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80%  
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Keyword: yourtaxdollarsatwork

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  • Obama offers additional $200 million to aid Jordan

    03/22/2013 6:05:14 PM PDT · by SMGFan · 50 replies
    AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — President Barack Obama says his administration is working with Congress to provide Jordan with an additional $200 million in aid this year.
  • (Beam Me Up!) - IRS Calls 'Star Trek' Parody Video a Mistake

    03/23/2013 8:24:42 AM PDT · by DogByte6RER · 28 replies
    Orange County Register ^ | March 22, 2013 | STEPHEN OHLEMACHER
    <p>WASHINGTON (AP) — Nobody's going to win an Emmy for a parody of the TV show "Star Trek" filmed by Internal Revenue Service employees at an agency studio in Maryland.</p> <p>Instead, the IRS got a rebuke from Congress for wasting taxpayer dollars.</p>
  • Official White House Petition: Secure Resources & Funding & Begin Construction of a Death Star

    12/05/2012 7:41:57 PM PST · by DogByte6RER · 4 replies
    WhiteHouse.gov ^ | Created: Nov 14, 2012 | WhiteHouse.gov
    WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO: Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016. Those who sign here petition the United States government to secure funding and resources, and begin construction on a Death Star by 2016. By focusing our defense resources into a space-superiority platform and weapon system such as a Death Star, the government can spur job creation in the fields of construction, engineering, space exploration, and more, and strengthen our national defense.
  • S.F., Oakland drop bid for U.S. school funds

    10/30/2012 8:29:48 AM PDT · by SmithL · 8 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 10/30/12 | Jill Tucker
    Stuck in a standoff with teachers unions, the San Francisco and Oakland school districts have abandoned efforts to bring in up to $15 million each to develop high-quality math classes for upper-elementary and middle school students. The two districts spent months preparing a joint application for the next round of federal Race to the Top funding - which required districts to incorporate student test scores, among other criteria, in teacher evaluations. And because of that critical clause, union leaders refused to sign, as required by the federal application.
  • Jerry Brown downplays TV report over Caltrans vehicle use

    10/27/2012 9:32:44 AM PDT · by WilliamIII · 25 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | October 27 2012 | David Siders and Jon Ortiz
    Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday downplayed a Los Angeles television station's report of Caltrans employees using state rental trucks for personal purposes, saying "only God" can watch over every one of the state's hundreds of thousands of public employees. "Caltrans has been looking at it. I would be glad to look into it," the Democratic governor said after a speech to the California state conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "If somebody took some time off to do something, we'll find it, but, you know, to blow it up like it's some major thing –...
  • Jerry Brown's tax boost is in trouble

    10/26/2012 12:25:29 PM PDT · by SmithL · 2 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 10/26/12 | Dan Walters
    The governor of California may not be toast – yet – but, one might say, he's turning browner by the moment in the heat of a political campaign he hoped would be his legacy achievement. Two new statewide polls confirm what political instincts – and Jerry Brown's body language – were already telling us: His tax increase measure, Proposition 30, is fading fast with scarcely a week remaining until Election Day. Proposition 30, a $6 billion per year boost in sales and income taxes that Brown said would resolve the state's chronic fiscal problems, never was particularly popular with voters,...
  • Senator Says Nuts to SDSU (San Diego State University) "RoboSquirrel" Study

    10/24/2012 3:16:34 PM PDT · by DogByte6RER · 15 replies
    U-T San Diego ^ | October 22, 2012 | Gary Robbins
    Senator says nuts to SDSU 'RoboSquirrel' study - The 'Robosquirrel' developed by San Diego State and UC Davis can move its tail to mimic the behavior of a real animal. UC Davis A San Diego State University research project involving robotic squirrels has been placed on Sen. Tom Coburn's annual list of wasteful government spending, a move the campus says is unfair and misleading. Coburn, R-Okla., issued the list last week, criticizing everything from the use of food stamps to purchase fast food to a subsidy for a struggling ferry business in Alaska. The list also is critical of the...
  • Bankruptcy filings by California cities may spread

