MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 707 — October 3, 2015

The tragedy this week in Oregon makes me wonder why someone did not have a concealed weapon and end the nonsense then and there. Last month, the Crime Prevention Research Center determined that 92 percent of mass public shootings between January 2009 and July 2014 were committed in "gun-free zones."

On the Senate Floor, I commented that maybe campus crimes perpetrated on students would go down if they were allowed to carry a concealed weapon. The Sacramento Bee covers it in their piece below.

For coeds, the movie "Blind Side" has a memorable scene that is available on YouTube at It’s worth the one minute watch. It provides a great visual of what I am trying to communicate here.

It obviously takes someone mentally ill to commit the heinous crime of murdering innocent students. To address this concern, I championed the adoption of Laura’s Law in Orange County (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Laura’s Law Journey — August 11, 2014 august 11, 2014 john moorlach).

I obviously don’t want guns in the hands of students. But when a mentally ill student obtains access to firearms and then brings them onto a campus, the other students, the innocent potential victims, should have a chance to respond. That is why I voted in opposition to SB 707.


A giant in the political pontificating industry passed this week at the age of 75, Allan Hoffenblum. He weighed in on two of my recent efforts and was very astute on the lay of the land in the political campaign world. And, he was a class act. It was an honor to know him.

Here are some recent samples:

MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Victory at 50.3 — March 19, 2015 march 19, 2015 john moorlach

Moorlach was better known in the district than his opponents, and negative ads attacking him from law enforcement groups might actually have helped him gain sympathy, according to Allan Hoffenblum, a former Republican strategist who publishes a nonpartisan election guide.

“I think the strong union, independent expenditures might have backfired,” Hoffenblum said.

MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — OC Register Endorsement — February 15, 2015 february 15, 2015 john moorlach

Allan Hoffenblum, whose Target Book handicaps California elections, said the mailers and phone calls that Wagner’s money will buy should offset Moorlach’s advantage in name recognition.

“Voters will definitely know who Wagner is by the time they vote,” Hoffenblum said. “Moorlach will need to raise more money. If he doesn’t, his name ID advantage goes away.”

MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Happy Mother’s Day — May 11, 2014 may 11, 2014 john moorlach

MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — First Two Weeks — December 14, 2013 december 14, 2013 john moorlach

Allan Hoffenblum, whose Target Book handicaps California races, agreed with Englander but wasn’t ready to count chickens.

“Right now, John is No. 1 and Mimi is No. 2, but that’s why you have consultants and spend lots of money,” Hoffenblum said.


Our October 10th morning day hike is filling up quickly. Hiking with Irvine Ranch Conservancy Executive Director Michael O’Connell is a real treat. He does a great job of explaining the vegetation, wild life and history of the Santa Ana Mountains. If you can join us for the morning, please come. See the RSVP details below.

California weighs banning concealed handguns on campuses

Governor considering bill to prohibit concealed carry at colleges, schools

Consideration comes as gun rights advocates push for expanded access

Eight states now allow campus carry, while 19 ban it



Already praised by many gun control advocates for having the strictest firearms laws in the country, California is once again considering a move to tighten its restrictions with a ban on the concealed carry of handguns at colleges and schools.

Last year, California was the first in the nation to let families and police act to remove weapons temporarily from those considered at risk of violence. This time, it would follow dozens of other states that previously have put similar prohibitions in place – and a growing number moving in the opposite direction to expand gun rights on campuses.

Gov. Jerry Brown is considering the legislation as the nation mourns another school shooting – Thursday’s spree in Roseburg, Ore., that left 10 dead. The bill puts California in the midst of a policy debate gaining prominence as gun advocates such as the National Rifle Association, having won significant victories guaranteeing ownership rights, turn their focus to the right to carry and the status of firearms in public spaces.

“There’s no question that the power of the NRA is at its height today,” said John Donohue, a professor at Stanford Law School who studies the effects of gun laws on public safety. “People who want guns don’t want to have restrictions that impede them going about their daily lives.”

Current California law makes it illegal to possess a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school or on a college campus without permission from administrators, but it includes exemptions for retired law enforcement officers and those with concealed carry permits.

Senate Bill 707, by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, would expand the prohibition on school and college grounds to include concealed weapons, while keeping the same rules in place for the 1,000-foot zone surrounding schools and for law enforcement. On a nearly party-line vote, with Democrats in support and Republicans opposed, lawmakers approved the measure in early September; Brown has until Oct. 11 to act.

The idea for the bill came from university and college police, who say school officials should have more control over campus safety. Concealed handgun permits, which require residents to show “good cause” that they are in immediate danger, are handed out by county sheriffs, who vary in their interpretation of the policy.

Lurking on the periphery are two federal developments that could seriously undermine California’s restrictive law: Legislation proposed in Congress would require states to recognize concealed carry permits issued anywhere, though the legislation has not advanced, and a lawsuit now at the appellate level has already seen one judge strike down the “good cause” requirement as unconstitutional.

“If the decision of the 9th Circuit (Court of Appeals) affirms the lower court, that will open the floodgates for people to get concealed carry permits,” Donohue said.

In a statement, Wolk said SB 707 “would put California more in line with most states that already forbid concealed firearms on school or college campuses.”

“This is one of the unusual cases where California law is more lax than other states,” she said. “Most people I hear from are astonished that someone could legally carry a concealed firearm onto school grounds.”

The 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech – still one of the deadliest in history with 33 casualties, including the perpetrator, and an additional 17 wounded – generated intense controversy over gun policy and brought the question of concealed carry on campus to the national stage. Eight years later, it continues to echo.

In a national address Thursday, President Barack Obama decried the lack of legislative effort to prevent further mass shootings such as the one that day at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, where a gunman killed nine people before dying in a shootout with police. The Oregon higher education board had previously banned guns from college campuses, but a court overturned that policy in 2011, stating that only the Legislature had the authority to regulate firearms.

California has faced recent incidents such as the 2014 Isla Vista rampage that claimed the lives of six UC Santa Barbara students and their killer, and a confrontation at Sacramento City College last month that left one dead.

Much of the fight over campus carry boils down to whether guns make us more or less safe. Advocates argue that students with firearms may be able to help prevent crimes such as mass shootings and rapes.

Speaking against SB 707 on the Assembly floor, Assemblywoman Shannon Grove said carrying concealed weapons could offer a “sense of protection” to young women. “If I’m walking down the street at night, my Glock puts me on even footing with anybody that would ever try to come and hurt me,” the Bakersfield Republican said.

During a Senate deliberation, Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, suggested it could be “a very strong way to curtail some of the nonsense that’s going on” with campus sexual assaults.

Gun control supporters counter that throwing firearms onto a campus with young people, alcohol, mental health issues and strongly held beliefs on controversial topics is a dangerous mix.

“It’s a fairly volatile environment,” said Laura Cutilleta, senior staff attorney for the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which advocated for SB 707. “To add guns to that is just alarming.”

It’s a debate that’s not likely to be settled any time soon. At least 14 states have introduced legislation to allow guns on campus in each of the past three years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“We think it’s a really important issue,” NRA spokeswoman Amy Hunter said. “The right to personal safety doesn’t disappear the second you step on a campus.”

Most of those bills ultimately have failed, but there has been some momentum: Campus carry is now legal in eight states, six of them since 2011, compared with 19 states with bans. The remainder do not explicitly address the issue, leaving regulation up to schools.

Proponents scored their biggest victory this year when Texas voted to allow concealed weapons on campuses beginning next year. Unlike most other states, which excluded buildings from their statutes, the Texas law could enable students and faculty to carry handguns into dorms and classrooms – though in a concession to the universities, which strenuously opposed the measure, campuses will be able to carve out “gun-free zones.”

A nascent effort at the elementary and secondary level may have been sparked by NRA President Wayne LaPierre’s call to put armed security at every school in the country after the Newtown massacre in December 2012.

Bans are more sweeping than at college campuses – 48 states generally prohibit firearms in schools, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, and 39 specifically forbid concealed carry – but advocates are taking them on now as well.

Sixteen states introduced bills this year that would expand the ability of people to bring guns onto school grounds, ranging from employees to parents dropping off their children in the parking lot. Oklahoma authorized concealed carry for teachers and administrators if they get permission from their school boards and undergo special training.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff


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MOORLACH UPDATE — Taxing Proposition — October 2, 2016

There are at least three measures that have qualified for the November 2016 statewide ballot. And, there are several that are in or have concluded their 180-day signature gathering stages. One of the many in process is discussed in the Daily Pilot below.


Our October 10th morning day hike is filling up quickly. Hiking with Irvine Ranch Conservancy Executive Director Michael O’Connell is a real treat. He does a great job of explaining the vegetation, wild life and history of the Santa Ana Mountains. If you can join us for the morning, please come. See the RSVP details below.


No changes (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Book Inclusions — October 1, 2015 October 2, 2015October 2, 2015 John Moorlach).

Daily Pilot

Proposition would impact many Newport homeowners

By Barbara Venezia

With the 2016 elections around the corner, all kinds of state initiative supporters are busy gathering the 585,880 valid registered voter signatures required to qualify for the ballot by March 21.

One initiative I read about coming out of Sacramento this week was the "Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Act." It plans on fighting poverty by making those who own property assessed at $3 million or more pay more.

This could impact our area and the county quite negatively.

The initiative filing by proponents Jim Mangia, Martine Singer, Conway Collis and Dixon Slingerland, states:

It "will not raise sales or income taxes. It will avoid any additional tax burdens on middle and lower income Californians. Those most at risk should not and cannot bear these costs. Instead, a sensible and fair surcharge on properties with values of over $3,000,000 will be assessed to pay for this bold anti-poverty initiative, while keeping all Proposition 13 property tax protections against reassessments and limitations in place."

You can read up on the initiative at

It’s important to note the measure doesn’t differentiate between residential or commercial properties.

A recent California Tax Payers Assn. newsletter, CalTax, reviewed this initiative explaining, "The "surcharge," commencing with the 2017-18 fiscal year, would be an additional 0.3 percent tax on the portion of assessed value between $3 million and $5 million; 0.6 percent on the value between $5 million and $10 million; and 0.8 percent on the value in excess of $10 million. The initiative includes a sunset provision that would make the entire measure inoperative on January 1, 2040."

CalTax also had some background on a few proposing this measure.

They say Collis, a Democrat who served on the Board of Equalization for eight years in the ’80s, was also was a domestic policy adviser to late-U.S. Sen. Alan Cranston. He now serves as president of GRACE (Gather, Respect, Advocate, Change and Engage), a nonprofit in Pasadena.

Slingerland is an executive director of the Youth Policy Institute, and a major fundraiser supporter of President Obama, according to media reports.

"The measure would put members of such agencies on panels that would be in charge of spending some of the money from the property-tax increase," states CalTax.

Supporters say passage of the initiative could bring increased state revenues between $6 billion and $7 billion for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

I asked newly elected state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) for his thoughts on this proposed measure.

It wasn’t on his radar, but it is now.

"I’m opposed to ballot-box budgeting," he said. "The general fund, with its various taxing sources, should address the poor. Creating a myriad of special taxes is not the most efficient way to run a government."

And he says assessed values are tricky business.

Pre-Proposition 13 babies may have low assessed values, but have high market values. Therefore, they would avoid the surcharge for not having moved over the last 37 years, he explained.

"New homeowners may or may not be amused with the tax," said Moorlach.

Ever the accountant, Moorlach figures 1% of $3 million is $30,000 a year in property taxes, and it will rise 2% per year. Therefore, in 36 years, it will double to $60,000 per year (or $5,000 per month).

And he foresees this negatively impacting high-end home sales, thus reducing potential capital gains tax revenues for the state.

"I believe the state should enjoy the benefits of property appreciation at the point of a taxable sale, so I’d be opposed to the measure from this perspective as well," he says. "There should be an elimination of all of these special taxes and a more fair overall combined taxing structure."

I asked Roseanne Levan, a Realtor with Teles Properties in Newport Beach, which specializes in high-end residential real estate, what percentage of homes sold this past year in O.C. were in the $3 million range.

About 10%, she said.

And her opinion on the referendum?

"Why would the state of California be taxed on the same type of tax Obama is taxing on the sale of properties at 3.8%?" she said. "So California homeowners will be taxed on real estate on a state and federal level. That’s insane."

Lucy Dunn, president and CEO of the Orange County Business Council, also had some strong feelings about this measure, and said her organization is strongly opposed to ballot initiatives that undermine Prop. 13 tax protections.

