11:59pm

Thu May 17, 2012
Politics, connecting the dots

Connecting the Dots: Afternoon Edition for Thursday, May 17, 2012

(Sacramento Bee) // Just after it was revealed that California faces a budget deficit of $16 billion, how and when to pay crippling pension costs has become a major public debate. The California Public Employees' Retirement System voted to raise the annual state payment for state worker pensions by $213 million to a total of $3.7 billion, despite Governor Jerry Brown’s recommendation for an even bigger increase to avoid accruing more debt. The decision came as an attempt to diffuse the projected blow of lower investment returns in the upcoming fiscal year...

(KPCC LA) // Any more debt than California already has can only make matters worse for the state’s prison system. Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to reduce the state prison population includes expanding facilities for mental health and medical care, as well as moving 10,000 inmates to out-of-state prisons, which would amount to savings of $1.5 billion a year. But a nonpartisan report says the proposed infrastructure changes aren't necessary, and that the plan hinges on federal legislators agreeing to raise the population cap in the California state prison system by about 6,000 inmates...

(San Jose Mercury News) // California’s private sector got some good news today, however. The U.S. Department of Commerce tacked new tariffs and fines onto Chinese-manufactured solar technology in an attempt to prop up American companies as competitors in the global solar market. Investigations by the department showed that low-interest subsidies from the Chinese government and illegal “dumping” of their products in the U.S. have been giving Chinese companies an advantage…

(San Jose Mercury News) // Perhaps the boost to solar companies will foment even further growth in the Bay Area housing market. Bay Area single-family housing sales rose 12% between April 2011 and April 2012, more than they have in six years…

(East Bay Express) // Doubt has emerged over whether Alameda and Oakland County Police forces are capable of investigating allegations of misconduct within their departments. Following clashes with Occupy protesters and an incident in which an Alameda District Attorney authorized the illegal recording a confidential conversation, a staggering number of conflicts of interests and other roadblocks have made the cases practically impossible to investigate.

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