    10/22/2012 2:41:40 PM PDT · by SmithL · 10 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 10/22/12 | Dan Walters
    So far this year, three California cities have filed for bankruptcy protection, and it's likely they will be joined by at least a few others in the not-too-distant future. That's not merely journalistic speculation. Moody's Investment Service, which closely monitors state and local governments for the huge municipal bond industry, issued an unusual public warning the other day that other California cities may be headed down the same path. "To summarize," Moody's said, "we expect … more bankruptcy filings and bond defaults among California cities, reflecting the increased risk to bondholders as investors are asked to contribute to plans for...
  • Pepper-spraying California taxpayers

    09/30/2012 6:26:57 AM PDT · by SmithL · 8 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 9/30/12 | Debra J. Saunders
    UC has reached a $1 million settlement with UC Davis students who were pepper sprayed at an Occupy-inspired Nov. 18 demonstration to protest rising tuition. UC will pay student plaintiffs $30,000 each, and the ACLU will pocket up to $250,000. Everything that is wrong in California resides in this story. For $30,000, I'll get pepper sprayed. Students think tuition costs too much, so what do they do? Sue the university - it has deep pockets. This episode began because students know that if they stood around smoking pot and demanding more money from Sacramento, the administration would be tickled pink....
  • Campaign finance measure trails among likely California voters {Prop 32}

    09/21/2012 11:00:12 PM PDT · by SmithL · 8 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 9/21/12 | Jon Ortiz
    A campaign finance measure on the November ballot is trailing among likely California voters, according to a new survey, although a sizable percentage remain undecided as dueling campaigns head into their final weeks. The poll, by the Field Poll and the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, shows 44 percent plan to vote no on Proposition 32 while 38 percent support the measure. The rest, 18 percent, said they haven't decided. "Opinions on this aren't fully formed yet," said Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo. Proposition 32 would ban unions and corporations from using payroll-deducted money for...
  • Federal OK for high-speed rail

    09/20/2012 12:54:45 PM PDT · by SmithL · 17 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 9/20/12 | Tim Sheehan
    California's controversial high-speed rail project received a boost Wednesday when the Federal Railroad Administration approved the proposed Merced-to-Fresno route, clearing the way for construction to start early next year. A federal record of decision signed by Administrator Joseph Szabo represents the final bureaucratic hurdle for the California High-Speed Rail Authority. The decision gives a federal blessing to the 60-mile route and to thousands of pages of environmental review for the project. Backers of the project hailed the decision as historic for the development of the first high-speed train project in the nation and the start of construction in the central...
  • Forty L.A. County Probation Officers Arrested Over The Past 12 Months - FBI Now Nabs Division Chief

    09/18/2012 7:01:30 PM PDT · by DogByte6RER · 16 replies
    L.A. Times ^ | September 18, 2012 | Richard Winton and Jason Song
    Probation department division chief arrested in fraud case Former Assemblyman Carl Edward Washington is accused of filing false identity theft claims, the latest in a series of arrests at the troubled agency. The arrests seem to be piling up at an unusual pace. Two weeks ago, a six-year employee of the Los Angeles County Probation Department was charged with persistently filing false workers' compensation claims. Earlier this month, police arrested a probation officer for allegedly shooting a man in a Covina bar. Those cases came on top of the dozens of drunk driving, drug possession and theft arrests that seemed...
  • The dark side of Gov. Jerry Brown's tax plan

    09/16/2012 7:40:36 PM PDT · by SmithL · 8 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 9/16/12 | Dan Walters
    Jerry Brown fancies himself a futurist, exhorting us to act now to ensure a better tomorrow – with a bullet train and a more dependable water system his prime examples. Their merits notwithstanding, making decisions with long-term benefits is precisely what politicians should – but rarely – do. One wonders, however, how Brown squares his self-appointed role as progressive pathfinder with his regressive and potentially disastrous approach to the state's chronic gap between revenue and spending. While making some reductions in spending – although how permanent is questionable – the first two budgets that Brown signed during his second stint...
  • Food stamps a helping hand, not a handout

