Index
Sunday
Apr202014

SACRAMENTO: Sen. Leland Yee, various reports: Report, "Leland Yee case: Disgraced California state senator's legislative efforts fueled cash for campaigns"; commentary (Willie Brown), "Let's everybody calm down about the Leland Yee ruckus"; Matier & Ross, "A bloody message for Leland Yee in the 1990's" ....

***Leland Yee coverage, commentary....

* San Francisco Chronicle (Willie Brown):  "Let's everybody calm down about the Leland Yee ruckus"

* San Jose Mercury News:  "Leland Yee case: Disgraced California state senator's legislative efforts fueled cash for campaigns"

* San Francisco Chronicle (Matier & Ross):  "A bloody message for Leland Yee in the 1990's"

Sunday
Apr202014

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: More info/details, Central Basin Water District, potential loss of insurance coverage: "Troubled Central Basin Water District may lose insurance" ...."

***Following up on earlier item noted here ("dysfunctional" Central Basin Water District, numerous insurance claims, carrier threat to cancel liability coverage)....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Troubled Central Basin Water District may lose insurance" - "The Assn. of California Water Agencies Joint Powers Insurance Authority has recommended to its board that it drop the district's employment liability coverage due to 'dysfunction' and increasing lawsuits." - From the LAT:

A controversy-riddled water district involved in a federal corruption investigation is in danger of losing its insurance, a political black eye that could have implications for the agency and its 2 million customers.

The Assn. of California Water Agencies Joint Powers Insurance Authority has recommended to its board that it drop the employment liability insurance for Central Basin Municipal Water District, citing the circus-like atmosphere at the agency. The authority insures hundreds of water districts across the state, and this would be only the second time in its 35-year history that it canceled coverage for a water district.

"It appears to an outsider that there is a sense of dysfunction on the district's board," the insurance authority wrote in a letter to Central Basin. "This dysfunction is resulting in an inordinate increase in litigation against the district." The insurer noted that Central Basin had an usually high number of legal claims against it, and said that, more important, the ongoing threat of more litigation posed too great a risk for other members of the insurance pool.

Central Basin, or its members, has been the subject of several investigations in recent years. . . . . . . .

Losing its insurance could hurt Central Basin's standing in financial markets and its ability to get loans, and would mean the district would have to find another insurance provider, possibly at a much higher rate.

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Central Basin serves a largely working-class area of southeast Los Angeles County. The district has been criticized in the past for raising water rates. The agency's finance director, Richard Aragon, said he was confident the insurance situation would not lead to rate hikes.

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The insurer has proposed several steps the district can take to preserve its coverage..............................

Sunday
Apr202014

POLITICS/EDUCATION (South Bay/Los Angeles County): Continuing controversy, widening "scandal," Centinela Valley Union High School District: "Two more managers in Centinela Valley school district put on paid leave" ....  

***Following up on most recent earlier item noted here (continuing controversy, Centinela Valley Union High School District, Superintendent Jose Fernandez)....

* Daily Breeze:  "Two more managers in Centinela Valley school district put on paid leave" - From the DB:

The scandal in the Centinela Valley school district is widening, with two mid-level managers being placed on paid leave as several investigations continue into the excessive compensation of Superintendent Jose Fernandez.

In the two weeks since the school board put Fernandez on paid leave on April 9, district administrators have issued the same order for Patrick Au, director of information management services, and Ernany Montijo, director of fiscal services. Meanwhile, teachers union President Jack Foreman said there is no chance Fernandez will return to the district.  “Absolutely zero,” he said. “The corruption is too extensive. There’s nobody in that district who supports him.”

The District Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the county Office of Education and the district itself are investigating the activities of the Centinela Valley Union High School District, including the contract that allowed Fernandez to amass such a hefty compensation package in 2013.

It’s unclear why the two mid-level managers have been placed on leave. But sources in the district say they were close to Fernandez, whose total compensation in 2013 came to at least $663,000 — and possibly reached $772,000.

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Foreman said he doesn’t know the specifics about the two middle managers on leave, but he believes people at that level were sometimes used to carry out questionable orders. “There apparently was an atmosphere of fear and (Fernandez) ran a reign of terror in that office,” Foreman said. “Lower-level managers and the clerical staff were living under a reign of terror.”

