The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 31, 2012
Judge confirms ruling against mystery donor to ballot campaigns

A Sacramento judge has ordered the Arizona nonprofit behind an $11 million contribution to a California political committee to produce documents for an audit by the Fair Political Practices Commission by 5 p.m. on Thursday.

Phoenix-based Americans for Responsible Leadership had objected to the FPPC's request for documentation as a violation of the First Amendment, a transgression of the commission's own policies and rules and as a politically-motivated move by the state to squash a political opponent of Gov. Jerry Brown.

The group gave $11 million to the independent Small Business Action Committee, which is both fighting Brown's tax measure, Proposition 30, and supporting Proposition 32, the campaign finance measure that would ban payroll deductions as a source for political activities.

FPPC Chairwoman Ann Ravel is a Brown appointee.

Judge Shelleyanne W.L. Chang said that on balance, the public's right to know by Election Day if the nonprofit violated disclosure laws outweighed the group's concerns.

It's not clear whether the commission can conduct its audit and, if the results warrant, reveal by Tuesday who is behind the nonprofit's donation. The matter could still get hung up in the courts.

In a prepared statement, said Matt Ross, spokesman for Americans Responsible Leadership's legal team said, "We are disappointed in the today's court ruling. We have asserted all along that the FPPC does not have the authority to issue an audit in advance of the election. We continue to believe so and will appeal this case."

Click here for the story on our sister blog, Capitol Alert.

Added at 11:27 p.m.: Sacr County FPPC V ARL Final order- 1031.pdf to read the court ruling, which is also embedded below.

October 31, 2012
Poll: How will Props. 30 and 32 fare next week?

We're in the final stretch to Election Day on Nov. 6, with two measures of particular interest to state workers on the ballot: Gov. Jerry Brown's tax increase, Proposition 30, and the campaign finance measure we've closely covered for the last two months, Proposition 32.

We've written about the political link between the two and how opponents and proponents of each measure have calculated how much of their combined $124 million or so to put into the dual-front battle.

Viewed as a political package, there are only four ways the vote can go. One is a clear win for organized labor. One is a clear win for business interests.

The other two possible outcomes, in our estimation, would be more of a win for business than for the unions.

When the votes are tallied, which way do you think it will go? Thoughtful comments welcomed for a Blog Back we're planning to write soon.


October 30, 2012
Court says Arizona-based Prop. 32 donor must disclose funds

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgA Sacramento Superior Court judge has issued a tentative ruling that would require an Arizona-based nonprofit disclose the source of $11 million it has injected into California politics, including efforts to support Proposition 32 and oppose Proposition 30.

Click here to read Kevin Yamamura's report.

Scroll down to Item 11 in the embedded document below to read the tentative ruling that will be up for debate at a hearing scheduled for Wednesday. Judges rarely change their tentative decisions.

October 30, 2012
The Roundup: CSU grades legislators; states cut health insurances costs; IL to vote on pensions

The Roundup: CSU grades legislators; states cut health insurances costs; IL to vote on pensions

Storified by Jon Ortiz · Tue, Oct 30 2012 08:59:07

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Dan Walters: CSU plunges overboard into politics - The Sacramento BeeThe California State University system has traditionally been the steady workhorse of California higher education, generating the enginee...
Calif. 3-year recidivism rate fallingAbout 64 percent of offenders released from state prisons during the 2007-2008 fiscal year were sent back behind bars within three years,...
CalPERS sues city of Compton over unpaid pension payments - The Sacramento BeeSacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the ...
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October 29, 2012
Campaign money in Prop. 32 fight reaches $124 million

121029 Prop 32.JPGWith just over a week before Election Day, the interests backing Proposition 32 and fighting Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative, Proposition 30, have raised $58 million, including a recent six-figure donation from a Texas oil man.

Meanwhile, the union-backed No on 32 side has raised $66 million.

The money highlights the role of special-interest independent expenditures in backing a measure that claims to be a check on special interests.

October 29, 2012
The State Worker on radio today to talk about Proposition 32

100610 microphone.JPGWe're scheduled for an appearance on San Diego's KPBS at noon today for an interview with "Midday Edition" host Maureen Cavanaugh. We'll be talking about Proposition 32.

In you're in the San Diego area you can tune in at 89.5 FM or 97.7 FM in Calexico. Click the this link to join the live stream of the discussion near the top of the hour. You also can listen to the archived show here. We're supposed to be on for about five minutes.


October 26, 2012
Head of California's prison system leaving to head county group

Thumbnail image for 120717 Matt Cate 2011 Benton.JPGFrom The Bee's David Siders:

Matt Cate, who oversaw a dramatic, court-ordered reduction of California's prison population as secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, is resigning, the Brown administration confirmed this afternoon.

Cate will become executive director of the California State Association of Counties.

Click here to read more on our sister blog, Capitol Alert.