    09/07/2012 10:14:47 AM PDT · by SmithL · 56 replies
    Knoxville News Sentinel ^ | 9/7/12 | Pam Strickland
    "Please don't feed the animals." That phrase makes sense when talking about bears and deer, turkeys and elk in the Great Smoky Mountains. It's quite another matter when discussing whether to give food to human beings who need help because circumstances have left them wanting for one the most basic of aspects of life. That is unless you are David Fowler, president of the Family Action Council of Tennessee — ironic, that name. Fowler, a former Tennessee state legislator, posted on his personal Facebook page recently that the National Park Service's "stated reason for the policy is because the animals...
  • Oakland Tribune editorial: Flawed pension "reform" bill result of flawed process

    09/04/2012 7:16:00 PM PDT · by SmithL · 4 replies
    Oakland Tribune ^ | 9/4/12 | Editor
    Did we all get suckered last week by the governor's office and the state Legislature on pension "reform"? Within a 72-hour period, Gov. Jerry Brown released sketchy details, the 60-page bill was posted on the Internet, a committee hearing was held and the Legislature approved it. We scrambled to decipher the highly technical and complex language. The Legislature and governor's office put out summaries that were incomplete and misleading. Outside experts had no opportunity for input. It was an outrageous charade. A missing word here, an added clause there -- it didn't take much to change the meaning and effect....
  • Film companies' tax break extension awaits signature

    09/02/2012 9:47:19 AM PDT · by SmithL · 11 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 9/2/12 | Jim Sanders
    A $100 million annual tax break for California motion picture companies would be extended under legislation headed to Gov. Jerry Brown.
  • Pension reform lite' doesn't get us there

    08/28/2012 9:40:49 PM PDT · by SmithL · 2 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 8/28/12 | Daniel Borenstein - Staff columnist
    The compromise hammered out between Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic leaders of the state Legislature appears to be "pension reform lite." But it's hard to know for sure. Three days before the Legislature's deadline to vote on the plan, the governor's news release announcing the grand deal lacked details needed to evaluate it intelligently. It was merely a skeletal outline of a supposed strategy to fix one of the state's most complex financial problems. On Friday, legislators will vote on the complex bills that include the details. Most lawmakers will have no idea what's in them. It's an abhorrent way...
  • Jerry Brown, Democrats reach deal on public pension overhaul

    08/28/2012 11:42:31 AM PDT · by SmithL · 32 replies
    SacBee: The State Worker ^ | 8/28/12 | Jon Ortiz
    Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers have reached a deal that will alter pensions for hundreds of thousand of local and state workers. Brown will announce an agreement that promises future employees less and requires many of them to pay more for it than their tenured colleagues, according to details of the plan leaking out this morning. Brown is scheduled to talk about pension reform tat an 11:30 a.m. Los Angeles press conference. The Democratic governor made cutting public pension costs a key piece of his administrative agenda and has insisted that voters insist on reform before they'll embrace a...
  • Jarvis group's new ad calls Jerry Brown's tax bid street robbery

    08/20/2012 7:13:45 PM PDT · by SmithL · 4 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 8/20/12 | David Siders
    The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is up with its second radio advertisement against Gov. Jerry Brown's November ballot initiative to raise taxes, comparing Brown's tax campaign to street robbery. "Hey, lady, hand over your purse or the schools get it," a voice at the top of the ad says. The ad, an issue-advocacy spot running statewide beginning today, comes as the Democratic governor begins in earnest to campaign for Proposition 30, his proposal to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners. The Democratic governor has characterized the election as a choice between higher taxes and...
  • Pete Stark defends Social Security payments to his kids, delinquent dues

    08/17/2012 5:38:59 PM PDT · by SmithL · 23 replies
    SFGate: Politics Blog ^ | 8/17/12 | Carolyn Lochhead, Chronicle Washington Bureau
    The campaign of Rep. Pete Stark, the East Bay Democrat in a contested re-election race against fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell of Dublin, confirmed to the Chronicle that Stark’s children do receive Social Security benefits as allowed under the law, and that he has stopped paying his dues to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Stark campaign consultant Michael Terris wrote in an email that Stark “fought his entire career to protect Social Security from those who would dismantle it. Congressman Stark has been paying into the system for many years. And yes, like all Americans, he and his family intend to...
  • CALIFORNIA: U.S. senators, legislative leaders call for tax cease-fire

