Studies tout value of state's almond growers, green energy, Latinos

SACRAMENTO — It's that time of year when public relations firms roll out impressive numbers to boost clients' images at the Capitol. Interest groups fill a holiday news vacuum by releasing specially commissioned economic studies. The reports are jammed full of data showing, not surprisingly, large amounts of jobs created, money spent and taxes paid. "They are trying to say 'We're important to the economy,'" said Stephen Levy, director of the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto. "It's usually preparatory to some piece of legislation ... about their industry that might affect their growth." ...