Tensions in the Capitol increased dramatically as the
first floor votes loomed on a budget crafted by Gov.
Jerry Brown and majority Democrats. But as the negotiations
intensified, the voice of the people -- a cliche, but a nice cliche -- was heard: Most Californians want a chance to vote on the budget, a new poll shows.
From the Chronicle's Wyatt Buchanan: "A strong majority of California voters want a special
election and support Gov. Jerry
Brown's plan to shrink the state budget deficit
by extending temporary tax increases for five more
years, according to a survey
by UC Berkeley and the Field Poll. Most California voters, however, would not support
new or higher taxes to help close the state's $26.6 billion deficit."
"The poll showed 61 percent of all voters surveyed said
they were in favor of calling a special election, and
56 percent of Republican
voters surveyed said they wanted that, too. However,
most of the Republicans -
61 percent - said they would vote against the tax proposal."
More from the poll: About nine out of 10 lawmakers are either conservative or liberal, but only about half of Californians fall into those
cagtegories, notes the Bee's Dan Walters.
"That's another way of saying that the state's moderate
Democrats, centrist Republicans and independent voters
– half of the electorate
– have only scant representation in the Capitol."
"The stark contrast between the political dynamics
the Capitol and the reality outside its impervious
granite walls is one of the
major impediments to timely and effective political
inside the building engage in ideological gamesmanship.
Those outside just want
politicians to do their jobs, even if that requires
The eternal push by some Republicans to rewrite the
state's principal environmental law, the California
Environmental Quality Act, is gaining new momentum as five Republicans are demanding CEQA changes -- the same Republicans whose votes Brown is courting
for the state budget. The LA Times' Shane Goldmacher and Evan Halper have the story.
"Sweeping changes in the California Environmental Quality
Act would stand little chance of approval through the
normal legislative process, which Democrats — environmentalists' usual allies — control. But the governor's budget cannot pass without
some Republican votes, and GOP lawmakers see an opportunity to win long-sought concessions."
"Environmentalists expressed outrage at the Republicans'
bid. Bill Magavern, director of Sierra Club California,
said that what the legislators want amounts to a "wholesale
gutting" of the law."
Meanwhile, California may think of itself as the home
of good public access to government, but a watchdog group gave the state a woeful D-plus in government transparency. Capitol Weekly's Malcolm Maclachlan has the story.
"But what may be most galling to politicos in the Golden
State was who was on the top of that list: Texas. Texas, the home of
California-bashing Gov. Rick Perry, tied for first place with
Kentucky — a
state John McCain won by 16 points in the 2008 presidential election. They
received the only two solid “A”s on the list, with A- grades going to three
other McCain wins: Indiana, Arizona and Louisiana."
"You have to go all the way down to No. 6 on the list to
find a solidly blue state, Massachusetts — albeit one that elected Mitt Romney
as governor in 2003 and tapped moderate Republican Sen. Scott Brown in
Two other states won by Obama, Oregon and New Jersey,
round out the top 10."
Perhaps the fiercest budget-linked negotiations target Gov. Brown's attempt to
abolish redevelopment agencies. At the 11th hour, a new redevelopment proposal surfaced in the Capitol.
From Capitol Weekly's John Howard: "The plan emerged as
leaders in both houses scheduled floor votes for the
budget on Wednesday. As
written, the budget facing the floor votes will eliminate
“We sent this to our
members this morning, we are offering this as an alternative
to the governor’s
proposal,” said John Shirey of the California Redevelopment Association.
said the proposal conformed to voter-approved Proposition 22 and did not
require borrowing, an issue raised by the state treasurer."
Finally, from our "Dumb Crooks" file comes the tale of the bank robber who was asked
to show two forms of I.D. -- and did it. Of course, this happened in Texas, and
that explains it. But still...
" A hapless bank robber who abided by a Dallas
teller's request to provide two forms of identification
before she could give
him money is going to prison. A judge sentenced 49-year-old Nathan Wayne Pugh of Sachse
to more than eight years on Tuesday."
"Pugh tried to hold up a Dallas Wells Fargo Bank in
The teller stalled Pugh by telling him she needed to
see two forms of ID. Pugh
showed her his Wells Fargo debit card and a state ID
card. He was captured as
he tried to flee with $800."
Sounds like a scene from a Woody Allen movie...