MOORLACH UPDATE — Budget Reverberations — June 16, 1018

Reverberations and interviews continue on the annual ritual of approving the State’s Budget. But, first, allow me to wish you a Happy Father’s Day.

The OC Register provides an electronic opinion on the best tweets at: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/06/15/with-200-billion-budget-california-tries-to-tax-and-spend-its-way-to-prosperity/.

The OC Register also provides its proprietary perspective below, which is from its sister publication, the Inland Daily Bulletin.

The Senate addresses more Budget bills at its Monday afternoon Session. I also have a committee meeting with the Joint Committee Subcommittee on Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response to adopt a new policy. It mirrors the policy that LA County has had in place for some time and reminds me of the changes we made at the County after the Carlos Bustamante debacle.

I will also participate in initiative hearings on the rent control and gas tax repeal November ballot measures (also see the invitation for June 21st on the latter subject at MOORLACH UPDATE — Gov. Brown’s Final Budget — June 15, 2018). So, another busy week for this Father.

State budget nudges $200 billion; offers something to love, or hate, for many

By jgraham and jhorseman | Orange County Register

https://www.dailybulletin.com/2018/06/15/state-budget-nudges-200-billion-offers-something-to-love-or-hate-for-many/

State lawmakers are pushing a $199.6 billion budget that takes on homelessness, boosts education, expands state reserves and is on time for the sixth straight year — and it still ticks off people from all points of the political spectrum.

Technically, the 2018-19 spending plan, expected to be approved by Gov. Jerry Brown, is an amalgamation of 25 separate pieces of legislation, including 14 bills that were sent to Brown this week. Though spending will increase in virtually all categories, the budget also calls for a maximum contribution to the state’s rainy day fund, about $13.8 billion, something Democrats and some Republicans applauded.

“This state budget is both balanced and prudent,” said Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes, D-Riverside. “It embodies our commitment to a better California through significant investments in K-12 and higher education; child care; support for California’s small businesses; and measures to combat homelessness.”

Approval for the budget came a day before failure to act would have triggered a cut in lawmakers’ pay and, in a heavily blue state, it drew stronger support from Democrats than it did from Republicans.

Critics say that despite the projected revenue surplus amid a growing economy, the budget ignores long-term problems and fails to plan for leaner times. With the state’s high pension and retiree medical debts, and projects such as the bullet train, state water pipelines and general infrastructure improvement on the horizon, some envision a coming day of reckoning for state finances.

“Our balance sheet is still in terrible shape,” said State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, who served on the budget conference committee and advocated for using any surplus to make early pension payments or fix failing infrastructure. “Our kids are going to inherit all this debt. Sacramento needs to get in front of it, and it didn’t with this budget.”

Though several elements of the budget will be voted on next week, here are some highlights in the current package:

EDUCATION GETS BUMP

The biggest chunk of the state budget, a record $78.4 billion, will go toward education. That’s a 66 percent increase from where California education spending stood in 2002 ($47.3 billion, according to state data.)

In grade schools, the new budget will mean about $1,000 more per year in per-student spending, money that still leaves California among the lowest in the country by that measure. The budget also sets aside more money for the California State University system (an extra $260 million) and the University of California ($210 million more than a year ago) and new money for online programs connected to the state’s community colleges (about $110 million, according to state data.)

Assemblyman Jose Medina, D-Riverside, who chairs the Assembly Higher Education Committee, was pleased with the funding levels for the UC and Cal State systems.

“The budget originally proposed by the governor significantly underfunded these institutions, which would have been detrimental to our universities and our students,” he said. “The final budget agreement not only fully funds these institutions, but also allocates an additional $5 million to the UC, and an additional $120 million to the CSU for enrollment growth.

“At a time when more and more of California’s students graduate from high school college-ready, it is critical to invest in these institutions to ensure all students have access to quality higher education.”

POOR GET A HAND

Some of the spending will go to help people in poverty, the chronically ill and the homeless.

For example, California will expand by 13,000 the number of people eligible for subsidized health care. Also, people on CalWorks — the state’s welfare program — will get a 10 percent raise starting next year. Both measures are part of a long-term effort in the state to boost the incomes of the poorest Californians to roughly 50 percent of the federal poverty level.

The state also will set aside up to $600 million to fund anti-homelessness projects throughout the state. The money could be used by cities and counties to pay for housing vouchers, new low-income construction projects, and other programs aimed at one of California’s fastest growing subgroups — homeless.

Of that total, Los Angeles city and county will receive an estimated $166 million combined to combat homelessness. Orange County, Santa Ana, and Anaheim could cumulatively get nearly $23 million. Riverside city and county could get $9.7 million. And San Bernardino city and county could receive $9.3 million.

“For state legislators to put forward that amount of money, it tells you that people are realizing that this is really a crisis and it’s not going away,” said Paul Leon, co-founder and president of the Illumination Foundation, a nonprofit that helps Orange County’s homeless.

“The question is how cities and counties will leverage that money. Some will do a good job. Others, I’m not so sure.”

TOPICS OF INTEREST

The budget also offered money for issues that have been much discussed but un-funded in recent years.

Rape kits, for example — which have made headlines as police agencies and prosecutors have complained that too many kits remain unprocessed — will get some funding. The budget sets aside $6.5 million be funneled to law enforcement to pay for testing, while another $1 million could be set aside to find out how many rape kits remain untested in California.

“As the author (a bill) that eliminated the statute of limitations on rape in California in 2016, I am thrilled that our state budget finally includes funding to both determine the number of untested rape kits and to promptly test backlogged rape kits,” said state Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino.

“Rape victims deserve equal access to justice and testing the rape kits associated with their cases will help to identify and prosecute rapists and keep them off our streets and behind bars where they belong.”

IN THE BANK?

Because California taxes wealth more than many states, the state budget rises and falls with Wall Street.

As a result, in recent years, lawmakers — particularly since Brown started his second stint as governor, in 2011 — have been focused on boosting state reserves. The idea is to have money in the event of a natural disaster or if the economy reverses course as it did during the Great Recession of 2007 and ’08. By some estimates, the new budget will create a reserve fund of about $15.9-billion by next summer, bigger than the total annual budgets of 33 states.

Some lawmakers have suggested it is time to cut taxes and return some of that money to voters.

“Even when the state is supposedly flush with cash they still cannot resist the reflexive urge to nickel-and-dime hard-working Californians,” said Sen. Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga. “Rather than give the people of this state a break and reward them for building a strong economy, this budget doubles down on the policies that make California so unaffordable.”

Others say the rainy day fund reflects discipline, if not brand-building, by Democrats once accused of profligate spending.

“This balanced, on-time budget strengthens California’s fiscal stability, addresses many of the key challenges facing our state, and makes important investments in our future,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood.

“I think I’d be justified in saying that’s a pretty impressive triple crown.”

This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District. If you no longer wish to subscribe, just let me know by responding with a request to do so.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Gov. Brown’s Final Budget — June 15, 2018

The 2018-19 Budget votes occurred on the Senate Floor exactly after the bills had been in print for 72 hours. I do not mean to be the poop in the proverbial punch bowl, but anticipating a bumper crop and not reducing unfunded liabilities or sharing the wealth with struggling cities and counties, is very troubling.

I served on the Budget Conference Committee and it not only wipes out your calendar and life for a couple of weeks, it seems as if the Committee was irrelevant (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Conference Committee Cram Down — June 8, 2018). Or, as I put it in my Floor speech, a “nothingburger” (see https://vimeo.com/275169442).

The disappointing point in this process for me, after leaving the Capitol last Saturday morning at 1:30 a.m., was that my flight a few hours later was cancelled. So, former California First Lady Gloria Deukmejian, I apologize for missing George’s Memorial Service.

A quick observation is that the Democrats still own it. A small rainy day fund will not hold back a recession and you can expect even more tax increases in the future, should you decide to continue living in California.

Here is a rundown of the various pieces covering yesterday’s legislative session.

The Associated Press covered it, which was picked up by numerous newspapers, including the OC Register. The first piece below is from, appropriately, The Press Democrat.

The Sacramento Bee covers the Capitol, of course, and its sister publication, The Modesto Bee, provides the second piece below.

The LA Times has a Sacramento correspondent, and it recently acquired the San Diego Union-Tribune, bringing us the third piece below.

Fox & Hounds weighs in on the process in the fourth piece below.

On to a different subject, every year I get to nominate a nonprofit organization to be recognized in Sacramento. Two years ago it was the Orange County Rescue Mission, where I was sworn in as Senator. Last year it was HomeAid (see MOORLACH UPDATE — First SB 2-Zone Victory in the OC — August 6, 2017).

This year the honor goes to Mercy House, which recently participated in a glorious facility in Newport Beach (see http://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/news/tn-dpt-me-cove-opening-20180326-story.html). Congratulations to Larry Haynes and staff! The Daily Pilot and the Orange County Breeze cover the recognition in pieces five and six. Next week we honor the small business of the year.

What? You still want tax and budget news? Well, you’re in luck, as The Bond Buyer satisfies this need in pieces seven and eight below. It addresses the gas tax repeal efforts and the budget, respectively. But, beware, the strategy of “marketing all of the proposed wonderful projects that will be stopped” is being used in full force.

For even more on the gas tax, check out my Bonus directly below. Or, I should say “we interrupt this broadcast with a brief commercial announcement” of a political nature. If you do RSVP to attend, let them know that it was in response to this UPDATE.

BONUS:

You’re Invited…

Fundraiser to Repeal the Gas Tax

June 21, 2018 – 6-7:30pm

SAN CLEMENTE OUTLETS

VIP Lounge

101 Avenida Vista Hermosa, Suite 190

2nd Floor above Customer Service

San Clemente, CA 92672

Featuring Our “Gas Tax Repeal Heroes”

Hon. Pat Bates, State Senate Republican Leader

Hon. Bill Brough, State Assemblymember

&
Hon. Carl DeMaio – Gas Tax Repeal Chairman

The Car and Gas Tax Hikes will cost the typical family of four more than $770 more per year! Don’t sit on the sidelines – be part of the taxpayer revolt that will shake up Sacramento. If we all work together, anything is possible!! Please attend this important event – and make a contribution today to the Gas Tax Repeal campaign to help roll back these tax hikes! Personal or corporate contributions welcome in any amount.

RSVP and Secure Contribution Link: https://fs2.formsite.com/therightcompanies/form76/index.html

California lawmakers pass budget expanding help for poor

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

JONATHAN J. COOPER
ASSOCIATED PRESS

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/8437614-181/california-lawmakers-pass-budget-expanding?artslide=3

State lawmakers approved a $139 billion budget Thursday that uses California’s massive surplus to boost funding for homeless programs, welfare, child care and universities while also socking some money into savings.

The budget, which boosts spending 9 percent for the fiscal year beginning July 1, was approved with support mainly from Democrats.

“We’ve done something pretty great for people in California,” said Sen. Connie Leyva, a Democrat from Chino in the Inland Empire.

The spending plan was negotiated by Democrats Gov. Jerry Brown, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins of San Diego, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon of Lakewood.

California is riding a wave of economic growth that has produced the largest surplus since at least 2000. Even the most conservative forecast pegs the surplus at nearly $9 billion.

Lawmakers and Brown are using that windfall to fill the rainy day fund to the maximum allowed under the state constitution and boost other savings, producing $16 billion in total reserves. Nearly $14 billion of that will be in the rainy day fund, which can only be spent during a budget emergency caused by a natural disaster or decline in revenue.

Republicans praised the focus on savings but said the budget doesn’t do enough to pay down debt and irresponsibly increases long-term commitments that will hamstring the state in the future. Sen. John Moorlach, a Republican from Costa Mesa in Orange County, said the state isn’t doing enough to address growing obligations for pensions and retiree health care.

“In a year when one enjoys a bumper crop, one must set aside cash and pay down the credit card balance,” Moorlach said. “We’ve got to get ahead of this mess.”

The budget will boost assistance for people living in poverty, including more than 13,000 new slots for subsidized child care. People on CalWorks, the state welfare program, will see monthly grants rise by 10 percent in April, the start of a multiyear effort to lift the income of the poorest Californians to 50 percent of the federal poverty level. Advocates said the boost would ensure children aren’t living in deep poverty, which harms their brain development and hinders future performance in school and work.

It includes $500 million for emergency grants to help cities and counties reduce homelessness. The grants can be used on a range of programs, including housing vouchers and shelter construction to help address California’s rapidly rising costs and growing homeless population.

The budget also boosts university funding, forestalling tuition increases at both California State University and University of California, and creates an online community college to offer credentials to working adults unable to attend classes in person. Brown’s administration announced that the first program will offer a credential in medical billing and coding.

The deal left out an expansion of Medi-Cal health care coverage to young immigrants living in the country illegally and financial assistance for people who buy their own insurance in the individual market.

California’s nearly $200 billion total budget includes $138.6 billion in general fund spending, $57.1 billion in special funds that must be spent for specific purposes and $3.9 billion in money from bonds.

As part of the budget negotiations, Brown and lawmakers agreed to allow victims of a notorious California serial killer to get a renewed chance to seek compensation for their emotional trauma or financial losses. Normally, victims have just three years to file with the California Victim Compensation Board for crimes, but the legislation would open a new window for victims to file claims after 72-year-old former police officer Joseph DeAngelo was charged in the Golden State Killer case.

$200 billion California budget sent to Gov. Jerry Brown

BY ADAM ASHTON

aashton

http://www.modbee.com/news/state/article213218474.html

California lawmakers approved and sent Gov. Jerry Brown a $200 billion state budget on Thursday, using revenue from a rosy economy to build $16 billion in reserves and steer hundreds of millions of dollars in new funding to universities and programs for the homeless.

The budget agreement passed both houses easily despite some Republican opposition. Democratic majorities highlighted a projected $9 billion surplus as a sign of the state’s recovery since the recession a decade ago.

“This is the best position we’ve been in in years,” said Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego.

The budget hewed fairly closely to the plan Brown presented in May, boosting reserves by billions of dollars rather than committing money to proposals that would have expanded health care and offered tax breaks to undocumented residents.

The budget includes a $138.6 billion general fund. That’s about $70 billion more than the general fund in the state’s 2011-12 budget.

The new budget provides $78 billion for K-12 education, which is about $30 billion more than the state’s recession budget seven years ago.

The budget also frees up $500 million in grants that cities can use to address homelessness. It increases the value of welfare grants through the CalWORKS program, raising spending there by $360 million.

It boosts ongoing funding for the California State University system by $105 million, and provides of hundreds of millions of dollars more for it and the University of California in one-time allocations.

“We have historic investments in K-12 education, historic investments in our higher education. We now have a budget reserve that is larger than the general funds of 33 states,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood. “It’s an investment in our future with respect to early childhood education. It’s also really helps to protect a lot of what we really love about the state, with respect to the environment and our great public schools.”

Republicans warned that the budget did not make a serious dent in the state’s unfunded pension commitments, and that those debts could trigger a financial reckoning in the near future.

“We look like passengers on the Titanic,” Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, said.

But Democrats countered that they’ve carefully accumulated reserves to help the state navigate the next financial downturn.

The budget aims to “fill” the so-called Rainy Day Fund, which by law can hold a sum equivalent to 10 percent of general fund revenue. It sets aside another $2 billion for uncommitted reserves, and opens a new “safety net” reserve for social services with an initial $200 million.

“This is what we’re doing to prepare ourselves for the future because a recession is an inevitability,” said Assemblyman Ian Calderon, D-Whittier.

Some Republicans argued the money would be spent as a rebate to taxpayers. The savings, they asserted, help to lock in high spending that they consider to be irresponsible. “You want a blank check for the future? That’s what this is,” said Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno.

California lawmakers meet deadline, sending nearly $200-billion state budget blueprint to Gov. Jerry Brown

By John Myers

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/us-politics/la-pol-ca-budget-california-legislature-20180614-story.html

Both houses of the California Legislature took final action Thursday on an overarching framework and a few key details of a new state budget, sending the package to Gov. Jerry Brown one day before their legal deadline to take action.

