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THE NOONER for August 9, 2013
Good morning from the choo-choo on the way to Outside Lands, a solid event that Aaron McLear and I can agree upon.
BABY IT'S HOT OUTSIDE: The state's climate change indicators report was released yesterday.
RUH-ROH: Sacramento firm received $25,000 in June to gather arena-vote signatures [Bizjak, Kasler and Lillis @ SacBee] - "A local petition drive manager says she received a $25,000 check in June from a Tulare-based political operative to put Sacramento's arena subsidy on the June ballot - but the check appears not to have been reported, as required, to state and city authorities. The original donor or donors remain a mystery."
HAVA NAGILA! Auditor: California has inefficiently spent millions earmarked for voting systems [Jeremy B. White @ SacBee] - "California received more than $380 million, according to the auditor's report. But the state's methods for distributing that money were plagued by murky standards and a lack of clarity about whether counties could use new voting systems, State Auditor Elaine Howle's office found. At least $22 million went to new voting machinery, like touch screens, that counties ended up mothballing."
DEPT OF CORRECTIONS: Votes by mail are allowed in all Democratic Party endorsement conferences, but not for the ratification if needed at convention. Also, the money from endorsement caucuses goes to the state party, not local committees.
Okay, go on, get out of here!
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
California Schools' Test Scores May Drop Again
Dan Walters @ sacbee.com
State schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson tried to put a positive spin on it, but the harsh reality is that academic test scores in California's public school system of 6 million students declined this year after years of apparent gains. Moreover, scores are likely to get worse when new Common Core standards are applied.
Legislator Says Goal Is To Get Water Bond On 2014 Ballot
Ben van der Meer @ bizjournals.com
Legislators are making cautious progress on crafting a state water bond to go before voters next year, said an assemblyman whoâs a member of the working group. âThe goal is that it will be on there in 2014,â Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, said on Thursday. Gatto is part of a team of legislators from both parties hashing out the contents of the potential bond, which was bumped from the ballot in 2010 and 2012 because of fears it wouldnât pass or would detract from other ballot measures.
15 Sacramento-area Schools Flagged For Possible State Test Cheating
California education officials have flagged 246 schools statewide, including 15 in the Sacramento area, for possible cheating concerns because their students shared test-related photos on social media.
California Seeks Private Prison Deals
Paige St. John @ latimes.com
SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown 's administration is discussing deals to lease more than 4,600 private and publicly owned prison beds in California, inching the state toward compliance with federal court orders to reduce crowding in its own lockups.
Bill To Let Non-citizens Work At California Polls Heads To Governor
Melody Gutierrez @ blogs.sacbee.com
A bill that would allow legal immigrants who are not U.S. citizens to serve as poll workers is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk after passing its final vote Thursday.
New Moraga School District Tax Heading To Voters
Jennifer Modenessi Contra Costa Times @ contracostatimes.com
District leaders last week approved placing a $192 per-parcel tax measure on the November ballot whose proceeds, officials say, will preserve a number of existing curriculums, keep class sizes "manageable" and school libraries open, among other benefits.
County Official Calls For Review Of Taxpayer-funded Rehab Clinics
Seema Mehta @ latimes.com
In response to a scathing report about a lack of government oversight and improper payments to taxpayer-funded rehabilitation clinics, a local official is calling for a review of Los Angeles County¿s authority over such contracts and its ability to end payments to clinics that are breaking the law. ¿This is an embarrassment to all concerned, the notion that contacts were being awarded and renewed to contractors who had deficiencies and we didn¿t know about it,¿ said county Supervisor Zev Yaroslovsky.
Sacramento Firm Received $25,000 In June To Gather Arena-vote Signatures
Tony Bizjak, Dale Kasler, and Ryan Lillis @ sacbee.com
To create a new downtown arena similar to the one depicted in this artist's rendering, the Kings need to succeed in acquiring needed property, and to that end, the team is seeking assistance from the city of Sacramento.
Fracking Foe Blasts Legislative Aides For Energy Company Holdings
Patrick McGreevy @ latimes.com
Fracking is a controversial process that involves injecting water and chemicals into the ground to break up rock and increase production of oil and natural gas. Opponents say fracking fouls groundwater, pollutes the air and may raise the risk of earthquakes.
Personnel Panel Grills Corrections Lawyer On Services Contract
Jon Ortiz @ blogs.sacbee.com
If the 50-minute spanking disguised as a State Personnel Board hearing Thursday was any indication, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will again be on the losing side of an outsourcing contract dispute.
Kings Owners Ask City To Possibly Use Eminent Domain Threat In Arena Site Talks
Ryan Lillis and Dale Kasler @ sacbee.com
ownership group has been unable to close the deal on buying the remaining parcel at Downtown Plaza seen as vital to the development of a new arena.
No Politician Likely To Try To Stop Bart Strike - San Francisco Chronicle
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BART Strike Deadline Looming Again As Negotiations Finally Resume
Mike Rosenberg @ mercurynews.com
Union officials said in a statement Thursday evening that they had not even discussed the main economic issues of pay and benefits during the bargaining session. They reiterated that they would strike on Monday if they did not reach a deal and Brown did not issue another strike ban before then.
Private Prisons Won't Solve California's Problems, Advocates Say
Chris Megerian @ latimes.com
SACRAMENTO — California officials want to comply with a court order to reduce the prison population by simply locking up inmates in different places, but advocates say that's a shortsighted approach to the problem.
BART unions ramp up strike threat
Union leaders have urged Brown not to impose the cooling-off period, arguing that more time for negotiations won't make a difference if the transit system's leaders don't seriously address workers' concerns. [...] at least one member of the three-member panel charged with providing Brown a report on the contract dispute questioned at a Wednesday hearing whether a quick resolution is possible, even with both sides working in hoped-for harmony. While BART and the unions remain far apart on wages, health benefits and pension contributions, dozens of other issues also remain to be resolved.
Scope Of Practice Bills Still Alive For Pharmacists, Optometrists
While the fate of one of the hotly debated scope-of-practice bills pending in the state of California Legislature is iffy, two others remain in play as the end of session looms.
Viewpoints: Questions remain despite waivers for schools
The waivers that Sacramento and seven other large California school districts got this week from U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan are yet another measure of the power of the federal law that they tried to escape from.
L.A. Community College District Votes To Establish Gun-free Campuses
Carla Rivera @ latimes.com
The Los Angeles Community College District ’s nine campuses will be gun-free zones, according to a resolution passed this week by the Board of Trustees that bans weapons in almost all circumstances.
California Political Clash Brews Over Malpractice Cap | News10.net
California Student Test Scores Slip For First Time In Several Years
Phillip Reese @ blogs.sacbee.com
After years of steady increases, student test scores slipped slightly across California last year, a shift that education leaders blamed on budget cuts and changing curriculum standards.
Obama Administration Backs Prayer At Local Government Meetings
David G. Savage @ latimes.com
The Obama administration and GOP lawmakers tell the Supreme Court they support easing limits on prayers at government meetings.