"This is one of several proposed 2016 ballot measures to increase taxes by special interests for special interests," she said. "It will increase costs of living for all in a high-cost county and state. Instead, better fiscal management of California’s ever-increasing $168-billion budget, modernizing government services for a 21st century economy, and growing middle-class jobs are needed to lift families out of poverty."

BARBARA VENEZIA lives in Newport Beach. She can be reached at bvontv1. Listen to her weekly radio segment on "Sunday Brunch with Tom and Lynn" from 11 a.m. to noon on KOCI/101.5 FM.


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MOORLACH UPDATE — Book Inclusions — October 1, 2015


One of the byproducts of having predicted Orange County’s fiscal meltdown is being recorded in numerous books. Over the years I’ve provided UPDATES on several of the latest releases.

For a sampling, see:

MOORLACH UPDATE — Crazifornia — September 18, 2012 John Moorlach
MOORLACH UPDATE — The FLaw of Averages — April 8, 2011 John Moorlach
MOORLACH UPDATE — PLUNDER — April 20, 2010 John Moorlach
MOORLACH UPDATE — Encyclopedia of Municipal Bonds — March 6, 2012 John Moorlach MOORLACH UPDATE — ORANGE COUNTIANA — A Journal of Local History — November 9, 2012 John Moorlach

A couple of friends have surprised me with books they have recently written that included kind and brief mentions of me.

The first is Never A Burnt Bridge, by Sylvia Sun Minnick, SMC Press, Stockton, California, 2015, ISBN 978-0615-82748-3. Sylvia also authored Samfow: The San Joaquin Chinese Legacy and The Chinese Community of Stockton (CA) (Images of America). She is a prominent historian who was also a former Stockton City Council member and also ran for the State Legislature.

She selected me to serve on the Discovery of Gold to Statehood — California’s Sesquicentennial Foundation Board of Directors. Commemorating the State’s 150th anniversary was a great experience, as I met some wonderful people, including Huell Howser. But, when the Governor elected in 1998 didn’t buy in, it became a difficult task to pull off. Sylvia got the ball rolling. Her mention of me is the first piece below.

The second is Operation 180 – The Action Plan by Dennis D. Morrison, Westbow Press, 2015, ISBN 978-1-4908-6696-3. This is the first book for Dennis and he shares his passion for a Biblical perspective on the direction of our nation.


SB 331 is one of the bills that Gov. Jerry Brown should veto (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 331 — May 4, 2015 John Moorlach and MOORLACH UPDATE — Transparency Turkey —
September 18, 2015 John Moorlach).

Fox and Hounds has a nice piece opposing this bill (see The Santa Rosa Press Democrat also opposes and published a fun cartoon (see


The LA Times also recommended a veto! The LA Times’ website included the following photo of me attentively listening to Sen. Ted Gaines, while on the Senate Floor.

Last-minute work

Lawmakers work late into the night as they race to pass bills at the Capitol building in Sacramento on Sept. 10. (Los Angeles Times).

Also see


With our UPDATEs, I will provide a status report on the 20 worst bills (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Worst and Vaguest — September 22, 2015 John Moorlach).

Bill Summary Status
AB X2-15 Assisted Suicide On Gov’s Desk
AB 2 Return of Cronyism and Property Rights Abuse Signed by Gov
AB 465 Let Every Employee Sue Their Employer On Gov’s Desk
AB 504 The Stop Effective Local Solutions Measure On Gov’s Desk
AB 561 Ag Labor Appeal Ransom On Gov’s Desk
AB 622 No E-Verify Use for Employers On Gov’s Desk
AB 692 Buying Low Carbon Fuel (Since No One Else Will) On Gov’s Desk
AB 768 Stop Pro Baseball Players from Chewing Tobacco On Gov’s Desk
AB 775 The "You Must Counsel for Abortions" Law On Gov’s Desk
AB 888 Microbead sale and distribution ban On Gov’s Desk
AB 1288 Expanding Unelected Air Resources Board On Gov’s Desk
AB 1293 Saving Gov’t Employees from Economic Downturn On Gov’s Desk
AB 1354 Gov’t Intrusion to Your Business Payroll Records On Gov’s Desk
AB 1461 Voter Fraud Expansion/Motor Voter Registration On Gov’s Desk
SB 99 Caltrans Engineers’ Union Pay Spike Signed by Gov
SB 292 Homeowners Pay for Public Employee Pensions On Gov’s Desk
SB 331 Protect Union Closed Door Deal Negotiations On Gov’s Desk
SB 350 California "Economic Cooling" Bill On Gov’s Desk
SB 376 Stop U.C. from Contracting Out Services to save $$ On Gov’s Desk
SB 682 Prohibition on Courts Contracting Out On Gov’s Desk


Our office is very interested in knowing what your priorities are. This e-mail was sent out yesterday and more than 200 responses were received within the first few minutes.

Survey: What are your priorities?

From balancing the budget and reducing California’s deficit to long term sustainability, I want your input on where you want my focus to be.
Please take this short survey (3-5 min.) and let me know what’s most important to you.
Your response will help me better serve you and your family in the State Senate.

I appreciate your feedback and look forward to reading your great comments!



You’re invited to join us for a fall hike with Michael O’Connell, Executive Director of the Irvine Ranch Conservancy. With gratitude to Pamela Newcomb for her wonderful photo of Bommer Canyon.


We received pro bono services from legal and accounting companies and even those in the business sector. They designed Sesquicentennial logos and paraphernalia associated with marketing. My main concentration was creating a nonprofit foundation, purposely to fund all the major activities. Three friends agreed to be the original signers when we processed the tax-exempt paperwork: John Moorlach, treasurer of Orange County; Art Takahara, president of de Anza Manufacturing and former mayor of Mountain View; and Don Geiger, an attorney in Stockton, my friend and cohort when we sued to clean up Stockton’s downtown.

We had energy, we had vision; however, the Sesquicentennial was ill-fated.


. . . I know only one man in Orange County, California, who has taken a godly stand on all the issues, County Supervisor John Moorlach. Supervisor Moorlach has made a difference, and his presence is felt in regard to the laws that are established in Orange County. He does his best to make sure they line up with God’s Word. It doesn’t mean that he can’t be overruled, but his voice is always heard. His term will be up shortly, so I will be praying that he lands somewhere important so the good Lord can use him and his influence for the good of the cause. We just need more Christians like him, more might men and women of valor to serve in politics, so this is where you can pray for your calling in these dark times.


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

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Katy Grimes — September 23, 2015

Katy Grimes is usually a no-holds-barred investigative reporter. You saw her work recently in MOORLACH UPDATE — Pothole — August 19, 2015 John Moorlach. But, she produces insightful pieces nearly every day. Just look at these titles and links for a sampling of her recent works:

California Legislature Passes Physician-Assisted Suicide Bill

Sacramento City College Shooters Result of AB 109 Realignment

Jessica Arciniega: From “Union Agent” to ALRB Attorney

Window Lickers and Paste Eaters in CA Senate Pass Anti-Trump Resolution (a piece that slipped through our search efforts for inclusion in a timely UPDATE)

Gov. Jerry Brown Compares Christian Persecution in Syria To Inaction On Climate Change In California

California’s Culture of Corruption Passes Assisted Dying Bill

Two CA Republicans Helped Pass Revived Assisted Suicide Bill

All to say, her most recent FlashReport piece below was a keeper. I’m just sayin.’

There is one paragraph that may need explaining. Gov. Brown stated that balanced budgets are usually followed by huge deficits, hence his using conservative projections. This is his slide below.

The frustration I have is that increasing pension plan contributions have crowded out road maintenance in his "balanced budget." But, he requested a special session to increase taxes to fix California’s roads. This is smoke and mirrors, and it got my blood boiling.

The pension problem will only get worse. CalPERS only earned a 2.5 percent return on its investments during its last fiscal year. That’s 5 percent below its target. If CalPERS has $300 billion in investments, then a 5 percent shortage is $15 billion. Amortize this over 15 years, and the State will have to plan on a minimum of $1 billion more in pension contributions in next year’s budget. Sadly, CalPERS should have $400 billion, so the contribution will go up some $1.33 billion! But, I digress.

Wait, the Governor’s instincts were validated with the recent stock market adjustment. If CalPERS has no returns at the end of its current fiscal year, then 7.5 percent of $430 billion is another $32 billion shortfall. And taxpayers can expect to fork over another $2.15 billion a year in pension contributions. "Gov. Brown, iceberg dead ahead."


Sen. John Moorlach: The Fiscal Conscience of the CA Legislature

Posted by Katy Grimes

Former Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach won his Senate race in March, and already has become a standout. Now-Senator John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, has waged challenges to Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown’s May Budget revise, minimum wage hikes, Democrats’ lack of fiscal restraint and perpetual overspending.


Moorlach, eloquently, but authoritatively, has become the Legislature’s outspoken expert on California’s Department of Transportation’s 3500 unneeded engineers and gross careless spending, while the governor simultaneously asked taxpayers to foot the bill for even more transportation taxes.

In 1994, Moorlach accurately predicted Orange County’s bankruptcy. He then was appointed county treasurer, where he helped the county recover, and eventually thrive once again. Re-elected treasurer twice, Moorlach then ran for and won Orange County Supervisor. Prior to serving Orange County Moorlach was a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Financial Planner, and Vice President and partner in an accountancy corporation.

So when Moorlach points out a really bad bill, as the Legislature’s only CPA, many take notice.

Moorlach’s ‘Turkey Bills’

In an interview, Moorlach shared some highs and lows of the recently completed legislative session, and specifically, some bills that should not be signed into law.

SB 331 by Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, is one such bill. Carrying the outright lie of a title, “Civic Reporting Openness in Negotiations Efficiency Act,” the bill’s purpose is to neuter and nullify the COIN process. “Civic Openness in Negotiations,” or COIN, is an ordinance that brings more transparency to labor negotiations with public employee associations.

“People want COIN,” Moorlach said. He explained the conflict: Public Employee Unions bargain for terms behind closed doors, but do it with the same politicians who rake in large union campaign money. “It’s the biggest conflict of interest on the planet,” Moorlach said. Sen. Tony Mendoza is well known for carrying the water for unions. “Unions don’t stop – they work night and day until they get what they want,” Moorlach said. “They do not see how abusive they are.”

“A gift to AFSCME and the Orange County Employees Association, this mendacious bill would require those municipalities – and only them – to adopt ordinances requiring greater disclosure of any contract worth $50,000 or more,” the Sacramento Bee editorial board recently wrote.

In California, public employee unions are the largest political special interest by far – outspending “big oil,” and the California Chamber of Commerce significantly. Yet rarely does the media identify unions as political special interest – likely because public employee unions put Gov. Jerry Brown back in the governor’s office, as well as most of the Democrat members of the Legislature.

Moorlach expects Brown to sign the bill, noting unions’ overwhelming financial support for Brown since he ran for governor again in in 2010, his 2014 re-election, as well as Brown’s Proposition 30 income tax and sales tax increase in 2012.

“And if it’s such a great idea, Mendoza should have attempted to apply it to all local governments. He didn’t; that’s not his goal, nor that of his benefactors. Once again, Democrats approved it overwhelmingly. Brown needs to kill this turkey,” the Sac Bee editors said.

Heads Should Roll

In August, Moorlach garnered attention to the largely ignored Legislative Analysts Office audit finding that Caltrans is overstaffed in its planning and engineering staff by roughly 3,500 employees, costing taxpayers approximately half a billion dollars a year.

“If I got that report handed to me as an official, heads would roll,” Moorlach said. “We would change people immediately.”

“We’re generating among the highest revenues for our roads, and yet have some of the nation’s worst road conditions,” Moorlach said. “This and other available data indicates a very clear and pressing need for oversight and reform at the California Department of Transportation.”

The LAO stands behind its report of 3,500 extra engineers but revised the number closer to 3,300 after Caltrans provided more accurate data.

Moorlach also focused attention on the recent audit by the California State Auditor showing Caltrans approved the time sheets of an engineer who played golf for 55 workdays from August 2012 to March 2014.

”After being reassigned in April of 2014, supervisors continued to fail to directly supervisor this engineer from May to June of 2014,” Moorlach said in a press statement. “His time sheets were still approved during that month-long period.”

“This is another example of desperately needed reform at Caltrans,” Moorlach said. “This engineer played golf for 55 days, and Caltrans supervisors approved his time sheets.
 How can we ask Californians to pay more for road repair without fixing Caltrans? We have no confidence that Caltrans is spending money properly. None.”

