Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, will be the new leader of the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee.

The Buzz: Cal EMA admits it goofed on debt collection; Rendon to take helm of Assembly panel

Published: Saturday, Mar. 23, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3A

Spending $6.51 to certify a letter to a former California Emergency Management Agency employee for a $5 debt?

"Ridiculous," Kelly Huston, Cal EMA's assistant secretary of media relations, said Friday.

The state's emergency management agency is changing its certified mail policy immediately, he added.

Thursday's State Worker column pointed out that the agency had spent more to mail a collection letter to Deena Mount than she owed.

From now on, the agency won't send certified letters for collections under $100, Huston said.

Mount, who has since moved on to the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, worked for Cal EMA until 2010.

Last week, she received notice that she owed $5 for a travel-expense overpayment made back in 2007.

It's not clear why the agency took six years to catch up with the debt. Officials Wednesday could find no record of previous correspondence sent to Mount about the matter.

"There's a reasonable way to handle these things," Huston said. "The way we did it in her case was not reasonable."

– Jon Ortiz


Now that San Diego Democrat Ben Hueso is officially a member of the state Senate, first-term Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, will be taking over Hueso's chairmanship of the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee. Rendon once served as interim executive director for the California League of Conservation Voters.

– Jeremy B. White


"The principle behind it … is to say to private industry, 'You can do better financially by investing in high schools than you do investing in Wall Street.' "

DARRELL STEINBERG, Senate president pro tem, talking this week about his Senate Bill 594, which would authorize California to issue bonds aimed at curbing high school dropout rates by creating programs training high school students for specific careers

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