The California Legislature is in session. Today’s schedule is here.
On to today’s California headlines:
The Republican frontrunner will start the day at the home of Stockton developer Alex G. Spanos, then move south to Irvine for a luncheon event with conservative policy advocateDavid Horowitz in Irvine. Irvine Company chairman Donald Bren is among those attending that one.
Then it’s on to dinner with the likes of former Los Angeles Mayor Dick Riordan former state Republican Party chair Shawn Steel at the Hyatt Century Plaza hotel in Los Angeles.
In a show of good faith one year ago, legislative Democrats slashed Medi-Cal, cut universities and reduced welfare grants to slice the state deficit 13 weeks before the constitutional deadline.
But this year Democrats are refusing to go along with Gov. Jerry Brown’s most controversial reductions, spurning his demand to have cuts in place by March.
They oppose Brown’s plan to halve the amount of time that unemployed adults can receive welfare-to-work benefits and to slash grants to children. Assembly Democrats have voted against his proposal to cut scholarship aid for 26,000 low-income students through higher grade requirements for Cal Grants.
Brown wanted lawmakers to fast-track his cuts again because he said the state can save more money the earlier it reduces programs. But Assembly Democrats have rejected welfare and Cal Grant cuts, while Senate Democrats say they will wait until at least May before making any real decisions.
Even some of Richard Alarcon’s campaign supporters had to concede that the website slamming the politician was cleverly done.
The site had an interactive Monopoly-style board game that drew attention to the legal troubles of the Los Angeles city councilman, who is running for state Assembly this year.
A click on the video brings up a commentary about a grand jury’s 18-count felony indictment against Alarcon and his wife, stemming from the district attorney’s allegations that they lied about where they lived and voted fraudulently. It does not mention that the couple have pleaded not guilty to all counts and have not yet gone to trial.
“What bothers me is that people can hide in a digital disguise and not accept responsibility for what they say,” Alarcon said.
“Where I grew up, when you had something to say to someone, you said it to their face,” he said. In more than 30 years in politics, he added, “I’ve always put my name behind any statement that I’ve ever made.”
The online hit at Alarcon is just one of many smear websites, phony Twitter accounts and attack YouTube videos that are rapidly becoming staples of political campaigning in 2012.Social media sites are giving candidates myriad new ways to reach voters. But they’re also offering platforms to opponents who want to smear them, often anonymously and in ways the candidates have trouble fighting.
Smear tactics are nothing new in politics, of course. But Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and other social media sites offer a trove of new material for opposition researchers. That can include an unfortunate photo from a party, a regrettable tweet or a video ripe for distortion.
When it comes to density, Southern California is No. 1.
U.S. Census figures released Monday peg the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area as the most densely populated area in the country.
By comparison, the New York-Newark, N.J., area is fifth when it comes to overall density.
But is it density or sprawl?
Stacy Vidal, a Public Information Officer at the U.S. Census Bureau said the Los Angeles region was pushed to the top of the list because residents on the West Coast are more spread out than the East Coast, where population levels tend to drop off as you leave the city centers.
For instance, density levels are higher in Manhattan than Los Angeles. But once you leave Manhattan, the number of residents per square mile begins to drop as you get into the suburbs.
In comparison, the suburbs of L.A. are highly developed and packed with more people per square mile. As a result, the overall L.A. urban area is more dense.
The Census data illustrates how the region developed and how the economics of housing have influenced density in Southern California. Buyers head out to places like the Lancaster and Palmdale to find affordable housing, said Daniel J.B. Mitchell, an emeritus professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.
“People are priced out of the core areas,” Mitchell said. “The places that growing are places where there is lower cost land, the outlying areas.”
And, lastly here is Dan Walters on why the California pension reform battles will be waged in San Diego rather than Sacramento:
Enjoy your morning!