For the first time since before the recession, more Californians report being better off than worse off compared to the previous year.
Forty-four percent of registered voters said they are in financially better shape than a year ago, a new Field Poll shows, compared to 28 percent who said they were worse off. That's a huge improvement from 2013, when only 30 percent said they were better off, while 44 percent felt they were worse off.
Nevertheless, a majority of California voters still think the state is in bad economic times overall. Fifty-three percent of poll respondents viewed California's economy negatively, primarily because of the difficulty in finding jobs in their area, while only 25 percent rated it positively.
That represents a 19 percentage point turnaround from last year, when 72 percent of voters described the state as being in bad economic times, and the lowest negative response on the question since 2007.
VIDEO: Lawmakers are scrambling to reach a deal on a new water bond, the state's most confounding and contentious political issue, Dan Walters says.
BY THE LAKE: Board of Equalization member Betty Yee, Assemblyman John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, and political observers across the state have been watching the weeks-long vote count in the controller's race with baited breath. With over four million votes cast, Yee, also a Democrat, leads Pérez by a mere 861 votes, with a spot in the November runoff against Republican Ashley Swearengin on the line. Things will move closer to completion this morning, after the Lake County Registrar of Voters processes more than 5,000 vote-by-mail ballots, starting at 9 a.m. Then let the recount talk begin!
GOLDEN BOY: The parade of stars at the Capitol this week continues with Olympic gold medal-winning boxer Oscar De La Hoya. Recently inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, De La Hoya will be honored by state Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, and Pérez for his career accomplishments, which also include 10 world titles, and his charity work. The Senate presentation takes place at 9 a.m., followed by a presentation in the Assembly at 9:30 a.m.
BRIDGE BARRIER: Golden Gate Bridge officials are preparing to meet Friday about approving construction of a $76-million suicide-barrier net. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, hold a press conference at 9:30 a.m. at the visitor's plaza on the south end of the bridge to urge officials to act on funding for the project made available in this year's budget.
MEDI-CALIFORNIA LOVE: The Little Hoover Commission, an independent oversight committee for state government operations, holds a public hearing on Medi-Cal, beginning at 9:30 a.m. in Room 2040 of the Capitol. The commission will revisit the recommendations from its 2007 report on transforming Medi-Cal for the future, including increasing its data and analytical capacity, and the progress the state Department of Health Care Services has made in implementing those initiatives.
IMMIGRANT LICENSES: The California Department of Motor Vehicles hosts its second public hearing on proposed regulations for granting driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants, 10 a.m. at the Caltrans building in Oakland. Advocates will once again be there early to protest what they consider to be prohibitively expensive requirements.
DOWN SOUTH: Gov. Jerry Brown continues his trek through San Diego with a visit to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials' annual conference, where he'll deliver remarks at noon at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort. Brown will be joined by California Attorney General Kamala Harris and state Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, to introduce a keynote address by U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez.