MOORLACH UPDATE — First Veto — September 24, 2016

While serving as the Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector, I sponsored numerous bills to improve the State’s investment and accounting codes. I had local Republican legislators author and carry them. And, I enjoyed my experiences of testifying before committees in Sacramento. I am proud to say that every one of these bills made it through the process to the Governors’ desks and all of them were signed into law.

Today, I have bad news. My streak just ended. I’ve already had two bills signed this year, SB 1255 and SB 1265 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Attaboy — August 5, 2016 august 5, 2016 john moorlach and MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1265 — August 18, 2016 august 18, 2016 john moorlach). But, Governor Brown decided to return SB 1463 without a signature this afternoon. It is a bill I’ve been carrying to make improvements for Laguna Beach and cities in similar circumstances (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Moving Down the Line — August 31, 2016 august 31, 2016 john moorlach).

The Daily Journal, a publication for attorneys, provides a great review of SB 1463 in the piece below and clearly educates the reader of the challenges that we faced in moving it through the Legislature.

Here’s the Governor’s veto message:

To the Members of the California State Senate:

I am returning Senate Bill 1463 without my signature.

This bill requires the Public Utilities Commission to prioritize areas that have increased fire hazard associated with overhead utility facilities.

Since May of last year, the Commission and CalFire have been doing just that through the existing proceeding on fire-threat maps and fire-safety regulations. This deliberative process should continue and the issues this bill seeks to address should be raised in that forum.


Edmund G. Brown, Jr.

Unfortunately, I believe the vetoing of this much needed bill continues to put our public safety at risk. When I was Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, the 2008 Freeway Complex Fire was a traumatic experience. One I will never forget. CalFire has had since 2007 to update maps. The Fire Map 1 exercise took nearly nine years! That’s why a legislative approach was pursued. It’s a crazy way to run a state, but how else can we get things moving?

At this time, the PUC is focused on drafting the Fire Map 2 Work Plan, which will provide the road map for the development and adoption of Fire Map 2. Essentially, the Fire Map 2 Work Plan will determine how the boundaries of a new High Fire-Threat District will be delineated. Two proposals have been put forth to the Technical Panel as possible methodologies for the development of Fire Map 2.

Additionally, Timothy Kinney, the assigned Administrative Law Judge for the proceeding, has provided direction that the Fire Safety Technical Panel Workshop shall discuss compliance with SB 1463 for the development of the Fire Map 2 work plan, which is projected to be finalized this calendar year. Consequently, this is a small victory (and a reason to allow me to speculate on the Governor’s motives).

All stakeholders including local governments, Critical Infrastructure Protections and Investor Owned Utilities had embraced SB 1463 as a provision that would dedicate Cal Fire to the proceeding and help ensure that local communities had a seat at the table when crucial decisions about public safety were under discussion.

This critical change has now slipped away. Local communities have been pushed away from having a seat at the table. And the Governor has provided yet another example of contempt for the cities in California (he’s had a long-standing dislike for the California League of Cities).

Just last month, another power pole was knocked down on Laguna Canyon Road. It shut down this main artery for more than half of the day! The good news is that it did not start a fire, this time. We have not always been so lucky, and the danger is ever-present. A photo is provided directly below.

There’s my rant. I guess I don’t like seeing this year’s perfect batting average get down-graded to .667. Don’t worry. I’ll be better, not bitter.

As California burns, costs trump safety

David Huard, co-chair of the energy practice group at Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, specializes in regulatory, contract and appellate matters related to the energy industry and maintains offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Wildfires in the West, and particularly in California, have been a recurring story as the severe drought has made the area even more susceptible to major fire events. Most recently the Blue Cut fire in Southern California forced the evacuation of 80,000 people, destroyed over 100 homes as well as more than 200 structures and threatened a major electric transmission line serving Southern California.

Utility operations have been identified as a cause of California wildfires. When a utility pole falls to the ground or comes into contact with vegetation, an ignition spark, in dry brush, quickly grows into a catastrophic blaze. Utility poles in California are owned by electrical utilities — but over three-quarters of these poles are subject to joint use arrangements with communication companies. It is estimated that of these poles, at least one-quarter fail to comply with existing safety standards and such unsafe utility equipment can lead to wildfires.

In 2007, 9,000 separate wildfires burned over a million acres of California land. Included among these was the Malibu Canyon Fire, which started when strong Santa Ana winds caused three utility poles to fall to the ground and spark a flame that would eventually burn over 4,500 acres of land. The poles responsible for the fire supported equipment for an electric utility and communication providers that were forced to pay multimillion dollar settlements following the damage.

In 2015, the Butte Fire burned over 70,868 acres after a tree came into contact with a utility power line. In 2016, a brush fire in the Calabasas area burned 500 acres after a truck collided with a utility pole causing a transformer to fall to the ground and explode. Altogether, accounts of utility-caused wildfires have become all-too regular.

In 2007, the devastating impact of wildfires, as well as the fear of future such events, prompted the passage of legislation to address the problem.

One such bill directed the California Public Utilities Commission to open a rulemaking to adopt regulations to reduce the fire hazards associated with overhead power lines and communication facilities. The commission determined that it first needed to develop accurate maps of high fire-hazard areas across the state. This effort was planned to occur in two stages: Fire Map 1 would depict the environmental conditions associated with power-line fires and Fire Map 2 would depict utility fire-hazard zones where new fire safety regulations would apply. Once these maps were in place, the commission would draft new fire safety regulations.

In the eight years since the Legislature first called on the commission to address utility-caused wildfire, only Fire Map 1 has been completed and limited interim regulations put in place. Thus, the commission has only looked at the physical and environmental features that lead to wildfire, such as wind, rainfall and vegetation — but, has yet to examine the impacts of wildfire, such as human injury or fatality, property damage, or the cost of fighting fires. Consequently, the commission has a map that identifies undeveloped areas but is only just beginning to develop a map that will identify the people and property this proceeding was designed to protect.

The Fire Map 2 process is now underway with nearly weekly meetings and endless workshops. The hoped-for result is a final map that depicts those areas of the state that are most at risk for a catastrophic and damaging wildfire. After that, the commission will finally turn to the work of developing final fire-safety regulations.

Most observers hold out little hope for aggressive action or timely regulations from the commission process. For starters, participation at the commission is an expensive and time-consuming effort for any unregulated entity. Despite the obvious impact on local communities, and recent outreach efforts by the commission, only one city, Laguna Beach, itself a victim of utility-caused fires, is participating in the process. But here, as with other major rulemakings at the commission, the process is dominated by investor-owned utilities who rely on ratepayer dollars to fund their participation, as well telecommunications companies with their industry groups.

Some utilities, such as SDG&E, are showing initiative as they work to develop Fire Map 2 and move the commission process along. Others, particularly the telecommunications industry, seem bent on delaying or defeating any real steps — presumably to avoid incurring the individual costs of new safety measures or a share of these costs with the electric utilities.

However, it can be expected that all affected utilities will oppose new proposed safety regulations. For example, nearly all utilities oppose conservative steps such as undergrounding utility facilities, even in populated areas — citing cost considerations which they allege exceed the preventive benefits. For many, fire-safety conversations should be steered by the potential increase in public safety rather than concerns about the cost a respective utility may bear. Unfortunately, given present domination of commission proceedings, utility concerns about the cost of operations drive the discussion.

Meanwhile, local communities frustrated with the commission process turned to Sacramento for legislation that would provide immediate directions as to fire-safety regulations and refocus the commission’s efforts towards public safety. Yet here too, advocates were met with an alliance of affected utilities who joined together in opposition. SB 1463, introduced by state senator John Moorlach, was opposed by many of the major utilities and the telecommunications industry when the bill’s authors attempted to jump-start the commission process and provide some guidance on acceptable steps to mitigate the threat of utility-caused wildfires. In the end the bill was stripped of its most meaningful provisions giving only general direction to the commission to prioritize communities, like Laguna Beach, that are subject to conditions that increase fire dangers associated with overhead utility facilities. The legislation also requires the commission to describe how the concerns of local government have been addressed throughout the process.

Everyone in California recognizes that wildfires pose a significant threat to life and property. And everyone agrees that the root causes of wildfires should be addressed. However, one step below the surface of this clear-cut call to action lies an unending regulatory process apparently dominated by interests more concerned with cost than safety. While California continues to burn, it becomes difficult to maintain hope for timely and effective regulation that will reduce the well-recognized threat of utility-caused wildfire.


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MOORLACH UPDATE — Four Absent Days — September 21, 2016

The Sacramento Bee and the Santa Rosa Press Democrat picked up an AP story on reimbursements for state legislators who commute to the Capitol in order to cover their food and lodging.

I missed my first official day of Session, as I spent March 23, 2015, in depositions for the Tata case (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Golden — August 24, 2016 august 24, 2016 john moorlach). This investment of one day’s time would play a part in the County of Orange negotiating a $26 million settlement in its favor.

I also took three days off in April of 2015. Otherwise, I have done my best to maintain a perfect attendance record. I had made a commitment in 2014 to go backpacking with family and friends, a commitment that I made long before I decided to run. One of the hikers had recently graduated from Annapolis and was in port, so changing the dates was next to impossible.

The hike gave me a chance to spend quality time with my two adult sons, other close friends, and to enjoy the Los Padres National Forest. Since I was not on official state business, I did not ask for a per diem.

List of California lawmakers’ per diem collected when absent


The Associated Press

California lawmakers are eligible to receive $176 per day for lodging and food for each day the Legislature is in session to compensate them for being away from home, on top of their annual six-figure salaries. A review by The Associated Press finds lawmakers routinely collect the payments on days they don’t go to work, under rules they set for themselves, or if they say they are working away from Sacramento.