    08/17/2012 12:02:48 AM PDT · by SmithL · 16 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 8/16/12 | Kevin Yamamura
    In a pointed letter critical of Gov. Jerry Brown's tax rival, California's two U.S. senators along with state legislative leaders called Thursday for a cease-fire from campaigns backing the two multibillion-dollar tax hikes on the November ballot. U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, as well as Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, said in a letter to the California State PTA that the Proposition 38 campaign has "become increasingly negative" and "engaged in personal attacks against Governor Jerry Brown and Prop. 30." The PTA has joined wealthy attorney Molly Munger in backing Proposition...
  • Censorship rears its ugly head in California Senate

    08/10/2012 9:13:15 AM PDT · by SmithL · 12 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 8/10/12 | Dan Walters
    Let's not mince words about what the state Senate's Democratic leader did Wednesday. It was self-serving censorship, the sort of thing that one expects from tinpot dictators, not from those who fancy themselves to be progressive civil libertarians. Someone acting for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg suddenly cut off cable television access to a legislative hearing to air facts and arguments about pending ballot measures. The Senate Governance and Finance Committee called the hearing – as required by law – into three tax increases (Propositions 30, 38 and 39) and altering the state's budgetary procedures (Proposition 31). As it...
  • Three California cities' bankruptcy cases reverberate

    08/08/2012 11:51:38 AM PDT · by SmithL · 8 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 8/8/12 | Dan Walters
    The back-to-back bankruptcy filings of Stockton and San Bernardino, following Vallejo's insolvency a few years earlier, have sparked finger-pointing about causes and speculation about whether more cities may go under. Those on the political right say the bankruptcies resulted from local politicians' caving in to pressure from unions for higher pay and more generous pension and health benefits. Those on the left – unions particularly – contend that the collapse of the real estate market, caused by rapacious Wall Street bankers, is to blame. The reality is more nuanced. All three cities on the suburban peripheries were facing urban decay....
  • California official replaced after killing cougar

    08/08/2012 11:38:42 AM PDT · by SmithL · 17 replies
    VENTURA, Calif. -- The California Fish and Game Commission has removed its president after he was criticized for killing a mountain lion in Idaho. Commission members voted Wednesday to replace Dan Richards. Richards, who was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2008, has said he plans to remain on the five-member commission until his term expires in six months.
  • Sorry About the Fake Bomb (U.S. Embassy Forgets "Bomb" After Drill ... Calls Bomb Squad on Itself)

    08/04/2012 11:02:28 AM PDT · by DogByte6RER · 16 replies
    ABC News ^ | July 31, 2012 | RANDY KREIDER and DANA HUGHES
    Sorry About the Fake Bomb U.S. officials apologized today for mistakenly leaving a fake bomb attached to an embassy vehicle in Oslo and causing a bomb scare that led to the evacuation of the U.S. embassy, Norway's royal palace and part of downtown Oslo. The device had been placed beneath an embassy vehicle as part of a security drill and then mistakenly left there. It was spotted by security guards at the embassy's front entrance when someone tried to drive the vehicle onto embassy grounds just after 11 a.m. local time, triggering the evacuation of the embassy and the palace,...
  • Teachers union drops $7.5 million against Prop. 32

    08/03/2012 8:28:16 PM PDT · by SmithL · 16 replies
    SFGate: Politics Blog ^ | 8/3/12 | Joe Garofoli, Chronicle Political Writer
    As we told you a few weeks back, California’s unions are very worried about Proposition 32, which — if passed — would kneecap their political power. The measure would limit labor’s chief weapon for influencing the state’s politics – political donations – by preventing unions from using automatic payroll deductions from members without their permission. It would also prevent corporations from doing the same, but as we noted in our story a while back — they’ve got some serious loopholes. So that explains why the the 325,000-member California Teachers Association/Issues PAC dropped $7.5 miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiilllion Friday in opposition to the measure,...
  • California reaches deep into special funds to pay for schools, prisons, social services

