The Weekly Roundup

Thursday, July 20
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered a loan of up to $150 million to the
state’s voter-approved stem-cell research institute, “catapulting California
into the lead as the nation’s top public funder of the divisive research,”
reports Lee Romney in the Times.

“The governor’s action, a day after President Bush vetoed expanded federal
support for embryonic stem cell science, is expected to kick-start the
state’s long-delayed program to pay for cutting-edge research projects.”

Friday, July 21
“The state prison system has failed to keep track of the hours its employees
spend working on union activities, potentially costing the state millions of
dollars in salaries that should have been paid by the correctional officers’
union and others, the Office of the Inspector General reported Thursday,”
reports the Bee’s Clea Benson.

“The report portrayed a system in which prison employees were sometimes
working full time for their unions but had never been required by the state
to obtain authorization to be on leave. At the same time, the audit found,
the state was not tracking whether workers’ salaries were being covered by
donated leave time or by payments from the unions.

“‘It was a bit like auditing spaghetti, and our apologies to spaghetti,’
said Brett Morgan, chief deputy inspector general. ‘It was a tangled mess,
and some parts were just missing.'”

Saturday, July 22
From our Fido’s Revenge files, we get this from our Beijing bureau: “A
Chinese headmaster, who tried to buy off colleagues by cooking dog meat for
them after secretly selling off trees around the school, ended up setting
fire to classrooms when the meal burst into flames, a Chinese newspaper said
on Friday.

“Ten classrooms containing televisions, computers, printers and textbooks
burnt down, leaving nearly 100 children unable to go to school,” the Beijing
Youth Daily said.

Sunday, July 23
You might want to get on line now for that new drivers license that you’re
going to need in 2008, reports the Chron’s Lynda Gledhill. “All 22 million
licensed California drivers will be required to go in person to a DMV office
and prove their identity and address with three different documents before
getting a new, federally approved state license.

The sheer size and scope of that task–required by a federal law passed in
the wake of September 11–already has the state Department of Motor Vehicles
worried about lines that would make current complaints about the agency’s
notoriously slow service seem trivial.”

Monday, July 24
Looks like the gubernatorial primary for 2010, or 2014, is already heating
up, as the Chron reports, “things are getting mighty testy between
California’s new Golden Boys–Mayors Gavin Newsom of San Francisco and
Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles–with the latest spat prompted by rumors
that L.A. is making a grab for the 49ers.”

“The flareup appears to have started when Villaraigosa, who is hoping to
land an NFL team for his teamless town, made a passing comment to Niners
boss John York‘s son, Jed York, at a meeting of league owners that the mayor
hosted recently. Apparently, the comment was translated as a come-hither,
and word of it quickly got back to Newsom.

“A senior Villaraigosa aide who asked not to be identified insisted that
‘there was absolutely nothing’ to the rumor that L.A. might make a play for
the team–but, nonetheless, confirmed that it had come up during a heated
discussion between the two City Halls.”

Tuesday, July 25
After signing the state’s timeliest budget in six years and running $12
million in post-primary campaign ads, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger leads
Democrat Phil Angelides by eight points in the governor’s race, according to
a new Field Poll,” reports the Bee’s Kevin Yamamura.

“The findings contain additional good news for the Republican incumbent:
More voters believe California is headed in the right direction than the
wrong direction for the first time in 22 months, while Schwarzenegger has
his first positive job approval rating since February 2005.

“Last October, state Treasurer Angelides led Schwarzenegger, 47 percent to
41 percent, when voters were asked about a potential head-to-head matchup.
The latest poll shows 45 percent of likely voters back Schwarzenegger and 37
percent support Angelides, while 15 percent are undecided and 3 percent
prefer other candidates.”

Wednesday, July 26
The LAT’s Duke Helfand gets a hold of a memo entitled ‘Staffing the Mayor,’
which describes what it takes to keep Antonio Villaraigosa happy. “No carbs.
Just fish or chicken. And keep a takeout box handy in case he has to rush.
Tea, please (green, with four packets of Splenda). Water (bottled,
preferably room temperature). And never leave his sight.

“In the year since he became mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa has
undergone a transformation from garden-variety public official to something
approaching a rock star, drawing crowds wherever he goes.

“It’s up to a swarm of harried aides to keep the boss hydrated and happy,
primped and pampered, ensuring that he has clean hands and fresh breath (he
gobbles Listerine strips by the pack).”
What, no brown M&Ms?

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