Gov. Brown Defends School Tests He Once Sought to Overhaul

From the Sac Bee:

Gov. Jerry Brown said this afternoon that the school testing program he proposed overhauling in last year’s gubernatorial campaign is a “good system” he is not inclined to dramatically revise.

The Academic Performance Index system, the Democratic governor said, is “a good one, and now what we have to do is use it.”

Brown’s remarks, at Milken Institute’s State of the State Conference at The Beverly Hilton, came after a rift between Brown and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg on education policy surfaced Saturday, when Brown vetoed legislation in which the Sacramento Democrat sought to change how the state measures school performance, expanding measurements to include such factors as career readiness and graduation and promotion rates.

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SoCal Home Prices Down for Seven Consecutive Months

From the OC Register:

Southern California home prices fell for a seventh straight month in September, while sales remained virtually flat, DataQuick Information Systems reported Thursday.

The median price of a home fell in all six SoCal counties, with the last price gain in any of them being recorded in January in San Bernardino County.

As the California housing slump concluded its sixth year last month, the market remains bogged down by foreclosures, sales of homes for less than their mortgage and a bargain-buying frenzy by investors armed with cash.

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Ballots across the Bay Area in Different Languages

From Contra Costa Times:

Dozens of languages are spoken in the Bay Area, and some of them are about to find their way into local voting places as part of newly updated requirements of the federal Voting Rights Act.

Alameda County already provides Chinese and Spanish language assistance at polling stations, but soon must add Vietnamese and Tagalog to its repertoire, according to the voting rights requirements announced Wednesday.

“It means we must translate everything we produce into these additional languages, all the sample ballots, all the material at the polling places, anything we mail out to voters,” said Alameda County Registrar Dave Macdonald.

Election sites around the East Bay will also have to staff bilingual poll workers to enable the region’s increasingly diverse population to more easily participate in elections.

The California Secretary of State’s office said the changes will take effect by the June 2012 election, because voter pamphlets are already mailed out for local elections in November, but federal officials said they are effective now.

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Bid to Reverse SB 48 Won’t Qualify

From the Sac Bee:

An effort to repeal a new law requiring that California school instruction includes the contributions and role of gay and lesbian individuals has failed.

Opponents of Senate Bill 48 announced today that they fell short of the roughly 504,000 voter signatures needed to qualify a referendum of the law for the 2012 ballot. Today is the deadline for submitting those signatures to election officials.

“In the end, 90 days was too short a time to accomplish such a large task,” referendum organizers wrote in an email blast titled “We fought the law and the law won.”

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Who’s Going to Run Against Dianne Feinstein?

From Fox & Hounds:

The election is a little more than a year away and no major Republican candidate has announced a run against incumbent U. S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. Often cited as the most revered politician in the state, Feinstein has won four elections to the senate, and in a strong Democratic state, she would seem tough, if not impossible, to beat.

Still, there have been signs that the challenge may not be hopeless. The last two Field Polls have here approval rating a scant four points and two points ahead of disapproval. That’s quite a contrast from previous polls showing pluralities ranging from nineteen to twenty-nine points in the year before her elections.

Furthermore, the senator would have to deal with the issue of her age – 79 at the beginning of another six-year term. Admittedly, the age issue has not been an impediment recently for politicians seeking high office in the Golden State.

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Meet America’s ‘53%’ – and they have a message for the ‘99%’ protestors

From the Blaze:

Meet The 53%. Who are they?  The term 53% refers to the people who are actually paying taxes for themselves and the rest of the country.

The 53% is a group of responsible young people organizing across the country. However, this group is not camping out in parks around the country and demanding the entire capitalist system be destroyed. These men and women have jobs (most of them work at more than one job in order to make ends meet), but they are talking about attending the Minneapolis Occupy Wall St. protest scheduled for today – Friday, October 7th.

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Campaign Contributions via Text-Message

From Politico:

California became the first state Thursday to allow people to make political campaign contributions via text messages.

“We have an obligation to bring more people into our democratic process,” said Ann Ravel, chairwoman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, which approved the change in a 3-to-0 vote. “This is one small step we are taking to allow this to happen and to allow people who can’t go to big fundraisers that are $1,000 a head or more to participate.”

“It’s now up to the industry to implement this and we realize it will take some time before that happens,” she said.

But the wireless industry was not happy with the new regulation, which places no limits on the amount of money a person can contribute via text message.

“We oppose today’s action by the California Fair Political Practices Commission because it needlessly places wireless carriers in the middle of a conflict between federal and state campaign finance laws,” said Mike Altschul, senior vice president and general counsel at CTIA-The Wireless Industry Association. “CTIA looks forward to working with California FPPC on alternative mobile payment mechanisms that harness the benefits of wireless technology without creating legal conflicts.”

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“Fast and Furious” Unravels as Issa Subpoenas Documents

From the LA Times:

A leading House Republican investigating the ATF operation dubbed Fast and Furious subpoenaed documents from Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. on Wednesday, escalating the confrontation over the botched gun-tracing program.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, issued a far-ranging subpoena seeking all communications between Holder, his deputies and the White House in connection with the now-defunct operation run by the Phoenix field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Issa contends the attorney general knew more about the operation than he has told congressional investigators. Holder strongly denies that.

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Donnelly and Minutemen take on Sacramento

From the SGV Tribune:

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Hesperia, on Monday filed a referendum to collect signatures in an effort to overturn the California Dream Act – the provision that will make some students, who are illegal immigrants, eligible for government grants.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the act into law Sunday.

While Donnelly said he’d be relying mostly on social media and talk radio to get his message out, he had no shortage of confidence that he could get the necessary 500,000-plus signatures – indeed boasting that he’ll have more than a million at his disposal.

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Does Bankruptcy Await Santa Ana?

From the Voice of OC:

Although Santa Ana city officials and union leaders are saying they can work together to pare down the city’s $30-million budget deficit, the word bankruptcy is being whispered more often these days in the corridors of City Hall.

And it is clear, as the city and unions enter the early stages of negotiations, that if the two sides don’t agree to drastic cost-saving measures, the prospect of bankruptcy will go from a persistent rumor to a distinct possibility.

Yet because there are so few cases of municipal bankruptcy, there is no clear understanding of what bankruptcy would ultimately mean for the city. Labor contracts may or may not be scrapped. The city’s credit rating could be left scarred, or it could easily bounce back. Long-term pension obligations have never been tested in bankruptcy court.

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