Here is a list of current members of the state Legislature, the total number of days they were absent, and how much per diem each lawmaker collected on days they were absent during the most recent legislative session, from Dec. 1, 2014 to Aug. 8, 2016.


Benjamin Allen, D-Santa Monica, two absences, $176

Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, 19 absences, $1,888

Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Niguel, 11 absences, $1,048

Jim Beall, D-San Jose, one absence, $0

Tom Berryhill, R-Twain Harte, 31 absences, $2,432

Marty Block, D-La Jolla, two absences, $168

Anthony Canella, R-Ceres, 16 absences, $1,864

President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, seven absences, $176

Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, 12 absences, $840

Ted Gaines, R-El Dorado Hills, 24 absences, $0

Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, five absences, $688

Steven Glazer, D-Orinda, eight absences, $0

Isadore Hall, D-Compton, 21 absences, $0

Loni Hancock, D-Oakland, seven absences, $864

Ed Hernandez, D-Azusa, six absences, $344

Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, 13 absences, $352

Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, three absences, $512

Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, one absence, $0

Bob Huff, R-San Dimas, 12 absences, $1,216

Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, seven absences, $872

Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, eight absences, $520

Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, one absence, $176

Connie Leyva, D-Chino, five absences, $0

Carol Liu, D-La Canada Flintridge, 20 absences, $1,024

Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, four absences, $688

Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, five absences, $504

Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, seven absences, $504

Bill Monning, D-Carmel, one absence, $0

John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, four absences, $0

Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, six absences, $344

Janet Nguyen, R-Fountain Valley, 12 absences, $1,704

Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, three absences, $512

Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, nine absences, $0

Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, 20 absences, $3,232

Richard Roth, D-Riverside, one absence, $141.86

Sharon Runner, R-Lancaster, 86 absences, $12,976

Jeff Stone, R-Temecula, six absences, $168

Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, 15 absences, $520

Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, two absences, $176

Lois Wolk, D-Davis, 18 absences, $176


Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo, four absences, $168

Luis A. Alejo, D-Salinas, 13 absences, $520

Travis Allen, R-Huntington Beach, 36 absences, $2,351

Joaquin Arambula, D-Kingsburg, one absence, $0

Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, 11 absences, $1,024

Catharine Baker, R-Dublin, five absences, $0

Frank Bigelow, R-O’Neals, 10 absences, $1,706

Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, six absences, $528

Susan A. Bonilla, D-Concord, 17 absences, $1,167

Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, three absences, $176

William Brough, R-Dana Point, 13 absences, $1,896

Cheryl Brown, D-San Bernardino, five absences, $344

Autumn R. Burke, D-Los Angeles, three absences, $336

Ian Calderon, D-Whittier, six absences, $1,032

Nora Campos, D-San Jose, 20 absences, $2,376

Ling Ling Chang, R-Diamond Bar, nine absences, $696

Ed Chau, D-Arcadia, four absences, $520

Rocky Chavez, R-Oceanside, nine absences, $856

David Chiu, D-San Francisco, 14 absences, $2,272

Kansen Chu, D-San Jose, six absences, $1,016

Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, four absences, $0

Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, three absences, $0

Matthew Dababneh, D-Encino, 17 absences, $2,784

Brian Dahle, R-Bieber, five absences, $512

Tom Daly, D-Anaheim, nine absences, $1,360

Bill Dodd, D-Napa, four absences, $504

Susan Talamantes Eggman, D-Stockton, eight absences, $0

Jim Frazier, D-Oakley, four absences, $696

Beth Gaines, R-Rocklin, 31 absences, $0

James Gallagher, R-Plumas Lake, four absences, $704

Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, six absences, $688

Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, eight absences, $1,216

Mike Gatto, D-Glendale, four absences, $696

Mike A. Gipson, D-Carson, one absence, $0

Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, five absences, $520

Lorena S. Gonzalez, D-San Diego, five absences, $520

Richard S. Gordon, D-Menlo Park, one absence, $0

Adam C. Gray, D-Merced, 10 absences, $1,736

Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, 15 absences, $1,936

David Hadley, R-Torrance, six absences, $0

Matthew Harper, R-Huntington Beach, three absences, $344

Roger Hernandez, D-West Covina, 27 absences, $4,680

Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, four absences, $176

Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, four absences, $504

Brian Jones, R-Santee, five absences, $840

Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, seven absences, $352

Young Kim, R-Fullerton, 11 absences, $512

Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, no absences

Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, four absences, $696

Eric Linder, R-Corona, five absences, $706

Patty Lopez, D-San Fernando, five absences, $856

Evan Low, D-Campbell, four absences, $344

Brian Maienschein, R-San Diego, no absences

Devon Mathis, R-Visalia, 11 absences, $1,040

Chad Mayes, R-Yucca Valley, one absence, $176

Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, eight absences, $528

Jose Medina, D-Riverside, seven absences, $688

Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, 36 absences, $1,200

Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, 11 absences, $1,896

Adrin Nazarian, D-Los Angeles, nine absences, $1,016

Jay Obernolte, R-Hesperia, three absences, $512

Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, 14 absences, $1,208

Kristin Olsen, R-Riverbank, 11 absences, $1,024

Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, two absences, $344

Henry Perea, D-Fresno, 11 absences, $1,680 (asterisk) Perea resigned on Dec. 31, 2015

Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, two absences, $336

Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, seven absences, $344

Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, D-Los Angeles, 16 absences, $2,385

Freddie Rodriguez, D-Pomona, two absences, $352

Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, five absences, $680

Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, six absences, $1,048

Marc Steinorth, R-Rancho Cucamonga, seven absences, $1,048

Mark Stone, D-Scotts Valley, one absence, $176

Tony Thurmond, D-Richmond, four absences, $352

Philip Ting, D-San Francisco, seven absences, $864

Donald Wagner, R-Irvine, three absences, $512

Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, 16 absences, $2,487

Shirley N. Weber, D-San Diego, five absences, $520

Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, seven absences, $1,208

Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, 12 absences, $1,216

Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg, four absences, $688


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MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 32 and Propositions — September 18, 2016

There was plenty of Senate Floor debate over SB 32. After listening to a few too many speeches, I decided to weigh in (see

SB 32 was on the top of my end-of-Session bills worthy of a veto (see MOORLACH UPDATE — 2016 Veto Worthy Bills — September 12, 2016 September 12, 2016 John Moorlach). But, it was one of the first bills that Gov. Brown signed. And he did it with pomp and flair down here in Southern California on September 8th.

All I asked for was a little balance. Why aren’t we addressing the major issues directly facing the State of California? Why doesn’t Sacramento have the same fervor for what it should be fixing, like its Balance Sheet? See MOORLACH UPDATE — Budget Hearings — May 14, 2016 May 14, 2016May 14, 2016 John Moorlach.

We have a range of issues to address, and placing so much emphasis on global warming is either spending too much time on a shiny object, an abdication on fiscal responsibilities, or an intentional ignoring of the facts in hopes that they take care of themselves. Neither of these is an appropriate management technique.

If Sacramento places too much of a burden on our business sector, then the last straw may have arrived. And businesses will continue to flee and workers will have fewer employment opportunities and housing prices will fall and you know the rest. I shared my thoughts in the OC Register‘s Commentary section in the editorial below.


Misplaced priorities in state Capitol

By John Moorlach

When I was elected to represent the people of the 37th Senate District in Sacramento, I resolved to fix the things we could fix — the things that we must fix in order for California to have a prosperous future.

What I have observed is that there is an ongoing efort by many in Sacramento to fix the things we cannot, while ignoring the major issues that afect the lives of every single Californian, not only in my district but throughout this great state.

Recently, the state Legislature approved Senate Bill 32, a bill that takes aim at global warming by requiring California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2030.

This sounds like a worthy goal, but it’s a goal that is going to cost every California resident and business more money from their pockets. California’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is approximately 1 percent of the worldwide total. So, no matter how much California tightens its belt when it comes to reducing emissions, the fact is that the state’s global impact is next to nothing.

Many in Sacramento patted themselves on the back for passing a bill they believe will save the world. Meanwhile, my constituents are concerned with the more pressing issues — like California’s ticking time bomb, the public employee pension system. Or our retiree medical costs. Nationwide, California claims the top prize as having the largest unfunded liabilities for both, and continues to be the least economically competitive state in the nation.

And what about the mass exodus of businesses? Almost 9,000 of them, over the last seven years, have chosen to leave California and operate out of state. You’ll find many of them in Texas.

My colleagues engaged in a passionate debate about global warming and the need for California to be the world leader on the issue, but where is the dialogue about fixing California’s balance sheet, which carries the largest unrestricted net deficit in the United States?

What this state desperately needs is balance and restraint, not more feel-good legislation and disconnects. Once the high of SB32 wears of, will the Legislature address the gorilla in the room? California must stop mortgaging its future and prepare for the next economic recession. Even Gov. Jerry Brown warned it’s coming.

Here’s a disconnect: This year, legislative Democrats approved a 50 percent increase in the minimum wage, which will cause far too many small businesses to close their doors, costing jobs and hurting workers. Increasing electricity rates will also cost Californians more, and a new tax is on the table that would hike California’s gas prices by 17 cents per gallon.

Piling on more cost pressures and tax increases is not my idea of balance or restraint, and it’s not what California residents and businesses need.

The Legislature passed hundreds of bills in the final days of the legislative session, but it must remember that there is a looming fiscal downturn on the horizon for this state. Sacramento must show restraint and focus on its spending priorities.

Instead of passing feel-good legislation with little impact, like SB32, the Legislature needs to focus on the issues we can fix — issues like paying down debt, putting more money away in our state’s Rainy Day Fund and prioritizing practical transportation needs over a costly highspeed rail project and a severely mismanaged Caltrans.

There’s a reason for the story about the camel. I fear that SB32 is one more straw that will break California’s back.

