Budget

Jerry thirsts, asks for rain

Apr 16th, 2014 | By
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Our dearly beloved leader, Governor Jerry Brown, has called for a special session of the legislature to begin next week.  The subject will be the “rainy day fund” one of which we really don’t have. [It rains in California a lot, it absolutely pours like a sieve fiscally speaking - ED] There is already going to be a ballot initiative on this subject, but the Democrat-Socialists are afraid that it will give them inadequate control and curtail some spending increases.  If there is anything the Democrat-Socialist party likes it is government spending, and Republican pseudo-conservatives are only slightly better (less bad) in that arena.  They

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Mayor’s incompetence costs retirement system big bucks

Apr 9th, 2014 | By
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The City of San Jose (CA) operates its own pension systems, one of peace officers and fire fighters, one for everybody else.  These systems share the same investment staff.  Due to staff shortages these systems have lost an estimated $94 million over the last three years due to uninvested funds, a situation that the mayor was well aware of.  If you can believe the article linked here from the Public Sector Alliance the mayor has spent much more time touring the state lecturing others on how to fix their pension systems rather than ensuring that his own system was operating properly. Mayor Chuck Reed was

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Leave credit cash-out leaves CPO’s out of cash

Apr 8th, 2014 | By
As usual, Corrections can't come up with any money to cash out CPO leave credits.  Other state employees are in line though.
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Paco: Don’t sweat it,  KA-Ching at 50! Some California state employees now eligible to cash out leave By Jon Ortiz | Sacramento Bee Tens of thousands of state workers stand to get extra money in the next couple months by cashing out some of their unused leave time – assuming the state can find money to cover it… The payments, which could reach about one-sixth of the rank-and-file workforce, must be made from departments’ current funds by the end of June and will likely cost millions of dollars… While the program will likely cost some departments big money up front, it saves even bigger costs down the line by reducing hours that their employees would cash out later at a higher pay rate when they quit or retire…



Jerry again says he is open to tweaking realignment

Apr 3rd, 2014 | By
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Yesterday Jerry addressed the Alliance of California Law Enforcement at their annual legislative day.  During that address he stated that he is open to making “improvements” to his realignment debacle, which became operational in October of 2011. Jerry also said that what is really going on is the counties are fishing for more money, which is in tight supply.  Brown also stated that the county authorities have told him they want more money for mental health and drug abuse treatment programs.  These same local authorities have also been concerned about prisoners serving lengthy sentences in local lockups, which were never designed for that purpose. The

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LAO: Cut CDCR’s OT budget in half

Feb 20th, 2014 | By
The Legislatures budget watchdog says CDCR's budget request is "overstated."
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CDCR “overstated” overtime needs California fiscal analyst recommends cutting Corrections overtime proposal in half for 2014-15 Jon Ortiz | Sacramento Bee Authorities running California’s prison system have overstated how much money they need next year to cover staff overtime, according to a new report by the Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal analyst. Using estimates by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2014-15 budget includes $207.2 million to pay correctional officers’ OT. But the Legislative Analyst’s Office suggests that figure is double what it should be and that lawmakers should cut it by $104 million. Prison officials have other ways to fill vacancies…such as using less-expensive permanent intermittent correctional officers.



State-paid health care for illegal aliens

Feb 15th, 2014 | By
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Ricardo Lara is a California state senator.  He is, at least in theory, the state senator from Bell Gardens.  In actual practice he is more often the state senator representing Mexico.  He has just proposed SB1005 which would, if passed into law, expand Medi-Cal to cover illegal aliens.   I don’t think it will cost him anything politically as his constituency (at least his official constituency) seems to have no trouble spending taxpayers money to make life more comfortable for illegal aliens at taxpayers expense.  I did, however, think you should know about it. Clicking here will link to a Capitol Alert piece on this story.



Even Goofy Gavin abandoning HSR

Feb 14th, 2014 | By
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Our dearly beloved assistant maximum leader, Gavin Newsom, has now fully backed away from his earlier (2011) enthusiastic support for Jerry’s pet white elephant, so-called High-Speed Rail. Newsom appeared on KTTH Radio AM770 out of Seattle on the Ben Shapiro show when he said, “I would take the dollars and redirect it to other, more pressing infrastructure needs.” Clicking here will link to a Capitol Alert piece on this story.