“When you’re overstaffed by 3,300 employees, I guess the only thing you can do is play golf,” Moorlach added.

Results Oriented Guy

“I don’t see a proactive Legislature trying to trim,” Moorlach said. “In Orange County, we had ROG – results oriented government.” Moorlach said California should be doing comparative studies with other states on same departments. “California outsources 10 percent of Caltrans. Florida outsources 80 percent of it’s transportation issues,” he said. “There are a lot of places we could cut. I ran a department. I know.”

Moorlach said Brown’s supposedly “balanced budget,” is dubious, especially noting “the recession happened after Brown’s balanced budget.”

“The budget was balanced on the backs of roads, freeways and bridges,” Moorlach said. “And Jerry Brown needs a special session for a transportation tax and Medi-Cal tax… the whole system is dysfunctional.” Moorlach also noted Brown called for the special legislative session to raise taxes only two months after he signed the largest budget in state history, at nearly $160 billion dollars. The Senate Republican Fiscal Office reported different budget numbers, and says Brown’s budget “proposes a new record high spending level of over $265 billion. This exceeds the 2014 Budget Act total spending ($254 billion) by over $11 billion. State General Fund spending accounts for more than half of the increase, growing by $7 billion from $108 billion last year to over $115 billion for 2015-16. Unfortunately, this rapid state spending increase will not be sustainable.”

Moorlach describes his first legislative session as a “whirlwind, crazy, and fun.” And he said he knows Republicans made an impact: Democrats failed to pass the SB 350 greenhouse gas tax, $2 per pack tobacco tax for Medi-Cal, which leaves the governor with a $1 billion shortfall in his 2016 budget. They failed to pass the car registration tax of $65 per vehicle, or the 6 cents a gallon gas tax. “Jerry knew we weren’t budging.”


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MOORLACH UPDATE — Worst and Vaguest — September 22, 2015

Senator Joel Anderson and I were asked to provide the 20 worst bills on the Governor’s desk waiting for his signature or veto. Our two offices provided 19, giving the publisher one to contribute. The FlashReport provides our recommendations in the first piece below.

To describe today’s second piece below, in the Voice of OC, I will provide you with my preamble for a prior UPDATE, which reflects my tone and frustration over this sad chapter in County history. It was in MOORLACH UPDATE — FPPC Investigation — June 19, 2013 John Moorlach. However, let me state that I have been very impressed with the 2014-15 Orange County Grand Jury and its work.

"When I first started working at the County, the Grand Jury was a revered institution. But, over the past eighteen years, the work product has been dismal and disappointing. Every year, I wonder if the new Grand Jury will step up to the role and provide value in their reports on County government. Sadly, they don’t. If you were to review the Grand Jury’s reports over the last ten years, and score them based on how many recommendations were appreciated and adopted, the results would be disheartening. Consequently, I voted for a Performance Audit Department that would really research and investigate policy, practices and conduct within the County and provide meaningful recommendations for improvements. I also support a robust Internal Audit function to make sure internal controls are the best that they can be. If there are critical issues that need to be addressed, I rely on these two departments to discover, report on, and make recommendations to remedy them. It has become abundantly clear that the Grand Jury has not been a reliable resource in its investigations or observations. Today’s articles deal with this topic.

"The Board addressed Grand Jury remuneration, which is $15 per day by State statute, plus mileage to get to the courthouse every morning. Orange County has been paying $50 per day, plus mileage. It was worth taking the time to reevaluate this compensation arrangement. It was also an opportunity to share how some of us really felt. The first article below from the OC Register fails to mention that I opposed the response to the Grand Jury’s “CalOptima” report. The report, for the most part, is factually accurate. It was the report’s title that was inappropriate. The workmanship of the “Ethical” report is shoddy, as the arguments do not support the conclusion. And the title is irresponsible and offensive. So, I shared my frustrations. The Grand Jury has to step up its game. Maybe it should focus on producing 4 well-researched and beneficial studies rather than 15 marginal reports. Maybe it needs to reevaluate the diversity of its membership. Maybe it needs an “ethics committee” to give the Grand Jury the perspective of “what would a wise person do” before publishing a report.

"It seems that I read about various city council members being arrested in LA County each month in the LA Times. I don’t see that pattern here in the OC. But, after a few inflammatory Grand Jury reports and the inference that as a Board member I am corrupt, I then receive a letter from the Fair Political Practices Commission. Trust me, you don’t want to receive a letter from the FPPC. That’s how incompetent and negligent this Grand Jury and its foreman have been. One observer called this year’s Grand Jury an “epic failure.” That’s too bad, because I’m sure the members are all fine people. But, they lacked leadership. Let’s hope that the 2013-14 Grand Jury can bring some momentum to move the bar up. The Voice of OC provides its take on the Board meeting and the FPPC in the second piece below."


When we go through hundreds and hundreds of bills to find the ones that we consider to be the most egregious, harmful or inappropriate, it is our hope that a responsible Governor would veto all of them. Remember, we’re talking about the worst bills. If the Governor signs any of the bills listed below, it is bad news for the people of California. This is our tenth year in a row featuring this column. Each year, we partner with two conservative members of the State Legislature – this year is no different. Our thanks go out to both State Senator Joel Anderson and State Senator John Moorlach, and to their staff members, for their hard work in selecting the terrible bills below out of hundreds and hundreds on the Governor’s desk.

Normally our legislative partners compile 20 bills to veto – but this year I took some personal privilege and picked one bill that truly makes me nauseous to highlight first, and so below it are 19 other bills compiled by the Senators. Let me also give an "honorable mention" to a particularly heinous bill already signed by the Governor this year – that had it been on the Governor’s desk now certainly would have made the list. That bill was SB 277 that mandates that young children must be vaccinated with a bevy of required injections or they cannot attend school. This ultimate nanny-state legislation replaced parents with the government, in terms of deciding what and when vaccines are injected into their children.

Without any further ado, below is the FlashReport Top Twenty Bills To Veto, starting with my contribution, and then the 19 bills from the Senators.



As compiled by Senator Joel Anderson and Senator John Moorlach
(with some assistance from FR Publisher Jon Fleischman)

Please check back to see the status of these bills. As of today, the Governor has acted on one of them. When he is done, we will grade Governor Brown on his performance. The Governor’s "letter grade" will be computed using the following scale… If he vetoes 90% or more, the Governor got an "A", 80% – 89% a "B", 70 – 79% a "C", 60 – 69% a "D" and below that, an "F"…

First, from Jon Fleischman…

1. AB 2 – The Return of Cronyism And Property Rights Abuse

A few years ago Governor Brown signed legislation ending redevelopment agencies, and in doing so he eliminated one of the most abusive government programs in California history. These agencies, formed by local governments and funded by diverting tax income, allowed in too many cases for local politicians to give gifts of taxpayer funds to their developer friends, who in turn would help fund the careers of the politicians. In some cases the local politicians would use the power of eminent domain to confiscate private property from one party, to then grant it to another party – all a part of some sort of grotesque parody of SimCity. Years later, this legislation would, in essence, bring this terrible system back into existence.

And from the Senators…

Death and taxes. That’s what was on the legislative agenda this year. While major tax bills did not pass to the Governor, the end result added unions, religion, voter turnout and environmental regulation to the list of worst bills.

If the Governor is unhappy because his agenda was largely stalled by legislative leaders, there’s, fortunately, plenty of opportunity for the Governor to express his displeasure by vetoing some really bad bills that did make it to his desk.

In fact, the Governor could abandon his plans to raise taxes and he could fund Medi-Cal provider rates, developmentally disabled programs, in-home supportive services, as well as some transportation infrastructure improvements, if he vetoes these bad bills and the others on his desk that propose millions more in spending by the state and adds in the $500 million just reported as unexpected revenue from the first two months of the fiscal year. Governor Brown’s actions in the next few weeks will show Californians that if his priorities are truly with these core government functions they should have been in the budget in the first place.

Below is a list of the most veto-worthy bills from the 2015 legislative session.

2. SB 350 – The California "Economic Cooling" Bill

Yes, this is the Governor’s global warming legislation. What this really does is reorganize California’s economy to be even less competitive (if that’s even possible) with the other 49 states, requiring an even greater centralized government approach while abandoning market-based incentives.

This bill mandates that, within 15 years, 50 percent of our energy will come from ‘renewable’ sources. Never mind that, under this mandate, energy costs are estimated to significantly increase for families and businesses. The bill also mandates that all commercial buildings become 50 percent more energy efficient within 15 years. Again, more costs and fewer incentives for businesses to locate or expand in California.

The bottom line is that these are nice goals, but our state is already the least economically competitive in the nation. Without other states making the same moves, we’re just driving more businesses and jobs from California.

3. AB 1461 – Voter Fraud Expansion Through Motor Voter Registration

This bill allows every person who has a driver’s license to also register to vote. Similar to Obama’s call to require fines for those who don’t vote, this is a cynical attempt by Democrats to make voting compulsory. What this bill really provides is more opportunity for fraud. The more uninterested people are in being registered to vote, yet not tracking their ballots, the more opportunity for unscrupulous political operatives to vote and return that ballot for that person, without their knowledge or consent. If a person is not responsible enough to register to vote, then maybe they will not be responsible enough to safeguard that ballot.

4. AB 1288 – Expanding the Unelected, Unaccountable Air Resources Board

AB 1288 would allow the Senate and Assembly to add one member each to the all-powerful California Air Resources Board (CARB), which has been given free rein to enforce AB 32 global warming energy tax and rationing policies, as well as other activities. CARB would be the chief engineer behind any regulations to implement SB 350 (see above). CARB has already made the unilateral decision to add gas and diesel to the requirements of AB 32, which has spiked California’s gas prices to the highest per-gallon cost in the nation. Adding more unelected, unaccountable left-leaning members only worsens the situation for California families.

5. SB 331 – Protecting Union Closed Door Sweetheart Deal Negotiations

Local governments have been adopting Civic Openness in Negotiations (COIN), which requires public employee union contract negotiations to be held in public. No more backroom, secret deals. In response, Unions pushed SB 331, which enacts an onerous and unattainable set of requirements and costly time delays on all local government contracts – and applies ONLY for those governments who have implemented COIN. The goal is to de-incentivize the spread of COIN, and eliminate COIN where it has been adopted. Unions win; taxpayers lose.

6. SB 99 – The Caltrans Engineers’ Union Pay Spike

This bill gives a 7 percent pay hike to Caltrans engineers and allows them to quadruple the cash-out of unused vacation time from 20 hours to 80 hours. If you missed it, the Legislative Analyst ripped Caltrans three weeks ago for careless accounting and poor/non-existent cost and budget tracking. Then, two weeks ago, the State Auditor released a report showing that one Caltrans engineer had golfed 55 days "on the clock" and supervisors signed his time cards without being able to verify his time. How can we trust Caltrans with this new deal allowing quadruple cash-out of vacation time, when they obviously struggle to distinguish when an employee is working, and when they are not?

7. AB 775 – The "You Must Counsel for Abortions" Law

This law requires crisis pregnancy centers, and other services that assist with adoption and encourage life for babies, to now post in their clinics a bold statement advising women of the availability of free abortions at Planned Parenthood. Basically, if you are opposed to abortion, and you operate a clinic that counsels young ladies on the options for keeping their baby, you no longer have the right to advocate your position without also advocating for abortion services. The reverse does not apply to Planned Parenthood. The First Amendment continues to lose its standing. Is mandatory abortion advocacy for churches and private religious schools next?

8. AB 768 – Stop Professional Baseball Players from Chewing Tobacco

One of the biggest threats to California’s families is the fact that some professional baseball players use chewing tobacco. Fortunately, all Californians will now be saved because this bill outlaws such use at baseball stadiums – a policy for which many stadiums have already agreed to, on their own terms, without the government telling them that they had to. Sound ridiculous? That’s because it is.

9. AB2x 15 – Throw Grandma from the Train

Healthcare sure is cheaper if old people would just take the death with dignity pill. Of course, that is not what the author of this legislation said, but who is to stop an unprincipled son or daughter from encouraging death for the ailing mother – just because care is expensive or time consuming? This bill allows a ‘terminally ill’ patient to choose death from a doctor- the same doctor that likely took the Hippocratic Oath promising to save lives, not end them. One interesting fact: the drug approved for this bill was deemed "inhumane" by the State for death row inmates. Imagine that! This bill is a dangerous step down a slippery slope.

