Category Archive: California Prisons

May 17 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: May 17, 2012

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Los Angeles Coliseum

Good Thursday morning!

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

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

On to today’s California headlines:

Even with Brown’s proposed tax, California could face chronic deficits

Even if voters approve Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal for higher taxes this fall, his ballot initiative would be only a partial solution to the state’s chronic budget deficits.

California could face shortfalls for the foreseeable future depending on how much Democrats are willing to cut social programs and whether the economy rebounds. In many cases, the financial pain on Californians will persist. College students will still face higher tuition fees, public school teachers still face layoffs and parks are still scheduled to close.

Officials at the University of California, for example, are considering plans to raise tuition by 6 percent this fall. If voters reject Brown’s tax hike in November, the officials warn of a mid-year, double-digit tuition increase or drastic cuts to campus programs and staffing.

“Whether the tax initiative passes or fails, the UC still loses,” said Cheryl Deutsch, 27, a graduate student in urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The California State University system hiked tuition by 9 percent for this fall and froze admissions for next spring in response to state budget cuts. There are no plans to roll back the tuition increases of recent years even if the tax hikes pass.

Brown announced over the weekend that the projected state deficit has swelled to $15.7 billion through the 2012-13 fiscal year, up from $9.2 billion in January. He previously proposed a tax hike that would fill about half that shortfall and said he would lean on majority Democrats to make deeper cuts to social services and health care programs for the poor.

“What I’m proposing is not a panacea, but it goes a long way toward cleaning up the state’s budget mess,” Brown said in a video message.

His finance spokesman, H.D. Palmer, said the state budget would actually be in surplus each of the next four years if the Legislature adopted his budget as-is.

But that’s a big if. The Democrats who control the Legislature have resisted Brown’s proposed cuts in the past, and were expressing unhappiness with his latest budget proposal just hours after he announced it on Monday.
Republican lawmakers say a good portion of the governor’s proposal and the budget from last year were filled with funding shifts that allowed lawmakers to avoid real program cuts.

Steinberg: Democrats seeking alternatives to some budget cuts

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg today repeated a pledge to look for budget solutions that would allow lawmakers to preserve some services targeted with steep cuts under Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget plan.

“I said on Monday, I’m not looking for a public fight here,” the Sacramento Democrat said this morning. “We’re looking to work collaboratively and yet not be afraid to have our differences or air our differences with the other stakeholders, the other parties, but come to a resolution where we can in fact buy out some of the worst cuts.”

The revised budget proposal released by the Democratic governor Monday calls for roughly $8 billion in cuts to close a projected deficit that has grown to $15.7 billion since his January budget was unveiled. Those cuts include reductions to health and welfare programs and Cal Grants for low-income students.

Steinberg said he doesn’t like many aspects of the proposal, including using money won in the mortgage settlement with major banks and reducing funding for the courts, but added that cuts with the most severe effect on the state’s neediest constituencies will be the first to come off the chopping block.

“To me a cut that, you know, will result in the difference between life and death and a cut that will increase homelessness by definition, it’s our obligation it seems that we do everything we can to avoid those cuts,” he said.

Iowa governor warns California: We are coming to take your jobs

Every year that California has budget trouble — basically the last 10 — another state licks its lips and boasts how it will reap the benefits as businesses and residents flee the Golden State. These poachers are usually more conservative southwestern states like Arizona or longtime California rival Texas.

So, um, add Iowa to the list.

That’s right, Iowa, land of snow, farms, presidential caucuses and … snow. In an interview with The Times, the state’s Republican governor, Terry Branstad, boasted how he balanced the state’s budget without raising taxes and is getting calls from California businesses looking to move.

“They want to get out of California as quick as they can,” Branstad said. “We welcome them to Iowa. I’ve got California companies on my call list right now.”

Branstad declined to name the California firms he plans to call, but said just Monday he met a California businessman at an Iowa groundbreaking who described how terrible the business climate was in the state.

Legislative analyst: Prison construction not necessary to end federal oversight

California could end federal court oversight of prison health care without all of the costly new construction planned. That’s the conclusion of a report out on Wednesday by the state’s nonpartisan legislative analyst.

The report looks at Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to reduce prison overcrowding and save money doing it.

