From Steve Harmon in the Contra Costa Times: "Brown met with all four caucuses -- Republicans and Democrats in both the Assembly and
Senate -- Tuesday in his continuing effort to draw the politicians
out of their ideological corners, as he has put it.
But Republicans are adamant in their opposition to
placing the question of a tax extension before the
voters, let alone be seen as supporting it."
"Senate GOP Leader Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, said Monday the plan had "zero" support
in his caucus."
California voters have approved new taxes only four
times in 22 years, so going to the ballot for new levies isn't exactly
a slam-dunk, notes the Ventura County Star's Timm Herdt.
"Three of the measures were approved on presidential
election ballots, when the broadest representation
of voters turns out."
"This is the history that is staring back at Gov. Jerry Brown as he seeks a special election in June to ask voters
to extend temporary increases in taxes that nearly
every Californian pays: sales taxes, income taxes and vehicle license fees."
"The odds are not on his side."
Brown hopes to make those odds better by wooing Capitol
Republicans, but that appears to be an uphill task, reports the
LA Times' Anthony York and Mike Mishak.
"The Democratic governor needs as few as four GOP votes
to place a measure on the ballot that would extend
$9 billion in recent tax hikes — levies Republicans have opposed."
"I will … go into the lion's den and see if I can convince them
to live with a little less red meat than they're accustomed
[to]," Brown said after unveiling his spending plan Monday."
Meanwhile, Brown's proposal to cut $1 billion from higher education is is prompting doom
and gloom among educators, who fear that large numbers of students will be shut
out of the system. The Times' Larry Gordon, Carla Rivera and Tony Barboza
have the story.
"Administrators said it was too soon to say definitively
how they would respond if the Legislature approves
the $1.4 billion in proposed state funding cuts for the University of California, California State University
and the state's community college system. But they
predicted that daily life at the schools would surely
suffer in various ways, including more-crowded classes and less pristine campuses."
"It's not so much the quality of instruction but the
quality of the overall educational experience for these
students" that may be affected, said Steve Boilard,
higher education director at the state Legislative
In San Diego, where wild land fires are a fact of life, the locals are concerned about budget proposals that
would cut into firefighting budgets. The Union-Tribune's Michael Gardner has the story.
"Most immediately, Brown proposes to rescind a 2003 policy of assigning four firefighters to every engine,
scaling back to three."
"Longer-term, he has directed the California Board of Forestry
and Fire Protection to develop recommendations to limit coverage and give
counties and cities the responsibility and money to
Lastly , we open our "SWAT Team" file to learn about a well-executed drug raid. The chopper was ready, the battering
ram was used, the raiders swarmed over the property.
And what did they find?
"The squad rushed in after a force helicopter picked
up a ‘hotspot’ on Pam Hardcastle’s property, thinking it betrayed a lighting system
used to grow the drug."
"But all they found was a heater for Simon and Kenny,
the pets of Ms Hardcastle’s ten-year-old son, Jack."
‘When I opened it up and they saw the guinea pigs, they
didn’t say anything,’ said the 42-year-old primary school worker."
"‘They were in the garage two seconds and they left.’"
But those guinea pigs were high...