Mission San Gabriel Arcángel
Good Monday morning!
The California Legislature is adjourned for Spring/Easter break and will resume on April 9, 2012.
On to today’s California headlines:
How much is a campaign treasurer worth?
The issue of Rep. Buck McKeon’s practice of paying his wife, Patricia, rather handsomely from his campaign account is destined to be something Simi Valley voters will hear a great deal about in the weeks leading up to the June 5 primary — in which Patricia McKeon is a GOP candidate in the 38th Assembly District.
A report issued last week by the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington highlighted that the McKeons top a list of 248 members of Congress who engage in that practice. The report found that over the 2008 and 2010 election cycles Patricia McKeon was paid $238,438 “to serve as treasurer for her husband’s campaign.”
New California bullet train plan a grand finale to years-long drama
When California’s high-speed rail leaders on Monday unveil their fourth and final business plan on the state’s controversial quest to link the Bay Area and Los Angeles by bullet train, they’ll be slashing $30 billion off the price tag and speeding up the first leg of construction beyond what’s been dubbed a train to nowhere in the Central Valley.
They’ll also be delivering a message to Bay Area travelers looking forward to boarding a bullet train from here to Southern California: You’ll just have to wait.
Under the new plan, the first trains are now pegged to zip between a 300-mile leg between Merced and the San Fernando Valley, near Los Angeles. Though it’s unclear how the extra tracks will be funded, previous plans had limited the first leg to a 130-mile path between two remote Central Valley towns, with high-speed trains not running until the route extended to either San Jose or Southern California.
But the longer route and the lower price estimate, which surfaced in news reports over the weekend, are all part of a desperate effort for high-speed rail leaders to save a project that has skyrocketed in both costs — and critics — since voters first approved a bullet train four years ago. The most expensive public works project in California history is now tabbed at $68 billion — still twice what voters were told when they approved the project, but less than the near $100 billion estimates in the most recent plan.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration wants health care change, with or without federal law
Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration vowed Thursday to continue pushing forward elements of the federal health care overhaul in California, even if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes it down.
If the court does rule the federal law unconstitutional, state Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley said California should at least consider enacting its own universal health care legislation, including requiring every Californian to buy insurance.
“I think that we should be committed to making this system more rational than it is today, and improving the health of the people of California,” Dooley said in an interview. “If we ask the insurance plans to take everybody and insure everybody with no screens or pre-existing conditions, then we have to have everybody buying some level of health insurance to meet their responsibility to the system.”
She said whether the administration sponsors such legislation would depend on “where we are and what the conditions are at that particular time.”
Dooley’s remarks came a day after the Supreme Court finished three days of oral arguments over President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
The GOP didn’t reject Fletcher, it embraced DeMaio
If it weren’t for the Republican Party, we would not even know who Nathan Fletcher is.
That’s right, the political party he abandoned last week after 15 years of professional association; the one that provided the structure and opportunities for a politically ambitious young man to learn the system; the one that gave him the identity and resources to run and win a seat in the State Assembly; the one that put him in position today to be a leading candidate for mayor in the 8th largest city in America; and the one that put him in a position of prominence such that his quitting actually mattered to anyone.
Unfortunately, Fletcher’s quitting the GOP has been looked at through the lense of a sympathetic establishment and media who believe Republicans are too extreme. This same establishment bemoans the party’s inability to focus on unifying economic issues while playing down “divisive” social issues. What makes this narrative remarkable is that in their enthusiasm to see Nathan as the good guy and the GOP as the bad, they ignored what actually happened.
The Republican Party didn’t reject Nathan Fletcher. It embraced Carl DeMaio.
Enjoy your morning!