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THE NOONER for July 18, 2011

With little in the electronic fishwrap, it's apparent that Capitol beat reporters are taking some much deserved time off.  Yamamura continues to find things to tweet though, showing that, even with an on-time budget, there's plenty for budget beat reporters to write about, including...

WE'RE IN THE MONEY: CalPERS announced this morning a preliminary gain of 20.7% for its managed pension fund in FY 2011--it's "best annual performance in 14 years."  

OVER THE WEEKEND:  Dan Morain followed up with the "highest-paid state employee" and got his side of the story:

"I was basically crazy. I'm not going to dispute that," Rohlfing told me. "I got help and haven't had an episode as a result since."

TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: @TheTweetOfGod: "First it was Carmageddon. Now it's Carmaheaven. Lo; I just hope it doth not become Carmachameleon. That would get old real fast."

FOR THE TREADMILL:  Anthony York rejoins John Myers for the podcast..."Sue Me Summer."

We should see the redevelopment lawsuit this week.  Meanwhile, check out the bills awaiting the governor's action during this recess period.

In Washington's Game Of Chicken, California Has Plenty At Stake - George Skelton @ latimes.com
The sound bites booming from Washington, D.C., about spending and taxes have a familiar ring in Sacramento, especially for state Treasurer Bill Lockyer. A rather scary ring. "They're playing chicken to see who will be the first one to flinch," he says.

Redistricting: What California can teach the nation - dailykos.com
Measures like the California commission may force good Democratic representatives to roll the dice every fifth term. But from a progressive perspective, that's a far better thing than watching helplessly as Republican state lawmakers with no moral compass take turns performing ever more egregious acts of political brazenness with their redistricting procedures. It might be something that Democratic leaders in state governments may wish to consider the next time they have the word "majority" in front of their titles.

Dan Walters: California's Huge Pension Debt Will Be Jarring - Dan Walters @ sacbee.com
When Gov. Jerry Brown and Republicans failed to reach agreement on closing the state budget deficit, they also failed to resolve several budget-related issues – most prominently what, if anything, should be done to rein in public employees' pensions.

No New Taxes Doesn't Mean No New Fees - Carla Marinucci, Joe Garofoli,Natalie Orenstein @ sfgate.com
From the West Coast to Washington, Republicans have fiercely embraced the "no new taxes" mantra - a move that in California, the GOP argued, will save $1,000 per family after the recent budget battle with Gov. Jerry...

Six-figure Pensions Surge For Sacramento County - sacbee.com
Sacramento County retirees drawing pensions of more than $100,000 a year skyrocketed in the last decade, the result of benefit increases and higher-than-expected salaries that have prompted some county employees to retire early and launch new, lucrative careers at other government agencies.

Waters Inquiry Tainted By Ethics Lawyers - John Bresnahan @ politico.com
The former staff director of the House Ethics Committee accused two top committee lawyers last year of secretly communicating with Republicans on the panel regarding the investigations of Democratic Reps. Maxine Waters and Charles Rangel, raising concerns over whether the long-running inquiries were compromised by key staffers, according to internal committee documents obtained by POLITICO.

Gov. Jerry Brown, Legislature Require Rural Homeowners To Pay Fire Fee - Michael J. Mishak @ latimes.com
A new law signed by the governor requires rural homeowners who rely on state firefighters to pay a $150 annual fee for fire-prevention services. Lawmakers are pondering whether to revive proposed land-use restrictions, killed three years ago after objections from developers and local officials.

Meyer: How The 'No Teacher Left Behind' Bill Works - calbuzz.com
Far be it from Calbuzz to suggest that the California Teachers Association was the invisible hand in writing the provision in the state budget, passed by the Sacramento Democrats alone, that effectively prevents local school districts from laying off teachers when they make financial cutbacks.

Carmageddon: 'Mission Accomplished,' Says Villaraigosa As 405 Freeway Reopens Early - Los Angeles Times @ latimes.com
'Carmageddon' was avoided through motorists' cooperation throughout the Los Angeles area during the 405 Freeway closure. Some residents savored the return of a laidback lifestyle; others couldn't wait to get back in the fast lane.

The Buzz: When redistricting commission mentions koi, it's not talking about fish - sacbee.com
The koi on the minds of the redistricting commission are actually "COI," short for "community of interest,"one of the factors it's supposed to consider in drawing election maps.

E-tailers Vs. Retailers On Tax Issue - Michelle Quinn @ politico.com
A clash of the retail titans is lining up over the issue of taxing Internet sales, and Congress is being called on to referee.

Lawsuit Planned To Challenge Laws That Kill Redevelopment Agencies - Local @ mercurynews.com
It wasnt enough for the California Legislature to essentially kill redevelopment agencies throughout the state; lawmakers added a poison pill that will basically prevent the agencies from coming back to life.

S.B. County: Pension Changes Not Easy, Officials Say - DUANE W. GANG @ pe.com
San Bernardino County supervisors wanting to reduce future retirement costs may have difficulty changing the system on their own, county officials and a leading pension reform advocate said.

Lawmakers Seek Limits On University Executive Pay - latimesblogs.latimes.com
On politics in the Golden State

New Federal Memo On Medical Marijuana Stirs Angst - sacbee.com
In October 2009, medical marijuana advocates celebrated a U.S. Department of Justice memo declaring that federal authorities wouldn't target the legal use of medicinal pot in states where it is permitted.

Amazon takes the load road - Michael Hiltzik @ latimes.com
It's depressing to see Amazon slogging around in the fetid swamp of corporate cynicism, promoting a self-interested ballot measure to overturn the California law on sales tax.

Cutting Teachers’ Learning Curve - toped.svefoundation.org
The federal government is currently underwriting about two dozen residency programs, primarily through $100 million in one-time stimulus money. The new bill would create competitive state grants, open to traditional university and alternative credentialing programs, for academy/residencies in high-needs areas that meet three criteria:

ACLU Joins Effort To Quash Vote On Circumcision Ban - Christina Jewett @ californiawatch.org
The ACLU of Northern California filed a court brief Friday supporting an effort to block a ballot measure that would ban juvenile male circumcision in San Francisco.

Wage Theft A Scourge For Low-income Workers - sfgate.com
Li Shuang Li waited tables six days a week in a San Francisco Chinatown restaurant where workers were yelled at for carrying only one pot of tea in each hand. She had no health insurance, sick days or vacation. There...

Talks Continue Over Debt Ceiling - Lisa Mascaro and Christi Parsons, Washington Bureau @ latimes.com
Hoping to break the impasse over the nation's debt limit, White House and congressional leaders and aides continued their private discussions Sunday to exchange possible proposals to keep the government from defaulting on its bills.

18 Counties Take Outsized Share Of Prison Spending, Study Finds - californiawatch.org
California has too many inmates, the U.S. Supreme Court and nearly everyone else agrees.

Amazon: Muscling California | California Progress Report - Author @ californiaprogressreport.com


Take the no-pledge pledge - Los Angeles Times @ latimes.com
A member of Congress or other public official shouldn't be tied forever to the mast of a single position, especially one embraced under pressure in a political campaign.

Budget Director: Still Time For Landmark Deficit-Reduction Deal - Alexander Bolton @ thehill.com
White House budget director Jack Lew insisted Sunday there is still time for President Obama and congressional leaders to reach a major deficit-reduction agreement, though talks are at a standstill.