LOS ANGELES — Some University of California regents who approved a student fee increase are trapped inside a UCLA building as protesters block the exits.And there's no end in sight:
The demonstrators are being confronted Thursday by lines of baton-wielding campus police, California Highway Patrol officers and metal barriers.
University spokesman Phil Hampton says chains of demonstrators have linked arms to block the exits. One person inside the building says the regents have been held there for two hours. It is unclear how many remain inside.
Hampton says he can't confirm any injuries, although television footage shows one person was treated after being sprayed by an unknown substance.
Hundreds of protesters have marched at the campus for the past two days to oppose $2,500 in undergrad fee hikes through fall of next year.
In what's become a depressingly familiar story over the last 2 years, California faces another big budget deficit:Less than four months after California leaders stitched together a patchwork budget, a projected deficit of nearly $21 billion already looms, according to a report to be released Wednesday by the state's chief budget analyst.
The new figure -- the nonpartisan analyst's first projection for the coming budget year -- threatens to send Sacramento back into budgetary gridlock and force more across-the-board cuts in state programs.
As the article points out, the deficit for 2009-10 (current fiscal year) is $6.3 billion, and the projected deficit for 2010-11 is $14.4 billion. Arnold is already talking about closing it with cuts:"I think that there will be across-the-board cuts again," he said at a San Jose news conference....
"I can't think of any good solutions," said Assemblywoman Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), who chairs the budget committee. Although the projected deficit would be smaller than the last one, she said, "the cuts are going to be harder to make because we've already made such substantial cuts."
Well, that's comforting. Keep in mind that if California were a country it would be a member of the G8. This can't go on without affecting the rest of the country.