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Gregory Flap Cole › Comments

Gregory Flap Cole
Second cap and trade California auction needs big bucks - http://www.news10.net/capitol...
In a private and somewhat secret event on Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed state budget inched a little more towards balance... or further towards a multi-million dollar hole created by what's turned out to be relatively low demand for greenhouse gas pollution credits. It was the second of three initial auctions of carbon dioxide credits, and the first since November's offering came up significantly short in revenues available to the state. Net proceeds won't be revealed by the California Air Resources Board until Friday.  The first auction brought in $55.8 million, less than a third of the $200 million expected in the governor's budget through the end of June. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Mistake in First California Carbon Auction Raises Questions About Secrecy - http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix...
California’s cap-and-trade program to cut greenhouse gases resumed this week with its second auction of carbon allowances to industrial polluters. The market is being closely watched around the world, and billions of dollars are at stake. But some nagging questions are lingering from the first auction. The state’s first-ever carbon auction last November was a very exclusive online event, open only to bidders and regulators at the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Four days later, Mary Nichols, who heads the board, declared it a resounding success, saying the auction came off "without a hitch." - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
We predicted there was no California tax ‘windfall’ - http://www.calwatchdog.com/2013...
The bottom line is that people react to tax increases. When he was plumping for the $6 billion Proposition 30 tax increase last fall, Gov. Jerry Brown touted a study by two Stanford sociologists that rich people supposedly don’t leave to avoid paying higher taxes. I debunked that study here and here. Wayne Lusvardi did so here. In about two months we’ll know much more about how Prop. 30 — and the federal Obamacare and fiscal cliff — tax increases have affected tax receipts and employment. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
CalPERS to sell all its stock in two gun manufacturers - http://www.latimes.com/busines...
The nation's biggest public pension fund is taking a stand against gun violence by voting to sell all its investments in two firearms manufacturers: Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. and Sturm, Ruger & Co. On Tuesday, the Investment Committee of the California Public Employees' retirement System voted to sell about $5 million worth of the gun makers' stock and other securities. Some of the two companies' products -- particularly assault weapons and cheap handguns, known as Saturday night specials -- are illegal in California. They "present a significant danger to the health, safety and lives of California residents, including our members, no matter where such weapons are sold or trafficked in the United States," read the motion approved by the CalPERS board's Investment Committee in a 9 to 3 vote. Representatives of Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger did not respond to requests for comment on the CalPERS vote. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
California inmates renew demands - http://www.latimes.com/news...
California prison inmates housed in the state's highest-security prison have sent an open letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, threatening hunger strikes and work stoppages if the state does not limit the length of time prisoners can be held in isolation cells. The undated letter, signed by four prisoners housed in segregation at Pelican Bay State Prison, contends California prison officials failed to deliver on promises made to end a series of prison hunger strikes that involved as many as 6,500 inmates in 2011. Giving a July 8 deadline, the inmates ask for an end to indefinite holding of prisoners in Security Housing Units, where they are isolated from other inmates, denied privileges and allowed out of the cell 90 minutes a day. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Jerry Buss dies at 80; Lakers owner brought 'Showtime' success to L.A. - http://www.latimes.com/sports...
When Jerry Buss bought the Lakers in 1979, he wanted to build a championship team. He also wanted to put on a show. The new owner gave courtside seats to movie stars. He hired pretty women to dance during timeouts. He spent freely on big stars and encouraged a fast-paced, exuberant style of play. As the Lakers sprinted to one NBA title after another, Buss cut an audacious figure in the stands, an aging playboy in bluejeans, often with a younger woman by his side. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
N.J. Gov. Christie in La Jolla, Romney sons join the party - http://www.utsandiego.com/news...
