Howard Jarvis, chief sponsor of the controversial Proposition 13, signals victory as he casts his own vote at the Fairfax-Melrose precinct – June 1978
The California Legislature is not in session and Governor Jerry Brown is continuing to sign or veto bills passed more than a week ago. The deadline for action on the legislation is October 9.
On to today’s California headlines:
Prop. 13 still highly popular, poll finds
Occasional rumblings around the Capitol about changing Proposition 13 aren’t likely to amount to much anytime soon: The landmark tax-limiting measure is about as widely popular today as when it passed in 1978, according to a new Field Poll.
By a greater than 2-to-1 ratio, with 63 percent support, California voters would endorse the measure if it were up for a vote again today, according to the poll.
“It’s still the third rail of California politics,” poll director Mark DiCamillo said. “It’s really an untouchable. Tinkering with Proposition 13 would probably be done at a politician’s own peril.”
Approved by a 65 percent to 35 percent margin 33 years ago, Proposition 13 drastically reduced property taxes and made it more difficult for lawmakers to raise taxes in general.
The level of support slipped slightly in later years, from as low as 50 percent in 1991 to 57 percent in 2008, and politicians seeking to raise revenue in a withering economy occasionally considered trying to change it.
The poll suggests how difficult that might be: Though support among Republicans is greatest, majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independent voters all support the measure, as do majorities of both renters and homeowners, regardless of how long ago they bought their homes.
But a plurality of California voters for the first time since the proposition’s passage not only support the measure but oppose amending it to permit commercial property owners to be taxed at a higher rate. By a 50 percent to 41 percent margin, voters oppose such a change, according to the poll.
Study supports bill to end fingerprints for food stamp recipients
A new study provides support for a bill on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk that would stop the state’s policy of fingerprinting food stamp recipients.
California’s policy is meant to deter fraud, but it keeps people from seeking aid and creates high administrative costs, according to a study this month by the Public Policy Institute of California.
Participation in California’s food stamp program, CalFresh, is much lower than in other states but would rise about 7 percent if the state stopped fingerprint requirements. The state’s administrative costs for the program, which are some of the highest in the country, would drop about 13 percent, according to the study.
Legislation eliminating the fingerprinting process – AB 6 by Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, D-Arleta – is waiting for Brown’s signature. It passed the Legislature despite opposition from Republicans, who argued that the requirement deters fraud, making it harder to get food stamps from multiple jurisdictions or using multiple identities.
“I’m not sure there’s a reasonable argument to say we want to make it easier for more people to get on the welfare system,” said Assemblyman Brian Jones, R-Santee. “We want to make it easier for people to get off the welfare system.”
In 2007, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill, saying it would provide “an opportunity for increased fraud.”
The California District Attorneys Association lobbied against the bill this year and asked Brown for a veto.
“Why are we getting rid of a deterrent that hopefully keeps people from seeking duplicate benefits?” said Cory Salzillo, director of legislation for the association. “Let’s make sure that when the government says certain people should be getting (benefits) that the ones that aren’t entitled to them aren’t accessing them illegally.”
LAUSD schools brace for new wave of layoffs
Angel Barrett, principal of Plummer Elementary in North Hills, stays busy at her campus, where she regularly supervises her nearly 1,000 students during meal breaks, answers parent phone calls, translates teacher conferences and even trims rose bushes.
Come next week though, her workload will be growing substantially.
Plummer is set to lose two office clerks and a plant manager Friday, as Los Angeles Unified School District lays off more than 1,100 non-teaching employees to help balance its budget. Plummer already lost a library aide last year, leading to a shutdown of the school’s library.
“I am not complaining … we will find a way to make it work,” Barrett said.
“But at some point we are going to have to look at our new education system and figure out how we continue to take care of our infrastructure when we are losing all of our supports.”
LAUSD officials closed a $408 million budget deficit for the 2011-12 school year using employee concessions and layoffs, including the loss of office clerks, library aides, campus aides and other school workers.
The final cuts to schools were less drastic than “worst-case scenario” predictions district officials presented in February.
After most employee unions agreed to take four furlough days and the state budget appeared to take a turn for the better, many of the more than 7,000 layoffs that had been expected were prevented.
Obama’s Westside campaign office vandalized
Los Angeles police were investigating a Thursday night incident in which someone shot BB-gun pellets and threw an object into President Obama’s Westside campaign office, authorities said.
The incident was reported at 7:25 p.m. at the office in the 6700 block of South Centinela Avenue.
The person who called in the incident “reported hearing glass breaking and noticed that windows were broken,” LAPD spokeswoman Sara Faden said.
No one was in the office at the time, Faden said. Police did not say what object was thrown into the office.
The LAPD had no immediate description of the vandal and it was not clear if the act was captured on video.
The incident comes days before the president is due to visit Los Angeles to raise money for what is expected to be a bruising 2012 reelection campaign.
Enjoy your morning!