The Brown administration wants to expand facilities for mental health and medical care at a few prisons, shut down one prison and recall nearly 10,000 inmates that California sent to out-of-state prisons to ease overcrowding. Doing all that would save the state $1.5 billion a year.

But the governor’s plan hinges on getting a federal court to agree to let California exceed the prison population cap it ordered by 6,000 inmates. Aaron Edwards with the Legislative Analyst’s Office says that’s a problem for lawmakers.

“It’s difficult for the Legislature to determine the most prudent course of action,” said Edwards, “because their options really depend on whether the court approves that increase in the population cap.”

Brown has given no time-table for when he’d ask the federal court to raise the cap.

Enjoy your morning and Dan Walter’s Daily video: Term limits meant to ‘break the stranglehold’

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Apr 24 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: April 24, 2012

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Mission San Fernando

Good Tuesday morning!

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

Remember: Friday is the last day for policy committees to pass fiscal bills introduced in their house. So, there will be some action around the Capitol this week.

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

On to today’s California headlines:

Calif. death penalty ban qualifies for Nov. ballot

A measure to abolish California’s death penalty qualified for the November ballot on Monday.

If it passes, the 725 California inmates now on Death Row will have their sentences converted to life in prison without the possibility of parole. It would also make life without parole the harshest penalty prosecutors can seek.

Backers of the measure say abolishing the death penalty will save the state millions of dollars through layoffs of prosecutors and defense attorneys who handle death penalty cases, as well as savings from not having to maintain the nation’s largest death row at San Quentin prison.

Those savings, supporters argue, can be used to help unsolved crimes. If the measure passes, $100 million in purported savings from abolishing the death penalty would be used over three years to investigate unsolved murders and rapes.

The measure is dubbed the “Savings, Accountability, and Full Enforcement for California Act,” also known as the SAFE California Act. It’s the fifth measure to qualify for the November ballot, the California secretary of state announced Monday. Supporters collected more than the 504,760 valid signatures needed to place the measure on the ballot.

“Our system is broken, expensive and it always will carry the grave risk of a mistake,” said Jeanne Woodford, the former warden of San Quentin who is now an anti-death penalty advocate and an official supporter of the measure.

The measure will also require most inmates sentenced to life without parole to find jobs within prisons. Most death row inmates do not hold prison jobs for security reasons.

Though California is one of 35 states that authorize the death penalty, the state hasn’t put anyone to death since 2006. A federal judge that year halted executions until prison officials built a new death chamber at San Quentin Prison, developed new lethal injection protocols and made other improvements to delivering the lethal three-drug combination.

A separate state lawsuit is challenging the way the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation developed the new protocols. A judge in Marin County earlier this year ordered the CDCR to redraft its lethal injection protocols, further delaying executions.

Lawmakers pushing to tie California minimum wage to consumer price index

Gasoline was selling for $3.33 a gallon, Jerry Brown was attorney general, and California was bracing for a budget crisis when the state’s hourly minimum wage rose to $8 in early 2008.

Fast forward to now, and much has changed: Gas is almost a dollar higher, Brown is governor, and the state is reeling from years of red ink. But the minimum wage hasn’t budged a cent.

New legislation would change that, ensuring future increases for the state’s lowest-wage workers while letting lawmakers evade political heat by taking the hot-button issue out of their hands.

Assembly Bill 1439 by Assemblyman Luis Alejo would prohibit the minimum wage from being lowered as consumer prices fall but would mandate increases as prices rise. The indexing would be expected to hike the minimum wage about 14 cents next January, but more importantly, it would set the stage for what could be annual hikes in years to come.

Alejo, D-Watsonville, bills his measure as a way to boost the economy by putting more money in the pockets of workers struggling to provide food, clothes and housing for their families.

“When minimum-wage workers have more money to spend, they spend it,” he said. “They can’t afford to save it. That is good for all businesses.”

The state Chamber of Commerce has labeled AB 1439 a “job-killer” bill. Other opponents range from the California Restaurant Association to the California Farm Bureau Federation.

“Now is not the time to increase the cost of doing business in California, when businesses are just now showing signs of recovery,” said Jennifer Barrera, a chamber lobbyist.

