– October 31, 2014

Jerry Brown will face Neel Kashkari for governor

(AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown easily advanced to the November general election to seek an unprecedented fourth term as governor, where he will face moderate first-time candidate Neel Kashkari, a former U.S. Treasury official who pulled ahead in a fight for the future of the GOP in California.

The GOP race between Kashkari and his Republican rival, conservative Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, became a proxy fight for the direction of the struggling party in California, which overwhelmingly leans Democratic and where Brown enjoys high approval ratings.

Establishment GOP leaders rallied around Kashkari's candidacy, and the 40-year-old former Goldman Sachs banker poured $2 million of his own money into the race in the final weeks as polls showed him trailing Donnelly, a tea party favorite.

"Beginning tonight, Republicans must come together, support one another and focus our energy on changing Sacramento," Kashkari said in a statement early Wednesday after Donnelly called to concede the race. "My commitment is to rebuilding California's middle class and re-energizing the Republican Party."

Brown finished first based on early returns Tuesday night, and told reporters outside the historic governor's mansion in Sacramento, "I take nothing for granted" in November.

"At this point, 40 years from the time I won my first primary for governor of California, I'm ready to tackle problems, not on a partisan basis, but on the long-term basis of building California and making sure we're ready for the future," said Brown, who is 76.

Brown has pursued a pragmatic approach since returning to the governor's office in 2011 after serving from 1975-1983. He won praise for helping to close a multibillion-dollar state budget deficit and persuading voters to approve temporary sales and income tax increases, allowing the Democratically controlled state Legislature to funnel more money to public schools.

Meanwhile, Donnelly and Kashkari offered competing visions for the struggling GOP. Donnelly is a social conservative who supports expanding gun rights, restricting immigration and worried some of the Republican establishment with his heated rhetoric; Kashkari, a son of Indian immigrants who is a social libertarian and fiscal conservative, has focused on rebuilding the middle-class.

The governor's race was the most high-profile on Tuesday's primary ballot. There were also opportunities for the GOP to make small gains in an overwhelmingly Democratic state.

The first statewide test for the prospects of a nonpartisan candidate yielded a typical primary outcome, though, with Republican Pete Peterson, an academic, and Sen. Alex Padilla, a Democrat, advancing in a crowded race for secretary of state, the office that oversees voting and campaign finance. Independent Dan Schnur, a University of Southern California lecturer, had hoped to make history.

Tuesday's primary also will set the stage for what is expected to be several fiercely contested congressional races in the fall.

Republicans are targeting four congressional Democrats this year: Reps. Ami Bera from the Sacramento area; Raul Ruiz from the Coachella Valley; Scott Peters from San Diego; and Julia Brownley of Ventura County. Democrats are focusing on ultimately winning the Inland Empire seat of retiring Republican Rep. Gary Miller and have targeted Republican Rep. David Valadao in the San Joaquin Valley.

In the heart of the Silicon Valley, seven-term Democratic Rep. Mike Honda faces a challenge from upstart Ro Khanna, a fellow Democrat who advanced Tuesday.

Honda and Republican Rep. Tom McClintock, who represents Sierra foothill communities in the northern and central parts of the state, could face strong challenges from within their own party in the general election.

Californians also approved two ballot measures: Proposition 41, which authorizes $600 million for affordable housing for veterans; and Proposition 42, which enshrines local government compliance with the state's open records and public meetings laws.

Voters in Del Norte and Tehama counties were showing only tepid support for joining four other counties pursuing a 51st state to be named Jefferson, while Lake County voters consider overturning county limitations on marijuana growing operations.

If restaurants raised prices 10% to pay for higher minimum wages, would you dine out less?


gordonwebstergordonwebster Gordon Webster - Publisher
gordonwebstergordonwebster Gabriel Dillard - Managing Editor