PHOTO CREDIT: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Matt Cate in Sacramento office during a 2011 interview. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton

October 26, 2012
Poll: How much would Prop. 32 affect business interests?

Last week we asked how much unions would feel the effect if Proposition 32 becomes law. Here's a breakdown of responses to our decidedly unscientific poll on the measure.

Of the 1,200 blog users who took the poll, 53 percent said the measure would deal "serious injury" or a "death blow" to organized labor's clout.

Proposition 32 is written to include "unions and corporations" in its bans on payroll-deducted money for political purposes and direct contributions to candidates or candidate-controlled committees.

A new survey indicates that a majority of voters are opposed to the measure, but we still have to ask the follow up to last week's poll:

October 26, 2012
Report: Caltrans workers misused rented state trucks, bought booze

This report from CBS2 in Los Angeles includes surveillance of Caltrans employees using department rental trucks for commuting and personal business during work hours, including one worker who made trips to buy liquor. Watch for a heated confrontation between Gov. Jerry Brown and CBS reporter David Goldstein.

Editor's note, 5:02 p.m.: Brown said that Goldstein confronted him after a funeral for former Lt. Gov. Mervyn Dymally. Read more about Brown's reaction to the CBS 2 story on Capitol Alert.

October 26, 2012
The Roundup: Charles Munger contributes $13 million; CalPERS v. San Bernardino; California to take back prison healthcare

The Roundup: Charles Munger contributes $13 million; CalPERS v. San Bernardino; California to take back prison...

Storified by Jon Ortiz · Fri, Oct 26 2012 09:24:49

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Capitol Alert: Charles Munger drops another $13 million into ballot measure fights - sacbee.comWhat You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and...
CalPERS challenges San Bernardino's bankruptcy effort - The Sacramento BeeRingo Chiu / ZUMA24.com July 26, 2012 - San Bernardino, California, U.S. - San Bernardino must cut government spending by a third as the ...

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October 25, 2012
Read CalPERS' objection to San Bernardino's bankruptcy

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100607 CALPERS HQ.JPGAs reported this morning by The Bee's ace business reporter, Dale Kasler, CalPERS has filed its opening rebuttal to the City of San Bernardino's municipal bankruptcy. CalPERS is the city's largest creditor with about $5.2 million in unpaid pension contributions on its books so far.

The case is significant to all government employees because it pits federal bankruptcy law's power to break contractual obligations against laws that establish the sanctity of public pension obligations.

Read Dale's report and then check out the CalPERS filing:

October 25, 2012
California state worker retirements down slightly from last year

The number of state workers who who retired from service in October rose 16 percent from the same period in 2011, although year-to-date retirements are still slightly below last year's totals.

As the interactive chart below shows, 659 state employees applied for their state pensions last month, up from 566 one year ago. The departures contributed to the 8,830 state workers who have taken their pensions in 2012, down 2.1 percent from the first 10 months of last year.

In other words, if pension applications average 900 for the final two months of this year, 2012 will tie 2011 for the second-most number of state worker retirements on record.

Looking at the CalPERS retirements more broadly, a combined 25,712 state government, local government and schools members have taken their first pension checks from January through October, a 1 percent decline from the same period last year.

We've posted an interactive chart on the next page that captures the total membership retirement numbers.

The pension fund figures track service retirement applications submitted from mid-month to mid-month. The January numbers, for example, include employees who put in their papers in mid-December. This month's data account for retirement applications submitted from mid-September to mid-October.

The figures do not include disability retirements.

October 24, 2012
Poll: Support for Proposition 32 falls to 39 percent

Public support for Proposition 32, the controversial campaign finance measure, has faded to 39 percent among likely voters two weeks before Election Day, according to a Public Policy Institute of California poll.

Fifty-three percent of likely voters oppose the proposal to ban unions and corporations from using payroll-deduced money for political purposes, according to the poll released tonight. Seven percent are undecided.

California's labor unions, which rely on payroll-deduced dues, have made defeating the measure their priority this election year.

Public opinion about the initiative breaks along party lines, with a majority of Republicans favoring it and a majority of Democrats opposed. Independent voters oppose the measure by a 49 percent to 42 percent margin, according to the poll.

October 24, 2012
Union contributions push No on Prop. 32 money past $60 million

With two weeks remaining before Election Day, the donations to the labor-backed campaign committee to defeat Proposition 32 have reached $61 million.

Unions have made killing the measure their top priority, worried that if it becomes law that its ban on money from payroll deductions for political activities would handcuff their influence by choking off their sole source of funding.

The top three contributors to the anti-32 campaign have given half the money raised so far: the California Teachers Association ($20.1 million), Service Employees International Union ($8.8 million) and American Federation of State,County and Municipal Employees ($3.8 million).

Proposition 32 also bans corporations from using payroll deductions to fund politics, but since they raise their money through other means -- company treasuries and executive contributions -- measure would have little impact on their political resources.

