Stocks open higher: Another sluggish trading day so far. Dow is up a few points.
China's growth is slowing: Second-quarter GDP is expected to run about 7.5 percent compared with a year earlier - the slowest pace since the recession. And those numbers could understate the downturn. From the LAT:
Other indicators point to a much sharper decline, economists said. Record amounts of coal and iron ore are piling up at depots, signaling waning demand for electricity and building materials. Excavators and other heavy equipment are being idled or sold at deep discounts as housing construction has stalled. The demand for diesel, needed to power those machines, has been flat for six months. Shipyards have laid off thousands of workers and half-built vessels have been left to rust.
Brown's tax measure tops ballot initiatives: A Superior Court judge rules against Molly Munger, who has a tax proposal that rivals the governor's plan. From the LAT:
Munger's attorneys asserted that election workers in Los Angeles County mishandled the tallying of signed petitions for the dueling initiatives, finishing work on Brown's before Munger's even though her campaign turned in signatures to the registrar's office more than a week before the governor submitted his. [Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael P. Kenny] rejected that claim, saying election officials were under no obligation to count Munger's signatures first and that her lawyers were asking him to "essentially micromanage the registrar's office."
Mixed views on public pensions: Field Poll finds that 37 percent of likely voters say they're too ample, 36 percent say they're about right, and 17 percent believe they're not generous enough. From the Sacramento Bee:
The electorate overall supports some specific changes to curb state and local retirement costs. About two-thirds, 67 percent, favor limiting how much of an employee's salary is used for pension calculations. Meanwhile, 60 percent think the public employee retirement age should be raised.
Doubts about high-speed rail: Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters wonders about the money and the time.
Think of the project to rebuild just a portion of the San Francisco Bay Bridge that was authorized after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. It's now 23 years later, the work is still going on, and the costs have tripled from original estimates. Speaking of which, even were the authority to build that initial segment, it's almost useless unless the state can line up financing to connect it to the Bay Area. There is absolutely no money in the pipeline for that connection from either governmental or private sources. We could, therefore, wind up with 130 miles of track that would, indeed, be the train to nowhere.
Dispute between Viacom and DirectTV: The parent company of MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon may pull the plug as early as Wednesday. Its current contract with the satellite TV provider expires at midnight Tuesday and no new agreement is near. (LAT)