The first from my friend Jon Fleishman who had this excellent video from Simi Valley neighbor and Ventura County Supervisor Peter Foy of the Americans for Prosperity on the Los Angeles Community College District.
Gov. Jerry Brown said Thursday he was increasingly skeptical that a tax deal could be struck before the July 1 beginning of the new fiscal year, as Democrats and Republicans heatedly blamed each other for the impasse.
Brown, who issued a historic veto of Democrats’ budget plan a week ago, told a gathering of about 250 apartment owners and developers in San Francisco that he continues to seek GOP support for his budget plan, which includes a tax referendum in the fall.
“I’m not giving up,” Brown said, even if he has grown less sanguine about the prospect of a legislative accord.
Although state Controller John Chiang this week invoked a new law to halt lawmakers’ pay until there’s a budget in place, the renewed commotion in the Capitol has produced little progress.
A critical sticking point is that Brown wants to extend sales and vehicle taxes — which Republicans oppose — until an election can be held. He needs the support of at least four GOP lawmakers for both moves. If he fails, the governor said, he will help gather signatures to place taxes on the ballot next year.
“It will take the use of the initiative, in all probability,” he said, to restore California’s financial health.
With talks slipping and time running out, Republicans held an unusual news conference outside the doors of the governor’s Capitol office to blame Brown and his labor supporters for the lack of progress.
“The public unions and the governor have become the problem in this, not the Republicans,” said Sen. Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar).
When it comes to drawing a new congressional district, the phrase “close enough for government work” does not apply.
And, for the moment at least, that’s a problem for residents of the master-planned community of Wood Ranch in Simi Valley.
Under case law stemming from the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark “one man-one vote” decision in 1962, congressional districts in each state must be drawn to make the population of each almost exactly equal.
Under that formula, as the Citizens Redistricting Commission goes about drawing 53 new congressional districts this year in California, each one must have 702,905 people. A variance of one person is allowed.
So where does Wood Ranch come in?
In the draft map for a new congressional district that includes most of Ventura County, the commission moved Moorpark and Simi Valley to a separate district to the east. That arrangement would avoid splitting any city in the county almost.
It turns out the commission needed to take 2,000 people from the combined Moorpark-Simi Valley population of 158,658 to make the numbers work out. To accomplish that, the commission drew a line down the middle of Wood Ranch Parkway.
Simi Valley city officials and residents of Wood Ranch appealed to the commission to find its 2,000 people somewhere else.
“The proposed boundaries fracture neighborhoods in Wood Ranch and place neighbors living on opposite sides of the street in different congressional districts,” wrote Mayor Bob Huber in a letter to the commission. “These divisions appear inconsistent and incompatible with the commission’s goal of respecting neighborhood boundaries to the extent possible.”
Testifying before the panel at a hearing this week in Oxnard, Richard Olson, representing a Wood Ranch homeowners’ association, asked that the planned community be reunited.
“There are 2,000 residents who have separated from everything,” he said.
Gov. Jerry Brown hinted Thursday that if the budget talks with Republicans break down, the initiative fight that would follow would not be limited to Brown’s plans to raise sales, vehicle and income taxes. He said he expects labor groups to pursue changes to Proposition 13, tweaking the current caps on commercial property taxes, if no bipartisan deal can be reached.
“I would expect there will be efforts to accelerate the reassessment of commercial property tax,” Brown said.
During his remarks to about 250 apartment owners and developers at the Moscone Center on Thursday, he acknowledged some of his failures in budget talks, particularly over his proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies. “I wouldn’t be ready to write the obituary of redevelopment agencies,” he said. “They’re very powerful and they’re still alive and well despite my best efforts.”
Enjoy your morning!