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DEMOCRATS WIN SUPERMAJORITY IN BOTH HOUSES OF CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE

By Miriam Raftery

November 7, 2012 (Sacramento )- For California Democrats, the biggest plum of yesterday’s election is the sweeping victory of state legislative candidates that has given the Democratic Party a two-thirds "supermajority" in both the Assembly and State Senate.  

A two-thirds majority means that Democrats can now pass tax increases without a single Republican vote. It also means that the Legislature has the power to override a veto by Governor Brown.

Governor Brown today called for "the prudence of Joseph,” a Biblical reference to planning for years of both prosperity and famine. "We have to make sure over the next few years that we pay our bills, we invest in the right programs, but we don't go on any spending binges," the Governor said in a press conference at the state capitol.

MULES TO THE RESCUE AS CALIFORNIA BATTLES FIREFIGHTING BUDGET CUTS

By Miriam Raftery
September 1, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – They’re sure-footed and low tech. They can reach rugged terrain that firefighting equipment and helicopters often can’t—and they’re a lot less expensive.
That’s why in this era of shrinking budgets to battle a growing number of wildfires, California is turning to an old-fashioned means of packing firefighting supplies into remote areas:  mules.

GOVERNOR SIGNS STATE BUDGET

June 27, 2012 (Sacramento) -- Governor Brown has signed California's state budget, which aims to eliminate the state's deficit over the next three years.  The $16.2 budget relies on both spending cuts and projected revenues from the Governor's November ballot initiative. 

For details on the budget, and how it may impact you, see our previous article on the budget: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/10166.  

GOVERNOR MUST ACT ON BUDGET BY JUNE 27

 

Budget aims to eliminate deficit, cuts key services

Deeper cuts ahead if Governor’s tax initiative on Nov. ballot is not approved by voters

By Miriam Raftery

June 25, 2012 (Sacramento) – California's Legislature has approved a budget bill, AB 1464, on time by the constitutional June 15 deadline.  The budget deal aims to eliminate the state’s $20 billion structural deficit and result in a balanced budget for each of the next several years, resulting in a $2 billion reserve by the 2015/16 fiscal year.

GOVERNOR BROWN CITES ECONOMIC IMPROVEMENTS, CHALLENGES IN STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS

Republicans draw fire for criticizing speech—before it was written or delivered

January 22, 2012 (Sacramento ) – Governor Jerry Brown laid out his vision for restoring California’s reputation as a leader in innovation, job creation and renewable energy in his State of the State speech last week.

“Wherever I look, I see difficult choices,” he said of the budget decisions to come. “But I also see a bright future up ahead and a California economy that’s on the mend.”

SUPERVISORS ASK STATE TO RESTORE FIREFIGHTING CUTS AND REPEAL FIRE PARCEL FEE

August 20, 2011 (San Diego) –State Supervisors are firing back after the state slashed spending for firefighting services and enacted a fire parcel fee on rural residents.

 

“Public safety in the San Diego region will be jeopardized as a result of these significant funding reductions,” Supervisors stated in an August 17 letter sent to Governor Jerry Brown and San Diego’s state legislators. “Cutting CAL FIRE funding is not a prudent solution to resolving the State’s budget crisis and will pale in comparison to the costs incurred by the State to respond to the next major wildfire.”

STATE BUDGET DEAL: WHO BENEFITS--AND WHO WILL BE HARMED?

Fire parcel fee, redevelopment cuts, tuition hikes, freeze on teacher lay-offs, and "crippling" cuts in border crimes enforcement among the budget impacts on our region


By Miriam Raftery
 

June 30, 2011 (Sacramento) –Governor Jerry Brown and Democrats in the state Legislature have approved a majority-vote budget without a single Republican vote. The move ends a months-long impasse in which Republicans held out for an all-cuts budget, while Democrats sought revenue increases to prevent slashing programs ranging from healthcare to law enforcement. The budget includes $7.9 billion in cuts which aim to reduce the state’s $26 billion deficit to $5 billion.

FIRE PARCEL TAX AXED IN GOVERNOR’S BUDGET VETO

June 21, 2011 (Sacramento) –The budget vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown this week included 19 bills cobbled together into the budget package. Among those was ABx 1 29, which sought to establish an annual $150 fee for homeowners to fund firefighting costs in areas under state (Cal-Fire) jurisdiction.

“Once again, members of California’s desperate legislature are unfairly targeting rural property owners to make up for the State’s inability to balance its budget and adequately fund fire protection,” Supervisor Dianne Jacob said of the measure, which also drew strong opposition from rural residents.

ANDERSON BILL REQUIRING STATE TO TAKE OWN IOU’S AS PAYMENTS PASSES STATE SENATE

 

June 20, 2011 (Sacramento) – Legislation authored by Senator Joel Anderson (R-El Cajon) aimed at protecting taxpayers and businesses from the impacts of state-issued IOUs has been approved by the State Senate.

