Waste, Fraud and Abuse

Lawmaker rejects per diem, tax-funded car

Monday, December 8th, 2014
Catharine Baker

A newly-elected Bay Area lawmaker isn't reveling in the perks of public office. She's forgoing two of the best bonuses afforded to members of the California Legislature. As her first act in office, Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-Pleasanton, has declined per diem payments and a taxpayer-funded ...

Gov. Brown, CalPERS face off in 2015

Friday, December 5th, 2014

A piece of this year's politics moving into 2015 is Gov. Jerry Brown's tiff with the California Public Employees' Retirement System. In particular, Brown remains steamed over CalPERS' use of temporary pay to pad pensions. In a letter to CalPERS, he said the action "would improperly allow temporary...

Chiang launches program to reclaim lost wages

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

John Chiang may be gearing up for his move to the state treasurer's office. But that doesn't mean he's taking an early vacation from his job as state controller. Late last month, Chiang launched a new pilot program to aid victims of wage theft in California. The new program will use the state'...

CA Supreme Court decision not full victory for high-speed rail

Friday, October 17th, 2014

On Wednesday, the California Supreme Court declined to review of an appellate Court decision regarding the project. The case commonly is referred to as “Tos/Fukuda/Kings County” after the county and two residents who sued to stop the project. This meant the July 31 ruling of the 3rd A...

Toxic cleanup agency under fire from legislators

Thursday, September 25th, 2014
California Department of Substances Control

  The California Department of Toxic Substances Control is in charge of cleaning up the state’s hazardous waste sites. But lately, the agency has had to focus on cleaning up its own image after a recent audit criticized DTSC’s 27 years of mismanagement that has resulted in $194 million i...

Bankruptcy could cut San Bernardino fire pensions

Monday, September 15th, 2014
San Bernardino fire patch

  It was a hot 102 degrees last Thursday in San Bernardino -- perfect weather for a city bankruptcy "cramdown." Federal Bankruptcy Court Judge Meredith Jury ruled the city, as Reuters reported, "may impose cuts to its firefighters' overtime and pension benefits in a bid to reach a bankr...

Bill rectifies 9/11 scholarship program

Monday, September 8th, 2014
9-11, wikimedia

It took California legislators until this year's session to restore a scholarship program created in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack in 2001. The embarrassing delay came in the wake of years of funding abuses, according to a report finally filed by the State Auditor. The auditor confirmed...

CA high court asked to review bullet-train ruling

Thursday, September 4th, 2014
Kings County

Arguing that an appellate court ruling endangers the public’s faith in future bond initiatives,  the attorneys for the Tos/Fukuda/Kings County group challenging the state's bullet-train plans on Tuesday asked the California Supreme Court to review the recent decision reversing trial-court rulings...

Brown hits CalPERS on pension spiking

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

A bad month for CalPERS has gotten worse. On the heels of unfavorable news surrounding its investment strategy and leadership, the California Public Employee Retirement System provoked the wrath of Gov. Jerry Brown, who heaped scorn on its latest "pension spiking" plan. "Today CalPERS got it w...

Dems stop bills to ease gas price hike

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

  Perhaps the last chance to head off a California gasoline price hike that could exceed 50 cents per gallon by 2020 just was defeated on the state Senate floor. Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, offered amendments to a bill, AB2492, that had nothing to do with the bill’s focus on drug senten...