John Moorlach is a state Senator representing the 37th District, which includes the communities of Costa Mesa, Irvine, Lake Forest, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Newport Beach Tustin, Villa Park and portions of Anaheim, Huntington Beach and Orange.

BONUS: You should be receiving your voter pamphlet (guide) from California’s Secretary of State any day now; all 224 pages of it. To provide a simple review, below please find the seventeen propositions. In my research, I have seen several other recommendation lists, so if I used your subject title, thanks! I’ve provided a concise summary of my thoughts. Enjoy the read when you receive the guide. My positions do not differ much from that of the California Republican Party’s recommendations (see Please do your own analysis. And, please vote!!

Proposition Number, Subject and Thoughts Position
51 $9 Billion Education Bond for New and Retrofit Capital Projects NO
Will average $500 million per year in principal and interest payments out of the General Fund — Unaffordable
52 California Medi-Cal Hospital Reimbursement Initiative YES
Assists in matching funding waiver with Medicaid and Medicare Services
53 Voter Approval Requirement on State Revenue Bonds above $2B YES
Currently, only General Obligation Bonds require voter approval
54 Public Display of Legislative Bills YES!
Requires bills be in print for 72 hours before being voted on
55 Extension of Proposition 30 Income Tax Increase NO
Public unions extending "temporary" income tax on wealthy for 12 years
56 Healthcare, Research & Prevention Tobacco Tax NO
$2 tax increase on a pack of cigarettes — Will create a black market
57 Parole of Non-Violent Criminals & Juvenile Criminal Proceedings NO
Gov. Brown’s piling on of AB 109 & Prop. 47 — Will increase homelessness
58 Non-English Language Education NO
Amends and repeals Prop. 227 — A "total immersion" that is working
59 Overturn of Citizens United Act – Advisory Question NO
An advisory question — Why bother the electorate?
60 Condoms Required for Performers in Adult Films NO
Smart personal hygiene should be expected, not required or mandated
61 State Prescription Drug Purchases. Pricing Standards NO
Regulates the price that can be paid by the state
62 Death Penalty Repeal NO
I support the death penalty
63 Large Capacity Ammunition Magazine Ban NO
I support the right to keep and bear arms
64 Marijuana Legalization NO
This is not working in the state of Colorado
65 Redirecting Mandated Carry-Out Bag Fee NO
Brilliant tactic, but is a ploy to confuse voters on Prop. 67
66 Death Penalty Reform YES
I support the death penalty
67 Referendum on Ban of Single Use Plastic Bags NO
I support the use of plastic bags; helpful for the poor who walk to stores

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MOORLACH UPDATE — New Government Program? — September 16, 2016

I introduced you to SB 1234 in MOORLACH UPDATE — April Fools’ Day — April 1, 2016 april 1, 2016 john moorlach. I lamented that: "This will be another onerous obligation on our job producers. And another incentive to join the underground economy, further eroding our honest business community participants.

The Sacramento Bee gave me the opportunity to opine against this bill last month in MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1234 — August 26, 2016 august 26, 2016 john moorlach.

And I included SB 1234 in the list of bills that Governor Brown should veto in MOORLACH UPDATE — 2016 Veto Worthy Bills — September 12, 2016 september 12, 2016 john moorlach.

SB 1234 is still awaiting a decision and is sitting on the Governor’s desk. Capitol Weekly provides its perspective in the piece below.

As a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Financial Planner for most of my career, I am totally supportive of individuals setting funds aside for their retirement. In fact, I would strongly urge every one of my friends to purchase George Clason’s legendary book of some ninety years, "The Richest Man in Babylon," as a motivator on this subject.

But, as someone that has spent more than two decades in the public sector, I am loathe to have it do what the private sector can do much, much better. Instead of establishing a new state department, I would give financial incentives to employers to provide defined contribution retirement plans. Unfortunately, the state of California, a massive bureaucracy with the largest unrestricted net deficit in the nation on its balance sheet, is demanding new withholding and reporting requirements from small business owners. And don’t get me started on customer service for when participants have an inquiry or request.

I am concerned that people who should know better are selling this program as a retirement elixir for private sector workers and are intentionally confusing it with a defined benefit program (which government employees receive), which it is not. Who is going to tell the 60 year old who retires in 5 years that their return on this program so late in their career is not going to be a big payout? And who is going to tell the 50 year old in 10 years that the program is unstable or there are other costs and demands on the program that require higher contributions to cover those costs?

SB 1234 came up for a concurrence vote on the Senate Floor a couple of hours before Session concluded. I stood up and stated that, among many other problems, this state-run concept had the same potential slippery slide that the Social Security system has endured (see

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced Social Security it was voluntary. It was minimal. It was invested in a separate trust fund. And, because it was not deductible going in, it would not be taxable going out. Subsequent (Democrat) Presidents made sad changes to Social Security. President Johnson merged the Trust Fund with the General Fund, and spent it. And President Clinton made 85 percent of the benefits taxable. In short, don’t let the government have your hard earned tax dollars to manage and invest.

BONUS: A status update on the 2016 Veto Worthy Bills is provided below the Capitol Weekly piece.

DOUBLE BONUS: My November Ballot Measure recommendations will be provided in my next UPDATE.

‘Portable’ pensions: Historic changes loom


In a decision that could serve as a national model, Gov. Jerry Brown is considering legislation to allow millions of private-sector employees to steadily build their pensions without interruption — even when they change jobs.

The program, called Secure Choice, would be one of the country’s few state-run, automatic and portable retirement fund for private employees and could directly affect some seven million California workers. California is one of eight states that have passed similar legislation – the others are Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Washington – and the California version is viewed as one of the most comprehensive.

Despite the apparent need for the program, however, the move has been a long time coming in California.

“People are expected to bear much of the risk of retirement savings themselves and many don’t have access [to savings programs],” said Grant Boyken, executive director of the Secure Choice Investment Board. “The outlook for subsequent generations is even worse.”

The new plan, in which employees initially invest 2 percent to 5 percent of their pay in a low-risk retirement account, is intended to resolve what many experts describe as an impending crisis in workers’ savings. The pensions would be administered by a nine-person board that includes the state treasurer and controller, as well as small-business representatives, employers, employees and financial services experts.

Gov. Brown has until the end of September to decide whether to veto Secure Choice, sign it or let it become law without his signature.

Despite the apparent need for the program, however, the move has been a long time coming in California.

The bill is SB 1234, by Senate Leader Kevin de León, D-San Diego, who has long sought the pension changes. As a member of the Assembly in 2008, he introduced the first legislation dealing with the issue, making him one of the first legislators in the nation to attempt a state-supervised retirement program. That bill died in a Senate committee.

About 6.8 million Californians would be eligible for the state-run program.

Four years later, De León – now in the Senate — sponsored the first version of SB 1234, which established the Secure Choice board, chaired by Treasurer John Chiang.

Once the board was created and ordered to conduct a feasibility study, there were still obstacles. The 2012 bill ensured that the state would not be liable for any costs associated with the program, including the feasibility study. It took two years for the board to raise the $1 million needed to research the program’s costs and impact.

Those findings were substantial.

According to figures from AARP, about 7.5 million Californians currently work for employers that do not offer a retirement plan and, according to Boyken, about 6.8 million Californians would be eligible for the state-run program.

According to the Employment Development Department, there were about 19.2 million workers in the civilian labor force, as of July.

“As you and I talk, there are approximately 7 million people in the state of California who have no employer-provided retirement plan whatsoever,” said Bill Sokol, a lawyer and expert in labor issues. Sokol serves on the Secure Choice Board as one of the governor’s appointees.

According to Sokol and Boyken, the fact that the state-run account would be automatic means a great deal in providing for those millions of private-sector employees who have no retirement plan. Figures from the Secure Choice feasibility study estimate that programs where employees ‘opt-in’ see participation rates of about 15 percent.

“While people should save for their post-employment years, government should not be in the business of mandating retirement savings.” — John Moorlach

If Gov. Brown signs the bill, employees would have the opportunity to initially invest up to 5 percent of their paycheck in a low-risk retirement fund, and the amount could increase to 8 percent over time, at the worker’s request. The program covers employers with more than five employees that don’t already offer retirement programs.

SB 32 (Pavley) More Unnecessary Costs to Mandate Greenhouse Gases Signed
AB 197 (E. Garcia) More Unnecessary Costs to Mandate Greenhouse Gases Signed
SB 1234 (De Leon) The California Mandated Retirement Plan On Gov’s Desk
SB 1146 (Lara) Restricting Religious Liberty in Higher Education On Gov’s Desk
AB 1887 (Low) State Government Travel Bans On Gov’s Desk
SB 959 (Lara) Restrictions on University of California Spending On Gov’s Desk
AB 1066 (Gonzalez) More Overtime Pay = Less Agricultural Workers Signed
AB 1671 (Gomez) Killing the Whistleblower On Gov’s Desk
AB 1843 (M. Stone) Hiding Applicant’s’ Criminal History from Potential Employers On Gov’s Desk
SB 654 (Jackson) Government Dictated Expanded Family Leave On Gov’s Desk
SB 1107 (Allen) Forced Public Campaign Financing Signed
AB 1926 (Cooper) Prevailing Wages for Non-Working Apprentices On Gov’s Desk
AB 2153 (C. Garcia) A Battery of Taxes On Gov’s Desk
AB 2492 (Alejo) Redevelopment 2.0 On Gov’s Desk
AB 2748 (Gatto) The Lawsuit that Never Ends On Gov’s Desk
AB 1889 (Mullin) High-Speed Robbery On Gov’s Desk
SB 1000 (Leyva) Adding Environmental Justice Requirements to General Plans On Gov’s Desk
AB 1550 (Gomez) Empty Funding Promises to Disadvantaged Communities On Gov’s Desk
AB 2722 (Burke) Empty Funding Promises to Disadvantaged Communities On Gov’s Desk
SB 1078 (Jackson) Eliminate Arbitrators & Increase Court Backlog On Gov’s Desk
SB 1094 (E. Hernandez) More Burden to Citizens, but with Union Exemption On Gov’s Desk
SB 1167 (Mendoza) Overheating Employers for Hot Workers On Gov’s Desk
SB 1241 (Wieckowski) More Red Tape for Employment Contracts On Gov’s Desk
AB 1685 (Gomez) Heavy Fines for Selling Unapproved Cars On Gov’s Desk
SB 1383 (Lara) Air Pollution Judge, Jury & Executioner On Gov’s Desk
AB 2792 (Bonta) Handcuffing Law Enforcement of Illegal Immigrants On Gov’s Desk
AB 2466 (Weber) County Jail Polling Booths On Gov’s Desk

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MOORLACH UPDATE — 2016 Veto Worthy Bills — September 12, 2016

The FlashReport has a tradition of recognizing the 20 worst bills that the Governor should veto. I had the privilege of preparing this list with Senator Joel Anderson last year (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Worst and Vaguest — September 22, 2015 September 22, 2015 John Moorlach). This year, my office prepared the list – FlashReport 2016 Top Bills Worthy Of The Governor’s Veto – with Assemblyman Matt Harper.