Twenty-five separate pieces of legislation comprise the budget for the state government’s fiscal year that begins next month. Fourteen of the bills were sent to Brown on Thursday, while action is expected early next week on the remaining details.

The $199.6-billion spending plan hews to Brown’s suggestion that a sizable portion of the state’s massive tax windfall be funneled into cash reserves as similar funds were last year, while increasing spending on K-12 education, healthcare and social services. It also provides more than $600 million for new efforts to help California’s homeless, a key component to the deal struck last week by the governor and Democratic legislative leaders.

“This is a solid budget,” Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) said. “And it builds upon what we’ve already done.”

Republicans provided only a few votes for the overall budget framework in the Assembly and Senate. Other GOP members insisted that the state continues to ignore long-term problems, including looming debt in the years to come.

“We’ve got to get ahead of this mess,” Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) said.

Democrats, however, insisted that the budget offers a reasonable approach to addressing the state’s needs. As is the case in most years, the lion’s share of spending is contained in three categories: education, health and human services, and corrections and rehabilitation.

“We continue our efforts to strengthen the state’s commitment to a human infrastructure,” said Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), chairwoman of the Senate’s budget committee.

Under state constitutional mandates, K-12 schools and community colleges receive the single largest portion of general fund tax dollars. The new budget puts K-12 funding at $11,639 per student, up slightly from the current year. It includes a phase-in of an effort promoted by Brown to divvy up community college dollars with a new emphasis on student performance outcomes. It also provides $100 million in start-up funds for online community college courses and instruction.

Both the University of California and California State University systems receive funding increases under the budget agreement, though most of the education bills won’t be voted on until next week. The plan offers a combined $344-million one-time boost to the school systems, as well as new ongoing funding that’s expected to expand enrollment on UC and Cal State campuses while allowing university leaders to keep tuition at current levels.

Significant dollars will be spent, too, on health and human services. According to figures provided by the Assembly, almost 1 in 3 state dollars spent under the new budget will go to these programs. Much of it is earmarked for services provided by Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid providing healthcare for its poorest citizens. Some care — including access to physicians, hospitals and child-screening services — is mandated by the federal government, while California adds additional benefits. The governor’s revised budget last month pegged Medi-Cal spending at about $35 billion in the coming fiscal year.

Democratic lawmakers pushed for more spending in one key social services program, persuading Brown to accept a small boost in monthly cash grants to the working poor enrolled in CalWORKS, the state’s welfare assistance program. Those monthly grants have remained unchanged for years, even as inflation pressures have reduced the purchasing power for low-income families. The budget adds $90 million to the grants beginning next spring, as well as a method to more fully fund annual cost-of-living increases in the future.

Subsidies for child care based on income and additional slots in preschool programs are also included in the budget framework. And both Brown and legislative leaders advocated for expanding access to California’s earned income tax credit to an additional 700,000 households. The tax credit, which provides cash to those with very low incomes, will be modified to account for increases in the state’s minimum wage, and it will be made available to workers between the ages of 18 and 24, and those over 65.

While spending increases under the plan, the budget reflects the continued insistence by Brown and lawmakers to stash funds for future economic downturns. Legislative staffers project that the budget passed Thursday will lead to a $15.9-billion cash reserve by next summer, larger than the general fund of 33 U.S. states.

The bulk of that money — $13.8 billion — will be in the “rainy-day fund” established by voters in 2014. Much of what’s left will be in the state’s regular cash reserves, while $200 million is being set aside in the event future budget deficits trigger cuts to CalWORKS.

Those dollars are the result of multibillion-dollar tax revenue windfalls, which have become surprisingly common in recent years. Lawmakers are taking steps in the new budget to change the process of how those dollars are set aside for future needs.

But the mechanics are complicated. The plan to be signed into law by Brown includes a new and unusual “budget deficit savings account,” which will serve as an initial way station for surplus cash. Most of the money will ultimately be sent to the voter-approved reserve fund, but the accounting maneuver could offer new options for other excess dollars.

Some Republicans asked whether the proposal is a move to avoid triggering a 1979 state spending limit — one rarely breached since its inception and the focus of months of debate about how to properly calculate that limit. The provisions of that constitutional limit could require tax refunds.

“It’s been rigged so that no refund can ever be given to the taxpayers,” Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) said. “And that’s disgraceful.”

Others wondered whether a different plan involving tax windfalls — injected late into budget talks by Brown — would actually subsidize the state’s beleaguered high-speed rail project.

“We’ve set in motion a chain of events that this bill compounds,” Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) said.

Lawmakers were under the gun to pass key portions of the state budget by Friday or lose a portion of their salary under a 2010 law enacted by voters. That law also lowered the threshold for legislative passage to a simple majority in each house. Those two changes have helped create on-time California budgets for six straight years.

john.myers

 

The Good Old Days of the Big 5 Budgets?

Joel Fox

By Joel FoxEditor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

 

http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2018/06/good-old-days-big-5-budgets/

The state budget passed on time but does anyone long for the good old days of the dragged out budget debates? Remember the deal making to get some Republicans to join majority Democrats to reach the required two-thirds vote? OK, you don’t miss those days because no one enjoyed those drawn-out affairs with IOUs issued to state workers and public services delayed. Yet, by reducing the decision making from the Big 5 (governor, majority and minority leaders of both houses) to the one-party Big 3 (Governor, Assembly Speaker and Senate Pro-tem) something important has been lost in missing hearings and debates over budget priorities.

Listen to Republicans left out of the budget process. Senate Budget Committee Vice-chairman Jim Nielsen complained about cancelled public hearings. “This is a manipulation of the budget process whereby the public and their representatives are completely shut out.” “This year’s mismanagement of the committee hearings is done by design – to keep the public in the dark.”

Senator John Moorlach reacted to Gov. Brown’s announcement that he had reached an agreement on the budget with the speaker and the pro tem with a fair question: “Would somebody explain why I am even here and why am I voting tonight on this “behind closed doors” agreement?”

There are good things in the budget, but that is not the point. The $200 billion state budget seemed to be crafted by three individuals directing their staffs. This was not the way state government was taught in school—or are the workings of state government even taught in school anymore?

Sure, under the Big 5 system came wheeling and dealing, which was also not mentioned in school overviews of the legislative process. But at least under the Big 5 system sections of the budget, the more controversial parts, got an airing before the public and the press. And, we didn’t have to deal with the sneaky and often underhanded process of budget trailer bills that include items that should be part of budget debates.

The Big 5 era was not exactly the Good Old Days but the current budget gamesmanship is not a good-government replacement.

 

State Sen. Moorlach picks Mercy House as Nonprofit of the Year

http://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/news/tn-dpt-me-around-town-20180613-story.html

State Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) named Mercy House — a Santa Ana-based homeless services provider — as his Nonprofit of the Year.

In a resolution last week, Moorlach praised the organization “for providing invaluable services to the people of the local area” and applauded its “long history of community support.”

Moorlach represents the 37th Senate District, which includes Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and Newport Beach.

http://www.oc-breeze.com/2018/06/12/122654_senator-john-moorlach-selects-mercy-house-as-2018-nonprofit-of-the-year/

Screen Shot 2018-06-15 at 8.11.09 PM

On June 6, Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, took great pleasure in issuing a resolution selecting Mercy House of Santa Ana as the 37th Senatorial District’s 2018 Nonprofit of the Year.

 

A California gas tax repeal would halt thousands of projects

By
Keeley Webster
https://www.bondbuyer.com/news/californias-gas-tax-repeal-would-halt-thousands-of-projects

Thousands of road projects funded by a recently enacted California gas tax are in jeopardy if voters repeal it.

A Republican-led effort to repeal the gas tax has qualified for November’s ballot and has signs of momentum.

A May 21 USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll found that 51% of California voters favored repealing the law while 38% want to keep it. A poll by the Public Policy Institute of California in February had voters evenly divided with 47% favoring repeal and 48% opposing it.

Democratic state Sen. Josh Newman was recalled by voters in his primarily Orange County district June 5 after conservative talk-show host Carl DeMaio launched a recall effort after Newman voted for Senate Bill 1. DeMaio is also a leading figure in the effort to repeal the gas tax.

SB 1, the gas tax increase approved by the majority Democratic Legislature last year that is expected to raise $5.4 billion annually for 10 years, has fast-tracked projects, but that could stall if the repeal effort succeeds.

“The money collected since last November would still be available for projects since the repeal effort is not retroactive, but the 5,000 projects underway — or those slated to begin soon — would be halted in their tracks,” said Roger Dickinson, executive director of Transportation California, a transportation advocacy organization that supported the gas tax.

“If they could not be paid for with existing funding, they would be dead — and that would apply to the vast majority of projects,” Dickinson said.

“There are smaller ones that could be completed in a year, but many jurisdictions are planning on multi-year funding, and they would not be able to finish the projects they had programmed,” he said.

The tax raised $367 million last year for local streets and road repairs, which was a partial fiscal year for the program, and is expected to bring in $1.1 billion in fiscal 2018-19, said Mitch Weiss, chief deputy director for the California Transportation Commission, the state agency responsible for allocating funds for the state’s transportation construction projects.

The law increased the gasoline tax by 12 cents a gallon, the diesel excise tax by 20 cents a gallon and the diesel sales tax to 5.75% from 1.75%. It also raised annual vehicle registration fees by up to $175. And it created a $100 annual fee, starting in 2020 for zero-emission vehicles that don’t pay gas taxes.

The CTC in May approved $2.7 billion in funding for 61 projects in three programs funded by the gas tax.

Those allocations represent four years of funding for three of the 10 SB 1 programs: the Local Partnership Program, the Solutions for Congested Corridors Program and the Trade Corridor Enhancement Program, according to the state Department of Finance.

Weiss estimates that half of the 4,000 local streets and road projects are solely funded by SB 1 money and would have to be cut. It would then be up to local leaders to figure out how to fund the projects or call them off, he said.

“The bottom line is that projects that are only funded by the SB 1 gas tax are going to be stopped, because they would only receive a year’s worth of funding,” he said.

Santa Barbara and Sonoma counties received $132.8 million and $84.7 million, respectively, for projects that include adding carpool lanes on 15 miles of U.S. 101 through Santa Barbara and on 6.6 miles of the freeway through Marin and Sonoma counties. The San Mateo County Transportation Authority would receive $20 million toward the $540 million cost of a 22-mile carpool lane in both directions on Route 101 between San Francisco International Airport and the city. Other freeways throughout the state received funding for similar projects.

Many smaller cities received awards for everything from road reconstruction to bike lane projects. SB 1 funds also supplement a pre-existing California Department of Transportation program that distributes grants for transit projects.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who promised in his January 25 State of the State speech to do “anything in his power to defeat the repeal,” spent the last weeks of May attending groundbreakings of southern California projects funded by the gas tax.

Brown proposed $4.6 billion in spending from the gas tax in his 2018-19 budget proposal.

Planned projects to construct or rebuild highways, bridges, culverts, local streets and roads, and mass transit already programmed with SB 1 funding “would have to be rescheduled/reprioritized/reprogrammed by the state or local sponsors and moved out to future years to be funded over a longer period with the lower, existing, non-SB funding sources,” California Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said.

The state’s existing transportation programs are funded using federal and state gas tax revenues, and others receive funding through greenhouse gas cap and trade and diesel sales tax funding, Palmer said.

But new programs created through SB 1 including local partnerships, commuter rail and intercity rail, local planning grants, congested corridors and trade corridors would likely be halted, even on projects that have started, until funding alternatives are identified, Palmer said. Most of the programs received funding following a vigorous series of public meetings to develop program guidelines, he said.

If the gas tax is repealed, Palmer said the suite of projects selected to receive the $400 million estimated to be collected between passage and possible repeal may need to be reevaluated.

“If SB1 revenues are no longer collected, then there would be nothing against which to bond, and there are no plans at this point to pursue GO bonds to fund transportation infrastructure,” Palmer said.

Lodi Mayor Pro Tem JoAnne Mounce, former president of the League of California Cities and a Republican, fervently supports the gas tax.

“It took us almost 10 years to get legislators to come together to create SB1 – and there is nothing to replace it,” Mounce said. “In the meantime, the average citizen is spending $739 dollars annually on vehicle repairs due to the condition of our roads.”

The poor condition of the state’s roads and highways has resulted in highway deaths as well, Mounce said.

“As you know, with the rising cost of pensions, cities have less and less money to do anything else,” Mounce said. “Even in good times, there is not enough money for transportation, that is why the League has been tracking the condition of the state’s roads and bridges.

“We have been saying for the last 10 years they are in deplorable condition – and they are continuing to get worse,” she said.

California state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Cosa Mesa, in a hallway at the State Capitol in Sacramento.

State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, supports repealing the gas tax.

Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, who supports the repeal, said there are alternatives and he has proposed them in the Legislature.

He advocates for reforms at the California Department of Transportation to better use the $13 billion the agency spends annually, rather than increase the budget to $18 billion.

“I believe there is money there. We just have to get an effective CEO to run Caltrans,” Moorlach said. “We have to have a completely different mindset in our budgeting. California just seems to spend everything every year – rather than setting money aside – and then wakes up and says, ‘Our roads are bad.’ ”

The state senator said he studied Caltrans in comparison to other state agencies and discovered it is among the least efficient in the country.

“We need to have a modification in the budget that if you build something you need to set aside money to repair or replace it,” Moorlach said. “California needs to be more disciplined in how it manages its finances in terms of addressing whatever it needs to maintain.”

He proposed a bill that would stair-step Caltrans up to outsourcing 25% of its work, but it failed – and the brunt of the opposition came from the Caltrans engineers’ union, not its leadership, he said.

SB1 does require Caltrans to produce efficiencies that result in $100 million in savings, but Moorlach said no metrics have been created to track that goal.

What he believes should happen is first reforms should be made so that the state agency spends the money it already has well – and then if more money is needed, voters should be asked to approve a tax increase. Of every $1 that Caltrans spends, he said, only 20 cents makes it to road improvements.

The state’s failure to keep up with housing demand has forced state residents to commute long distances, he said, which puts more pressure on roads.

A significant percentage of his constituents are struggling financially and the senator said he does not want to make it harder for them to make ends meet.

He pointed to Newman’s recall.

“If you look at who voted to recall him, that wasn’t a Republican vote, it’s an across-the-board vote,” Moorlach said. “People get upset when you start messing with their finances.”

The June election provided a favorable sign for gas tax supporters as a lockbox on gas taxes produced through Senate Bill 1 received 80.8% of the vote to pass. The measure amends the state constitution to ensure that the anticipated revenues from the gas tax are dedicated to transportation spending.

“Transportation funding has not necessarily gone to what it’s earmarked for,” Mounce said. “Several years ago, money for roads and bridges was reallocated for high-speed rail and to projects mandated by Assembly Bill 32’s greenhouse gas reductions.”

Funding for transportation projects has just been spread too thin, she said.

The last state gas increase was approved in 1994 and it wasn’t pegged to the consumer price index, Weiss said.

“I am confident that when people start looking at the list of projects happening in their areas, they will see the benefit of those projects to them and why it is important to keep SB 1,” Weiss said. “No one likes paying taxes, but the bottom line is we need a transportation system that can move people and goods.”

Brown’s final California budget approved without drama

By

California lawmakers broke their tradition of going down to the wire on budget passage by reaching an agreement on a $199.6 billion spending plan Thursday evening.

A rosy economy and an estimated $9 billion surplus by the most conservative estimates resulted in swift passage of the budget through both houses despite some opposition from the Republican minorities.

A constitutional change that allowed budget passage by simple majority, rather than the previous two-thirds supermajority, has enabled the state to pass a budget on time the past six years.

Typically that has meant a budget has passed near midnight on the July 15 deadline, but even that represented a vast improvement over prior years.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who has made efforts to prepare for volatility in state revenues a rallying cry during his nearly eight years in office, convinced lawmakers to set aside $15.9 billion in total reserves, the maximum allowed under the state constitution. All but $2 billion of that goes into the rainy-day fund, which can only be spent during a budget emergency caused by a natural disaster or shrinking revenues. The total also includes $200 million to create a new safety net reserve for CalWorks, the state’s public assistance program.