10. AB 1293 – Saving Government Employees from Economic Downturns

Among other stipulations, this bill prohibits the government from saving money by contracting out for services when "civil servants" (AKA government employees) might be displaced. Public employee unions win; taxpayers lose.

11. AB 1354 – Government Intrusion to Your Business Payroll Records

This bill requires those businesses that contract with the State must provide state inspectors with complete access to their payroll data. Read that as: what they pay each employee, who gets what vacation time, etc. Want to know why California has the nation’s highest poverty rate and one of the slowest economies? It is bills like this that drive businesses and jobs out of California.

12. AB 465 – Let Every Employee Sue Their Employer

This bill prohibits employers and employees from exercising their freedom to enter into contracts stipulating that disputes will be resolved by arbitration. Employers that are already besieged by frivolous lawsuits must now put themselves in harm’s way because they will be required to hire those prospective employees that refuse to agree, in advance, to an arbitration dispute resolution. What employer would ever consider California a viable option?

13. AB 504 – The Stop Effective Local Solutions Measure

Civic San Diego is a non-profit entity that the City of San Diego has used to streamline development project review and approval. They’ve been very efficient in examining projects, issuing permits and moving economic development forward. In the process, they have attracted billions of new investment to San Diego. So, what does the Legislature do? Shut it down, of course. This bill limits the planning and approval processes in which Civic San Diego and similar entities can be involved. Why? Because the labor union bosses believe Civic San Diego is not shoveling enough taxpayer money into their coffers. Unions win; taxpayers lose.

14. AB 622 – Blindfold Employers During the Interview Process

This bill stops employers from using E-verify during the application process to determine an applicant’s eligibility for employment. In other words, employers are not allowed to know if an applicant is an illegal immigrant. Enough said.

15. SB 292 – Homeowners Paying for Increased Pension Contributions

Due to grandfathered laws in a number of jurisdictions, special property taxes are used to fund the county’s employee and employer pension contributions to CalPERS. In other words, the public employee union members pay nothing, and the taxpayers pay everything. As pension obligations have skyrocketed, taxpayers and property owners have been forced to cover higher pension contributions.

That should have changed when Governor Brown signed pension reform a few years ago requiring that both public employees and public employers contribute a 50/50 cost share for their pensions. This bill exempts from those reforms, any city or county that pays its pension costs with property tax revenues. Public employee unions win; taxpayers lose (as do their local schools and other services dependent upon property taxes).

16. AB 561 – Ag Labor Appeal Ransom

If you’re an employer, you’re automatically suspect. At least, that’s how this legislation treats you. AB 561 changes the appeals process for decisions from the Agriculture Labor Relations Board (ALRB). If ALRB rules against and fines an employer, that employer may not appeal the decision unless they first post a bond equaling the full amount of the assessed fine. This legislation completely undermines due process and creates a considerable barrier to an employer seeking an appeal of a bad ALRB ruling. Do you think the public employee unions are subject to such treatment? Of course not.

17. AB 888 – Microbeads and Macro-Problems

This bill bans the sale and distribution of personal care products within the state of
California that contain plastic microbeads, which are used to exfoliate or cleanse in a rinse-off product. After three years of arm-twisting, this bill has finally passed the legislature and it on its way to the Governor’s desk. Manufacturers had asked for reasonable amendments that would allow them time to develop synthetic biodegradable microbead substitutes. But, as usual, the legislature knows far more about business and science than does the expert who has to survive on business and science.

18. AB 692 – Buying Low Carbon Fuel (Since No One Else Will)

This bill requires the state of California to buy "very low carbon fuel" for its fleet of vehicles, and increasing by one percent every year the amount purchased. The good news is that this should be easy, because no one else is buying such fuel. The bad news is that "very low carbon fuel" is also "very high expense fuel." We’ll spend millions more in taxpayer dollars to be the only state in the nation to buy and use such fuel for our state owned vehicle fleet. Not one other state in the nation wants to follow California’s lead. Yet, several are happy to come here and steal California’s businesses because of such unilateral carbon laws that put California in the high-expense fringe.

19. SB 682 – The Sentence is Higher Court Costs

To deal with smaller budgets, many courts have turned to private contractors to fill their work needs. This bill prohibits courts from contracting for work unless the contracts: A) can demonstrably reduce costs, and B) do not achieve reduced costs because of lower contractor pay rates. Excuse me? Must save money, but must not save money because the contractor pay rates are less? Basically, this bill kills contracting out by courts. It is amazing how creative public employee union allies become in their attempts to end competition from private, outside contractors.

20. SB 376 – Block Contracting-Out for Cost Savings

This bill bans the University of California from contracting out for needed services unless the private contractor has pay and benefits that match the UC system’s current levels. This bill kills the incentive to contract out and save money, and UC officials estimate a cost of $36 million or more yearly to implement this bill. Unions win; taxpayers lose.

State Watchdog Closes Probe Into Supervisors, CalOptima Board

By Tracy Wood

The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission has closed a conflict-of-interest investigation it launched in 2013 into county supervisors and CalOptima board members and will take no action.

“After reviewing the minutes and meetings of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, the Enforcement Division has determined that the allegations were too vague (to) establish that you had a conflict of interest,” the commission wrote Sept. 4 to then-supervisors John Moorlach, Shawn Nelson, Bill Campbell, and Pat Bates, all Republicans.

State Sen. Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove), who served as both a supervisor and CalOptima board member, received a closure letter through her lawyer, Brian Hildreth.

Nelson still serves on the board.

Separately, the investigation determined there was “insufficient evidence” of conflict of interests involving the CalOptima board members because “none of the decisions reviewed during our investigation were in proceedings involving a license, permit, or other entitlement for use pending before the CalOptima Board,” a requirement for conflict-of-interest violations.

The FPPC investigation stemmed from two 2013 county grand jury reports, one titled "CalOptima Burns While Majority of Supervisors Fiddle;" and the other “A Call for Ethical Standards: Corruption in Orange County.”

The CalOptima report focused on Nguyen’s efforts to overhaul the board so it included a permanent member from the hospital industry as well as other medical professionals. The medical industry contributed significantly to her supervisorial campaigns. The grand jury also examined the actions of the Hospital Association of Southern California and two CalOptima lawyers .

The report that focused on corruption in county government called for creation of a county ethics commission.

“In a healthy ethics environment,” the grand jury wrote, “leaders are not afraid of an independent ethics program because they understand that the best measure is to do everything possible to prevent officials and employees from creating an appearance of impropriety.”

The two reports provided fodder for county political watchdog Shirley Grindle who has long advocated for a local ethics commission. On Tuesday, the supervisors will discuss a ballot proposal authored by Grindle and other good government advocates.

Moorlach described the reports as the work product of an overzealous grand jury.

“So they investigated a vague thing and said it was vague at the end of the day,” said Moorlach, who is now a state senator representing Costa Mesa. “That grand jury was certainly a low point in the history of grand juries in Orange County. So I’m glad this chapter’s closed, but there’s no surprise to the closure for me.”

CalOptima board members who received closure letters were Chairman Mark Refowitz, head of the county Health Care Agency, Vice Chairman Lee Penrose, president and ceo of St. Jude Hospital, doctors Viet Dang and Samara Cardenas, former board member Steve Knoblock, bank branch vice president Peter Agarwal, nonprofit executives Ellen Anh and Tricia Nguyen and former Social Services Agency director Michael Riley.

Supervisors are scheduled Sept. 22 to reappoint Penrose to a second four-year term on the CalOptima board.

Last year the District Attorney’s office cleared Nguyen of criminal conflict of interest charges tied to her role on the CalOptima board.

“In our review of the allegations, we concluded that no criminal conflict of interest laws were violated by Janet Nguyen in her position as a Cal Optima [sic] Board member,” declared the Feb. 4, 2014 letter to another Nguyen lawyer, Stephen Larson of Los Angeles.

Separately, FPPC has an ongoing political money laundering investigation into Nguyen’s 2012 campaign for county Supervisor. According to court documents, six of her donors admitted to being illegally reimbursed for their campaign contributions.

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


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 the request to do so.

MOORLACH UPDATE — CRP and AB 465 — September 20, 2015

The fall California Republican Party (CRP) Convention was held at the Anaheim Marriott and concluded on Sunday at noon. The Sacramento Bee was there this weekend and provides the first piece below. The photo is from the morning General Session. Orange County is in the bottom right-hand corner.

Attending CRP conventions has been a fun opportunity over the past two-plus decades. For an account of the March 1993 Convention, see the LOOK BACKS section in MOORLACH UPDATE — Harold De Boer — March 13, 2013 John Moorlach. One name that is mentioned
is John Ben’s, who was there this weekend. He and I spent time together at this convention and shared fond memories of conventions past. .

What made this convention very special is the number of delegates who thanked me for my UPDATEs and the e-mails that my office has been sending concerning Caltrans. Thank you to all those who had a chance to thank me personally. Your affirmations are deeply appreciated.

The questioning was around Presidential candidate Donald Trump. This is a free country and everyone is allowed to exercise their freedom of speech. Although many may complain about how Donald Trump communicates his message, a number of those polled are reflecting, I believe, a frustration with how things are going. They are looking for someone who can close a deal, negotiate, and get things done in a country that is sinking deep into debt. From that perspective, we should be listening to what these voters are expressing.

The lead article in Sundays’ OC Register Business section is an indepth piece on AB 465. The reporter e-mailed me the following question:

"Why did you vote against it? The bill, which is on Brown’s desk, as you know, would require that arbitration agreements between employers and employees be voluntary."

My response:

1. Conflicted with both State and Federal case law and is preempted.

2. Unnecessary, as adequate protections already exist.

3. Potential for increasing litigation and overwhelming the courts.

4. Undermines job creation, making California even less competitive and sending the wrong message.

5. I could on, especially with addressing myths and facts.

Her response:

"John, thanks. This came in after we already shipped the OC delegation box that ran with the story. Just included the votes without quotes. Thanks."

I’m sure the piece was lengthy enough without adding comments from the delegation.


California GOP softens on immigration, but will message get drowned out?

California Republican Party adopts more moderate plank on immigration

State GOP fears rhetoric in presidential race will drown out message

Despite new immigration position, activists gravitate to Donald Trump

Activists attend the California Republican Party’s fall convention in Anaheim on Sept. 20, 2015.

Activists attend the California Republican Party’s fall convention in Anaheim on Sept. 20, 2015. dsiders The Sacramento Bee/David Siders

By David Siders and Christopher Cadelago


The California Republican Party’s adoption of a more moderate plank on immigration Sunday marked a step forward in the party’s long, mostly fruitless effort to draw more Latino voters into its fold.

In a floor vote Sunday, the party struck terms from its platform such as “illegal alien” and withdrew the party’s support for a requirement specifying workers on guest visas get tamper-proof identification cards allowing the government to track them.

But as Republican activists decamped from their fall convention over the weekend, it was unclear how deeply their new immigration platform would resonate. The presidential race – not a party position statement – plays most prominently for voters, and this year’s contest has dwelled on a frontrunner, Donald Trump, who has called immigrants rapists and criminals.

“It’s terrible,” said Tony Quinn, a political analyst and former Republican legislative aide. “The Trump stuff just drowns everything else out.”

If it continues, Quinn said, “you can just imagine these poor (state) legislators who have to run for re-election when people are debating birthright citizenship and hauling people down to Mexico and that kind of stuff.”

More than in most other states, California Republicans know the consequence of strident rhetoric on immigration. Proposition 187, the 1994 initiative to restrict public services to undocumented immigrants, was later overturned by the courts. But it alienated many Latino voters as they were emerging as a major force in the state.

Republican registration has fallen to 28 percent statewide.

In their second debate, on Wednesday, Trump reiterated that he would build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, then deport “a lot of really bad dudes in this country from outside.” He criticized Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has called for a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants, for speaking Spanish on the campaign trail.

At the party’s convention hotel in Anaheim, many members of the state’s political and professional class were left shaking their heads.

“It kills us,” said Assemblyman Rocky Chávez, an Oceanside Republican who is running for a U.S. Senate seat. “If you have Trump up there running his message, that would pretty much assure any Republican in California is going to go down. It’s not going to be just me. It’s going to be Assembly members and senators … Somebody like him would pretty much damage the image of all the good, hard-working Republicans.”

Even if Trump cannot maintain his early standing in the polls, as many analysts predict, Chávez said, “For California, what he brings back is a lot of the rancor of the 1990s, and I think that will hurt us.”

