Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wednesday Must Reads: Assembly Speaker Perez Rewarded Big Fundraisers; Brown’s Budget Boosts Spending for Schools, But Nothing Else

By Robert Gammon
Wed, May 15, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Speaker John A. Perez rewarded politicians who raised the most funds to help elect more Democrats last year with prime jobs in the Assembly, the Center for Investigative Reporting reports. In all, Perez’s efforts pumped $5.8 million into campaigns to help Democrats win a super-majority in the Assembly. And then Perez handed out choice positions to the biggest fundraisers. San Diego Democrat Toni Atkins donated the most money — $282,000 — and Perez made her Assembly majority leader. Most of the cash raised by Democrats came from special interests with business in front of key committees in the Assembly.

2. Governor Jerry Brown’s budget proposal would boost spending for K-12 schools and community colleges by about $3.9 billion, but provides little money for other state programs, the Mercury News reports. Brown said that the state needs to be cautious with overall spending because of federal budget cuts and an unstable economy. Schools in low-income areas would get the most help — about $2 billion — under Brown’s plan. Legislators that represent wealthy districts, however, are already complaining about the governor’s proposal.

3. Environmentalists are also upset because Brown is proposing to steer $500 million in proceeds from the state’s cap-and-trade program to the general fund as a “loan” to help balance his budget, the LA Times$ reports. Environmentalists note that the cap-and-trade money was supposed to fund green-energy programs.

4. Bay Bridge officials failed to provide answers yesterday to a state Senate committee about who made the decision to use hardened steel rods on the new eastern span that violate industry standards — and why they did it, SFGate reports. Caltrans officials told the committee, headed by East Bay Senator Mark DeSaulnier, that they needed more time to figure out specifically what happened.

5. And the Golden State Warriors lost last night to the San Antonio Spurs, 109-91, and now trail three games to two in the best-of-seven series.

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