AB 1439 puts the minimum wage on “autopilot,” Barrera said, “which we don’t think is appropriate.” Lawmakers should not simply let statistics dictate rates without considering other factors, she said.


Dan Walters: California finally has a plan to cut prison costs

Whether California was under siege from crime is questionable, but Republicans bludgeoned Democratic politicians as soft on crime, and Brown didn’t want to be a victim.

He and legislators responded with lock-’em-up crime measures aimed at putting more felons behind bars. California’s prison population, about 20,000 inmates, started climbing, and late in his governorship, Brown agreed to place a small construction bond issue on the ballot.

Not only did inmate numbers swell, but operational costs ballooned as governors and legislators provided the very powerful California Correctional Peace Officers Association with generous – probably overly so – contracts, a consequence of Brown’s granting full bargaining rights to public employee unions.

By the time Brown returned to the governorship in 2011, the prison population had increased eight-fold, and its costs 20-fold, becoming a major factor in the state’s chronic deficits.

Despite spending countless billions on new prisons, they were so overcrowded and dysfunctional that the federal courts had seized control of prison medical care and were threatening to take over the entire system. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered California to reduce the prison population by tens of thousands of inmates.

Brown and legislators responded with “realignment,” which diverts lower-level felons from prison into county jails, along with the money to pay for their care and supervision.


California prison overhaul would save $1.5B a year

California prison officials released a wide-ranging reorganization plan Monday that calls for halting a $4 billion prison-construction program and bringing back all inmates held out of state.

The master plan outlines the department’s recommendations for ending years of federal court oversight, overcrowding, poor inmate medical and mental health treatment, and soaring budgets.

It came at a time when the nation’s largest state prison system is being transformed by ongoing state budget deficits, federal court orders and a realignment ordered by the governor that shifts its focus to the most violent and dangerous offenders.

The changes are possible because of a state law that took effect Oct. 1 that shifts lower-level offenders from state prisons to county jails. That shift is the main consequence of a federal court order requiring the state to reduce its prison population as a way to improve inmate medical care.

“It’s a massive change to our system,” Corrections Secretary Matthew Cate said at a Capitol news conference.

Lowering the inmate population eliminates the need for $4.1 billion in construction projects and will let the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reduce its annual budget by $1.5 billion, officials said.

The plan calls for returning to state prisons by 2016 about 9,500 inmates who are currently housed in private prisons in other states. That alone would save the state $318 million a year.

Enjoy your morning and Dan Walters in his daily video discusses the “historic” nature of California’s upcoming primary:

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Apr 20 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: April 20, 2012

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San Diego, California

Good Friday morning!

The California Legislature is in session but there are no floor sessions scheduled for today.

Governor Brown will be attending the funeral of a Stanislaus sheriff’s deputy who was shot and killed April 12 as he tried to serve an eviction notice.

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

On to today’s California headlines:

Analysis says Calif. prison medical costs too high

As the state prepares to resume control of inmate medical care, it must find ways to reduce costs that are triple the national average, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office said Thursday.

The federal receivership that has been in place since 2006 has greatly improved the medical care of state prison inmates but also has caused costs to soar, according to the report. California spends $16,000 per inmate for health care services, compared to an average of $5,000 in other states.

The analysis was released less than two weeks before the state and attorneys representing inmates must report to a federal judge with recommendations on when the receivership should end and whether it should maintain some oversight role.

The Legislature should create an independent board to monitor prison medical care to make sure conditions do not deteriorate once the state retakes control, the report said. It also recommends that the state experiment with contracting for medical services to cut costs.

The state should rely more on telemedicine so physicians in urban medical facilities can treat inmates without physically traveling to remote prisons. The analysis also found that the receivership has not been consistent in using management safeguards that are designed to hold down medical spending.

The receivership already is following many of the recommendations outlined in the report, said Nancy Kincaid, spokeswoman for the receiver’s office.

The receivership began emphasizing telemedicine a year ago, Kincaid said. She acknowledged that while medical staff in some prisons follow the receivership’s uniform policy for controlling medical costs, those in other prisons must do a better job.

