Index
Monday
May192014

SACRAMENTO: Proposition 42, Brown Act amendment, requirement, public notice of local government meetings, availability of documents, editorial (Los Angeles Times): "Yes on Proposition 42" .... 

* Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "Yes on Proposition 42" - From the LAT:

Should government workers and elected officials in cities, counties, water districts, school districts and other local governments be required to do their public business in public? Should they be required to post meeting agendas and turn over documents on request? Of course. It's a no-brainer. We shouldn't need a ballot measure to require them to obey what is already California law. We shouldn't have to go to the polls on June 3 to vote for Proposition 42. We shouldn't have to — but we do. The Times strongly endorses Proposition 42.

The measure would amend the state Constitution to prevent lawmakers from suspending portions of the Ralph M. Brown Act requiring adequate public notice of local government meetings, and portions of the Public Records Act requiring that documents be available for public inspection.

Proposition 42 is necessary because the state's budget crunch moved the governor and lawmakers to stop reimbursing cities, counties, schools and special districts for the costs of doing all that paperwork, and a few of those governments responded by threatening to simply stop doing it. Without state money, they argued, open government laws were unfunded mandates and they didn't have to comply. Voters should make it clear that they do have to comply — government workers and politicians do have to obey the law, and they do have to do their work in public — regardless of who pays for it.......................

Monday
May192014

POLITICS (Laredo, Texas: U.S.-Mexico border): Education, public services, immigrants, report/analysis, New York Times: "Deep Ties, Tested on Mexico's Border" ....

* New York Times:  "Deep Ties, Tested on Mexico's Border" - From the NYT:

LAREDO, Tex. — The state’s standardized test approached like a spring storm, and Alina Quiroga knew her fourth graders could drown. Here at a school about a mile from Mexico along Interstate 35, most of her students rarely speak English outside class. Many, living with distant relatives, lack the confidence to speak up even in Spanish. Ms. Quiroga circled the room, her pearl drop earrings swaying, as the children read aloud about George Washington.

“What does independent mean?” she asked at the end of the passage. “Alone?” one student responded. “Free?” another said.

“As you know, a lot of people come to the United States from other countries,” she continued, referring to the early English colonists. “Do you know why?” “Los van a matar"(they will be killed), a girl with a ponytail said. “People come from Mexico because there’s no jobs,” another student said. Suddenly, everyone was engaged and shouting — “To be safe!” “In Mexico, they steal your organs and sell them!” — until a petite girl near the front quietly added: “They want a better life.”

Ms. Quiroga, 48, paused. She had arrived in the United States from Cuba as a child. “A better life,” she repeated, smiling. “What does that mean to you?”

Laredo, a majority-Hispanic city since its founding in 1755, knows what it takes to incorporate immigrants. But over the past few years, as violence across the border in neighboring Nuevo Laredo has surged and as Border Patrol surveillance and checkpoints have made it harder to travel north of Laredo without documents, Laredo’s magnetic appeal has intensified, drawing immigrants who are testing local confidence, finances and the city’s bicultural equilibrium.

Fewer Laredoans now go south to visit friends or shop, while more from Mexico land here, staying longer instead of just visiting or moving on. . . . . . . .

The bigger worry is that in a city long known for its successful hybrid of Mexican and American cultures, the schools, churches and other institutions are underequipped, struggling to raise young Laredoans with the skills and attitude needed to fully succeed..............................

Monday
May192014

POLITICS (State, Local/L.A., Bay Area): Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept., (commentary, Jim Newton), "Tinkering won't fix a profoundly broken Sheriff's Dept."; Sacramento, commentary (Dan Walters), "Dems duel an old conflict"; San Francisco (commentary, Matier & Ross), "Transbay Transit Center's construction costs keep soaring" ....  

***Politics, Sacramento, Bay Area, Los Angeles County....

* Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed:  Jim Newton):  "Tinkering won't fix a profoundly broken Sheriff's Dept."

* Sacramento Bee (Dan Walters):  "Dems duel an old conflict"

* San Francisco Chronicle (Matier & Ross):  "Transbay Transit Center's construction costs keep soaring"

 

Monday
May192014

POLITICS/EDUCATION: California Superintendent of Public Instruction, upcoming election: "Big money pours into California schools chief race as challenger gains steam"; also, commentary (George Skelton), "Contest for California schools chief heats up" ....

***Interesting election, especially with anticipiated low voter turnout....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Big money pours into California schools chief race as challenger gains steam"

* Los Angeles Times (George Skelton):  "Contest for California schools chief heats up"

Monday
May192014

SACRAMENTO: SCA 16, SCA 17, proposed legislative rule changes, commentary (Dan Walters): "When political rules are changed, so are outcomes" ....

* Sacramento Bee (Dan Walters):  "When political rules are changed, so are outcomes" - From the Bee:

Three years ago, early in the 2011 baseball season, the Florida Marlins’ Scott Cousins, while trying to score in a game against the San Francisco Giants, collided with Buster Posey, the Giants’ star catcher, who was blocking home plate. Posey suffered a severely broken leg, which ended his season, and without him, the Giants, who had won the World Series e year before, had a lackluster year.

In response, a new rule is in place this year to restrict plate blocking. But the rule makes it more difficult for catchers to tag runners, as was demonstrated recently when Posey, unable to block the plate, missed a swipe tag, costing a run.

The point is that changing any game’s rules also affects the game’s outcomes. And that’s very true of politics, which brings us to two big political process changes being proposed by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. Both proposals respond to recent events, but their effect – intended or otherwise – would be to solidify Democrats’ already overwhelming control of the Legislature.

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Steinberg’s Senate Constitutional Amendment 16. . . . . . . .

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Senate Constitutional Amendment 17. . . . . . .

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Both rules changes are supposedly public interest reform, but serve narrow political interests.