Democrat Brown draws GOP support; voters split on state’s direction

Gov. Jerry Brown in the state Capitol last year. (Photo by Max Whittaker/Getty Images)

The latest Field Poll finds nearly six in ten California voters (58%) approving of the job Jerry Brown is doing as Governor, while just 26% disapprove. This nearly equals his record approval rating of 59% that he achieved a little more than a year ago in April 2014. At present, 37% of rank-and-file Republicans currently approve of the job Brown is doing, up from 27% who said this three months ago.

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News

Speaker halts spending from Assembly operating fund

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins plans to stop steering millions of dollars toward favored causes using her chamber’s operating fund. The announcement comes a day after The Associated Press reported that Atkins and her two predecessors redirected $115 million to programs of their choosing between 2008 and 2014 with little oversight. Last year Atkins steered money to programs to help veterans, the elderly and schoolchildren.

News

From the classroom: Looking at the offices of governor, president

At first glance, comparing the roles of the President and the California Governor with regard to the lawmaking processes of their respective governments appears to be an esoteric exercise for ivory tower academics. Our students often ask, “Why is it important that I be able to compare the respective powers and prerogatives of the President and the Governor? Is it not enough for me to know what the President can do in the federal system, and what the Governor can do in the California system?”

Opinions

Stock market soars — and so do public pension costs

The New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street, New York. (Photo: Wikipedia)

The way our government accounts for public employee pension promises is nothing short of fraud, yet no public official has gone to jail or paid a price for what surely ranks among the largest muggings of citizens in US history. Let me explain. As the stock market reaches record levels, little is heard anymore from public officials who used to blame market declines for rising pension costs.

News

Contracting out, bankrupt San Bernardino cuts pension costs

On the outskirts of San Bernardino. (Photo: Steve Heap)

A San Bernardino plan to exit bankruptcy follows the path of the Vallejo and Stockton exit plans, cutting bond debt and retiree health care but not pensions. Then it veers off in a new direction: contracting for fire, waste management and other services. The contract services are expected to reduce city pension costs. Other pension savings come from a sharp increase in employee payments toward pensions and from a payment of only 1 percent on a $50 million bond issued in 2005 to cover pensions costs.

News

Pensions have role in UC’s competitive edge

The campus of the University of California, Berkeley. Photo: LAgirl5252

Calpensions: In the competition for top talent, the University of California has been able to offer something increasingly rare among leading private universities: a generous lifetime pension. Now a much lower cap on pensions for new UC employees is part of an agreement to freeze UC resident tuition for two years announced last week by Gov. Brown and UC President Janet Napolitano.

News

Taking vacation time — on the campaign trail

State Capitol, Sacramento. (Photo: David Monniaux)

Summer and the Thanksgiving-Christmas holidays – prime time for people to relax. But in the intense, politics-driven culture of the Capitol, by far the most popular time to sign up for vacation or leave is during period surrounding the general election, when the staff members’ bosses may be up for reelection. Then, some two-thirds of the Assembly’s work force put in for at least some amount of vacation time during 2014, according to Assembly figures reviewed by Capitol Weekly.

News

Senate 7th District: Glazer defeats Bonilla

Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer was victorious Tuesday night over Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla of Concord in a costly, bitter Democratic shootout in the 7th Senate District. With 99 percent of 645 precincts reporting in the East Bay district, Glazer had 54.6 percent of the votes to Bonilla’s 45.4 percent in the special election contest to replace Mark DeSaulnier, who left the seat to go to Congress. Glazer maintained his lead from the earliest returns.

Opinions

Brain injuries in sports getting attention — finally

Young California football players practice for the big game. (Photo: bikeriderlondon, via Shutterstock)

Over the years, traumatic brain injuries in sports were never really discussed and stories of career-ending accidents were often glossed over. However, the winds are changing. Individuals suffering from serious head injuries are gaining a voice and have begun raising awareness through both the media and legislative efforts. As more and more stories of career-ending injuries pepper the news, the topic is finally getting the attention it deserves.

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