The receiver, J. Clark Kelso, uses private contractors when they are cheaper, she said, but is limited by a prohibition in the state constitution on using a contractor if a state employee can do the job.

She disputed the report’s comparisons with costs in other states, contending that many others don’t count their administrative, information technology or contract costs in their accounting.

Senate leader wants initiative process changed

The leader of the state Senate announced Thursday that he wants to put a measure on the November 2014 ballot to amend California’s initiative system.

Speaking before the Sacramento Press Club (full disclosure: this reporter is the president of the club), Sen. Leader Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said the state’s initiative system is broken and one need look no further than last year’s budget negotiations for proof.

Last year, as Total Buzz readers will recall, the then newly elected governor (Jerry Brown) wanted to put on the ballot a tax increase, but Republican legislators wouldn’t put up the votes necessary to send it to the voters. Steinberg said that’s wrong – the minority party was stopping the will of an overwhelmingly elected governor, all because the rules said ballot measures required a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.

Steinberg said that’s not fair and he named three changes he plans to pursue:

  •     Allow the Legislature, on a majority vote, to place on statutory initiatives on the ballot. Statutory initiatives include measures to raise taxes. (Steinberg said he wouldn’t change the vote threshold for putting constitutional amendment initiatives on the ballot.)
  •     Implement an “indirect initiative” process. That’s where initiative proponents refer their proposal to the Legislature after they’ve gathered the requisite number of signatures rather than directly to the voters. Once the proposal is before the Legislature, lawmakers have the option of amending it. Steinberg said 10 other states have similar processes.
  •     Allow the Legislature, with the governor’s permission, to repeal a voter approved initiative after 10 years. Steinberg said 23 other states have similar rules.

“It sounds obvious, but needs and priorities change,” Steinberg said. California can no longer afford to be governed by voter approved initiatives that exist in perpetuity, like propositions 13 and 98, two budget related ballot measures that have deeply affected the state’s finances.


Democrat Hodge lands Republican Bradbury’s endorsement

For decades, former Ventura County District Attorney Michael Bradbury has been a stalwart Republican with a fondness for throwing his name around in political campaigns. Although he keeps a much lower public profile these days, Bradbury is at it again — this time with a surprising twist. He’s endorsing a Democrat, Oxnard Harbor Commissioner Jason Hodge in the three-candidate primary in the 19th Senate District that includes Republican Mike Stoker, a former Santa Barbara County supervisor.

Although the public announcement was made just today, Hodge tells me that Bradbury “has been a very strong supporter from early on. I know Mike and Mike knows me, and he knows that I have a history of bipartisan cooperation.”

Stoker took the news with grace when I informed him of the endorsement this morning. “Now that I know he has an interest in the 19th Senate District race,” he said, “Mike Bradbury will be one of the first people I go see the day after the primary.”


State ethics czar wants disclosure when campaigns pay bloggers

Ravel acknowledged that her proposal might be controversial with some free speech advocates and bloggers, while others question whether blogs are worth the attention of regulators.

Former state Sen. Steve Peace, now head of the California Independent Voter Project, says Republicans read Republican-oriented blogs and Democrats read those aligned with their party’s ideology.  “I don’t think the blogs are very convincing,” Peace said at the conference. “They talk to people who already agree with them.”

Ravel said some bloggers have admitted to her that they have received undisclosed funding from partisan interests.

In 2009, Chip Hanlon, chief executive of the blog site Red County, announced that one of its writers had been let go after it was discovered the writer was taking payments from a consultant for gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner “for favorable coverage.” Although candidates must disclose their spending, the true source of the funding is hidden when payments are made to consultants, who then pay the bloggers.

Enjoy your morning and Dan Walters daily video: Will term-limits measure benefit politicians?

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Mar 22 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: March 22, 2012

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Elysian Park, California before the Los Angeles Marathon

Good morning!

I have taken a few days off recuperating from Sunday’s Los Angeles Marathon.

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

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

On to today’s California headlines:

New ACLU report on costly realignment – counties ignoring cheaper, better alternatives

California may be dismantling its prison-industrial complex, but it’s quickly replacing it with a jail-industrial complex, a new report released late Tuesday warns.

