Feb 06 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: February 6, 2012

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Dodger Stadium, Elysian Park, Los Angeles

The California Legislature is in session. Today’s schedule is here.

On to today’s California headlines:

California negotiating with banks over mortgage settlement

California is back at the negotiating table to potentially take part in a multi-state deal with the nation’s largest mortgage servicers over faulty foreclosure practices.

For months, Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris has not been involved in direct talks with the banks, walking out on negotiations last year. As recently as two weeks ago she called the potential $25-billion settlement inadequate for California. Winning the Golden State’s support of a settlement would strengthen it considerably, given the shear size of the state’s mortgage market.

“For the past 13 months we have been working for a resolution that brings real relief to the hardest-hit homeowners, is transparent about who benefits, and will ensure accountability,” Harris said in a statement Sunday night. “We are closer now than we’ve been before but we’re not there yet.”

A spokesman for the state attorney general’s office declined further comment. Monday looms as the deadline for individual states to either reject or accept a deal — though that deadline was originally last Friday and was pushed back to allow more time for negotiations.

Rick Caruso changes his party affiliation from Republican to Decline to State

Developer Rick Caruso has left the GOP, signaling he is increasingly serious about his potential run for mayor in an overwhelmingly Democratic city.

The lifelong Republican switched to decline-to-state in December.

“It reflects who I am,” Caruso said. “I have supported Democrats and Republicans and I am much more independent-minded. I don’t think either party has the right answers. I think that’s what a lot of people think in California.”

Los Angeles has only had one Republican mayor in the last four decades – Richard Riordan, who was generally considered a moderate.

Caruso is under no pressure to make an immediate announcement for mayor since he would finance his own campaign. Other candidates have to announce their decisions earlier because of fundraising and reporting deadlines.

Caruso also has one other major effort on his mind these days: buying the Dodgers. He has partnered with the team’s former general manager, Joe Torre, to form a group that is considered among the leading bidders to purchase the team from Frank McCourt.

“I believe we’re the team to beat,”

Ventura County voter rolls: Partisans’ share shrinks, independents’ climb

A year ago, Democrats held a 2.8 percentage point advantage among Ventura County voters. It has now fallen to 2.7 percentage points. In real numbers, the Democrats’ lead dropped by 1,256 voters. It wasn’t because Republicans gained, however — just that the GOP lost fewer voters than the Democrats did. Nonpartisan voters now make up 19 percent of the county’s voter roll.

California public employees among highest paid in country, firefighters at the top

Public employees in California were among the best paid in the nation in 2010, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau last week.

Full-time employees of state and local governments received an average of $5,774 in March 2010, which the Census Bureau used as a snapshot of worker pay. Only local public employees of Washington, D.C. were paid more, earning $5,900 on average during the same period.

Closely following California in worker pay were New Jersey, New York, and Washington state.

Enjoy your morning!

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