Latest Local News

Written on 10/31/2014, 8:42 am by TAMI ABDOLLAH, Associated Press
(AP) — A year after a man walked into Los Angeles International Airport with an assault rifle and vendetta against security screeners, efforts are still...
Written on 10/31/2014, 8:39 am by RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press
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Written on 10/31/2014, 8:34 am by ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, AP Retail Writer
(AP) — Wal-Mart is doing whatever it takes to rope in holiday shoppers however they want to buy. For the first time, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is offering free shipping on what it considers the season's top 100 hottest gifts, from board games to items related to Disney's hit film "Frozen" items, starting Saturday. The move comes as rival Target Corp. began offering free shipping on all items, a program that started late October and will last through Dec. 20. Wal-Mart is also planning to offer discounts, or what it refers to as "rollbacks," on more than 20,000 items on a broad range of products, from groceries to TVs, starting Saturday. The timing is similar to last year, but the discounter said the assortment is broader. It's also pulling forward by nearly a month 15 24-hour online deals originally reserved for the Thanksgiving weekend and so-called Cyber Monday, about double from last year. For the first time, Wal-Mart will allow shoppers to pick up those 24-hour online specials at the store. They include 40-inch Element TVs for $199, down from $298, and Crayola Paint Makers for $12, down from $18.88. Customers will be able to purchase the deals online starting shortly after midnight on Monday. The online deals are in addition to several hundred online holiday specials that start Saturday. "We're trying to offer the best deals when they want them," said Steve Bratspies, Wal-Mart's executive vice president and general merchandise manager for Wal-Mart's U.S. division. Wal-Mart unveiled some of the details of its holiday strategy as it considers matching online prices from competitors such as, a move that could help grab more customers but could also hurt profit margins. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based discounter has matched prices of local store competitors but has not followed other retailers including Best Buy and Target in matching prices of online rivals. But last month, Wal-Mart started to test the strategy in five markets: Atlanta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas; Phoenix; and northwest Arkansas. Wal-Mart is trying to rev up sluggish sales in the U.S. as it battles competition from online retailers, dollar stores and drugstores. At the same time, it's also dealing with a slowly recovering economy that hasn't benefited its low-income shoppers. As a result, Wal-Mart's U.S. namesake stores, which account for 60 percent of its total business, haven't reported growth in a key sales measure in six straight quarters. Wal-Mart's move underscores how stores are being forced to step up their game for the holiday shopping season, which accounts for about 20 percent of retail industry's annual sales. The National Retail Federation, the nation's largest retail trade group, forecasts a 4.1 percent sales increase to $616.9 billion for November and December from last year. But online sales, which are included in the forecast, are expected to increase anywhere from 8 percent to 11 percent. Wal-Mart declined to say whether it was considering changing its price match policy for just the holidays or permanently. Deisha Barnett, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman, says many store managers have matched online prices for customers on a case-by-case basis. "Taking care of the customers who shop our stores is what we always aim to do," she added. As for its free shipping holiday program, Wal-Mart said that it had store executives pick the 100 items and that products are guaranteed to arrive before Christmas. Wal-Mart's current policy is that online shoppers have to spend at least $50.
Written on 10/31/2014, 8:31 am by CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, AP Economics Writer
(AP) — U.S. consumers expect better economic growth and rising incomes in the coming months, pushing a measure of confidence to a seven-year high in October. The University of Michigan says that its index of consumer sentiment rose to 86.9 from 84.6 in September. That's the highest since July 2007, five months before the Great Recession began. Still, the index regularly topped 90 before the downturn. Richard Curtin, the survey's chief economist, says that almost six in ten of the respondents said the economy has improved recently, the highest proportion in more than 10 years. The measure is the second this week to show consumer confidence has reached the highest level since the recession. Greater confidence and more hiring could lead to faster spending and healthier economic growth.
Written on 10/30/2014, 5:02 pm by Business Journal staff
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Written on 10/30/2014, 3:41 pm by Gordon M. Webster
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Written on 10/30/2014, 1:25 pm by The Associated Press
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Written on 10/30/2014, 1:18 pm by The Associated Press
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Written on 10/30/2014, 12:49 pm by Tom Krisher, AP Writer
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Written on 10/30/2014, 12:41 pm by Scott Smith, AP Writer
(AP) — A judge on Thursday approved a debt plan by Stockton, California, one of the largest U.S. cities to declare bankruptcy, allowing it to reorganize more than $900 million in long-term debt and put more than two years of financial uncertainty behind it. Marking a critical development in the city's financial recovery, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein said Stockton can use the plan to exit the court's Chapter 9 protection, which it sought in 2012. Klein's ruling can be appealed. "This plan, I'm persuaded, is the best that can be done in terms of restructuring an adjustment of the debts of the city of Stockton," he said. The city negotiated deals with all major creditors except Franklin Templeton Investments, which argued it was being treated unfairly. The investment firm said the city isn't touching a massive employee pension fund but is asking the company to walk away from collecting nearly $32.5 million still owed. "Obviously we are disappointed," Franklin Templeton's attorney, James Johnston, told the judge. "We will evaluate our next steps." Klein ruled earlier this month that bankruptcy law allows the city to treat pension obligations like any other debt, meaning the city could trim benefits. An inland port city 80 miles east of San Francisco, Stockton filed for Chapter 9 protection in 2012, making it the nation's largest bankrupt city before Detroit filed for bankruptcy last year. Elsewhere in California, Vallejo went through bankruptcy before Stockton. San Bernardino filed shortly after Stockton and has yet to present an exit plan. Stockton's leaders say the city fell victim to an unforgiving boom-and-bust economic cycle. Before the recession, leaders spent millions of dollars revitalizing the downtown area with a new City Hall and building a marina, sports arena and ballpark. The city issued about 3,000 permits annually to build new homes, and it paid police premium wages and health benefits. With the recession, building dried up, and Stockton became ground zero for home foreclosures. Like many residents, City Hall couldn't pay its bills. The city slashed millions of dollars from its budget and laid off 25 percent of its police officers. Crime soared. Franklin Templeton also argued that Stockton agreed to better terms with its other creditors, and that the city's economic projections showed it could afford to eventually pay back most or all it owed Franklin Templeton.

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