The new immigration platform was supported by the party’s legislative leaders and passed overwhelmingly on the convention floor. The new language removed a statement that election ballots and other government documents be printed only in English. However, the platform maintains the party’s support for English as the “official language of government.”

Yet even as the state party moderated its own positions, some in its rank-and-file look fondly on an outsider who holds a hard line. Trump, the real estate developer and TV personality, is popular not only nationally – but also in California. He leads all other Republican candidates among GOP voters in this state, with 24 percent support, according to a recent University of Southern California/Los Angeles Times poll.

Barbara Fleeman Hazlett, president of a Republican group in northern San Diego County, supported Chávez in his most recent election and hugged him in a lobby of the convention hotel. But she said Trump is “bringing up a lot of good points,” especially on immigration, and Don Genhart, of Palm Desert, said he plans to open a Trump campaign committee in the Coachella Valley.

“He’s saying what we all feel and are afraid to say,” Genhart said. “The border, the wall, the Trump wall, I think that’s going to be great.”

Conservative activists who opposed the platform change noted that the document maintains the party’s opposition to gay marriage and abortion rights and protection of gun rights.

California is a major donor state in presidential elections, but its ability to influence candidates’ platforms – or to insert state-specific issues into the contest – has been limited. The primary election will not reach California until June, long after the nomination typically is decided.

Despite the presence of all of the Republicans in Simi Valley for a debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library two days before the opening of the state party convention, only one candidate, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, lingered in the Los Angeles area to address the California delegation. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who had been booked to speak at a Saturday night dinner, cancelled on the event to campaign in early nominating states, instead.

Huckabee lamented that presidential debates so far have focused more on social issues than taxes, education and infrastructure.

“It’s frustrating, quite frankly,” he said.

Huckabee has mustered attention less for his tax policies than for his defense of Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. In a Twitter feud with California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Huckabee compared Davis’ decision to Newsom’s issuance of marriage licenses to gay couples while mayor of San Francisco. Newsom noted that once the court ordered him to stop, he did.

But Newsom and other Democrats have reserved most of their energy for Trump, delighting in the controversy surrounding his candidacy. Before the debate last week, Newsom released an animated video attacking Trump for immigration policies he said would be a “disaster.” On the last night of this year’s legislative session, Senate Democrats adopted a resolution condemning Trump’s views on immigration and calling on Californians to divest from his businesses.

State Sen. John Moorlach, a Republican from Costa Mesa, viewed excitement surrounding Trump not as a liability, but an opportunity to engage voters on subjects other than social issues. Moorlach, who was moderating a panel on pension reform at the convention, said Trump has shone light on an electorate that is “mad and they’ve had enough and they want to see it fixed,” he said.

Republican presidential candidates other than Trump could help the party on immigration, said Bill Whalen, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and former speechwriter for Gov. Pete Wilson. Sen. Marco Rubio, of Florida, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, among others, hold more moderate views on issue.

If Bush wins the nomination and “he’s going around the state speaking Spanish and offering what Californians might see as a more enlightened view of conservatism,” Whalen said, “he might be that guy (to help the party’s image), too.”

Republicans in Sacramento have tried repeatedly to distance themselves from their Washington counterparts.

Two years ago, then-Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff and others from his caucus joined Democratic colleagues in supporting a Democratic resolution urging Congress to take a comprehensive approach to improving the nation’s broken immigration system. In doing so, Huff sought to advance the many benefits to the U.S. from foreign immigration, citing the economy and social and entrepreneurial aspects.

California Republicans also have been prodded on immigration by their political allies in business. The California Chamber of Commerce has pushed for the California GOP delegation in the House to support legislation that would create a guest-worker program and establish a path to citizenship for those living in the country illegally.

A smattering of GOP state lawmakers also have backed a handful of major immigration bills in recent years, including measures allowing undocumented immigrants to receive driver’s licenses and practice law.

Marcelino Valdez, the state party official from Fresno who authored the amended platform language, said it was an essential message to send in order to remain competitive in elections across California.

“These are things that we can point to when we’re talking to people door to door,” Valdez said, offering a counter to the anti-immigrant exuberance around Trump.

“I was the first to say that what Donald Trump is saying doesn’t reflect who we are as Republicans and conservatives,” Valdez said.

Still, he credited Trump with the state party’s action on immigration.

“Donald Trump kind of put a little pressure so that we do get this correct – so that people listen to our points of view and where we stand on the issues, and they understand that we are pro-immigrant,” Valdez said.

David Siders: 916-321-1215, @davidsiders

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Day in Court

Gov. Jerry Brown faces a decision on mandatory workplace arbitration


Steve Hamil, a 42-year-old machinist at a surgical device company in Rancho Santa Margarita, was looking forward to his year-end bonus.

But last December, Applied Medical Resources sent a letter to its 3,000-plus employees saying that the bonuses, which the company regularly gives to workers at all levels, would depend on their signing a release waiving any claim to sue the company over workplace issues.

Any claims, whether for unpaid wages and missed rest breaks or racial, gender and other types of discrimination, would go to private arbitration, the release stipulated.

“Hosed for the holidays – a Christmas bonus in exchange for giving up our rights,” said Hamil, who signed the agreement but since has moved to another company. “People were upset – it was insulting.”

In fact, Hamil and his co-workers already had waived their right to sue by signing an arbitration agreement when they got hired, according to Applied Medical CEO Said Hilal, who characterized the year-end letter as a way to acknowledge the need to handle grievances in-house.

Arbitration agreements protect companies against “aggressive, grabby, fly-by-night attorneys” who file class-action lawsuits, Hilal said. “They find an employee you might have shorted by a dollar, and then they collect millions in legal fees.”

Under arbitration clauses, workers typically waive their rights to take complaints to the courts and to state and federal agencies. Instead, they are referred to the employer’s dispute resolution company, which provides a list of arbitrators from which to choose. The arbitrators, often attorneys or retired judges, make legally binding decisions in private, away from any media scrutiny.

Critics assert that forbidding class-action lawsuits and complaints to state labor agencies leaves low-income workers with little recourse against wage theft.

Attorneys will work on a contingency basis in class-action suits because there are multiple plaintiffs. But lawyers lack the financial incentive to take an individual worker’s case in an arbitration proceeding. The workers, many of whom make paltry wages, often cannot afford an attorney.

That unequal playing field, as worker advocates see it, has caught the attention of state politicians. Now companies’ ability to force employees to give up their day in court may be coming to an end in California.

A bill passed by the Legislature last month, AB 465, would make California the first state to ban arbitration agreements as a condition of employment and outlaw retaliation against current employees who refuse to sign them.

Gov. Jerry Brown is under intense pressure to veto the bill, which has been labeled a “job killer” by the California Chamber of Commerce and is opposed by some 40 trade groups representing homebuilders, restaurants, hotels, retailers and other industries.

Brownis under equal pressure to sign it by another 40-plus groups ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union to the Consumer Federation of California to labor unions representing nurses, truck drivers, firefighters, construction workers and others.

As yet, the governor has given no hint as to his inclination. He has until Oct. 11 to act or the bill automatically becomes law.

The California legislation comes in the wake of dramatic growth in the use of arbitration agreements as a condition of hiring.

The trend accelerated after a 5-4 United States Supreme Court decision in 2011 found that AT&T customers had given up their right to sue in the fine print of their service contract.

Mandatory arbitration clauses are becoming widespread not just in employment applications but in a broad variety of contracts, including credit card agreements and doctor’s forms. Businesses that had hesitated to impose them were emboldened by the Supreme Court decision.

The percentage of companies that used arbitration clauses to preclude class-action suits jumped from 16 percent in 2012 to 43 percent last year, according to a survey of 360 companies in 25 industries by the national law firm Carlton Fields Jorden Burt LLP, which represents employers.

In one high-profile case, a federal judge this month certified a class-action lawsuit against the car service Uber by three drivers who said the company mislabels employees as contractors. A majority of Uber’s 160,000 California drivers were excluded from the suit because they waived their rights when the company updated its employment contract last year.

The California legislation was spurred by a similar conflict at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, according to the California Labor Federation, which sponsored AB 465.

In the past year, the state’s Labor Commissioner has upheld complaints filed by port truckers claiming that their companies misclassified them as independent workers, thus depriving them of labor law protections that benefit employees.

In response to the successful complaints, trucking companies that employ hundreds of drivers are now insisting the drivers sign arbitration contracts waiving their right to file complaints, according to Julie Gutman Dickinson, a Teamsters union attorney who has been representing them.

“Many drivers are monolingual Spanish speakers,” she said. “They are not given copies of the arbitration agreements they are forced to sign in any language other than English. They are told they must sign if they want a job.”

Similarly, Spanish-speaking car wash workers who filed complaints in 2012 when their Santa Monica employer made them work off the clock found they unknowingly had signed arbitration agreements when they were hired.

Fast-food companies such as Pizza Hut, which employ low-wage workers, and janitorial services, with many non-English-speaking employees, also are folding arbitration clauses into job applications.

A key provision of AB 425 holds that the employer has “the burden of proving that the waiver was knowing and voluntary and not made as a condition of employment.”

The word “knowing” implies that the worker, even if he or she speaks another language, must understand the meaning of the arbitration agreement and that it involves waiving the right to sue.

Applied Medical is known for good wages and generous benefits. Skilled machinists and mold makers with only high school degrees can make six-figure salaries there. And the privately held company is unusual in awarding bonuses not just to managers but to employees across the board.

“If our company is doing well, everybody shares in it,” said CEO Hilal. “I know a lot of companies short their people, and that’s unconscionable. But that’s not us.”

Still, he is determined to avoid employee lawsuits. Protecting workers “should not be outsourced to shysters,” he said. “If the government is doing its homework, the rascals will be nailed.”

AB 465, Hilal predicted, will “give employment lawyers a blank check to go after companies. Every word will be worth several lawsuits. They will say if you didn’t translate to Thai, Mandarin and Vietnamese, then you haven’t made it clear.”

Caitlin Vega, the labor federation’s legislative counsel, insists that the new law “is not a ban on arbitration agreements – solong as they are voluntary. Employers who want them can explain why they are beneficial, and most workers may agree.”

Arbitration, she said, “Works between parties of relatively equal bargaining power, such as between businesses, or between unions and management. But it is unfair when one party is required to sign an agreement just to get a job.”

More and more, she adds, “These agreements are routinely required of low-wage immigrant workers, especially in industries with widespread labor abuses.”

AB 465 proponents say that arbitrators often favor corporate clients because dispute resolution companies want to be hired again. But this so-called “repeat player” theory is false, according to the California Chamber of Commerce, because an employee has an equal opportunity to pick the arbitrator from a list of candidates.

According to the Chamber, studies show that arbitration complaints are resolved faster than court cases. It cited a 2004 Cornell University survey that found that employees have a higher success rate in arbitration than in court.

More recent studies from UC Berkeley and Indiana University, however, found that under arbitration, fewer workers report wage theft, they win less often and awards are significantly smaller. That may be partially due to the growth of arbitration agreements in low-wage industries.

If AB 465 becomes law, companies will be severely restricted in their use of mandatory arbitration, according to Veronica Gray, an Irvine employment attorney with Nossaman LLP. “Employers … will have the burden of proving they were not made a condition of employment.”

If companies argue that a potential employee who refused to sign was not hired for other reasons, “That sets the employer up for a retaliation claim – and a very slippery slope,” Gray said.

Hilal sees Applied Medical’s offer of year-end bonuses as a generous gift, albeit with a string attached. “We go over and above salaries when the going gets good,” he said. “In the process, we ask, ‘Please level and tell us if have you any grievance. If you don’t feel like it, that’s fine. Then skip the discretionary pay.’”

But under AB 465, Applied Medical’s denying the bonus would be seen as retaliation, Vega said.

Hamil, the machinist who felt “hosed,” sees that as good news. Arbitration agreements “obligate you to agree to something when you never know what’s going to happen in the future,” he said.

The legislation, as he sees it, “would help the little guy.”

Contact the writer: mroosevelt Twitter: @MargotRoosevelt

How O.C.’s state legislators voted

AB 465, a California bill to end mandatory workplace arbitration, highlights the deep partisan divide over labor law.

In Orange County’s delegation, as in the legislature overall, Republicans opposed the bill and Democrats favored it.

In the Senate, the county’s only Democrat, Tony Mendoza (Artesia), voted yes, and the four Republicans, Patricia Bates (Laguna Niguel), Robert Huff (Diamond Bar), John Moorlach (Costa Mesa) and Janet Nguyen (Garden Grove), voted no.