“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” stated Senator Joel Anderson. “Right now, the state IOU process is a forced-borrowing scheme at the expense of the taxpayers. This measure will offer taxpayers protection by forcing the state to accept its own IOU as payment.”

PARENTS TO RALLY FOR IMPROVED PUBLIC SCHOOL FUNDING TODAY AT 4:30

 

May 24, 2011 (San Diego) Parents from around the county, objecting to years of cuts to public school funding, will demand action from lawmakers at a 4:30 p.m. rally on Tuesday, May 24th at Park Boulevard and Presidents Way in Balboa Park.

 

“California public schools are among the lowest funded in the country – it’s time to make education a priority again, not only for our children but for the future of our state,” said Fran Shimp, a parent of two elementary students and a volunteer organizer of the event.  Since 2008-2009, education spending, which represents 40% of the state budget, has incurred 60% of the budget cuts. In 2008-2009, California ranked 44th in per pupil spending (adjusted for cost of living).

 

East County’s representatives, State Senator Joel Anderson and Assemblyman Brian Jones, have steadfastly opposed the Governor’s plan to extend expiring taxes in order to more fully fund education.

SIX COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICTS WARN OF “EDUCATIONAL ARMAGEDDON” FROM LOOMING BUDGET CUTS

 

Thousands of students turned away as education opportunities fade for many;

College leaders & students issue plea for public to ask help from local legislators who continue to oppose budget measures to protect community college funding
 

 

By Miriam Raftery
 

May 17, 2011 (El Cajon) –Tens of thousands of students have been turned away from community colleges in our region this summer following $73 million in budget cuts---at a time when California had the largest high school graduation rate in history and unemployment levels are soaring. Fees have gone up by nearly a third and staff positions have been slashed—but the worst may be yet to come.

 

“An all-cuts budget would be nothing short of an educational Armageddon,” warned Cindy Miles, Chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District (GCCCD). Miles joined leaders of six community college districts in a press conference at Grossmont College today to show the dire consequences of recent budget cuts and worse impacts if the all-cuts budget is enacted.  She and other leaders praised Governor Jerry Brown for requesting an extension of existing taxes to prevent the all-cuts budget option. (View a video with more of Miles' remarks.)

 

But Republicans (including East County representatives Joel Anderson and Brian Jones) have refused to support the Governor’s budget.  They remain determined to force an all-cuts budget regardless of consequences on local students and our region’s economy, top educators warned.

ECM WORLD WATCH: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL NEWS


May 13, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) -- ECM World Watch helps you be an informed citizen about important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflecting all voices and views, we include links to a wide variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views.


Top global and national news stories include:

 

U.S. News

• GOP Lawmakers issue plan to balance CA Budget: relies on deep cuts in spending to state workers, the mentally ill and the disabled, an optimistic revenue projection, and no tax extensions (Los Angeles Times)
• Flood of pictures – picture the flood (Sacramento Bee)
• Osama calls for end of oil subsidies (New York Times)
• Mississippi delta sees flooding from mighty river (AP)

WORLD NEWS
• Japan, U.S. plan to store nuclear waste in Mongolia (Reuters)
• Suicide bombing kills at least 69 in Pakistan (Reuters)
• Japan to shut nuclear plant on quake fears (Reuters)
• Thousands of Mexicans march to protest drug war (Reuters)
• Egypt to grant citizenship to kids of Palestinian dads (Jerusalem Post)
• Bin Laden raid leads to resignation calls – for Pakistani president (San Diego Union-Tribune)
• Osama bin Laden raid: Al Qaeda playbook revealed (ABC News)

SENATOR ANDERSON LEADS EFFORT TO PERSUADE GOV. BROWN TO HOLD TOWNHALL MEETING ON BUDGET IN EAST COUNTY

 

May 5, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Governor Jerry Brown has announced plans to travel throughout California discussing the budget deficit with the people. Now Senator Joel Anderson (R-El Cajon) has sent a letter inviting the Governor to meet with people in El Cajon. He has collected letters of support for his invitation from prominent community leaders including elected officials, business leaders, and prominent educators.

 If you would like your voice heard and want the Governor to come to East County, Senator Anderson suggests that you send your letter via fax (916-447-9008) or e-mail (senator.anderson@senate.ca.gov; his staff will then deliver it to the Governor.

BUDGET WOES FORCE CUTS OF ALMOST 800 CLASS SECTIONS AT EAST COUNTY COLLEGES


About 5,000 students will be unable to get the classes they need
Even worse cuts may be on horizon in what Chancellor calls a “true budget Armageddon”

 

April 5, 2011 (El Cajon) – Facing an $8.1 million cut in money from the state, officials at the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District are planning to eliminate more than 780 class sections in the next school year – turning away almost 5,000 students -- and reduce summer school to a bare minimum.  Fees are also being raised by more than a third.