The committee backing the measure has received $4.2 million from individual donors. But the real action has shifted to the Small Business Action Committee PAC, which set up a committee that both supports Proposition 32 and opposes Gov. Jerry Brown's tax proposal, Proposition 30.

The business group has received $29.3 million, with $16 million coming from Republican activist Charles Munger Jr. and $11 million from an Arizona nonprofit, Americans for Responsible Leadership, that hasn't disclosed the source of its money.

These tables detail the money backing and opposing Proposition 32 as reported to the California Secretary of State. Tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet toggle to the different accounts:

October 24, 2012
The Roundup: Mystery AZ money; judge rejects police chief's double pension bid; OK considers performance-based raises

The Roundup: Mystery AZ money; judge rejects police chief's double pension bid; OK considers performance-based raises

Storified by Jon Ortiz · Wed, Oct 24 2012 07:16:42

Follow @TheStateWorker on Twitter and check out The State Worker community page on Facebook for links, comments and insights into our reports, blog posts and columns. Sign up in the box at the top of this page to receive State Worker news alerts.

Dan Morain: Can California unmask mystery donors? - The Sacramento BeeCalifornia Common Cause filed a complaint with the FPPC demanding that a hitherto obscure Arizona nonprofit corporation disclose the dono...
Judge rejects former Bell police chief's bid to double pensionA judge has rejected an effort by Bell's former police chief to more than double his pension to $510,000 a year, saying that the City Cou...
Jerry Brown pivots to link Proposition 30 to voters' top issue -- jobs - The Sacramento BeeFRESNO - His tax initiative in trouble just two weeks before Election Day, Gov. Jerry Brown is re-tuning his campaign message, casting hi...
Stateline - A Unique Program in Oklahoma Provides Help to Ex-offenders with Mental IllnessesMcCLOUD, Oklahoma - Shawna Gordon isn't alone in worrying what will happen on that day in the future when she ventures beyond the familia...

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October 23, 2012
CalPERS receives awards for computer system

Editors note, 4:22 p.m.: This post has been updated with more data and call processing information from CalPERS.

121022 anne_stausboll courtesy calpers.JPGCalPERS announced today that it has received recognitions of excellence for two of its programs, including the my|CalPERS computer system that has a history of glitches and costly overruns.

"Our teams truly embody the CalPERS core value of quality in striving to exceed our customers' needs and expectations through competence, innovation and teamwork," CalPERS' CEO Anne Stausboll said today in a press release. "These honors are well deserved."

October 22, 2012
Unions remember state hospital employee killed two years ago

Thumbnail image for 121022 Donna Gross.JPGA union coalition of state hospital employees has scheduled observances around the state on Tuesday to remember Donna Gross, a psychiatric technican killed while on duty.

Locations for the 6 p.m. memorials include Napa State Hospital, where Gross worked. The events mark the two-year anniversary of her death at the hands of patient Jess Willard Massey. Massey is serving a 25 years-to-life sentence for the crime.

The 54-year-old's murder gave momentum to calls for heightened security at state mental hospitals and fostered the Safety Now! coalition. The group includes five unions with members working in California's mental hospitals: the American Federation of State County & Municipal Employees Local 2620, Service Employees International Union Local 1000, the California Association of Psychiatric Technicians, the Union of America Physicians & Dentists and the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association.

Here's more information about the statewide memorials.

PHOTO: Donna Gross / courtesy California Association of Psychiatric Technicians

October 22, 2012
From the notebook poll: CCPOA and other state employee unions

notebook-thumb-216x184-9328.jpgWe can never get everything we learn into a news story. "From the notebook" posts give you some of the extra details behind the news.

Our story in today's fiber/cyber Sacramento Bee about the shifting strategy of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association came from our observation that as of last week the union hadn't but any money into efforts to defeat Proposition 34, which would repeal California's death penalty, and Proposition 36, which softens the state's three-strikes law.

Subsequent conversations with several sources bolstered our sense that the union has shifted political gears away from influencing public opinion about big issues and expanding spending on prisons. Instead, it's focused on closer-to-ground concerns such as mitigating job losses and preserving members' benefits.

More broadly, when you think about CCPOA and other state public employee unions, how are they faring in these changing fiscal and political times?

