Roundtable: UCAN Dissolves; SDUSD Fiscal Dilemma; Open Primary Confusion
Friday, March 2, 2012
Aired 3/2/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.
UCAN: The Utility Consumers’ Action Network has filed for dissolution in federal court in the midst of a federal grand jury probe into allegations of illegal bonuses, suspicious bank accounts, illegal payments and failure to conduct required state audits.
The allegations were made by UCAN employees to the UCAN board of directors.
When UCAN Executive Director Michael Shames announced that an “independent audit” cleared the organization of wrong-doing, the employees contacted attorney Mike Aguirre. UCAN itself went public with the allegations and request for dissolution. Today, Michael Shames' Facebook page features a denunciation of the charges and his critics.
SDUSD Fiscal Dilemma: San Diego Unified is in a huge deficit hole, which could be as much as 18% of its discretionary spending, depending on the state’s final budget. The district is planning for this eventuality by proposing to layoff 1,200 people -- teachers, librarians, nurses – and sell off $21 million in real estate.
Trustee Scott Barnett is wondering whether that scenario would be better or worse than declaring insolvency and letting a state trustee run the district. About 1/3 of the deficit is due to a 2010 deal with the San Diego Education Association, which has expressed no willingness to bargain.
June Primary: For the June primary, California voters will again have a new system of voting. This time all candidates for partisan, “voter-nominated” offices, such as state offices and congressional candidates, will appear on all ballots. Voters may vote for anyone, regardless of party. The top-two voter-getters go on to the general election, regardless of party.
The framers of Prop 14 wanted more moderation and less partisan gridlock. Will this type of primary make politicians more moderate in order to survive to the General Election? What will happen in a race like the 52nd Congressional District? Will this format improve the Republican Party’s chances to increase their numbers in the state?