MOORLACH UPDATE — 2017 Top 20 Veto Worthy Bills — September 22, 2017

This is the third year that I have enjoyed the end of the Legislative Session, a grueling exercise where hundreds of bills are voted on in rapid succession and, with a few exceptions, very little Floor debate. And, for the third time, I have been invited by the FlashReport to list the 20 worst bills that on the Governor’s desk awaiting either a signature or a veto. For these 20, we’re definitely encouraging a veto (also see MOORLACH UPDATE — 2016 Veto Worthy Bills — September 12, 2016 september 12, 2016 john moorlach and MOORLACH UPDATE — Worst and Vaguest — September 22, 2015 september 22, 2015 john moorlach).

Last year we were permitted to provide the worst 25 bills. This year the list could have been double that. But, we were once again constrained to 20 bills the Governor should veto. We did not include some worthy bills as they have already been signed, as they either were voted on some time ago or were budget trailer bills Gov. Brown signed upon receipt.

I want to thank my Sacramento Capitol Office staff for doing an outstanding job of assisting me in my research on all the bills that came before me for a vote. I also want to thank them for their willingness to improve on our technologies to stay organized on the massive volume that occurs with the legislative process. With that, thank you Lance Christensen, my Chief of Staff, Eric Dietz, my Legislative Director, Robert Nash, my Legislative Analyst and electronic organizer par excellence. They kept my sanity intact the last few weeks.

I also want to thank Jacob Ashendorf, who served in my Capitol Office the past few months, but recently accepted a job offer in D.C. He is now my fifth staff member to join the Health and Human Services executive team. I don’t know whom to be mad at more, HHS Secretary Tom Price or President Donald Trump.

This year we also had the privilege of hosting a Capitol Fellow. James Moore, a Harvard grad who played basketball in high school, made me not feel tall. James was able to work a bill or two of mine to the Governor’s desk. So, that offensive experience on the court came in handy.

Now that we have a tradition, I’ll try to keep you posted on the status of these 20 bills in future UPDATEs.

bc2f75af-1bb0-4394-b7b3-b576ff825671.jpgFlashReport 2017 Top Bills Worthy Of The Governor’s Veto

Introduction from FlashReport Publisher Jon Fleischman

This is the 12th year that we have presented for your viewing displeasure the worst pieces of legislation sitting on the Governor’s desk. Of course there are a great many bills on the Governor’s desk – most of them worthy of a veto. Thus the task of trying to cull through those bills and single out just the twenty worst is not easy. For the second year in a row, our list comes to us courtesy of both State Senator John Moorlach and Assemblyman Matt Harper. I will add that this session in particular was over-the-top with noxious legislation, and limiting this list to twenty bills was no easy task. – Flash

The FlashReport Top 20 Bills Worthy Of The Governor’s Veto

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

Supermajority legislative leaders declared that the 2017 Session "may be the most productive and progressive legislative session in memory." They may be right. And it’s only half done.

We don’t know if that is something to brag about, though. We believe that media perspectives describing 2017 as a rage reaction against the new Trump Administration are also accurate. From the first day of Session last December, the Democrats provided an anti-Trump resolution nearly every week and emphasized a strong move to the left on policies that will hurt California, prohibiting the state from leading the nation to prosperity.

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What was most stunning was how unabashed the public employee unions were in pushing through massive, if not coercive, requests to strengthen their declining membership numbers. AB 1250 was a brazen attempt to eliminate non-profits’ contracts and hand county services over to unions. Luckily, the non-profit world summoned enough strength to fight it off, at least until January. But in light of these union bills, it begged the question, "Who’s your daddy?"

Regretfully, our "Top 20" list is not comprehensive and does not include all the terrible bills the legislature has passed and the governor has signed this year. The gas-tax increase (SB 1) and cap-and-tax (AB 398) are already the law of the land.

There also were several bills we watched throughout the year to see if they were going to make it to final floor votes. Several didn’t.

Finally, the bills below are those that, despite our opposition, were affirmed by both the Senate and the Assembly and are going to the Governor’s desk. He has until October 15 to sign them – or prevent them from harming Californians by vetoing them. We present them to you in numerical order.

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AB 20 (Kalra) Send Jobs, Not Investments to Dakota Bill: Paves the way for the California Public Employees Retirement System to "divesting" from valuable investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline. Doing so could reduce the value of CalPERS assets, endangering retiree pensions.

AB 168 (Eggman) Across the Board Salary Lowballing: Inhibits employers’ ability to hire qualified employees, prohibiting employers from using past salary information of a prospective employee as a factor in deciding whether to hire someone, or how much to pay them. This will lead to reduced production at a time when the state economy is starting to falter. Instead of helping employees, an unknown number of their jobs could be killed.

AB 199 (Chu) Construction Reduction Act: We should be avoiding government-mandated prevailing wages, not increasing their requirements. This legislation would significantly increase circumstances where prevailing wages would be mandated.

AB 569 (Gonzalez Fletcher) Discrimination of Church by State: Beyond limiting private religious organizations’ code-of-conduct policies for employees, it could bring the state into conflict with federal religious-rights legislation because it mandates that employers provide employee handbooks to include information on abortion coverage. That violates the religious conscience of many employers and employees.

AB 890 (Medina) Voter Suppression Act: This is anti-democratic and would silence voters pursuing pro-growth land-use decisions, usurping local control by mandating changes in local land use decision-making via state law.

AB 1008 (McCarty, Gipson, Holden, Reyes, Weber) Employment Meddling Act: This bill prohibits employers from inquiring about or using a prior criminal conviction of an prospective employee as a factor in whether to make them a conditional offer of employment. This is another bureaucratic hassle for businesses, increasing costs and, in the end, killing job opportunities because of increased legal liabilities and administrative burdens for employers.

AB 1209 (Gonzalez Fletcher) Women Employee Reduction Act: Gender discrimination already is against state and federal law. This would increase companies’ red tape in providing useless data about employee compensation to state busybodies, who would then post the information online. It could kill the jobs of the women it’s supposed to help.

AB 1269 (Mark Stone) Mobile Home Tax: This is a tax on mobile home parks and increases regulations on them. It could encourage owners to bulldoze the parks and turn them into condos.

AB 1274 (O’Donnell) Fee Hidden as a Tax: This is yet another car tax that is estimated to cost certain car owners over $100 million. The majority can’t get enough of car taxes.

AB 1455 (Bocanegra) Public Employee Bargaining Secrecy Act: How can we be reducing transparency? Yet this bill would prohibit local governments from sharing with the public documents concerning labor negotiations. We should be doing everything in our power to increase government transparency for our taxpayers.

AB 1461 (Thurmond) Are Food Handler Cards for Farmers Next?: Pointless red tape to give food unions an edge on the new "gig economy" by increasing the costs of doing business for companies that send food ingredients to your home for you to prepare.

AB 1513 (Kalra) Union Invasion of Privacy: Requiring that the Department of Social Services release private information of registered home care aides is a blatant invasion of privacy. It is also a shameless attempt by public employee unions to increase their membership.

SB 2 (Atkins) Killing Homes and Jobs for the Middle Class Act: Would raise taxes on real-estate transactions (by hundreds of millions of dollars annually), thereby discouraging home purchases.

SB 3 (Beall) California Legislature’s Housing Sub-Prime Act: Another massive, unneeded multi-billion dollar bond measure that doesn’t address or solve the underlying issues of housing supply or costs. It just creates more debt for the state for generations to come for homes they won’t be able to afford.

SB 5 (De Leon) Park Bond Boondoggle: Who doesn’t want more parks? But at $6.5 billion for principal and interest, that’s $235 million a year removed from the General Fund. Voters just enacted the Proposition 1 water bond in 2014. Let’s wisely spend all that money first. A review of this bill shows pork-barrel spending at it’s finest.

SB 54 (De Leon) Sanctuary State Nonsense: California has prioritized defiance to the federal government over its duty to govern responsibly and protect its citizens. If signed, this bill could cost the state and local governments hundreds of millions of dollars in public safety grants, establishing a state mandate that state and local governments may not assist federal immigration authorities as they attempt to find and detain illegal aliens. This is showmanship for the cameras, not leadership for the people.

SB 63 (Jackson) Small Business Meddling Act: It goes without saying that allowing new parents to bond with a child is very important and the state has a number of paid and unpaid benefit programs to provide for that leave. This bill requires that a an employer with 20 or more employees to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave within one year of the child’s birth. And employers must maintain the employee’s group health coverage during that leave. There should be concern about the impact of this heavy-handed requirement on small businesses and the potential liability that could result.

SB 149 (McGuire, Wiener) Do As I Say, Not As I Disclose: This Constitutionally-dubious legislation would preclude a candidate for President from being placed on the California ballot if they have not publicly disclosed their tax returns – yet another dig on President Trump. It’s disingenuous to limit disclosure of tax documents to only presidential candidates. Why not all elected officials attempting to get on the ballot in California? This didn’t seem to be an issue in 2010 or 2014 when Governor Brown did not release his own tax returns.

SB 239 (Wiener) HIV Assault Act: Although strides have been made in HIV and AIDS treatment, those infected still can die. So intentionally infecting someone is as serious as assault and battery and even homicide, and should retain similar penalties. This legislation reduces this crime from a felony to a misdemeanor.

SB 285 (Atkins) Bargaining Meddling Act:Federal and state laws already guarantee the right to collective bargaining. The author claims this bill extends that right "to employees who are choosing whether or not to become or remain union members." But it’s really redundant and would just increase costs for local governments, reducing services to the public.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Gas Tax Repeal Initiatives — September 21, 2017

When former State Assemblyman David Hadley considered a run for Governor in 2018, he came to the Capital and met with his former legislative colleagues and explained his exploratory efforts. David and I had a long, private discussion about his potential plans. One of the key points we both agreed on was how critical it is to have just one Republican running in order to secure at least a place in the “top-two” June Primary and then go on to the General Election in November. He was deliberate, thoughtful and considerate of the counsel he was given. Unfortunately, he has since dropped out of the race.

There are currently two Republican candidates running for Governor. One is leading a ballot measure drive that is aiming to repeal the recent gas and auto tax increase, SB 1, recently approved with a two-thirds vote of the State Legislature (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Do You Recall? — July 10, 2017 ). This repeal effort is a righteous cause. The other has a proposed ballot measure that is aiming to restructure the state legislature with an innovative, but complex and confusing electoral and neighborhood system of representation. While an intriguing way to deal with our out-of-touch legislature that represents too many people, his proposal is neither a reasonable solution nor a worthy cause.

