Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday Must Read: Bill Would Extend Redevelopment Until April 15; Brown Slashes $1 Billion from Prison Spending

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Jan 17, 2012 at 6:56 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Cities would have until April 15 to dismantle their redevelopment agencies under a bill introduced by state Senator Alex Padilla, a Southern California lawmaker, the LA Daily News reports (via Rough & Tumble). Cities, including Oakland, have been scrambling to meet the February 1 deadline to eliminate redevelopment. Oakland is sending out 1,500 layoff notices this week and plans to ultimately slash 200 jobs. Padilla said cities need more time, and he’s hoping that the extension until April 15 will give the legislature a chance to hammer out a way to resurrect redevelopment in some form. However, it remains unclear whether Governor Jerry Brown, who devised the plan to kill redevelopment, will go along with the extension.

2. Brown, meanwhile, plans to slash $1 billion in state spending on prisons, marking a sharp turnaround from his predecessor, the Chron reports. State prison spending doubled under Governor Schwarzenegger. But Brown is able to achieve savings because of his plan to transfer 30,000 nonviolent inmates to county jails. Some progressives are hailing Brown’s move, but others say that counties may end up having to raise taxes to pay for housing the inmates that had been in state lockup.

3. Brown has thrown his support behind a lawsuit that would overturn parts of Prop 209 and allow the University of California to consider race as a factor in admissions, the Chron reports. Brown had been a defendant in the case filed by 46 minority students, but switched sides. The lawsuit notes that Prop 209 resulted in a steep drop of black, Latino, and Native American students in the UC system.

4. Brown also said he plans to plow forward with the state’s controversial bullet-train project despite the resignations last week of the top two officials overseeing the plan, AP reports. The governor, however, also said he plans to revamp the $98 billion high-speed rail proposal.

5. And finally, a series of rain storms are expected to begin sweeping into the Bay Area tomorrow, ending a long dry spell and bringing much-needed snow to the Sierra, the Chron reports.

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