The state’s prison population has plummeted — by 22,440 inmates, or about 15 percent — since October, according to the report by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. That’s when the state responded to a court order to reduce overcrowding by adopting realignment, which shifts responsibility to counties for imprisoning and rehabilitating nonviolent felons.

But now, according to the ACLU, the state is funneling billions of dollars to counties, much of it for building or expanding jails, instead of for cheaper alternatives called for in the realignment law — including electronic monitoring, drug treatment and vocational training. The report is the first comprehensive critique of realignment since the massive plan was adopted six months ago.

“The state says locking people up hasn’t worked,” said Allen Hopper, police practices director of the ACLU of Northern California. “But on the other hand, it turns over billions to maintain the status quo,” he said.

Beginning in 2007, the state has awarded about $1.2 billion to 22 counties for jail construction, including $602 million early this month to 11 counties for the expansion or construction of jails. The state also gave counties about $400 million this fiscal year to spend on whatever mix of incarceration, supervision and programs they choose.

The report contends counties could easily reduce their jail populations and save money without endangering public safety, principally by releasing more inmates awaiting trial on their own recognizance or under supervision. About 71 percent of the inmates languishing in California’s jails are awaiting trial and haven’t been convicted of any offense.

Dan Walters: Big voting change in California communities is a big risk

A decade-old California law and 2010 census data are having a potentially explosive effect on how governing boards of local governments, especially cities, are elected.

While all counties and larger cities and school districts have long elected their governing boards from single-member districts, smaller jurisdictions have usually used “at-large” elections in which members are elected by all voters.

It’s long been a bone of civic and political contention, with members of non-white ethnic groups complaining that at-large elections deny them opportunities to place members of their communities in positions of civic power.

Throughout the state, the issue has often been joined via local ballot measures to switch to district voting, with some successful and some not.

Home slump isn’t going away in California

The wreckage of California’s real estate crash is still washing up on the shoreline.

California, Florida and Illinois accounted for more than a third of the nation’s 1.6 million housing units classified as shadow inventory in January, according to CoreLogic, a Santa Ana-based mortgage-tracking company.

CoreLogic defines shadow inventory as properties with 90 days-plus delinquencies, foreclosures or those that are lender-owned.

On a year-over-year basis, CoreLogic said Wednesday that U.S. shadow inventory was down from January 2011, when it stood at 1.8 million units, or eight months’ supply.

This year’s January total, which CoreLogic equated to six months’ supply, virtually matched that reported in October last year.

CoreLogic said shadow inventory growth has been offset by the roughly equal flow of distressed sales – short and lender-owned.

“Almost half of the shadow inventory is not yet in the foreclosure process,” said Mark Fleming, CoreLogic’s chief economist. “Shadow inventory also remains concentrated in states impacted by sharp price declines and states with long foreclosure timelines.”

By definition, that includes California. And as a byproduct, the Sacramento region.

‘The potential to turn California politics on its head’

There’s a very long way to go between here and there, but as the campaign season gets under way, Supervisor Linda Parks of Thousand Oaks has a very good chance of making history this year as independent running for Congress. Which is another way of saying that she could actually win.

That conclusion is based on a poll conducted by Parks’ campaign team of Gorton Blair Biggs International, headed by former Pete Wilson strategist George Gorton, whose storied career in political consulting includes a tie-in with Watergate as a youth-vote adviser to President Richard Nixon’s 1972 presidential campaign (he paid someone to spy on anti-war protesters) and a major role in helping to elect Boris Yeltsin as president of the Russian Federation (the film “Spinning Boris” was based on that, with Jeff Goldblum playing the role of Gorton).

Parks’ team yesterday shared with me a polling memo in the 26th Congressional District. Although short on details of the actual poll, the memo makes three things clear: Parks is now running in a strong second place in the primary, none of the four Democratic candidates is particularly well known, and that the Thousand Oaks supervisor has a statistically significant lead in a hypothetical November matchup against Republican Tony Strickland.

Enjoy your morning!

Here is Dan Walter’s on the Irony of Politics and Initiative Signature Gathering:

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Feb 28 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: February 28, 2012

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Venice Beach, California

Good Morning!

