- State duns cities for millions of dollars (SF Chronicle)
California cities are in a high-stakes fight with officials in Sacramento over money that the state says the cities owe as part of the winding down of redevelopment agencies. County officials, under the state's direction, have sent letters of demand to cities throughout the state in recent weeks, many for millions of dollars. Several cities, including El Cerrito, refused to pay and sued the state, which is threatening to penalize cities by withholding sales tax revenue that cities rely on to pay for police, parks and other general operating expenses.
- Calif. sinks to 41st on kids' well-being (SF Chronicle)
Ranked highly among the states on child welfare issues last year, California is now one of the worst, according to a new report. The Golden State tumbled from last year's position of 16th to 41st on children's overall well-being, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a national philanthropy group for children, reported in its annual rankings Wednesday.
- Santa Clara Valley Water District puts $548 million parcel tax on November ballot (SJ Mercury News)
Hoping voters will approve a new round of funding for many of its most high-profile projects, Silicon Valley's largest water provider on Tuesday placed on the November ballot an extension of a parcel tax that would raise $548 million over the next 15 years for flood control work, seismic repairs on aging dams and environmental restoration efforts. By a 7-0 vote, the board of the Santa Clara Valley Water District, a government agency based in San Jose, moved ahead with placing the "Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program" before Santa Clara County voters this fall.
- State parks scandal: Honor system used to keep track of $37 billion in public funds (Bay Area News Group)
With state leaders scrambling to find out how state parks officials kept tens of millions of dollars hidden for more than a decade, California's top finance officials Tuesday acknowledged what could be a far bigger problem: They have no system in place to account for $37 billion in "special funds'' scattered throughout state government. Instead, finance officials revealed, they rely on an honor system to track money that could be stashed away in untold accounts similar to the funds that turned up last week, sparking a scandal in the state parks department.
District Attorney George Gascón said earlier this month that investigating alleged perjury during Lee’s June 29 testimony in the case against suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi was the responsibility of the Ethics Commission, which is conducting the hearing. But after the commission ruled last week that the allegations were irrelevant to Mirkarimi’s case, Chairman Ben Hur called perjury a criminal matter that only the district attorney could adjudicate. According to a brief statement from the District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday, no such inquiry will be launched.
Consumers across California will be getting rebate checks from their health insurers next week – one of the first tangible results of the federal health care overhaul. About 1.8 million Californians will be getting money back, either directly or through a reduction in their monthly premium. The average California rebate: about $65 a family.
If Chick-fil-A thought it had a tough time getting approval for a fast-food restaurant in Santa Rosa, wait until it tries operating one here. Neighborhood groups and members of the gay community vowed protests and boycotts of the future Mendocino Avenue restaurant in the wake of President Dan Cathy's quip that the company was "guilty as charged" in being against gay marriage and supportive of "the biblical definition of the family unit."
Tension over the Boy Scouts of America's anti-gay policy reached the Sacramento region this week after 10 members of an area summer camp staff walked out in response to the firing of a gay staff member. Local BSA officials said the young man was fired not because he is gay, but because he failed to heed repeated requests to dress appropriately for camp. Specifically at issue were his painted fingernails and earring, although one senior official said there were also complaints about his mannerisms and behavior.