“This budget strikes an appropriate balance that strengthens our state’s fiscal stability with an unprecedented level of reserves, while prioritizing investments that will address the pressing needs of this state,” said Senator Holly J. Mitchell, D-Los Angeles.

Democrats wanted a significant chunk of the surplus to go for homeless shelters and to build housing for very poor people – and they got that.

The budget agreement included an additional $250 million in one-time emergency aid to local governments to reduce homelessness for $500 million total. It also provides $109 million in ongoing funds for homelessness and $300 million per year for three years beginning in 2019-20 for affordable-housing construction.

“This budget fully funds K-12 and provides $3.6 billion for the neediest schools to provide more resources for their students,” said Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose. “We have expanded childcare for the working poor, increased funding for mental health services, and made available a half-billion dollars for local governments to combat homelessness.”

K-14 school funding grew to $78.4 billion in Proposition 98 funding – a 66% increase since 2011-2012. Lawmakers also approved a $3.6 billion increase in the Local Control Funding Formula, which is more than $1 billion above the Jan. 10 proposed budget, and $300 million in one-time money for low-performing students. California State Universities received an additional $260 million while the University of California system got a $210 million increase to prevent tuition increases.

Lawmakers also approved spending $5 billion in Senate Bill 1 transportation funds – money being challenged by an initiative to repeal last year’s gas tax legislation. The budget also included $300 million to tackle deferred maintenance for levees, courthouses, and the two university systems.

“For the first time in years, the state and cities are making progress in maintaining and repairing our aging roads, tunnels and bridges, thanks to Senate Bill 1,” said Beall, the legislation’s author.

They also approved $700 million to rebuild the state Capitol annex. A proposal to expand Medi-Cal health care coverage for immigrants was scrapped.

The Senate Republican caucus decried the 9% increase in spending over last year’s budget.

“While we applaud the governor and the Senate President pro Tem for increasing the rainy day fund, we should also be wary of future economic downturns and pay down more of the massive pension and health debts,” said a joint statement by Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Niguel; Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Tehama, vice chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee and budget conferee; and Senator John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, member of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee.

In testimony following budget passage, Moorlach called the budget half-baked, saying it will create a fiscal reckoning for future lawmakers.

“When you have a bumper crop you need to set aside money and pay down the credit card balances,” Moorlach said.

Brown has until July 1 to sign the budget.

This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District. If you no longer wish to subscribe, just let me know by responding with a request to do so.

MOORLACH UPDATE — Conference Committee Cram Down — June 8, 2018

The annual budget bill must be approved by June 15th. That means I’ll be in Sacramento next Friday to vote on the one bill that is required every year, according to the California Constitution.

I usually fly home Thursday evenings, but I’m still up here this Friday because I serve on the Budget Conference Committee as one of the two Republican Senators selected for this annual ritual (also see MOORLACH UPDATE — Selected to Serve — May 28, 2018 and http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-may-2018-california-budget-legislature-jerry-brown-differences-1527653231-htmlstory.html). The Conference Committee is a short-term assignment with a lot of responsibility. It reviews three proposed budgets and reconciles the various differences, should they occur, from the recommendations made by the Governor, the Senate and/or the Assembly and crafts one agreed-to, take-it-or-leave-it document for approval by both Chambers.

With the 72-hour rule, under which a bill must be published “in its final form before final passage,” logistically, the Budget Conference Committee has to conclude by tonight. Then Legislative Counsel has to work around the clock to assemble the bill in its formal, legal language. And Senate Floor Managers have to prepare the official notification and agenda documents for the proper procedural process to legally vote on this matter. It is a lot of work that goes on in the periphery. But, we’ve all been in a holding pattern for the last several days, discussing a handful of issues up to now.

The Committee has received the agenda around noon! We have asked for five hours to review, digest and opine on the materials in preparation for the meeting, which will start at 5:30 p.m. For the fifth largest economy on the planet, it has a Banana Republic feel to it. The whispering campaign blames the Assembly Democratic staff, which is in charge of this reconciliation task this year. No one is amused.

Worse, at 9:40 a.m., the Governor issued a press release with the following introduction:

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon today announced that they have reached an agreement on the 2018-19 state budget. The budget agreement makes record investments in schools and universities, creates the state’s first online community college, fully fills the Rainy Day Fund, boosts child care and combats homelessness and poverty.

So, would somebody explain why I am even here and why am I voting tonight on this “behind closed doors” agreement?

Maybe I should have worn one of my Mickey Mouse ties today? It may have been a subtle way to communicate how the Democrat majority runs your state. Or maybe I should purchase a tie with mushrooms on it? It may be another way of expressing the joys of being kept in the dark.

I hope to be out of the Capitol by 3 a.m., Saturday morning. Then I board my flight to Orange County at 10 a.m. From there I drive to Long Beach to, hopefully, attend former California Governor George Deukmejian’s Memorial Service. And, then it’s back to Newport Beach for the annual Wooden Boat Festival. The fun life continues.

So, let’s go from local to state to international news. The Newport Beach Independent covers the Wooden Boat Festival in the first piece below. I am a big fan of wooden boats, especially tall ships (see MOORLACH UPDATE — HB Independent — September 15, 2011). I also had the privilege of overseeing the State of California’s Sesquicentennial efforts to secure visiting tall ships for this historic commemoration (see MOORLACH UPDATE — California Lawyer — September 8, 2010).

On the state level, the online OC Register provides another piece mentioning SB 1074 in a fascinating editorial submission (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Selected to Serve — May 28, 2018, MOORLACH UPDATE — Worked So Hard — May 19, 2018, and MOORLACH UPDATE — The Joys of Presenting Bills — April 24, 2018).

On the international front, the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem was met with protests from Palestinians who reside in the immediate area, as no other neighboring nation wishes to locate them within their borders. But, human migrations are not pretty. This delicate matter became a major Senate Floor discussion as a result of the vote on a Resolution (which may explain why I rarely do Resolutions).

I am a supporter of Israel. You know my love for Western State Jewish History (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Western States Jewish History — May 25, 2012). As someone whose parents survived Nazi occupation, I am very supportive of Holocaust survivors and bear the sorrow of those who suffered from this tragic genocide (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Remembrance — June 1, 2012).

So I stood up and mentioned my Sesquicentennial experience. Celebrating 150 years as a state of California was not appreciated by our native populations, who suffered from displacement and death from diseases transmitted by the gold seekers. But, history is replete with these tragic events. We live in a broken world with broken people, like Hitler. But, who has time to give a grand history lesson? So, this goy kept it short and sweet. The Mondoweiss provides an editorial piece on this matter from a pro-Palestinian perspective in the third piece below. The actual vote was 37 for, 2 abstaining, and 1 vacancy due to resignation.

Wooden Boat Festival Returns to Newport Harbor

By : Newport Indy Staff

Guests enjoy the annual Newport Beach Wooden Boat Festival, hosted by the Balboa Yacht Club, in 2017.
— Photo by Tom Walker/courtesy BYC

https://www.newportbeachindy.com/wooden-boat-festival-returns-to-newport-harbor/

Seafaring history floats into Newport Harbor this weekend with the return of the annual Newport Beach Wooden Boat Festival, hosted by the Balboa Yacht Club.

Now in its fifth year, it is considered “yachting’s equivalent of the Concours d’Elegance,” officials proclaimed in a press release.

“So many boats – so many stories,” officials wrote.

On Friday, June 8, nearly 50 vessels will begin arriving for the festival, which is open to the public Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. A closing celebration will be held at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

On Sunday, the boat parade will begin from Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club at 11 a.m., circling most of Newport Harbor. At 1 p.m., the Heritage Sail-By down the bay will begin near Lido Village.

More than 4,000 visitors are expected to attend this free event, which also offers complimentary shuttle and water taxi service to and from Balboa Yacht Club.

In addition to being able to view and board these wooden treasures, there will be family activities, including toy boat building, live music by the Dave Stephens Band, a presentation by Senator John Moorlach, maritime art and exhibits, food and libations, and a silent auction (including an original painting by famous artist Jim DeWitt).

This year’s featured vessel is the Spirit of Dana Point, the 118-foot schooner built as a replica of a 1770s privateer and previously known as Pilgrim of Newport. It started out life in a Costa Mesa backyard and has a rich local history.

Included in this year’s Festival is Lady Isabelle, one of the Little Ships Fleet of Dunkirk. In May 1940, she was one of the fleet of private boats that rescued more than 330,000 Allied troops stranded in Dunkirk, France. The story recently appeared in Hollywood’s Academy Award winning film “Dunkirk.”

Featured for the first time is the 86-foot schooner Astor, built in 1923 by Fife & Sons of Scotland for an Australian surgeon who named her Ada. He sailed her to his native Australia, where she gained sailboat racing notoriety winning the Sydney to Hobart race three times and competing in the TransPacific races. During the last 18 years, she departed Newport Harbor and traveled the world, just returning in 2017.

Then there is also the 50-foot wheelhouse cruiser, Phantom, whose history includes being requisitioned by the U.S. Navy in World War II to protect the Kaiser Shipyards on the Columbia River. After the war, the battleship gray paint was removed, along with the machine gun, and she was returned to her former glory as a luxury yacht.

For more information, visit newportbeachwoodenboatfestival.com.

OPINION

Look in the mirror for climate change

By RONALD STEIN

https://www.ocregister.com/2018/06/06/look-in-the-mirror-for-climate-change/

Until the first steam locomotives were invented in the early 19th Century, man could travel as far as he could walk or as far as his horse would take him. Life was dirty, smelly, difficult – and short. Life expectancy was short and human misery was assured.

In the decades and centuries after 1900, after the discovery of oil, and the inventions of the automobile and the airplane an airline industry that can take us anywhere in the world consuming 225 million gallons of aviation fuels every day to move almost 10 million passengers and other things every day, a cruise line industry that takes us to all parts of the world consuming 30 to 50 gallons of fuel for every mile, a leisure industry of hotels, resorts, theme parks, and a transportation industry of rail, trucks and automobiles that can deliver products from around the world and take us to virtually any destination. We also have an electronic and aerospace industry that has everyone wired and wireless, and elaborate infrastructures to support the growing populations.

All of those infrastructures did not exist prior to the 1900’s and they could not exist without the chemicals and by-products manufactured from crude oil, but the primary economic reason refineries exist is to manufacture the fuels for our military, heating and transportation industries. Interestingly, there are no economic reasons just to manufacture the other “stuff” of chemicals and by-products from crude oil that are the basis of virtually everything in our daily and leisurely lifestyles.

Today, these byproducts of fossil fuels often are forgotten when debating whether or not we should move to a future free of carbon-based energy. But those byproducts are real, and essential to our lives. Yet environmentalist extremists still want to eliminate the main source of their current production.

Surprise! Almost everything we use comes from oil, thus we need to look in the mirror for climate change.

Our leisurely lifestyles are based on transportation systems, sewage treatment, sanitation systems, water purification systems, irrigation, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, genetically improved crops, agricultural productivity, dams, seawalls, heating, air conditioning, sturdy homes, drained swamps, central power stations, vaccinations, pharmaceuticals, medications, eradication of most diseases, improvements in manufacturing productivity, electronics, communication systems, and so on.

Other benefits from fossil fuel energy include the ever reduction in infant mortality and is the major contributor to the longest life expectancy in history all of which directly impacts our quality of life.

The electric vehicle crusade may have limitations to replace the internal combustion engines as current battery technology for EV’s is the lithium-ion battery which is dependent on cobalt for its energy density. Today, there is already a worldwide shortage of Cobalt.

The unintended consequence of too many EV’s from the crusade is that a reduction in the need for manufactured fuels may incentivize closures of refineries that are also manufacturing the other “stuff” for our lifestyles and may be inflationary on all those other crude oil products if that is the primary reason for those refineries to exist economically.

So, do we want to go back to pre-petroleum, horse-and-buggy days, without all of our modern “stuff?” Well, that would solve the persistent problem of unfunded liabilities to pay Social Security and public-employee pensions as few would live past 30 years!

Seriously, we don’t want to roll back civilization. There are better ways to achieve a cleaner environment for ever-growing populations with an increasing numbers of vehicles. Such ways include continual improvements in the fuel efficiencies of internal combustion engines, EVs and hybrids.

And we need sensible legislation at all levels, such a Senate Bill 1074, by state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, titled Disclosure of Government Imposed Costs. It would require gas stations to post next to fuel pumps a list of all taxes and regulatory costs of every gallon pumped. It would give consumers more information so they could make better judgments on fuel efficiency, while knowing how to influence the policies of their own government.

Ronald Stein is founder of PTS Staffing Solutions, a technical staffing agency that serves the energy industry.

 

News & Opinion About Palestine, Israel & the United States

Celebrating in Jerusalem, killing in Gaza, pandering in Sacramento

US Politics

David L. Mandel

http://mondoweiss.net/2018/06/celebrating-jerusalem-sacramento/

The May 14 split screen of Israeli and U.S. elites toasting a symbolic embassy opening in Jerusalem while 62 unarmed Palestinian protesters were gunned down by Israeli snipers in Gaza or suffocated by tear gas became an international media meme.

In Sacramento, a third screen could have underlined the stark contrasts even more. At the Capitol, both houses passed resolutions (HR 107, SR 109) congratulating Israel on its anniversary, declaring in the fourth of 12 “Whereas” clauses:

“Israel has much to commemorate and celebrate, most notably that it has established, in its 70 years of existence, the most successful and politically stable democracy in a Middle East that continues to experience great turmoil.”

“Great turmoil” indeed. The toll of 120-plus dead and thousands shot, many with permanently disabling leg wounds and amputations, has been condemned as criminal by UN officials and the world’s major human rights organizations, including B’Tselem in Israel, which called on soldiers to refuse “flagrantly illegal” orders to shoot civilians. From personal experience in the Israeli army, my educated guess is that a significant number may have heeded that call and were sent away from the “front,” silenced by threats of court-martial if they spoke up. Or perhaps the snipers’ ranks were simply pre-purged of any who might have moral qualms. The recently disclosed video of two soldiers celebrating after a long-distance “hit” of a Palestinian who posed no threat whatsoever was jarring. Even more so was the military command’s response: Criticism of the video’s leak, not of the soldiers’ behavior.

Whatever the state of mind in the military, it’s dispiriting to hear from Israeli friends that for the most part, there is anything but “great turmoil” among Jews inside the country. Protests have been small, as most of the population has swallowed the absurd assertions that one of the strongest, most high-tech equipped militaries in the world had no choice but to open fire on what was mostly a peaceful, family-oriented encampment, with many of the victims shot hundreds of meters from fortified positions behind a triple fence that encages some 2 million; and that otherwise, the desperate Gazans would somehow have overrun Israel and slaughtered its population.

And how about that “successful and politically stable democracy” praised in the Capitol resolutions?

Only one state senator, Bill Monning of Monterey, dared to speak of the reality unfolding 10,000 miles away, decrying “the shooting of over 50 unarmed Palestinians at the wall, protesting a history in their view of discrimination, of occupation and a denial of human rights.” Indeed. How complicated should it be to understand that when one national-religious group rules over another that lacks all or most basic rights (depending on where they live), it can’t be called a democracy? In the hellhole that Gaza has become after 11 years of suffocating blockade, who can be surprised that well over 100,000 people, most of them the descendants of Palestinians expelled from their homes around Israel’s establishment in 1948, would march for their human right, unassailable under international law, to return? Fulfilment of that right may well be complicated by all that has happened since, but do they deserve to be shot for asking?

In the end even Monning voted for the resolution along with 57 of 59 senators; he said that his unease was not over what it actually said. But his surprisingly strong words about the Gaza massacre sparked a 25-minute floor discussion, unusual for such congratulatory measures. In between praising Israel and invoking the Holocaust, several senators at least challenged the wisdom of President Trump’s provocative embassy move, and evidenced some discomfort with the day’s juxtapositions. For this, it’s worth watching the video (find the May 14 “Floor Session,” starting at minute 12) of the “debate.” (Nausea alert: They made a whole party out of it, having the Israeli consul-general and a slew of Israel lobby people there on the floor as special guests.)