Over the past two years, there were some 5,000 bills that started the process. Since so many are voted on so late in the Session, hundreds come rushing to the Governor’s desk after each year’s deadline is reached.

Picking 20 or so bills to veto was not an easy task. The list could be much longer. This one is 25ish. We tried our best to keep the descriptions as brief as possible. For more detail on particular bills – such as the text, analysis and votes – go to the California Legislative Information webpage here:

Last year, Governor Brown vetoed 14 percent of the bills put on his desk. Of the 20 worst, he vetoed 40 percent. Let’s hope for a better veto ratio this month. I’ll try to provide updates

during the month on how Governor Brown is faring (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Book Inclusions — October 1, 2015 October 2, 2015October 2, 2015 John Moorlach; MOORLACH UPDATE — On Brown’s Desk — October 6, 2015 October 6, 2015October 6, 2015 John Moorlach; MOORLACH UPDATE — Economic Cooling Act — October 8, 2015 October 8, 2015October 8, 2015 John Moorlach; MOORLACH UPDATE — Bill Killer — October 10, 2015 October 10, 2015 John Moorlach; and MOORLACH UPDATE — Closed Doors — October 13, 2015 October 13, 2015October 13, 2015 John Moorlach).


FlashReport 2016 Top Bills Worthy Of The Governor’s Veto

Jon Fleischman

Posted by Jon Fleischman

Introduction from FlashReport Publisher Jon Fleischman

This is the 11th year that we have presented for your viewing displeasure the worst pieces of legislation sitting on Governor Brown’s desk. Of course there are a great many bills on the Governor’s desk – most of them worthy of a veto. Thus the task of trying to cull through those bills and single out just the twenty worst is not easy. This year’s list comes to us courtesy of both State Senator John Moorlach and Assemblymember Matt Harper. With appreciation to them both, and with counsel that before you review this list you may want to find some anti-nauseas medication, here is this year’s list of the worst.

The FlashReport Top 25 Bills Worthy Of The Governor’s Veto

As compiled and described by State Senator John Moorlach and Assemblyman Matthew Harper

The headline in the Sacramento Bee on September 1st aptly described the end to this session: “Democrats dominating California Legislature advanced a broad liberal agenda.” Liberal LA Times columnist, George Skelton, also lamented that while the Legislature focused on policies perceived to help the poor, it largely disregarded the middle class and small businesses – basically, most of the state. We say “perceived” because we believe most of the bills that our Democratic colleagues voted for will do little or nothing to assist the poor or the rest of the state. These bills will only increase costs and debts, which will be borne by these hard working taxpayers and their children for decades to come.

Governor Brown has previously shown himself, at times, to be the grown-up in the Capitol by killing bills that, if enacted, would do major damage to the state. Since the Legislature has gone wild with progressive policy prescriptions this year, we hope that he will stay consistent and veto the following bills that are on his desk.


SB 32 (Pavley) & AB 197 (E. Garcia): More Unnecessary Costs to Mandate Greenhouse Gases: We knew the Governor was committed to signing these two bills (which he did on Sept. 8th), but believed they needed some attention on this list. Through ambiguous language, these bills represent an effort to continue the illegal, unconstitutional and uneconomical practice of “cap and trade,” which is failing our state. These bills will result in duplicative, unnecessary and costly regulations on California residents without substantively reducing greenhouse gases here, or anywhere in the world.

SB 1234 (De Leon) – The California Mandated Retirement Plan: While people should save for their post-employment years, government should not be in the business of mandating retirement savings. How will this proposal lead to long-term savings and “secure choice” when it is neither? While it is technically not a “pension” or a defined benefit program, it has been sold as a guaranteed return program with a defined benefit for private workers. We heard the same promises about Social Security 80 years ago and when the politicians figured out they could use those funds for other priorities, it began to unravel. It’s ironic that this defined contribution IRA plan is supported (and will be maintained) by the public employee unions that reject public pension reform proposals.

SB 1146 (Lara) – Restricting Religious Liberty in Higher Education: this bill infringes upon the religious liberties of private post-secondary educational institutions. It is possible for the people of California to live in harmony, enjoying different perspectives without placing scarlet letters on private institutions of higher learning because they simply believe something different from the majority. The Legislature should not infringe on First Amendment freedoms every American citizen is entitled to.

AB 1887 (Low) – State Government Travel Bans: While some may disagree with select policies of another state, implementing a travel ban is juvenile and has the potential to limit innovative policy making or restricting field research. California cannot be a single issue state, or it risks falling behind. Should this law apply to the University of California and California State University systems and their athletic programs?

SB 959 (Lara) – Restrictions on University of California Spending: Increases administrative costs estimated at nearly $90 million a year while denying the UCs the ability to effectively negotiate for the best talent at the best market rate. This bill is an attempt to protect current employees at the expense of the service these UCs are supposed to be providing: an affordable education for their students.

AB 1066 (Gonzalez) More Overtime Pay = Less Agricultural Workers: After flouting the legislative process, this second attempt to eliminate a longstanding exemption and force farmers to pay overtime – as well as apply onerous workers’ regulations – will end up hurting workers when implemented because they are too costly to employers who are trying to deal with the realities of seasonal farming demands. It’s very possible and likely farmers will simply put all their workers on part-time schedules and mechanize their process more, not to mention the increased food prices to the consumer.

AB 1671 (Gomez) – Killing the Whistleblower: It’s not too often we agree with both the American Civil Liberties Union and the LA Times Editorial Board – this bill is bad for whistleblowers. A “messenger” reveals an inconvenient truth and instead of addressing the horrific matter, the Legislature goes after future “messengers.” You can’t make this up.

AB 1843 (M. Stone) – Hiding Applicant’s’ Criminal History from Potential Employers: Severely restricts an employer’s ability to find out about future employees, creating a blinded hire that may be detrimental to them. This bill makes employers vulnerable to blind risks that could lead to compromised business practices or lawsuits and litigation down the road.

SB 654 (Jackson) – Government Dictated Expanded Family Leave: Who should decide on how much time a person takes off for parental leave? The business or government? Mandating employers of 20 or more employees allow employees to take up to 6 weeks of parental leave to bond with a new child is nice in concept but places an undue burden on small businesses and other employees. Perhaps businesses can establish such policies without government coercion?

SB 1107 (Allen) – Forced Public Campaign Financing: The taxpayers should not be funding elections through their tax dollars. As Thomas Jefferson said, “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” In essence, it is wrong to force people to “donate” to a cause or candidate with whom they do not agree. Additionally, giving the government the purse strings enables the slippery slope of government getting overly involved in elections.

AB 1926 (Cooper) – Prevailing Wages for Non-Working Apprentices: This requires payment to an apprentice despite an absence of work. While a few aspects of this bill are palatable, this is another example of pushing things too far. To require these employers to compensate for the travel time will have a negative impact on business and a likely reduction in requests for apprentices.

AB 2153 (C. Garcia) – A Battery of Taxes: Never mind that the Legislature is passing taxes on car owners to fix a problem they didn’t create. This is another onerous cost proposed under the guise of sympathy and guilt. If recycling were automatically good in every circumstance and marketable, then this legislation would not be necessary. California has dealt enough with the lead issue meaning this bill is superfluous, and in fact, may encourage additional poor public policy prescriptions.

AB 2492 (Alejo) – Redevelopment 2.0: This bill recreates redevelopment and makes it easier, with a few simple findings of fact, to declare large swaths of California blighted and subject for taking via eminent domain, and does so without local voter approval.

AB 2748 (Gatto) – The Lawsuit that Never Ends: It is bad policy to prohibit two parties to a settlement from negotiating the release of future claims. There’s a reason current law allows for this practice, and to make an exception for one singular issue is unwarranted. Current law encourages the settlement of these claims. By allowing them to remain open, this bill would create uncertainty making it hard to move forward.

AB 1889 (Mullin) – High-Speed Robbery: This is an attempt to use bond money for the high-speed rail project on “bookend” projects which are not currently capable of accommodating high-speed rail trains. Apparently, what the voters stipulated in Proposition 1A in 2008 were merely suggestions, as the Legislature continues to flout the will of the people.

SB 1000 (Leyva) – Adding Environmental Justice Requirements to General Plans: This is another Sacramento-knows-best mandate on cities and counties for feel-good legislation. Each community is different and a one-size-fits-all approach to zoning is not going to be beneficial.

