FROM Pat Macht
The State Budget and Public Pension Reform Governor Brown has declared a stalemate on closing the $25 billion gap between state spending and revenue. He wants roughly half made up by spending cuts and the other half to be an extension of tax increases approved by the voters. Republicans won't give him the two-thirds vote required to put that on the ballot, but there might be a deal on public pension reform. The state's bipartisan Little Hoover Commission has concluded that underfunded pensions threaten both state and local governments. The Legislative Analyst , also bipartisan, agrees.
The Trouble with CalPERS The California Public Employees Retirement System is the biggest thing of its kind in the country with $200 billion in assets. CalPERS, as it's called, has been a model for big investors and a champion of good corporate governance. Now its reputation is under assault because of big losses from bad investments and potential conflicts of interest. Today's Los Angeles Times reports that CalPERS continued doing business with two hedge fund advisors for two years after contracts had run out.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."