October 21, 2012
The Roundup: CA legislative staffers' side jobs; CalPERS' computer system; unions focus on candidate campaigns

The Roundup: CA legislative staffers' side jobs; CalPERS' computer system

Storified by Jon Ortiz · Sun, Oct 21 2012 10:16:48

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California legislative staffers moonlight in campaign jobs - The Sacramento BeeWith Election Day approaching, campaigns across the state have stocked up on scores of aides and advisers to walk precincts, staff phone ...
The political fallout continues from last week's news that an out-of-state nonprofit dumped $11 billion into California politics ...
Jerry Brown accuses anti-tax group of illegal money-laundering - The Sacramento BeeSAN FRANCISCO - Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday accused opponents of his Nov. 6 ballot measure of illegal money laundering, saying the commi...
A union survey finds that organizing has helped correctional officers and teachers the most ...
AFT Survey Finds State Employees With Union Representation Have Significant Wage AdvantageThe American Federation of Teachers public employees division recently issued its annual "State Employee Compensation Survey," which dete...
Take a look at this New York Times item that looks at the impact in Missouri of a 2008 law that allows unlimited giving to political candidates:
Missouri Political Donor Thrives With 'No-Limits' GivingAn additional $250,000 arrived in August, after Mr. Schoeller had nearly run out of money and faced a tough general election campaign aga...
And pair that with this item from The Bee's Dan Morain about how unions are mobilizing as Election Day approaches:
Dan Morain: Campaigns take it to the street - The Sacramento BeeUnion workers on leave from jobs in Los Angeles and San Francisco showed up ready for duty at a messy office near the Reno airport, and s...

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October 19, 2012
Former Univision chief contributes another $500,000 for Prop. 32

With a $500,000 campaign contribution reported today, Jerrold Perenchio has moved into second place on the list of individual contributors to the Yes on Proposition 32 campaign.

The former Univision chief gave the money on Thursday, according to a campaign disclosure report filed today. Perenchio has now given $750,000 directly to the campaign.

Only Charles Munger Jr. has given more to the campaign, $873,000, which is promoting a measure that aims to alter California campaign finance law by, among other things, banning payroll-deducted money for political purposes.

Despite Perenchio's latest campaign contribution, the big pro-Proposition 32 money has shifted to the Small Business Action Committee PAC, which received an $11 million contribution from an Arizona group, Americans for Responsible Leadership, earlier this week. The money can go to independent campaigning for Proposition 32 or against Proposition 30.

October 19, 2012
Group calls for FPPC investigation of mystery Arizona money

121019 cressman.JPGAs details emerge about an out-of-state group that dumped $11 million into California politics this week, a good-government organization this morning called for an investigation into who is behind the money.

California Common Cause has asked the state's political watchdog commission to examine Phoenix-based Americans for Responsible Leadership and its contribution to an independent committee backing a controversial campaign finance measure on the Nov. 6 ballot, Proposition 32, and opposing Gov. Jerry Brown's tax proposal, Proposition 30.

"You know, $11 million doesn't just drop out of the sky," said Derek Cressman, Western regional director for Common Cause.

October 18, 2012
Check out the 'Proposition Song'

From our sister blog, Capitol Alert:

The nonpartisan California Voter Foundation has released "The Proposition Song" to introduce voters to the 11 ballot measures whose fate will be decided in the Nov. 6 election.

Click here for more from The Bee's Jim Sanders and to see the 3-minute video, shot at various locations around Sacramento.

October 18, 2012
The Roundup: California proposition tactics; CalPERS boosts long-term care rates; state pay costs rise

The Roundup: California proposition tactics; CalPERS boosts long-term care rates; state pay costs rise

Storified by Jon Ortiz · Thu, Oct 18 2012 08:05:53

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The State Worker: Public unions face choices in two-front ballot war - The Sacramento BeeIf he had just one vote on Nov. 6, the president of the California Federation of Teachers wouldn't use it on Gov. Jerry Brown's tax hike ...
Campaign watchdogs say Arizona group's $11 million donation exploits loophole in California law - The Sacramento BeeIn California's ever-expensive ballot wars, voters typically know who funds advertisements that hold great sway with the electorate. But ...
CalPERS board adopts long-term care hike - The Sacramento BeeCalPERS has given final approval to an 85 percent rate hike for policyholders in its long-term care insurance program. The vote Wednesday...
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October 17, 2012
Arizona group gives $11 million to pass Prop. 32, defeat Prop. 30

As reported on our sister blog, Capitol Alert, a committee supporting Proposition 32 and opposing Gov. Jerry Brown's tax increase on the Nov. 6 ballot has received $11 million from an out-of-state group.

Phoenix-based Americans for Responsible Leadership gave the money to Small Business Action Committee PAC, which is backing Proposition 32 and opposing Proposition 30. The group was formed as a non-profit in Arizona and has not reported its donors there or here.

It's also not clear how the money will be spent, because the business committee can spend the money to support Proposition 32 or oppose Proposition 30. Donations to the PAC now total $29.2 million, according to state records.

