Daily Archive: May 2, 2012

May 02 2012

California Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway Announces Changes to Leadership

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From the press release:

Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, of Tulare, today announced key additions to her leadership team, appointing Assemblyman Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, and Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, as Republican Whips, Assemblyman Donald P. Wagner, R-Irvine, as Deputy Republican Floor Manager and Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo, to a newly-created position as Republican Outreach Chair.

Conway also promoted Assemblyman Brian Jones, R-Santee, to the position of Assistant Republican Leader and Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto, to Chief Republican Whip.

“I am pleased to have these dynamic and proven Republican leaders serving by my side as members of our Caucus leadership team as we fight to protect Californians from higher taxes,” said Conway.  “Working together, we will show Californians that Assembly Republicans are truly the ‘party of yes’ in Sacramento, promoting common-sense, bipartisan solutions to fix our broken pension system, safeguard our children from dangerous classroom predators and prevent devastating education trigger cuts from hurting our local schools and colleges.”

This pretty much reflects the change of Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher’s change from being a Republican to a Decline to State (NPP) voter and the fact that my Assemblyman Jeff Gorell has returned from deployment in Afghanistan.

Two moderate Republicans were also somewhat purged – termed out Cameron Smyth of Santa Clarita Valley being one.

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May 02 2012

AD-48: California Assemblyman Roger Hernandez Charged with Two Counts of DUI

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He will enter a plea on May 21 and face the voters in June.

A state assemblyman from Southern California has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of drunken driving.

Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, D-West Covina, has said he did not believe he was drunk when police in the eastern San Francisco Bay area city of Concord arrested him in late-March.

He is expected to enter a plea May 21, Contra Costa County District Attorney spokeswoman Bobbi Spinola said Tuesday. Charges filed Monday say the lawmaker had a blood alcohol level of at least 0.08, the minimum level for a DUI, the Contra Costa Times reported.

After police released the results of his blood test last week, Hernandez issued a statement saying he had exercised poor judgment in thinking he was sober enough to drive. In an interview Tuesday, he said he was glad the district attorney was following normal protocol.

“I don’t want to be treated any differently than any member of the citizenry,” he said.

Previous reports said Hernandez, 36, was with a female lobbyist for Kaiser Permanente when he was stopped at 2 a.m., but he told The Associated Press that the woman had been misidentified.

“I’m not dating any lobbyists,” he said. “On the evening in question, I wasn’t out with anyone paid to persuade me in the Legislature.”

The first-term lawmaker sits on the Assembly Committee on Health and the Select Committee on Biotechnology.

How the Democratic Assembly Caucus deals with Hernandez will have to wait until after the June elections.

Let’s just say, Hernandez is on the fast track to being out of the Assembly.

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May 02 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: May 2, 2012

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Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, Oceanside, California

Good Wednesday morning!

The California Legislature is in session. California Assembly and State Senate Floor Sessions will begin at noon.  Today’s schedule is here.

The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s here.

California Governor Jerry Brown is in Los Angeles today promoting a Pet Lover’s License Plate.

California’s first dog, Sutter Brown, has a barking gig in Los Angeles today.

Sutter is joining Gov. Jerry Brown, actor Pierce Brosnan and dog whisperer Cesar Millan to promote the state’s Pet Lover’s License Plate, which would help fund spay and neuter programs. The presser starts at 2:30 p.m. at Petco, 1873 Westwood Blvd.

How is Sutter getting to L.A.? “FedEx,” joked Brown spokesman Gil Duran via Twitter.

Yeah, right. The Humane Society’s Jennifer Fearing tweeted: “Gas up the @HumaneSociety Prius! Road trip with @SutterBrown! I’m bringing sandwiches, per his request.”

The governor, who recently signed Assembly Bill 610 to extend the period of time for pre-ordering the plate, will take part later this afternoon in a Milken Institute 2012 Global Conference discussion on attracting and keeping out-of-state investment.

