Dan Richard, bullet train conductor

An artist's rendering of the California bullet train. (Photo: HSR)

Dan Richard, the chair of the California High Speed Rail Authority, is a man in the middle. The middle of court fights, the middle of political fights, the middle of a fight over California’s future. “The rest of the developed world has moved energetically to adopt high-speed rail. We will too,” Richard says. He may be right.

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News

State controller: Merced County lowest on pension funding

Merced County pensions may have the lowest funding level of any public pension system in California, a shortfall officials attribute to a big retroactive pension increase for all county employees a decade ago and faulty actuarial work. In the latest annual public pension report from the state controller’s office, Merced County stands out with the lowest level of funding in the last reported year, 54.7 percent in 2010-11.

Opinions

What’s next in the public pension debate?

OPINION: Ventura County citizens scored a victory earlier this month when a Superior Court Judge affirmed that any changes to the county pension plan must be made through the collective bargaining process — not at the ballot box. Actuarial analyses showed that closing the existing retirement plans and forcing new employees into risky 401k style plans would increase immediate costs to taxpayers, while forcing new employees to put their retirement security at risk in the hands of Wall Street.

News

Audit ordered for low-income health program

A sign advertising a Los Angeles medical clinic. (Photo: JDS via Shutterstock)

A state legislative committee has ordered an audit of provider directories that are given to people in California’s low-income health program, after reports of major inaccuracies. The audit will examine the managed-care directories, whether they list enough doctors who are accepting new patients and whether state regulators have done their jobs overseeing that aspect of the Medi-Cal program.

News

Talks loom on statewide pension reform

Calpensions: Backers of a Ventura County pension reform initiative, which was removed from the November ballot recently by a judge last week, are not appealing the ruling. But they may meet with other reformers after the elections this fall to discuss a statewide pension reform initiative.

News

Thumbs down on medical marijuana bureau

A dispensary's sign on Ventura Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley. (Photo: Laurie Avocado)

Amid a last-minute flurry of hostile amendments and despite backing from some in law enforcement and the cannabis industry, an attempt to set up the state’s first Bureau of Medical Marijuana has been defeated in the Assembly. The action by the Assembly Appropriations Committee followed intense negotiations between lawmakers, marijuana advocates and law enforcement.

News

Brown, lawmakers put water bond on November ballot

Flanked by legislative leaders, Gov. Jerry Brown signs the bill putting a $7.45 billion water bond on the November ballot. (Photo: AP/Rich Pedroncelli)

After five years and two postponements, state lawmakers Wednesday night approved placing a $7.45 billion water bond before voters on the November ballot. The drought-era plan, backed by Gov. Brown and the Legislature, dramatically scales back and replaces the $11.14 billion borrowing that originally faced voters. Brown signed the legislation shortly after the vote.

Letters

In response to ProPublica

ProPublica took a variety of half-truths to create a totally false impression about the good works of the leading pro-troop, grassroots charity in America.

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