October 16, 2012
The Roundup: Yes versus No on Prop. 30; LA workers can't display political signs; OR 'Furlough Fridays'

The Roundup: Yes versus No on Prop. 30; LA workers can't display political signs; OR 'Furlough Fridays'

Storified by Jon Ortiz · Tue, Oct 16 2012 07:12:47

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State Workers Warned against Political Participation | KATC.com | Acadiana-Lafayette, LouisianaPosted: Oct 16, 2012 8:23 AM by AP BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Civil Service Director Shannon Templet is reminding rank-and-file Louisiana st...
Viewpoints: Will Prop. 30 boost public education? Yes - The Sacramento BeeWhen I am asked why I support Proposition 30 I think about Manual Arts High School, where I taught for more than 20 years. Manual Arts is...
Viewpoints: Will Prop. 30 boost public education? No - The Sacramento BeeGov. Jerry Brown is trying to make voters an offer they can't refuse. He knows that Californians value education, so he is traveling up a...
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October 15, 2012
From the notebook: More about Prop. 32 and states' payroll laws

notebook-thumb-216x184-9328.jpgWe can never get everything we learn into a news story. "From the notebook" posts give you some of the extra details behind the news.

We spoke to about 15 sources for our recent story on how unions would react if voters approve Proposition 32 in last week's Bee. Here are some of the quotes from those interviews that didn't get into the story.

October 15, 2012
The Roundup: Cellphone smuggling; the Koch brothers; CalPERS versus Rupert Murdoch

The Roundup: Cellphone smuggling; the Koch brothers; CalPERS versus Rupert Murdoch;

Storified by Jon Ortiz · Sun, Oct 14 2012 19:18:02

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Phone smuggling case costs 20 California prison workers their jobsTwenty California prison employees suspected of smuggling cellphones to inmates have resigned or were fired in recent months, according t...
The Kochs' quest to save America - The Sacramento BeeThe Koch brothers' political spending and the network of conservative political organizations and think tanks they fund have sparked prot...
Capitol Alert: Jerry Brown to start 'full-on' tax campaign Tuesday - sacbee.comOAKLAND - Gov. Jerry Brown, who has done little public campaigning for his Nov. 6 ballot initiative to raise taxes, said tonight that he ...
Capitol Alert: Molly Munger believed brother wasn't spending against Brown - sacbee.comWhat You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and...
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October 15, 2012
The parks investigation: Park law enforcement official didn't think employees would return leave cash

In response to blog user requests, The State Worker has posted dozens of state Parks and Recreation documents released by the Natural Resources Agency that lay out an investigation this year into a secret leave buyback program. We realized this month that an interview transcript of one other parks employee was not part of the batch we received.

When The Bee asked about the transcript, the agency promptly turned over the reacted document. In the interest of being thorough, we're posting the transcript here. We've already added it to our parks investigation document index.

Person interviewed: Tina Williams
Job: Parks and Recreation division chief, law enforcement and emergency services
Interviewed by: Corrine Murphy, Justice Department deputy attorney general, and Angela Nowicki, Superintendent II, State Parks Law Enforcement Emergency Services
Date of interview: Mar. 28, 2012
Notable quote: "Good luck with that." -- Williams recollection of her thought when her supervisor, Manuel Lopez, suggested that an employee complaint about the leave buyback program could force employees to return cashouts they had received.

October 12, 2012
Court overturns raises for SEIU Local 1000-represented medical staff

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgSacramento's 3rd District Court of Appeal today ruled for the state and against SEIU Local 1000 in a dispute over pay raises for Corrections Department medical staff.

An arbitrator and a superior court judge had ruled that the negotiated raises were valid. The appellate court said today that the raises weren't valid because the Legislature didn't sign off on them.

SEIU Local 1000 declined to comment on the ruling.

The case dates back to 2006 and agreements negotiated between then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Local 1000.

October 12, 2012
Poll: How much would Prop. 32 impact California unions?

Forces arrayed for and against Proposition 32, which would ban payroll-deducted money for political activities, are entering the last three weeks before the Nov. 6 election. Polling indicates that California voters are leaning against the measure.

But what if it passes?


October 12, 2012
The Roundup: California proposition wars; CalPERS' new investment; why public unions rarely strike

The Roundup: Molly Munger vs. Jerry Brown; CalPERS' new investment; why public unions rarely strike

At look at California and national news about state workers.

Storified by Jon Ortiz · Fri, Oct 12 2012 07:12:04

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Gov. Jerry Brown's budget plans threatened by a determined Molly Munger - The Sacramento BeeGov. Jerry Brown hoped a mix of politicking and good fortune would deter negative ads against his tax initiative in the campaign's final ...
Why Public-Sector Strikes Are So RareLast month's teacher strike in Chicago -- the city's first since 1987 -- was yet another of the year's attention-getters for public emplo...
CalPERS reportedly near $500 million deal on Illinois shopping center - The Sacramento BeeCalPERS is spending big money on a real estate deal again - but don't call it a risky bet. The pension fund is in discussions to buy Wood...
Peter Schrag: State government: The more we fix it, the worse it gets - The Sacramento BeeFor anyone who hadn't noticed, there's a boomlet in political reform in California - and a fair chance we haven't yet seen the end of it....