In the Assembly, the county’s only Democrat, Tom Daly (Anaheim), voted yes. Five county Republicans voted no: Travis Allen (Huntington Beach), William Brough (Dana Point), Ling Ling Chang (Diamond Bar), Matthew Harper (Huntington Beach) and Kim Young (Fullerton).

Republican Donald Wagner (Irvine) did not vote.


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MOORLACH UPDATE — Transparency Turkey — September 18, 2015

The Sacramento Bee provided an editorial yesterday that called three bills that passed the State Legislature "turkeys" worthy of a veto. One of the three was SB 331 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — AB 107 — September 15, 2015 John Moorlach, MOORLACH UPDATE — Winsome Session — September 12, 2015 John Moorlach, and

The editorial’s headline and three subtitles hit the mark: "Bills that should never become law — Democrats carry water of public-employee unions — Sen. Tony Mendoza is carrying an especially cynical bill, SB 331 — Gov. Jerry Brown needs to intervene by vetoing these turkey bills."

Not to defame the noble bird, but Jerry Brown needs to sharpen his veto pen and kill numerous turkey bills.

Not to defame the noble bird, but Jerry Brown needs to sharpen his veto pen and kill numerous turkey bills. CLAY JACKSON (Pleasant Hill, Ky.) Advocate Messenger file

Here’s what it said (and what we communicated to the media in the release at the bottom of this UPDATE):

SB 331 by Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, is an especially cynical bill that goes by the disingenuous title “Civic Reporting Openness in Negotiations Efficiency Act.” It’s an Orwellian name for a bill that would limit sunshine.

Mendoza pushed this turkey because in recent years, a handful of municipalities had the temerity to adopt ordinances requiring additional public disclosure of labor contracts with public employee unions.

A gift to AFSCME and the Orange County Employees Association, this mendacious bill would require those municipalities – and only them – to adopt ordinances requiring greater disclosure of any contract worth $50,000 or more.

The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board supports transparency. But SB 331 requires information that already is generally public. And if it’s such a great idea, Mendoza should have attempted to apply it to all local governments. He didn’t; that’s not his goal, nor that of his benefactors. Once again, Democrats approved it overwhelmingly. Brown needs to kill this turkey.

Today the Sacramento Bee has an article on the topic (see below), I was rather firm and candid (surprise) about my disappointment with SB 331. It is a poison pill for better transparency of bargaining unit negotiations — the largest expenditure on every municipalities’ books! A signature by the Governor will solidify the notion that Sacramento is run by the public employee unions.


Public employee unions push bill on transparency; some say it does the opposite

Measure puts new disclosure requirements on some local governments

Opponents call SB 331 a union-backed measure to deter labor-contract scrutiny

Labor groups counter that it fairly applies same standards to all contracting

State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, said he expects labor-backed Gov. Jerry Brown to sign SB 331.

State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, said he expects labor-backed Gov. Jerry Brown to sign SB 331. Rich Pedroncelli The Associated Press

By Jon Ortiz


A union-backed measure on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk would require that a handful of cities and one county disclose more information about outsourced services, but the bill’s opponents say its real aim is to keep union labor negotiations opaque.

The only point of agreement between the two sides is that Senate Bill 331 by Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, responds to a small but growing movement among local governments to adopt ordinances that reveal the details of labor negotiations normally kept under wraps.

The movement, known as Civic Openness in Negotiations, or COIN, sets labor-negotiation disclosure standards that vary from relatively minor to comprehensive. The most sweeping, such as that adopted by Orange County last year, require an outside negotiator to represent the governing body plus a full analysis and extended public disclosure of specific contract proposals before any negotiated agreement is approved by elected officials.

Under COIN, if a union’s opening position is a 10 percent raise for members and an employer counters with a 10 percent pay cut, both proposals would be made public. Currently, neither side is obligated to disclose intimate bargaining-table details. The public becomes aware of the outcome of talks when the two sides reach an agreement, usually shortly before it goes to a board or council vote. COIN requires that proposals and counterproposals be made public.

Currently, Costa Mesa, Beverly Hills, and Fullerton have COIN measures in place along with Orange County. Marin County has considered an ordinance, although local news reports indicate administrators gave the proposal a cool reception last month.

The measure sent to Brown would apply those transparency standards to any contract for private services valued over $250,000 – but only for COIN-operating agencies. An analysis by Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai, a law firm that represents public employers, notes that the bill would affect arrangements for more than a dozen contracted services, from accounting to waste removal.

“In short, SB 331 would impose extraordinary burdens on agencies working to promote a better public understanding of labor costs,” the analysis states.

Peter Scheer, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, said the bill “purports to be about transparency but it’s really about the opposite.”

He predicted that if passed, it will chill the nascent movement to pull back the covers on union contract talks.

Labor unions counter that COIN unfairly targets their contracts and lets outsourcing pacts slide. From their perspective, the Mendoza bill merely balances the books.

“If the message (of COIN) is, ‘Let’s shine a light,’ there are billions of dollars in other contracts that should face the same scrutiny,” said Carroll Wills, spokesman for California Professional Firefighters, one of nearly two dozen labor unions supporting SB 331.

Jennifer Muir, general manager of the Orange County Employees Association, said that COIN ordinances spring from a “narrative” that unfairly casts public employees and their unions as villains. Meanwhile, she said, about half of Orange County’s $5.4 billion budget is spent on private-sector contracts that don’t receive as much scrutiny as employee compensation.

“I don’t think anybody can say with a straight face that the public wouldn’t be better served with more light on those contracts,” Muir said.

Sen. John Moorlach, a Costa Mesa Republican who successfully backed a COIN ordinance last year when he was an Orange County supervisor, said that labor contracts come from a system at cross-purposes: Unions bargain for terms with politicians who also take union campaign money or fear it.

“It’s the biggest conflict of interest on the planet,” Moorlach said. “(The unions) do not get how abusive they are.”

He dismissed union concerns that personal services contracts are abused, since substantial contracts are subject to competitive bidding.

If Brown is “savvy,” Moorlach said, he will veto the Mendoza measure and allow local governments to handle their affairs as they see fit.

But Moorlach expects the Democratic governor will sign the bill, citing unions’ consistent support for Brown since his return to office in 2010, his 2014 re-election and the successful 2012 tax hike.

“If the governor vetoes it,” Moorlach said, “I’ll fall out of my chair.”


In Case You Missed It…

Bills that should never become law

Sacramento Bee Editorial Board
September 17, 2015

"Gov. Jerry Brown calls himself the Capitol’s brooding omnipresence. We suggest another moniker: turkey bill killer, not to defame the noble bird. He probably should veto many bills sent to him at the end of the legislative sessions."

"SB 331 by Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, is an especially cynical bill that goes by the disingenuous title “Civic Reporting Openness in Negotiations Efficiency Act.” It’s an Orwellian name for a bill that would limit sunshine."

"The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board supports transparency. But SB 331 requires information that already is generally public. And if it’s such a great idea, Mendoza should have attempted to apply it to all local governments. He didn’t; that’s not his goal, nor that of his benefactors."

"Common themes run through these bills. Republicans oppose them, and Democrats voted almost in lockstep for the turkeys. Indeed, we counted only one Democrat who voted against each of the four, Sen. Steve Glazer, of Orinda."

"We understand that public employee unions are Democrats’ biggest benefactors. But when legislators go out of their way to intervene on their behalf, taxpayers end up paying."

CLICK HERE to read the full Sacramento Bee article.

Watch my floor comments on SB 331 HERE.

If you would like to request an interview with Senator John Moorlach, please contact Amanda Smith at Amanda.smith.


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MOORLACH UPDATE — AB 107 — September 15, 2015

Orange County is a donor county. It was also robbed several times by Sacramento, when the Capital ran short of funds. The most recent and most contentious was the Vehicle License Fee grab with SB 89 (2011). Here are a few links for your reading pleasure:

MOORLACH UPDATE — GPS Devices — September 16, 2013 John Moorlach

MOORLACH UPDATE — AB 701 — September 14, 2013 John Moorlach

MOORLACH UPDATE — VLF Grab — August 12, 2013 John Moorlach

MOORLACH UPDATE — VLF Torpedo — May 9, 2013 John Moorlach

MOORLACH UPDATE — VLFAA — April 6, 2012 John Moorlach

MOORLACH UPDATE — VLF & HSR – November 17, 2011 John Moorlach

MOORLACH UPDATE — VLF Theft — October 1, 2011 John Moorlach

MOORLACH UPDATE — BOS Actions — September 14, 2011 John Moorlach

When SB 107 came up for a vote, I was torn. The legislation pitted cities against counties and cities against cities. It is very awkward to have winners and losers. So, I stood up on the Senate Floor to let them know that as someone who came from the County level of government, I was not amused with the way the State and the Governor could pick the pockets of counties and cities. I strongly urged the Governor to focus on restoring relationships between Sacramento and the other layers of local government.

The bill had enough different components that it probably should have been four separate bills.

I favored rectifying the unfair property tax allocation, or negative bailout, faced by a number of central valley counties, like Stanislaus (similar to the OC’s situation).

I have supported legislative efforts for the past few years to correct how SB 89 also impacted four new cities in Riverside County. After each bill was put on his desk, Governor Brown would veto them. This bill addressed the matter one more time.

AB 107 was supported by the Urban County Caucus, which I chaired in 2013, and the California State Association of Counties, of whose board and executive committee I served for many years. In this role, I had the privilege to serve with Supervisor Vito Chiesa, who has become a dear friend and someone who played a key role in my decision to run for State Senate.

The unpalatable component of the bill dealt with debt issuance for low income housing in San Francisco County. However, I confirmed that the San Francisco component would not come out of the State’s general fund during my questioning of the Department of Finance at the Budget Committee.

The bill’s main focus was Redevelopment Agencies (RDAs) and their awkward demise by Governor Brown. To be direct, it was about money. Some cities would benefit and some would not.

As a County Supervisor, I closed down the RDA in my District, Santa Ana Heights, long before the turmoil of terminated RDAs started (see the LOOK BACK in MOORLACH UPDATE — County Executive Officer — July 26, 2012 John Moorlach). Those who may have utilized them too aggressively may still be dealing with the hangover of doing so.

My decision to support the bill is provided by the Modesto Bee in the first piece below. One can only hope that someday Orange County will be treated fairly by Sacramento.

The Voice of OC provides its editorial perspective on CRONEY (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Winsome Session — September 12, 2015 John Moorlach) in the second piece below. It also refers to the SB 89 dust up (see above). And it is an honor to have a media outlet quote from one of my UPDATEs.

The third piece is from Corona del Mar Today and will be dated in a few minutes. If you open this e-mail quickly and have no lunch plans, please join us. In case you get frustrated by the late notice, I did mention it earlier (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Road to Consensus — August 17, 2015 John Moorlach).

Governor’s signature on ‘negative bailout’ bill would mean almost $3 million annually for Stanislaus County

Chiesa hopes governor will come to town to sign bill

AB 107 won’t have big impact on Modesto

Supervisors have not talked about spending the extra money

By Ken Carlson

No one is sure how many times local and state representatives tried to appeal or change a state law that robbed Stanislaus County of an estimated $72 million in tax revenue over 35 years.

A bill that will end what’s called the “negative bailout” was finally approved on the last day of the legislative session, with the Senate vote coming at 10 p.m. Friday.

Proponents still need Gov. Jerry Brown to sign a bill that’s intended to settle disputes between the governor’s office and cities over the dissolution of redevelopment agencies. State Department of Finance staff wrote the original bill, which was amended by a legislative working group in the past two months.

Remedies to fix local government tax inequities, such as the negative bailout for Stanislaus, were included in the 104-page bill to persuade legislators to support it.

County Supervisor Vito Chiesa said the county would like to host the governor for a bill-signing ceremony.

“This is the first time I can recall that four of the five members of our legislative delegation were all rolling in the same direction,” said Chiesa, who made calls up until the vote Friday night to seek support for Assembly Bill 107.

He gave much of the credit to Assembly Members Kristin Olsen, R-Riverbank, and Adam Gray, D-Merced, and Sens. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, and Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres. “They were all whipping votes,” Chiesa said. “They were working hard and the county’s lobbyists were on the ground all day long. Unless you have your whole delegation working at the same time, your chances are minute.”

