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VIDEO: Dan Walters worries that Democrats will squander an unexpected $5 billion budget surplus on programs that the one-time windfall won't pay for in the future.

The last few days have brought some new revelations about the Department of Parks and Recreation's secret stash of money. When The Bee broke the story last year, it was against the recent backdrop of deficit-driven park closures that the extra funds would have prevented.

But it turns out the Department of Finance raised red flags about the parks department's accounting as long ago as 1999, and an investigation by the California state auditor concluded last week that the State Parks and Recreation Fund showed a surplus as far back as 1993.

The Joint Legislative Audit Committee is holding a hearing today to find out more, starting at 1:00 p.m. or when the Assembly adjourns. State Auditor Elaine M. Howle will be there, as will representatives from the attorney general's office, the state Controller's Office and the Department of Finance, along with Acting Director of Parks former Major General Anthony Jackson, whom Gov. Jerry Brown appointed after the secret surplus scandal claimed then-director Ruth Coleman.

Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, is bringing out some prominent law enforcement backers when he introduces a bill that would make it illegal to drive under the influence of drugs. Correa will be joined by Anthony Munoz, president of the California Narcotic Officers Association; Scott Seaman, president of the California Police Chiefs Association; Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones; and Robert McGrory of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office at a 10:00 a.m. presser in the Governor's Press Room (room 1190).

Under Correa's bill, it would be a crime for someone to drive with any detectable amount of a Schedule I, II, III or IV drug in their bloodstream. Substances that fall into some of those categories, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, include Adderall, Ritalin, Tylenol with codeine, Xanax and Valium, and of course cannabis, which joins heroin, peyote and LSD in the rarefied Schedule I category. The bill does make an exception for people with a valid prescription.

Happy birthday to Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, who is 73 today.


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