Although David Hadley informed me of his potential intentions to run for Governor, Assemblyman Travis Allen did not. I found out when you did, via the news media.

I have not endorsed Assemblyman Allen or John Cox, the other candidate, in their gubernatorial efforts at this time.

Immediately after the passage of SB 1, KOGO AM 600 Radio Talk Show Host Carl DeMaio filed a request to petition the recall of State Senator Josh Newman. Senator Newman’s vote proved to be crucial, as he was one of the necessary 27 votes to obtain the required two-thirds passage of this new tax.

Not too long thereafter, Assemblyman Allen filed a request with the Secretary of State to circulate a petition to repeal the gas tax because no one else did. He filled the vacuum and made a bold leadership move. It garnered him significant attention in the social media world. In full disclosure, around that time I accepted Assemblyman Allen’s invitation to serve on his initiative’s advisory committee.

In the meantime, DeMaio quickly gathered more than 100,000 signatures for the recall in Sen. Newman’s District, far more than the minimum required.

Assemblyman Allen’s efforts were stymied by the State Attorney General’s customary poison pill where this statewide office traditionally writes a bogus ballot title and summary for conservative measures to confuse potential petition signers and ballot measure voters.

Earlier this week, Daily Pilot columnist Barbara Venecia asked me to give a status report on the gas tax repeal effort. Not too long after I sent my quick analysis, something quite amazing happened in Superior Court, where Assemblyman Allen contested the regular nonsense produced by the AG’s office. He prevailed. According to the LA Times, “A judge tentatively ruled Tuesday that the state-written title and summary of an initiative to repeal the recent gas-tax increases were misleading and should be rewritten by the state attorney general’s office.” Unheard of. Kudos to the Assemblyman.

The Daily Pilot piece appeared online last evening. It is still not in print and may appear in tomorrow’s edition or over the weekend. But, Assemblyman Allen called me to express his displeasure with my quotes. Obviously, I did not expect an appropriate ruling out of our state’s court system. I meant no affront to the Assemblyman. And, I apologized. Apparently, the now vying initiatives has the Assemblymember a little on edge, which is an honest response. I wish him all the best in both of his efforts. The fun between these two statewide leaders is provided in the first piece below.

Bloomberg Businessweek provides a six-year-old quote in their column about Puerto Rico (MOORLACH UPDATE — JWA and #2 — November 14, 2011 november 15, 2011 john moorlach — unfortunately, the full piece did not load up on the blog).

After reading the piece you may wonder if this is a foretaste of what’s in store for the state of California. I don’t believe that Puerto Rico’s situation comes close to what occurred in Orange County. But, not providing full disclosure of the true facts and trends is not a good idea. Will similar trends be in California’s future? After reading the piece, you will understand why I voted in opposition to every bond bill on the Senate Floor.

Newport council should follow radio host into battle against gasoline tax spike

By Barbara Venezia

http://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/opinion/tn-dpt-me-venezia-20170920-story.html

A few weeks ago I wrote about how the majority of Newport Beach’s City Council voted not to accept the new state gas tax revenue as a misguided protest against it. They later rescinded that decision after public outcry that they were throwing away money.

I suggested a smarter approach would be to join the movement to repeal the tax led by San Diego radio host Carl DeMaio.

I soon heard from readers who had no idea who DeMaio is. He’s a guy who should be on your radar.

To give you some background, DeMaio grew up in Orange County, is a graduate of Georgetown University, and moved to San Diego in 2002. He started his first company, the Performance Institute, which provides training and consulting solutions to financially-troubled government entities, at 23.

Crusading to reform government by improving transparency and fiscal accountability won DeMaio a seat on the San Diego City Council in 2008. He was instrumental in turning that city around from the brink of bankruptcy with his “roadmap to recovery reform agenda.”

And though his bids for mayor in 2012 and Congress in 2014 were unsuccessful and riddled with controversy, DeMaio remained committed to state-wide fiscal reform.

He’s chairman of Reform California, which is not only working to repeal the gas tax, but is pushing for public employee pension reform as well.

DeMaio’s message has garnered him a large audience for the daily news and talk show he co-hosts on KOGO-AM 600 in San Diego.

Did I mention he’s a gay, married Republican? He is all about shaking things up.

Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) calls him a “warrior.”

I talked with DeMaio this week while he was in Washington, D.C. He said he is taking a two-punch approach of repealing the gas tax and mounting an effort to recall Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton).

Newman, from a historically Republican district, was a deciding vote in passing the $5.2 billion gas tax — making California gas taxes the most expensive in the country. A recall website is collecting signatures — 100,000 so far according to Moorlach.

“And the data shows that all segments of Josh’s district oppose the gas tax,” says Moorlach. “Male/female. Black, Hispanic, white. Democrats and Republicans.”

Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) is also working on a gas tax repeal initiative and is waging a battle in the courts.

“It gave him enough name ID that it encouraged him to also run for governor,” Moorlach says. “Carl’s team will probably leapfrog Allen’s efforts and be very successful.”

Moorlach has long been critical of Caltrans spending.

In 2014 when the state Legislative Analyst’s Office determined that Caltrans had 3,500 too many architects and engineers at a cost of $500 million per year, Moorlach called for nixing extra staff and putting these dollars toward our roads.

Of course that didn’t happen.

“Over the past 14 years, while gas taxes were rising, transportation spending has remained virtually flat,” Moorlach wrote in the Orange County Business Journal in 2016. “This means that the state has redirected transportation tax revenues.” .

DeMaio told me only 20 cents of every dollar actually makes it to our roads, while the rest is diverted to who knows where.

“I think any government agency needs to be careful of spending money that’s not theirs,” he says.

DeMaio and group have been working with legal experts to come up with a state constitutional amendment. The objective is to not only roll back the vehicle and gas tax hikes, but eliminate future politicians’ ability to raise taxes without a vote of the people.

DeMaio says eliminating these new gas taxes could save Californians an estimated $300 annually.

The initiative measure to be submitted to voters was filed with the State Attorney General’s office Sept. 14.

The reasons behind the action are included in the Statement of Findings:

“California’s taxes on gasoline and car ownership are among the highest in the nation. (b) These taxes have been raised without the consent of the people. (c) Therefore, the people hereby amend the Constitution to require voter approval of increases in the gas and car tax.”

DeMaio needs to collect 585,407 signatures for the measure to be on the November 2018 ballot. Reform California has already received pledges from over 200,000 voters who want to sign the petition once the forms are issued by the state — DeMaio is encouraging more voters to sign up at StopTheCarTax.org. I did.

Like many, I’m not happy with the increase and the fact that legislators in Sacramento think voters are an endless ATM. Californians pay the highest tax rate in the country, have the highest rate of poverty, and our roads aren’t great either. Something is terribly wrong here.

BARBARA VENEZIA lives in Newport Beach. She can be reached at bvontv1.

 

When All Else Fails, Sue Wall Street

There’s a lot of blame to go around, but banks have deep pockets and a history of municipal-debt settlements.

By Lisa Abramowicz

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-20/puerto-rico-knows-when-all-else-fails-sue-wall-street

Disagreements about money often have a clear solution: Everyone sues each other. That’s the American way.

And so it goes for Puerto Rico, the fiscally crippled island that incurred $74 billion of debt over a period when its population and economy were shrinking. Investors have brought many suits against the commonwealth, which now appears to be setting the stage for its own lawsuit against big Wall Street banks.

After all, going after large banks has turned into standard operating procedure for big municipal insolvencies. Just think of Orange County, California, which worked out $800 million in settlements from Merrill Lynch & Co. and others after going bankrupt in the 1990s.

In the past few decades, a key lesson for troubled municipalities has been, “Who can you sue for bringing you to this crazy place?” John Moorlach, who became treasurer of Orange County after it filed for bankruptcy, said in a 2011 Bloomberg News article. These banks actually have money and profits to go after. They also have a dubious public reputation, making them good public whipping posts.

This brings us to Puerto Rico, which is seeking to restructure its onerous debt load as soon as possible and whose already frayed finances are going to be tested by hurricane damage. The island’s federal oversight board just hired a law firm to investigate how Puerto Rico’s bonds were marketed and other issues surrounding its excessive borrowing, among other issues, Bloomberg News reported Monday. One board member said the probe “is going to be as broad as can be.”

That’s thinly veiled code for “let’s see if we can go after big banks for distributing these bonds.”

As Joe Mysak, Bloomberg’s municipal bond market expert, put it, “Wall Street will pay. This will provide the foundation.”

It’s overly simple, of course, to say big banks should have known better than to underwrite Puerto Rico’s excessive debt. Without a doubt, big banks could have been more cautious when helping Puerto Rico with its finances. It’s not too hard to see how it could be imprudent to double the commonwealth’s debt load in the decade after 2004 as the population dropped about 16 percent. Arguably, large banks were thinking more about the fees they could earn than the feasibility of the island’s capital structure when investors couldn’t buy enough high-yield triple tax-free securities .

That said, Puerto Rico and its local financial institutions aren’t innocent bystanders. The island’s leadership failed to keep its promises to shore up its finances and used mutual-fund money as the island’s piggy bank. Big Puerto Rican banks, including Banco Santander Puerto Rico, the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico and Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, earned millions of dollars in fees as they advised on financial structures and arrangements.

Meanwhile, the island’s debt buyers also hold some blame for racing to purchase higher-yielding bonds without truly assessing the risks. Even some big U.S. banks even expressed nervousness to them about the island’s finances.

Clearly there’s plenty of blame to go around. But big Wall Street banks have a target on their backs almost out of habit. It’s easy to point a finger at them for failing to be a more judicious gatekeeper on the debt sales, regardless of whether they actually did anything improper. Puerto Rico certainly appears to be setting the stage to do just that.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — OC’s Newest Landmark Plaque — September 20, 2017

Visiting California Historical Landmarks has been one of my hobbies since graduating from college. I obtained a book from State Parks back in 1978 and I’ve been taking photographs of them ever since. It started with trips to landmark plaques within driving distance on my birthdays (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Numbers 1050 and 49 — January 2, 2016 january 2, 2016 john moorlach).

I’ve mentioned this unique hobby before. The best of the selection is MOORLACH UPDATE — Los Al-Seal Beach Patch . Other samplings include:

MOORLACH UPDATE — Another Alternative — June 28, 2013

MOORLACH UPDATE — Loose Interview — February 2, 2013

MOORLACH UPDATE — Swearing-In — January 7, 2013

MOORLACH UPDATE — trestles — January 4, 2012

MOORLACH UPDATE — OC Register — July 14, 2012

MOORLACH UPDATE — Western States Jewish HistoryMay 25, 2012  

MOORLACH UPDATE — Super City Stir — August 20, 2011

Well, on Monday I had the opportunity to participate in an unveiling of a recently installed plaque on its new pedestal. It’s located at the shuttle station at Crystal Cove. This place is so special, it serves as the backdrop to my State Senate website (see http://district37.cssrc.us/ and below).