Regarding some of the more questionable aspects of Fernandez’s compensation — such as a $750,000 whole life insurance policy that apparently was purchased before the school board approved it — Foreman said: “There were people in that building that let these things happen. He obviously could not do this without having staff members who facilitated the fleecing of the district.”

Sunday
Apr202014

SACRAMENTO: Prison realignment, Jerry Brown: "realignment is working" -- California counties: "more money needed" for new jail cells, inmate counseling, etc.: "California counties tell Gov. Jerry Brown they need money for his prison law" ....

* Fresno Bee (AP):  "California counties tell Gov. Jerry Brown they need money for his prison law" - From the Bee:

— Gov. Jerry Brown has been quietly visiting California counties since the start of the year to see how they are faring under his 3-year-old realignment law that dramatically altered the state's criminal justice system by increasing the burden on local governments. He gave his verdict recently to a gathering of the state's major law enforcement organizations: "I can report ... that realignment is working."

Interviews with some of the local officials the governor has met with reveal a more nuanced picture.

Sheriffs, county supervisors and police chiefs told The Associated Press that they had pressed the governor for more money as they deal with a crush of additional inmates. They say the money is needed for new jail cells, inmate mental health counseling, and education and rehabilitation programs, among other issues.

After meeting with Monterey County Sheriff Scott Miller in January, Brown said he would look through the Capitol "cookie jar" to see if he could find more money for counties. "I'm still waiting to see what he found in his cookie jars," Miller told the AP. "I haven't heard anything back yet."

Reporters have not had direct access to the meetings between Brown and local officials, which in at least one case involved the governor talking directly to jail inmates. Most of Brown's visits with county officials have not been advised in advance and do not show up on his official calendar. A spokesman said the governor's office released photos on Twitter after each meeting.

The realignment law is a defining issue for the Democratic governor and marks one of the most significant policy achievements of his current term. Brown pushed for the law to help the state comply with federal court demands to reduce its inmate population and to reduce the amount of money the state was spending on prisons. Under the law, convicts who would previously go to state prisons are being kept in county jails.

Yet it also has led to criticism from crime victim advocates, Republican lawmakers and even some county officials that it is creating the same kind of overcrowded conditions in county jails that gave rise to the federal court intervention in the state prison system. . . . . . . .

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To get a sense of what the governor has been hearing, the AP interviewed local authorities who had met with him in five counties, representing a cross section of the state — large and small, coastal and inland. Most of them said the discussions revolved around money to build and operate new jails, provide programs for inmates and track criminals after their release.

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Diane Cummins, the governor's special adviser on realignment who accompanied Brown to many of the counties, said the state is unlikely to increase the operating funds it provides counties, but it might help with county-provided mental health and drug treatment programs......................

Sunday
Apr202014

POLITICS (National, State, Local/Bay Area): Obama fundraising, May 8, high demand for tickets, new venue, larger location for event in Mountain View .... 

*** Following up on earlier item noted here (Obama fundraisers in Bay Area, May 8)....

* San Francisco Chronicle (PoliticsBlog):  "New! Obama to hit Y Combinator headquarters in Mt. View on May 8" - From the Chronicle:

President Obama will hit the Mt. View headquarters of Y Combinator, the hot Silicon Valley start-up funder and incubator, as part of a May 8 fundraiser that will now be co-hosted by Y Combinator president Sam Altman and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, sources say.

The fundraiser was originally planned at the Palo Alto home of Mayer, where only about 200 could be accommodated. The change was made because of demand for tickets to the Obama fundraiser, which benefits the Democratic National Committee, sources said. Ticket pricing will remain the same to the event — starting at $1,000 per person for the reception, $5,000 for a photo line with the president, and up to $32,400 for membership in the DNC Presidential Partners program. Here’s the invite.

As we previously reported, Obama earlier that same day will star at a tech round table for 20 at the Los Altos home of 23andMe co-founder and CEO Ann Wojcicki — with tickets at the max-out $32,400 range................