A Republican senator, John Moorlach of Orange County, had an interesting take in his speech supporting the resolution. At one point he referred to the ethnic cleansing/genocide of California’s native population and the internment of Japanese Americans. Was he alluding to the similar treatment of Palestinians? Well maybe, in fact. It could be that he’s less immersed in and driven by the mythology surrounding Israel’s creation and has a clearer view of reality than many Democrats. If so, he seemed to reconcile these crimes with support of Israel by implying that shit happens and we need to move on: “We live in a broken world,” he sighed. Interesting, though; perhaps it may lead someone, somewhere, to recognize the similarities and draw different conclusions.

One brave senator publicly abstained (one other was absent): Bob Wieckowski of Fremont (suburban Bay Area), in a short statement, cited the incongruity between the resolution’s praise for the fact that “Israel regularly sends humanitarian aid, search and rescue teams, mobile hospitals, and other emergency supplies to help victims of disasters around the world” and the ongoing, human-caused disaster in Gaza.

In the state Assembly, the nearly identical resolution passed without opposition, and 73 of 77 members (there are two vacancies and a suspension due to sexual harassment allegations) jumped on the co-sponsorship bandwagon when it came to the floor. More typically, there was no debate, but at least three members abstained out of discomfort – at least with the timing. (One disclosed this to me in a phone call. The others’ decisions were reported by staffers, but none was willing to speak publicly.)

Compared to such resolutions in the past, even minimal dissent felt satisfying. Well, better than nothing, anyway, but still a frustrating testament to the fear so many legislators clearly feel. It came on the heels of regular efforts by human rights advocates to oppose the drumbeat of legislation and resolutions pushed by Israel-aligned organizations in the Legislature, some of which have been more successful:

  • While a Senate resolution “On anti-Semitism” was rushed through with no opportunity for public input in the closing days of the 2017 session, a similar one in the Assembly was delayed for a committee hearing, then dropped by its author after opponents noted that contained false and dangerous “facts” and included code indicating support for penalizing boycotts of Israel.
  • California’s version of the wave of anti-boycott bills that coursed through statehouses in 2016 passed amid vehement opposition and only after being watered down to pretend it was about discrimination. There is nothing to enforce, but unsurprisingly, it is being cited, quite absurdly at times, in efforts to chill speech critical of Israel. And of course that was its real purpose.

In each of these instances, the introduction of shamefully anti-Palestinian legislation in California, win, lose or in between, provides opportunities to educate and build relationships with lawmakers, their staff and sometimes, media personnel. The same is true in other states and on the federal level. It’s a long haul, but in the process, support for Palestinian rights has become an inseparable part of the progressive agenda.

On May 15, a day after the embassy festival, Gaza massacre and Capitol pander, dozens of us stood broadcast our message to rush hour traffic a few blocks away at 16th and J streets in Sacramento, demanding an end to the killing and Palestinian freedom. The ratio of supportive honks and waves to hecklers was noticeably way up compared to past actions.

To me, the trajectory looks positive.

This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District. If you no longer wish to subscribe, just let me know by responding with a request to do so.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Ballot Opposition Arguments — June 6, 2018

It was nice to not be on the ballot. But, I did have plenty of campaign-related activities with Propositions 68 and 69. It is certainly a rare privilege to write two ballot opposition arguments that appeared in the voter pamphlet prepared by the California Secretary of State. The Daily Californian covers the predictable, but disappointing, results in the piece below.

Now, it is on to the General Election on November 6th. Congratulations to all of the Republican Primary candidates that made it to the top two. For those Republicans who ran and did not make it, please do not be bitter. Be better, and consider another attempt in the future.

The other two big news items are the success of the recall in the 29th Senate District and having a Republican challenger for Governor. I’m sure I’ll have more insights to share between now and November. Let’s see if I get another opportunity to write ballot arguments against expensive or non-beneficial propositions that are up in the General Election.

Majority of California, Alameda County measures pass in state primary election

BY AMANDA BRADFORD | STAFF

http://www.dailycal.org/2018/06/06/majority-california-alameda-county-measures-pass-state-primary-election/

Proposition 68 — which will fund parks, natural resources protection, water quality and supply, climate adaptation and flood protection — passed with 55.5 percent approval.

Prop. 68 will authorize $4 billion in general obligation bonds for parks, natural resources protection, climate adaptation, water quality and supply, and flood protection.

It will increase state bond repayment costs, averaging $200 million annually over 40 years, and provide local government savings for natural resources-related projects, likely averaging several tens of millions of dollars annually over the next few decades.

California state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, is opposed to the measure on multiple grounds, saying in a statement that the money would not be distributed fairly and equally across the state.

“Of the $4 billion dollar bond, only $1.3 billion is actually dedicated to improving parks,” Moorlach said in the statement. “A lot of the remaining money is given to politicians to spend on their pet projects.”

Proposition 69, which will require that certain new transportation revenues be used for transportation purposes, passed with 80.8 percent approval.

Prop. 69 will require that certain revenues generated by a 2017 transportation funding law, SB 1, be used only for funding transportation initiatives and bans the Legislature from using the funds for anything else.

The proposition would have no direct effect on revenues or costs but could affect the allocation of money.

Yes on Prop 69 campaign spokesperson Kathy Fairbanks said this proposition will ensure accountability within transportation groups.

“Prop. 69 would make sure the money drivers are putting in goes to repairing the roads, highway safety and relieving congestion,” Fairbanks said. “It should give people comfort knowing that transportation dollars will be spent efficiently and only on transportation.”

Proposition 70, which would have required a legislative supermajority vote approving the use of cap-and-trade reserve funds, failed to pass with 62.4 percent rejection.

Prop. 70 would have required that cap-and-trade revenues collect in a reserve fund until the Legislature authorizes use of the revenues by a two-thirds majority.

Revenue collected from the sale of state greenhouse gas emission permits would have been relocated into a separate fund beginning in 2024 — the deposits would only have been allowed to build, until the passage of a bill that spends money from that fund by the state Legislature.

The current state sales tax exemption for manufacturing and other equipment would have been suspended, while “auction revenue” would have been deposited into the special fund.

Proposition 71, which will set an effective date for ballot measures, passed with 77.1 percent approval.

Prop. 71 will mandate that ballot measures approved by a simple majority of voters will take effect five days after the election results are certified by the secretary of state.

Many state ballot measures, or propositions, will take effect about six weeks after Election Day — after the statewide vote has been counted and certified.

Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington said he supports Prop. 70 because it clarifies when measures will take effect after the election.

“It can look like something wins on election day, but people who send their ballots through the mail may vote differently than people on election day,” Worthington said. “Having measures go into effect after the secretary of state certifies the results is a common-sense reform.”

Proposition 72, which will permit the Legislature to exclude newly constructed rain-capture systems from the property-tax reassessment requirement, passed with 83.4 percent approval.

Prop. 72 will authorize the Legislature to allow construction of rain-capture systems without the property-tax revaluation requirement for systems completed on or after Jan. 1, 2019.

A system installed to collect and store rainwater on a property would not result in a higher property tax bill, according to the text of the measure.

The measure will likely result in a minor reduction of the annual property tax revenues to local governments.

Measure A, the “Alameda County Child Care and Early Education Measure” passed with 65.2 percent approval.

Measure A will expand access to child care and preschool for low- and middle-income families, solicit and retain child care workers, aid homeless and at-risk children — including with child abuse and neglect prevention help — and add child care spaces around the county.

This would be paid for by a half-percent sales tax lasting 30 years, to be enacted by the county of Alameda, providing about $140 million annually with citizens’ oversight, public disclosure of spending and mandatory annual audits.

The measure will need a two-thirds majority of “yes” votes to go into effect.

Measure B, which will fund school maintenance and services in the San Lorenzo Unified School District, passed with 67.9 percent approval, with 85.96 percent of precincts reported in San Lorenzo.

Measure B will upgrade outdated classrooms, restrooms and educational buildings at local schools; make health, safety and security system improvements; improve student access to technology; and replace and upgrade outdated heating, ventilation and electrical systems within the San Lorenzo Unified School District.

The measure will allow the district board to issue and sell bonds of up to $130 million in aggregate principal amount at interest rates within the legal limits.

Measure C, a measure concerning affordable housing bonds in Emeryville, passed with 71.6 percent approval, with 80 percent of precincts reported in Emeryville.

Measure C will provide affordable housing and prevent displacement of vulnerable populations — including low- and middle-income households, veterans, local artists, seniors and the disabled — as well as provide supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness and help low- and middle-income households purchase homes in Emeryville.

The measure requests voter authorization to issue general obligation bonds to finance affordable housing projects of $50 million, with an estimated average levy of 4.912 cents per $100 of assessed value — this would generate approximately $3.422 million annually to pay bonds over 27 years.

Measure D, which aims to maintain, protect and improve library services throughout Oakland, passed with 75.8 percent approval, with 80.73 percent of precincts reported in Oakland.

This measure will authorize a 20-year annual, special parcel tax that will raise revenue to protect and improve direct library services throughout Oakland.

The city can use the revenue only for the purposes specified in the ordinance, such as programs including early childhood literacy and student homework support for children, teens and adults, as well as employee staffing costs to maintain and expand library hours.

Regional Measure 3, the “Bay Area Traffic Relief Plan,” passed in Alameda County with 54.2 percent approval.

Regional Measure 3 will reduce auto and truck traffic, relieve crowding on BART, unclog freeway bottlenecks and improve bus, ferry, BART and commuter rail service.

The measure will increase the tolls on all Bay Area toll bridges except the Golden Gate Bridge to fund these projects. The tolls will increase by $1 in 2019, an additional $1 in 2022 and an additional $1 in 2025, for a total increase of $3 in the span of six years. After 2025, tolls can be increased for inflation.

In order to pass, Regional Measure 3 had to pass through nine counties — the city and county of San Francisco and the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma.

Worthington said BART will receive $500 million from the measure to replace old BART cars and build new ones, which will make BART less crowded.

“Old cars break down and cause the system to slow down,” Worthington said. “This measure is critically essential to the Bay Area.”

The above voting data is accurate as of press time, with 75.52 percent of precincts reported in Alameda County and 58.4 percent of precincts reported in California for state measures. As Measures B, C and D were not voted on by all Alameda County voters, the percentages of precincts reported are listed separately for each.

Contact Amanda Bradford at abradford and follow her on Twitter at @amandabrad_uc.

This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District. If you no longer wish to subscribe, just let me know by responding with a request to do so.

Also follow me on Facebook & Twitter @SenatorMoorlach

MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — 2018 June Primary — June 4, 2018

Fortunately, I’m one of sixteen California State Legislators who are not on the ballot this June 5th. However, thanks to serving on the Budget Conference Committee, I’ll remain in Sacramento on Tuesday and not in my District, like my 100 good colleagues (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Selected to Serve — May 28, 2018 and http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-may-2018-california-budget-legislature-jerry-brown-differences-1527653231-htmlstory.html).

How else do I feel? Check out this snippet:

image6

 

WHATMATTERS
By Dan Morain

Sen. John Moorlach, a Costa Mesa Republican, called Newman a “good man. … The most difficult part of this job is I have to work with everybody, but then fund their opponents, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to that dynamic.”

https://calmatters.org/articles/newsletters/how-the-next-governor-would-confront-taxes/

Senator De Leon discussed this quote with me and said it reminded him of “Sam the Sheepdog and Ralph the Wolf.” We fight during the day, clock out, and then enjoy a civil relationship. For fun, check it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kerUbfOQTW0.

Like a few of you, I prefer to vote in person. And, not being an absentee ballot voter, I needed to get to the Registrar of Voters to do my civic duty. Since my calendar was unclear, as the Budget Conference Committee can run into the weekends, I was fortunate enough to learn that there is a Pop-Up Voting Service Center (see https://www.ocvote.com/voting/current-election-info/2018-statewide-direct-primary-election-info/vote-centers/). I voted in the shadow of the Performing Arts Center. Having this flexibility is great for the one-third of us that do not vote by mail.

For those die-hard traditionalists who plan on going to your polling place tomorrow, allow me to give you some recent links to assist you in your decision process:

MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — CA AG Reception Invitation — May 24, 2018 may 24, 2018 john moorlach

MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — June Primary Antics — April 28, 2018

MOORLACH UPDATE — Propositions 68 and 69 — May 18, 2018

(MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Vote No on Proposition 68 — May 5, 2018 may 5, 2018 john moorlach

MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Proposition 68 — March 23, 2018)

This should be my final Campaign UPDATE for the 2018 June Primary, so please allow me to provide a few ballot related articles that I’ve held back.

Today’s Roll Call, the publication for Congress watchers, provides its look at the Orange County races in the piece below. It covers concern number one in my May 24th UPDATE. Also see:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/alexislevinson/dana-rohrabacher-russia-putin-campaign?utm_term=.grwAl58VZ#.ucpYGKBXA

https://voiceofoc.org/2018/05/north-countys-39th-congressional-race-still-a-toss-up/

For fun reading on my second concern, Propositions 68 and 69, see:

http://www.hometownstation.com/santa-clarita-news/politics/proposition-69-looks-to-increase-oversight-on-gas-tax-revenues-235866

http://www.capradio.org/articles/2018/05/30/measure-by-measure-a-roundup-of-the-five-propositions-on-californias-june-ballot/

https://kfbk.iheart.com/content/2018-05-23-guide-to-the-5-propositions-on-californias-primary-ballot/

http://ijpr.org/post/measure-measure-roundup-five-propositions-california-s-june-ballot#stream/0

http://www.losfelizledger.com/2018/05/costly-proposition-has-local-benefit/

http://www.asianjournal.com/five-ballot-propositions-californians-will-be-voting-for-on-june-5/

https://www.kqed.org/science/1924321/proposition-68-money-for-parks-beaches-and-water-projects

https://patch.com/california/northridge/what-proposition-proposition-69-voter-guide-2018-californ

https://patch.com/california/losalamitos/what-proposition-68-voter-guide-2018-california-measures

http://www.kcra.com/article/prop-68-promises-billions-for-california-parks-clean-water/20711288

http://idyllwildtowncrier.com/2018/05/08/prop-68-to-fund-parks-and-natural-resource-protection/

http://peninsulapress.com/2018/06/04/prop-68-to-decide-funding-for-water-parks-and-climate-change-in-california/

For the fun in the Orange County Fourth District Supervisorial race, see:

https://voiceofoc.org/2018/05/north-ocs-open-seat-for-supervisor-draws-four-front-runners/

Now, for those who are the one out of three that do not vote by mail, please go to your polling place tomorrow and vote.

The Battle for the House Hits the Shores of Southern California

Bridget Bowman

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/the-battle-for-the-house-hits-the-shores-of-southern-california/ar-AAycNaC

LAGUNA WOODS, Calif. — The battle for control of the House has landed in California, and it’s partly because of voters like Deborah and Wyatt Carr.

Deborah, 69, was not registered with a party, and Wyatt, 73, was a longtime Republican. Both voted for Hillary Clinton and for their GOP congresswoman, Mimi Walters, in 2016.

But on a recent Saturday here, the Carrs were sporting bright orange T-shirts to show support for one of Walters’ challengers: Democrat Katie Porter.

The Republican Party has moved away from them on issues such as immigration and gun control, they said, and Walters has not done enough to stand up to President Donald Trump or for their 45th District.

The question for both parties is how many more voters like Deborah and Wyatt exist in the traditionally Republican stronghold of Orange County. Democrats see new opportunities to flip Southern California House seats, but Republicans say it won’t be that easy.

New battleground

California operatives say there has been more focus on House races in Orange County this cycle than at any other time they can remember. For the first time, both parties’ House campaign committees have offices in the county. And they’re in the same city.

Across the highway from John Wayne Airport in Irvine, the National Republican Congressional Committee leased 10,000 square feet of office space. Inside, campaign signs for local GOP members of Congress hang on the walls, and red tablecloths cover the phone bank stations (along with some pocket Constitutions).