October 11, 2012
From the notebook: More about Washington's paycheck laws

notebook-thumb-216x184-9328.jpgWe can never get everything we learn into a news story. "From the notebook" posts give you some of the extra details behind the news.

Our report in today's Bee takes a look at the history of state laws that place limits on either the spending or the collection of payroll-deducted dues. We wanted to look back to see what California unions might do if Proposition 32 passes.

A significant part of the story looks at Washington state, where voters in 1992 passed the nation's first law to require that members of public-employee unions give annual written permission for their dues to be spent on political activities. A decade later, the state Legislature changed the law to require only a lifetime opt-in with annual employer notice of employees' right to opt out.

Here are some links for State Worker blog users who want to dive more deeply into the Washington law:

Information on Washington's 1992 Initiative 134.
Senate Bill 6713, the 2002 law that eased the member opt-in requirement.
A synopsis of the measure.

IMAGE: www.freeclipart.com

October 11, 2012
Column Extra: CalPERS' long-term care rate hike proposal

With just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, much of what we learn each week never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes and the observations that inform what's published.

Our column today draws some parallels between recent changes to public employee pensions and a proposal to increase premiums by up to 85 percent for members in CalPERS long-term care program. (Unlike pensions, the fund's long-term insurance plan operates solely on members' premiums and investments. No employer money is involved.)

The fund's Pension and Health Benefits Committee will consider the plan on Tuesday. If it clears that hearing, the full Board of Administration will take it up on Wednesday.

Here's the agenda item for next week, with a summary, background and analysis of how CalPERS, like many others in the long-term care insurance industry, got to this point and how it hopes to turn things around:

October 11, 2012
The Roundup: Unions adjust to 'paycheck' laws; Jerry Sandusky's pension

The Roundup: Unions adjust to 'paycheck' laws; Oregon state pay study; Sandusky's pension;

Storified by Jon Ortiz · Thu, Oct 11 2012 08:23:23

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When unions lose, it's not always 'game over' - The Sacramento BeeCalifornia unions are fighting for their life to defeat a Nov. 6 ballot measure that would choke off their political cash, but in other s...
The State Worker: What happens when benefits come with a bigger pricetag? - The Sacramento BeeA system out of whack. A new program that promises lower benefits. Higher payments from government workers. Arguments for pension reform ...
Ironwood prison riot numbers increaseCalifornia prison officials on Tuesday said a weekend riot at a Blythe prison was much larger than previously reported, involving more th...
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October 10, 2012
Prop. 32 debate pits GOP strategist vs. journalist; campaigns weigh in

Twitter debate pits Republican strategist vs. journalist, campaigns weigh in

Political arguments break out on Twitter all the time. On Tuesday, Proposition 32 was a hot topic. Here are some bits of the debate.

Storified by Jon Ortiz · Wed, Oct 10 2012 12:00:59

It all started with this story by Bay Area News Group reporter Steve Harmon:
Who's who of rich and powerful behind Proposition 32SACRAMENTO -- The main premise of Proposition 32 is that it would stamp out the influence of special interest groups, equally condemning ...

October 10, 2012
California teachers' union donations surpass $20 million to fight Prop. 32

The California Teachers' Association has given another $2 million to the No on Proposition 32 campaign over the last 10 days, bringing the union's total spending to fight the measure to more than $20 million.

That's 40 percent of the $50 million the No on 32 campaign has raised so far.

Tuesday's filings with the Secretary of State also show that several firefighter unions contributed about $140,000. The San Diego Firefighters Local 145 gave a little over half the total, $73,260.

October 9, 2012
Unions say Prop. 32 campaign is hiding its expenses

The union-backed No on Proposition 32 campaign has filed a formal complaint with a state political watchdog commission over $8 million the measure's supporters spent on media ads last month.

The opposition group on Monday asked the Fair Political Practices Commission to investigate two Yes on Proposition 32 campaign committees, California Future Fund for Free Markets and the Small Business Action Committee PAC, No on 30/Yes on 32. The complaint alleges the independent pro-32 committees failed to disclose enough payment detail for TV and radio spots that started running in mid-September.

October 9, 2012
Blog back: The NFL refs, government worker ratios; the Prop. 32 debate

Blog backs review your thoughtful and provocative online comments, amplify points, answer questions, correct our mistakes and humbly accept your warranted criticism.

As the campaign contributions pour into the campaigns supporting and opposing Proposition 32 in the final weeks before the Nov. 6 election, debate over the measure has heated up on The State Worker:

October 8, 2012
Democrat Gloria Romero and Common Cause's Kathay Feng spar over Prop. 32

Former Democratic state Sen. Gloria Romero and Kathay Feng, executive director of Common Cause, faced off last weekend over Proposition 32 on "NewsConference," Southern California's local version of "Meet the Press."

