By Jim Roope, CNN
(Stockton, CA) – The city of Stockton, California has become the largest US city ever to file for bankruptcy protection.
Stockton’s city council voted 6-to-1 in favor of filing for Chapter 9. City Manager Bob Deis is expected to file the paperwork before July 1 when the city budget is due.
Mayor Ann Johnston said in the 1990s the city council approved labor contracts and retiree health insurance plans believing the hyper growth the city was experiencing would continue forever. Then came the economic downturn.
Since 2009, Stockton has cut $90 million from its budget. It’s reduced its police force by 25 percent, its fire department by 30 percent and cut 40 percent of other city jobs. But the city still has not been able to find financial stability. And then, said Mayor Johnston, there was the housing bust.
“The housing was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Johnston. “We had this bubble in our economy here. We were booming in construction. We were building about 3000 homes a year. It began to fall off sharply three-and-a-half years ago,” she said.(2:42)
Richard Acosta is a 75-year-old retiree in Stockton and said everywhere you look there are 'For Sale' signs.
“You have two across from my house. There was like four on the other side, and there’s about two or three more down on the next block,” said Acosta. “I always thought the city of Stockton was really gonna go somewhere. But I don’t really see any future in it for 5-to-10 years before something really is going to happen here,” he said. (5:00)
There is no indication, Johnston says, of how long it will take to bounce back financially. The city of Vallejo, California declared bankruptcy 4 years ago and is just now showing signs of recovery. Vallejo is about a third the size of Stockton.
By Edgar Treiguts, CNN
(CNN) – A new super PAC, formed only a few months ago, brought out star power at a Washington D.C. fundraiser this week. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke to a group that included current Republican congresswomen and many running for office this November. The group, called ShePAC, works to grow the number of "principled conservative women" in federal elected office.
Rice's appearance and speech to the female attendees highlighted the latest effort by all parties to push for more women candidates.
When the current Congress was gaveled into session, there were only 91 women among the 535 members. That's 17 percent.
Why are there so few women serving on Capitol Hill? FULL POST
(CNN) – Historically, presidents have succeeded in dividing the opposition party. But, as CNN contributor Julian Zelizer says, Obama's move on immigration won't fracture the GOP. Instead, the move will likely be thrown back at him and characterized as a politically expedient action taken in an election year.
"Republican Dwight Eisenhower turned the table on Democrats in 1956 and 1957 when he moved out front on civil rights legislation. In this period, the Democratic Party was deeply divided on what to do about racial inequality." [1:45]
"This decision was made through the executive branch's authority, thereby diminishing the payback that comes from winning a battle on the legislative front, which requires building political support and mobilizing the public behind an idea." [2:18]
(CNN) - CNN contributor LZ Granderson says that the reality is some things are still none of our business, and in the political arena, some things should be kept quiet – especially when it involves the nation's security.
“Heads should roll because of the Fast and Furious debacle, but we don't need every detail of that operation made public in order for that to happen." [0:51]
"You see, freedom isn't entirely free. It also isn't squeaky clean. And sometimes the federal government deems it necessary to get its hands dirty in the hopes of achieving something we generally accept as good for the country." [1:21]
By Tommy Andres, CNN
(CNN) – Remember a few months ago, when the price of gas was the hottest topic on the campaign trail? That's when President Obama renewed his call for alternative fuels and Newt Gingrich pushed the party’s “drill, baby, drill” message. Now gas prices have fallen again and the GOP has chosen its candidate.
"We are greener when it's cheaper to be so, and when it's not we're not," says Ryan Adolphson, a former alternative energy adviser to President George W. Bush. [3:36]
So, with the smoke from the political battle temporarily cleared, CNN's Tommy Andres taps some experts to find out just how far away algae fuel is from powering America’s cars.