A few current California news items making the rounds this week:
California’s water wars is set to heat up again as Governor Jerry Brown and federal Interior Secretary Ken Salazar prepare to make an announcement this Wednesday about plans to increase the state’s existing water infrastructure. The controversial and expensive project- $23.7 billion to be exact- centers on the building of 2 tunnels that carry water from the Sacramento River under the Delta and into the California Aqueduct. Opponents of the plan argue that the project’s benefits far outweigh the costs, which include increased costs for water users, and the potential devastation of the local agricultural economy which is dependent on water quality. The project also includes habitat restoration aimed to aid endangered fish species.
Here’s more on the topic from The Sacramento Bee: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/21/4647294/calif-federal-officials-to-reveal.html#mi_rss=Top%20Stories
California’s State Legislature moved to suspend the Ralph M. Brown Act in order to save the state money. Sure, but is it really worth$96 million to the state budget? The Brown Act requires governing bodies of local municipalities, schools, and special districts to post their agendas at least 72 hours prior to holding a meeting- a requirement that the state has long been paying local governments millions for. Numerous local governments have vowed to continue compliance with the Brown Act despite the suspension.
More from The Orange County Register: http://taxdollars.ocregister.com/2012/07/23/to-help-balance-the-budget-state-suspends-key-provision-of-open-meetings-law/159304/
Rural California is about to receive another bill from the state of California. The Board of equalization is about to start sending out bills to the tune of $150 dollars to all communities where the state handles firefighting responsibilities. California’s “fire fee” as it is known passed through the Legislature over a year ago, and is expected to generate approximately $89 million for the previous fiscal year.
An article from The Press-Enterprise (Riverside): http://www.pe.com/local-news/politics/politics-headlines-index/20120722-fire-fee-first-bills-going-out-next-month.ece
San Francisco residents might have to foot an additional bill for the building of California’s high-speed rail. Approximately $650 million is needed to dig a tunnel beneath the city connecting the Transbay Terminal to the Caltrain station- San Francisco plans to raise the money through new city taxes and toll increases. The contentious high-speed rail plan which narrowly passed through the Legislature earlier in the month didn’t include funding for this particular project.
More from the San Francisco Chronicle: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/Bay-Area-faces-new-high-speed-rail-costs-3726796.php
Last week, news outlets were abuzz over the estimated $54 million that has been illegally stashed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Governor Brown has since indicated that he will be working with Legislators to see if some of the money can be put toward alleviating the state’s many parks slated for closure.
Here’s more on the story from the San Francisco Chronicle: http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/State-parks-fund-stash-eyed-for-closures-3729479.php#photo-3230400
In case you were wondering, convicted felons can no longer run for office in the state of California. That’s right, as in they were technically able to previously. Governor Jerry Brown signed a new law Monday banning convicted felons from running for public office- be it local or statewide. Assembly Bill 2410 was authored by Assembly Member Felipe Fuentes, D- Arleta.
More from the Los Angeles Daily News: http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_21141139/new-law-convicted-felons-cant-run-office-california?source=rss