GOV. BROWN DELIVERS STATE-OF-THE-STATE ADDRESS

 

February 5, 2011 (Sacramento ) – Governor Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown Jr. delivered California's “State of the State” address on January 31st. The state faces a crisis that is “real and unprecedented,” said Brown, who called on both parties and voters to help put the state’s financial house in order. His budget seeks spending cuts but the Governor will also ask voters to approve extensions of taxes set to expire.

 

“It would be unconscionable to tell the electors of this state that they have no right to decide whether it is better to extend current tax statutes another five years or chop another $12 billion out of schools, public safety, our universities and our system of caring for the most vulnerable,” said Brown.

EL CAJON VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL SEEKS DONATIONS OF SCHOOL SUPPLIES

 

February 6, 2011 (El Cajon) – “Budget cuts! We need your help!” states a press release announcing a school supply drive to benefit El Cajon Valley High School. The drive will be held on March 10 and 11, with drive-through drop offs in the student parking lot at 1035 East Madison Ave. in El Cajon.

 

Scroll down for details on items needed, times, and contact info.

VOTERS AT ASSEMBLYMAN BLOCK’S TOWNHALL MEETING HEAR OUTLOOK ON STATE BUDGET—AND OFFER SOME IDEAS OF THEIR OWN

By R.J. Hernandez

 

February 5, 2011 (San Diego) – Assemblymember Marty Block (D-78th District) hosted a town hall meeting with about 50 constituents Thursday evening at Patrick Henry High School in San Carlos Thursday night to discuss Governor Brown's proposed 2011-2012 budget and hear views of local residents.

ASSEMBLYMAN BLOCK HOSTS BUDGET TOWN HALL MEETING FEB. 3 AT PATRICK HENRY HIGH

January 28, 2011 (San Diego) – Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed state budget will impact people throughout California. Assemblyman Marty Block (D-78th Assembly District) wants to know your views on this important issue. He will host a town hall meeting on Thursday, February 3 from 6-8 p.m. at Patrick Henry High School at 6702 Wandermere Drive, San Diego (off Navajo Road in San Carlos).

Come share your opinions on questions such as these:

LOCAL CITIES OPPOSE GOVERNOR’S PROPOSAL TO ELIMINATE REDEVELOPMENT FUNDING

Plan is opposed by cities, labor, development interests, and affordable housing advocates

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 27, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Governor Jerry Brown has proposed to eliminate redevelopment agencies (RDAs), a move he predicts would save the cash-strapped state $1.7 billion in the next fiscal year. The Governor’s plan would take away funds for improving blighted areas and instead divert those dollars to school districts, counties, and state coffers. But the plan is being met with strenuous opposition from cities and redevelopment entities around the state—including here in East County.

ASSEMBLYMAN BLOCK TO CHAIR OVERSIGHT HEARING JAN. 18 ON PRESERVING ACADEMIC QUALITY IN ERA OF RESOURCE CUTS

 

 

January 16, 2011 (Sacramento) -- Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Marty Block (D-Lemon Grove) will lead the first in a series of oversight hearings to examine the extent to which California’s higher education system meets the needs of students and our economy amid impending budget cuts. The first hearing will be held Tuesday, January 18th at 1:30 p.m. in the State Capitol (Room 437) but will also be available via an online webcast at http://www.assembly.ca.gov/committee_hearings/defaulttext.asp.

 

Governor Brown’s 2011-2012 budget (http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/) proposes an approximately $1.8 billion reduction to California’s public higher education system over the 2010-11 funding level.

MORE CALIFORNIANS WORRIED ABOUT HIGHER EDUCATION COSTS, HALF WOULD APPROVE RAISING TAXES INSTEAD OF HIKING STUDENT FEES

November 24, 2010 (San Diego) -- Californians are becoming increasingly worried about the cost of higher education. A new survey from the Public Policy Institute of California found that 74 percent of those polled said the state does not provide enough money to its public colleges and universities.

 

Project manager Sonja Petek says the survey also found a large increase in the number of people who would rather pay higher taxes than see student fees increase. The survey found almost 60 percent of all parents, and 72 percent of Latino parents, are very worried about paying for college.

STUDENTS REACT TO NEWS OF FEE HIKES

 

By Miriam Raftery
Tanya Huang also contributed to this story

November 15, 2010 (San Diego)--Student reactions ranged from dismay to outrage upon learning that the University of California regents will consider an 8% fee increase for the 2011-2012 school year, while the California State University board of trustees has proposed a 5% increase for spring semester and a whopping 10% increase for 2011-2012.

 

Following last year’s 32% fee increases at the UC and a 5% increase at CSU campuses, many students fear that their dreams of a college education are fast disappearing.