The next time you eat at the Beachcomber, please take a look (and a photograph) of the California State Historical Landmark Number 1050 plaque. Start the hobby. The OC Register covers the event in the first piece below. I was so excited about cutting the ribbon, I failed to look at the camera. And, thanks to all who were able to attend.

The second piece is from CalPensions and it provides the details of yesterday’s CalPERS Finance and Administration Committee meeting. It discussed two letters that I submitted requesting assistance.

Since CalPERS is less than 70 percent funded, perhaps the actual cost of cost-of-living-adjustments (COLA) should be reviewed? The data on their impact to CalPERS’s growing unfunded actuarial accrued liability is limited, but intuition suggests that they are a significant cost in the whole scheme of things.

If you were to have watched the committee hearing, you would have seen representatives from several cities talk about the challenges they are having with their finances and the limits they have in negotiating with their bargaining units, who don’t understand the word “compromise”. Further, I wasn’t asking for CalPERS to make a single policy change — I just wanted data.

Changing COLAs can only be done prospectively, and most likely for new retirees after any change is approved. Tragically, many of the CalPERS board members did not understand this constitutional concern and determined it would affect every retiree.

Aside from only a few of the board members who actually read the request and understood what I was looking for, it’s too bad when the largest pension system in the U.S. has a board of unqualified, union-backed members. But, I digress.

The second request was to allow current “classic” CalPERS members to migrate to the lower “PEPRA” formula. Prospective changes are constitutional. Many new employees would prefer the lower formula, as it means a lower withholding from their paychecks. It is more important to them to receive a higher net paycheck in order to make their mortgage payments and to pay for child care costs, allowing them to work.

If enough “classic” employees selected this option, they may save their own job or that of a co-worker or two. It would also prevent other potential draconian alternatives, like salary and/or benefit reductions. Consequently, a lower pension formula makes sense. I participated in successfully negotiating such a proposal back in 2009, while serving as a County Supervisor.

Even after receiving reality reports from the trenches, listening to more than a dozen plan sponsors sharing what the rising costs of pension contributions are doing to their municipalities, the board members went ad hominem and attacked the perceived intentions of the writer of the letter. Unbelievable. Talk about projection (a common union ploy).

We’re asking to consider solutions and the diplomatic way is to ask in a letter first. If this polite approach does not succeed– going to the CalPERS board directly and asking them for the information rather than jamming a bill down their throat–then I can pursue other means of obtaining “public information.” But, good grief.

Folks, the pension crisis is here. And this piece lays it all out. Let’s hope that the CalPERS Board takes a deep breath and comes to the conclusion that it needs to be a part of the solution. Being tone deaf will not cut it with the plan sponsors.
The Sacramento Bee also covers the fun in the third piece below.

BEACHES

Crystal Cove touts its unique historic past

Two plaques were unveiled that honor cottages’ status as a state historic landmark.

State Senator John Moorlach was one of the officials on hand to re-dedicate Crystal Cove as a State Historical Preserve. The park had a plaque commemorating the designation in an out of the way corner which was moved to a new more visible location at the entrance in Newport Beach on Monday, September 18, 2017. (Photo by Sam Gangwer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

State Sen. John Moorlach, left, cuts the ribbon on a newly placed State Historical Landmark plaque at Crystal Cove on Monday. Eric Dymmel, State Parks superintendent, holds the ribbon. SAM GANGWER — STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

 

State Senator John Moorlach, left, and State Park Superintendent Eric Dymmel, right, with the newly placed State Historical Preserve marker at the entrance to Crystal Cove Historical District in Newport Beach. The original plaque commemorating the designation was in an out of the way corner and was moved to a new more visible location at the entrance in Newport Beach on Monday, September 18, 2017. (Photo by Sam Gangwer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Cottage area touts its unique historic past as it prepares for the future

CRYSTAL COVE

Crystal Cove Conservancy and the state plan to restore 17 of the remaining structures

By Laylan Connelly

lconnelly @ocbeaches on Twitter

http://www.ocregister.com/2017/09/19/crystal-cove-cottage-area-touts-its-unique-historic-past-but-much-still-to-be-done-for-the-future/

Step onto the sand at Crystal Cove, and you’ll be transported back in time.

It’s a snapshot of what ocean towns up and down the California coastline looked like in the ’20s and ’30s, some of the cottages built by vacationers with whatever materials washed up on the beach so they could create permanent homes.

Now, visitors entering the area will know the Crystal Cove cottages’ historic significance with two plaques that greet beach visitors walking into the park. Officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony this week to unveil the plaques that tout the cottages’ status as a state historic landmark — designated in 2013 — and its standing on the National Register of Historic Places, established in 1979.

“We’re proud of this being a historic district and we’re proud it’s been recognized on the national and state level,” said Eric Dymmel, sector superintendent of State Parks. “It’s only appropriate it be prominently displayed so people are aware they are entering into a historic district, and it really is a special place. Not only for us now, but it has been for decades in the past and for decades in the future.”

Crystal Cove’s story started out like a Hollywood movie, literally. It was in 1918 that the area was first used for movie sets, huts with palm fronds creating a tropical, away-from-everything feel.

Film crews would sometimes leave their sets behind, and families started staying in them.

In the ’30s, tents were put up and slowly, a community formed. Some people built homes with whatever they could find that washed ashore. There was no master plan, no architect to guide them, and they each had personality and character, a style dubbed “early vernacular architecture” once seen along the coast.

“Those are now all gone,” said Crystal Cove Conservancy founder and vice president Laura Davick, who was once a resident in the cottages. “So this is the last remaining examples of what this was like.”

Through the decades, while a small community made Crystal Cove home and lived a laid-back beach lifestyle, orange groves around the county were converted into big cities, skyscrapers went up, freeways were built.

“When you think about Crystal Cove, it’s kind of landlocked in a sea of urbanization, with all of the pressures around the park now,” Davick said. “I think this will hopefully educate folks of why this is important, why we have to protect Crystal Cove.”

In 1979, the state purchased the 3,000-acre Crystal Cove area from the Irvine Co. for $32.6 million. That same year, Crystal Cove residents Martha Padve and Christine Shirley lobbied to get the cottages put on the National Register of Historic Places.

The cottages were occupied by families — referred to as “coveites” — until 2001, when the state evicted them to make way for planned public lodging.

In 2006, Crystal Cove started its next chapter as a place for vacationers to have a unique get-away on the sand after 22 of the cottages were restored, with several more rehabbed through the years. Seven years later, Crystal Cove joined more than 1,000 other locations on the list of State Historic Landmarks.

State Sen. John Moorloch, R-Costa Mesa, joined the ribbon-cutting ceremony this week and talked about how, as a child, he scouted out areas in the state with historic significance. It was an interest that continued into adulthood and one he passed down to his own children.

“That started a crazy hobby,” he said. “This is a bucket list checked off kind of thing,” he said.

Officials didn’t just talk about Crystal Cove’s past, but what’s to come.

Crystal Cove Conservancy and the state plan to restore 17 of the remaining cottages on the north end of the site, currently gated off and run down as years and weather add to the wear. The California Coastal Commission green-lighted the project earlier this year.

The 17 cottages will be turned into 22 overnight units, and once restored they will add about 48,000 rental opportunities annually – about doubling the current available occupancy. A new “open bed” dorm lodge, with 11 beds, will be added at $35 a night per bed. The most expensive cottage, sleeping up to 10 people, will be $245 a night.

This is the first step in gaining approval for the final phase of renovation – it could take five years before the cottages are restored and ready for public use. Each cottage needs to be evaluated for historic significance to determine what stays and what goes, and one cottage is so dilapidated it needs an almost complete makeover.

Then, there’s raising the funds to restore the cottages.

An estimated $17 million is needed for site work and infrastructure, and another $16 million for cottage restoration. The conservancy has raised some and has obtained grants and other financial promises; an estimated $23 million more is needed to finish the project.

“This will shine the light on why Crystal Cove is so important, its significance,” Davick said of the historic designation monument. “It is something that we must preserve for future generations.”

Crystal Cove timeline

1918: “Treasure Island” is shot at Crystal Cove; the film crew leaves behind a palm-frond set.

1920s: Pacific Coast Highway is built, and tourists make the beach a destination for day trips and camping. Visitors start setting up tents at Crystal Cove; cottages are built.

1927: A lumber ship capsizes off the coast, providing more building materials for cottages. The area is named Crystal Cove by Beth Wood because the water is always crystal-clear.

1946: Postwar-era families come to the cove to pitch live-in tents and spend summer days swimming, enjoying cocktails, barbecuing, and singing around bonfires.

1962: The Orange County Board of Supervisors outlaws tent camping on local beaches.

1979: The National Register of Historic Places considers Crystal Cove the last remnant of the 1920s-era California beach life, giving it a historic designation.

Early 2001: More than 600 people pack a public meeting, opposing state plans for a $35 million resort. The state drops a resort contract with the developer. The public California Coastal Conservancy gives the state $2 million to buy out the contract.

April 2001: The first of several community workshops gives residents a chance to say what they’d like to see at Crystal Cove.

July 2001: Cottage residents start moving out after dodging three eviction notices in 22 years.

October 2001: State unveils a preliminary proposal for Crystal Cove based on recommendations from the workshops.

October 2002: State releases its final plan and environmental impact report.

February 2003: The preservation and public-use plan is approved by the State Park and Recreation Commission.

February 2004: State awards an $8 million contract for the Crystal Cove project to Newport Beach-based Metro Builders and Engineers Group.

March 2004: Work begins on the first phase of the project.

Did you know?

· During prohibition, rum smugglers used the cove to smuggle their booty ashore. For years, bottles could still be found buried in the sand. Historic artifacts — including bottles — will be on display.

· The Crystal Cove Historic District is a 12.3-acre coastal portion of the 2,791-acre Crystal Cove State Park.

· The cottages are considered historic because of the “vernacular architecture” — which means they were built without design or plan, in an eclectic style.

Cities urge CalPERS to help ease staff, pay cuts

https://calpensions.com/2017/09/20/cities-urge-calpers-to-help-ease-staff-pay-cuts/

The city manager of once-bankrupt Vallejo expects soaring police pension costs to reach 98 percent of pay in a decade. Lodi employees dropped from 490 to 390 in the last decade. And Oroville, after cutting a third of its staff, recently cut police pay 10 percent.