On an average weekday, between 15 and 20 volunteers hit the phones, focusing on boosting GOP turnout ahead of the June 5 primary. The space is also shared with Walters’ campaign and will host events and serve as a central location for GOP campaigns and NRCC staffers.

“This is a long-term commitment,” NRCC spokesman Jesse Hunt said. “Part of it … is taking roots in Orange County and making sure that this bastion of Republicanism [in Southern California], if you will, knows that we’re committed, knows that Republican campaigns, organizations are committed to maintaining our advantage in this area.”

Those trying to erode that advantage are also based in Irvine, in a WeWork shared office space, just a 15-minute drive up Interstate 405 from the NRCC office.

Staffers with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have been working for a year on the fourth floor. They have eight full-time staffers, including a political director, and have invested in field organizers in seven GOP-held districts in California that Clinton carried.

“In my political life, I’ve never seen four Orange County congressional districts in play, at least targeted by the Democrats like this,” said Matt Cunningham, a GOP strategist in California. He’s working with Republican Scott Baugh, who is challenging Republican incumbent Dana Rohrabacher in the 48th District.

While the Democratic energy has led to a glut of congressional hopefuls, it has endangered their chances of making the general election ballot. Under California’s open primary system, the two highest vote-getters on Tuesday, regardless of party, will advance to November. Democrats are concerned having a slew of candidates could split the vote, leaving two Republicans to fight it out in the fall.

The DCCC, the state Democratic Party and members of Congress were active in encouraging some candidates to drop out, and are now focused on turning out voters for the primary. They see California as key to taking back the House, given the sheer number of GOP-held districts that backed Clinton.

Democrats on the ground say the area was shifting years before the 2016 election.

“One thing to remember about this district is it’s a very diverse district, a very young district,” said Sam Jammal, a Democrat running for the open 39th District, where GOP incumbent Ed Royce is not seeking re-election. “It didn’t suddenly become very diverse and young as soon as Donald Trump got elected.”

Raising the ‘orange curtain’

Four of the seven GOP-held districts that backed Clinton in California touch Orange County, long considered a Republican stronghold. Clinton sent shockwaves though the area when she carried the county in 2016 — the first Democratic presidential nominee to do so since 1936.

“There was a time when Orange County was behind the orange curtain,” said Andrew Acosta, a California Democratic consultant. “You couldn’t get a Democrat elected down there. … So now there’s a lot more optimism for Democrats to be successful.”

Democrats are heavily targeting two open seats held by retiring Republicans — the 39th and 49th districts. They’re also targeting Walters in the 45th District and Rohrabacher in the 48th.

Ask people in Orange County what has changed, and they’ll point to the demographic shifts and increasing Hispanic and Asian populations.

On a recent Saturday in the 39th District, Democrats gathered in Rowland Heights to encourage voters to turn out in the primary. At a school a few blocks away from the event, a banner about soccer teams displayed three different languages.

The 39th is a majority-minority district that Clinton carried by 9 points, and Royce won by 14 points in 2016. Recognizing that his district was changing, Royce has reached out to its different communities, particularly Asian-Americans, who make up 32 percent of the population.

But with the 13-term congressman retiring, Democrats see the 39th as a top pickup opportunity, as long as a Democrat makes it out of Tuesday’s crowded primary. The other Orange County districts are also increasingly diverse.

Democrats see another reason for optimism about flipping these seats. They say GOP policies in the nation’s capital, such as the tax overhaul and expanding offshore drilling, are negatively affecting the area.

“In 2016, we saw that Democrats can appeal to a diverse electorate,” said DCCC spokesman Drew Godinich, who is based in Irvine. “What we also have working in our favor this cycle is how the Republican agenda in Washington has almost specifically targeted Southern California for punishment.”

Not so fast

Republicans disagree, saying voters will reap the benefits of the new tax law. They also argue Democratic candidates are moving too far to the left in the crowded primaries.

“I feel pretty good about most of our incumbents,” California GOP chairman Jim Brulte said. “The fact of the matter is Democrats … in order to win their primary, are posturing to the left of Elizabeth Warren. And this is not where most California, Southern California, Central California, down-the-line voters are.”

Republicans are also turning out their voters, GOP lawmakers and operatives say.

In all but one of the four Orange County seats targeted by Democrats, Republicans outnumber Democrats in returned ballots, according to numbers from Political Data Inc. The exception was the open 49th District, where Democratic turnout had equaled the GOP side as of Friday evening.

And Republicans believe their voters will turn out to support an initiative undoing an increase in the state’s gas tax that is expected to be on the ballot in November.

Some pushed back on the notion that the districts’ increasing diversity meant they would become more Democratic.

“It’s always talked about as the sleeping giant,” Cunningham said of Hispanic voters. “Part of the issue is [Democrats] have a hard time converting young voters or minority voters into actual voters.”

That is reflected so far in absentee returns, where white voters dominate ballots returned in all four of the targeted seats. Voters between the ages of 65 and 74 also have the highest rate of ballots returned in all four districts.

Young Kim, a top GOP candidate in the 39th District, agreed the area was becoming more diverse, but said she believed the districts were actually shifting to the middle, with more voters registering as “no party preference” voters. (Republicans have seen a statewide decline in voter registration. Last week, no party preference voters surpassed Republicans in registration.)

Republicans still have to work to appeal to the changing communities, some said.

“For too long Democrats have done a better job of getting out into the community and shaking hands and connecting with the community,” Kim said. “But I think that is changing.”

Royce serves as an example to Republicans looking to adjust to shifting demographics, said Kim, who has the incumbent’s support in the race and was his longtime district staffer.

Kim is known in the community — she served a term in the state Assembly. That sort of familiarity is an advantage other Republican candidates in the area share, said GOP state Sen. John Moorlach, who has been active in Orange County politics for more than two decades. Democratic hopefuls are generally first-time candidates.

“You got all these Democratic unknowns running against Republican knowns,” Moorlach said. “And I don’t know how you beat somebody with a nobody.”

Some Democrats acknowledge that winning these districts will be a challenge even though Clinton carried them.

“I think these seats can flip and they should flip, but the candidates matter so, so, so much more,” Jammal said.

“These are educated districts that haven’t elected Democrats in the past, so we actually have to make a case,” he added. “It’s not going to be a situation where, ‘Oh, OK, we hate Donald Trump and we’re going to elect Democrats.’ We actually have to sell it.”

One California Democratic consultant in the state put it a different way: If Democrats bank on increased turnout that might not happen, they could get burned.

“If you’re waiting for the wave on your surfboard for six hours and the wave never comes, that’s a long day in the sun,” the consultant said.

This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District. If you no longer wish to subscribe, just let me know by responding with a request to do so.

Also follow me on Facebook & Twitter @SenatorMoorlach

MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1421 and SB 828 — May 31, 2018

This week, the State Senate had to address 280 bills in three days if they were to get all of the eligible Senate bills over to the Assembly for consideration in what is called the “House of Origin” deadline.  It was a grind and not all of the bills that were brought up for a vote made it out of the Senate.  And, I’m also serving on the Budget Conference Committee, which met on Wednesday and today to begin the process of hashing out the differences between Assembly and Senate budget votes over the last several months of involved and substantive subcommittee hearings (see  http://sbud.senate.ca.gov/node/141).
For a sample of how one of my occasional Floor speeches is included in an article, the Courthouse News Service provides it in the first piece below.
I was also a co-author of SB 1286 (Leno) in 2016 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Other’s Senate Bills – 1286, 443, and 899 — April 18, 2016).  I do my best to stay consistent, so when a similar bill was introduced this year, I came on as an early supporter.
Sometimes wrongs have to be righted.  Sometimes one has to break from the crowd to make a point.  That’s why I am a co-author of SB 1421 by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D – Berkeley).  Call me a rebel, but we need to address, as Sen. Steve Bradford (D – Gardena) stated, the bad apples in law enforcement.  If not for the people’s elected representatives, who guards the guardians?
For an in depth review of another bill that I voted in favor of, the Long Beach Report provides it in the second piece below.  I voted for SB 828 (Wiener) because there are cities that are not encouraging the development required for a growing population.  This may not be the perfect solution, but it sends a message to many cities to carry their respective loads.
Now that we are talking bills, only one of my four bills that went to Senate Appropriations Committee was released from the Suspense File last Thursday.  This means that three good bills died without going to the Senate Floor to be voted on this week.
Usually, bills are held back in the Suspense File because they have a cost.  It’s ostensibly a way to control costs of bills that come out of committees.  At times, bills are amended to remove certain cost elements while preserving the intent of the bill.  That’s the theory, at least.
What really happens in the Suspense File process is exposed below in an analysis that was done to see if expensive bills were held back and low-cost bills were allowed to move forward.
Here’s what we discovered (DP = Do Pass and DPA = Do Pass as Amended):
The opposite was true.  Close to an estimated $5 billion cost in bills moved forward!!  And that’s before the agencies and departments responsible for implementing these programs jack up the cost in future annual budgets.  They only estimate costs — pin them low if they like the program or high if they don’t — and are then not tied down by their previous estimates.  You can be sure that the $5 billion number is more of a floor than a ceiling.
And, how did Republican bills do?
It’s difficult for Republican bills to even make it to Senate Appropriations.  While Republicans are one-third of the Senate, one-fourth of the bills get to this level.  Of this group, only 42 percent of Republican bills moved on, versus 83 percent of Democratic bills.  The joys.  Only one in four, overall, were not released.  Yet, only one of my four bills was released.  Go figure.
Here are the three that offended the Committee:
REVERSE BONUS:  I mentioned in a previous e-mail that there would be a reception on June 1st with a statewide candidate.  Unfortunately, he has been called to a media event and had to reschedule in the future.  If you RSVP’d, I apologize for the inconvenience.  But, with a state as massive as California, these things can happen to a busy individual this close to the election date.

Police Transparency Bill Sails Through California Senate



https://www.courthousenews.com/police-transparency-bill-sails-through-california-senate/ 
 
 

Aiming to pry open law enforcement records, California lawmakers on Wednesday passed a measure that would improve public access to information about officers guilty of wrongdoing and those involved in police shootings.

Proponents coined Senate Bill 1421 as a transparency measure that would uncloak details about officers who shoot suspects, falsify evidence or commit sexual assault. The proposal comes amid heightened public angst regarding recent fatal police shootings in California.

California has some of the strictest laws protecting law enforcement personnel records and prohibits police departments from sharing disciplinary records of officers who are guilty of or have been accused of serious misconduct.

The American Civil Liberties Union sponsored the bill, calling it a “long overdue” update to California’s outdated police transparency laws. The group noted 27 other states already make some form of officer records available to the public.

“For years, California law has shrouded police misconduct and use of force in unnecessary secrecy, leaving communities desperate for answers about what really happened in police shootings and completely in the dark about cases of serious police misconduct,” said ACLU of California policy director Peter Bibring in a statement.

The Democratic-controlled state Senate cleared the bill in a 25-11 vote, with one Republican voting in favor. The measure must be approved by the Assembly and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown before becoming law.

Republican state Sen. John Moorlach agreed with proponents that the public needs better access to police records. He speculated journalists or investigators may have been able to identify the recently arrested former cop accused of being the Golden State Killer had they been allowed to view his personnel records.

The suspect in the high-profile murder case, Joseph James DeAngelo, was fired by the Auburn Police Department in the 1970s after being charged with shoplifting dog repellent and a hammer from a Sacramento hardware store. DeAngelo’s minor crimes occurred during a stretch of brutal rapes and murders in the Sacramento area.

“We need more disclosure, colleagues,” Moorlach said on the Senate floor. “This code of silence has gone on for too long.”

In a fiery testimony, state Sen. Steven Bradford said the bill is needed to expose law enforcement’s “bad actors.” The Los Angeles Democrat and California Legislative Black Caucus member said officers should be treated the same as other professions.

“For some reason there is a double standard, there is a blue code,” Bradford said. “Not until we open ourselves up, remove the blinders of our biases and realize that [officers] are human beings and they should be held to the same accountability as everybody else, will we ever really make our community safer.”

The bill by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, would allow access to records of officers involved in serious use-of-force investigations such as fatal shootings and those guilty of sexual assault and tampering with evidence. It has been amended to allow law enforcement to delay the release of records when there is still an active investigation or if there is a clear danger to an officer.

The names of officers cleared of misconduct would still be protected under SB 1421.

Skinner said she is open to discussing further changes to her bill with law enforcement as it moves through the Assembly.

Opponents contend peace officers have a unique and dangerous job and that their personnel records should remain closed. The California State Sheriffs’ Association, California Association of Highway Patrolmen and the Association of Deputy District Attorneys oppose the bill, according to the bill’s legislative analysis.

Republican state Sen. Jeff Stone said SB 1421 would invade officers’ privacy and open them up to false allegations.

“This will ultimately only lead to unnecessary accusations, attacks potentially on police officers and a general degradation of law enforcement response to criminal activity,” Stone said.

Also on Wednesday, the state Senate passed Senate Bill 1449, the rape kit testing legislation introduced by state Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino. Leyva’s bill would require California law enforcement agencies and forensic laboratories to test and analyze newly collected rape kit evidence in a timely manner. In order to prevent a backlog, newly collected rape kits would be required to be submitted within 20 days and tested no later than 120 days after receipt.

Backlogs of untested rape kits came to light in a 2014 state audit which found that fewer than half of rape kits are tested and analyzed. But some police departments have questioned whether testing all rape kits is a good use of limited resources.

The Department of Justice recommends all rape kits should be submitted to crime labs for DNA analysis.

While SB 1449 made its way through the state Senate last week, a proposed funding mechanism to allocate $2 million from the state’s general fund to help law enforcement comply with the requirement was removed.

Brown has historically vetoed bills without funding mechanisms written into them.

CNS reporter Bianca Bruno contributed to this report.

Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 7.41.43 PM

 

State Senate Passes Land Use Impacting SB 828 With Amendments, Requires Cities To Identify 125% And Make Available For Multi-Family Housing At Least 100% Of SCAG-Dictated Regional Housing Need, Sends Bill To Assembly

City of LB opposed initial version of bill; Sen. Lara advanced it to Senate floor with “yes” vote in Committee he chairs, and voted “yes” on Senate floor but flipped his vote to “no” when Dems had sufficient votes to pass it; Sen. Nguyen votes “no”

http://www.lbreport.com/news/may18/sb828vot.htm

The state Senate has voted (May 30) to advance to the Assembly  SB 828, a highly impactful land use element-affecting bill by State Senator Scott Wiener (D, SF) that as amended could require cities to to identify 125% and make available for multi-family housing at least 100% of the city’s regionally-determined housing need (RHNA), a figure decided locally by the Southern CA Ass’n of Governments/SCAG.) The bill also adds a number of other Sacramento mandates, including preventing cities from using a lack of housing actually produced to justify lowering their updated SCAG RHNA numbers..

The bill’s text as amended is here The state Senate’s floor analysis is here.

SB 828, if approved in the Assembly, would amplify the effects of Senator Wiener’s SB 35 (enacted in 2017 without City of LB opposition) which now requires cities that fall short of producing housing units sufficient to meet SCAG-decided RHNA housing numbers to “streamline” approval of developer-desired housing projects (clerk-type approval, eliminated local minimum parking requirements, erased a number of previous CEQA-grounds for public appeals.)

A day before the Senate floor vote on SB 828, state Senator Ricardo Lara (LB-Huntington Park) [who’d voted for SB 35] voted to advance SB 828 to the Senate floor from the Senate Appropriations Committee he chairs [indicating the bill had support from Dem majority leadership.] Lara also answered “aye” (yes”) on the Senate floor roll call vote…but prior to the vote become final switched his vote to “no” when it became clear the bill had sufficient votes to pass. Senator Janet Nguyen (R, SE LB-west OC) [who voted “yes” on SB 35] voted “no” on SB 828.

