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Thursday
Oct072010

SACRAMENTO: A budget, a budget, anyone for a budget?

* Day 99 of the fiscal year.  The Legislature today is scheduled to vote on a budget.  As for how the plan differs from earlier plans that had been rejected -- what the budget does (or does not do) -- therein lies the rub.  Several reports today on all of this:

* Los Angeles Times:  "Budget deal would close California's deficit but makes rosy projections" -  "The agreement that lawmakers are scheduled to vote on Thursday would close the $19.1 billion shortfall by trimming salaries, public school funding and salaries.  It relies heavily on federal dollars."

* Sacramento Bee:  "Budget plan a temporary fix to California's long-term fiscal woes"

* Daily News (AP):  "Calif. budget plan relies on accounting maneuvers"

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "California budget goes to Legislature for vote"

* Sacramento Bee: "Schwarzenegger, SEIU agree to labor pact with pension concessions"

* Los Angeles Times:  "Openness on California budget deal decisions remains elusive" - "The Assembly speaker promised that the spending plan wouldn't be written in private.  But the break in the long process did indeed happen behind closed doors."

* Los Angeles Times (George Skelton):  "It's a gimmick-laden budget, but get the deal done" - "By Friday, a plan will be 99 days past due.  Game time is over."

Wednesday
Oct062010

BASEBALL: Roy Halladay pitches no-hitter in Phillies' 4-0 shutout over Cincinnati; first no-hitter in playoffs since 1956.... 

* Wow, Philadelphia Phillies' pitcher Roy Halladay delivered a no-hitter this afternoon to kick off Phillies National League Division Series against the Cincinnati Reds.  And, except for a full-count walk in the 5th inning, Halladay would have eqialed Don Larsen's 1956 perfect game for the Yankees against the Dodgers.  And Halladay also contributed an RBI single.... 

Report from mlb.fanhouse.com:  "Roy Halladay Throws No-Hitter Against Reds to Open Playoffs"

Wednesday
Oct062010

L.A. CITY HALL: Updated salary database list for city employees....

* Daily News reports that the online database of city employee salaries has been updated to reflect the impact of furloughs and other factors... From the DN:

   The online database listing the salaries of Los Angeles city employees was updated today to reflect the impact of furloughs and other factors. The database — which can be accessed at controller.lacity.org/index.htm — includes the approved annual salaries and year-to-date actual earnings for more than 37,000 full-time city employees. It lists their job titles, but not their names. The previous database listed approved annual salaries, but many city employees were not actually earning those amounts because of furloughs, overtime, various allowances and — for a few officials — voluntary pay cuts.

***DN notes that this database was originally released in August by L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel in response to the salary scandal in Bell. And that the website of the city administrative officer, who is the city's top budget analyst and chief labor negotiator, has for years listed the range of salaries for each city employee position, along with the salaries — as well as the names — of the city's general managers, who are some of the city's highest paid workers, at cao.lacity.org/MOUs/ClassTitleSalaryTable.pdf.  Also, that the database does not include aalaries at the Department of Water and Power or Community Redevelopment Agency, since the City Controller's office does not manage those payrolls.

Wednesday
Oct062010

POLITICS: State budget details, where the cuts are....

* Los Angeles Times reports this afternoon on some of the details that have been released regarding the state budget deal... From the LAT:

   The budget accord that top lawmakers and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger have struck would rely on cuts to public schools and reduced state worker pay, optimistic revenue assumptions and more than $5 billion in help from Washington -– far more than previously estimated -– to eliminate California’s $19-billion deficit. The details of the spending plan, released in a report of the Legislature’s joint budget conference committee Wednesday morning, come less than 24 hours before the Legislature is scheduled to vote on the package. The budget, for the fiscal year that began July 1, is 98 days overdue and already the latest in modern state history.

   The agreement avoids the deepest cuts that Schwarzenegger had proposed, such as the elimination of California’s main welfare program and child care for 140,000 children of low-income families. But it would roll back a pension boost that state workers received at the height of the dot-com boom. The new, lower pension levels would only apply to future employees. Under the plan, current state employees would have their pay cut, contribute more to their pension plan and would be subjected to a payroll freeze. The combination would save the state $1.5 billion this year, the report says

***LAT notes that the agreement also would suspend the state’s education-funding guarantee, lowering school spending by $3 billion, but that more half of this cutback would be an accounting move, simply deferring payment of some school bills until the following fiscal year.  And that, although the conference report doesn't detail all the proposed cuts in the plan, it does reflect that the California's in-home healthcare program for the elderly, blind and disabled would shrink by 3.6% and that child-care services provided by the state would be trimmed by $48 million.

LAT further notes that winners in the plan would be the state’s two higher-education systems, the University of California and California State University, both of which would receive $200 million to compensate for cuts made last year and enough money to fully fund projected enrollment growth, according to the report. And also that, although an earlier proposal to shift state-prison inmates to county jails (something which was vehemently opposed by local law-enforcement officials) has been abandoned, the plan does cut the prison budget by more than $1 billion, mostly affecting inmate medical care, which is under the control of a federal receiver.

Wednesday
Oct062010

L.A. CITY HALL: Mayor's divorce is final....

* Los Angeles Times reports today that Mayor Antonio's Villaraigosa's divorce is now official... From the LAT:

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's marriage to Corina Villaraigosa is officially dissolved, a court spokesman said Wednesday. Villaraigosa's wife, Corina Villaraigosa, filed for divorce in June 2007, citing "irreconcilable differences." She made the move to end their 20-year marriage after Villaraigosa publicly accepted responsibility for their separation, saying he felt a "personal sense of failure."  

***MORE:  And Daily News now has a report up on this as well.... DN says that the divorce between the mayor and Corina Villaraigosa was finalized Tuesday, possibly by a private judge, according to a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Superior Court.