Let the haggling begin: budget season in Sacramento

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ov. Jerry Brown will lay out his revised budget today – with roughly $2 billion more in the state’s coffers than anticipated when his initial spending plan was released a few months ago. How the governor proposes to spend that extra revenue has been the subject of much speculation and debate. Majority Democrats in the Legislature are clamoring for increased spending on social services that were cut during the recession. And there’s a big push in Sacramento for universal pre-K education. But even with the economy improving and revenue coming in ahead of projections, Brown has been calling for fiscal restraint. He could use the money to pay down more of the state’s long-term debt and unfunded pension obligations. In January, Brown proposed a nearly $107-billion general fund, the largest in state history.

sterlingIf Donald Sterling thought his sit-down with Anderson Cooper would quiet the controversy over his racist remarks and lead to his to his reinstatement to the NBA, he appears to have miscalculated. Instead, Sterling’s CNN interview has only added fuel to the fire. In particular, Sterling is facing fresh rebukes for his comments about former Lakers star and businessman Magic Johnson, whom he accused of “acting so holy.” Sterling rebuked Johnson for being promiscuous and contracting HIV and said he is not a role model. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who has already banned Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million, issued an apology to Johnson on behalf of the league for being dragged into the Sterling mess.

Firefighters are on high alert today as blistering temperatures combine with low humidity and stiff winds to create potentially explosive fire conditions. The National Weather Service has put a widespread Red Flag fire warning in effect until tomorrow evening. That means parking restrictions will be enforced in hillside neighborhoods of L.A., Pasadena and other cities. Winds today are expected to blow between 20 and 35 miles an hour in the mountains and valleys, with gusts up to 55 miles an hour. A cooling trend is on the horizon, but it’s not expected to reach Southern California until Friday.

srirachaThe Irwindale City Council today could postpone a vote on declaring the Sriracha hot sauce plant a public nuisance. The council meets one day after a pair of representatives from Texas toured the plant and tried to woo Huy Fong Foods to the Lone Star state. The owner says he’s not planning to move the Sriracha plant, but he is looking at possible locations for a second facility. Last month, the Irwindale City Council tentatively voted to declare the Sriracha hot sauce plant a public nuisance because of the acidic jalapeno fumes it allegedly emits. A final vote was scheduled for tonight. But Huy Fong says it hopes to have the problem solved by next month, and the council will probably delay formal action.

wolfOregon’s wandering wolf, OR-7, may have found the mate he’s trekked thousands of miles looking for. Cameras on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in the southern Cascades have captured images of what appears to be a black female wolf in the same area where OR-7’s GPS collar shows he’s been living. A biologist with the U.S, Fish and Wildlife Service says it is not proof, but it’s likely that the two wolves mated and are now raising pups. OR-7’s travels famously took him to Northern California last year, the first time a wild wolf has roamed the state in decades.