Eight cities struggling with rising pension costs urged the CalPERS board yesterday to analyze two ways to reduce the cost of pensions, even though the proposals were said by the CalPERS attorney to be unconstitutional under current law.

State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, asked the CalPERS board to analyze the cost of suspending cost-of-living adjustments and giving current employees, for work done in the future, the lower pension for employees hired after Jan. 1, 2013, under reform legislation.

The chairman of the League of California Cities pension committee, Bruce Channing, Laguna Hills city manager, told the CalPERS board that cities throughout the state are “gravely concerned” about “unsustainable” pension costs and all options should be considered.

“Cutting staff, as we have done in my city, is becoming a recurring pattern,” Channing said.

Five unions and retiree groups urged rejection of Moorlach’s request, saying a COLA cut would harm retirees with small pensions. They said Moorlach wants to do away with pensions and should do his own analysis, rather than pass the cost to CalPERS.

The CalPERS board president, Rob Feckner, said he won’t repeat what he said on first seeing the Moorlach letter. He said the request did not come from the entire Legislature, and if Moorlach really believes in his “pet project” he should find another way to fund it.

Vallejo filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and did not cut pensions, a trend followed by the Stockton and San Bernardino bankruptcies in 2012. Vallejo said CalPERS threatened a long legal battle. The other two cities said they needed to be job competitive, particularly for police.

There was speculation several years ago that Vallejo, which had higher costs than the other two cities, may be headed for a second bankruptcy. The Vallejo city manager, Daniel Keen, said he took office three months after Vallejo exited bankruptcy in 2011.

Keen told the CalPERS board yesterday that Vallejo has the same gradual erosion of services that the other seven cities talked about, despite an increase in the sales tax and a tax on medical marijuana.

“We are facing dramatic increases in our pension rates, as are many cities,” Keen said. “We will be looking at 98 percent rates for public safety by ’27-28 and 55 percent rates for our miscellaneous employees in that time frame.”

The Lodi city manager, Steve Schwabaurer, thanked the board for its courage in acknowledging there is a “crisis’ and taking some steps. But he said he has not seen a discussion of options other than asking the cities for more money.

Schwabauer

He gave examples of Lodi’s reduced services and employees: “In 2008 we had 490, today we have 390. In 2008 we had 78 police officers, today we have 71. In 2008 we had five active fire stations, today we have four and a quarter.”

Schwabaurer said CalPERS is projecting that Lodi’s pension rates will increase to 38 percent of pay and 78 percent of pay. He said the projected rates will burn up the general fund reserve and the pension stabilization fund.

To give union representatives in the board audience a sense of what that means, he said: “That is one of my police officers 24 hours a day. It’s a fire station. It’s all of my parks and rec, and all of my library. It’s not a choice we can make.”

The Oroville finance director, Ruth Wright, said the city’s workforce was cut by a third two years ago to balance the budget. A recent 10 percent pay cut negotiated for police was “very hard, very sad,” she said, and now pension rates are projected to double in seven years.

“In three to four years our cash flow is going to be gone,” Wright said. “We don’t even know how we are going to operate past four years. We have been saying the bankruptcy word, which is not very popular.”

West Sacramento’s assistant city manager, Phil Wright, said the city was able to successfully bargain with unions to get through the financial difficulty after the recession began in 2008.

Wright

“Now I’m sitting at the table telling them there is no money after they have taken 5 percent cuts, paid all of their PERS, and it’s because we can’t afford any money,” Wright said. “Every penny that has been returned to our general fund in property tax and sales tax is going to pay for our PERS benefit.”

Others urging CalPERS to do the cost analysis requested by Moorlach were Concord, Santa Rosa, Chico, Yuba City, and the California Special Districts Association.

Opponents said the Moorlach proposals would violate the “California rule,” a series of state court decisions widely believed to mean that the pension offered at hire becomes a vested right, protected by contract law, that can’t be cut unless offset by a comparable new benefit.

Al Darby of the Retired Public Employees Association said the Moorlach request is an “anti-pension proposal” that the CalPERS actuary extimates would cost 80 hours of work time, not counting followup questions.

He said CalPERS was being asked to do opposition on itself, which is absurd. He said cities should explore other methods of relief, such as better use of technology, innovative contracting, and taxing power.

Neal Johnson of SEIU Local 1000 said the fact that the request comes from one legislator, not a committee, seems to have a “certain aim.” He said the advocates say all options should be considered but the request is for just two.

“It is self-serving,” he said. “It is not in the benefit of the 1.5 million members of the system, and I hope you will reject it. As I said, the data is there. They can do the analysis.”

Board member J.J. Jelincic said “a big problem is that what we are being asked to do is a bullet point for an initiative that will pick out the most extreme number and will ignore all the conditions that went into the assumptions.”

Board member Henry Jones said he appreciates the fiscal responsibility of cities to balance the budget and maintain services. But, he said, the fiduciary responsibility of the CalPERS board is to the members of the pension system.

“Our primary responsibility is to have a sustainable fund to pay retirement benefits for years to come,” he said, “and I think we have exercised some of those responsibilities.”

Jones said CalPERS lowered the earnings forecast used to discount future pension obligations, raising employer rates, and adopted other risk mitigation strategies to maintain the pension system in the long run.

Board member Richard Gillihan said he probably would not support the reforms Moorlach wants analyzed, particularly the COLA cut. But he said the request is being “twisted” by some of his colleagues.

Because the CalPERS staff often responds to stakeholder requests without going to the board, he said, the fact that the Moorlach request is before the board suggests that the board is politicizing it.

He said the Moorlach request comes from not just one legislator but also the cities that urged that CalPERS provide the data. He said it’s difficult to negotiate with the unions, as some members suggested, without the data.

“We are just going to disregard their interest in the data,” Gillihan said. “I find that somewhat insulting.”

Given the comments of most board members, the committee chairman, Richard Costigan, said he would not call for a vote. He instructed the CalPERS chief executive, Marcie Frost, to tell Moorlach where to get information to answer his request.

Reporter Ed Mendel covered the Capitol in Sacramento for nearly three decades, most recently for the San Diego Union-Tribune. More stories are at Calpensions.com.

California pensioners: Your COLAs are safe, for now

BY ADAM ASHTON

aashton
http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/the-state-worker/article174256201.html

The state’s largest pension fund on Tuesday shot down a pitch from a Republican lawmaker who wants it to study how much money it could save by cutting benefits for retired public workers.

Sen. John Moorlach of Orange County in July wrote letters to CalPERS board members – Richard Costigan and Dana Hollinger – making two touchy requests for the pension fund.

In one, Moorlach wanted CalPERS to estimate how much money it could save by temporarily suspending cost-of-living adjustments for retirees. CalPERS has different retirement plans that allow cost-of-living adjustments of 2 to 5 percent for its pensioners.

In the other, Moorlach asked CalPERS to look at reducing benefits for current workers and retirees by moving them into the less generous plans public agencies began offering in 2013, after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a pension reform law.

Moorlach submitted bills this year that would have carried out those ideas, but they died in the Democratic-controlled Legislature. A dozen local government leaders attended this week’s CalPERS meeting and implored the fund to study Moorlach’s requests.

They say they’re struggling with fast-rising pension costs, which could double over the next five years in some communities, and they want the information so they can negotiate contract changes with their unions.

“None of us are interested in negotiating with our bargaining units for something that takes away from them and doesn’t solve the problem,” said Phil Wright, West Sacramento’s human resources director.

City governments have drawn attention to their pension costs since CalPERS last year voted to lower its expected investment return rate, compelling government agencies to kick in more money for their employee retirement plans.

“It’s a fire station. It’s all of my parks and recreation and all of my library,” said Lodi City Manager Steve Schwabauer, who expects his city’s pension costs to rise from today’s $6.5 million to $13 million by 2022.

A group of state union leaders countered that both of Moorlach’s requests contemplate changes that would undo pension benefits that were promised to current workers and retirees. That means the proposals violate the so-called “California rule,” the legal precedent that makes pension promises virtually untouchable.

“You should not be doing research on things that are just plain illegal,” Jai Sookprasert, a lobbyist for the California State Employees Association, told the board.

CalPERS in the past has looked at how suspending cost-of-living adjustments would affect the pension fund. Freezing them would improve pension plans for public safety employees by up to 18 percent, and for other employees by up to 15 percent, according to CalPERS.

Today, CalPERS is considered underfunded because it has about 68 percent of the assets it would need to pay all of the benefits it owes immediately. That number sets off alarms for Moorlach and others who worry public agencies won’t be able to make good on their debts.

“We’re 32 percent off,” said Hollinger, who has asked CalPERS actuaries to study how cost-of-living adjustments affect the fund. “I’m worried about the future of all our hard-working constituents who earned a pension. I want to make sure the money is there for them.”

The CalPERS board did not vote on responding to Moorlach. Instead, a majority of members criticized the requests, making clear that a motion to respond to Moorlach would fail. Several CalPERS members and union advocates suggested the data would be used one day in a political campaign targeting public employee pensions.

“I love data, but I’m not sure I want to help write the bullet point for the initiative,” said J.J. Jelincic, member of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System Board of Administration.

Added CalPERS President Rob Feckner: “We’re being asked to fund somebody else’s pet project.”

Adam Ashton: 916-321-1063, @Adam_Ashton. Sign up for state worker news alerts at sacbee.com/newsletters.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Rescheduling Marijuana — September 19, 2017

After garnering 57 percent of the statewide vote, Proposition 64 passed in 2016. In less than four months, on January 1, 2018, this successful ballot measure will allow the sale and taxation of recreational marijuana. The state voted for it, you got it.

I spent a considerable amount of time this Session in lengthy Senate Government and Finance Committee hearings on how to (feverishly) prepare the state of California for this due date and how to transition to it.

To keep the crux of the matter brief, after listening to this “budding” industry’s testimony, the biggest hurdle is banking. Since marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug, which includes heroin, LSD and meth, it is against Federal law to sell and use cannabis. Therefore, a federally chartered bank may not transact with an illegal business. Consequently, the cannabis industry is an all-cash activity. This is awkward for what is estimated to be a $7 billion per year segment of California’s economy.

It should be noted that there are four other schedules for drugs including those with a high potential for abuse (Schedule II), those with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence (Schedule III), those with a low potential for abuse (Schedule IV), and those containing limited quantities of certain narcotics (Schedule V).

