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Monday
Jun272011

POLITICS (State, Local, National): Vernon, John Perez focus on disincorporation legislation (editorial); San Francisco, proposal to ban the sale of all pets; Jerry Brown chief spokesman, Republicans "basically moronic"; Hahn-Huey, 36th Cong. Dist., "nasty tone" of campaign; Nancy Pelosi, focus on winning back House majority for Democrats; where Californians get their news; etc........

***Various items today, from Sacramento, San Francisco, Washington, D.C....

* Washington Post:  "Inside Nancy Pelosi's drive to win the House majority back for Democrats"

* Sacramento Bee:  "Where Californians get their news . . . if they get it at all"

* Los Angeles Times:  "San Francisco considers banning the sale of all pets" - "The proposal started with dogs and cats, expanded to birds and hamsters, and now includes any animal that walks, flies, swims, crawls or slithers -- unless you plan to eat it."

* Sacramento Bee (editorial):  "Why is Speaker John Perez expending so much of his political capital on Vernon?"

* Los Angeles Times:  "Jerry Brown's office calls Republicans 'basically moronic'"

* Los Angeles Times:  "Nasty tone of South Bay congressional contest is more typical of closer contests" - "Republican Craig Huey is pushing hard to defeat L.A. Councilwoman Janice Hahn ini the race to replace Jane Harman. Democrats have an 18-point registration edge in the district."

* Sacramento Bee (editorial):  "Salary for new CIRM chair does not bode well"

Monday
Jun272011

DODGERS/McCOURTS: Dodgers file for bankruptcy protection....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Frank McCourt takes Dodgers into bankruptcy court" - From the LAT:

   The Dodgers filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday. Owner Frank McCourt said he had lined up $150 million in interim financing so he could keep control of the team during the bankruptcy proceedings.

   In a news release, the decision to file bankruptcy was described as a move to "protect the franchise financially and provide a path that will enable the club to consummate a media transaction and capitalize the team."

   See the complete statement on the Dodgers' bankruptcy filing.

***NOTE --  Excerpt from the news release

   Under Chapter 11, the Dodgers will continue to operate in the ordinary course of business. Pursuant to that authority, and additional authority the Dodgers have sought in motions filed today with the bankruptcy court: All salaries of Dodger employees will be paid and all Dodger employee benefits will continue. The Dodgers will operate within their existing budget to sign and acquire amateur, international and professional players. Ticket prices will remain the same and purchased tickets will continue to be honored. All amenities at Dodger stadium will continue in place, and promotions will continue as usual. Dodger vendors and suppliers will be paid any post-petition amounts in the ordinary course, with the intention of paying any pre-petition amounts in full prior to or at the conclusion of the bankruptcy case.

   McCourt concluded, “The Chapter 11 process provides the path on which to position the Los Angeles Dodgers for long-term success. The process will allow us to focus on maximizing value in a manner that is transparent and driven by the best interests of the Los Angeles Dodgers and our fans.”

   Chapter 11 filings were also made for LA Real Estate LLC, an affiliated entity which owns Dodger Stadium, and three other related holding companies.

Monday
Jun272011

MORNING MEMOS: Red-light cameras, politics; Angels Flight, no timeline for reopening; LAUSD, teacher rehiring funds, changing of the guard for teachers union....

***Various items this morning relating to local government in Los Angeles....

* Daily News (Doug McIntyre):  "City Hall playing games with red-light cameras"

* Downtown News:  "Railway Dangers Should Have Been Caught Sooner, Say Officials" - "No Timeline for Reopening of Shuttered Angels Flight"

* Daily News (Rick Orlov TIPOFF):  "Changing of the guard for teachers union"

* Daily Breeze:  "LAUSD teacher rehiring funds languish"

 

Monday
Jun272011

SACRAMENTO" Jerry Brown, campaign promises on budget being tested; backfire of Legislature's budget "deception" (Dan Walters)....

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Budget talks test Jerry Brown's campaign promises" - From the Chronicle:

   ****

   Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a policy and politics fellow at the University of Southern California and a veteran observer of California politics, said Brown miscalculated how difficult it would be to get a compromise with Republicans and that his experiences from his first two terms as governor three decades ago aren't helping him now. "It's a very different California, a very different Sacramento and a very different state Capitol," she said. "He basically got stopped in his tracks."

   Dan Schnur, a former Republican strategist who now directs the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the USC, said the governor has two options: put together a package that will attract Republican votes or approve a budget "that isn't really balanced but would not be as egregious as the one he vetoed."

   If he does the latter, "The best thing for him to tell voters is, 'I'm going to keep my promise, but it's going to take two years, not just one,' " Schnur said.

   ****

   While the governor is still pushing his tax plan, lawmakers are making public statements that cast significant doubt on that proposal. State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, told reporters that he does not believe there will be an extension of taxes this week and said of Brown's proposal, "Obviously it would be the preferable plan, but it's not happening."

