Friday, November 28, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Real problems demand Legislature’s attention

walters column sig

By
From page A9 | February 10, 2013 |

California’s Legislature hasn’t been doing much in the two months since it reconvened – so little, in fact, that legislative leaders are staging policy seminars to show voters that they are really being diligent.

Here’s a better idea: The Legislature should assign some of its highly paid staff – particularly those hired specifically to be investigators – to delve into a number of simmering issues and then conduct rigorous public hearings.

It’s called, for the benefit of the Legislature’s new members, “oversight,” and while their leaders routinely promise it, they rarely deliver. What they call oversight consists mostly of highly orchestrated “hearings” to please major campaign donors and other interest groups.

There have been exceptions, such as the Legislature’s hearings into an Oracle software scandal a decade or so ago, but they’ve been rare.

If lawmakers really want to prove to voters that they’re earning their money this winter, they’ll delve into such matters as:

  • The continuing mystery of who knew what and when about the concealment of tens of millions of dollars in the state Department of Parks and Recreation. The organizations that raised private funds for state parks deserve some answers, especially since a criminal investigation isn’t happening and The Sacramento Bee, which broke the story, doesn’t have subpoena power to force the officials involved to talk.
  • A somewhat similar tale unfolding about the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, the state’s wildfire agency, which directed millions from a lawsuit settlement into a private fund, rather than the state’s treasury, while seeking new fees on property owners.
  • Another revelation by The Bee that the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, and perhaps other agencies, have been paying salaried managers overtime for some work, undermining precepts of what managers do.
  • The prospect of ongoing unfunded liabilities in CalPERS and other retirement systems, plus unfunded commitments for retiree health care. The Legislature’s budget analyst has highlighted the issue, which the Legislature – out of deference to public employee unions – mostly wants to ignore, but it threatens the state’s long-term fiscal stability.
  • The real effect of the criminal justice “realignment” that Gov. Jerry Brown has touted as the solution to prison overcrowding. It has put more criminals on the street, supposedly under probation or parole supervision, rather than behind bars, and there is a debate over whether it has resulted in a spike in crime.

There are other issues that deserve attention, but these five would be a good beginning – if lawmakers aren’t too busy organizing fundraisers, staging self-serving news conferences and manipulating their schedules to maximize their $142 per day in tax-free expense payments.

Dan Walters is a columnist for the Sacramento Bee. Reach him at dwalters@sacbee.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Rich GiddensFebruary 07, 2013 - 1:11 pm

    California's State legislature is a nanny-state and communistic legislature seemingly only interested in nanny-state'ism and getting involved in things they shouldn't be involved in while neglecting their foremost responsibility---gaining control over California's governmental red ink and debt. There is no attempt to cut the size and scope of State government. Instead there is only growing of State and local government along with defecit spending. Exactly how many departments, agencies, bureaus, commissions and authorities does California have? You don't want to know! Its not good.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Solano Turkey Trot draws 2,600 to college

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Solano College student body to mark World AIDS Day

By Maureen Fissolo | From Page: A3

 
Il Fiorello schedules olive milling day

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Movies just another course on Thanksgiving

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Early Black Friday shoppers take advantage of deals

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
.

US / World

‘Guardian angel,’ community join to give man home

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
US celebrates Thanksgiving with parades, turkey

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Tons of marijuana seized in Central California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 4 Comments

 
Gorilla death prompts San Francisco Zoo changes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Health agents still unpaid after plan’s rollout

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
California Burger King employee finds $100,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

At 1 month, US Ebola monitors finding no cases

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Families asked to host visitors for pope’s US trip

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Researchers discover ‘pre-cancers’ in blood

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
35 arrested in Oakland after protest march

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

A glance at Ferguson: Then, now and the future

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
For some, location of Brown’s hands irrelevant

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

Ferguson gives thanks after a quiet night

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Colorado mastodon bones show ancient warmer Earth

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

Queen of crime writing PD James dies aged 94

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Ebola aid dogged by coordination lags in Guinea

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Taliban attack rocks upscale Kabul district

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Small quake rattles California wine country

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Living

Today in History: Nov. 28, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Nov. 28, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Poor health is no excuse for not behaving like a caring person

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscope for Nov. 28, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview: Nov. 28 to Dec. 4, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Prison theater transforms Colombian inmates

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Singer John Mayer among ‘Late Late Show’ subs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Review: ‘Horrible Bosses 2′ doesn’t work

By Jake Coyle | From Page: B2

Review: ‘Madagascar’ spin-off hatches family fun

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Reading Harry Potter gives clues to brain activity

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Talking songs with She & Him

By Kim Durbin | From Page: B3

 
Entertainment calendar Nov. 28, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B4

 
Cosby testimony describes accuser’s spiked story

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Sports

College notebook: Many happy returns for Arizona’s Bondurant

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Sherman’s big night leads Seattle past 49ers again

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7, 1 Comment | Gallery

Rookie quarterback Carr is Raiders’ silver lining

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
US cities urged to keep price tags down for 2024

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Eagles roll over Cowboys 33-10 for NFC East lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
5 investigated in FIFA WCup bid corruption probe

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Johnson shines in Detroit’s 34-17 win over Chicago

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Signups for Friday, Nov. 28, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

No. 9 UCLA must overcome Stanford for Pac-12 title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Business

Kia’s ‘Soulful’ first electric car

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1

 
Automakers aim to drive away car computer hackers

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

OPEC keeps oil output on hold despite low prices

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Google’s latest: A spoon that steadies tremors

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

3 Reasons holiday shoppers will spend cautiously

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

Deanna L. Haines

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Esther Ringler

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9