The county has sacrificed up to $3.4 million in annual revenue because of legislation intended to bail out counties that lost revenue to Proposition 13 in 1978, which put a limit on property taxes. The state’s formula for allocating the bailout money to counties actually forced Stanislaus and five other counties to give up more revenue.

Olsen said she made it a top priority to right the wrong, as did previous lawmakers from the county such as Republican Dave Cogdill.

Olsen said she started working one on one with Assembly members Friday morning, explaining how the bill would affect their districts.

“When we got the 43 votes, we asked for the bill to be taken up immediately without moments to spare,” Olsen said. “It demonstrates that persistence eventually pays off. … It is a significant amount of money (for Stanislaus) over the long term. We could have provided a lot of services, a lot of deputy sheriffs and a lot of road projects if we had been able to keep that $70 million in Stanislaus County.”

The League of California Cities opposed the bill, even though recent amendments to the original proposals were less objectionable for cities. Cities stand to lose interest on loans they had made to their redevelopment agencies before RDAs were dissolved by state law in 2012. AB 107 is not expected to greatly impact Modesto.

Galgiani said that 17 Democrats and one Republican, Cannella, were for the bill when it was taken up in the Senate, but at least 21 votes were needed. Two key votes were secured from Republicans Mike Morrell of Riverside County and John Moorlach of Orange County, after Moorlach had spoken against the bill on the floor.

The bill was approved on a 24-15 vote, with 10 of the 14 Senate Republicans opposed. Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Twain Harte, did not vote after local representatives begged him to support it. Berryhill’s district includes Fresno, which will lose interest money from the limits on RDA loan repayments.

“It was so long ago that Stanislaus was put at a disadvantage and it is unbelievable it has taken so long to correct it,” Galgiani said. “I am pleased the Valley caucus worked closely together and we got it done.”

Ray Simon, who served eight terms on the county Board of Supervisors, said he never thought the state would correct the negative bailout. “We appealed it year after year and of course it fell on deaf ears,” Simon said. “I thought once they had their hands on the money they would never give it up. These people who battled for it deserve a lot of credit.”

The remedy will give the county slightly less than $3 million in additional revenue each year. No funds will be reimbursed to the counties.

Simon suggested the money be spent on public safety and reducing the number of homeless people on the streets. The county could provide a place for the homeless to live or job retraining. “It is becoming overwhelming,” Simon said.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Terry Withrow said Monday that county leaders have not discussed how to spend the additional money.

“We will see,” Chiesa said. “We have plenty of needs in the county.”

Behind the Orange Curtain photo 2

Is the OC a Croney County?

By Norberto Santana, Jr.

After watching a year long, bare-knuckled political fistfight in Sacramento over the funky nickname, it now comes down to one man’s call.

Gov. Jerry Brown.

Orange County supervisors started the brawl last year by adopting that very standard for their labor contracts with the Civic Openness in Negotiations (COIN) ordinance.

Soon after, local labor partnered with State Sen. Tony Mendoza — presenting their own counter-offer for public discourse, the Civic Reporting Openness in Negotiations Efficiency Act, or CRONEY.

The two sides have been rumbling ever since throughout state legislative committees and the floors of both houses.

The State Senate narrowly approved CRONEY and presented it to Brown at about 10:45 p.m. last Friday.

Orange County supervisors have been freaking out over the legislation from day one, with officials such as State Sen. John Moorlach (the former county supervisor who introduced COIN) and State Senators Pat Bates and Janet Nguyen (two other former county supervisors who supported COIN) taking deep offense at the implication that public contracting in their backyard is corrupt and essentially for sale to the highest campaign bidder.

They have denounced CRONEY as nothing more than political payback for efforts to shed light on labor negotiations, which are indeed difficult to track publicly given the nature of the state’s collective bargaining rules.

Media institutions such as the Los Angeles Times and First Amendment groups like CalAware have both applauded efforts to shine more light on labor talks. The same kinds of groups push for similar transparency when it comes to corporate contracts.

In an email update this week to supporters, Moorlach took direct aim at Brown, characterizing his potential support for CRONEY as evidence of payback and public employee dominance of Sacramento.

“He (Brown) should want more public scrutiny of the negotiation process, as he’s not doing so well in this critical area…The Governor knows that I was critical of his efforts on addressing retiree medical liabilities. I would call it "reform-lite," as it only makes the pension problem worse (more on this at a later time). All to say, I’m sure that the Governor will sign SB 331 in retribution, which seems to be the theme here. But, the taxpayers will lose, again, thanks to the dominance of the public employee unions.”

OCEA General Manager Jennifer Muir doesn’t agree that payback accurately describes what’s in play here.

“Evenly applied transparency,” is how she publicly describes CRONEY.

If you want to have hyper-public labor talks, you should have hyper-public private contract talks, Muir argues.

Note that CRONEY doesn’t apply if you don’t adopt or if you repeal COIN.

County supervisors had a chance to back up from that confrontation earlier this month after a judge ruled they had improperly adopted their COIN ordinance. Yet despite the public urging of their County Counsel, county supervisors have to this date stood steadfast in their desire to keep the tenets of COIN – public labor negotiating.

Supervisor Shawn Nelson has openly aired concerns that if CRONEY were enacted, it would bring public contracting at the county of Orange to a halt.

“It’s just going to make doing anything difficult,” Nelson said, noting that if that standard is necessary for Orange County, it should be used in other counties.

All this again prompts the key question: Is Orange County markedly different – more infected by Cronyism – than others?

Keep in mind, these are the same county supervisors who when they found themselves short on property tax money because of their 2006 bankruptcy refinancing, scrambled to convince the local auditor controller to give them $73 million in tax dollars set aside for local community colleges. Brown successfully sued supervisors in court to get the tax money back.

Once again, answering whether Orange County is different comes down to one guy.

Brown should call Steve Danley.

He’s the former Director of Human Resources for the County of Orange, who traveled to Sacramento years back when OCEA had another bill – sponsored by Lou Correa – attempting to take hiring away from the county HR department because of instances of politicized hiring.

Back then, Danley – who was one of Nelson’s favorite executives as board chairman – told Sacramento that Orange County was bringing its situation under control.

That same guy just abruptly retired in protest because the situation is not under control.

If all California counties are run like Orange County, then maybe business as usual should indeed grind to a halt.

Again, it comes down to one person.

Consider last week’s Orange County supervisors’ meeting, where David Carr got up to thank supervisors because his firm, ECORP Consulting, had won a contract against a politically-connected vendor for a South County landfill contract.

Yet despite ECORP winning out in the public bidding process, County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett changed all that with one quick motion that reversed the public process and kept the current vendor, and of course was approved unanimously at the dais without any kind of debate.

The winning vendor – LSA & Associates – has earned numerous headlines in Voice of OC and other media since 2010 for it’s storied role in the attempted privatization of the Orange County fairgrounds as the firm that facilitated the hiring of lawyers and lobbyists by questionably amending a fairgrounds parking lot repaving contract on their own.

According to a quick records check, the firm directly gave out $3,700 in campaign contributions to county supervisors since 2010.

District Attorney Tony Rackauckas cleared LSA & Associates last year of any criminal wrongdoing in the fairgrounds saga.

Yet under this kind of contracting and hiring environment, people like Steve Danley and David Carr – who don’t play ball and aren’t giving to campaigns — seemingly have no chance.

It’s now up to Gov. Jerry Brown to tell us whether they should.


Today is Deadline to Reserve Spot at Chamber Lunch

A few seats remain available for Tuesday’s Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce’s networking luncheon, featuring California Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) as guest speaker.

Tickets are $30 for chamber members and $40 for guests. Check-in and networking will take place from 11:30 a.m. to noon, followed by lunch and the program until 1:15 p.m.

Moorlach, an event flier said, will deliver a “State of the State” address.

The event will take place at Fig & Olive at 151 Newport Center Drive.

For more information or to reserve a spot, call (949) 673-4050. The deadline to reserve a spot is today, a chamber representative said.


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MOORLACH UPDATE — Winsome Session — September 12, 2015

Win some, lose some. As promised, the Senate Session for 2015 concluded yesterday, just before midnight. This week I went toe-to-toe with Senator Tony Mendoza, a Democrat who represents Buena Park (including my folks) and adjoining areas in neighboring LA County.

Sen. Mendoza had two major bills. His union tribute is covered by the Voice of OC in the first piece below. A few years ago, Costa Mesa Mayor Steve Mensinger implemented Civic Openness in Negotiations (COIN). This ordinance spells out certain elements of the collective bargaining process that should be pursued by the city and its public employee unions. The major component is providing the details of the negotiations to the public as the talks are progressing. Revolutionary. Up until now, although this could be done, it was never pursued by any municipality that I am aware of. Therefore, the taxpayers find out what the new contract is a few hours before the governing board votes for it.

I had previously encouraged my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors to adopt a couple of the planks of COIN, but had never done so in a formal ordinance. Consequently, I proposed a similar version of Costa Mesa’s COIN to the OC Board of Supervisors in 2014. For a current status, see MOORLACH UPDATE — Pension Hole — July 31, 2015 John Moorlach After COIN passed, it made the union leadership livid. They responded by using their muscle. After all, the public employee unions are the ATM machine for the Democratic Party and they virtually run Sacramento (more on this at another time).

The first salvo from the unions was killing legislation to allow Orange County to potentially use the services of California’s Fair Political Practices Commission to address campaign issues as a resolution for those seeking an ethics commission. A similar bill for another agency flew through the legislature this year with no opposition. So, in a hissy fit, the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA) killed a proactive initiative as retribution.

OCEA then sniveled for the implementation of CRONEY (Civic Reporting Openness in Negotiations Efficiency Act), which found no traction with the Board of Supervisors (see MOORLACH UPDATE — CRONEY Comedy — September 2, 2014 John Moorlach). After their efforts failed, they recruited Sen. Mendoza and he wrote SB 331 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 331 — May 4, 2015 John Moorlach).

As it moved through the legislature, the LA Times (of all publications), printed an editorial promoting the adoption of COIN in Los Angeles! It can be seen at

The bill came up for Senate concurrence and it succeeded, but only by two votes (I thought it was only one vote, but the state’s website indicates two). Usually all 26 Democrats vote for bills carried by fellow Democrats. But, SB 331 was so bad, that three Democratic Senators voted against and one laid off (did not vote for at all).

Now it goes to the Governor for signature. He should want more public scrutiny of the negotiation process, as he’s not doing so well in this critical area. In fact, I criticized him in the third piece below, one of our press releases. The Governor knows that I was critical of his efforts on addressing retiree medical liabilities. I would call it "reform-lite," as it only makes the pension problem worse (more on this at a later time). All to say, I’m sure that the Governor will sign SB 331 in retribution, which seems to be the theme here. But, the taxpayers will lose, again, thanks to the dominance of the public employee unions.

But, I did get a win over Sen. Mendoza. He also pursued Senate Constitutional Amendment 8 (SCA 8), which would put a measure on the statewide ballot to convert counties with populations exceeding 2 million to increase from five Supervisors to seven. Sen. Mendoza has never been a County Supervisor. His arguments were thin. If he was concerned about diversity, he only needed to look at the LA and Orange County Boards. I suspect he was looking for a place to land when he is termed out. It was another "butt out" matter that needed to be killed (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Butt Out — June 13, 2015 John Moorlach). It takes a two-thirds vote to put a measure on the ballot. A good number of my Democrat colleagues agreed that this was a local matter and opposed the bill. The LA Times covers it in the second piece below.

In Sacramento, the minority doesn’t get very many wins. But, I can list a few from this first session experience (more on this later):

* No additional car taxes
* No cigarette tax
* No reduction of gasoline consumption mandate
* No retroactive additional tax punishment on a major utility
* No approval for the issuance bonds (the state needs to address its current debts)

It’s great to conclude this chapter. It’s good to be home. I’ll get some rest. Then we’ll craft some bills to fix the fiscal nightmare that California has become. I want to thank my staff, interns and volunteers for all of the support. You did great!

Legislature Approves Bill Targeting COIN Laws

By Nick Gerda

Organized labor’s response to the controversial Civic Openness in Negotiations (COIN) ordinances has taken a major step forward, with the state Legislature giving final approval Thursday to a bill that expands disclosure requirements for contracts between private companies and local governments that have adopted such ordinances.

A final version of the bill, known as Civic Reporting Openness in Negotiations Efficiency Act, or CRONEY, was narrowly approved by the Senate on a 21-15 vote Thursday morning. (21 votes were required for it to pass.)

