30 money would be dropped into a newly created Education Protection Account."


"But an independent analysis of the Nov. 6 ballot measure says elected state officials will indeed decide how to spend much of the approximately $6 billion raised annually by Prop. 30."


"The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office assessment of the initiative is printed in the official voter guide and says the Prop. 30 funds "would be available for a wide range of purposes - including funding existing state programs, ending K-14 education payment delays and paying other state debts. Future actions of the Legislature and the governor would determine the use of these funds."


There may be light at the end of the tunnel in the ongoing saga of problems in L.A.'s jails, following a series of official recommendations to clean up the system.


From the LAT's Jack Leonard and Robert Faturechi: "Bowing to mounting pressure to fix the nation's largest jail system, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca agreed Wednesday to sweeping reforms to improve the management and oversight of his agency amid allegations of deputy brutality against inmates."


"One of the key recommendations accepted by Baca would create an independent inspector general's office with the authority to scrutinize Baca's agency. The move would significantly strengthen civilian monitoring by giving the outside body the power to conduct investigations inside the jails and elsewhere in the department."


"Baca's move comes several days after a blue-ribbon panel appointed by the county Board of Supervisors blamed him for problems of excessive force in the county's lockups, which house about 19,000 inmates. The panel said Baca did not heed repeated warnings about brutality and other problems and did not pay attention to his jails."


Meanwhile, California's new online voter registration system seems to be gathering steam.


From the LAT's Jean Merl: "A record 150,000 new voters were added to the rolls last month, Los Angeles County elections officials said Wednesday."


"Officials attributed much of the increase to California's new online voter registration system."


"Online voters registration is fast, convenient and secure," county Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan said in a statement. "In a short time we have seen the impact of this expanded access."


The state's largest investor-owned utility, PG&E, is going to revamp some of its operations and will bring hundreds of new jobs to San Ramon. 


From George Avalos in nthe Mercury News: "PG&E will move hundreds of employees to San Ramon in a major consolidation of the company's gas control and electricity operations that will bring 1,700 employees to the East Bay's Bishop Ranch business park."


"The San Francisco-based utility has struck a deal to lease 150,000 square feet at the Bishop Ranch office complex and intends to move 700 employees to the business center."


"The employees will relocate from San Francisco, Oakland and Concord and include gas and electric transmission workers. Realty brokerage Cushman & Wakefield arranged the lease.

This is the second of two big leases that PG&E has undertaken at Bishop Ranch, whose principal developer is Sunset Development."

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