Dem leaders backing “Occupy Wall Street” receive more Wall St. contributions than Republicans

From the Blaze:

It might not come as a surprise that key Democratic leaders supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement have in fact all raised substantial funds from Wall Street. Heritage reportes that President Obama, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Congressman Barney Frank have all raised significant funds from Wall Street. even reveals that the president has raised nearly $12 million in Wall Street donations for the Democratic National Committee. Heritage notes that the amount is more than all the Republican Presidential candidates combined have received from Wall Street.

Yet Obama supports the Occupy Wall Street movement, stating that their protests are a reflection of a “broad-based frustration about how our financial system works.” He has also adopted the term “99%” when talking about raising taxes.

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San Francisco gave contracts a $300M boost, some without review

From the SF Examiner:

During the past five years, more than 100 of The City’s largest contracts grew in cost by nearly $300 million — sometimes without the knowledge of San Francisco’s most powerful decision-makers.

That’s according to a new Budget Analyst’s Office report requested by Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who said he’s fed up with the difficulty of tracking how San Francisco spends its money.

Contracts must be approved by city boards and commissions, but revisions for unforeseen costs frequently don’t require additional authorization. A change of less than $500,000, for example, doesn’t need approval from the Board of Supervisors.

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Reality will bite on California’s debt-ridden unemployment fund

From the Sac Bee:

California has well over 2 million unemployed workers, and half of them collect unemployment insurance benefits.

The state’s Unemployment Insurance Fund, which had a $6.5 billion reserve a decade ago, went into the red nearly two years ago. The state has since been borrowing from the federal government to keep it afloat, a debt now approaching $10 billion.

Clearly, unemployment insurance payments are lifelines for millions of Californians, not only the 26 weeks of benefits that come out of the state’s fund, but up to 73 weeks of extended benefits that the federal government finances.

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California Rep. Laura Richardson may face ethics inquiry

From Politico:

The House Ethics Committee is moving toward a full-scale investigation of Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.), who has been under scrutiny for months over allegations that her staff engaged in banned political activities while on government time, according to several sources close to the matter.

Ethics Committee staffers have been digging into the claims against Richardson since last year as part of a “preliminary inquiry” by the panel, and they have been interviewing current and former Richardson aides. The investigators are looking into allegations that Richardson and some of her most senior staffers pressured other aides to work on her reelection campaign or be fired, according to these sources and news reports. Staffers on the congressional payroll are banned from working on political campaigns during official time, and no House resources can be used for campaign-related activities, according to House rules and federal statute.

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California’s budget battles are now playing out in court

From the Sac Bee:

In any California budget fight, there are winners and losers.

And then there are lawyers.

Interest groups that lose in the Capitol now head straight for the courthouse as a matter of routine, asking judges to block budget actions under state and federal laws.

Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers approved an $85.9 billion budget in June. Their plan now faces at least six legal challenges worth more than $4 billion combined.

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Online petition seeks discipline of Fullerton officers

From OC Register:

An online petition has more than 14,000 supporters calling for discipline to be imposed on the four police officers who were present – but not charged criminally – for the confrontation with a mentally ill homeless man who died five days later from injuries.

A Fullerton resident here started the petition in early October.

While two of the six officers were charged with crimes, District Attorney Tony Rauckauckas did not file charges against the other four involved in the July 5 confrontation with Kelly Thomas, the 37-year old homeless man, at the Fullerton Transportation Center.

“The way I see it, they (the other four) were there,” said Paul Orloff, 48, who launched the petition. “If they witness a crime, as police officers, I would still say it is there duty to stop it.”

The petition is on, a website where the public can establish any kind of petition.

Kelly Thomas police beating protesters, Fullerton

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LA Mayor Villaraigosa puts teeth into his stand on pension funds

From the LA Times:

Worried about the prospects of a new round of budget cuts during his last two years in office, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has grown increasingly bold — some say too aggressive — in his attempts to influence panels that guide the city’s huge retirement funds.

Two weeks ago, Villaraigosa warned a seven-member board overseeing pensions for civilian employees that a new round of layoffs would “almost certainly” occur if the panel scales back income projections for its $11-billion portfolio.

The week before, the mayor’s lawyer called on the Fire and Police Pensions board to disregard a legal opinion on potentially costly health benefits owed to retired police officers and firefighters. And in recent months, Villaraigosa has removed two pension appointees who took positions or cast votes that he opposed.

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Bill Seeks To Entice Foreigners To Buy U.S. Homes With Visa Offer

From Sun Valley Online:

The government may turn to foreigners to shore up the weak housing market.

A bill co-authored by Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) aims to use the appeal of U.S. residence visas to entice foreigners to buy American homes, according to The Wall Street Journal.

If passed, the bill would offer a U.S. residence visa to any foreigner who makes a cash investment of at least $500,000 in U.S. residential real estate.

“This is a way to create more demand without costing the federal government a nickel,” Schumer told the WSJ.

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Jail expansion: Counties seek millions from state

From SF Chronicle:

California counties are lining up to secure millions of dollars in state funds to expand jails now that Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan is under way to shift the incarceration of some felons from prisons to jails.

But while many county officials cheer the availability of $600 million in state funds to add more jail beds, opponents of prison expansion say building more incarceration space will discourage prosecutors, police and other public safety officials from seeking alternatives to lockups.

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Crazifornia: Why the Golden State may have just doomed cap and trade

From the Daily Caller:

Mary Nichols, one of the most dangerous women in America, looked out into the packed California Air Resources Board (CARB) hearing room late Thursday after an eight-hour hearing and declared, “We’ve done something important.”

Nichols is the chair of CARB and therefore the person most responsible for implementing the California Global Warming Solutions Act, AB 32, the state’s crusade to save the planet from the scourge of greenhouse gases. A former assistant administrator of EPA under President Clinton, Nichols now controls multiple programs designed to penalize conventional energy sources to the benefit of not-yet-competitive alternative sources. She has already forced the toughest diesel engine standards in the country onto California — standards that will cost the state’s battered trucking industry $12 billion — and Thursday she trumped that by ushering in the biggest playing field-leveler yet, the nation’s first state-run carbon cap-and-trade program.

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