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Wednesday
Jun082011

SACRAMENTO: California prison overcrowding, "state stumped" as to how it will meet U.S. Supreme Court order to trim prison population by more than 10,000 in five months; analysis, commentary.....

* Sacramento Bee: "How to ease prison crowding has state stumped" - From the Bee:

   This is the state of California's prison system today: 143,435 inmates in state prisons, and a court order giving officials five months to trim that number to 133,016. How that will be accomplished is still a mystery. "We are out of time and we're out of room," Matthew Cate, secretary of the California department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said Tuesday in a stark assessment. "We've got to get this done."

   The state has been under the gun for years to do something about the chronic overcrowding problems inside its 33 adult prisons. But last month's U.S. Supreme Court ruling affirming the sorry state of prison overcrowding has added new urgency to the situation.

   Gov. Jerry Brown envisions solving the problem by shifting tens of thousands of low-level inmates to the supervision of county sheriffs, and he already has signed legislation to allow that. But his plan for funding the "realignment" hinges on a proposed budget that includes extensions of state tax hikes imposed in 2009, and Brown has been unable to garner Republican support for that proposal.

   Without a budget agreement or some magical fiscal fix that appears out of the blue, prison officials say they have two options in the coming months: Ask for an extension from the court or risk a court order requiring the release of more than 10,000 inmates in the fall.......................

 

***ALSO:

* Los Angeles Times:  "California risks violating first deadline to cut prison population" - "California has to meet a November deadline to slash the head county by more than 10,000 inmates, but administration officials say they can't act without funding from the Legislature. A Republican accuses Gov. Brown of 'scare tactics.'"

* Sacramento Bee (Dan Walters):  "California prison dilemma has it all: power politics, big money and the law"

Tuesday
Jun072011

WASHINGTON, D.C.: New Washington Post-ABC News poll, Obama loses bin Laden bounce, broadly pessimistic mood in the country....

***New Washington Post-ABC poll numbers indicate that the boost President Obama received after the killing of Osama bin Laden has dissipated and that there is increasing disapproval as to how he is handling the nation's economy....

* Washington Post:  "Obama loses bin Laden bounce; Romney on the move among contenders" - From the WP:

   The public opinion boost President Obama received after the killing of Osama bin Laden has dissipated, and Americans’ disapproval of how he is handling the nation’s economy and the deficit has reached new highs, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

   The survey portrays a broadly pessimistic mood in the country this spring as higher gasoline prices, sliding home values and a disappointing employment picture have raised fresh concerns about the pace of the economic recovery.  By 2 to 1, Americans say the country is pretty seriously on the wrong track, and nine in 10 continue to rate the economy in negative terms. Nearly six in 10 say the economy has not started to recover, regardless of what official statistics may say, and most of those who say it has improved rate the recovery as weak.

   New Post-ABC numbers show Obama leading five of six potential Republican presidential rivals tested in the poll. But he is in a dead heat with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who formally announced his 2012 candidacy last week, making jobs and the economy the central issues in his campaign. Among all Americans, Obama and Romney are knotted at 47 percent each, and among registered voters, the former governor is numerically ahead, 49 percent to 46 percent.

   Overall, about six in 10 of those surveyed give Obama negative marks on the economy and the deficit. Significantly, nearly half strongly disapprove of his performance in these two crucial areas. Nearly two-thirds of political independents disapprove of the president’s handling of the economy, including — for the first time — a slim majority who do so strongly.

   In another indicator of rapidly shifting views on economic issues, 45 percent trust congressional Republicans over the president when it comes to dealing with the economy, an 11-point improvement for the GOP since March. Still, nearly as many, 42 percent, side with Obama on this issue.......................

Tuesday
Jun072011

SACRAMENTO: Budget talks, new snag....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Jerry Brown says budget talks hit new snag" - From the LAT:

   Gov. Jerry Brown said Tuesday that budget negotiations have hit a snag over the issue of extending current sales and vehicle tax rates until voters have a chance to decide on them later this year. Those taxes are set to go down on July 1, but Brown wants to keep to current higher tax rates in place for three months, with the public weighing in this fall. Republican lawmakers want to let the taxes roll off as scheduled and be re-raised if voters give their okay.