AB 1550 (Gomez) & AB 2722 (Burke) – Empty Funding Promises to Disadvantaged Communities: The environmental justice warriors are taking cap and trade monies for their own particular hobby-horses, most of which will do nothing more than fill their coffers and create larger government bureaucracies. Bills like these do nothing to deal with or even marginally mitigate the impacts of global warming in impoverished communities. Additionally, the cap and trade revenue stream has been challenged in court as being the result of an illegal tax.

SB 1078 (Jackson) – Eliminate Arbitrators & Increase Court Backlog: Arbitrators already have to disclose potential conflicts to parties before arbitration proceedings begin, and where they come up during, in accordance with established ethical standards. To add more onerous hoops to jump through will discourage use of arbitration at a time when the court dockets are already backed up.

SB 1094 (E. Hernandez) – More Burden to Citizens, but with Union Exemption: There are questions on the constitutionality of this, as the U. S. Supreme Court has struck down a law banning paid signature gatherers. Different states have tried different requirements and have been met with mixed reviews by lower federal courts. Additionally, a similar bill was already vetoed by Governor Brown because five percent would hardly have the effect the author claims to be intending. It’s interesting that Labor “volunteers” can count toward the five percent and they are the sponsor of the bill.

SB 1167 (Mendoza) – Overheating Employers for Hot Workers: This bill is a solution in search of a problem. Employers are already required to prevent hazardous exposure to high indoor temperatures under current law. If indoor heat illness prevention in the workplace is not being adequately addressed, it would appear to be a compliance issue which needs better enforcement. As such, more laws and subsequent regulations will do very little to address heat-induced injuries in the workplace.

SB 1241 (Wieckowski) – More Red Tape for Employment Contracts: This bill is a textbook example of nanny government intruding on the freedom to contract, assuming it knows best. SB 1241 completely ignores many situations where both parties are sophisticated and are individually represented by counsel. However, even with such an exemption, this bill would be overly intrusive to the private sector.

AB 1685 (Gomez) – Heavy Fines for Selling Unapproved Cars: This is another example of California overreacting to an isolated event and giving more power to an unaccountable state bureaucracy. This bill could unwittingly snare and penalize a car owner who brings a car to California which meets federal standards.

SB 1383 (Lara) – Air Pollution Judge, Jury & Executioner: Requiring Air Resources Board (ARB) to approve and implement a comprehensive short-lived climate pollution strategy will only prove to grow into a massive mandate while providing minimal oversight for the ARB. Better yet, this program will only leak into other greenhouse gas reduction programs and further increase the costs of doing business in California.

AB 2792 (Bonta) – Handcuffing Law Enforcement of Illegal Immigrants: This bill places a number of new requirements on local governments and law enforcement regarding interactions with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. For all of the bills this year which created more crimes, it is disingenuous to heap onerous requirements on those trying to enforce the law on those who are here because they are not obeying the law.

AB 2466 (Weber) – County Jail Polling Booths: Allowing convicted felons – who are serving their sentence in county jail – to vote is concerning. The Legislature can have a conversation about restoring felons’ voting rights after they fulfill their sentences, but validating those who have already shown a disregard for the laws of the land by giving them their privilege of political decision-making back to them while they are incarcerated in ridiculous.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Civic Center Homeless — September 7, 2016

When I served as an Orange County Supervisor, we did not hold meetings the Tuesday after long holiday weekends. But, yesterday was different.

To set the table, the publisher of the Voice of OC shared his concerns in the first piece below. He laid out his two beefs, homelessness at the Civic Center and the AOCDS contract.

I tried for so many years to help the homeless. I pleaded with former city manager David Ream. I debated former city manager Paul Walters at the Committee to End Homelessness. I watched the Santa Ana City Council fumble the ball year after year. They couldn’t shoot straight when it came to selecting the city’s SB 2 zone, where a 200-bed year-round homeless shelter should be built. The string of misplays by the City Council is lengthy and still arouses groans from me when I recollect them. I could recount them all, but for one example, see MOORLACH UPDATE — Homeless Shelter at Depot — November 21, 2014 November 21, 2014November 21, 2014 John Moorlach.

The goal to make the abandoned and empty former bus depot a refuge out of the sun and rain for the homeless has finally been approved. The County’s press release that I received to share the good news is at the conclusion below. The OC Register covers it at .

As to the AOCDS contract, with minimal public input, the news is provided in the second Voice of OC piece below. It was a supplemental item in the winter of 2001, placed on the agenda on a Friday afternoon, and heard quickly on the following Tuesday morning, that gave the County its "3% @ 50" pension plan enhancement, back to the date of hire. It took a fully-funded retirement system and caused it to be two-thirds funded; a status it has held for the past 15 years. I’m just sayin’.

The reasons for my opposition to the last AOCDS contract are provided in MOORLACH UPDATE — Seeking Independence — July 3, 2015 July 3, 2015July 3, 2015 John Moorlach.

Santana: Labor Day Reminds Us Government Is Fueled by People Not Politicians

Read online here:

santana header

By Norberto Santana, Jr.

God bless John and Ken.

The two local radio hosts from KFI this week intensely grilled both Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do and Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez – who are competing this November to represent the county’s First District on the board of supervisors – about the homeless encampment that has overtaken Santa Ana’s downtown Civic Center.

Now, it looks like a stalled plan to create a homelessness rapid response service center at a nearby abandoned bus terminal could happen within the next month.


Over the past decade, the supervisors and the Santa Ana City Council have both largely ignored the growing throngs of hopeless and homeless individuals washing ashore at the Civic Center.

The one supervisor who did try to do something years back was now State Senator John Moorlach, who I spoke with this week about the new developments.

Moorlach, a supervisor from 2006 to 2014, told me he recalled the frustrations of being rebuffed by Santa Ana’s city manager when he advocated for the county purchase of the bus terminal as a makeshift shelter for the homeless. Moorlach later did get the homeless bathroom access to the facility.

He said Santa Ana officials did not want to legitimize the presence of the homeless at the Civic Center by offering services like storage, tables for eating, or just charging stations for laptops or cellphones.

"All I asked for was that they give these people some dignity," Moorlach said.

Yet he never got any of his colleagues on the supervisors’ dais to really back him either.

Now nearing 500 people, the homeless village has transformed the area first designated in 1966 for local taxpayers to access their local government, their courts, the Santa Ana Library, and a host of other agencies.

Orange County Register reporters this past weekend presented a stark and well-reported account of what the civic center has become.

Civic leaders across the spectrum in Orange County have grown disgusted with the situation in recent years.

I myself launched a public wake-up campaign aimed at county supervisors – one they have largely ignored – more than a year ago in my weekly column, repeatedly calling on them to open the bus terminal as a rapid-response center for these individuals.

Ever since then, I have kept up a steady stream of columns also warning about the Civic Center situation.

To their credit, supervisors bought the terminal last December.

Yet county officials have never articulated a vision for the property, much less any kind of regional homelessness policy.

The Santa Ana City Council wasn’t much better.

They have largely ignored the Civic Center homeless explosion and historically fought plans to use the bus terminal for homeless services. And last year, facing neighbor protests, they even pulled the plug on support for a county homeless shelter in a nearby Santa Ana neighborhood.

John and Ken were basically able to uncover this lack of purpose at the city by grilling Martinez on the spot about the Civic Center situation. The city of Santa Ana is the lead agency on law enforcement under the 1966 joint-powers agreement where the city and county share jurisdiction and costs over the area.

Martinez didn’t do well. She didn’t have much to point to. At points, like a boxer who’s been hit in the head too many times, she just went silent, unable to return or block incoming punches.

It was ugly.

Click here for Martinez’s interview.

Do, on the other hand, came on the air smooth but essentially sold an elaborate fib — that the county has no jurisdiction over its’ own buildings.

I found that laughable as the county controls the entire area through the same joint-powers authority that gives the city primary policing power.

John and Ken correctly kept pressing Do on the county’s inaction, which is when he shot back with his plan to open the bus terminal within 30 days.

Yet that makes me – again – wonder? If you can do it within 30 days, why isn’t it already open?

Click here for Do’s interview.

Since these interviews ran last week, both city and county officials are now moving to significantly increase their homeless services.

Santa Ana officials on Tuesday are expected to consider a resolution (co-authored by Martinez) declaring a public emergency at the Civic Center and calling on the county do offer more services and convene a regional discussion.

Meanwhile, county officials are reportedly considering plans to get the bus terminal up and running – at the direction of Do – within a month.

According to Do’s interview with John and Ken, he seems to want to frame the issue as a zoning battle with Santa Ana.

I find that odd, as I’ve always been told the county already has the institutional zoning it needs – as a civic center – to open a service center.

It will indeed be fascinating to see how this plays out during the next few months against the backdrop of the November election.

Listening to the John and Ken interview reminds us all of the power of media and people to shake things up.

Their tough questioning may have just gotten 500 poor, desperate people some much needed services.

That’s what Labor Day is all about.

People power.

Not politicians.

Public Safety Spending

County supervisors are poised for another momentous act this coming week, scheduled to consider a large pay hike for deputy sheriffs – one I hear will cost more than $62 million over three years – during a rare special meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

Now, hiking deputy sheriff pay may or may not be advisable.

The big question is what kind of overall strategy does that deputy sheriff plug into?

There’s no evidence county supervisors have done any homework on that question.

Consider that the Tuesday after Labor Day is a rare date for the Board of Supervisors to meet.

And this is the so-called conservative board that adopted the COIN ordinance to shed light on union negotiations.

Yet now, on the eve of Labor Day weekend, this board drops the deputy contract without any kind of analysis, not even a press release on what they are doing.

So what are they doing?


When I told Moorlach about how the deputy pay raise package was being rolled out by his successors, he nearly choked.

“It’s a testimony to the power of public employee unions,” Moorlach said.

Keep in mind this coming vote has nothing to do with ensuring we have the best policing model for Orange County or that it’s fiscally sustainable.