* Sacramento Bee (Dan Walters):  "Legislature's deception on budget backfires" - From the Bee:

   Sir Walter Scott wasn't writing about politics when he sagely observed two centuries ago, "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive." But he could have been – and his poetry perfectly describes the ironic consequences of two deceptive California ballot measures drafted by Democratic politicians and their allies.

   Last week, state Controller John Chiang invoked the intertwined provisions of the two measures, 2004's Proposition 58 and last year's Proposition 25, to cut off salaries and expense payments of state legislators because they failed to pass a balanced budget by the June 15 constitutional deadline.

   ****

   Democrats tested Proposition 25 by passing a gimmick-ridden budget just before the deadline, and Gov. Jerry Brown promptly vetoed it as being unbalanced. Chiang then decreed that legislators wouldn't be paid because they failed to comply with Proposition 58, as innocuous as its provisions had seemed to be.

   The explosion of outrage among legislators just proved that getting paid was the sham budget's primary purpose. And while they could probably satisfy Chiang by making a few cosmetic changes in the budget and passing it again, putting a new coat of lipstick on the pig would not resolve the underlying income-outgo imbalance.

   Were Brown to accept it, moreover, he would be reneging on his promise to finally solve the long-term fiscal problem – one that began to emerge when he was serving his first stint as governor three decades ago, in part because of decisions he made at the time for expedient political reasons.

Monday
Jun272011

L.A. CITY HALL: "The Mayor, the City and the Future", editorial; NFL/AEG, "football stadium follies" (Jim Newton)....

* Los Angeles Times (Jim Newton):  "L.A.'s downtown football folllies" - "The deal may bring benefits, but many observers lack confidence that city government can hold its own when negotiating with a savvy company." - From the LAT:

   In the debate over whether to build a downtown football stadium, there's a gnawing, vague and understandable public apprehension that the city may be getting snookered. It's not an entirely formed idea — those who advance it cite a variety of qualms, many at odds with one another. But in the deliberations of the City Council, in public meetings and especially in private conversations, there's a drumbeat of dread.

    When The Times' editorial board endorsed most aspects of the stadium proposal eight days ago, the reaction of some readers reflected that unease. A few cheered the idea, but others complained that it was a giveaway to billionaires (Phil Anschutz is the Denver magnate behind AEG), or that the city was in no position to be subsidizing a big project, or that the developer was ducking environmental review.

   Much of that is wrong. Under the terms of this deal, the city would give up some potential tax revenue but not any existing taxes; rather, it forgoes a portion of the taxes that would be generated by the new project, so it's not putting cash on the table. Moreover, AEG is performing an environmental review (though it's asking for some special protection from lawsuits), and the city gets the potential to revive its moribund Convention Center by renovating and adding space at AEG's expense.

    But this discussion isn't entirely about the deal points. Many smart residents and longtime observers of L.A. politics are troubled not because of what's on the table but because of what's beneath the table: They no longer trust the city government to hold its own when negotiating with a savvy company, especially one that is a big campaign contributor and a fixture of city politics.......................

* Downtown News (editorial):  "The Mayor, the City and the Future" - From the DTN:

   Recently, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa traveled to Washinton, D.C., where he assumed the role of president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. In his first days in that post, he made statements, in speeches and on national television shows, about education reform, about creating jobs, abouot aiding cities and about advancing efforts to speed up the construction of local mass transit projects.

   Those are all important things, and Los Angeles could benefit with a voice in Washington, D.C. The financially strapped city can use funding and legislative help from the feds on a number of fronts, and if Villaraigosa's role in this organization gives him pull in Congress and advances those aims now and in the future, then we are better off for it.  

   Villaraigosa did not limit his comments to these sugjects. He also picked up other domestic and international threads. He referenced the national, rancorous divide between Republicans and Democrats. He touched on ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying that it could free up money for cities. 

   Congressional party battles and international conflicts are important topics, to be sure. However, they are matters upon which Villaraigosa carries no national influence. We're hard-pressed to see how Los Angeles will be made better by the mayor inserting himself in these debates. Some of the comments seemed more like an audition for future work than something for the present.

   Villaraigosa, of course, is a mayor who has not always been laser-focused on the job Angelenos twice elected him to do. . . . . .

   ****

   We think that, since the beginning of his second terms, Villaraigosa has improved and has shown as deeper consideration of Los Angeles. Yet although he is better than he was, he still is not what millions of Angelenos hoped he would be when he first took the oath of office. The potential has never been realized. 

   ****

   All of which brings us back to Villaraigosa's Washington trip, to his standing before a phalanx of TV cameras outside the White Housse, to his appearance on "Meet the Press" with a host of national figures. One might believe such a setting is where Villaraigosa has logn envisioned himself.

   Maybe it is, but if so, he should put it on the back burner and pay heed to those who elected him, those who entrusted him to run the city. . . . . . . . .