By The Bakersfield Californian
MISS: We get where Bakersfield City Councilwoman Jacquie Sullivan is coming from. She's proposed that Rudy Salas pay some of the costs of the special election, accusing him of using his City Council seat, which he held just two years, as a steppingstone to the state Assembly. We're the first to admit Salas wasted no time in making a bee-line back to Sacramento, where he worked for several state lawmakers. But that's the nature of politics and if voters approve the move, it's hard to see how we can hold Salas responsible for that. That's just the way our system works. If Mitt Romney had won the presidential election, would it be fair to make Paul Ryan pay for a special election in Wisconsin to fill his House seat? $100,000 is no small price to hold a special election to replace Salas. But that's the price of democracy and upholding voters' will.
HIT: Today's special: Gender stereotypes
It's not just Republicans and Democrats sparring over women's roles in society this year. McKenna Pope, a 13-year-old from New Jersey, is pressuring a major toymaker to reconsider its girly image for toy ovens. Pope's 4-year-old brother wants to be a chef and has asked for an Easy-Bake oven for Christmas. But when the girl located them at the store, she realized they came only in pink and purple boxes with images of girls pictured on the front -- no boys. Disturbed that the company was sending the wrong message -- girls cook, boys work -- the teen launched an online petition to get the manufacturer to add boy-friendly packaging. So far the petition has attracted tens of thousands of signatures.
MISS: Land of the highest tax rates
Rich Californians could be paying the nation's highest tax rate through a combination of higher state taxes under Proposition 30 and the potential expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts. Without a fiscal cliff deal, California's highest earners would pay a marginal tax rate of about 51.9 percent in combined state and federal income taxes, and payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare. Proposition 30 alone pushed the marginal state tax rate for the wealthiest up 3 points to 13.3 percent. New York City and Hawaii would drop to second and third, respectively, with marginal rates above 50 percent.
HIT: Closer to resolution
The U.S. Supreme Court's decision last week to take up two gay marriage cases in 2013, including the challenge to California's Proposition 8, may actually bring some resolution to the long-running debate. That's good news for California, which has been in limbo since Prop. 8, banning gay marriage, passed in 2008. It's likely the court's decision will have national implications if the justices address the broader question of the constitutionality of gay marriage. In fact, that seems certain.
MISS: Ski season melting away
A new report says the ski industry in California and other states could be the next species to face extinction due to global warming. In California, nearly 24,000 jobs are supported by the ski industry, which generates about $1.37 billion statewide. The report, authored by two researchers at the University of New Hampshire, called on the winter tourism industry to seek federal action on climate change before the industry goes away completely.