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie swooped into town last week for a fundraiser in La Jolla that drew about 50 people, including two of Mitt Romney’s sons, Matt and Craig. The robust governor alienated many Mitt Romney supporters by making nice with President Barack Obama in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and just days before the November election. The La Jolla conclave came between a similar cash grab in Los Angeles on Monday and one in Santa Barbara on Wednesday. Christie was warmly received here with no rancor stemming from his recent coziness with the president, according to Ron Nehring, vice chair of the county GOP. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
California's budget windfall could end soon, officials say - http://www.latimes.com/news...
The surge of revenue that showed up unexpectedly in state coffers last month may well be offset by a revenue dip in coming months, according to Gov. Jerry Brown's administration. The surprise money has been the source of much speculation in the Capitol. Unanticipated tax receipts filled state coffers with more than $5 billion beyond initial projections for January — more tax dollars than are allocated to the entire state university system in a year. The revenue bump was historic. But the question for budget experts was whether lawmakers could begin allocating the windfall toward government programs and tax breaks — or whether the money amounted to an accounting anomaly. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Battle builds over calculating California Public Employee pensions - http://www.utsandiego.com/news...
Debate is brewing across the state over which types of pay can be counted toward a public worker’s pension — fallout from landmark changes that went into effect this year. The overhaul, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, was intended to slash swelling pension costs by raising the retirement age for new workers and increasing employee pension contributions. The sweeping revision, known as the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013, also limits what’s considered pensionable compensation. This is crucial because it’s aimed to curb pension spiking and other issues that have caused governments to bleed money. However, redefining what types of pay can be used to determine pension amounts has led to at least four legal challenges from labor groups mainly in northern California. And the state’s largest public retirement system, which includes nearly all the cities in San Diego County, has stepped in to offer its interpretation of the term. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Crazifornia: Will it be Gov. Brownout? - http://www.calwatchdog.com/2013...
With long-time environmentalist Gov. Jerry Brown at California’s helm, green-leaning Democrat super-majorities in both houses of the state legislature and entrenched eco-crats ruling the state’s regulatory agencies, the AES plant is certain to remain shuttered no matter what the summer may bring. The carbon crusaders simply cannot afford to allow a high-profile precedent to undercut the centerpiece of their carbon-fighting battle so early in the auction’s history. So, should brownouts and blackouts return to California this summer, remember this: It wasn’t really problems at the San Onofre nuclear power plant that caused them. It was problems in the thinking of California’s leadership. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Manuel Rojas, burrito maestro of El Tepeyac has passed away? - http://www.laobserved.com/archive...
Reports on social media are saying that the proprietor of Manny's Original El Tepeyac in Boyle Heights has died. KFI News tweeted that employees of the burrito stand on Evergreen Avenue confirmed Rojas' death. The station notes Rojas is credited with creating the Hollenbeck Burrito: it's made with pork verde, rice, beans and guacamole and topped with chile verde. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Health care topic of California special legislative session - http://www.sfgate.com/health...
California leaders are getting ready to consider legislation to expand health insurance coverage to millions of uninsured state residents as the start date of the federal Affordable Care Act moves closer. The act was signed into law by President Obama in 2010, but California must still pass bills to expand its Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal, for more than 1 million new people and set the rules that the insurance industry must follow when individuals begin to purchase medical insurance through an open market exchange. Starting next week, lawmakers at the Capitol will hold hearings on bills that will help California set the stage for Obamacare. "These are the bills that make these reforms real," said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a health care advocacy organization. "In order for these consumer protections to be enforced by our regulators, they need to be in state law. In order for coverage expansion to happen, we need to put these changes to ... - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Bill would require 3-day wait before California state lawmakers act - http://www.ocregister.com/news...
Jamming major bills through the Legislature at the last minute with little if any time for review has been an ongoing source of frustration for some lawmakers, especially minority Republicans. The practice has been used often on budget bills, forcing lawmakers to vote on spending issues with long-term consequences without having the ability to actually read what's in them. That would change under legislation being proposed by two lawmakers. ADVERTISEMENT The identical bills by Democratic Sen. Lois Wolk of Davis and Republican Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen of Modesto would require all legislation to be in print and online 72 hours before it comes to a vote. Both bills would be constitutional amendments and would have to be approved by the voters. To get on the ballot, SCA10 or ACA4 need a two-thirds vote in the Legislature. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Cardinal Mahony used cemetery money to pay sex abuse settlement - http://www.latimes.com/news...