This can be remedied with Washington, D.C. making a change in the classification of marijuana. So I gladly cosponsored a resolution to ask Congress to do so. This effort is covered by TheJointBlog piece below.

TheJointBlog

Cannabis news and information

California Legislature Passes Resolution Urging Feds to Remove Marijuana from Schedule 1

A resolution urging U.S. Congress to remove marijuana as a schedule 1 controlled substance has been approved overwhelmingly by California’s Legislature.

by Anthony Martinelli

https://thejointblog.com/california-legislature-passes-resolution-urging-feds-remove-marijuana-schedule-1/

Senate Joint Resolution 5, “Relative to federal rescheduling of marijuana from a Schedule I drug”, was introduced by Senator Jeff Stone with cosponsored Senator Scott Wiener and Senator John Moorlach. It was approved in the Senate in April with a 34 to 2 vote, and was approved by the Assembly last week with a vote of 60 to 10. The resolution reads:

“Resolved by the Senate and the Assembly of the State of California, jointly, That the Legislature urges the Congress of the United States to pass a law to reschedule marijuana or cannabis and it’s its derivatives from a Schedule I drug to an alternative schedule, therefore allowing the legal research and development of marijuana or cannabis for medical use and allowing for the legal commerce of marijuana or cannabis so that businesses dealing with marijuana or cannabis can use traditional banks or financial institutions for their banking needs, which would result in providing a legal vehicle for those businesses to pay their taxes, including, but not limited to, payroll taxes, unsecured property taxes, and applicable taxes on the products sold in accordance with state and local laws”.

The resolution continues; “and be it further Resolved, That the Legislature urges the President of the United States to sign such legislation; and be it further Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States, and to the author for appropriate distribution.”

The full text of the resolution can be found by clicking here.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Good Luck With That — September 17, 2017

Sacramento just doesn’t get it. A housing crisis is not solved with new fees, bonds, and local government process overrides.

Let’s talk about housing. KQED provides some of the gory details in the piece below. But, allow me to elaborate. A quick tip, KQED provides the last act first.

For Senate Bill 3 (and 5), I provided the following abbreviated concerns on the Senate Floor:

1. Let’s review the housing market over the last eleven years. In Orange County, the median price for a home in 1996 was $221,800. Ten years later, after the subprime mortgage boom (for fun, watch "The Big Short"), the median rose to $739,000. With the Great Recession, the median went down to $498,200 in 2011. And, as of June 2017, it is back to $734,200.

2. Why the recent resurgence?
A. A slow, but steady rise in job growth.
B. Foreign investors. They came in at the market low as a safe haven.
C. Explaining an increase of all-cash transactions; more than 50% in 2013.
D. This has caused a decrease in home ownership and more renters.
E. Difficulty for developers to obtain entitlements and to build.
F. The other usual suspects, like NIMBYism, CEQA and open space demands.
G. For those lucky enough, try working with the California Coastal Commission.

It makes you wonder, what has Sacramento done to address foreign buyers and entitlement restrictions? And, I can see now why SB 714 (Newman) was removed from the calendar this last week, as it doubles down on taking entitled property for building new homes in the city of Brea and requiring total open space. Boy, this bill was so out of touch, the Democrats had to save the author from himself. But, I digress.

3. What is the current dilemma?
A. Americans find the home buying process too overwhelming.
B. They find it too difficult to come up with the down payment.
C. More than other generations, Millennials value experiences over ownership.
D. Americans change jobs more often than in previous generations.

With SB 2, Sacramento will be adding to the burdens. Within minutes, the Democrats also voted for AB 166 (Salas), which provides exemptions from the new SB 2 fees. You can’t make this stuff up. And those who qualify are not those going through a foreclosure!

Then I warned them about issuing more debt by sharing the following disturbing data from Moody’s Investors Service. Among the 10 largest states in the nation, California joins Illinois and New York as the three worst in all of the following categories:

1. Debt to personal income — 4.70%, when the median for all states is 2.50%.
2. Debt per capita — $2,323, when the median is $1,025.
3. Debt as a percentage of state GDP — 3.94%, when the median is 2.21%

And the state’s own bond credit rating is a measly AA-, just above Illinois, at BBB+. This means that California will be paying higher interest rates than issuing states with top credit ratings.

If this wasn’t enough of a reason to vote against the bond measures, I also gave a lecture on future budget and balance sheet concerns — a "what’s up?" listing:

1. A $4 billion bond translates into $225 million per year in payments! Where will this come from? The Senate approved two such bond bills on Friday.
2. The annual contributions for CalPERS and CalSTRS are also rising.
3. The Proposition 98 school funding threshold into the General Fund is also rising.
4. The minimum wage is rising and will impact the budget by $4 billion per year.
5. The recent voter approved $9 billion bond for school improvements will impact the General Fund by $500 million per year (no wonder the Governor hasn’t released any tranches).

What does all this mean? In a few short years, the General Fund is screwed. But I put it more politely on the Senate Floor, stating that "it will be dramatically impacted. Good luck with that."

Sacramento so much wants California to be like other blue states that are heading for the fiscal precipice, such as Connecticut, Illinois and New York. And quickly. But, this is the wrong race to be in.

You can bet the Governor will sign these bills and the monopoly party will pat themselves on the back for once again dealing with a problem with inappropriate solutions. Tragic.

THE CALIFORNIA REPORT

Housing Bill Package Passes

Legislature, Goes to Gov.

Brown

By Guy Marzorati

https://ww2.kqed.org/news/2017/09/15/housing-bills-clear-toughest-hurdle-at-state-capitol/

A package of landmark housing legislation is on its way to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown, after receiving final passage in the State Senate.

After a dramatic vote in the Assembly on Thursday night, bills to fund housing construction and streamline development rules received easier passage in the Senate.

“In my mind, this is a really historic day,” said Senator Toni Atkins, D-San Diego. “Together, we are lifting many of our residents out of poverty.”

Governor Brown supports Senate Bills 2, 3, and 35, and is expected to sign the legislation.

Senators had already approved earlier versions of the bills earlier this year.

Once again, moderate Democrats Steve Glazer, D-Orrinda, and Josh Newman, D-Fullerton voted in favor of a controversial real estate fee in SB 2 that will create new funding for affordable housing.

Senate Bill 3, a $4 billion affordable housing bond, passed with 30 votes. It will appear on the November 2018 statewide ballot if signed by Brown.

All Republicans opposed the fee in SB 2, which would be paid by homeowners on transactions like a mortgage refinance.

Senator John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, said SB 2 is “taxing those who are having a tough time because they can’t afford down payment.”

Instead, many Republicans said the state should be focused on eliminating roadblocks to housing development.

That led four GOP members to support Senate Bill 35, which makes it harder for cities to block new housing if they had failed to meet regional goals for approving developments. Despite losing seven Democrats, the measure passed on a 23-14 vote.

Original Post:

A package of bills representing the Legislature’s most significant push in years to address California’s housing crisis overcame its largest hurdle to date, passing the State Assembly on Thursday night. But it didn’t come without suspense.

The bills earmark billions of dollars for home construction, and enact rules making it harder for local governments to block new developments, with the overarching goal of increasing housing stock in the state.

“We are once again showing that here in California we are stepping up and getting the job done,” said Speaker Anthony Rendon, ( D-Lakewood).

In a late night vote, the Assembly approved six housing measures, including the three most high-profile bills: Senate Bill 3, a $4 billion bond measure, Senate Bill 2, a new permanent source of affordable housing, and Senate Bill 35, legislation that makes it harder for local governments to block housing developments.

SB 2 would provide hundreds of millions of dollars in new funding for housing through a $75 fee on real estate transactions, such as those filed in a mortgage refinance, or the redemption of a foreclosed home. The fee would be capped at a total of $225.

“One thing we all share at this time is that we are living in the worst housing crisis that our state has ever experienced,” said David Chiu, (D-San Francisco) chair of the Assembly Housing Committee. “SB 2 is at the heart of what we need to do.”

The vote on SB 2 provided most of the night’s drama.

Like SB 3, the proposed fee required a two-thirds vote in the Assembly, meaning Democrats could not afford to lose any votes if Republicans unified in opposition.

That calculation changed during floor debate, when San Diego Republican Brian Maienschein announced he would support the measure.

Maienschein, the former San Diego commissioner on homelessness, mentioned the issue of Californians living on the street as his motivation for voting in favor.

Half of the money collected from SB 2 in its first year would go towards assisting Californians who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness.

“I do feel compelled to act,” he said. “I wish there was something different to be done, and to do nothing to me isn’t an option.”

But the bill wasn’t out of the woods yet. After debate over the measure ended, three Democrats remained unconvinced.

Democrats Sabrina Cervantes of Riverside, Adrin Nazarian of the San Fernando Valley and Marc Levine of Marin refrained from voting for the fee hike.

Cervantes is a swing-district Democrat who also didn’t vote on July’s cap-and-trade extension.

Levine voiced his opposition to the real estate fee during the summer recess, instead calling for California corporations to shoulder a tax increase to pay for housing.

After holding out for almost an hour — and paying a visit to Speaker Rendon’s office — Levine and Nazarian both relented and voted for the measure.

Rendon and Levine said no side deals were exchanged for their ‘aye’ votes.

“What I’m most concerned about is that the work continues,” Levine told KQED after the vote. “That we’re trying to find flexible policies that help all Californians in all communities plan for the housing we desperately need.”

Getting 54 votes on SB 2 was the culmination of a furious four weeks of negotiating and vote whipping after the Legislature returned from recess in August.

The bill carried the distinct disadvantage of being a legislative caboose on a train with several tough supermajority votes.

In just the last five months, moderate Democrats had been asked to support a road repair bill that raises the gasoline tax and an extension of the state’s cap-and-trade system that will likely increase fuel prices as well.

The third request on moderates, many of whom represent swing districts, came with little time left in the legislative year. That forced SB 2 to compete for public attention with the usual logjam of bills jockeying for passage before Friday’s end-of-year deadline.

Lawmakers pushing the housing fix also had to do without much public help from Gov. Jerry Brown.

Brown, who made fiery, meme-generating speeches in the final days before successful votes on the road repair and cap-and-trade bills, didn’t make a similar rally for the housing bills.

After the vote, Brown did send out a tweet of approval for the bills, which he supports, and is expected to sign if they pass the Senate.

Senate Bill 2 was able to gain support through a series of tweaks; more money was added for the homeless, and a greater share of funds will be directed to local government.

Additionally, language was added to a separate bill to create a hardship exemption for some low-income Californians. Levine said this provision was critical to gaining his support for SB 2.