Bribing parolees toward self-improvement

Feb 12th, 2014 | By
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There is a very interesting piece from two days ago the Fresno Bee via CorrectionsOne linked here about the department bribing parolees to participate in self-betterment programs. It seems that CDCr is kicking down gigt cards, value between $40 and $150, purchased with state money, to parolees to attend classes and otherwise attempt (or pretend to attempt) to better themselves.  The program is currently operational in Stockton and is being fired up in Fresno. Robert Ambroselli, currently the Region I parole administrator, is quoted as saying that the Stockton program is already making an impression on parolees, whatever that means.  (It could mean that it

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Republicans Neel at Jerry’s crazy train

Jan 29th, 2014 | By
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Neel Kashkari has announced that he will run for Governor this time around.  His opening shot is opposition to High-Speed Rail, which he calls the crazy train. Clicking here will link to a Capitol Alert piece on this story, with a further link to the internet-only commercial Kashkari has prepared.



Brown rides the rails aimlessly ahead

Jan 25th, 2014 | By
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Governor Brown has asked the State Supreme Court to vacate lower court rulings and allow him to continue to fund his pet boondoggle High-Speed Rail project. in spite of the very dubious legality of some of the financing moves, [Brown rides the rails aimlessly ahead to force the State into greater debt.-ED]  Just thought you might want to know that Jerry is pretending to be fiscally responsible, except on things that he really and truly wants to happen, like his legacy money pit.



Bill would lease prison ‘naming rights’

Jan 21st, 2014 | By
AB976/SB976 is expected to pass handily, with the Governor promising to sign it into law.
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Quirk Bill proposes selling ‘naming rights’ for prisons AB976 would “monetize” prisons, add logos to guard uniforms Sam Gallagher | Capitol Weakly SACRAMENTO-Faced with the inevitability of additional prison construction, California State Assembly-Member Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) is proposing an unorthodox method of revenue generation: Leasing naming rights for new and existing prisons. “Following the time proven model employed by stadium and arena operators, AB976 authorizes the state to auction naming rights to the highest bidder,” says Member Quirk. “The law would also authorize the placement of the winning bidder’s logo patches on CDCR uniforms and decals on official vehicles, a solid revenue source derived from NASCAR and other competitive concerns.”



Sac taxpayers may sack the Kings

Jan 18th, 2014 | By
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The city of Sacramento has a bad inferiority complex.  That is why the city fathers want to hold on to the Kings so badly.  Maybe even desperately so.  Many of the locals are not impressed, and circulated signatures to block public funding of what they believe is an unnecessary and possibly expensive boondoggle.  Unfortunately they did a mediocre job of doing so.  There are, at least allegedly, somewhere between five and nine different versions of the same petition that were circulated. The city clerk has verified that they have enough signatures to get the matter on the ballot.  However, in order to be legally valid

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Budget and corrections

Jan 10th, 2014 | By
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Jerry Brown has released the tentative budget for the next fiscal year.  It is very large, as the state believes it will be flush with cash next year.  The largest budget the state has ever had in fact.  As usual our political ruling class is tripping all over themselves to piss the money away as fast as possible, in order to buy votes.  To his credit Jerry seems to be trying to hold the lid on things. The new budget proposes increases in the current good-time credit from 20% to 33.3% for non-violent second strikers.  It also proposes an increase in paroles for medically incapacitated

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LA is a great big free-way, now broke

Jan 9th, 2014 | By
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Mickey Kantor used to be the U.S. Commerce Secretary.  He is now head of a group called the Los Angeles 2020 Commission, a 13 member panel of civic leaders.  The panel concluded that the city is headed for collapse due to incompetent government. Among the problems cited are a much higher than average poverty rate, flat city revenue and a wishful thinking response to the continued economic problems of the city.  Among the symptoms are a shrinking middle class, increasingly poor schools, increasingly bad traffic and shrinking city services, including police and fire response. The group is supposed to put out recommendations within 90 days. 

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Not fair in San Joaquin

Dec 18th, 2013 | By
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San Joaquin County has decided that there will NOT be a County Fair next year.  The Board of Supervisors made the decision today, based on the belief that the fair could be counted on to lose $250,000 and that the county can not afford it. The livestock show and auction will continue, as will the horse racing program. [Perhaps I missed it, but there might have been discussion of the affect on CDCr during the Board meeting, making this news relevant to corrections-ED]  



LA city deficit crawling upwards

Dec 17th, 2013 | By
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By the time July 1 rolls around the number crunchers believe the deficit of the city of Los Angeles will reach $242 million.  That is a fair chunk of change.  The increase is being blamed on rising salary and health care costs.  It also includes about $45 million  in unbudgeted public safety overtime, much of that to the fire department.  The hole is about $90 million deeper than was expected. Clicking here will link to a brief NPR piece on this story.