On to today’s California headlines:

California tax revenue $3 billion less than target, report says

The legislative analyst’s office has a new number that is adding to California’s financial headache: $3 billion. That’s the total amount that tax revenue has lagged behind goals set by Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration in the current fiscal year.

The shortfall was detailed in a report released on Tuesday by the nonpartisan office, which provides budget advice to lawmakers.

Much of that gap comes from a disappointing April, the most important month for income taxes. Income taxes were $2.07 billion short of the $9.43-billion goal, and corporate taxes fell $143 million short of an expected $1.53 billion, according to the report.

When April’s poor results are tacked on to earlier shortfalls, the state has fallen about $3 billion behind tax goals, the LAO said. The ratings agency Standard & Poor’s already cautioned Tuesday that poor tax revenue was imperiling California’s financial recovery.

Dan Walters: California’s school finance system is both convoluted and irrational

Thousands of California teachers were given layoff notices a few weeks ago because state law requires the slips to be sent out each spring if administrators and trustees believe cuts are needed to balance their budgets.

Later this month, the districts must decide whether to continue or rescind those layoffs on the assumption that by then they’ll know the state of their 2012-13 finances.

That’s problematic in any year, because the Legislature, which supplies most of the schools’ money, typically doesn’t settle the state budget until weeks or even months later.

A law passed by voters in 1988 is supposed to govern what schools receive, but its numbers are subject to annual manipulation, such as “deferring” payments for a year or more.

State and local school financing has dropped by about $700 per pupil since 2008 and 20 percent of state appropriations are being deferred, thus requiring districts to use their reserves or borrow money.

24 San Fernando Valley schools seek charter status

Two dozen high-performing Los Angeles schools are seeking to become charter campuses in search of more money and increased flexibility.

The list reads like an honor roll of academic excellence. Every school has surpassed the state’s target score of 800 on the Academic Performance Index, which is based on standardized tests.

Although many of the schools considered the move in hopes of greater funding, campus officials said they also began to see the benefits of increased freedom over such things as curriculum, testing and schedules.

“Finance is one key factor but not the only one,” said Jose Cole-Gutierrez, who directs the charter school division of the L.A. Unified School District.

The Board of Education heard from several supporters of the schools’ plans Tuesday; it’s expected to vote on the proposals in June.

Charter schools are free from some restrictions that govern traditional schools. Independent charters sever most ties with the school system; L.A. Unified provides periodic oversight.

The 24 San Fernando Valley schools don’t want to go that far. They are seeking to become “affiliated” or “dependent” charters. Affiliated charters are still bound by the district’s union contracts, for example.Becoming a charter of any sort results in a key advantage: The schools get a block grant from the state — about $385 per student — that can deliver more dollars with fewer rules.

“It’s quite positive” for the schools, said L.A. Unified Supt. John Deasy, adding that the increased money comes from the state, not from district resources, during a period of sweeping budget cuts.

Herdt: Attack of the independent voters?

Steve Peace is a former Democratic lawmaker from San Diego, producer of the cult satire film “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes,” and co-chairman of the Independent Voter Project.

He also was the behind-the-scenes architect of Proposition 14, the measure that created the top-two primary system in California that will debut in June. Under its rules, the major parties are no longer guaranteed a ticket on November’s general election ballot.

Only the top two finishers in each race will move on, and candidates’ party labels guarantee them nothing. Every voter can vote for any candidate. It is a jungle-style system that Democratic and Republican party leaders abhor.

Peace likes that last aspect just fine. In fact, it’s largely what led him to embrace the independent voter movement and to advocate for the top-two primary.

Unless they adapt, Peace believes that political parties are destined to go the way of landline telephones and 2D movies.

Enjoy your morning and Dan Walters Daily Video: The Golden State’s population slows:

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May 02 2012

Dilbert: May 2, 2012

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But, a coffee warmer is important….

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May 02 2012

Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-05-02

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