The Assembly also passed a separate funding measure, SB 3, a $4 billion housing bond that will go before voters in November of 2018, if given final approval by the Senate and signed by the governor.

The bond passed the Assembly on a 54-20 vote, with Republicans Maienschein and Catharine Baker (R-Dublin) voting in favor.

For the most part, Republicans shied away from supporting the bonds and fees, instead arguing that the elimination of regulatory roadblocks would spur more development.

“We’re not talking about zoning,” said Devon Mathis (R-Visalia). “We’re talking about throwing more money at it.”

Legislation to ease restrictions on development also sailed to passage on Thursday night, needing only a majority vote.

The key streamlining measure was Senate Bill 35, which would bypass certain local reviews for developments in cities that have fallen behind on regional housing goals.

Opponents from both parties worried the bill would remove local control from important planning decisions.

“I might have agreed with [that argument] five years ago or ten years ago,” said Laura Friedman (D-Glendale). “But we’re in a really different climate right now. We’re in a crisis, in a housing crisis,” she said before voting for it.

The measures now head back to the State Senate for passage on Friday, the last day in the Legislature before a recess until the new year.

KQED’s Scott Shafer contributed to this report.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — End of Session Contrasts — September 16, 2017

We were able to conclude Session at 2:30 this morning, two-and-one-half hours after the Joint Rules deadline. The process of running bills between both chambers was not flowing well, as petty politicking between the two chambers wasted a lot of time unnecessarily.

As a result, there was a little too much dead time and the midnight deadline came and went, without Senate leadership requesting a rule waiver before the Cinderella moment. It made for some commotion, since the rules are clear that the first year of the Session ends on the 15th, not the 16th. This slip up provided a little drama in the middle of the night. The Republican Caucus even adjusted the paper calendars to reflect that it was the 16th.

After an hour in conversations with the Legislative Counsel lawyers, the Senate leadership claimed that the “customs and practices” of the body took precedence over the actual rules. So we agreed to press on. But, there will be that lingering anxiety hanging over the uncertainty concerning the legitimacy of those bills that were passed after the deadline. All of these components limited our time, leaving many bills languishing and having to wait until January.

The Sacramento Bee provides its take of the final flurry of bills in the first piece below. It reflects the views of the majority party in a favorable light, and refers to me in contrast, with my vote for SB 384 (The Sacramento Bee mixed up two bills, as SB 421 was gutted and amended into SB 384 after being held up in the Assembly Appropriations Committee).

The subject of SB 384 is something that I wanted to pursue while up here in Sacramento. This morning I shared on the Senate Floor that someone who was caught urinating in public should not need to carry a scarlet letter for the rest of their life.

The second piece below, in Church Militant, touches on Senate Resolution 68, which I introduced this week. SR 68 commemorates the 500th anniversary of the Reformation (see https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SR68). I kept my opening statement brief (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ndPkFrjYlE&feature=youtu.be). I anticipated a healthy debate on the Floor, but none of my colleagues engaged and it received only one vote of opposition.

Reformation Day (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reformation_Day) is next month. Before my youngest brother took a call to serve at a church in Tennessee, he would host a Reformation Sunday evening service at the Crystal Cathedral every year at the end of October. For this annual tradition, this year is a really big deal. And you know that I observe significant milestones.

If you’re in the mood to commemorate the Quincentenary (Quin·cen·ten·a·ry) of the Reformation, I have a recommendation. Concordia University Irvine is recognizing this anniversary through a series of events called Reformation 500.

On Wednesday, November 1, Concordia’s choirs, handbells and orchestras join with musicians from area churches and schools in a 500-member music ensemble to lead festive hymns, choruses, and sacred music around the themes of Scripture Alone, Grace Alone, Faith Alone and Christ Alone. This “Evening of Word & Song” will be held at the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa at 7:00 p.m..

See, the California Senate can work on contrasting issues, from ecumenical recognition to exercising grace for those on the registry for sexual offenders. Next week I’ll try to provide my recap and continue the annual tradition of providing a list of the 20 bills that Governor Brown should veto.

BONUS: Visit Crystal Cove Monday afternoon for the unveiling of Orange County’s most recently installed California Historical Landmark (see MOORLACH UPDATE Who Runs Our Government? September 14, 2017).

In this legislative session, plenty got done that will affect your life

BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD

HTTP://AMP.SACBEE.COM/OPINION/EDITORIALS/ARTICLE173558766.HTML

In many years, the Legislature’s approval of a $4 billion housing bond and a $75 tax on homeowners who refinance to help solve California’s housing crisis would be a signature achievement.

In other years, approval of a $5.2 billion a year tax on gasoline to repair and maintain California’s rutted freeways would be a big deal. The gas tax hadn’t been touched in decades.

Add to that the extension of a cap-and-trade program, which will generate north of $2 billion a year through 2030, and bills to require transparency from the pharmaceutical industry, and protect law-abiding undocumented immigrants from federal overreach and deportation, and you have the remarkable 2017 legislative session.

But legislators, led by Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, who is in the final year before he is termed out of the Legislature, did some thoughtful work on bills that will affect Californians’ lives. Congress ought to take note, not that it will.

In some instances, legislators cast votes that placed their political futures at risk, to their credit. Sen. Josh Newman, a Democrat who won a Fullerton-area seat that had been held by Republicans, faces a Republican-fueled recall, purportedly for his vote in favor of the gasoline tax.

Assemblyman Chad Mayes, R-Yucca Valley, incurred the wrath of Republican Party bosses and lost his position as Assembly GOP leader after voting for the measure to extend the cap-and-trade program. All voters should want all legislators to vote their consciences, regardless of political consequences.

Although most major bills passed on party line votes, Republicans joined Democratic majorities on noteworthy measures. Assemblyman Brian Maienschein of San Diego County and Contra Costa County Assemblywoman Catharine Baker voted for the housing bond, to be placed before voters in November 2018.

Republicans Baker and Maienschein broke from their caucus to vote for Senate Bill 63 which would extend job protection for new parents who work for employers with as few as 20 employees. Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, one of the most liberal legislators, carried SB 63.

The California Chamber of Commerce calls Jackson’s bill a job killer and is urging Gov. Jerry Brown to veto it. We hope he signs it. New parents ought to be able to spend 12 weeks, at least, bonding with their child without worrying they will be fired.

There was bipartisan support for several lesser noticed but significant measures. Take, for example, Senate Bill 421 by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco. Wiener, one of the most liberal members of the Legislature, carried legislation endorsed by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office to whittle down the registry of sex offenders, which numbers an unwieldy 100,000 names.

The bill would create a tiered system for sex offenders, and result in some lower risk offenders being removed from the registry. Sens. Joel Anderson of San Diego County, John Moorlach of Orange County and Andy Vidak of Visalia, three of the most conservative Republicans, crossed party lines to vote for it.

Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, brokered a deal that won near unanimous support to allow off-road aficionados to continue to pursue their hobby in California. If only Congress could work out such compromises.

In Washington and in many states controlled by Republicans, organized labor is under assault. Not here. In California, labor led the fight for the drug transparency measure, SB 17 by Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Azusa. In too many other instances, however, labor fought for bills that were in their organizations’ narrow self-interest. Democrats, many of whom owe their seats to labor, went along. There was a notable exception.

Rendon defied the California Nurses Association by spiking half-baked legislation by Sens. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, and Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, to create a single-payer, universal health care system. Rendon has called for study that will go on in the interim. That makes sense. Sweeping measures require thought.

Legislators have their work cut out between now and the Legislature’s return in January. Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles, and Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, will be studying an overhaul of the bail system.

Brown, who will be a lame duck for the last time next year, hopes to join with neighboring states in a Western regional electricity grid. But whatever legislators produce in 2018, it probably won’t match what they accomplished in 2017.

California Senator Proposes Measure to Recognize Protestant Reformation

Sen. John Moorlach’s proposal would officially acknowledge Protestant Revolt against Catholic Church. FULL STORY

https://www.churchmilitant.com/video/episode/news-09-15-2017

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MOORLACH UPDATE — LA BOS Meddling — September 15, 2017

Senator Anthony Mendoza (D – Artesia), has been meddling with the structure of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors since I came up here to Sacramento. His efforts in the last Session failed. He came back with another version of expanding the number of Supervisors this year and it also failed earlier this week. However, after a bill is killed on the Floor or in Committee, the author is granted the ability to have it reconsidered.

Yesterday, after considerable cajoling by the supporters of Senate Constitutional Amendment (SCA) 12, it barely passed. Why? A few reasons. Based on my observations:

1. The Board of Supervisors for LA County has become distant and powerful. That has created resentment by many of the Senators who represent the Los Angeles area.

2. The LA County BoS has either ignored certain parts of the county, or provided more funding to favored areas. This has also created resentment.

3. Those supporting the SCA 12, which puts a measure on the June, 2018 ballot, do not believe that it will pass in the Assembly. Therefore, they can express their frustrations, obtain their pound of flesh, and hope that things improve.

4. In an era of term limits, both for Senators and Supervisors, I dubbed this measure on the Floor as the “Where Do I Land Next Act”

5. There are also undercurrents that have nothing to do with the LA BoS, like jockeying for the President pro Tem position. But, this background intrigue would take too long to explain.

Consequently, this power play is being done for the wrong reasons. As a former Orange County Supervisor and member of the Executive Board of the California State Association of Counties, I was not amused. I spoke against the measure both times. The first speech provided seven reasons to vote against SCA 12 see
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtG0cyU9BZM&feature=youtu.be). The LA Times provides a snippet from my second submission to the debate club (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_7NLzUy-hc&feature=youtu.be). It is in their piece below, where I exhorted my colleagues not to waiver. But, the undercurrents were too powerful.

What’s the takeaway? LA Board, this is a wake up call. My suggestion is an old one: do what Los Angeles County did in 1889, when Orange County was created, by having one or two areas splinter off (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Happy Quasquicentennial! — December 31, 2013 ).

We have about 120 bills to address on this final day of the 2017 Session. The game is to guess when we will conclude tonight. Some are anticipating that we may go as late as 4 a.m. tomorrow morning.

BONUS: Visit Crystal Cove Monday afternoon if you are a California Historical Landmark enthusiast (see MOORLACH UPDATE Who Runs Our Government? September 14, 2017).

In reversal, state Senate approves ballot measure that would expand the L.A. County Board of Supervisors

Patrick McGreevy

http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-updates-in-reversal-state-senate-approves-1505431616-htmlstory.html

After falling short of votes earlier in the week, a bill that would expand the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors won the two-thirds majority vote needed for passage in the state Senate on Thursday. The proposal, which would increase the board’s members from five to seven, would be put on the June 2018 ballot for voter approval should it pass the Assembly.

