Posts Tagged: 2011

News

Billions of dollars at stake in toll road suits

Traffic approaching the toll plaza for the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge. (Photo: Ann Baldwin, via Shutterstock)

Skipping out on paying a highway or bridge toll has long been a surefire way to get hit with a big fine. But if a raft of pending lawsuits seeking to overturn how toll operators share information about scofflaws is successful, California toll operators say taxpayers may end up taking the biggest hit.

News

State auditor targets prison rehab programs

Folsom State Prison east of Sacramento. (Photo: Wikipedia)

The state auditor says the California prison system’s programs to reduce recidivism aren’t working, noting that inmates who complete the programs wind up back behind bars at roughly the same rates as those who don’t. “These results are  serious enough to highlight an urgent need for Corrections to take a more active and meaningful role in ensuring that these programs are effective,” California State Auditor Elaine Howle reported. 

News

Thelton Henderson: His prison reforms face a backlash

Federal Judge Thelton Henderson in his chambers shortly before retiring. (Photo: Screen capture, Capitol Weekly)

As the judge climbed the watchtower stairs in Pelican Bay prison, he heard muffled gunshots below. When he reached the top, he looked into the prison yard and saw bodies lying in the dirt. One was his law clerk, spreadeagled on the ground in his suit, alongside dozens of inmates. Guards stood over them, guns aimed. “My clerk was thinking he’s gonna die and this is his last day on earth,” Judge Thelton Henderson recalled.

News

CA120: California’s congressional battleground

Outside the House office of California Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, who plans to retire, following an apparent uptick in Democratic strength in his district. (Photo: Katherine Welles)>

The national narrative on the 2018 election goes something like this: The first midterm election of a new president always goes strongly against the party in power. President Trump has been more unpopular in his first term than any in the modern age of polling, so this could get very bad for Republicans.

Analysis

CA120: The redistricting commission, lines and political pressure

The House of Representatives, which may wind up with new members following the 2020 redistricting. (Photo: House of Representatives)

ANALYSIS: California’s independent Citizens Redistricting Commission was established by two ballot measures in 2008 and 2010, following several unsuccessful pushes by Republicans who saw themselves as perpetually sidelined when it came to drawing the state’s political boundaries. Success came when they were joined by a coalition of non-partisan groups and deep-pocket Silicon Valley funders, who saw the commission as a part of overall reforms, like the creation of an open primary.

News

State Supreme Court to consider public pension cuts

The California Supreme Court, left to right, standing: Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, Carol Corrigan, Goodwin Liu, and Leondra Kruger. Seated: Kathryn Werdegar, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, and Ming Chin.

Calpensions: The state Supreme Court last week agreed to hear an appeal of a groundbreaking ruling that allows cuts in the pensions earned by current state and local government workers, including judges. When judges have an obvious conflict of interest and excuse themselves from ruling on a case, the legal term is “recuse.” But the seven Supreme Court justices seem unlikely to recuse themselves from a possible landmark ruling on this Marin County pension case.

News

CalPERS to Vernon pension abuser: Give back $3.5 million

The CalPERS' governing board during a meeting several years ago at the pension fund's headquarters. (Photo: CalPERS board)

First CalPERS announced last year that it was cutting the eye-popping pension of a former city of Vernon official, Bruce Malkenhorst, from $551,688 a year to $115,848. Then yesterday the CalPERS board approved the recovery of a $3.5 million pension overpayment from Malkenhorst, 84, who retired in 2005 from the tiny industrial city south of downtown Los Angeles known for corruption.

News

Comeback eyed for pieces of redevelopment

Two years after Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature dismantled California’s $5 billion-a-year redevelopment program, Brown wants to bring some elements back — but he’s offering less money, a different name and a change in local voters’ approval. The crux of Brown’s plan is to expand the reach of the rarely-used, little-known Infrastructure Finance Districts. The districts, or IFDs, have taxing authority and are created with voter approval. They function on property tax dollars and focus on highways, transit and sewer projects, libraries, parks and child care centers.

News

Nine charter schools fail CalPERS entry test

CalPERS has denied membership to nine charter schools, saying a proposed IRS rule could end crucial tax advantages if “even a single non-governmental entity” is allowed into the giant pension system. The association said the California Public Employees Retirement System is the only public pension system in the nation to deny membership on the basis of an IRS rule. (Photo: Coolcaesar, Wikipedia)

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