The final Senate floor vote was 23-10 (Ayes: Atkins, Beall, Cannella, Dodd, Gaines, Galgiani, Hernandez, Hertzberg, Hill, Hueso, Leyva, McGuire, Mitchell, Monning, Moorlach, Pan, Portantino, Roth, Skinner, Stone, Vidak, Wieckowski, Wiener; Noes:Anderson, Bates, Berryhill, Fuller, Glazer, Lara, Morrell, Nguyen, Nielsen, Wilk; No Votes Recorded: Allen, Bradford, De León, Jackson, Newman, Stern)

SB 828 as amended now heads to the Assembly and contains the following Land Use impacting provisions:

1) Requires a city’s or county’s inventory of land suitable for residential development to meet 125% of its RHNA [“Regional Housing Needed Assessment”] requirement.

2) Requires a city or county, if its inventory is not sufficient to meet 125% of its RHNA requirement, to identify zoning and other actions it will take to accommodate the unmet portion, which must be made available for multifamily housing within the jurisdiction’s existing urban service boundary.

3) Revises the data COGs [regional “Councils of Governments”] must provide to HCD [Sac’to Housing Community Development” agency] as follows:

  1. a) Specifies that the vacancy rate for a healthy housing market shall be between 5-8% for both rental and owner housing.
    b) Adds a requirement to provide data on cost burdened households, as specified, as well as on household income growth.

4) Requires HCD, in determining the RHNA, to grant allowances to adjust for overcrowding, vacancy rates, and housing cost burden based on the region’s existing and projected households.

5) Prohibits COGs from using prior underproduction of housing, or stable population numbers, in a city or county as justification for a determination or reduction in a city’s or county’s share of the RHNA. 6) Requires the final allocation plan to assign additional weight, particularly for low- and very low-income categories, to jurisdictions

As previously reported by LBREPORT.com, SB 828 advanced without any public discussion by the LB City Council or the Council’s Mayor-chosen “State Legislation Committee” (Austin, Mungo, Gonzalez) but on April 23, City Manager Pat West sent a letter of opposition stating that the City of Long Beach “strongly opposes” SB 828 [in its then-form, prior to amendments.] “While Long Beach understands the need to address the housing crisis in California, we believe there are more nuanced opportunities at the local level to meet neighborhood needs,” Mr. West’s letter said and continued:

Through responsible local land use management, Long Beach has been able to cultivate a unique and diverse urban fabric. This includes quality public parks, state of the art private developments, sustainable transportation infrastructure, affordable housing, market rate housing and other components to cities that are unique to each city across the great state of California.

The City has conscientiously worked with the private sector to facilitate housing. Over the past ten years, 1,778 new affordable units have been built, 2,093 existing units have been preserved, and 367 units have been rehabilitated. Long Beach has also supported 335 first-time homebuyers with silent second mortgages. With that said, developers build housing — cities facilitate housing developments through the provision of public service such as public infrastructure and public safety services.

Long Beach recognizes that California’s housing market is financially challenging for many individuals and families in our State. However the problem will not be solved by simply mandating cities [to] accommodate housing developments at 200 percent of a city’s RHNA [Regional Housing Needs Assessment.] [Caveat: amended version of SB 828 reduced this requirement to 100%].

Given these reasons, the City of Long Beach strongly opposes SB 828 (Wiener),

It’s not immediately clear if the May amendments to SB 828 will cause LB city management, or the City Council, to change the City’s current opposition stance to SB 828.

The state Senate’s floor analysis lists SB 828’s supporters/opponents as follows:

SUPPORT: (Verified 5/25/18) Bay Area Council (co-source) Silicon Valley Leadership Group (co-source) Bridge Housing California Alliance for Retired Americans California Apartment Association California Asian Pacific Islander Chamber of Commerce California Building Industry Association California Business Properties Association California Chamber of Commerce California Community Builders California YIMBY City of Oakland Fiona Ma, Board of Equalization District 2 Half Moon Bay Brewing Company Heller Manus Architects HKS Architects Inn at Mavericks Mavericks Event Center McKinsey & Company Non Profit Housing Association of Northern California North Bay Leadership Council Pacific Standard Postmates San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association San Francisco Housing Action Coalition San Mateo County Economic Development Association Sand Hill Property Company Silicon Valley Community Foundation Sustainable Silicon Valley SV Angel The Two Hundred TMG Partners

OPPOSITION: (Verified 5/25/18) American Planning Association, California Chapter California Association of Councils of Governments Citizen Marin SB 828 Page 10 Cities of Long Beach, Mill Valley, Redondo Beach, San Bernardino, San Marcos, and San Rafael Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods Coalition to Preserve L.A. Coalition to Save Ocean Beach/Friends of Sutro Heights Park Cow Hollow Association Dolores Heights Improvement Club Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council Livable California Lone Mountain Civic Association Marin County Council of Mayors and Councilmembers Marina Community Association Mission Economic Development Company Preserve L.A. SF Ocean Edge Spaulding Square Neighborhood Association Historic Preservation Overlay Zone Stand Up for San Francisco Sunset Residents for Sensible Planning Sustainable Tamalmonte Town of Corte Madera United Neighborhoods for Los Angeles 36 individuals.

 

 

 

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Selected to Serve — May 28, 2018

Allow me to wish you a solemn Memorial Day as we show respect for those who died in active military service for our nation. Many volunteered to serve, but many were also selected to serve through the military draft.

Speaking of serving, many ask, “How do I put up with it in Sacramento?” I tell them that it is not easy to be in the super-minority. But, there are sources of encouragement. One is the potential of this year’s election efforts. The other is the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

So, after this year’s election skirmishes, what may the State Senate look like in December of this year? The odd numbered Senate Districts are not up this cycle, so expect to see Senators Gaines (SD 1), myself (SD 37), Morrell (SD 23), and Wilk (SD 21) there.

However, Sen. Gaines is running for the State Board of Equalization. If he is successful, we will need to replace him with a Republican. But, we only start with a definite three and possible four, if Sen. Gaines is not successful in his quest.

Let’s hope that Senators Bates (SD 36), Nguyen (SD 34), Nielsen (SD 4), Stone (SD 28), and Vidak (SD 14) are re-elected. That brings us to eight or nine.

We need to replace Sen. Anderson (SD 38), Berryhill (SD 8), Cannella (SD 12), and Fuller (SD 16), with Republicans, so good candidates are being supported by the Republican Caucus. This should bring us to twelve or thirteen.

If Sen. Gaines is successful and he is replaced by a Republican in a special election, we are at a definite thirteen.

If we can get Rita Topalian to fill Democratic Senator Tony Mendoza’s vacant seat (SD 32), then we are at the magic fourteen level. This means the Democrats will not have a two-thirds stronghold in the State Senate.

If the recall of Senator Newman (SD 29) is successful and we replace him with one of the Republican candidates, we’re at fifteen!

If Senator Galgiani (SD 5), who is running for another District seat on the State Board of Equalization, is successful, then we have a chance to replace her with a Republican. That gets the Republican Senate Caucus up to sixteen!

I would still be in the Minority Party, but not the Super-Minority, which provides for a more sporting chance to stop crazy bills and an opportunity for Republican bills to move forward by persuading two or more Democrats to vote with us. There is reason to feel some optimism and hope.

In the meantime, there are organizations in the Capital that provide moral support to me and my Republican colleagues. One of them is the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA). This organization is worthy of your financial support, as it is one of the foremost nonprofits working on behalf of the taxpayers.

HJTA President Jon Coupal is a strong voice. He was kind to me in one of his weekly Sunday columns earlier this year (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Attaboy — January 22, 2018).

His most current column focuses on the lack of transparency in Sacramento when it comes to your tax dollars. For background, see MOORLACH UPDATE — Worked So Hard — May 19, 2018, MOORLACH UPDATE — The Joys of Presenting Bills — April 24, 2018 and MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1297 – COO — April 19, 2018.

Jon Coupal’s piece was published in the LA Daily News, The Sun, and the OC Register and is provided below.

At the end of last week, I was selected to serve again as one of the two Republican Senators on the annual Budget Conference Committee. I will be serving alongside Sen. Jim Nielsen (also see MOORLACH UPDATE — Budget Conference Committee — June 8, 2017). The Budget Conference Committee reconciles the Assembly and Senate Budget recommendations for approval by both Chambers and the Governor. This is a significant honor, but also a major time commitment. Consequently, I will be extremely busy between now and June 15th.

OPINION

Progressives love transparency except when they don’t

By JON COUPAL

https://www.dailynews.com/2018/05/26/progressives-love-transparency-except-when-they-dont/

https://www.dailynews.com/2018/05/26/progressives-love-transparency-except-when-they-dont/

https://www.ocregister.com/2018/05/26/progressives-love-transparency-except-when-they-dont/

We’ve all heard of “situational ethics.” This column is about “situational transparency,” a phenomenon among progressives who love transparency in matters of public policy, except when they hate it.

Let’s review the areas in which progressives support transparency: the salaries of CEOs, the race and gender of employees, the details of business supply chains” and, of course, extensive disclosures about campaign finance.

But in other matters, particularly relating to their own interests, the same people are flatly opposed to transparency. For example, progressives claim to desire disclosure of who pays for political advertising, and they backed legislation such as Assembly Bill 249, a burdensome mandate to add confusing content to political ads. It was so burdensome, in fact, that an exception was made for ads paid for by labor unions, major backers of progressive politicians.

Progressives also campaigned hard against Proposition 54, the California Legislative Transparency Act, which voters approved despite liberals’ complaints. Prop. 54 requires that bills must be posted online in their final form for at least three days before lawmakers can cast a final vote on them. Proposition 54, which the voters approved in 2016, also requires the Legislature to make video recordings of all public hearings, and it allows any member of the public to record a legislative hearing.

Another example of how those in power resist having the public see what they are doing involves public employee compensation. For years, government agencies and departments have resisted disclosing how much their managers and employees are paid in both salaries and benefits. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association had to file numerous lawsuits — or threaten lawsuits — to get local governments to disgorge the data. After prevailing in all those actions, compensation data is now available for public inspections — a healthy development in countering government entities that constantly plead poverty and demand higher taxes.

Perhaps the most glaring example of progressive hypocrisy when it comes to transparency is revealed by the defeat of Senate Bill 1074, authored by state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, which would have provided California’s millions of motorists with valuable information about the price of gasoline. Titled “Motor Vehicle Fuel: Disclosure of Government-Imposed Costs,” SB1074 would have required gas stations to post near each pump a breakdown of all the different costs that go into the price per gallon of fuel, such as federal, state and local taxes and costs associated with environmental rules and regulations, including California’s hidden tax, the permit fees that fuel producers have to pay under the state’s infamous cap-and-trade law.

As you might expect, the progressives who control the state Legislature refused to provide the public with the true cost of government when it comes to driving our cars. The same folks who rail against the oil companies and who are quick to allege deep conspiracies about corporate profits have no interest in informing the public about government-imposed costs that dwarf the oil companies’ profit margin on a gallon of gas.

We can also expect them to oppose the government transparency that would be required by an initiative that recently met the signature requirement to qualify for the November ballot.

The Tax Fairness, Transparency and Accountability Act of 2018 would require that any law creating a new, increased or extended tax must contain “a specific and legally binding and enforceable limitation on how the revenue from the tax can be spent.”

Even if the tax revenue will be spent for “unrestricted general revenue purposes,” the law must say so.

California politicians often complain about “ballot-box budgeting” and requirements for voter approval before taxes can be raised. But progressives have earned a reputation for hiding the cost of their policies, and voters can’t be blamed for playing an aggressive defense.

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

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MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — CA AG Reception Invitation — May 24, 2018

For me, this year’s June Primary has revolved around five major ballot items.

48th Congressional District –

The one receiving the most national attention has been the decision by Scott Baugh to challenge Dana Rohrabacher.

The OC Register covers this topic today. It can be seen at https://www.ocregister.com/2018/05/23/after-three-decades-in-congress-rohrabacher-faces-bare-knuckled-fight-for-political-life-from-democrats-and-gop-contender/. Since it draws on previous articles on this topic, I’ll pass on providing the entire article below.

To see my other ballot recommendations for the June Primary and a previous discussion on the Baugh/Rohrabacher battle, go to MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — June Primary Antics — April 28, 2018.

Propositions 68 and 69 –

The next is the two Propositions 68 and 69 that have me garnering statewide attention. My last report on this subject can be found at MOORLACH UPDATE — Propositions 68 and 69 — May 18, 2018 , with my sincerest apologies for not including “CAMPAIGN” in the title.

I continue to receive multiple requests for interviews by radio stations and reporters from around the state. And, because I’m a signatory in opposition to these two ballot measures, I am mentioned in numerous articles due to the association, without an interview, as is the case in the four pieces below.

The Daily Press, in the first piece below, provides a column on the five ballot measures and recommendations, of which I agree 80%, disagreeing on Proposition 70, which I oppose. If you live in San Bernardino County, you’ll appreciate the author’s perspectives.

KTLA Channel 5 provides a voter guide in the second piece below, but I only include the first two propositions.

The Sierra Sun provides a lopsided perspective on Proposition 68 in the third piece below.

The Acorn also shows the allure of localities being the recipients of the bond’s proceeds and is the fourth piece below.

The Newspaper.com provides an overall analysis of the gas tax repeal efforts in the fifth piece below, with the potential non-necessity of Proposition 69 by the time the November ballots are cast.

With the minimal campaign activity on these two ballot measures, with just the Secretary of State’s pamphlet and these few news articles, I would find it a personal victory if the “no” vote on Proposition 68 is higher than 40 percent and higher than 30 percent on Proposition 69.

California Attorney General Reception –

The fourth is the statewide candidates. In this regard, I want you to meet the Republican candidate for Attorney General. I can give you a list of more than thirty reasons why this state needs a new AG.

I am hosting a reception for Judge Steven Bailey (Retired) in Orange County on June 1st, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the law offices of Cummins and White, 2424 S. E. Bristol, Suite 300, Newport Beach. There is no charge to attend, but bring your checkbooks, please. Please RSVP to Danielle@BaileyForAG.com.

Governor –

The fifth is the race for Governor. I have stayed neutral. I enjoy a relationship with both of the two main Republican candidates. I have always advised that, in a top-two system, only one Republican should be running in this field. The polling has consistently shown John Cox obtaining double the support of that garnered by Assemblyman Travis Allen. And President Trump has endorsed Cox.

For the sake of the Republican Party, it may be time for the Assemblyman to bow out and endorse John Cox. If this is not done, I believe that we will see Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as the top two.

BONUS: Remember to attend the reception on June 1st and to vote on June 5th.

Fewer propositions but lots of candidates for California voters to wade through

By RICHARD REEB

http://www.vvdailypress.com/news/20180523/fewer-propositions-but-lots-of-candidates-for-california-voters-to-wade-through

The unexpected effect of the incumbent-protecting top two nominating process was an explosion in the number of candidates, many Democrats and Republicans, quite a few Nones (17) and a scattering of third party hopefuls. So let’s take care of the unusually small number of legislatively sponsored ballot measures (five) first.

Whatever the merits of the three constitutional amendments and two statutes, note well that in all about two, the Assembly and the Senate were sharply divided. For example, supporters of Propositions 68 and 70 claim “bipartisan support,” but the truth is that the 40-member Senate split 27-9 and the 80-member Assembly 56-21 on the first and 27-13 and 59-11 on the second. At best, some Republicans voted for these measures but not many. Even Proposition 69 barely squeaked by 29-10 and 56-24 in the two houses. Remember, Democrats have huge majorities in both houses.

By massive contrast, Proposition 71 was backed 40-0 and 78-0, and 72 by 39-0 and 76-0. But whatever the support or lack of it for these measures, we must consider them on the merits.

Proposition 68 is a grab bag bond measure with a big price tag for a multitude of “park, natural resources protection, climate adaptation, water quality and supply and flood protection” fixes — who could oppose that? Certainly not the California Chamber of Commerce. But it comes with a price tag of $4 billion and a 40-year payment period the interest of which will double the cost. As State Sen. John Moorlach argues, California already leads all other states in total indebtedness at $169 billion. Vote NO.

Proposition 69 piously promises to donate all revenues from a 2017 “transportation funding law” to transportation needs. But there are at least two difficulties. Money previously so dedicated prior to 2017 was not spent on transportation, and the current measure includes monies for unwanted high speed rail, bike lanes and protecting habitat. Vote NO.

