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City Council: a TV news reporter's *worst* nightmare

City Council: a TV news reporter's *worst* nightmare

Last Tuesday (April 17th) was troublesome for myself and News10 reporter Cornell Barnard (featured in the picture above) for two reasons:

1. we got assigned to report on a City Council meeting

2. our focus was the botched arena deal

These are two things that reporters and photojournalists get tired of fast... anything to do with city politics and anything to do with a story that never dies such as the downtown entertainment/sports complex.

Just look at Cornell's expression as we painfully waited through the public comments portion of the meeting... I couldn't help but be reminded of Marlon Brando's last words as he portrayed Col. Walter E. Kurtz at the end of Francis Ford Coppola's epic movie "Apocalypse Now."

"Man up," Governor Brown tells legislators

Governor Jerry Brown has never been one to hold back saying what he thinks, and in a Friday morning radio interview, told legislators to get going on the tough proposals he's offered to help balance the state budget.

"The Legislature has to man up, make the cuts," Brown said in an interview on KGO Radio in San Francisco.

The Q&A with host Ronn Owens touched on everything from Brown's November tax increase initiative to Indian gaming, presidential politics, and beyond. And the quip about legislative action - buzzworthy as it will no doubt be - seems to offer perhaps the first real sign of frustration from the governor about the pace of budget action this year under the state Capitol dome.

Senate passes extension to sell pet license plates

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- California pet lovers are one step closer to getting an extension in their campaign for a specialty license plate.

The state Senate on Thursday voted unanimously to pass AB610 by Democratic Assemblyman Jose Solorio of Santa Ana. The bill provides a 12-month extension to pre-sell 7,500 specialty license plates.

About 4,000 have been sold so far.

If the program is successful, money raised from the sale of the plates will fund spay and neuter programs.

Supporters say spaying and neutering is the best way to stop overpopulation of pets and reduce the euthanasia rate. The campaign is being sponsored by the California Veterinary Medical Board.

The bill will return to the Assembly with minor changes and then goes to Gov. Brown, who has a Welsh corgi named Sutter.

April state income tax revenues look weak

With one third of April 2012 now in the record books, one thing seems certain: the California budget hasn't gotten much love from the state's taxpayers.

Income taxes are the most important part of the state's revenue stream, and April is the single biggest month of the year for the collection of those revenues.

Through the first ten days of April, state officials report that just under $1.1 billion of income tax revenues have been collected. That may sound good, until you consider this: Governor Jerry Brown's proposed state budget assumes that $9.13 billion will be collected this month.

And so you don't need an advanced math degree to see the problem.  One third of the month has passed, and yet only one tenth of the expected tax revenues have materialized.

Governor Brown, allies raise big bucks for tax initiative

Jerry Brown is a busy guy these days.

In addition to crafting a revised state budget this spring and shepherding complex issues like high-speed rail through the Capitol, Brown is leading the charge to raise a lot of money to help qualify his tax initiative for the November statewide ballot.

All told, the governor and his political allies have raised almost $11 million, most of that in just the last few weeks.

That political fundraising effort largely reflects the fact that the governor decided to reboot his efforts just last month. After drafting a compromise with the liberal activists who were pushing a competing tax increase initiative, the new Brown Tax 2.0 hit the streets for gathering signatures on March 16.

State Capitol Museum Presents "Governor's Day" Living History Event - 4/22

State Capitol Museum Presents "Governor's Day" Living History Event - 4/22

Celebrate Earth Day 2012 by visiting and/or supporting a California State Park on Sunday, April 22! 

Operated by California State Parks, the (always free) California State Capitol Museum invites visitors to the State Capitol to step back in time to 1899-1917 to experience “Living History” in action and learn about California’s pressing issues during the turn of the 20th century.  From 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and with the help of dedicated volunteers, staff and docents in period attire portraying Governors Henry Gage, George Pardee, James Gillett and Hiram Johnson and their wives, State Capitol visitors will see re-enactments of important events from past governors and their respective administrations.

Legislator paycheck fight heads to court

The Legislature returns to Sacramento on Monday from a week-long spring recess, soon to head into the homestretch of budget negotiations.  And it's possible that those negotiations will hinge on a fascinating -- and somewhat nasty - court fight between legislative leaders and the state's chief financial officer over the meaning of a 'balanced budget.'

On Tuesday afternoon, a Sacramento superior court judge is scheduled to hear the case of Steinberg, Perez v. Chiang.  The plaintiffs, Assembly Speaker John Perez and Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, assert that Controller John Chiang overstepped his legal authority last June by withholding legislator paychecks for almost two weeks.