    08/03/2012 11:12:19 AM PDT · by SmithL · 7 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 8/3/12 | Dan Walters
    California drivers pay fees for smog checks, vehicle registrations and new tires, all supposedly for programs that benefit roadway use. Consumers pay fees to recycle beverage containers, televisions and computers. Doctors and accountants pay license fees to regulate their industries. But for more than a decade, the special funds collecting these dollars have served a second purpose: helping California pay for schools, social services and prisons that are supposed to be funded by general taxes. California has 560 funds deemed "special" because in theory they're walled off from general state expenditures. In the face of two recessions, however, California reached...
  • Jerry Brown may be the issue in California's tax initiative duel

    07/31/2012 7:10:54 PM PDT · by SmithL · 15 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 7/31/12 | Dan Walters
    Gov. Jerry Brown released an Internet ad the other day, asking voters to embrace his multibillion-dollar tax increase. But the word "tax" is nowhere to be found. The closest Brown or other speakers in the tightly scripted ad come to the T-word is "new revenues." Mostly, it touts Brown's efforts to cut state spending and declares – wrongly – that the state's credit rating has improved. "We've made progress, but we still have very serious budget problems in California," Brown says in the ad. "We simply have to take a stand against further budget cuts for schools or for our...
  • Calif mental health dollars bypassing mentally ill {Prop 63 Millionaire's tax}

    07/28/2012 11:15:38 PM PDT · by SmithL · 4 replies
    AP via SacBee ^ | 7/28/12 | HANNAH DREIER
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- As state mental health services have crumbled under budget cuts, tens of millions of dollars raised through a tax designed to help the mentally ill have gone to "wellness" programs like horseback riding for teens and yoga classes for city workers. And that's by design.Voters approved Proposition 63, the so-called "millionaire's tax," in 2004 to make up for decades of mental health cuts. The ballot summary said it would "expand services and develop innovative programs" for the mentally ill and the text of the measure stipulated 20 percent of the funds would go to programs "effective in...
  • US donates extra $150 million to battle AIDS

    07/23/2012 3:50:33 PM PDT · by Free ThinkerNY · 15 replies
    Associated Press ^ | July 23, 2012 | LAURAN NEERGAARD
    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Science now has the tools to slash the spread of HIV even without a vaccine - and the U.S. is donating an extra $150 million to help poor countries put them in place, the Obama administration told the world's largest AIDS conference Monday. "We want to get to the end of AIDS," declared the top U.S. HIV researcher, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health.
  • The California Rule: Why can’t pensions be altered?

    07/10/2012 10:23:58 PM PDT · by SmithL · 4 replies
    Halfway to Concord ^ | 7/9/12 | Bill Gram-Reefer
    In March 2011, the Little Hoover Commission alarmed California’s comfortable labor-dem,ocrat ruling class when it urged state and local governments to roll back benefits for current workers. Inconceivable! cried the public pension industrial complex; “benefits always go up…never down, that is the natural order of things.” And now comes Amy B. Monahan, a University of Minnesota law professor, who in the Iowa Law Review not only agrees with the Little Hoover Commission, but cites a 1917 California Supreme Court decision about benefits for a police widow. as potential legal wiggle room for pension reform in California.The Voice of San Diego...
  • U.S. Government: No Evidence of Aquatic Humanoids (i.e., "Mermaids") Has Ever Been Found.

