Ben Hueso
Closed-door, last-minute state budget decisions raise concerns

Assemblyman Jeff Gorell was in his Capitol office Thursday afternoon when a staffer walked in with a list of new proposals that were being wrapped into the state budget. One of the items was $2.7 million for a pool in Calexico, a small city on the border with Mexico. Gorell had never heard of the proposal, but he needed to cast a vote on the issue in just a few hours. So he did the logical thing — he Googled it. Turns out, the money was intended to help replace a pool destroyed by an earthquake four years ago. "Researching the California budget via Google is a terrible way to enact a state budget," said Gorell, a Republican from Camarillo. "There's no better...