It just ensures that every single member of this current boards gets an endorsement when they move on to their next office.


You just get the tab.

County Government

County Supervisors Approve New Contract for Deputy Sheriffs

By Tracy Wood

The county Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously and without discussion approved a three-year salary and benefits contract with its sheriff’s deputies and district attorney investigators that will cost taxpayers an additional $62.2 million over the life of the contract.

The agreement raises salaries by a total of 8.5 percent in five steps between now and January, 2019 and includes a one-time lump sum payment for each employee covered under the contract that equals .5 percent of their current pay.

The raises will cost the county’s general fund $37 million over the life of the contract, according to a county staff report, with the remaining roughly $25 million covered through payments from cities that contract with the county for Sheriff’s Department services, and state and federal funds.

(Click here to read the full contract.)

“This is the first increase in take-home pay our members have had since 2008,” said Kimberly Edds, spokeswoman the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs, the union representing sheriff’s deputies and DA investigators,

The Sheriff’s Department has roughly 1,900 deputies covered by the contract and the DA’s office has about 100 investigators.

Under the new contract, the annual base pay for entry-level deputies will go from about $62,000 to $67,500 in 2019. Deputies at the top of the 14-step pay scale will go from $93,870 to $102,107 in 2019; and sergeants’ pay will go from $123,000 to $134,000, according to the contract terms.

In 2014, the deputies approved a two-year deal that included a pay hike and improved health coverage to partly cover the requirement that deputies pay their full employee pension payment in year two of the agreement.

A sharply divided board of supervisors approved that contract on a 3-2 vote. It became controversial when then-Supervisors’ Chairman Shawn Nelson and John Moorlach, who voted against the labor pact, accused the deputies of pension spiking.

You can contact Tracy Wood at twood and follow her on Twitter: @TracyVOC.

Homelessness: Orange County Approves Supervisor Andrew Do’s Plan to Turn Bus Terminal into Transitional Homeless Shelter

(Santa Ana, California)— At a special meeting of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, a unanimous board approved Supervisor Andrew Do’s plan to turn the Santa Ana Transit Terminal into a transitional homeless shelter.

"Our community is tired of talk; Orange County wants action,” said Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do, who has made tackling homelessness his primary focus during his eighteen months on the board. "By turning this transit terminal into a homeless shelter, we are creating a safe place to help Orange County’s homeless get off the streets and onto a productive path.”

Supervisor Andrew Do first announced the proposal during an August 31st interview on KFI AM 640’s “The John And Ken Show.” Under Supervisor Andrew Do’s plan, the new transitional homeless shelter will offer a range of services, including:

  • Safe humane sleeping facilities
  • Shower and bathing facilities
  • Additional restrooms
  • Health and safety inspections of food preparation by community non-profits
  • Help connecting homeless veterans to veteran assistance programs
  • Access to existing programs and services that provide basic aid, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, legal aid and job training services.

Supervisor Andrew Do is setting an ambitious goal to have the transitional homeless shelter up and running within 30 days. He’s confident that the county can deliver on its promise, in part, because it has done it once before.

In advance of the El Nino storms, Supervisor Andrew Do succeeded in fast-tracking the transformation of the same facility into an emergency El Nino storm center, which provided food and shelter over more than 4,000 visits during the winter.

“We can have this homeless shelter up and running by the end of the month,” said Supervisor Andrew Do.

Just two years ago, a unanimous Santa Ana City Council, including Councilwoman Michele Martinez, blocked the county’s proposed shelter on Normandy Place by imposing a blanket 45-day moratorium on all new homeless shelters in the city.

With nowhere else to go, the homeless encampment at the Civic Center has grown, while conditions have worsened. Over the past two years, the county has taken steps to improve the conditions. As recently as three weeks ago, the county installed new bathrooms, providing 24-7 access for homeless individuals.

Last fall, Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do first proposed a social care coordinator, or homeless czar to cut through bureaucratic red tape and improve existing services. That position was filled in May – with the appointment of Susan Price.

In May, the Orange County Board of Supervisors also voted to open the competitive bidding process for an operator for the county’s first permanent, year-round shelter and multi-service center, which was unanimously approved by the board in November. The new shelter will provide shelter to 200 people, with supportive services available to help the homeless with everything from employment to mental health care.

Orange County has also partnered with local lawmakers and non-profit organizations to expand assistance programs and maximize mental health spending. In April, American Family Housing announced that, thanks in part to the county’s assistance, it was receiving $1.7 million for a new veteran housing project in Midway City. Expected to open in November, Potter’s Lane will provide housing and wrap-around services to homeless veterans.

In June, the Orange County Board of Supervisors moved forward with an application for an innovative pilot program focused on “whole person care.” If selected, the county and federal matching-funds would allocate $23.5 million to provide targeted wrap-around services to at-risk groups.

“Orange County is committed to getting people off the streets and onto a productive path to self-sufficiency,” said Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do. “And we continue to look for more ways to help.”

A former Orange County prosecutor, Supervisor Andrew Do represents the First District communities of Garden Grove, Fountain Valley, Midway City, Santa Ana and Westminster.

This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Belaboring — September 5, 2016

In the now completed Legislative Session, where liberals achieved a large number of their objectives and have done some chest pounding, it is nice to see that the conservative minority was able to hold back transportation related tax increases.

Tax increases require a two-thirds vote, or 27 votes in the Senate. It is good to have 13 Republicans and one vacancy, due to the recent passing of Sen. Sharon Runner, in the Senate. This only leaves 26 Democrats, one shy of a two-thirds vote. Of course, one of my Republican colleagues could be peeled off for a vote, but that one Senator would immediately become very famous, and probably not in a good way. And, this assumes that Republicans hold on to their 14 seats in the Senate in the November General Election.

This is the second Labor Day weekend as a State Senator that the OC Register has provided an editorial on the topic of the costs of government labor (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Pricey Labor — September 7, 2015 September 7, 2015 John Moorlach). The LA Daily News and Daily Breeze do the same in the piece below. It is becoming an annual tradition to discuss government costs and why tax increases are not the solution.

For me, it is embarrassing and unconscionable that the liberals are asking for a tax hike, one that will give a dysfunctional and poorly managed department the proceeds. Allow me to belabor you and provide a few reminders.

Caltrans is:

*A department that only uses 20 cents out of every dollar it receives for repairing roads.

MOORLACH SENATE UPDATE — Transportation Challenges — August 6, 2015
August 6, 2015 John Moorlach

*A department that has received increasing gas tax revenues, but has kept spending level.

MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 350 Compromise — September 10, 2015 September 10, 2015 John Moorlach

*A department that has been increasing its pension plan contributions at the sacrifice of repairing roads.

MOORLACH UPDATE — Katy Grimes — September 23, 2015 September 23, 2015 John Moorlach

*A department that has diverted scarce revenues to just one botched project.

MOORLACH UPDATE — Bay Bridge Bloat — October 29, 2015 October 29, 2015October 29, 2015 John Moorlach

*A department that has a tough time telling the truth and being cost effective.

MOORLACH UPDATE — Caltrans Insubordination — March 18, 2016 March 18, 2016March 18, 2016 John Moorlach

*A department that has received the Golden Fleece award.

MOORLACH UPDATE — Golden — August 24, 2016 August 24, 2016August 24, 2016 John Moorlach

*A department that is overstaffed.

MOORLACH UPDATE — Caltrans Sunshine? — September 27, 2014 September 27, 2014September 27, 2014 John Moorlach

MOORLACH UPDATE — Pothole — August 19, 2015 August 19, 2015 John Moorlach

MOORLACH UPDATE — Caltrans Diet — August 7, 2015 August 7, 2015 John Moorlach

*A department that has had embarrassing symptoms of overstaffing become very public.

MOORLACH UPDATE — Caltrans Fairways — August 28, 2015 August 28, 2015 John Moorlach

*A department that is run by its public employee union.

MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Allan Mansoor — September 21, 2014
September 21, 2014 John Moorlach

MOORLACH UPDATE — Cost of Engineers — August 26, 2015 August 26, 2015 John Moorlach

MOORLACH UPDATE — Blame the Unions — November 9, 2015 November 9, 2015November 9, 2015 John Moorlach

*A department that refuses to outsource.

MOORLACH UPDATE — Transportation Strategies — August 13, 2015
August 13, 2015August 13, 2015 John Moorlach

*A department that has been overbudget on nearly two-thirds of its projects.

MOORLACH UPDATE — Katy Grimes — September 23, 2015 September 23, 2015 John Moorlach

*A department that is tone-deaf toward self-help counties.

MOORLACH UPDATE — Troubling Toll Lanes — September 23, 2104 September 23, 2014September 23, 2014 John Moorlach

MOORLACH UPDATE — Toll Lane Reverberations — August 20, 2014 August 20, 2014August 20, 2014 John Moorlach

MOORLACH UPDATE — Quasquicentennial at OC Fair — August 2, 2014 August 2, 2014August 2, 2014 John Moorlach

MOORLACH UPDATE — Happy Quasquicentennial — August 1, 2014 August 1, 2014August 1, 2014 John Moorlach

MOORLACH UPDATE — Toll Lane Opponents — July 29, 2014 July 29, 2014July 29, 2014 John Moorlach

MOORLACH UPDATE — I-405 Hold Up — July 26, 2014 July 26, 2014July 26, 2014 John Moorlach

How does a state department run so amok? California does not have a CEO or a CFO. However, state government appears to be run occasionally by reactions to audit reports (which are normally ignored).

But, sometimes an audit report generates legislation, usually requiring departments to prepare a report. And, who reads the reports?

I asked this rhetorical question on the Senate Floor recently. Last Monday, the next following day of Session, I found two feet of reports on my Floor Desk. Fun life. Fun prank. But, seriously? Have we seen any reform at Caltrans?