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

On to today’s California headlines:

U.S. attorney talks pot dispensary crackdown

The federal Justice Department’s recent crackdown on medicinal marijuana dispensaries is expected to be the topic of heated debate at a Sacramento Press Club luncheon today.

Benjamin Wagner, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, is scheduled to address the issue today at a luncheon sponsored by the Sacramento Press Club.

Medicinal marijuana growers and dispensaries have been hit with raids, property seizures and criminal charges since the Justice Department signaled a push to pursue enforcement of federal drug laws even in states where medicinal marijuana is legal.

Wagner and California’s other U.S. Attorneys have argued that California’s voter-approved law legalizing the use, cultivation and possession of marijuana for medicinal purposes has been “hijacked by profiteers.” Supporters of the state’s 16-year-old medical marijuana law say the move is putting dispensaries out of business and undermining the voter-approved Proposition 215.

And, we all know where the Feds can go and look for bogus medical marijuana shops, now don’t we? For a refresher, look at the photo above.

Jerry Brown’s proposed budget counts on too much revenue, analyst says

Gov. Jerry Brown is counting on $6.5 billion too much for his proposed budget, even with Facebook’s stock sale on the horizon, according to a new economic review by the state’s fiscal analyst.

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office has taken a more pessimistic view of capital gains in California through June 2013, though it acknowledges in its new report that predicting those totals is “notoriously difficult.”

California’s heavy reliance on volatile capital gains income has been a significant reason the state has found it so difficult to budget in recent years.

The analyst’s latest revenue estimate is not far from its November forecast, when it pegged California’s deficit at nearly $13 billion.

But the latest report is noteworthy because updated data has not changed its position that Brown is too optimistic in his budget.

John and Ken return to KFI, meet with black delegation

A representative of the Los Angeles Urban League and other African-Americans met Monday with KFI officials and talk show hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou, who resumed their afternoon shock-talk show after two weeks of suspension. The time off was billed by the station as a response to a quip on the show, right after Whitney Houston died, that likened the black singer to a “crack ho.


Aerospace leader says state should try to keep firms from fleeing

California is at risk of losing aerospace companies to other states if it doesn’t become more business friendly, said Stuart Witt, chief executive of the Mojave Air & Space Port.

Speaking at the Next-Generation Suborbital Research Conference, a commercial space conference in Palo Alto, Witt said that California politicians need to do more so that other states don’t lure the emerging commercial space industry away from the Southland.

Just last August, aerospace giant Northrop Grumman Corp. moved its corporate headquarters from Century City to Falls Church, Va. The company joined an exodus of military companies — including Lockheed Martin Corp., Science Applications International Corp. and Computer Sciences Corp. — that have abandoned Southern California since the mid-1990s.

In Mojave, several commercial space ventures, such as Scaled Composites and XCOR Aerospace Inc., are developing spacecraft to lift paying customers into outer space.

“Virginia, Maryland, Texas, Florida, New Mexico, Colorado and other states, with the support of their governors, legislators and business communities, are visiting aerospace businesses at the Mojave Air & Space Port in an effort to recruit them and their highly skilled jobs to their states,” Witt said.

He brought up British billionaire Richard Branson’s commercial space venture Virgin Galactic as an example. The company builds and tests its spacecraft in Mojave, but its headquarters are in New Mexico, where former Gov. Bill Richardson helped secure state loans to build a $209-million space port.

California prisons clearing out

Images of California’s overcrowded prisons are so striking that the U.S. Supreme Court included two photographs of the problem in last year’s landmark opinion that forced the state to address the issue.

On Friday, state corrections leaders will announce they have made an important step toward their goal to ease overcrowding, finally getting rid of the last of thousands of bunks that were crammed into day rooms, gymnasiums and other spaces to hold inmates.

In a news conference scheduled to be held at the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, corrections chief Matthew Cate and other officials are scheduled to announce the end of what the department itself calls “iconic images of (the) overcrowding crisis.”

“As of the very end of last week, there were no more inmates currently sleeping in them,” corrections spokesman Jeffrey Callison said Monday.

The use of what the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation calls “nontraditional beds” peaked at just under 20,000 in 2007, Callison said.

Their use stemmed from the prison system at one point holding twice as many inmates as the 80,000 it was designed to house.

Enjoy your morning!

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