Romero represented supporters of the measure, which would among other things ban payroll-deducted money from use for political purposes. Feng, whose good-government group supports the idea of campaign reform, represents the opposition.

The debate gets heated a few times, challenging the moderation skills of host Conan Nolan. The first segment runs seven minutes. The follow-up runs about five minutes.

View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.


View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.

October 8, 2012
Inside CalPERS' proposal to hike long-term care premiums by 75 percent

CalPERS' to consider big hike for long-term care insurance

Background and social media reaction to news about the big premium hike -- up to 75 percent -- the California Public Employees' Retirement System's Board of Administration has on its agenda next week.

Storified by Jon Ortiz · Sun, Oct 07 2012 11:02:55

Here's Bee colleague Dale Kasler's story:
CalPERS weighs huge premium hike for long-term care - The Sacramento BeeIt's an old-age safety net offered to California public employees: insurance to cover the exorbitant cost of staying in nursing homes, as...
A PowerPoint presentation from last month lays out the situation. Slide 9 illustrates how anticipated premiums and investment returns will fall short of projected benefit payouts and expenses. Slides 5, 6 and 7 review previous increases. (Click the arrow in the upper-right corner to open a larger view of the PowerPoint in a new window.) 
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Dale's story ricocheted around traditional, social media and the web:
CalPERS is going to raise premiums sky high, lose members & go bankrupt. Watch.&; Lay ღ
whoa: CalPERS weighs huge premium hike for long-term care http://sacb.ee/PAL17UReporting on Health
Yikes! "CalPERS Weighs 75% Premium Increase for Long-Term Care' - http://bit.ly/PZ3QULMichael Keegan
Yow. #CALPERS considers 75% rate hike on most of its 150k long-term care policy holders: http://sacb.ee/T40myN @dakasler @Sacbee_newsEmily Bazar
We have been hearing for a long time that long term care insurance premiums were too low and were going to go up. but, darn, this sucks!Lighthouse Financial Planning, LLC
Of course, the prospect of a CalPERS long-term care rate hike is a dark cloud for some -- and a ray of sunshine for at least one person.
Folks...if you know anyone on CalPERS long-term care insurance plans...they will get hit hard this year. I sell PRIVATE LTC policies and can help them out! http://www.sacbee.com/2012/10/04/4880202/calpers-weighs-hugh-premium-hike.htmlMark Allen

October 8, 2012
The Roundup: WI measure protects unions; Chicago teachers OK pact; NV backs away from restoring state pay

The Roundup: WI measure protects unions; Chicago teachers OK pact; NV backs away from restoring state pay

Storified by Jon Ortiz · Mon, Oct 08 2012 08:45:22

Follow @TheStateWorker on Twitter and check out The State Worker community page on Facebook for links, comments and insights into our reports, blog posts and columns. Sign up in the box at the top of this page to receive State Worker news alerts.
Gov. Christie: I am not 'an anti-union person'PERTH AMBOY - Standing in a wood-paneled union hall, Gov. Chris Christie wanted the audience to know one thing. "I am not, by any stretch...
Stateline - Michigan Unions Seek Constitutional ProtectionLabor unions in Michigan have escaped the broad-based attacks their neighbors in Wisconsin and Ohio have experienced in the past couple o...
Wis. judge says decision in union case delayedColas says in the order that this will delay him acting on the state's request that he put his original decision on hold while it is ...
Click the link below to open PAGE 2

October 5, 2012
Charles Munger contributions for, against initiatives reach $23 million

Charles Munger Jr. has now given a nearly $23 million to an independent committee fighting for a measure that would curtail union political fundraising abilities while opposing Gov. Jerry Brown's tax proposal.

Both initiatives, Proposition 32 and Proposition 30, respectively, go to a statewide vote on Nov. 6.

Munger, a Stanford physicist and the namesake son of billionaire Warren Buffet's long-time business partner, gave another $2 million on Thursday to the Small Business Action Committee PAC, according to a state filing that was released today.

William Oberndorf, the now-retired co-founder of the Mill Valley, Calif., investment firm SPO Advisory Corp., kicked in $1 million to the dual-purpose committee.

Munger's latest contribution follows $10 million donation from Munger earlier this week and two contributions last month that totaled $10 million. He's also given a total $873,000 directly to the Yes on 32 campaign.

RELATED:
Charles Munger doubles down to defeat Prop. 30, support Prop. 32
Charles Munger gives $10 million for Prop. 32, against Prop. 30

October 4, 2012
Column Extra: Three cheers for union workers!

With just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, much of what we learn each week never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes and the observations that inform what's published.

Our column in today's Bee mentions a few lessons that public employees can draw from the events leading to the recent NFL labor agreement with the union that represents its referees. When you strip away the sports entertainment aspect of the story, what's left is a private-sector union representing 121 part-time entertainment regulators who have been earning an average $149,000 per year with pension benefits.