*Well, to close this topic, I have some suggestions for reforms.

MOORLACH UPDATE — Seven Solutions for Caltrans — August 15, 2016 August 15, 2016August 15, 2016 John Moorlach

Daily Breeze


Caltrans needs reform, not more taxes

Transportation is critical to the California economy and quality of life, but it is regularly given short shrit by legislators in Sacramento. Rather than fixing the well documented transportation funding, staffing, management and efficiency problems, however, Democrats in the Legislature chose to fall back on their old standby: tax and fee hikes.

Senate Bill X1-1 proposed a $7.4 billion per year transportation plan funded by raising the gas tax from 27.8 cents per gallon to 44.8 cents (a 61 percent increase) and raising the diesel tax from 16 cents to 46 cents (a 188 percent increase). In addition, it would have imposed an annual $165 fee on zeroemission vehicles, which would seem to be sending mixed messages, given that the state encourages ZEV purchases through special carpool lane privileges and taxpayer-funded rebates worth thousands of dollars each. Fortunately, the measure failed to gain traction in the Legislature.

Gas tax increases certainly have not solved the problem in the past. California has among the highest gas taxes in the nation, yet it has the second-worst urban highway pavement conditions, according to a September 2014 Reason Foundation study. A better approach would be to place a higher priority on transportation funding and ensure that what we do spend is not redirected or wasted, starting with the California Department of Transportation, which just earned the Independent Institute’s California Golden Fleece Award.

“[T]he irresponsible Caltrans has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars and even lied to lawmakers to cover its tracks,” Independent Institute Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation Lawrence J. McQuillan wrote in a recent post. The latter charge refers to a budget modeling system on which that the agency spent $250,000 in 2009 to more eiciently allocate funding based on highway maintenance needs. Caltrans told the Legislature that it was utilizing the system, despite the fact that it was never implemented.

“Caltrans’ history of wasting taxpayer money, while at the same time demanding more funding, justifies drastically scaling back the agency and transferring all highway and bridge maintenance to private contractors who submit winning competitive bids,” Mc-Quillan added.

Caltrans is far behind other states in its contracting activity and the eicient use of scarce budget resources. “An average state transportation agency outsources 50 percent of its architects and engineers,” state Sen. John Moorlach, R – Costa Mesa, noted in a recent Orange County Business Journal column. “Arizona and Florida outsource more than 80 percent. Caltrans outsources only 10 percent.”

Sen. Moorlach also suggested a number of additional common-sense reforms, including reorganizing Caltrans’ district-based decision-making structure, delegating some road construction funds to the counties, setting aside money each year to build up a reserve fund for road maintenance and replacement and putting an end to the disastrous highspeed rail project.

Caltrans has been repeatedly reprimanded for its waste and ineiciency by the California State Auditor and the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Oice, but somehow it never seems to face any consequences or adopt needed reforms.

Given the state’s serious transportation needs and all the waste in Caltrans, the Legislature should make transportation funding a priority within the existing budget and focus on being more eicient with existing programs before imposing more taxes on drivers.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Propositions 51 and 53 — September 3, 2016

Allow me to wish you a relaxing Labor Day Weekend, which is considered the official start of the November election campaign season.

As the 2015-2016 Session has concluded, it is now time for me to be working on my legislative package for the 2017-2018 Session, working on my re-election campaign, and enjoying the District.

With that, November 8 will be here before we know it and I was asked to comment on two of the seventeen ballot measures. This basic overview is provided in the Hoover Institution’s Eureka below.

The two propositions addressed deal with the issuance of municipal tax-exempt state bonds. I purchased (almost entirely taxable) debt instruments from 1995 to 2006 for the County of Orange. In fact, I had the privilege of managing a $7 billion portfolio while serving as Orange County’s Treasurer, a very rare opportunity for money managers.

I had a talented investment staff which provided robust market research. We used this research in determining how to manage the portfolio and establish the weighted average maturity that should be utilized. We religiously followed the Federal Open Market Committee’s regular meetings and I became quite a student of Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan. In fact, we accurately predicted his interest rate moves some 95 percent of the time during my twelve years in this role.

However, even with this experience, I do not make it a habit of publicly giving investment advice. But, I will give you a simple suggestion. Go to Google News and type in the word "deflation." Then go to "Search Tools" and select "Sorted by relevance" and click on "Sorted by date." You will be amazed with the number of articles that touch on this topic.

If we are heading into a deflationary era, similar to what the nation of Japan has endured in the recent past, then taking on more debt will make paying it off more difficult. In an inflationary period, one can pay off debts with cheaper dollars. The opposite is true in a deflationary period. In fact, in a deflationary period, it would make sense to wait and purchase things with cash when they have become cheaper. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

Issue 1604 California’s Crowded, November Initiative Slate Part I

The Desensitization of Debt – An Accountant’s Analysis of Propositions 51 & 53

by John Moorlach

In the 2016 June Primary, 81 percent of local tax and bond measures were passed by the California electorate. That, of course, would seem to make a pretty significant statement about the mood of these voters have in regards to incurring future debt and establishing additional local taxes. This November, they will have two chances to reassert fiscal prudence and make a significant statement about long-term debt.

Voters are in charge of approving certain state financing matters, as they are the ultimate oversight on issuances that will leave future generations responsible for repayment. One need only look at Puerto Rico and their recent default on $779 million of bonded debt to see the perils of issuing too many future obligations. They kept racking up the credit cards with over $70 billion in total debt, but currently cannot make even the simple maintenance payment. California voters should consider Puerto Rico’s challenges before allowing a similar scenario here at home.

The first measure, Proposition 51, would approve a $9 billion general obligation bond for school construction. The second, Proposition 53, asks voters to convert certain revenue bonds into a special category that would also require voter approval ​on all state lease revenue bond issuances of $2 billion or more. It is estimated that, if approved, Proposition 51 will add up to $500 million annually to the state budget, which has given even Governor Brown serious reservations.

In 1988, California voters approved Proposition 98, an education funding measure, which requires at least 40 percent of tax revenues to be devoted to K-12 schools and community colleges. But Proposition 51 will not be paid out of Proposition 98 funds, putting further stress on the state’s general fund.

Nearly 90 percent of school district budgets are for personnel costs, including wages, benefits and pension contributions. Public teacher unions do not leave much room in district budgets for other critical expenses, like supplies, repairs and maintenance, and building improvements or replacements.

No matter the justification, with a general obligation bond, Californians will pay the costs through either higher taxes, diminished or cut services, or both. Yes, schools are a good area for investment, but if districts are unwilling to set funds aside, why should taxpayers be obligated to take on another new​ statewide ​debt? California residents shouldn’t be punished for poor budgeting practices.

Proposition 53 has the potential to give taxpayers additional oversight on revenue bonds. It’s origination story is fascinating, as concerned fiscal advocate, Dean Cortopassi, was frustrated enough about California’s debt and unfunded pension liability load, that he decided to sponsor a ballot measure that targeted long-term debt based on government’s current revenue streams.

Currently, revenue bonds do not need voter approval because they are repaid through some non-tax revenue stream​ by the governing bodies of the municipal agencies. Why should the electorate be bothered to deal with specific revenue bonds, when you have elected representatives to handle these issues​? What should really concern the California electorate is the amount of debt this state, and its municipalities, have encumbered upon the taxpayers, much of it without their knowledge or consent.

To stem the tide, if passed, Proposition 53 would require voter approval of significantly large revenue bond deals, those of $2 billion or more. This should be simple enough. But, proponents of major government programs are having heart burn over this proposal. Could it be that this will slow down projects that elected leaders could normally approve and fund in a more expedited fashion? Or, is it that voters don’t really understand bond-related matters?

It may be none of the above. The real reason for the strong rebuff is that it will threaten two significant projects that are already in the works, the Delta tunnel and high speed rail. They will require revenue bonds to finance their construction. But, many doubt that the revenues projected from a bullet train will come close to forecasted projections and debt payments will end up being borne by the taxpayers.

A high passage rate of current bond measures may indicate that most voters do not make the connection that general obligation bonds puts them on the hook to pay the related principal and interest out of their taxes for up to 30 years. Too much debt could be the downfall of the State of California. One only needs to watch Puerto Rico. Debt management is a serious voter responsibility.

With voters approving four out of five local tax and bond ballot measures, one has to ponder. Are voters unaware that the debt is paid out of their taxes? Are they bullish on the future and unafraid to pay higher taxes? Or are they just fiscally uninformed of the consequences of their votes? Regardless, they will have a chance to speak on two critical financial issues this November.


Proposition 51 would authorize the State of California to sell up to $9 billion in general obligation bonds for K-12 school and community college facilities. $3 billion of the bond proceeds would fund new construction; another $3 billion would go toward K-12 facility modernization; $1 billion would be set aside for charter and vocational school facilities; and the remaining $2 billion would be earmarked for community college facilities. The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates the true total cost of Proposition 51 to be $17.6 billion, costing the state about $500 million per year on average – or about 0.05% of the current General Fund budget.


If approved, Proposition 53 mandates voter approval of state revenue bonds costing more than $2 billion. Current law requires general obligation bonds – bonds repaid out of the general fund – to be approved by voters. Proponents argue elected officials have a blank check with the use of revenue bonds. Opponents note that revenue bonds are repaid by dedicated funding connected to the project the bond proceeds finance, limiting taxpayers’ exposure. As of Fiscal Year 2015, revenue bonds accounted for 28% of the State of California’s outstanding debt.

Copyright © 2016 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University

Read the full piece online here:

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MOORLACH UPDATE — AB 1671 — September 2, 2016

It’s not too often that I agree with both the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the LA Times Editorial Board. But, during the final hours of Session, I did. See "Editorial: New bill to protect Planned Parenthood is bad for whistleblowers" (

I’ll save my thoughts about how the Legislature operates during its final minutes for another time. But, voting on a bill that appears so late in the game is rather aggravating. The content of one bill, AB 1671, was even more frustrating. A "messenger" reveals an inconvenient truth and instead of addressing the horrific matter, the Legislature goes after future "messengers." You can’t make this up.