It now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown for a potential signature.

COIN ordinances, which have been passed by Orange County and some cities, apply extra transparency provisions to labor contracts. In the county’s case, it requires, among other things, public disclosure of offers and counter-offers during negotiations, a more detailed financial analysis of proposed agreements and the posting of proposed contracts 30 days before voting on their approval.

CRONEY, meanwhile, requires counties and cities that have passed COIN ordinances to also follow similar transparency rules for contracts worth more than $250,000 with private companies.

The provisions would no longer apply if a local government suspends or repeals its COIN ordinance.

The bill’s supporters hailed its passage as a stand for fairness, given that COIN ordinances open up government transparency on labor contracts but not large contracts with private firms.

“We’re pleased that our elected leaders in the state legislature took a stand for evenly applied transparency, and against discrimination. This is progress for the middle class,” said Jennifer Muir, general manager of the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA), which represents about 12,000 county workers.

Meanwhile, COIN’s proponents say CRONEY is nothing more than a ploy to pressure local governments to repeal those laws.

“SB 331 is essentially intended to end healthy transparency of union negotiations by local governments,” said state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), who successfully introduced COIN at Orange County’s county government last summer when he was on the Board of Supervisors.

Supervisor Shawn Nelson, who joined Moorlach in approving COIN last year, has a similar outlook.

“It’s just going to make doing anything difficult, specifically for the County of Orange,” Nelson said. If this is really about good government and transparency, he added, “it should be passed for all counties.”

Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Whittier), whose district includes most of Buena Park and about 500 residents of unincorporated Orange County, introduced the bill. OCEA and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) played significant roles in advocating for its passage.

Among CRONEY’s provisions is a requirement that an independent auditor produce a public report on the cost of proposed contracts at least 60 days before their approval. That also applies to changes to contracts.

Agencies would also have to disclose negotiation offers and counteroffers on their websites within 24 hours, details about negotiation sessions, and verbal and written communications with company representatives within 24 hours. Contracts would also have to be heard at two public meetings before being approved.

The original bill applied to contracts worth $50,000 or more. But the final bill increased the threshold to $250,000 and exempts contracts that are in response to a state of emergency.

So far, five local governments have adopted COIN laws: Orange County; the cities of Costa Mesa, Fullerton, and Beverly Hills; and the East Bay Municipal Utility District.

(Click here to read the bill’s official legislative analysis)

In addition to OCEA and AFSCME, CRONEY is supported by the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs and the Association of Deputy District Attorneys. Opponents include the California Chamber of Commerce, Huntington Beach City Council, the League of California Cities, and Sheriff-Coroner Sandra Hutchens.

A physical copy of the bill is expected to reach Gov. Brown’s office in the coming days.

You can contact Nick Gerda at ngerda, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.


Lawmakers reject measure expanding county boards of supervisors

By Patrick McGreevy

The Senate on Thursday failed to muster the two-thirds vote to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot requiring large California counties, including Los Angeles, to expand their five-member boards of supervisors to at least seven members.

Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) may bring the proposal up again Friday, but he was able to get only 24 of the 27 votes he needed on Thursday after four Democrats voted against it and Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) withheld her vote.

Mendoza said his proposal would increase the opportunity for minority communities to elect representatives.

It would apply to all five counties with populations of 2 million people or more: Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego.

SCA 8 "will provide the opportunity to be more responsive to and reflective of the needs of the people they serve," Mendoza told his colleagues. The bill, which still needed Assembly approval, would put the issue on the November 2016 ballot.

However, Democrats and Republicans questioned the proposal.

Republican Sen. John Moorlach of Costa Mesa said the bill is "totally unnecessary" because counties already have power to expand their boards if they decide it’s necessary.

Sen. Benjamin Allen (D-Santa Monica) also opposed the bill, saying Los Angeles County voters have turned down expansion proposals in the past. Expanding the board without an elected chief executive to bring order would create an "unwieldy" panel, Allen said.

Thursday, September 10, 2015
Contact: Amanda Smith (949-223-5037)

Nonpartisan Legislative Analyst Issues Tough Criticism of Governor’s Recent Caltrans Engineer Pay Hike Deal

  • LAO says deal “places Legislature in difficult position so late in the legislative session.”
  • Three-year, seven percent pay increase also quadruples employee cash-out of unused vacation, costing State an additional $30 million.
  • “Based on their poor record, how can we trust Caltrans supervisors to even know when an employee is on vacation versus on the clock?”State Senator John Moorlach
  • State Legislature to consider today budget trailer bill, AB 131, which contains this deal’s language.

(Sacramento, CA) – Today, the Legislature will likely consider AB 131 – the budget trailer bill that contains language for the seven percent Caltrans engineers pay hike deal negotiated last week by union leaders and the Governor.

But, according to a newly released review by the State’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), the deal is problematic and contains a hidden gem that allows Caltrans engineers to increase from 20 hours to 80 hours the amount of unused vacation that can be “cashed out” for additional bonuses. The LAO estimates this provision will increase costs to the State by $30 million.

“This agency, one that has an extremely poor record of tracking work days and vacation days, is now going to allow employees to cash out four times more unused vacation days?” asked State Senator John Moorlach. “How can we trust Caltrans supervisors to even know when an employee is on vacation versus on the clock? And, why should taxpayers foot an additional $30 million dollar cost for this benefit, in addition to the $500 million plus dollar pay hike?”

The entire three-year, seven percent pay spike for Caltrans Engineers will cost taxpayers an additional $571 million over the next four years.

An earlier audit by the LAO found the Caltrans engineering department to be overstaffed by 3,300 employees at a cost of half-a-billion dollars per year. At a Senate hearing three weeks ago, the LAO presented damning evidence about Caltrans’ poor management, bad data and lack of expenditure tracking systems.

The nonpartisan State Auditor followed up with a report two weeks ago revealing that one Caltrans engineer had golfed 55 days while “on the clock” over the past 18 months, and that Caltrans supervisors had signed his time sheets without even being able to verify the hours worked. In response, Caltrans’ top executives abruptly pulled out of their previously planned, work-week golf outing.

“Californians are being asked to increase taxes to pay for the repairs that Caltrans is already supposed to be fixing,” continued Senator Moorlach. “While Caltrans is not the only problem to our road funding, their inefficiencies, poor expense and budget tracking, and lack of good management practices has contributed substantially to our bad roads.”

The new agreement does address the growth in retiree medical costs by enacting pre-funding for retiree medical, but the timeline allows the legislature little opportunity to review these changes, examine actuarial tables for future impact, and make an informed decision on passage of the deal. As the LAO points out, “The administration’s lack of attention to such important details places the Legislature in a difficult position so late in its session.”

"We need significant retiree medical modifications," concluded Senator Moorlach. "The Governor fell far short and is getting absolutely nothing for the generous pay raises. The state could use a professional negotiator, and it should adopt greater openness and transparency in labor negotiations."



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MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 350 Compromise — September 10, 2015

The pace is nonstop here in Sacramento. But, we’re having an impact. The effort to oppose the proposed gas tax is addressed in Fox & Hound in the first piece below. It is followed by our news release on the topic.

The second piece is from last evening’s press conference, on ABC Channel 10, where Gov. Brown had a meltdown on his modification to the climate change effort of SB 350. The policy of eliminating gasoline from our lives does did not resonate with the voters. See it at:

No Gas Tax Increase for Now

Joel Fox

By Joel Fox

Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

There will be no immediate deal on tax increases for road infrastructure because Republicans have held fast arguing that while revenues are up road needs have been ignored. The facts appear to back them up.

While 2015-16 state revenues are 37% higher than 2010-11, the last budget before Gov. Jerry Brown took office, state spending on transportation got little increases.

Had transportation received the same share of the 2015-16 money as it received in 2010-11, spending on transportation in 2015-16 would be $1.3 billion greater than the amount allocated in the 2015-16 budget.

Where did the increased revenue go?

According to Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), “With gas tax revenue up, the state has actually decreased its funding allocation to our roads by diverting those funds to other line-items.” Moorloch highlighted in a release that in the six years following the Great Recession, gas tax revenue grew by 1.75 billion and road spending remained stagnant.

As I wrote in mid-July, the campaign for a gas tax increase resembled the effort to pass Prop 30—deny funding to programs until it hurts so that voters are convinced to raise taxes.

It worked with the schools and Prop 30, according to a Bloomberg article I cited in the July post. It did not work for the roads—-yet.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Contact: Amanda Smith (949-223-5037)
New Gas Tax Analysis

In 6 Years Following Great Recession, Gas Tax Revenue Grew by $1.75 Billion; Road Spending Remained Stagnant

“Governor Brown’s transportation tax proposal is really a tax to replace road funds that were diverted to cover other budget priorities.”
— State Senator John Moorlach

(Sacramento, CA) – A fresh review of post-recession California budget data revealed that California’s road spending remained stagnant at roughly $10 billion per year over the past six years, while revenues from gas and diesel taxes and fees grew from $6.9 billion to $8.7 billion.

With gas tax revenue up, the state has actually decreased its funding allocation to our roads by diverting those funds to other line-items,” said State Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) “Now we’re being told we have a road emergency, and we need to raise taxes.”

“The data is becoming clearer; Governor Brown’s transportation tax proposal is really a tax to replace road funds that were diverted to cover other budget priorities,” continued Moorlach. “California’s economy is already the highest taxed in the nation. You can only pluck so many feathers off this bird before it can’t fly anymore. Instead of raising taxes, maybe we ought to look at fixing the spending side.”

Last week, Governor Brown announced a set of taxes to raise $3.6 billion for his transportation plan, including a $65 increase in the car tax, $.06 increase in the gas tax, $.11 increase in diesel tax, $500 million from cap and trade funds and $100 million from Caltrans budget shifts.

KXTV News10 logo.png

California Legislative Leaders, Governor Announce Compromise

On Energy Usage Reduction Bill

Emily Pritchard

The provision to cut gas usage by 50 percent by 2030 has been cut from SB350 announced Gov. Jerry Brown, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins at a news conference Wednesday evening at the Capitol.

According to De Leon, SB350 aims to boost statewide renewable electricity use to 50 percent, make buildings twice as energy efficient and have drivers use half as much gasoline. With the latest announcement, the last part – a key provision – of the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015 has been removed.

"We raced for the Triple Crown but, with the clock ticking, the stakes are way too high to allow the perfect to be the enemy of the great," De Leon said. "And so we have together agreed to amend SB 350 to remove the petroleum section and move forward with the other two sections — which, by any standard, are in and of themselves landmark achievements."

The bill has faced opposition from Assembly Democrats, who were worried that mandating oil reduction hurts low-wage workers. Others said there needs to be a cheaper alternative in order for a petroleum cutback to be effective.

“Everyone has to get to work in the morning, everybody has got to go to school — and whether you like it or not, it’s in an automobile," Sen. Ted Gaines, R – El Dorado, said. "Until there’s new technology that transforms that industry, we’re still very reliant on cars and putting gas in those cars to get from point A to B."

Some said there appeared to be confusion on what was being asked of Californians.

“It’s very difficult to explain to the constituents of this state that on one hand you want to raise their gas tax so you can repair the roads, and on the other hand you want to reduce the amount of gas you sell by 50 percent," Sen. John Moorlach, R – Costa Mesa said. "It just didn’t connect."

Provisions on renewable electricity and energy efficiency remain in SB350.

Brown, De Leon and Atkins said lawmakers dropped the provision under pressure from oil industry lobbyists. Brown said during the new conference no company wants to see its business cut by 50 percent.

De Leon said, "Big Oil might be on the right side of their shareholder reports, but we’re on the right side of history."

Atkins said on Wednesday she wouldn’t predict a vote, but added the bill now has broad support in the Assembly.

The session ends on Friday — after the announcement, there were two days to win approval of SB350.

The proposal was to enact Brown’s call to curb greenhouse gas emissions by setting what the administration calls the most aggressive benchmark in North America.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Contact: Amanda Smith (949-223-5037)

Senator Moorlach Statement on Governor Jerry Brown’s SB 350 Press Conference

(Sacramento, CA) – Today, Senator Moorlach released the following statement in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s press conference on Senate Bill 350:

"Even though SB 350 appears to be failing in the Legislature, the Governor indicated that he will push the California Air Resources Board to enact the mandates anyway and continue his drive to fundamentally change our economy through high regulations and astronomical costs to our citizens. The Governor also made it clear he refuses to allow the people to review and approve such epic changes. That’s not accountable government, and its not good policy."


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