Governor signs Houston’s school bill

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed legislation authored by Assemblyman Guy Houston, R-San Ramon, that will make it easier for folks to volunteer at local schools.

Assembly Bill 774 calls for the creation of a local volunteer registry, that will allow people who volunteer for more than one school to obtain one background check rather than pay for multiple, redundant investigations.

“Our state has made it a priority to support before and after school programs in our schools,” Houston said. ” These programs need the help of volunteers in the community. We need to do our best to make the process for volunteering as quick and easy as possible.”

AB 774 earned the support of the Bay Area Partnership for Children and Youth, the California State Alliance of YMCAs, the California Teachers Association and the California State Parent-Teacher Association.

AB 774 will take effect on January 1, 2008.


Schwarzenegger video of the week

This week, the governor — as Mr. Freeze in 1997’s “Batman and Robin” — uses wintery terms that now could describe the state’s budget impasse…

If only he could “break the ice…”

Previous SVOTWs: July 24, July 17, July 10, July 3, June 26, June 19, June 12, June 5, May 29, May 22, May 15, May 8, May 1, April 24, April 17, April 10, April 3, March 27, March 20, March 13, March 6, February 27, February 20, February 13, February 6, January 30.


Canciamilla to lead fight against peripheral canal

Former assemblyman and state senate candidate Joe Canciamilla of Pittsburg will hold a press conference Wednesday morning to outline his grassroots plan to oppose Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposal to resurrect the peripheral canal.

Under the governor’s plan, a new “peripheral canal” would divert water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to pump water to Southern California. The governor has proposed the placement of a multi-million-dollar bond measure on an upcoming ballot, perhaps as early as February 2008.

The press conference starts at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the end of the parking lot for the Pittsburg Marina, 51 Marina Blvd.

Check out this story by Times reporter Rowena Coetsee on the Bethel Island Municipal Utility District’s recent decision to hire Canciamilla — at a fee of roughly $250 an hour — to help it negotiate with the county. Canciamilla is also a former county supervisor.


Sure, but can the kids spell ‘Schwarzenegger?’

The CHIME Charter Elementary School in Woodland Hills today was renamed in honor of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Part of the CHIME Institute, the Arnold Schwarzenegger Elementary School “implements a co-teaching model where general and special education teachers provide curriculum and learning experiences that meet the needs of all students,” according to a news release. It was named “Charter School of the Year” by the California Charter Schools Association in 2005, and in the same year was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a leading model of inclusive education. Last year, the school hosted visitors from across the country and the world including from New York, Rhode Island, Korea, Japan, Australia and Scotland.

“I am honored to have a high-quality institution like CHIME Charter Elementary named in my honor. The CHIME Institute shares my commitment to educating all children,” the governor said in his release.

UPDATE @ 2:10 P.M. MONDAY: I almost forgot: today’s the governor’s 60th birthday!!! Maybe the CHIME kids will throw him a pizza party.


Rudy picks Bay Area brains on health care

Three of the five health care policy advisors named today by Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani are from the Bay Area.

kessler.jpgDaniel Kessler is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, where he teaches courses on economics, public policy, and the health care industry. Among his recent publications are, with Mark McClellan, “The Effect of Hospital Ownership on Medical Productivity” and “Designing Hospital Antitrust Policy to Promote Social Welfare.” He is also a co-author of “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Five Steps to a Better Health Care System.” He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.

atlas.jpgDr. Scott Atlas is a senior fellow by courtesy at the Hoover Institution and a professor of radiology and chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical School. His research includes free market solutions to health care and looking at the effects of technology-based innovations in medicine. Earlier, Atlas was on the faculty of the University of California at San Francisco, the University of Pennsylvania, and Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. Among his recent publications are “Relationship between HMO Market Share and the Diffusion and Use of Advanced MRI Technologies,” and “Power to the Patient: Selected Health Care Issues and Policy Solutions.” Atlas has been named by his peers in The Best Doctors in America every year since its initial publication, The Best Doctors in New York, Silicon Valley’s Best Doctors, and Top 500 Doctors in the Bay Area. He holds a B.S. in biology from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and an M.D. from the University of Chicago School of Medicine.

pipes.jpgSally Pipes is president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute, a conservative San Francisco-based think tank founded in 1979. Prior to becoming president in 1991, she was assistant director of the Fraser Institute in Vancouver, Canada. She writes, speaks, and gives invited testimony on health care issues; Hillsdale College published her essay on health care reform in the 2006 edition of Champions of Freedom, part of a volume on “Entrepreneurship and the Spirit of America.” Pipes serves on the Medical Advisory Council of Genworth Capital’s Long-term Care Insurance Division and on the board of advisors of the San Francisco Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society. She was a member of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s transition team in 2003-04. In 2005, Pipes was named one of the Top 10 Women in the Conservative Movement in America as published by Human Events.

The other advisers named today are Dr. David Gratzer, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of “The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care;” and Donald Moran of The Moran Company health care research and consulting firm, a former U.S. Office of Management & Budget official under President Ronald Reagan.


McNerney describes Iraq visit

mcnerneyportrait.jpgRep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, just spoke to reporters on a conference call from Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, after visiting Iraq as the leader of a six-member bipartisan freshman Congressional delegation.

“It’s given me a lot to think about — I see that they are making some progress in the parts of Iraq that we saw. I look forward to minimizing the amount of violence in Iraq and bringing our soldiers home soon,” he said. “I’m sure that the soldiers are doing the very best they can in a very, very difficult situation. … I’m sure they were careful to show us the regions where they’re having the most success. … I really don’t have an opinion about what’s going on in the rest of Iraq.”

“We need to put a timetable out there, it needs to make sense,” McNerney added — a plan to bring the troops home, so that the Iraqi government is compelled to unite and take over the task of securing the country. “I think we can work to find a way forward that would be bipartisan, that would accomodate the achievements they have had in the last four or five months.”

Arriving in Baghdad on a C-130 from Kuwait, he met first with officials including Gen. David Petraeus, who he said is working very hard and is “very optimistic about what’s happening in the conflict. … He’s concerned about being given enough rope to finish the job here.”

The lawmaker then rode a Blackhawk helicopter to Ramadi in Anbar province, which had been a hotspot for the insurgency, where he met with other high-ranking officers, saw local police patrolling the streets, and walked through the marketplace with a military escort. “They’re very proud of the work they’ve done in Ramadi and overall in the Anbar province,” he said. “The Sunni population has realized that al-Qaida is much less favorable to their day to day lives than what we’re offering them.”

After returning to Baghdad, he dined with six California soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division — some of whom were on their third tours of duty in Iraq — and also left the Green Zone to meet with the commanding general of all Iraqi forces. “He has the right words, he knows we’re concerned about their relationship with the different sects and about the sectarian violence.”

The delegation left Baghdad late last night and arrived early this morning in Germany, where members met with wounded soliders — some of whom said they wished they could return to Iraq, others who were too injured badly to speak.