I stood up on the Senate Floor and simply stated three sentences. The final one was "I urge a ‘no’ vote on AB 1671." The first two are provided in the Courthouse News Service piece below. This matter received significant media attention, but this piece seems to address the topic in a thorough manner and I will spare you a lengthy UPDATE.

California Legislature Makes Abortion Sting Videos Illegal


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) — After a flurry of last-minute amendments addressing free-speech concerns, the California Legislature late Wednesday approved a Planned Parenthood-sponsored bill that criminalizes the distribution of secretly recorded conversations with any health care provider.

Lawmakers approved the contentious bill only after the authors removed broad language that could have implicated journalists and media groups for distributing and publishing — but not participating in — undercover videos.

Planned Parenthood sponsored the bill after sting videos showing doctors discussing fetal tissue sales with fake buyers were released last year.

Assembly Bill 1671 now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk for final approval after clearing the Senate 26-13 on a party-line vote.

In a victory for California journalists and lobbying groups such as the California Newspaper Publishers Association, lawmakers agreed to add language exempting journalists from criminal prosecution as long as they aren’t involved in the illegal recordings. However, because AB 1671 creates a new crime, opens media outlets up to potentially damaging and often exhausting civil lawsuits.

While the publishers association removed its opposition in the days leading up to Wednesday’s legislative deadline, the Planned Parenthood bill still contains potential landmines for journalists, according to Nikki Moore, legal counsel for the publishers association.

"I think we achieved the goal of removing that fear for reporters and editors that they’re going to be captured in criminal liability by this bill," Moore said. "The civil question is a little fuzzier because any person can bring an action and any person can name the media even if they don’t do so rightfully."

After clearing the Assembly in May, the bill by Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, faltered in the Senate.

Civil liberty groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union of California joined the publishers association in lobbying for structural changes to the bill. The opponents warned the bill could have a "chilling effect" on free speech and dissuade journalists from covering important issues due to the threat of criminal and civil penalties.

In order to sway enough support ahead of Wednesday’s Senate floor vote, Gomez was forced to cooperate with the opponents and agreed to remove the criminal implications for journalists. He amended the bill seven times, including three times in August.

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, introduced the bill as being vital to protecting Planned Parenthood employees from the onslaught of threats that followed the notorious undercover videos.

"The nation is looking to California to take the lead on protecting access to care and to the doctors who provide that access," said Jackson. "This measure will protect reproductive health doctors from violence and intimidation."

Other senators argued the bill was an overreaction to the Center for Medical Progress videos and noted that secretly taping conversations in California is already illegal.

"When ’60 Minutes’ uses a hidden camera and discovers a unique story, it’s called outstanding journalism. But when a private citizen does it and unmasks a very, very unpleasant truth, it’s a call for legislation," state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Orange County, said.

Republican state Sen. Joel Anderson said the bill is designed to unduly "protect an industry that destroys life" and that the Legislature is "rushing to ensure that [reproductive health doctors] can operate in secrecy."

The bill’s fate is in the hands of Brown, who has liberally vetoed bills that create new criminal penalties during his fourth term in office. He has 30 days to act on AB 1671.

The publishers association will cease lobbying against the bill while the ACLU said it’s still reviewing the Aug. 30 amendments.

If Brown signs the bill, the new law is apt for legal challenge, Moore predicted.

"If the governor signs this law a court will then have to decide whether this is narrowly tailored," Moore said.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Overwhelmed With Emotion — September 1, 2016

The 2015-2016 Legislative Session concluded earlier this morning, around 1 a.m. It was a long night, and concludes my first Session experience as a State Senator, and its related commuting on a weekly basis to Sacramento.

I now will be in the District until the first week in December, when I hopefully will be sworn in at the Capitol for a four-year term.

As a result of honoring Shirley Babashoff on the Senate Floor last Tuesday, we made a expeditend effort to have the Senate approve a resolution, SR 88, to support her — and all of the other women she swam with — their rightful position in the 1976 Olympic Games record books (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Golden — August 24, 2016 august 24, 2016 john moorlach).

My staff worked under tight time constraints, but they were able to get it on the agenda for the last day of Floor Session for the year. I want to thank my esteemed colleague, Sen. Janet Nguyen, for her encouragement in pursuing this show of visible support. It passed with no opposition, 39-0. The news is provided in two publications which I have never appeared before, Swimming World and Swim Vortex.

I know it would have received 40 votes if Sen. Sharon Runner would have been with us. I announced her passing (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SKY FELL — July 15, 2016 july 15, 2016 john moorlach) and also attended her Memorial Service in the city of Lancaster with my wife. It was an honor to serve with my 39 colleagues and wish them all the best, especially the eight that have termed out or are seeking another office.

California Senate Passes Resolution Urging IOC to Address 1976 Olympic Wrongs; Babashoff Overwhelmed

The California Senate took a major step forward in recognizing the injustices of the 1976 Olympic Games where the East German women swimmers won all but one gold medal in the pool.

Senate Resolution 88 urges the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to address the wrong created by the East German performance-enhancing substance scandal and to recognize the competitors who played by the rules in the 1976 Olympic Games with their rightful medals and places in the record books.

The 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada, should have been a monumental and celebratory occasion for Shirley Babashoff and the dozens of other female swimmers competing. Instead, the Games have lived under a dark cloud of controversy for the past forty years. – California Resolution 88

Swimming World talked with Babashoff who said she was overwhelmed with emotion from all the support. “I have never had anybody like a Senator John Moorlach stand up for me and the other girls on my team all these years. I am not an emotional person and I am bawling my eyes out right now because of all the support now which has not been there for all these years.”

Swimming World reached out to Senator Moorlach who said, “My hope is that this measure sparks real change. Now that we know the truth, how could we ignore the facts any longer? The International Olympic Committee has the power to give justice to the dozens of Olympic women swimmers who played by the rules. I want to see the IOC give these swimmers, including Shirley Babashoff, their rightful medals and places in the record books.”

The allegations that the East German women’s swim team was competing under the influence of performance-enhancing substances were dismissed at the time, but later proven true. When the Berlin Wall fell, records were recovered that proved the East German team was involved in a state-sponsored performance-enhancing substances scheme.

Due to this scandal, competitors who played by the rules were denied their true earned victories, and their countries denied their moment to celebrate with them. The International Olympic Committee needs to address this injustice and recognize these competitors. They have the power to honor these individuals with their rightful medals and places in the record books. It is the International Olympic Committee’s turn to step up and demonstrate the integrity that is becoming of the Olympic Games and show today’s youth the importance and value of competing with honor. – Resolution 88

“The IOC committee needs to be reviewed and assessed of its goals. They are not doing what they should be doing. This is also about what those young girls went through 40 years ago and the abuse by their government,” said Babashoff.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter


Shirley Babashoff @SBabashoff

39-0! @SenatorMoorlach THANK YOU SO MUCH!

6:58 PM – 31 Aug 2016


Making Waves - Shirley Babashoff - Santa Monica PressMaking Waves – Shirley Babashoff – Santa Monica Press

In passing a resolution to right the wrongs of a dark chapter in swimming history, the California Senate in the United States has taken a giant leap in its bid to have the International Olympic Committee recognise the achievements of those knocked by State Plan 14:25, the East German doping program, at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games.

East Germany’s women swimmers claimed 11 out of 13 gold medals at Montreal 1976, the 200m breaststroke going to Marina Koshevaia at the helm of a Soviet Union medals sweep, the 4x100m freestyle going to the United States in a victory recalled in the SwimVortex Book of the Year for 2016, Shirley Babashoff’s Making Waves, and the Last Gold documentary.

In California, Senate Resolution 88 urges the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to address the injustice of results gained through the use of performance-enhancing substances, the details of which are confirmed in Stasi (state secret police) files galore saved from the shredders at the fall of the Berlin Wall by people keen to get the truth out. Dr Werner Franke and his wife Brigitte Berendonk were the first to reveal the extent of State Plan 14:25.

The files confirmed that all East Germany’s women swimmers were fed a diet of steroids as part of their training from as young as 13 years of age. The archive and evidence from Germany’s DDR doping trials of 1998-2000 – in which FINA silver pin holder to this day, Dr Lothar Kipke, was handed a criminal record – notes the names of generation after generation of swimmers fed doping between 1973 and 1989.

What Californian senators are trying to achieve is what neither the IOC, nor FINA nor USA Swimming has pressed for in 40 years. Not a single result, not a single record has been removed; not a single asterisk of truth and context placed in the book; not a single attempt made to recognise the victims on both sides; not a single effort to take the ‘services to swimming’ honours away from those in the GDR who were subsequently handed criminal convictions.

Here’s what we’re talking about in a European context alone – 1974-1989 – European Championships, women:

  • 99/105 gold medals to the GDR, including every relay possible (2 for URS, 1 each for Bulgaria, France and Romania – and that was it) 62/84 silvers to the GDR 16/84 bronzes to the GDR 156 medals were won out of a possible 168 podium places available to the GDR in solo events under the two-per-nation rule.

In that regard, the history of swimming is a cesspit of cheating, misadventure and unrepresentative results when it comes to the healthy, clean environment that could have been cultivated but was not.

And then there is ‘Surley Shirley’, better reverend to as Shirley Babashoff, one of the most outstanding swimmers in history.

Babashoff has taken to social media this week to thank Senator John Moorlach, who led the campaign to have her achievements and those of many others, officially recognised, along the lines long advocated by SwimNews, then SwimVortex and Swimming World.

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