Pressed to come up with hundreds of millions of dollars to settle clergy sex abuse lawsuits, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony turned to one group of Catholics whose faith could not be shaken: the dead. Under his leadership in 2007, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles quietly appropriated $115 million from a cemetery maintenance fund and used it to help pay a landmark settlement with molestation victims. The church did not inform relatives of the deceased that it had taken the money, which amounted to 88% of the fund. Families of those buried in church-owned cemeteries and interred in its mausoleums have contributed to a dedicated account for the perpetual care of graves, crypts and grounds since the 1890s. Mahony and other church officials also did not mention the cemetery fund in numerous public statements about how the archdiocese planned to cover the $660-million abuse settlement. In detailed presentations to parish groups, the cardinal and his aides said they had cashed in substantial inv... - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
California lacks doctors to meet demand of national healthcare law - http://www.latimes.com/health...
As the state moves to expand healthcare coverage to millions of Californians under President Obama's healthcare law, it faces a major obstacle: There aren't enough doctors to treat a crush of newly insured patients. Some lawmakers want to fill the gap by redefining who can provide healthcare. They are working on proposals that would allow physician assistants to treat more patients and nurse practitioners to set up independent practices. Pharmacists and optometrists could act as primary care providers, diagnosing and managing some chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and high-blood pressure. "We're going to be mandating that every single person in this state have insurance," said state Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), chairman of the Senate Health Committee and leader of the effort to expand professional boundaries. "What good is it if they are going to have a health insurance card but no access to doctors?" - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
California Ballot Prop Would Force State Takeover of Utilities - http://www.kcet.org/news...
Activist Ben Davis, Jr., who led the 1980s initiative campaign to close the Rancho Seco Nuclear Power Plant near Sacramento, now has an even more ambitious initiative project in the works. The measure, which was cleared for signature-gathering Monday by Secretary of State Debra Bowen, would abolish the state's investor-owned power companies -- including Southern California Edison (SCE), Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), and replace them with the publicly owned "California Electrical Utility District." The measure must gain 504,760 voter signatures by July 1 to qualify for the ballot. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Environmental groups, unions team up to oppose CEQA push - http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitol...
The battle lines are being drawn in the upcoming legislative fight over California's environmental review laws. More than a dozen environmental, labor and social justice groups announced Wednesday that they are joining forces to oppose an expected push to overhaul the California Environmental Quality Act. Members pledged to fight "radical reforms that would limit public input into land use planning, threaten public health, and weaken environmental protections." The group, CEQA Works, includes the California League of Conservation Voters, Planning and Conservation League, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club California, the California Teamsters Public Affairs Council, State Building and Construction Trades Council, United Food & Commercial Workers and the League of Women Voters of California. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
California Democrats to push 10-bill package on gun control in Senate - http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/califor...
State Senate Democrats on Thursday finalized a package of 10 gun-control bills they will pursue this year, and received backing for the measures from the mayors of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Among the bills, Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) called for outlawing possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines over 10 rounds. The sale of such magazines had been banned, but Hancock said some possessors of the clips have been able to escape prosecution by claiming they were purchased before the law was changed. Senate President Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) proposed a ban on the future sale, purchase and manufacture in California of semi-automatic rifles that can accept detachable magazines. "The truth of the matter is that we can save many lives by curbing the proliferation of rapid-fire weapons," Steinberg told reporters at the Capitol. "We can save lives by getting guns out of the hands of people who should not have them." - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Budget analyst warns that Los Angeles is at a financial crossroads - http://www.dailynews.com/news...
