News Briefs

For L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a former union organizer, the moment
was filled with irony: More than 1,500 city employees walked off their jobs
in the first major municipal strike in decades.

The strikers include scientists, accountants, forensics experts and others.
The strikers are members of the 7,500-strong Engineers and Architects
Association, who have been going without a contract since December 2004.

They average about $74,500 annually, according to one estimate.

The employees struck following a wage-benefits offer from the city that they
said was inadequate.

A special adviser to U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson wants to pursue
his allegations that the Schwarzenegger administration is blocking needed
reforms in California’s prison system out of fear of the political clout of
the prison guards.

John Hagar submitted a 52-page report this week to Henderson, in which he
said that the administration had changed its policies and thwarted needed

The administration has rejected Hagar’s allegations.

California is the first state in the nation to formally ask Congress to
enact a “shield law” to protect journalists.
A unanimous vote in the Senate and a near-unanimous vote in the Assembly
sent the resolution–which has no force in law–to Congress. The resolution,
AJR 31 by Assemblywoman Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, requests Congress to
pass one of a half-dozen proposals currently pending before Congress.
California’s 71-year-old shield law protects journalists in state courts,
but not in federal courts.

Look out Jon Fleischman. California Democrats earlier this week unveiled
their first organized foray into the blogosphere, launching the online
California Majority Report (

The new Web site will feature news and commentary from various Democratic
insiders, including David Binder, Chris Lehane and the always entertaining
Garry South.

Enthusiasm over the Web site’s debut was tempered by Democratic
gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides’ noticeable absence from the premiere

Hell hath no fury like a scorned CCPOA. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last week
declined to participate in the prison guard union’s endorsement-interview
process, saying that it would be inappropriate to seek the powerful
organization’s backing while labor negotiations with the union were ongoing.

Although it was unlikely from the get-go that the CCPOA would support the
governor, the spurn likely will push the union and its expected $10 to $15
million war chest to place more anti-Schwarzenegger ads. CCPOA already has
purchased $5 million in TV time slated for the last two weeks of the

The campaign for governor went to the farm belt this week.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, offering himself as the farmer’s friend, railed
against rival Phil Angelides’ proposals that could boost taxes on farm
equipment. Schwarzenegger, in casual clothes and surrounded by Farm Bureau
folks under a burning Buttonwillow sun, said Angelides was reaching into
farmers’ wallets. For a photo opportunity, the governor provided two
tractors carrying signs that said “Don’t Tax Me.”

Angelides, meanwhile, was in nearby Bakersfield and responded. “He’s the one
who’s defending every corporate-interest loophole around,” Angelides said.
It looks like a long, hot summer

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