READER'S EDITORIAL: THE CALIFORNIA DEMOCRACY CRISIS--VOTE FOR PROP. 25

 

"California faces a crisis. It is mistakenly called a “budget crisis.” It is actually a democracy crisis." -- By Professor George Lakoff

 

November 1, 2010 (Sacramento) -- California is the only minority rule state in America. Both houses of the California legislature are in control of a minority on all economic issues - and almost all issues are about what is in the budget. Only 34 percent of only one House of the Legislature can control legislation by saying no, creating gridlock, and blocking the will of the majority that represents the overwhelming majority of Californians.

 

That is why budgets have not been on time, and why they are doing less and less for the state.

STATE’S TOP EDUCATION LEADERS RESIGN IN PROTEST OF CA CHAMBER ENDORSING WHITMAN

 

 

Whitman’s support for more deep education spending cuts at issue in race for Governor
 

By Miriam Raftery
 

September 10, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – Mark Yudof, president of the University of California and Jack Scott, chancellor of the California community college system have resigned from the California Chamber of Commerce board of directors in protest of the organization endorsing Republican Meg Whitman for Governor. The leaders sharply criticized the Chamber for taking a partisan stance, the Los Angeles Times reports.

CA COMMUNITY COLLEGES CHANCELLOR: BUDGET CUTS A “TRAGEDY”

 

Head of nation’s largest college system faults two-thirds rule for impeding passage of state budget;  remarks made during visit at Cuyamaca College

August 27, 2010(El Cajon)--Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Chancellor Cindy Miles welcomed California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott to Cuyamaca College on Thursday for a candid discussion with the region’s community college and business leaders. Topics ranged from the state budget crisis to a bill just passed that will smooth transition for students from two-year campuses to state universities.

EDITORIAL: WHAT CALIFORNIA CAN'T AFFORD

 

By Senator Denise Ducheny
Chair, Senate Budget Committee

 

“Thoughtless slashing would eliminate a whole series of State investments that are necessary to our recovery and to providing a sound base for our future prosperity.”

 

August 24, 2010 (Sacramento) -- In the wake of the global economic turmoil of the past few years, there are signs California’s economy has hit bottom and is beginning to recover. While our recovery is fragile, and it will take time to make up ground lost to the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, California is still the 8th largest economy in the world. California’s future is still bright--if we can sustain ourselves in the short term.

JUDGE BLOCKS SCHWARZENEGGER ‘S MINIMUM WAGE ORDER FOR STATE WORKERS

 

July 16, 2010 (San Diego) – Today, Sacramento County Superior Court Patrick Marlette denied a request by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to force State Controller John Chiang to reduce state workers’ pay to the federal minimum wage. The ruling could affect 200,000 California state employees.
 

SCHWARZENEGGER ORDERS MINIMUM WAGE FOR STATE WORKERS

Four unions that agreed to slash pensions exempted from order

“I find it wrong for a Governor worth $40 million to be telling a state worker earning $40,000 that you are only worth $7.25 an hour.” – Lace Watkins, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
 

July 1, 2010 (Sacramento) – State workers won’t be celebrating this holiday weekend. Late today, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered the State Controlled to reduce pay for state workers to minimum wage , $7.25 an hour, until the Legislature passes a state budget. The announcement has left thousands of workers worried over how to cover their families’ living expenses with wages slashed to the bone.

INITIATIVE TO ALLOW STATE BUDGET PASSAGE WITH SIMPLE MAJORITY VOTE QUALIFIES FOR NOVEMBER BALLOT

 

East County News Service

 

 

July 1, 2010 (Sacramento) -- California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has certified Proposition 25, the Majority Vote Budget Initiative, for the November 2 statewide ballot. Supporters aim to help ensure that budgets get passed on time by allowing a simple majority to pass the budget (instead of the 2/3 vote required currently), hold legislators accountable when the budget is late, and reduce the influence of special interests. The measure would retain the constitutional requirement for a 2/3 vote to raise taxes.

 

“If passed, no longer will 14 legislators be able to hold up the budget to satisfy the desires of corporate interests. The Majority Vote Budget Initiative will end late budgets by allowing a simple majority to pass the budget and restores accountability to the process,” said Marty Hittelman, president of the California Federation of Teachers.

STATE FUNDING CUTS FORCE SEVERE SUMMER COURSE REDUCTIONS

 

 

Nearly 5,000 students on waiting lists due to 50% cutback in classes;
veterans on G.I. bill and students on financial aid risk losing funds


East County News Service

June 21, 2010 (El Cajon) – Higher education funding cuts due to the California state budget crisis have forced Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District to severely reduce summer course sections, despite growing demands for classes from students seeking to retrain for new careers and complete general education requirements to transfer to four-year universities and colleges.

 

Despite efforts to keep budget cuts from harming students, the colleges have been forced to slash summer offerings by 50%.

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