Los Angeles' top budget analyst warned that the city could lose 500 cops and be forced to close jails, cut the Fire Department and make other public-safety cuts if a proposed half-percent sales tax doesn't pass on March 5. Los Angeles is at a financial crossroads, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana wrote in a detailed report released Thursday. Although the city has made significant budget savings in recent years, without new money, the city could have to reverse hard-fought police staffing gains. Santana's report comes as voters consider the Measure A half-percent sales tax increase on the ballot and as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa prepares his final budget for 2013-14. "While we are starting to see the `light of the end of the tunnel,' the security provided by this optimistic picture is still very fragile and not an accurate reflection of the structural problems that the city is facing," Santana said. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
The Pension Fund That Ate California - http://www.city-journal.org/2013...
CalPERS’s advocacy for higher benefits and its poor investment performance in recent years have locked in long-term debt in California and driven up costs, problems for which there are no easy solutions. As former Schwarzenegger economic advisor David Crane, a California Democrat, has said of the fund’s managers and board: “They are desperate to keep truths hidden.” - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton visit Monterey Peninsula - http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localne...
Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton visited Monterey for a couple of hours Thursday for a private event. Their visit was not part of this week's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, said the golf tournament's director. A Monterey official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the presidents were speaking to AT&T employees, and the company's clients, about business-related issues. The presidents went from Monterey Regional Airport to Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa on Cannery Row before 5 p.m. They left the hotel within minutes of each other about 7:15 p.m., each of them waving to a crowd of about 20 people. Aaron Braasch, 6, a student at Lincoln Elementary School in Salinas, was with his parents when they saw the presidents leave the hotel. He said he would tell his teachers about it Friday. His parents, Debbie and John, said they were happy their son got to see a piece of history. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Judge seeks California's out-of-state prison plan - http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/califor...
Gov. Jerry Brown must explain to a federal court by the end of Wednesday how he plans to fit 9,000 inmates currently housed in out-of-state facilities back into California lockups. U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton directed California to explain in writing its exact plan to stop sending inmates to private prisons as far as Mississippi. The administration announced its intention to return the inmates months ago, at the same time it also seeks an end to court-ordered prison population caps. Karlton's order requires California to stipulate the total number of inmates the state plans to return to California prisons from out-of-state facilities, the planned timetable for their return, and where the state plans to house those inmates. As of Jan. 30, according to state prison population reports, California had 8,852 inmates in four prisons run by Tennessee-based Corrections Corp. of America. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
CalPERS projects $200 million state rate hike - http://calpensions.com/2013...
Annual state pension payments to CalPERS are expected to increase $200 million to a total of $4 billion in July. But the rate may go higher as the powerful pension board takes a new look at its risks and policies. The nation’s largest public pension fund last week gave a joint legislative committee an update on its funding status and plans for the future, as required by recent legislation. “For the year 2012-13 our state contribution rate was $3.8 billion,” Anne Stausboll, CalPERS chief executive officer, told legislators. “That is projected to be $4 billion in the coming fiscal year. That rate will be finalized in May, and we have a very open process leading up to that.” The giant pension fund covers 1,576 local governments and non-teaching employees in 1,488 school districts, but the annual payment for state workers draws the most attention. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
California's Baby Boomers on Track to Overwhelm State's Younger Working Adults - http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix...
USC’ Dowell Myers says The Day of Demographic Reckoning has come upon us. We share his thoughts because he's the lead researcher on a recently released report from the University of Southern California and the Lucile Packard Foundation, "California's Diminishing Resource: Children." Myers and his team analyzed data from the 2010 census and the American Community Survey to conclude that we're coming up on a rather large problem, economically speaking. “It’s been sneaking up on us gradually, and it has finally arrived," Myers told The California Report. "The oldest Baby Boomer turned 65 last year, and now 18 years of Baby Boomers are going to cross that line." - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Ann Ravel: In pursuit of transparency - http://www.capitolweekly.net/article...