The public would be appalled with those terms in a public-sector union contract, but as the video below shows, football fans absolutely gushed when the refs' lockout ended last week. We assume that most didn't know the new deal increases referees' average annual pay by 38 percent over seven years, offset by a phase-out of defined benefit pensions. And if fans did know, would they care?

October 3, 2012
Charles Munger doubles down to defeat Prop. 30, support Prop. 32

Thumbnail image for checkbook2.gifCharles Munger Jr. has given another $9.9 million to a committee with a dual mission: defeat Gov. Jerry Brown's tax measure, Proposition 30, and support a measure that is anathema to unions, Proposition 32.

A filing with the Secretary of State's office posted online this afternoon shows Munger gave the money to Small Business Action Committee PAC, No on 30/Yes on 32.

October 3, 2012
Charles Munger gives $10 million for Prop. 32, against Prop. 30

Thumbnail image for 120619 MungerJr_baer_2008.JPGNew filings with the Secretary of State show that Republican activist Charles Munger Jr. gave a little more than $10 million to a committee that is supporting Proposition 32, the campaign finance measure on the November ballot, and opposing Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative, Proposition 30.

State records show that some of the money that went to the Small Business Action Committee was spent on a statewide advertising campaign that launched Tuesday. The committee opposing Brown's tax measure received $700,000.

Click here for more details on our sister blog, Capitol Alert.

PHOTO: Charles Munger Jr. / Sacramento Bee 2008 file

October 3, 2012
California near bottom in government workers-to-residents ratio, tops in pay

California remains among the nation's cellar dwellers in its ratio of state and local government employees to residents, according to a new analysis by the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. Meanwhile, state workers here are, on average, the highest-paid.

The Golden State was fifth from the bottom in its number of full-time equivalent state and local government employees relative to population: 476 workers per 10,000 state residents. Nevada had the fewest (420 per 10,000) followed by Arizona (433), Mississippi (462) and Pennsylvania (465). Texas ranked No. 1 with 565 state and local government employees per 10,000 residents, 8 percent above the national average of 525.

October 2, 2012
Arnold Schwarzenegger discusses public pensions on Jon Stewart show

121001Schwarzenegger book signing.jpgFormer California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared on The Daily Show Monday to promote his autobiography, "Total Recall." The three-part unedited interview with host Jon Stewart touched on California's fiscal woes, with Stewart framing the subject as a political problem created by an initiative process that has allowed voters to refuse to raise taxes and simultaneously demand more government services.

Schwarzenegger pivoted from that point to public pensions, a topic that became a focus of his administration. The California Legislature created a system that now carries "$400 billion" in unfunded pension obligations, the Republican movie star said, money spent "looking backward" to pay benefits for work done that could be used for investing in the future on things such as education and infrastructure.

Stewart, a Democrat who generally sides with organized labor, offered little resistance to Schwarzenegger's pension claims, although the two later sparred over tax policy and the economy.

We've embedded the Daily Show segments below. Scroll to the 5-minute, 50-second mark of the first one to catch the pension discussion. The second clip includes Schwarzenegger explaining why he didn't feel beholden to the Republican Party. He crosses swords with Stewart over tax policy in the third segment, which opens with Stewart asking, "I'm wondering why you aren't a Democrat."

October 1, 2012
More voters oppose Proposition 32 than support it, poll says

Another poll shows that Proposition 32 is losing support among voters.

The latest survey by the University of Southern California Dornsife and the Los Angeles Times shows 44 percent opposed the measure which would cut off payroll-deducted money from use in political campaigns. Researchers found 36 supported the measure. The remaining 20 percent of voters surveyed said they were undecided.

The USC/Times research almost exactly mirrors the results of a Field Poll survey that found the No on 32 side leading 44 percent to 38 percent with 18 percent undecided. A recent Public Policy Institute of California poll yielded similar voter reaction.

October 1, 2012
Jerry Brown vetoes bill aimed at arming California state hospital police

Thumbnail image for 120514 Jerry Brown budget presser Amezcua.jpgGov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a measure that would have required the state to establish a plan to allow hospital police officers to carry guns.

The director of the Department of State Hospitals sets the gun policy for a combined 800 facility police statewide. Currently, those officers cannot carry firearms while on duty.

Brown said in his veto message that the policy is "best left to the discretion of the department director who already has authority to arm its officers."

Earlier drafts of Assembly Bill 2623 by Michael Allen, D-Santa Rosa, would have simply authorized the officers to carry guns.

October 1, 2012
The Roundup: Mich. judge overturns pension law; two takes on state workers' pay; Arnold Schwarzenegger's return

The Roundup: Mich. judge overturns pension law; two takes on state workers' pay; Arnold Schwarzenegger's return;

Storified by Jon Ortiz · Mon, Oct 01 2012 08:18:46

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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