The Buzz: Ideas wanted for California’s unofficial house of horrors

10/14/2013 12:00 AM

10/14/2013 1:48 AM

Board of Equalization seeks exit from house of horrors

Got an idea for what to do with California’s unofficial state house of horrors, aka the Board of Equalization headquarters in Sacramento?

The Department of General Services wants to hear from you.

The department put out a “request for information” that asks interested parties – hello, mayors of Elk Grove, West Sacramento, et al. – for ways to consolidate Equalization’s tax-collecting operations. Right now, the board spreads about 4,000 employees across the Sacramento area.

Half of them work in the notorious tower at 450 N St., which has a history right out of a Stephen King novel: toxic mold, leaky windows, burst wastewater pipes, faulty elevators and, most recently, an exterior panel that fell eight floors to the sidewalk below. Repairs have cost tens of millions of dollars.

Rent for the 24-story high-rise pays down debt on the building, so it can’t sit empty unless the state pays that obligation. (Unlikely.)

Any credible consolidation ideas will have to explain both where the agency would move and what would be done with the state’s empty money pit.

The deadline for ideas is Oct. 31.

Halloween.

– Jon Ortiz

EDUCATION WATCH

The Little Hoover Commission meets today to consider final release of a sweeping new report on public higher education in California. Twelve months in the making, the report looks at repercussions of declining state funding and calls on the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown to construct a new framework incorporating new technology and boosting graduation numbers in the California State University system and at community colleges. The meeting starts at 11 a.m. at the Legislative Counsel’s Office in Sacramento.

– Jeremy B. White



WORTH REPEATING

“Pretty good rookie year – 7/8 bills signed. If politics were baseball, I’d be batting .875.” Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, crowing Friday on Twitter about how many of his legislative proposals Gov. Jerry Brown signed this year.

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