Ann Ravel, California’s political watchdog, captured public attention in November when she squared off against an obscure but well-heeled group calling itself Americans for Social Responsibility. The Arizona-based nonprofit poured $11 million at the 11th hour into the California campaign opposed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative, Proposition 30. On the eve of the election, the group admitted it was an intermediary and not the true source of the contribution as Ravel, the chair of the Fair Political Practices Commission, demanded disclosure. “We will continue in this matter and all others to ensure that the people of California know who is funding political activity in this State,” she noted. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
L.A. Unified misused $158 million in student meal funds - http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow...
At least eight California school districts have misappropriated millions of dollars in funding intended to pay for meals for low-income students — the biggest culprit being the Los Angeles Unified School District, according to a state Senate watchdog group. The California Department of Education has ordered districts to pay back nearly $170 million in misused funds to their student meal programs, the California Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes said Wednesday. L.A. Unified has been forced to pay back more than $158 million in misappropriations and unallowable charges that the district made over six years ending in 2011. State officials suspect the alleged misuse of funds could be more widespread across California school districts but the system is overburdened and has only a small team of investigators. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
California cities likely to keep right to ban medical pot dispensaries - http://www.contracostatimes.com/breakin...
California cities appear likely to retain the power to ban medical marijuana dispensaries, over the objections of medical pot advocates who argue such restrictions undermine the state law allowing the use of cannabis for medical reasons. During a hearing Tuesday in San Francisco, the California Supreme Court appeared inclined to allow cities to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in a case that has sweeping ramifications for local governments across the state and in the Bay Area, where dozens of cities have enacted dispensary bans. The dispensaries argue local governments cannot ban what California law allows, but the Supreme Court appeared unready to embrace that position. Most of the justices were openly skeptical of the arguments of a dispensary that challenged Riverside's right to ban medical pot providers. The justices appeared particularly troubled that the 1996 voter-approved law allowing medical marijuana use, and later legislative revisions, did not expressly bar local gov.. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
CARB honcho Mary Nichols makes power grab - http://www.calwatchdog.com/2013...
What do the California Air Resources Board, the Transit Authority, the Highway Patrol, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Bar Pilots have in common? More than you would think. Because all vehicles, railroads, aircraft, freight movers and floating vessels are polluters, California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols (pictured nearby) would like a say in regulating them. The Assembly Transportation Committee originally announced it would meet on Monday, Feb. 4. The meeting agenda said it was to be about Assembly Bill 8, which would increase or extend $2.3 billion of fees on car owners until 2023. According to Jon Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, these will include smog abatement fees, air quality management district fees, vehicle and boat registration fees and new tire fees. However, AB 8 was dropped from the agenda, and no mention of it was made at the two and one-half hour hearing. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Compromise pot measure placed on May ballot - http://www.dailynews.com/news...
A third measure to regulate how medical marijuana clinics operate in Los Angeles was placed on the May 21 ballot by the City Council on Tuesday, offered as a compromise to two other measures that are also going before voters. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich urged the council to adopt the measure to resolve the marijuana issue after years of dispute and legal challenges. "This will put in place what we had back in 2010," Trutanich said. "I believe this is the most sensible regulation we can come up with. This will give us the opportunity to regulate medical marijuana while making it accessible to those who need it." Under the proposal, approved on a 10-3 vote, the original 135 dispensaries that registered with the city when an interim control ordinance was in place will be able to operate in the city. Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who has admitted using marijuana as part of his cancer treatment, hailed the council action. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
California passes up millions for prison healthcare, report says - http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/califor...
California's court-run prison healthcare program is missing out on tens of millions of dollars a year in federal funds because of disagreement with counties and software problems, a new legislative report states. The legislative analyst's office found increasing numbers of prison inmates who, because of their low income status, are eligible for the state's Medicaid program. That program, delivered through counties, draws matching federal reimbursements. The LAO notes that federal policy has allowed states to collect federal Medicaid reimbursement for eligible state prison inmates since 1997. The agency states that California has only recently developed a process to obtain this funding, and is not yet seeking the full amount possible. - Gregory Flap Cole
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