    07/03/2012 8:51:47 AM PDT · by DogByte6RER · 40 replies
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ^ | July 2012 | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found. Mermaids — those half-human, half-fish sirens of the sea — are legendary sea creatures chronicled in maritime cultures since time immemorial. The ancient Greek epic poet Homer wrote of them in The Odyssey. In the ancient Far East, mermaids were the wives of powerful sea-dragons, and served as trusted messengers between their spouses and the emperors on land. The aboriginal people of Australia call mermaids yawkyawks – a name that may refer to their mesmerizing songs. The belief in mermaids may have arisen at the very dawn of our species. Magical...
  • Across the nation, pension funds are coming up short

    06/24/2012 3:11:07 PM PDT · by SmithL · 31 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 6/24/12 | Jon Ortiz
    California's public retirement systems' pension obligations were a combined $112 billion beyond the value of their assets in 2010, according to a report released this week, with anticipated retiree health costs adding another $77 billion in unfunded liabilities. The study issued by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Pew Center for the States says that the combined pension and health costs are both a cause for serious concerns. California's total long-term retirement and health costs two years ago totaled $593.7 billion, but the funds paid just 75 percent of the recommended contribution into pension plans and 29 percent of what the state should...
  • Unions fire Internet blast at California ballot measure

    06/11/2012 10:49:37 PM PDT · by SmithL · 8 replies
    SacBee: The State Worker ^ | 6/11/12 | Jon Ortiz
    The organized labor coalition fighting a November ballot measure that would end payroll-deducted money for political spending -- the channel through which unions raise funds to play in politics -- has launched a new video blasting the proposal. The unions' message attacks the measure as an unfair idea that would put new limits on the influence of organizations that speak up for working people while exempting self-interested elites. As we mentioned in our Sunday story on the battle ahead over the proposition, look for labor to continue connecting the words like "exempt" and "Wall Street" to tar the measure.
  • Group says Calif. air regulations discriminate

    06/10/2012 5:12:20 PM PDT · by SmithL · 19 replies
    AP via SFGate ^ | 6/10/12
    A coalition of environmental groups is alleging that California's Cap and Trade program violates the 1964 Civil Rights act. The groups filed a complaint Friday against the California Air Resources Board charging that minority groups will be disproportionately harmed by the program that allows polluters to discharge more emissions by buying credits from other less-polluting industries. The complaint alleges that African-Americans, Latinos and Asians are more likely to live in the low-income neighborhoods near refineries and power plants and will not receive the benefit of emission reductions intended under Cap and Trade.
  • Burglar tries to break in Judge Lillian Sing's car {SAN FRANCISCO VALUES}

    06/10/2012 8:32:42 AM PDT · by SmithL · 31 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 6/10/12 | Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross, Chronicle Columnists
    Judge Lillian Sing got a taste of judicial medicine the other day when a convicted car burglar she was trying to help walked out of her San Francisco courtroom and, within minutes, was busted for allegedly breaking into her car. Phillip Bernard was in Community Court on Tuesday for a check of his progress while on probation for an auto burglary conviction. Bernard, who is homeless, had missed an earlier appearance and had failed to follow his probation requirements. "I wasn't too happy with him," Sing said. But Community Court is set up to get people help, not send them...
  • Votes on public pensions fuel calls for statewide change

    06/07/2012 9:53:54 AM PDT · by SmithL · 11 replies
    SacBee: The State Worker ^ | 6/7/12 | Jon Ortiz
    Tuesday's landslide pension reform votes in San Diego and San Jose were just the early tremors in what could become a public pension earthquake by the end of this month. The big question: What does this mean for pension reform legislation at the Capitol? Gov. Jerry Brown, who has floated a 12-point pension reform plan, told a San Francisco Chronicle reporter on Wednesday that the vote in liberal San Jose was "a very powerful signal" that pension reform is "an imperative" that he's putting "at the top of the agenda." Brown thinks pension reform will make his tax initiative more...
  • San Jose unions sue to block pension reform

    06/06/2012 12:52:25 PM PDT · by SmithL · 32 replies
    San Jose Mercury News ^ | 6/6/12 | John Woolfolk
    San Jose police officers Wednesday made good on promises to legally challenge San Jose's voter-approved pension reform with a lawsuit filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court. San Jose Police Officers' Association President Jim Unland said the lawsuit argues that the measure -- approved by almost 70 percent of voters Tuesday -- violates employees' "vested rights" to their pensions. He based that on a history of court rulings that effectively hold that government employers cannot cut back workers' retirement plans without offering a comparable benefit in return. The officers asked the court to block implementation of the measure's provisions until...
  • Wisconsin recall's a 'test run,' DNC chair says

