California's realignment effort, aimed at saving the state money by shifting some programs to the locals, is prompting a building boom in an unlikely area -- county jails.
From the Chronicle's Marisa Lagos: "Thirty-two of California's 58 counties plan to add new jails or expand lockups to deal with an influx of inmates from Gov. Jerry Brown's realignment program, which will send thousands of newly sentenced offenders to county jails instead of state prisons."
"By 2015, counties are expected to house an additional 58,700 inmates under realignment, which was Brown's solution to reducing the state prison population to comply with a federal court order stemming from lawsuits over the deteriorating, overcrowded conditions."
"But counties say they need to build jails or expand their facilities to avoid similar lawsuits over inadequate conditions and to offer rehabilitation services that will help reduce recidivism."
An official at the L.A. County assessor's office has been under investigation for easing the assessments on the wealthy in return for campaign cash, but now it appears that the problem may be deeper -- and go back longer -- than originally believed.
From Jack Dolan and Ruben Vives in the LAT: "For months, prosecutors have been investigating allegations that a former county appraiser lowered tax bills for wealthy Westside property owners in a bid to drum up campaign cash for his boss, Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez."
"Now, that corruption probe has expanded to include tax reductions allegedly made by the appraiser long before Noguez was elected assessor in November 2010. In fact, the appraiser, Scott Schenter, is suspected of engineering improper tax breaks for nearly a decade, according to documents obtained by The Times and interviews with former co-workers."
"Retired assessor's office supervisor Dale Edgington said he warned several of his superiors in 2009 that Schenter was inexplicably lowering the assessed values — and by extension, property tax bills — on dozens of properties in Marina del Rey, Torrance and Redondo Beach. There is no indication the department took any action against Schenter based on those allegations."
The nurses, who have developed into an aggressive political force over the past few years, have dug deep into their wallets for Jerry Brown's tax initiative on the November ballot.
From the LAT's Christine Mai-Duc: "California’s biggest nurses union endorsed Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative Thursday and committed $1 million toward the effort."
“At a time when too many politicians respond to the budget crisis solely with budget cuts and harsh austerity measures, we congratulate Jerry Brown for the political courage to propose increased revenue,” said DeAnn McEwen, a co-president of the California Nurses Assn., at a news conference at the organization’s Oakland headquarters."
"Proposition 30 would raise the state sales tax by a quarter-cent for four years and taxes on incomes of more than $250,000 for seven years."
Meanwhile, civil rights attorney Molly Munger, who is pushing a rival tax initiative to Brown's, put $5 million more into her own campaign.
From the Bee's David Siders: "The contribution, reported Wednesday, reloads Munger's effort after its balance fell to just $130,235 at the end of June. The campaign spent $8.2 million in the first half of the year."
"Munger's Proposition 38, supported by the California State PTA, would raise income taxes on all but California's lowest earners. Brown's Proposition 30, which leads the fellow Democrat's measure in polls, would raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners."
There is turmoil at the internationally known Lawrence Livermore Lab with the loss of two key leaders and uncertainty over the future.
From Robert Jordan in the Contra Costa Times: "With its leadership team in disarray after the sudden death of one high-ranking official and the unannounced departure of a second, Lawrence Livermore Lab appears to be in some turmoil at a critical point for one of the federal government's top research labs."
"The lab made no public announcement, but notified workers Thursday that one of its leading managers, Tomas Diaz de la Rubia, the deputy director of Science and Technology, was leaving..."
"Diaz de la Rubia, 52, has been on an unspecified leave from the lab for at least the past two weeks, according to the lab. Diaz de la Rubia didn't return calls seeking comment. "He will stick around to transfer other responsibilities," Seaver said, but didn't have other details about Diaz de la Rubia's departure.'
As if Facebook's financial woes weren't enough, now comes word that millions of Facebook accounts are duplicates or fakes.
From the LAT's Andrea Chang: "More than 83 million Facebook accounts are estimated to be duplicates or fakes, the social networking giant said in a regulatory filing this week.
"In the filing, Facebook said there are “inherent challenges in measuring usage of our products across large online and mobile populations around the world.”
"The company said there may be people who maintain more than one Facebook account, a violation of its terms of service. It estimates that duplicate accounts represent about 4.8% of its 955 million monthly active users as of June 30, which amounts to about 45.84 million accounts."