   “What’s going on now is the Republicans are saying that we have to cut for 3-4 months before this election … and that doesn’t work,” Brown said.

   [Updated: 3:07 p.m.] Sen. Bob Huff, the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, confirmed that the temporary taxes remain the major sticking point.

   "I would say that’s a fair characterization. There's no Republican votes for a temporary tax."

   ****

   Brown suggested Tuesday Republicans were being unreasonable, noting that his budget already includes billions in cuts to state services, and that the deal being discussed includes major policy changes that Democrats oppose. “They’re going to get their pound of flesh,” Brown said. Brown said if Republicans refuse to budge on the issue, it could endanger the entire tax-election plan. “if we don’t get that bridge tax, it’s pretty much the budget goes to all cuts,” he said.............

***ALSO, Sacramento Bee:  "Senate plans to air warnings of all-cut budget on floor"

Tuesday
Jun072011

AFTERNOON MEMOS: Vote by L.A. Police Commission to kill red-light camera program; Section 8 housing, Public Counsel lawsuit vs. Lancaster and Palmdale; new auto insurance rate ballot measure; another Schwarzenegger aide opens new consulting firm; Marina del Rey, efforts to preserve its past; more info, L.A. Deputy Mayor for Transportation.... 

***L.A. Police Commission says no more red-light cameras in the city of L.A.; if no action by the L.A. City Council is taken to overturn this vote, the cameras will be shut down. Nasty battle in Lancaster and Palmdale over the cities' hostile approach to Section 8 housing; racial discrimination lawsuit filed today charging that the two cities have declared "war" on the federally-subsidized housing program.

Also, another former Schwarzenegger aide opens his own consulting firm.  An interesting look at efforts to preserve Marina del Rey's past. An effort by the auto insurance industry to qualify a new initiative similar to Prop. 17 that was defeated by California voters last year. And a bit more information about Mayor Villaraigosa's new transportation deputy....

* Los Angeles Times:  "L.A. Police Commission votes to kill red-light camera program"

* LA Weekly:  "Public Counsel Sues Lancaster and Palmdale Over 'War' On Section 8 Housing"

* Sacramento Bee:  "Former Schwarzenegger aide opens consulting firm"

* Daily Breeze:  "Preserving Marina del Rey's past"

* Sacramento Bee:  "Prop. 17 supporters submit new auto insurance rate initiative"

* Daily News:  "Mayor Villaraigosa appoints Borja Leon as new transportation deputy"

Tuesday
Jun072011

L.A. CITY HALL: New Deputy Mayor for Transportation, Borja Leon....

***With the mayor now having nominated his senior transportation deputy Jaime de la Vega as general manager at L.A. Dept. of Transportation. this has given rise to the appointment of a replacement for de la Vega within the mayor's office.  The new Deputy Mayor for Transportation is Borja Leon, moving up from Associate Director of Transportation.....

MAYOR VILLARAIGOSA announcement is as follows:

   Leon Brings Extensive Experience in Transportation, Infrastructure Projects at the Local and State Level

   Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced today that he has named Borja Leon Deputy Mayor for Transportation. Mr. Leon currently serves as the Associate Director of Transportation.

   “Borja has been a trusted advisor on major transportation policy issues both in the City and County of Los Angeles, " said Mayor Villaraigosa. “I know that he will use his broad experience to continue to shape our transportation policy and implement programs to reduce commutes, help expand transit options, and improve mobility for residents throughout Los Angeles."

   "I have had the honor of working for Mayor Villaraigosa since 2005 and am humbled to be chosen for this position," said Mr. Leon. "I plan to continue implementing the Mayor's vision to create a world-class transportation system for Los Angeles."

   Prior to his position as Associate Director of Transportation, Mr. Leon worked at the California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS). While at CALTRANS, Mr. Leon worked in Sacramento and San Diego on project development, engineering, and construction management for major infrastructure projects. Mr. Leon also worked for AECOM Inc. (formerly known as DMJM-Harris) on diverse rail, highway, bridge, and port infrastructure projects.

   Mr. Leon is a Registered and Licensed Professional Engineer in the State of California and holds a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Davis. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.