Future or fiction: CDCR to hire 7000 CPO’s?

Dec 4th, 2013 | By
Under CDCR's Master Hiring Plan, approximately 7,000 news CPO's will be on the line around the same time as the Mars Base is completed.
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Flash not: New hires to complete 16 week academy as mandated XREF: Flash Guards vs. the FAQ; Who’s lying about CCA California City contract, guards? California prison system hiring 7,000 officers Jon Ortiz | Sacramento Bee Confronted with a growing wave of retirements, the California Department of Corrections said today that it will need to hire approximately 7,000 prison officers over the next three years to fill current and future vacancies statewide. …attrition also is draining the prison-officer ranks with an average 150 retiring each month, according to corrections statistics… The job application process is notoriously slow. Assuming applicants have the minimum qualifications (U.S. citizenship, high school diploma, at least 21 at time of appointment and pass a drug-test screening, can legally own and use a firearm), candidates must then pass a written test, go through a qualifications assessment, pass a physical fitness test, vision screening and psychological evaluation, a pre-employment medical examination and a background investigation.



HSR may have just been derailed

Nov 25th, 2013 | By
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The Jerry Brown legacy boondoggle that is High-Speed Rail may have just had a stake driven through its heart by a Sacramento County judge. Michael P. Kenny ordered the HSR authority to rescind its funding plan  and additionally prevented it from selling $8 billion in bonds.  Judge Kenny asserted that the finance committee did not comply with essential legal requirements of the 2008 initiative. The HSR authority will be able to piss away (I mean spend, sorry) the $3.4 billion the feds have given them. The people who study such things seem to believe that this may very well kill the project, and will certainly

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Democrat legislators want more money to waste

Nov 19th, 2013 | By
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The head of CalTrans and other greedy politicians and bureaucrats want to up the car registration in the formerly great state of California by about $3 billion a year by placing a surcharge on license fees. I seem to remember that they have been diverting gas taxes and other money that the voters expressly wanted spent on road repair on a hose of other touchy-feeler vote-buying projects and causes for years.  I fail to see why the voters would approve such a thing, but the California voter is a strange animal and will sometimes vote for seriously strange and stupid things if they are presented

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Cal-PERS perked up by fed settlement

Nov 19th, 2013 | By
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JP Morgan has settled its federal issues over the MBS (mortgage based securities) meltdown and CalPERS and CalSTRS will get just about $300 million as a result.  That isn’t huge, but neither is it chump change.  This figure represents California’s cut of the $13 billion payout. Clicking here will link to a Sacramento PRAVDA piece on this story.



BART trains attention on contract

Nov 15th, 2013 | By
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There may (or may not) have been a glitch in the hard copy contract that was presented to union BART employees for their ratification recently.  The proposal, which was overwhelmingly approved by the rank and file workers,  gives BART workers up to six weeks of paid family leave per year.  The BART management say they never agreed to any such thing.  The BART union says that management is trying now to welch on a done deal. Clicking here will link to a SFGATE piece on this story.



CA’s dough-low Yolo nolo not a solo bolo

Nov 13th, 2013 | By
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The formerly great state of California is supposed to have paid to the counties property tax equivalents for property converted to wildlife management areas.  Some of them are getting a little irritated, with Yolo County now asserting the State owes them $1.4 million, according to a piece in today’s Sacramento PRAVDA.  A total of 36 counties are owed money currently by the State, mostly rural northern counties that could really use the money.



Voters to take stock of Stockton safety tax (Updated)

Nov 7th, 2013 | By
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The bankrupt burg of Stockton has an election tomorrow.  The voters, some of who are actually citizens, will determine whether or not to put in place an additional  3/4% sales tax for the city, theoretically for public safety.  They are predicting only a 30% voter turnout. Theoretically the tax will sunset in ten years, unless the city council wants it to go on longer.  Theoretically it will go almost entierly for public safety and for paying off Stockton’s bankruptcy.  Unless the city council wants to piss it away for something else.  There is no question the city could use the loot. The question will come

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The force was not with SJC COs

Oct 23rd, 2013 | By
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The union representing San Joaquin County correctional officers has initiated a lawsuit against the county, asserting that an imposed contract is in violation of state law. This group is one of the few that have not reached a contract deal with the county, which imposed a contract after a year of unsuccessful negotiations.  Their union, which represents 217 employees, states the contract terms are much harsher than those agreed to by other unions which have made deals.  The contract was imposed in October.  The union accepted a tentative deal, but it was rejected by the membership. In addition to the lawsuit a complaint has been

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LA Court rules in favor of Cal-PERS pensions

Sep 23rd, 2013 | By
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A LA County Superior Court has ruled that retiree health care is very much like retiree pensions and can not be fiddled with by government entities trying to get out from under the sometimes ruinous costs associated with these plans.  (Stockton for one, with others in the wings waiting to dump retiree health plans.) Clicking here will link to a CalPensions news letter on this story.