Proposition 70 has won some favorable reviews because it requires a super-majority of two-thirds in both houses of the state legislature to maintain the state’s cap and trade program, which rewards industries for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Here the opposing argument claims that “many Democrats and Republicans opposed putting Proposition on the ballot because it’s a bad deal for California.” That’s not quite true, at least in the State Senate, while proponents make the opposite claim.

Environmentalists are doubtless cool to the super-majority requirement which suits the Chamber of Commerce Just fine. Vote YES.

Proposition 71, which would make ballot measures effective whenever the definitive vote count is established, is headed for victory owing to its unanimous legislative support. With mail-in and absentee ballots coming in after election day, this precaution makes sense. Vote YES.

Proposition 72′s unanimous support derives from its relief from taxation of anyone who, at their own expense, adds rain-capture systems to conserve water. This is a no-brainer. Vote YES.

Now to wade through the multiple candidates for 12 state offices. Democrats and Republicans are scanning the many names looking for someone they recognize and/or they believe can be nominated and elected. Democrats, not surprisingly, have more prominent names than Republicans, particularly for Governor (Gavin Newsome, Antonio Villaraigosa, Diane Eastin, John Chiang), and the two most prominent Republicans are John Cox and Travis Allen. Cox is endorsed by Newt Gingrich, while Allen is endorsed by several state organizations, yet the latter’s campaign fliers have him endorsing several Democrats for other offices. I’ll go with Newt.

Democrat Dianne Feinstein, the four-term incumbent U.S. Senator, is challenged by state Senator Kevin De Leon. Both Republican hopefuls are pushing Arkun K. Bhumitra, but Tom Palzer got my attention with his determination to end the top-two nomination system.

Both Cox and Allen are endorsing Republican Cole Harris for Lieutenant Governor and Steven Poizner for Insurance Commissioner (officially None but actually Republican) on their fliers, while Allen is supporting Democrats Ed Hernandez for Lt. Governor and Dave Jones for Attorney General on other fliers! Go figure! Democrat Eleni Kounalakis is advertising an openly open immigration position in her bid for the No. 2 spot.

Democrat Betty Yee will be hard to beat for Controller, but Republican Konstantinos Roditis will probably face her in November.

Otherwise, likely Republican nominees are Mark Meuser for Secretary of State, Greg Conlon for Treasurer, Steven Bailey for Attorney General, Connie Conway for Board of Equalization and Shannon Grove for State Senate. Marshall Tuck is endorsed by both Democrats and Republican leaders for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

San Bernardino County Judge Arthur Harrison, District Attorney Mike Ramos and appointed Auditor-Controller-Treasurer Oscar Valdez will likely face November runoffs.

Of course, no one really knows who will wind up on the ballot in November, but the incumbents are hoping it’s them — again.

Richard Reeb taught political science, philosophy and journalism at Barstow Community College from 1970 to 2003. He is the author of “Taking Journalism Seriously: ‘Objectivity’ as a Partisan Cause” (University Press of America, 1999). He can be contacted at rhreeb

 

 

California Primary: A Simple Guide to the 5 Statewide Measures on the June 5 Ballot

BY KRISTINA BRAVO

http://ktla.com/2018/05/23/california-primary-a-simple-guide-to-the-5-statewide-measures-on-the-june-5-ballot/

In this file image, voters cast their ballots at a polling station in Alhambra on Nov. 4, 2014. (Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

In this file image, voters cast their ballots at a polling station in Alhambra on Nov. 4, 2014. (Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

The state primary election is on June 5. In addition to selecting their top choices for governor, U.S. senator, members of Congress and other local offices, California voters will get to decide on these five statewide measures:

Proposition 68: Bonds for parks, the environment

Voting “yes” means the authorization of $4.1 billion in general obligation bonds (state debt) to fund parks, natural resources protection, climate adaptation and water infrastructure.

The measure would help pay for projects to maintain forests, rivers, coastal habitats and other natural and recreational areas; finance equipment to remove pollutants from water supplies; and fund levees to protect communities during floods and storms.

On top of the $4.1 billion, the bonds would mean repaying $3.8 billion in interest, according to a state analysis. That means an average repayment cost of around $200 million every year over the next four decades, or about a fifth of a percent of California’s current general fund budget, according to the analysis.

Voting “no” opposes the authorization of the bonds to fund local and state parks, natural resource conservation and water infrastructure.

The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board calls Proposition 68 a “sound investment,” while The Orange County Register says it would leave the state with “unnecessary debt.”

Proposition 69: Spending for roads, transit

Voting “yes” supports a state constitutional amendment requiring lawmakers to continue spending revenues from recently enacted vehicle fees and fuel tax on transportation purposes only.

Voting “no” means lawmakers could in the future spend some of those revenues on purposes other than transportation.

State Sen. John Moorlach and Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, both Republicans, oppose Prop 69. “A portion of money protected by Proposition 69 is for transit, which is NOT fixing our roads,” they say in a statement in the state’s voter guide.

Ballotpedia says it could not find any editorial boards against the measure and cited support from the L.A. Times, The Desert Sun and other publications.

“If that reassurance seems unnecessary, it’s because anti-tax opponents are readying a repeal of the gas tax …” says the San Francisco Chronicle in its editorial. California Republicans are seeking to put a proposed repeal of the 2017 gas tax increase on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

Voters to decide on $4 billion bond to fund clean parks and water conservation

Hannah Jones
hjones

https://www.sierrasun.com/news/local/voters-to-decide-on-4-billion-bond-to-fund-clean-parks-and-water-conservation/

On June 5 voters have a chance to secure $4 billion in general obligation bonds, to go towards park maintenance, environmental protection projects and clean water conservation.

If passed, Proposition 68 will be the largest statewide investment into outdoor conservation and restoration projects since 2006. Since that time California’s population has grown from 36 million to 39.5 million, leading environmental groups to fight for the protection of natural resources.

“The reason why these bonds are so necessary is because we can see that our region is changing,” said Chris Mertens, Sierra Business Council government affairs director.

“There’s dying trees, there’s more forest fires, extreme weather events. This bond will help give our region the tools we need to build a more resilient community. It provides and unprecedented amount of funding to protecting our community.”

SUPPORT IN THE SIERRA

Several environmental groups in the Tahoe region have endorsed the measure including the Sierra Business Council, Keep Tahoe Blue and the Truckee Donner Land Trust, voicing concerns about the future of Lake Tahoe and the natural resources it provides.

More than 60 percent of California’s water supply comes from the Sierra Nevada. Under Proposition 68, the California Tahoe Conservancy would receive $27 million. In addition to these funds, the Water Supply and Quality Act, scheduled for the Nov. 6 election would supply $100 million to the region.

“Our parks continues to get more and more visitors and the population is growing, so having money dedicated to protecting those resources in vital to this area,” said Darcie Goodman Collins, executive director of Keep Tahoe Blue. Collins said that because most state funding for such projects is competitive among other regions, the $27 million secured through Proposition 68 will “allow that certainty that we can start projects we know we can finish them,” she said.

‘WRONG WAY,’ OPPONENTS SAY

OPPOSITION TO THE MEASURE COMES MAINLY FROM TAXPAYERS WHO BELIEVE THE MEASURE WILL ONLY PLUNGE THE STATE FURTHER INTO DEBT.

“We need to protect and improve our state parks, but Proposition 68 is the wrong way to do that,” Andrea Seastrand, President of the Central Coast Taxpayers Association, said in a California official voter information guide. She argued that only $1.3 million will actually go towards parks and that the money will not be distributed equally throughout the state.

State Sen. John Moorlach, who represents most of Orange County, opposed the measure arguing against even higher taxes. In an op-ed for the Sacramento Bee, he cited data from the California Legislative Analyst’s Office reporting that taxpayers would owe $200 million a year for 40 years from the state’s general fund if the measure were to pass.

“That means not just our children, but our grandchildren will be paying it off,” he said.

IF APPROVED

Prop. 68 funding would be provided in three main categories, with about two- thirds going to parks and wildlife, and one-third going towards water conservation and flood protection. According to the Proposition 68 website, the money will be allocated as follows.

Water conservation

$540 million to ensure clean drinking water

$180 million to groundwater cleanup and water recycling

$550 million to flood protection

$367 million to rivers, lakes, and streams protection and restoration

Parks and recreation

$725 million to neighborhood parks in greatest need of restoration

$285 million to safer and cleaner park facilities in cities, counties, and local park districts

$218 million to repair and improve state parks

$95 million to promote recreation and tourism

Natural Resources

$765 million for conserving and protecting natural areas

$235 million to protect beaches, oceans and the coast

$140 million for climate change resiliency

Statewide, there are 280 state parks which all have a maintenance backlog estimate at $1.2 billion. In the 1980s, California State Parks began to put off maintenance on basic repair projects such as bathrooms, rooftops, fences and trails due to underfunding of the state park’s budget. With deferred maintenance from the past three decades, some of the measure’s money will go towards reducing that backlog.

The last parks bond that was passed was Proposition 84, which gave $5.4 billion in funding to water and flood control projects and park restoration.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Truckee Sun. She can be reached at hjones or 503-550-2652.

image23

 

Group hopes Prop. 68 funds can

save rural Agoura site from

development

By Stephanie Bertholdo
sberth

https://www.toacorn.com/articles/group-hopes-prop-68-funds-can-save-rural-agoura-site-from-development/

https://www.theacorn.com/articles/triangle-ranch-group-eyes-prop-68-funds/

The movement to protect Triangle Ranch in rural Agoura as open space has gained traction with the purchase of at least a portion of the property by local environmental groups.

But the status of the 320-acre ranch near Kanan and Cornell roads still remains up in the air, and its fate could be decided by voters in the June 5 election.

The first of four Triangle Ranch parcels have been bought and will remain undeveloped.

Paul Edelman, planning chief for the Mountains Restoration and Conservation Authority and the Santa Mountains Conservancy, said his agencies bought the land in March for $5.85 million from Sage Live Oak of Newport Beach. The cost included a $95,000 option to buy the entire property.

If money is not raised to acquire phases two through four, the Newport developer could move forward with its plans to build 61 custom homes at the ranch.

The conservancy gave a $2-million grant to the MRCA to buy the land for open space. Another $2.5 million came from Los Angeles County park funds. The Agoura Hills-based Hilton Foundation contributed another $50,000 toward the purchase.

Although more money is owed, Edelman feels the deal is finalized.

Other agencies and the City of Agoura Hills may contribute to the purchase—and if Prop. 68, a $4-billion statewide bond measure targeted for parks, environment and water issues, passes in next month’s election, even more funds could become available.

A part of the bond revenue— about $725 million— would be earmarked for construction of neighborhood parks in lower income areas.

Triangle Ranch lies in an unincorporated part of Los Angeles County, and the county could hold sway over how the money is actually spent.

Colleen Holmes, president of Cornell Preservation Organization, is hopeful the bond measure will pass.

“We still have some hills to climb to finish the funding of Triangle (Ranch), but we are optimistic now,” she said.

“If Prop. 68 is passed, we will get all the funding and it will close out by fall,” she said.

Holmes hopes that part of the Triangle property will be dedicated for a Chumash Educational Village to honor the Native Americans who originally occupied the land.

The City of Agoura Hills was approached late last year by Edelman and other agency leaders interested in preserving the land as open space.

The city was asked to contribute $2 million toward the purchase even though the land lies outside the boundaries of Agoura Hills.

Proponents of the project say that the city’s motto—Gateway to the Santa Monica Mountains— should serve as justification for the expenditure.

“We are all waiting to see what happens regarding Prop. 68,” Agoura Hills Mayor Bill Koehler said.

Opponents are worried and say the Prop. 68 bonds must be paid even if another economic recession should strike California and revenues dip.

“Bond measures are deceptive. You think you’re voting for something good. But, it will take approximately $8 billion to pay off the $4 billion of borrowed funds,” state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) said in his ballot statement against Prop. 68.

“That means you can expect a tax increase.”

The opponents say California’s fiscal managers aren’t to be trusted and point to the 2012 scandal in which the state Department of Parks and Recreation threatened to close 70 parks, saying it didn’t have the money to keep them open, when an audit proved otherwise.

California Gas Tax Repeal Efforts Heats Up
California poised to vote on ballot measure to repeal $54 billion in taxes on motorists.

https://www.thenewspaper.com/news/64/6469.asp

Bicycle laneElection officials are sampling signatures in the effort to roll back a massive hike in California’s tax on gasoline. Earlier this month, supporters of the proposed constitutional amendment repealing the gas tax increase submitted over 940,000 signatures — well more than the 585,407 required for a place on the November ballot.

Last year, the legislature boosted the gas tax by 12 cents per gallon and raised the annual vehicle registration fee to a maximum of $175 per year. The changes were expected to generate $54 billion in revenue over a decade. In response, Republican lawmakers circulated a ballot measure reversing the legislature’s move.

“California’s taxes on gasoline and car ownership are among the highest in the nation,” the proposal explains. “These taxes have been raised without the consent of the people. Therefore, the people hereby amend the constitution to require voter approval of the recent increase in the gas and car tax enacted by Chapter 5 of the statutes of 2017 and any future increases in the gas and car tax.”

A simple majority vote would be required to raise taxes in the future. The Public Policy Institute of California earlier this year found public support for the measure was evenly split, with 61 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of independents in favor of the amendment, but 56 percent of Democrats against the idea.

Supporters of the gas tax hike insist the funds are needed to “fix the roads,” but a large percentage of motorist funds are being diverted toward transit projects. Bus projects will receive $3.5 billion. Light rail projects will take another $3 billion.

This year, Los Angeles is getting a $525 million light rail station and bicycle hub. Orange County is getting $365 million for five hydrogen-powered buses and bicycle paths in Tustin. Sacramento is getting $452 million for HOV lanes and light rail. San Mateo is spending $570 million to turn existing freeway lanes into toll roads. Santa Barbara will get $17 million for bicycle lanes.

In June, California voters will consider Proposition 69, which would prohibit the legislature from transferring motorist funds into the general fund. Motorist funds would still be diverted toward non-motoring-related transit projects.

“How insulting can a ballot proposition be?” state Senator John M.W. Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) asked. “Last year, a two-thirds majority of state legislators voted for a gas tax and vehicle fee increase for transportation improvements. And now they are asking you to tell them to only spend the money on that intended purpose?”

This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District. If you no longer wish to subscribe, just let me know by responding with a request to do so.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Legacy of Faith — May 21, 2018

It’s a big day. I finally made it to a David Whiting column. Front-page, top-of-the-fold no less. It’s in the OC Register and Press Telegram piece below.

I was invited to attend yesterday’s Christ Our Redeemer AME church service, but I had a conflict. Pastor Mark Whitlock has been active in the community, we have made a friendship, and I have attended his church, as it is in my District. I love sampling the churches in my District and this one is well worth visiting. But, here’s a tip. When you attend, it’s business attire for men and Prince Harry/Duchess Meghan dress for the women.

I would have loved to join in on the celebration of Dr. Parham’s new promotion. I met him at the 50th anniversary of the University of California Irvine dinner. I love listening to individuals who know how to use the finer touches of the English vocabulary. Dr. Parham does. I did get the opportunity to congratulate him in person last month, when I was given the honor of throwing the opening pitch on the UCI campus in their game against the CSU Fullerton Titans.

My conflict was taking my folks to the Grace Presbyterian Church in Yorba Linda to listen to my youngest brother, Kent, preach. My brother was in town from the Memphis area for a family reception to send my folks off to a new senior citizens home in Colorado, to be near my sister. The sermon was great. The reception that afternoon was well attended. And having my three siblings and folks together was a rare treat.

My father wanted to immigrate to the United States. After applying and enduring the waiting period, in 1960 we took a small Holland America cruise ship, Groote Beer (Big Bear), which was used for emigration purposes.

My father started all over. He was well situated in the Netherlands, having earned a Doctorandus in Economics at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, one of the top universities in Europe. He settled in by selling life insurance and property and casualty insurance. He also earned his Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) license.

