ST PETERSBURG, Russia (AP):Portugal coach Fernando Santos could deny himself the pleasure of seeing Cristiano Ronaldo play against New Zealand today.After promising to rotate his starting line-up for a third Confederations Cup game in seven days, Santos would not confirm if that means rest for his 32-year-old star.”Everybody wants to watch Cristiano Ronaldo, even I want to watch Cristiano Ronaldo,” the coach said yesterday, smiling when asked how Russia’s enthusiasm for the current world’s best player compared to other countries.”I don’t know if I’m going to play with Cristiano or without Cristiano,” Santos said through a translator. “Obviously, rotation will take place, that I can tell you.”Portugal has the luxury of choosing because of Ronaldo’s decisive header early in a 1-0 win over Russia on Wednesday – his 74th goal in 141 national-team games.The European champions have four points in Group A and need only a draw against No. 95-ranked New Zealand to advance to the semi-finals.One reason Ronaldo is strong deep into June is because Real Madrid managed his playing time more carefully this season. He peaked from April onward with a rush of Champions League goals, including two in the final to help beat Juventus 4-1.Santos also noted his team’s Sunday-Wednesday-Saturday schedule so far in three different Russian cities.”It’s less than 72 hours to recover, it’s not easy,” said the coach, who steered his team to the Euro 2016 title over seven games in a 27-day period in France.Still, the lone New Zealand reporter at the tournament insisted at the pre-match news conference that more than four million people back home want to see Ronaldo face the All Whites for the first time.”It’s many, many millions who every time Cristiano plays are very interested in watching him play,” Santos said. “I’m glad that also happens in New Zealand.”New Zealand is already eliminated after losing both games, though unsettled Mexico in a 2-1 defeat. The North American champion had rested several players who started in a 2-2 draw against Portugal, including forward Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez.
“Yes, there are a lot less … and the voter won’t have to take a cheat sheet to the polls,” said Barbara O’Connor, director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and the Media at California State University, Sacramento. “But they’re still tapping into large resources on both sides of these three sets of issues. “And then, depending upon how Iowa and New Hampshire go, we could have huge presidential spending. So the ad wars will be significant. It won’t be a quiet year.” The state also is facing three statewide elections this year, rather than the usual two, because of lawmakers’ decision to create an early presidential primary in an effort to give the state more influence in national politics. There will be a separate primary for state offices on June 3 and the general election Nov. 4. The February ballot measures include Proposition 92, which would dedicate an additional $300million to the community college system and reduce student fees to $15 per credit, down from the current $20 per credit. The measure also restructures the governing board of the community college system, giving it more authority and adding appointees chosen by groups such as the Community College League and the faculty association. “It would provide an opportunity for more Californians to go to college by making California community colleges a priority and giving them a stable funding stream,” said Andrew Acosta, political consultant for the Proposition 92 campaign. But critics say it is not the right approach. Many opponents are supporters of the community college system and education in California, but worry that Proposition 92 will take money from the University of California and California State University systems. Mary Gill, a longtime administrator in the community college system and now a consultant on the No on 92 campaign, said the measure does not solve the affordability crisis. Lowering the fees by $5 might save students $60 to $75 a semester, she said, but doesn’t even cover the cost of a single textbook. And low-income students – about a quarter of the student population – already get full fee waivers from the state. “It doesn’t help low-income students at all,” said Gill, who oversaw various financial-aid programs when she worked in the community college system. “It marginally, maybe to the cost of half a textbook, helps students who are not needy. “And it sends the message that you don’t need to fight for students who are more needy, because now it’s more affordable.” Also on the ballot is Proposition 93, which would alter California’s term-limits law so that state lawmakers could serve a combined total of 12 years in one or both houses of the Legislature. Under current law, they can serve up to six years in the Assembly and eight years in the Senate. The measure also extends the term of current members so that they could serve 12 years in one house regardless of time already spent in the other house. Supporters say that ultimately it represents a tightening of the term-limits law because it lowers the combined term from 14 years down to 12 years. But it also allows lawmakers to gain experience in a single house, increasing the degree by which they will use long-term approaches to state problems. “California’s 17-year-old term-limits law is an experiment that hasn’t worked,” said Richard Stapler, spokesman for the Proposition 93 campaign. “We need to find a way to make the Legislature more efficient and more effective, by reforming our state’s term-limits laws. This is a modest reform to allow members to spend all of their years of service in one house or the other.” But critics say it is a self-serving attempt by politicians to extend their own power. “It’s deceitful and it’s misleading,” said Kevin Spillane, the political consultant running the anti-Proposition 93 campaign. “It’s an effort to trick the voters. “The effort claims to reduce terms of politicians, but it’s sponsored by politicians, benefits politicians and is funded by special interests with business before the Legislature.” The four Indian gaming measures are based on agreements approved by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature to allow four existing casinos in Riverside and San Diego counties to expand. The amended gaming compacts would add an additional 17,000 slot machines to the state and provide roughly $200million to $400million in new state revenue per year. Under the agreement, casinos run by the Pechanga and Morongo tribes could expand to 7,500 slot machines each, up from the current 2,000 each. Casinos run by the Sycuan and Agua Caliente tribes would expand to 5,000, up from 2,000. By comparison, the world’s largest casino, The Venetian in Macau, which opened this year, has about 7,000 slot machines. Foxwoods in Connecticut, which previously held the title of world’s largest, has about 7,400 slot machines. The measure was placed on the ballot by opponents of the new compacts. Under state law, a referendum to overturn existing law is expressed as asking voters to ratify the law. So the authors of the four measures are actually asking voters to reject them. Opponents of the compacts include other Indian gaming tribes and racetrack owners concerned about the new competition, and labor unions that are pushing for the tribes to create more labor-friendly rules. “This is a dramatic shift in our Indian gaming policy,” said Scott Macdonald, spokesman for the anti-compacts campaign. “When Californians voted to allow Indian gaming, they were thinking of a moderate-sized economic engine to give the tribes. “But this is not that. It would allow casinos that are 2 and 1/2 times the size of the largest casino in Las Vegas.” But supporters say the amended compacts will bring much-needed new revenue to the state when it is facing a growing budget deficit. “We’re facing some of the most serious budget deficits that we’ve seen and every bit helps,” said Roger Salazar, spokesman for the pro-compacts campaign. “The state gets hundreds of millions of dollars year after year after year in exchange for a limited expansion of slot machines. We think it’s a good deal for everybody.” [email protected] 916-446-6723160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SACRAMENTO – California voters will face one of the simplest ballots in years in February, but experts say they can still expect a barrage of advertising over the next two months. That’s because the issues on the Feb. 5 ballot could influence hundreds of millions of dollars in annual state spending, term limits for state lawmakers and potentially the next presidential election. Voters will weigh in on seven measures, one candidate race and the presidential primary. But the election generally boils down to four decisions because four of the ballot measures are nearly identical and one has been abandoned by its authors. By comparison, voters in November 2006 had to make at least 25 decisions on ballot measures and candidate races.