Rancho Cucamonga's own Jim Brulte, a canny political strategist who once headed the GOP forces in both the Senate and Assembly, said he is running for the chairmanship of the state Republican Party.
From Press-Enterprise's Jim Miller: "Former Inland lawmaker Jim Brulte confirmed Monday that he is running for chairman of the California Republican Party, ending weeks of silence about some GOP officials’ efforts to recruit him for the unpaid post after an awful election cycle for the party."
“It’s a go. I’m running,” Brulte said Monday, Jan. 14. He planned to formally announce his candidacy for chairman later in the day at a meeting of the Republican Party of San Diego County."
"Brulte represented parts of Riverside and San Bernardino counties and led GOP caucuses in both houses during 14 years in the Legislature, ending in 2004. He has been a consultant for Sacramento-based California Strategies for the past several years."
The Legislature's nonpartisan budget wizard says Gov. Brown's proposed budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year is a generally solid plan that efficiently allocates the state's limited resources.
Friom the Chronicle's Wyattt Buchanan: "Signaling an end to an era of budget gimmicks that masked California's deep financial problems, the state's independent fiscal analyst said Gov. Jerry Brown should be commended for offering a fiscally responsible spending plan for the year starting July 1."
"Mac Taylor, the nonpartisan legislative analyst, said that while Brown's budget is balanced on reasonable assumptions about how much tax revenue will be collected by the state this year, lawmakers must show restraint in spending and reduce the state's debt to keep California on the right track."
"I think we're in a very different situation than we have been in the last 10, 12 years," Taylor said. But being conservative with new spending and unloading debt is key, he said."
Speaking of the budget, when voters approved Proposition 39, they thought they were putting new money into "green" energy programs, but in fact the Brown administration is directing the money to schools.
From Tom Chorneau in the Cabinet Report: "The non-partisan Legislative Analyst raised strong objections Monday to the Brown administration’s plan to build into the state’s constitutional guarantee for schools $450 million in money earmarked for energy efficiency projects."
"Those funds were generated by Proposition 39, adopted by voters in November to close a tax loophole that benefitted out-of-state companies doing business in California."
"The measure, which the LAO estimates will increase state revenues by $440 million in the current year and $900 million in 2013-14, called on the Legislature to use half the money to improve energy efficiency in public buildings and for the other half to go into the state’s general fund." (For more information on this issue, check out CW's story last week.)
And still more on money, the nation's largest public pension fund, CalPERS, had good year with its investments last year.
From the LAT's Stuart Pfeifer: "California's massive public employee pension system gained more than 13% in investment returns last year, most of it from stocks and real estate, the agency said."
"It was the best year for the California Public Employees' Retirement System since 2006, when the fund gained 15.7%. CalPERS investments were up 1.1% in 2011 as it struggled to regain its footing after the Great Recession."
"With more than $250 billion in assets, CalPERS is the largest public employee pension fund in the U.S. The agency administers retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million current and retired state, school and local government employees and their families."
The recent collision in San Francisco Bay in which an oil tanker struck the Bay Bridge in the fog is raising questions about possible pilot error as well as tanker safety in the bay.
From Paul Rogers in the Mercury News: "Shortly before a 752-foot oil tanker collided in the fog with the Bay Bridge last week, the pilot of the huge ship changed course in a risky maneuver that placed the vessel into a difficult turn even as strong currents swirled around the bridge towers."
"The new information, revealed Monday in interviews with the Bay Area News Group, points to pilot error, although thickening fog, a faulty beacon and dangerous currents also appear to have contributed to the accident that raised fresh questions about oil tanker safety in the bay."
"Just why 61-year-old pilot Guy Kleess changed course as the Overseas Reymar neared the bridge Jan. 7 is still unclear. With limited visibility amid shifting fog, Kleess set course to sail between two towers near the middle of the bridge as the tanker headed to sea. But then -- like a truck driver switching lanes while coming into a toll plaza -- he maneuvered the tanker into a last-minute turn and tried to go through a different opening."