Acknowledging the measure faces a tough sell, Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) said he will take it up in that chamber in January so he has time to muster the needed votes.

“Today was a huge step in the right direction for the people of L.A. County and all Californians,” Mendoza said. “The LA. County Board of Supervisors has remained the same since 1850, when the population was just 3,000. It is time we give L.A. County’s 10 million residents a fair and representational government.”

Mendoza won sufficient votes after he said he will drop a controversial proposal to make the county administrative officer an elected position.

Los Angeles County’s delegation in the Senate split over the proposal, but four Republicans and two Democrats from other parts of the state changed their position and voted to support the measure, giving it the bare 27-vote margin it needed to pass.

With the county Board of Supervisors opposed, Democratic senators from Los Angeles County who voted against the measure included Ricardo Lara, Henry Stern and Holly Mitchell.

Mitchell said it would not be proper to allow all of the counties in California to determine how Los Angeles is governed.

“The people of Los Angeles County, while we appreciate your concern, have voted three times against a proposal just like this one,” Mitchell said during the floor debate. “If you are concerned about the people of Los Angeles County, allow the people of Los Angeles County to determine their own future and fate.”

Mendoza said his proposal is different from the failed county initiatives because his includes strict cost-containment measures. He criticized county board members who are opposing his bill.

“They are not looking at the greater good. They are looking at self-preservation,” Mendoza said.

Sen. Jeff Stone (R-Temecula) is a former Riverside County supervisor who agreed with the concern that each Los Angeles board member is representing too many people at more than 1 million.

“People deserve to be able to have an elected official they can depend on,” Stone said.

However, Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), a former Orange County supervisor, said it is awkward having the state tell Los Angeles County how to govern.

“I see this as antagonistic,” he said, offering that a better solution might be to divide Los Angeles County into two or three counties.

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 Who Runs Our Government? September 14, 2017

Many years ago, it became clear to many of us that Sacramento had two parties, the Republican Party and the Union Party. It is amazing how many bills are approved that incrementally give unions, both public and private, more and more territory over management or nonunion private sector businesses. It’s a testimony to their effectiveness, that such a small portion of the work force can control so much influence. Now that they have so much influence, that the changes they seek are no longer incremental. In fact, they are swinging for the fences and seem to be closing in on wholesale ownership of the state. They will use their power to the fullest, following the dictum of “more.” They are proving that they are “the Daddy” around the Capitol.

The most egregious example this year is AB 1250. Almost every newspaper in California has opined against this bill. Consequently, it was reported that it has become a two-year bill. Yet, we have been told that AB 1250 may come back to the Senate Floor today or tomorrow for a vote (also see MOORLACH UPDATE — AB 1250 OC Opposition — September 5, 2017 september 5, 2017 john moorlach, MOORLACH UPDATE — AB 1250 Labor Dominance — July 13, 2017  and MOORLACH UPDATE — AB 1250 Labor Dominance — July 13, 2017).

With this shadow hanging over the Legislature, I submitted one last editorial in opposition and it was published by Fox & Hounds in the piece below.

BONUS: You’re invited to an informal California Historical Landmark plaque unveiling at Crystal Cove State Park, 8471 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach. Come on Monday, September 18, at 2 p.m. for the private ceremony. Please RSVP with Aly John at 714-662-6050.

Orange County’s newest State Historical Landmark is the Historic District of Crystal Cove State Park (see http://www.crystalcovestatepark.org/the-historic-district/ and MOORLACH UPDATE — Numbers 1050 and 49 — January 2, 2016 january 2, 2016 john moorlach).

The park also contains an historic World War II bunker (see https://johnmoorlach.wordpress.com/2017/07/09/moorlach-update-da-doubts-july-9-2017/).

As this landmark is not up on the state’s website yet, here’s a description:

1050 CRYSTAL COVE HISTORIC DISTRICT – It is a 12.3-acre coastal portion of the 2,791-acre Crystal Cove State Park. The federally listed Historic District is an enclave of 46 vintage rustic coastal cottages originally built as a seaside colony in the 1930’s & ’40’s and nestled around the mouth of Los Trancos Creek. It is one of the last remaining examples of early 20th century Southern California coastal development.

AB 1250 Would Make the Poor More Miserable

Senator John Moorlach

By Senator John MoorlachCalifornia State Senate, 37th District

http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2017/09/ab-1250-make-poor-miserable/

As we have seen again in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Americans are the world’s most charitable people. From food banks and religious groups, to the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity, our people help out those most in need.

I also can speak from experience as a county treasurer and supervisor that nonprofits provide crucial services to the poorest and least among us in our communities. Many of these charities are hired by local governments for their expertise, excellence and reasonable cost.

That’s why I believe Assembly Bill 1250 in its current form could cripple local county and non-profit budgets, meaning less help for those who need it most. Authored by Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer Sr., D-Los Angeles, the bill prohibits a county from contracting out for services “customarily” performed by county workers unless 14 complicated requirements are met, including:

  • Contracting out must not “significantly undercut county pay rates,” meaning for unionized workers. That would defeat the whole purpose of trying to save the taxpayers’ money while providing better services.
  • “The contract does not cause the displacement of county employees,” which basically would ban outsourcing.

The analysis by the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance found the bill is “likely a de facto prohibition” on contracting out charitable services.

It’s no wonder AB 1250 is opposed by such notable charities as the California Association of Food Banks, the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, Advent Group Ministries, the California Catholic Conference, Jewish Family Services of San Diego and United Ways of California.

One of the issues I have worked on most as a county supervisor and state senator is the homelessness crisis. This bill would significantly undercut efforts to help those without stable housing and long-term shelter. That’s why opposition also comes from the Family Health and Support Network Inc., the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of Californiaand the County Welfare Directors Association of California.

Another major issue I’ve been addressing for the last 18 years is excessive retirement benefit costs for public employees. The private sector and nonprofit communities do not provide Rolls-Royce-type defined benefit pension plans for their employees because of the high potential costs.

Now government wants to gobble up all the jobs and pay higher wages and benefits? Where is the justice in this power grab? Who runs our government? The taxpayers or public-employee union leaders?

By preventing ways for counties to deliver services to the needy more efficiently and cost-effectively, more burdens will be put on state government to solve the problems of homelessness and poverty.

That also will crimp state budgets, with critical areas getting less funding, at a time Gov. Jerry Brown and many others are warning a recession could strike – which also would add to the number of the poor and needy.

I urge my fellow senators to reject AB 1250.

John Moorlach, a Costa Mesa Republican, represents the state’s 37th Senate district. He can be contacted at senator.moorlach.

 

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Who Is? — September 13, 2017

Greetings from under the Dome. In the final week of the legislative session before breaking for the fall, we’re in Committee meetings or on the Floor constantly, with a break for lunch. Speaking of lunch breaks, Rich Pedroncelli, the world-famous photographer for Associated Press, caught me working on my laptop yesterday in the first piece below, courtesy of the Sacramento Bee.

The Highland Community News provides the list of bills that were signed by Governor Brown on Monday in the second piece below. The good news, he signed my fourth bill of this year, SB 764 (see http://district37.cssrc.us/content/senate-bill-764-client-trust-fund-protection and (MOORLACH UPDATE — Legislative Efforts — June 29, 2017).

SB 764 started with a conversation on one of my flights back to the District. Jeff Eales was sitting next to me and mentioned that his C.P.A., Jay Wikum, used to work for me. From there he explained the result of a recent state audit of his employer. The audit checklist did not have a box for insurance coverage for trust funds. So he had to double up with the acquisition of a bond. SB 764 permits the use of insurance. Thank you, Jeff.

The San Francisco Examiner provides the details of a bill, AB 186, that failed to get enough votes to pass, a rarity up here. It would allow for Supervised Injection Services (SIS) for drug users and is covered in the third piece below.

The fourth piece is from the LA Times. It has a website that stays up to the minute, and it provides this morning’s Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee meeting. I had indigestion with a provision wanting to unionize the largest manufacturing plant in California. The plant belongs to Tesla and is located in Fremont. It begs the question, “Who is?”

The fun life continues.

BONUS: You’re invited to an informal California Historical Landmark plaque unveiling at Crystal Cove. This state park has erected the marker where the plaque is placed. Come on Monday at 2 p.m. for the private ceremony.

 

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State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, works as his desk as the Senate takes a break for lunch Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. Rich Pedroncelli AP Photo

http://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article172843136.html

Governor Brown Issues Legislative Update

http://www.highlandnews.net/news/political/governor-brown-issues-legislative-update/article_9f9f55d2-97e0-11e7-9da7-d742620e5694.html

SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced that he has signed the following bills:

AB 242 by Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) – Certificates of death: veterans.

AB 395 by Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) – Substance use treatment providers.

AB 400 by Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) – Crimes: alcoholic beverages: State Capitol.

AB 593 by Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) – Structural Fumigation Enforcement Program.

AB 711 by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell) – Beer manufacturers: free or discounted rides.

AB 1108 by Assemblymember Tom F. Daly (D-Anaheim) – Self-service storage facilities.

AB 1398 by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) – Annuities: cash surrender benefits.

AB 1487 by Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona) – Public Employees’ Retirement System: limited term appointments.

AB 1504 by Assemblymember Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) – State parks: concessions: contracts.

AB 1613 by Assemblymember Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco) – San Mateo County Transit District: retail transactions and use tax.

SB 65 by Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) – Vehicles: alcohol and marijuana: penalties.

SB 157 by Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) – Invasion of privacy: distribution of sexually explicit materials: protection of plaintiff’s identity.

SB 335 by Senator Anthony J. Cannella (R-Ceres) – Nursery Advisory Board.

SB 401 by Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) – Child care facilities: state employees.

SB 407 by Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) – Common interest developments: noncommercial solicitation.

SB 410 by Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) – Civil service: veterans’ hiring preference: active duty members.

SB 427 by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) – Public water systems: community water systems: lead user service lines.

SB 455 by Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) – Pupil enrollment: military dependents.

SB 489 by Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) – Workers’ compensation: change of physician.

SB 525 by Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) – Public employees’ retirement.

SB 554 by Senator Jeff E. Stone (R-Temecula) – Nurse practitioners: physician assistants: buprenorphine.

SB 628 by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) – Local educational agencies: governing board elections: Los Angeles Community College District.

SB 654 by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) – Local moratorium: gambling tables.

SB 666 by Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) – California Gambling Control Commission and Department of Justice: postemployment restrictions.

SB 684 by Senator Patricia C. Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) – Incompetence to stand trial: conservatorship: treatment.

