Index
Tuesday
Oct282014

SACRAMENTO: State budget, tax-hike extension?: "Gov. Jerry Brown downplays possibility of tax-hike extension" ....

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Gov. Jerry Brown downplays possibility of tax-hike extension" - From the Chronicle:

Emphasizing what he called the Democratic Party’s commitment to frugal governing, Gov. Jerry Brown downplayed the chances Monday of returning to the voters to renew sales and income tax increases when they expire starting at the end of 2016.

Speaking with reporters in Pleasanton after a rare campaign appearance, Brown was asked about the possibility of extending Proposition 30, which has bailed out the state budget by raising $6 billion a year. The measure, passed by voters overwhelmingly in 2012, raised sales taxes by 0.25 percent through the end of 2016 and increased income taxes on the wealthiest Californians through 2018. “I said when I campaigned for Prop. 30 that it was a temporary tax,” Brown said. “That’s my belief, and I’m doing what we can to live within our means.”

Brown made the remarks after a stop at the Alameda County Democratic Party’s campaign headquarters, where he told an audience of elected officials and volunteers that Democrats in California have fashioned a “winning combination” in power that includes a quality most often associated with Republicans — fiscal prudence.

“Out here in California, we’ve got momentum because we have two things: We have the compassion and caring of the Democratic Party, and we’ve got the prudence and the discipline to live within our means,” Brown said. “We want all the people to know, when you’re voting for a Democrat, (that’s) someone who cares about your future — but also cares about your money,” he said....................

Tuesday
Oct282014

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Malibu): Measure R, battle over growth: "In Malibu, millionaires spar over a slow-growth ballot measure" ....  

***Following up on earlier item noted here (Steve Lopez, Malibu "royalty," Measure R)....

* Los Angeles Times:  "In Malibu, millionaires spar over a slow-growth ballot measure" - From the LAT:

The two millionaires squared off in the middle of the stage and sized each other up, staring eye to eye, like prizefighters. On one side stood Steve Soboroff, president of the Los Angeles Police Commission — and developer. On the other stood Rob Reiner, an Emmy-winning actor and director and the public face of a contentious Malibu ballot measure.

The two took the stage Sunday night in a standing-room-only City Hall to debate a proposed slow-growth law that would regulate chain stores in the coastal city. But for a few moments, as the pair stood just inches from one another, the scene more closely resembled the weigh-in before a championship boxing match. "We do have sheriff's deputies here," the debate's co-moderator Dave Bryan warned the verbal pugilists. Nervous chuckles ensued.

The prize on this night was the hearts and minds of Malibu residents who will take to the polls next week to vote on Measure R — an initiative spearheaded by Reiner that would give voters the power to approve or deny any commercial development bigger than 20,000 square feet. Chain stores would be limited to 30% of the space in new shopping centers under the proposal.

The two men didn't throw any physical punches. But they tried to land rhetorical knockout blows in testy exchanges.............................

Tuesday
Oct282014

POLITICS/BUSINESS: Ethical companies?: "The ethics of firms paying to be honored for ethics" ....

* Los Angeles Times (David Lazarus):  "The ethics of firms paying to be honored for ethics" - From the LAT:

Peter Humber was watching TV at his home in Montecito Heights recently when an ad for Blue Shield of California came on. "We've been named one of the world's most ethical companies," the ad said. "Hey, remember when things like ethics mattered?"

Humber, 78, couldn't believe what he was hearing. "They're one of the most ethical companies?" he told me. "After everything I've heard about them?"

What Humber was referring to was Blue Shield being criticized by the state insurance commissioner earlier this year for an "unreasonable" average 10% rate hike affecting about 81,000 policyholders. "Who would name them one of the world's most ethical companies?" Humber wanted to know.

Good question.................................

Tuesday
Oct282014

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles City Council, labor influence/lack of debate?: "Dissent goes missing in pro-labor L.A. City Council" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Dissent goes missing in pro-labor L.A. City Council" - From the LAT:

If anyone on the Los Angeles City Council loves data, it's Paul Krekorian. The San Fernando Valley lawmaker stood up at a recent meeting and rattled off numbers from a new report on the city's economic health. Sales tax revenue? Up 26% since 2009. Business tax revenue? Up 29%. "I love these reports," Krekorian said. "I keep 'em every year. I study them and really get into the weeds."

That knack for publicly sifting through the details was absent a few weeks ago, when the council hiked the hourly minimum wage for most hotels with 150 or more rooms to $15.37. The proposal had major implications for the hospitality industry and its workers. One city-hired economist, Christopher Thornberg, said a similar wage initiative at Los Angeles International Airport had been followed by a 10% decline in hotel jobs.

Krekorian voted no. But during the council's hourlong debate, he didn't ask a single question. In fact, he didn't say a word. Neither did Councilman Mitchell Englander, another opponent of the hotel measure. The council's overall discussion of the proposal was, putting it mildly, skewed in favor of the increase.

The meeting gave a glimpse of how debate — or the lack of it — is playing out at City Hall these days. With organized labor regularly getting its way on the council floor, even those politicians who hold dissenting views have been keeping their thoughts to themselves.......................

Friday
Oct242014

POLITICS/MEDIA: Death of Frank Mankiewicz: "Frank Mankiewicz, political and media insider, dies at 90" ....

* Washington Post:  "Frank Mankiewicz, political and media insider, dies at 90" - From the WP:

Frank Mankiewicz, who came from a family of Hollywood luminaries but forged his own path in Washington politics and media, serving as a top aide to presidential candidates Robert F. Kennedy and George S. McGovern, as an ambitious president of National Public Radio and as a rainmaker at a prominent public relations firm, died Oct. 23 at a Washington hospital. He was 90.

The cause was a massive heart failure, said Adam Clymer, a longtime friend.

Mr. Mankiewicz (pronounced MAN-ka-witz) was a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge and, in a career spanning six decades, a lawyer, journalist, author, congressional candidate and player in liberal Democratic politics. “I know everyone in Washington, and half of them owe me something,” Mr. Mankiewicz once quipped. “The other half I owe.”

   ****

The balding and beefy Mr. Mankiewicz was admired on the hustings for his acerbic wit, usually doled out between puffs on his Kool cigarettes.

   ****

His smart-aleck remarks endeared him to the press corps, which regarded him, if only by pedigree, as one of its own.......................................