Chico Overtime Cuts — Signatures for Brown’s Initiative — Middle Class Scholarship Hearing — Allergy Season — Fraud Conviction — Navy Power Savings Plan — Natural Gas Plants — Navy Ship Auction


Chico is just one of a number of cities making budget cuts to make it through the rest of this fiscal year. Assistant City Manager John Rucker had some insights into how the city is altering its finances. (Click here for a transcript of the story from Northstate Public Radion News Director Lorraine Dechter)


Governor Jerry Brown’s team is working all angles to try and gather enough signature to qualify his tax initiative for the November ballot. (Click here for transcripts of the story from California Capitol Network reporter Ben Adler)


Democratic lawmakers are offering a way to help middle class Californians cope with soaring college tuition — by closing a corporate tax loophole and using the money for scholarships. But the “Middle-Class Scholarship Act,” which receives its first committee hearing this week, already is facing several obstacles. Five out-of-state corporations are lobbying against it, and Republican lawmakers promise to block Democrats from reaching the two-thirds majority vote they need in the Legislature. Closing the tax loophole would provide an additional $1 billion a year to the state. If approved, AB1500 and AB1501 by Assembly Speaker John Perez would reduce college tuition by more than half for families whose annual household income exceeds the roughly $80,000 cap for getting a free ride at California’s public universities but is less than $150,000. (Copyright 2012, Associated Press)


A rainy spring has meant a later-than-usual start to the allergy season. (Click here for transcripts of the story from California Capitol Network reporter Kathleen Masterson)


Federal prosecutors are demanding that a convicted man they call a “congenital liar and serial fraudster” serve 30 years in prison and pay a $60 million fine after a jury convicted him of defrauding actors Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte and others out of more than $35 million. If U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer agrees to the sentence on Monday, it would represent  one of the harshest penalties for a white collar case. A federal jury convicted Samuel “Mouli” Cohen of 29 counts of fraud and related charges. Cohen’s attorney is arguing for a sentence of less than nine years, saying a 30-year term amounts to a life sentence for the 53-year-old. (Copyright 2012, Associated Press)


The Navy is nearing a first-time agreement to reduce electricity use at its sprawling San Diego-area bases, if power runs short in Southern California this summer. The Navy is San Diego Gas & Electric’s largest customer, and the deal is intended to diminish the threat of blackouts while the San Onofre nuclear plant remains offline. Under the agreement, the Navy would temporarily reduce its energy consumption if supplies get scarce, in exchange for savings on rates. The utility has similar agreements with large industrial customers that can slash demand for power at critical times. State officials have warned of rotating blackouts this summer in Southern California if a heat wave hits while the ailing reactors remain dark, though activists say adequate reserves are on hand. (Copyright 2012, Associated Press)


A $50 million, once-secret stealth warship built nearly 30 years ago for the U.S. Navy is now set to be auctioned off for scrap. The Sacramento Bee reports that the auction for the 164-foot Sea Shadow will close on Friday. The Sea Shadow was built by Lockheed Martin in 1985 in Redwood City as a way to test radar-cloaking technology at sea. Two years before the military deployed the F-117 Nighthawk, a stealth attack jet, and the Navy was interested to see if the technology could work in the ocean. The lessons learned from the vessel, which from the front looks like letter “A,” are used in modern warship design. Navy spokesman Christopher Johnson said a museum home for Sea Shadow was sought, but no one was interested. (Copyright 2012, Associated Press)

The California Report

Building Boom for Natural Gas Power Plants

It may seem incongruous that as California continues its full-court press toward renewable energy, power plants fired by fossil fuels are still being built around the state. Not coal — but natural gas. That’s prompting some, including state utility regulators, to ask why. This piece was reported in conjunction with our Climate Watch project. Reporter: Thibault Worth.

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