SB 704 by Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) – Division of Boating and Waterways: invasive aquatic plants control programs.

SB 764 by Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) – Real estate trust fund accounts: fidelity insurance.

The Governor also announced that he has vetoed the following bills:

AB 662 by Assemblymember Steven Choi (R-Irvine) – Restitution: tracking. A veto message can be found here.

SB 663 by Senator Jim W. Nielsen (R-Gerber) – Packages and labels of cannabis or cannabis products: children. A veto message can be found here.

For full text of the bills, visit: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov

Wiener fails to pass bill in California Senate to allow safe injection sites for drug users

By Joshua Sabatini

http://www.sfexaminer.com/wiener-fails-pass-bill-california-senate-allow-safe-injection-sites-drug-users/

A state bill that would allow San Francisco and seven other counties to open
up safe injection sites failed to pass the California Senate Tuesday night by
two votes.

However, state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco — a co-author of the bill — intends to ask the Senate to reconsider the proposal before the legislative session ends Friday.

“We all want people to get off of drugs,” Wiener said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “To my colleagues I would just ask, ‘How the heck are we doing in terms of getting people off of drugs?’ I think pretty darn poorly when you look

at the absolute explosion of injection drug use in cities, in rural areas, in California, in states across the country.”

He added, “The approach we’ve been using is a failure.”

The most recent estimates of drug overdose deaths in the U.S. shows a 21 percent increase between 2015 and 2016, with 64,070 people dying of drug overdoses compared to the 52,898 recorded overdose deaths in 2015, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

San Francisco has been studying opening up safe injection sites and could possibly become the first city in the nation to open a sanctioned one as early

as 2018, but that effort will likely be derailed if the state bill doesn’t pass. A

safe injection task force, established at the urging of Board of Supervisors President London Breed, is expected to recommend in a report this month

that San Francisco open such facilities.

Assembly Bill 186, introduced by Assemblywoman Susan Eggman,

D-Stockton, and co-authored by Wiener, would provide legal protections for

San Francisco, along with seven other counties, to open safe injection sites.

The Assembly passed AB 186 in June by a 41 to 33 vote.

Republican senators blasted the bill on the Senate floor Tuesday when

Wiener called for the vote. Wiener managed to pick up 19 votes for it by Tuesday night, two shy of the required 21 votes to pass.

But Wiener is expected to have the Senate reconsider the bill before Friday’sdeadline, when the legislative session ends. If approved by the Senate, Gov. Jerry Brown would need to sign it into law.

Wiener built support for the proposal on the Senate floor by highlighting that it doesn’t mandate the eight counties actually open the facilities, there is no

state funding tied to it and studies show they work.

Safe injection sites allow drug users to inject drugs under supervision of

medical professionals.

“I want to just really emphasize that this is not new,” Wiener said of safe

injection sites. “The United States is behind other countries. There are over 100 programs around the world that have implemented safe injection sites. And in

all of these programs there has never been a single reported case of a lethal overdose in one of these centers.”

Wiener said studies have proven that the sites reduce the spread of HIV and hepatitis, reduce litter of syringes and guide people into treatment programs.

He also said the sites would free up emergency personnel from responding to drug overdose reports. “When you stop sending paramedics on runs to

respond to overdoses, for example, in public restrooms, abandoned cars, or homeless encampments you free them up to respond more quickly to other emergencies like heart attacks or strokes,” Wiener said.

Wiener dismissed concerns that the sites would encourage drug use. “People are already injecting drugs. But they are doing it on the streets,” Wiener said. “Why not do it in a safe sterile environment off of our streets?”

Republican senators sided with law enforcement groups like the California Police Chiefs Association, California State Sheriffs’ Association and the California District Attorneys Association, which are opposing the bill.

State Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Tehama, argued that the sites wouldn’t end drug

use. Nielsen said “there is little hope” someone who uses the sites would “dedicate themselves to rehabilitation.”

State Sen. Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, said, “One of our jobs on the floor is to promote virtue and not encourage vices like drug use.”

“I don’t think we should be enabling people here with broken hearts and

souls,” Morrell said.

State Sen. Ted Gaines, R-El Dorado Hills, said safe injection sites would

“create sanctioned shooting galleries for street heroin.”

“Let’s not tell people who are slaves to drugs that the best we can do for them

is to provide a ‘clean, well-lighted place’ for them to throw away their lives,” Gaines said.

Other Democratic state senators spoke in favor of the the bill.

Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, said new strategies are needed to address the drug epidemic. “We’ve tried things that don’t work,” Atkins said. “It makes

sense to try pilot programs.”

Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, said he had visited a safe injection facility

in Sydney, Australia, and saw it was effective. “We keep losing our young

folks. The epidemic continues to grow,” Lara said. “We have to treat this issue differently. Because what we’ve been doing does not work.”

Under AB 186, San Francisco along with Alameda, Fresno, Humboldt, Los Angeles, Mendocino, San Joaquin and Santa Cruz counties could operate a safe drug consumption program for those 18 or older, until Jan. 1, 2022.

Those involved in the programs couldn’t be charged with drug offenses and those operating the program would have to provide annual reports detailing syringes distributed, demographics of drug users, overdoses and referrals to treatment programs.

How the California Senate voted Tuesday on Assembly Bill 186

‘Yes’ votes:
Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica
Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego
Sen. Jim Beall, D-Campbell
Sen. Steven Bradford, D- Gardena
Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles
Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa
Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina
Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles
Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo
Sen. Bill Hueso, D-San Diego
Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara
Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens
Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino
Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg
Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles
Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel
Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Oakland
Sen. Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont
Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco

‘No’ votes:
Sen. Joel Anderson, R-El Cajon
Sen. Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Niguel
Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Twain Harte
Sen. Anthony J. Cannella, R-Ceres
Sen. Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield
Sen. Ted Gaines, R-El Dorado Hills
Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda
Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa
Sen. Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga
Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton
Sen. Janet Nguyen, R-Garden Grove
Jim Nielsen, R-Tehama
Sen. Anthony Portantino D-La Cañada Flintridge
Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside
Sen. Jeff Stone R-Riverside County
Andy Vidak, R-Hanford
Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley

Did not vote:
Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton
Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia
Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento
Sen. Henry Stern, D-Agoura Hills

Hearing on cap-and-trade spending deal gets testy

Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders may have reached a deal on spending $1.5 billion in cap-and-trade revenue, but some Democrats still have concerns.

Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) wondered during a budget hearing on Wednesday how much of the appropriations “were designed to meet certain expectations” of different interest groups and lawmakers who supported extending the cap-and-trade program earlier this year. The program requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gas emissions, and the revenue is supposed to be spent on initiatives that further reduce emissions.

“There are a lot of Christmas trees out there,” Jackson said. “Everybody wants to pluck a bit of the ornaments, but my concern overall is the whole accountability issue. As you identify these projects, are there certain expectations that you think that they are going to accomplish, because I haven’t seen them.”

Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) questioned a last-minute provision in the spending legislation that could give unions more leverage in negotiations with automakers.

“Who is running this state?” he said.

The provision would ask state regulators to create a process for determining if automakers are “fair and responsible” in their treatment of workers. If they fall short of that standard, their vehicles could become ineligible for electric car rebates in the future.

Moorlach asked what “fair and responsible” meant. Amy Costa, chief deputy director at Brown’s Department of Finance, said it would be up to state officials to develop the guidelines.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 33 — September 12, 2017

We were on the Senate Floor until after 7 p.m. last evening. I expect the same today. I did find time recently to respond to a reporter’s questions. I didn’t know I would be about the only one interviewed. The fun is provided in the Northern California Record piece below on SB 33.

To give you a perspective on the demands we’re enjoying in our respective Chambers up here in Sacramento, Chris Micheli of Aprea & Micheli, Inc., provided the following workload analysis for this last week:

ASSEMBLY

Total measures pending on the Floor: 242, including 88 concurrence items, 141 Senate measures eligible, and 5 on consent.

Plus 23 SBs and 3 ABs in Assembly policy committees.

Total number of measures pending in the Assembly: 268

SENATE

Total measures pending on the Floor: 343, including 140 Assembly measures on 2nd Reading, 30 concurrence items, and 163 Assembly measures eligible.

Plus 11 ABs and 1 SB in Senate policy committees.

Total number of measures pending in the Senate: 355

Total number of measures pending on both Floors: 585

Total number of measures pending between both houses: 623

The fun life continues.

State Sen. Moorlach views
SB 33 bill as job killer

by Angela Underwood

http://norcalrecord.com/stories/511211777-state-sen-moorlach-views-sb33-bill-as-job-killer

California Sen. John Moorlach said SB33 bill is looked at as a job killer, "like trial attorneys [that] push to try and avoid class action lawsuits."

According to Moorlach, plus 12 of his peers who voted no on the legislation first heard in December 2016. “Justice Elena Kagan delivered a new opinion on behalf of the U.S. Supreme Court on May 16, 2017, that emphasizes any state law that is discriminatory and targets arbitration, such as SB 33, preempted under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA),” Moorlach to The Northern California Record .

The vice chair of the Judiciary Committee said SB 33 creates confusion between who is the respondent and the consumer, is ambiguous as to the determination of ”purported contractual relationship” created fraudulently by unlawfully using the consumer’s personal identifying information, allows class actions where the attorneys are the financial winners not the consumer. "For all those reasons I voted no,” he said.

Authored by Sen. Bill Todd and co-authored by Sens. Robert Hertzberg and David Chiu, SB33 would broaden the definition of a financial institution to any individual business or association regulated by the corporations’ code, Moorlach said. According to the bill’s language, “If the court determines that a written agreement to arbitrate a controversy exists, an order to arbitrate such controversy may not be refused on the ground that the petitioner’s contentions lack substantive merit.”

A 2016 Los Angeles Times report revealed that "Wells Fargo paid $185 million to federal and Los Angeles authorities to settle allegations that its employees had opened as many as 2 million bogus accounts for customers and strangers, all in order to meet relentless sales quotas imposed by the bank’s brass."

This does not sit well with Moorlach.

“Wells Fargo has really botched it up," he said "It is a real disappoint because I had a relationship with Wells Fargo when I was treasure for Orange County, and even had dinner with their former CEO a couple of times. I am sad to see all the bad press and nonsense. I don’t see it as cause or a reason to start changing the rules and going after arbitration in this form so that is why I voted against it."

No alterations to the bill would matter in the end, the senator noted.

"I did not agree with the concept as a whole, so I don’t know that an amendment would have been satisfactory," he said, adding if there is a chance of amendments in the second house, the simple "administrative function" will not keep it from becoming law by January 2018.

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