SB105 one pen stroke away from tagging taxpayers

Sep 11th, 2013 | By
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The legislature has passed SB105 to Jerry’s desk.  Assuming he signs it, and he almost certainly will, the state will kick down $315 million to expand prison beds and the inmate tourist program so the state will have to kick out few, if any, additional prisoners.  It also asks the feds to extend the deadline on the order.   I suspect that even the best intentioned move by the department will not be able to fully staff two prisons by the end of the year so the notion that nobody will be released may be more than a tad optimistic.  The legislature seems, however, to have

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AB109 hocus pocus broke us focus

Sep 9th, 2013 | By
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Governor Brown and Darrell Steinberg have reached a deal on the prison overcrowding crisis, which now seems very likely to pass.  They will go ahead with Jerry’s plan to spend $315 million this year and $415 each of the next two years to open two rental prisons for inmates and to increase the inmate tourist program, placing inmates in out-of-state contract beds.  This will be done, however, ONLY if the judges decline to offer an extension of the overcrowding deadline.  If the judges kick down an additional two years, the state will go ahead with Steinberg’s plan to throw $200 million at pretend-rehabilitation programs. Clicking

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The lesser of two weasels

Sep 5th, 2013 | By
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The Legislative Analyst’s Office sees serious flaws in both Darrell Steinberg’s prison plan and Jerry Brown’s prison plan.  I am confident their assessment is correct.  Jerry’s is also more expensive but it has one huge advantage over Steinberg’s plan; it will likely work. The fact of the mater is, PRISONS WORK.  That does not mean they rehabilitate people.  Rehabilitation is, for the most part, a myth.  What prisons do is called Incapacitation.  Prisoners can not (generally speaking) continue to commit crimes against the general public as long as they are locked up in prison. In that sense, prisons work.  They are, unfortunately, expensive the way

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Bay bridge over troubled water

Sep 4th, 2013 | By
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Our State loves bridges and trains.  The newish Bay Bridge just opened.  Six years late and $5 billion over budget.  And it was broken even before it opened.  It will take years and more millions to come up with a fix for the broken bolts in the earthquake safety doohickeys. How many of you really think that Jerry & Company will build the High-Speed Rail system (which they have already admitted will not be anywhere near as high-speed as originally claimed) on time or on budget, or that it will function as claimed? Did anybody notice that Jerry wasn’t at the bridge reopening, but was

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Morain’s “complaints” fall mainly where they ain’t

Sep 1st, 2013 | By
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There is a fairly long and well-written op/ed piece linked here in today’s Sacramento PRAVDA by Dan Morain.  In it he pretty much blames CCPOA and CCA for the crime rate in California, the slow response of the legislature to the prison population issue and pretty much everything that ever happened on the planet that he considers to be bad including the flat tire he got last week.  (OK, I just made the last one up.) He is whining that Jerry says it will cost an extra $315 million to not release 10,000 felons onto the streets.  He is whining that CCA has a facility

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AB105 CA’s vanishing point

Aug 30th, 2013 | By
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One of my favorite car movies is Vanishing Point.  In the final scene the protagonist drives a high-performance Dodge at full speed into a roadblock made up of two D-9 Caterpillars with the blades down.  The Dodge lost. It seems that is what Jerry is doing now with AB105, his new proposal to actually build or lease adequate bed space for the state’s current number of prisoners.  Darrell Steinberg has already said it isn’t going to happen so probably it isn’t going to happen, but it will be fun to see what happens when the two most powerful Socialists in the state battle it out

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City of SB a bust

Aug 29th, 2013 | By
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The teeming metropolis of San Bernardino has been granted official status as bankrupt by a federal judge today.  Just in case they owe you money, feel free to get in line. Re-payment may take a while. The real question with this case is going to be the status of their relationship with CalPERS.  Other bankrupt entities, notably Stockton, have continued to pay CalPERS, as they are required to do by STATE law.  It is undetermined whether or not the federal bankruptcy court is going to care about that.  This matter could turn out to be very interesting indeed.