    05/27/2012 10:32:31 AM PDT · by SmithL · 48 replies
    CNN ^ | 5/27/12 | Gabriella Schwarz
    Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Sunday classified Democratic efforts in the Wisconsin recall election as a “test run” for the presidential race. “It’s given the Obama for America operation an opportunity to do the dry run we need of our massive, significant dynamic grassroots presidential campaign,” the Florida representative said of the battleground state on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
  • Employee behind lavish Las Vegas conference out at GSA (Jeff Neely, ex-GSA Regional Director)

    05/24/2012 7:55:16 PM PDT · by DogByte6RER · 6 replies
    The L.A. Times ^ | May 24, 2012 | Morgan Little
    Employee behind lavish Las Vegas conference out at GSA WASHINGTON -- Jeff Neely, the regional director responsible for much of the General Services Administration’s highly controversial $823,000 conference in Las Vegas in 2010, is no longer employed by the agency, a spokesman said. "GSA is in the process of completing its review of activities associated with the Western Regions Conference and pursuing all available avenues for appropriate disciplinary action against those responsible. Jeff Neely was placed on administrative leave based on his involvement in the WRC. As of today, he’s no longer employed with GSA,” Deputy Press Secretary Adam Elkington...
  • Jerry Brown struggles on three fronts on state budget

    05/23/2012 7:18:17 AM PDT · by SmithL · 12 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 5/23/12 | Dan Walters
    As the state budget's deficit widens, Gov. Jerry Brown is being thrust into a three-front political battle. He must not only persuade voters to pass his sales and income tax package, but, implicitly, persuade them to reject a rival tax measure just for schools. Meanwhile, Brown is pressing liberal Democratic legislators to ignore their political DNA by making deeper cuts in health and welfare programs, not only to close the deficit but to bolster appeals to voters for new taxes. "It's not easy," Brown told hundreds of business and civic figures gathered Tuesday in Sacramento for the annual Host Breakfast....
  • California Democrats balk at deeper cuts for state's poorest residents

    05/20/2012 12:35:06 PM PDT · by SmithL · 24 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 5/20/12 | Kevin Yamamura
    Legislative Democrats aren't organizing a bake sale just yet, but they say they will desperately search for cash in the coming weeks to avoid the most severe cuts proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Saying the state's budget deficit has risen from $9.2 billion to $15.7 billion, the Democratic governor has proposed more cuts to programs that serve the state's poorest residents. Brown has described it as a "day of reckoning" and wants his fellow Democrats to slash as much as possible before he asks voters to hike taxes on sales and high-income earners in November. But Democrats signaled immediately that...
  • State Employee Pensions to Cost California $3.7 Billion [And Gov. Moonbeam Wants More Taxes!]

    05/16/2012 6:04:29 PM PDT · by Steelfish · 6 replies
    NY Times ^ | May 16, 2012
    State Employee Pensions to Cost California $3.7 Billion May 16, 2012 SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California will pay about $3.7 billion for state employees' pension in its next fiscal year, more than it now pays but less than the state set aside for retirement-related expenses in the prior fiscal year, the state's pension fund said on Wednesday. The California Public Employees' Retirement System, best known as Calpers, is receiving $3.5 billion from the state government, down from $3.9 billion in the prior fiscal year. The anticipated $213 million increase in the state's contribution for the next fiscal year reflects a...
  • To Gov. Jerry Brown's dismay, pension board phases in state hike

    05/16/2012 4:09:55 PM PDT · by SmithL · 6 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 5/16/12 | Kevin Yamamura
    Against Gov. Jerry Brown's wishes, the California Public Employees' Retirement System board voted today to phase in a higher cost to the state over two years rather than bill the state immediately in full. In a letter to the board, Brown called that "not a prudent decision." The disagreement was over the pace at which PERS is lowering its assumptions about future investment returns from 7.75 percent to 7.5 percent, called the discount rate. Such changes are intended to compensate for lower market returns. When the rate of return assumption goes down, governments must contribute more. The PERS board agreed...
  • NYC complex in doghouse over strict no-pet rule