He was an agent for Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company and was a contemporary of David Cox, the former California State Senator for whom the Senate lounge is named after.

Dad is 90 years old now. He should be quite proud of his accomplishments and of his four children and their spouses, his 13 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

The reception was difficult for him yesterday afternoon. He expressed that things were happening to him that he did not have control over. He did not want to leave California. But, he cannot enjoy life without full-time assistance, so it is time for that proverbial change in housing arrangements for he and my mother.

This morning, while I was boarding my flight to Sacramento, Dad was supposed to board a plane at LAX with my brother Kent. Dad refused to get out of the car, as he wants to stay in California. Having lived here for nearly six decades, who can blame him? But, Dad, it’s time to end an amazing chapter and start a new one. I love you, Dad.

 

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New Cal State Dominguez Hills president stands on legacy of fairness, faith, equality

By dwhiting

https://www.ocregister.com/2018/05/20/new-cal-state-president-stands-on-legacy-of-fairness-faith-equality/

In a Sunday church sermon and with characteristic boldness, the current vice chancellor of UCI and future president of Cal State Dominguez Hills made his ambition clear.

Thomas Parham, who will take the reins of CSUDH next month, vowed to transform the university into “a destination campus, not a default campus.”

Parham went on to declare he plans to turn 1.9 grade average students into students with 2.5 grade averages, to build 3.6 students into PhDs.

If it sounds like the same old rhetoric, it’s not.

Parham was like no other vice chancellor at UCI and it’s certain he won’t be like any other public university president when he leads at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

How’s this for starters?: He told the congregation at Christ Our Redeemer Church in Irvine that Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X are in him, that he shares the same birthday as Nat Turner, the slave who led a rebellion in 1831.

“You know,” Parham pointed out from the pulpit, “where my warrior gene comes from.”

But those statements hardly compare to the very fact that Parham spoke from the pulpit, gave a sermon, and did a sly double-take when this leader of public universities boldly spoke about what it means to be a Christian.

“The true measure of the Christian life,” the 64-year-old academic said, “is the degree to which we are able to support and assist other people.

“The challenge is not one of effort but of outcome.”

Still, the service remained both a bittersweet sendoff and a celebration of what Parham has meant to so many during his 33 years at UCI.

A few days before the service, Christ Our Redeemer Rev. Mark Whitlock explained Parham’s promotion this way: “There’s a loss physically, but there’s not a loss spiritually, socially or intellectually.

“Cal State Dominguez has the largest African American student population in California,” said the south Orange County preacher. “And we now share a connection between UCI and Dominguez.”

Whitlock has a point. Parham’s roots run deep wherever they grow.

Legacy of equality

Parham grew up in Los Angeles, earned his bachelor’s degree at UCI, his master’s at Washington University in St. Louis and his doctorate at Southern Illinois University. He went on to join the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania before returning to UCI in 1985.

Along with working as an adjunct faculty member, the licensed psychologist was director of UCI’s Career and Life Planning Center and also served as assistant vice chancellor for Counseling and Health Services.

All the while, students called Parham, “Dr. P.”

Understand, the nickname was a rare honor of informality in the often stuffy world of academia. Instead of being aloof, Parnham was an administrator who moved nearly effortlessly through the widely diverse student body.

He was and remains known for promoting multicultural education, multicultural counseling and respectful leadership.

“Dr. Parham has been a fierce advocate for our students, working tirelessly to make their experience on campus a compelling part of their education,” said UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman. “I shall miss his wise counsel, steady hand, and good humor.”

In selecting Parham to head CUSDH, Cal State Trustee Peter Taylor echoed Gillman: “Dr. Parham has an exceptional history of working with students from diverse backgrounds and has demonstrated unwavering commitment to student achievement.”

Yet, somehow, Parham found the time to have an impact far beyond UCI.

Known for wearing dashikis and African robes on special occasions, Parham in the early 1990s helped found Orange County’s chapter of 100 Black Men of America. He was president for four years and also developed what has become a national curriculum for teens at other chapters.

The current president of the 100 Black Men chapter in Orange County, Marcellous “Mark” Reed, last week summed up Parham’s significance in an area known for an astonishingly low percentage of African Americans.

“He wrote our high school curriculum that prepares these young men for life,” Reed said. “You have an opportunity in America to be whoever you want to be and Dr. Parham instills this kind of thinking.

“He unshackles brains.”

Greater community

In an interview, Whitlock summed up how Parham played a key role during the late 1990s in building the only African Methodist Episcopal Church in south Orange County.

“I call him St. Thomas.”

To be sure, Whitlock is joking. Sort of.

When Whitlock launched Christ Our Redeemer, he had five members and no where to minister. After he met Parham, the pastor had a temporary location on UCI’s campus — and a congregation.

“Suddenly, I had thousands of students around me,” Whitlock recalled of those early days. “Soon, we were creating a sense of family for African Americans.”

Referring to the juggernaut film, “Black Panther,” Whitlock offered, “We had a Wakanda experience.”

Whitlock also credits Parham for mentoring a wide range of cultures and races, while also “being unapologetically black.”

Parham embodies, the pastor said, the concept of “appreciating your history, affirming who are are and loving who you are while also loving others.

“That is so important for African Americans who have identity problems.”

God’s grace

During the Sunday morning service, Parham was presented with a host of honors including commendations from Sen. Kamala Harris, state senators John Moorlach and Patricia Bates, Orange County Supervisors Lisa Bartlett and Todd Spitzer.

Still, the coolest honor was a spontaneous one when two young boys in the congregation high-fived.

As Parham stood before the gathering of hundreds, he explained: “There is no greater blessing in life, next to being a parent, than being entrusted with the intellectual and personal growth and development of students.”

Parham allowed that his mother was a single mom who raised four children, all of whom went to college and two became PhDs. Still, the psychologist and author said the real credit is elsewhere.

“Success,” Parham said, “is not attributed to our effort alone, but to God’s grace.”

As the service ended, the chorus sang, “Amazing grace … How sweet the sound.”

This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District. If you no longer wish to subscribe, just let me know by responding with a request to do so.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Worked So Hard — May 19, 2018

I started my first career in Costa Mesa in 1976. I married my lovely wife in 1980. We had our daughter in 1982 and our first son in 1984. It was time to sell my small condo near the South Coast Metro area. We purchased our first Costa Mesa home in 1984 and have enjoyed the Newport-Mesa area ever since. And, having my District Office near Bear Street, my main commuting route some forty years ago, brings my multiple-career experience full circle.

During the past three-plus decades, we purposed to make Costa Mesa, a city of more than 100,000 people, small. By the time our second son was born in 1991, we were on our way to enjoying Costa Mesa and Orange County as an intimate and close-knit community. It is amazing how many people you can develop relationships with if you work really hard to participate in various social opportunities that abound here.

Running for Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector in 1994 certainly gave me an appreciation of how big and glorious our county really is, even though it is less than 800 square miles. But, you can make it small by getting involved. And, there are so many wonderful people!

I start off with this reminiscing to make a small point. Because I have worked so hard, I now enjoy long standing relationships, including with the three Art of Leadership recipients that were recognized Thursday evening by the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce, the South Coast Metro Alliance, and Mayor Sandy Genis. Therefore, making my presentations was very special.

I have a very high regard for former Costa Mesa Police Chief Dave Snowden. He left the city in 2003, not because he no longer loved public safety, but because the pension formula made it somewhat necessary to retire. This was a lament that he made at his retirement dinner. (Receiving 90 percent of your salary if you retire makes it hard to explain to your spouse that you’re working full-time for the remaining 10 percent — hence the often repeated phrase, “Why work for free?”) As a western movies buff, Chief Snowden would go on to the best job he could ever have wanted, serving as the Police Chief of Beverly Hills. It is great to report that his legacy lives on in Costa Mesa.

Fran and Karen Ursini are community stalwarts and have one of the best barbeque restaurants in the area. Sacramento is loaded with excellent California BBQ establishments, but they seem fewer down here. So, when you’re in the mood, go to Newport Rib Company on Harbor Boulevard. If Fran is in, introduce yourself to the biggest man in Costa Mesa.

Charlene Ashendorf’s husband, Dennis, started my blog a decade or so ago. Their son, Jacob, interned for me when I served as a County Supervisor. After being elected to the Senate, he came on my staff and served in both the District and Capitol Offices. Now he is working for Health and Human Services (HHS) in Washington, D.C. The Ashendorfs should be so proud. Best of all, Charlene was a real encouragement to my wife in her pursuit of oil painting.

It was a great evening celebration to fly home early for and it reminded all of us how important it is to settle in and grow deep roots in your community. The Daily Pilot provides the details in the first piece below.

Here is an insider’s scoop. I asked how the three honorees were selected and found out that Brad Long had suggested them a couple of years ago in an e-mail. How is that for an “amazing” tie-in for the evening? Brad Long was Costa Mesa’s version of my old friend, Huell Howser. Catch some of Brad’s video logs and you’ll see what I mean. He was given a wonderful tribute.

The second piece below is from Fox & Hounds. Ron Stein was the inspiration for my bill, SB 1074 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1297 – COO — April 19, 2018). For more details, see https://moorlach.cssrc.us/content/senate-bill-1074-truth-advertising-gas-prices.

Ron came up to Sacramento and served as my main witness in support of this bill and did an excellent job, but it was voted down in committee (see MOORLACH UPDATE — The Joys of Presenting Bills — April 24, 2018).

Ron provides his perspectives on this exercise and accurately assesses the sensitivities of one State Senator, who recently added to the cost of a gallon of gasoline. Ron was most respectful by referring to him as “Mister,” only to be reprimanded by him with the demand to be referred to as “Senator.” Sensitive, indeed. It reminded me of a famous Barbara Boxer moment where she too acknowledged that she had “worked so hard” (for some levity, please see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixiYZ9DPk8o).

Costa Mesa dinner honors community leaders and contributors

By LUKE MONEY

http://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/news/tn-dpt-me-cm-mayors-dinner-20180518-story.html

It was a night of laughs, cheers and, at times, tears Thursday as about 250 people gathered to honor some of Costa Mesa’s most influential leaders and devoted community contributors during the Art of Leadership Mayor’s Celebration.

This year’s honorees were longtime local volunteer and arts advocate Charlene Ashendorf, former Costa Mesa police chief Dave Snowden and the Ursini family, owners of Newport Rib Co.

“To me, art comes from the place where our heads and our hearts come together, and each of our honorees tonight really exemplifies this in their leadership and in their giving to the community,” Mayor Sandy Genis told the crowd at the Hilton Orange County/Costa Mesa hotel.

The Art of Leadership award went toSnowden, who was Costa Mesa’s police chief for 17 years. He worked to develop community-oriented policing efforts and was deeply involved with local businesses and charities.

“Dave was a true servant leader — he put the organization before himself,” current Police Chief Rob Sharpnack said in a video message. “He had the wisdom and the understanding to allow people to move forward with projects on their own without micromanagement. … He was a good delegator.”

Snowden, who also led the police departments in Baldwin Park and Beverly Hills, said he was “truly humbled” to receive the award.

Leadership, he said, is about finding ways to inspire people to work together for a common purpose.

“I trust people; I delegate to people; I’m not afraid to pick people that I think are a hell of a lot smarter than I am to get the job done,” he said.

Fran and Karen Ursini and their children received the Lifetime Achievement Community Involvement award.

Since opening Newport Rib Co. in1984, the restaurant and family have become fixtures in Costa Mesa because of their food, philanthropic involvement and support of youth sports.

“They have given back so much in so many ways for so many causes and organziations,” said Peter Buffa, a former Costa Mesa mayor who emceed Thursday’s event. “They really are a life force in this community.”

Karen Ursini expressed the family’s gratitude. “We are very honored to know that we are part of Costa Mesa and have made it a part of our lives and a part of your lives,” she said.

Ashendorf was tabbed for the Art of Giving Back award. Her long history of community involvement continues with leadership positions on Costa Mesa’s Cultural Arts Committee and Senior Commission, as well as the foundation committee for Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries.

“I’m sure we can agree that in the ‘City of the Arts’ our voices don’t always sing in perfect harmony, nor do we dance to the same beat,” Ashendorf said, referring to the city’s official motto. “But in service, we build a community of hearts. Each of us believes, by giving back, the most rewarding investment is the relationships that we create.”

The three honorees also received certificates of recognition from state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) and the offices of U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) and Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel.

Proceeds from Thursday’s event — which was presented by the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce and the South Coast Metro Alliance in partnership with the city — will benefit arts and educational programs at Costa Mesa and Estancia high schools, Save Our Youth, Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Repertory.

The evening concluded with a tribute to Brad Long, a longtime Costa Mesa city employee who died last year.

Long worked for the city as a videographer and video production specialist, covering community meetings and events and filming other local segments for more than 20 years.

“He really was beloved by everyone who knew him and worked with him,” Buffa said. “I’ve known a lot of people in my life; he was by far the most optimistic, upbeat person I’ve ever met.”

luke.money

Twitter @LukeMMoney

Legislatures Kill Transparency Pricing at the Pump

Ronald Stein

By Ronald SteinFounder of PTS Staffing Solutions, a technical staffing agency headquartered in Irvine

http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2018/05/legislatures-kill-transparency-pricing-pump/

Californians now pay as much as $1.00 more per gallon of fuel than the rest of the country. Shouldn’t the motoring public know why?

A bill in the California Legislature to do just that was Senate Bill 1074, by state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa. Called “Disclosure of government-imposed costs,” it would have required gas stations to post near each gas pump a list of cost factors, such as federal, state and local taxes, costs associated with environmental rules and regulations including the cap-and-trade tax.

Numerous folks and organizations spoke in support of the bill at an April 23 hearing before the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development. I testified myself. Absolutely no one from the public spoke in opposition.

But the Democratic-controlled committee didn’t want the public to know why we’re paying so much, and voted to kill the bill from future consideration.

I watched closely the action on the Senate floor. The senator who spoke most against the bill was Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton. But when the time of the vote came and it became clear the bill would fail, he voted Aye, which could help him in his close recall election bid this June.

Newman already had enough problems on the issue because he provided the key vote last year to pass Senate Bill 1, which jacked up gas taxes $5.5 billion a year. An initiative to repeal that gouging at the gouging at the pump just submitted more than 1 million signatures and also should go before voters this November.

It’s strange that almost every other product we buy comes with the price listed on the tag, with the taxes then clearly added to the receipt: clothes, computers, cars, furniture, office supplies, books, etc.

By contrast, the price at the pump is not broken down by tax or other cost, but actually includes a multitude of taxes, as well as costs from numerous environmental regulations.

In addition to the federal tax on fuels that applies to all states, California’s state taxes are among the highest in the country. Beginning last November, SB 1 alone added 12 cents to a gallon of gasoline and 20 cents to diesel.

SB 1074 specified the multiple taxes and regulatory costs that would have to be listed: a) The federal fuel tax per gallon; b) the state fuel tax per gallon; c) the state sales tax per gallon; d) refinery reformatting costs per gallon; e) cap and trade program compliance costs per gallon; f) low-carbon fuel standard program compliance costs per gallon; and g) renewable fuels standard program compliance costs per gallon.

That’s a lot of taxes and costs.

The cap and trade costs, by the way, now are the major funding source for outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown’s favorite boondoggle, the Choo Choo train project.

The high fuel taxes impact not just drivers, but almost everything in our economy, such as the food carried to grocery stores, materials to housing construction and clothing to children’s stores. Even Amazon.com and other online retailers will charge more for shipping as their costs rise.

Especially hurt by the high cost of fuel are the working poor, who often must commute an hour or more inland because coastal housing is so expensive. Aren’t such people supposed to be a key constituency of the Democratic Party?

No wonder we now have a better understanding of why California suffers the highest percentage of people in poverty and a homeless crisis so acute it shocks the world.

SB 1074 would have given motorists information on what’s really going on. But for the Democratic supermajority in the Legislature, bliss is keeping Californians ignorant.

This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District. If you no longer wish to subscribe, just let me know by responding with a request to do so.

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