Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday Must Read: Brown May Delay Tax Measures Until November; CSU Faces Worst Financial Crisis

By Robert Gammon
Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 7:05 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Governor Jerry Brown may attempt to put his proposed tax measures on the November ballot because of his failure to garner GOP support for a June election, the Chron, CoCo Times, and SacBee report, citing anonymous sources. Brown is said to favor a November election over the option of muscling through a proposal for June, because the latter plan likely would spur legal challenges. However, the November election proposal also faces hurdles. The governor and labor unions don’t have much time to launch a ballot-initiative drive, and Brown won’t be able to call the measures “tax extensions” in November because the taxes he wants to maintain expire July 1. Under the November proposal, the state would issue IOUs until voters decide whether to approve the tax measures.

2. The California State University system, meanwhile, is facing its worst ever financial situation, and is preparing to turn away 10,000 students this fall, the Chron reports. CSU must cut at least $500 million from its budget under a plan approved by the state legislature last week, and that number could grow to $1 billion if Brown’s tax measures fail.

3. Oakland City Auditor Courtney Ruby says that the city’s main private security contractor, ABC Security, appears to have violated Oakland campaign finance law when it made $1,800 in donations to city politicians while its contract was up for renewal, the Chron and Trib report. Last week, a council committee voted to renew ABC’s $2 million contract even though it was rated by an independent panel as only the sixth best bid. ABC owner Ana Chretien has long been one of the top campaign donors in the city. The contract is scheduled to go before the full council next Tuesday.

4. Parole agents interrupted Oakland’s gang injunction court hearing yesterday to arrest one of the main defendants in the case, the Chron and Trib report. City Attorney John Russo tweeted that Oakland police had found alleged gang member Javier Quintero in a car that contained drugs and gang symbols. Quintero had testified earlier that he is not a gang member. Quintero’s attorney, Valerie Huang, said she was a witness to the incident and that it was not Quintero’s car. She said the courtroom arrest was part of “a pattern of harassment and intimidation.”

5. Japanese officials continued to try to restore full power to the country’s crippled nuclear power plant, but the effort suffered a setback when one of the reactors began belching black smoke, prompting an evacuation of the facility, The New York Times reports. Japanese officials also issued a warning to parents about the nation’s water supply, saying that infants should not drink tap water because of high radiation levels. Officials also raised the financial toll of the quake and tsunami to $309 billion.

6. And there could be flooding in Northern California from two more storms that are hitting the area today and tomorrow, the Chron reports. The storms are expected to dump two more inches of rain on the region.

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