    05/16/2012 9:14:16 AM PDT · by SmithL · 19 replies
    AP via SFGate ^ | 5/13/12
    A sprawling housing complex in the Bronx has been fined $85,000 for not allowing residents to keep emotional-support dogs. The Daily News reports that the company that manages Co-op City was fined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for denying two clinically depressed residents their pets. Co-op City has a strict no-dog policy, but federal law requires housing providers to make accommodations . . .
  • Americans for Prosperity: Nashville 'under attack' by mayor's tax increase

    05/15/2012 8:46:59 AM PDT · by SmithL · 3 replies
    Nashville City Paper ^ | 5/15/12 | Joey Garrison
    Mayor Karl Dean’s proposed property tax hike, which has already drawn the ire of the Nashville Tea Party, has reverberated up to the conservative-backed Americans for Prosperity political advocacy organization. Arlington, Va.-based Americans for Prosperity, an advocacy group that professes to educate citizens on education policies, has highlighted Dean’s tax proposal as its top story on its website.“Nashville taxpayers are under attack by Mayor Dean’s proposed 13 percent property tax increase,” reads a short blog post penned by the organization’s Tennessee state director Brad Stevens.“Taxpayers should not be on the hook for Nashville city leaders’ lack of fiscal responsibility,” the post continues.Oddly,...
  • Municipal bankruptcy infighting flares anew in California

    05/14/2012 9:08:13 AM PDT · by SmithL · 19 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 5/14/12 | Dan Walters
    When Vallejo declared bankruptcy in 2008, one collateral consequence was a years-long political duel in the Capitol between lobbyists for local governments and those for unions representing their workers. Unions pushed legislation that would have required local governments to get permission from an obscure state agency before filing for bankruptcy – an agency that is and probably always will be dominated by union-friendly Democratic politicians. Although it did not come to pass in Vallejo, unions representing police officers, firefighters and other local workers were worried that a federal bankruptcy judge might be willing to abrogate their contracts and perhaps even...
  • Jerry Brown submits tax petitions, says 'difficult' budget cuts next

    05/11/2012 4:22:21 PM PDT · by SmithL · 13 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 5/11/12 | David Siders and Torey Van Oot
    In one choreographed appearance at the office of the Sacramento County Registrar of Voters, Gov. Jerry Brown's campaign to raise taxes appeared on Friday to take shape. A week after announcing he had collected enough signatures to qualify the initiative for the November ballot, Brown – accompanied by a new political consultant, the first lady and his dog – turned several boxes of them in. The event came just days before Brown is expected to propose deeper spending reductions in a budget revision Monday to deal with a deficit that likely has grown beyond $10 billion. The Democratic governor cast...
  • Jerry Brown tells unions to brace for California state worker pay cuts

    05/09/2012 9:55:33 PM PDT · by SmithL · 19 replies
    SacBee: The State Worker ^ | 5/9/12 | Jon Ortiz
    State workers' compensation is back on the budget chopping block. Brown administration officials met with the state employee union leaders last week, according to sources familiar with the meetings, to warn them that the next version of the governor's budget will include an unspecified cut in employee costs up to 10 percent. The administration in January estimated that California is confronting a $9.2 billion deficit through 2012-13, but a recent state analysis concluded the actual gap is considerably more. The sources, who declined to talk on the record because the administration asked all involved to keep the discussions secret, said...
  • The Ten Scariest DMV Horror Stories

    05/09/2012 7:15:34 PM PDT · by DogByte6RER · 34 replies
    JALOPNIK ^ | May 7, 2012 | Raphael Orlove
    The Ten Scariest DMV Horror Stories There is a dark side to driving in the US, and it is known as the DMV. Listen to these ten tales of woe from Jalopnik readers and you'll get a taste of American bureaucracy at its worst. 10.) Counterfeiters get Mustang GTs Suggested By: frankiepoops What happened: Worst experience that I ever had was when the NY DMV decided that my title for my 1996 green Mustang was counterfeit, not the first time I registered it, but when I went back to put it back on the road after parking it for a...