MOORLACH UPDATE — CRP and SR 65 — May 2, 2016

I had a fun weekend in Burlingame, enjoying the 2016 California Republican Party Convention. I had opportunities to listen to U.S. Presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. I even had the chance to take a photo with Gov. Kasich (Trump bailed on the photo session after lunch and my staff member was not admitted to the Cruz photo session, so I passed.) Now it is time to select one of the candidates, or not.

The Convention had plenty of its own subtle drama. And I enjoyed talking with many wonderful activists from around the state. While the Party was enjoying one of its more memorable Conventions, the Daily Pressgenerated the two editorials below. Again, it is nice to be acknowledged for our attempts to improve the state of California. I just wish the state would admit that it needs to change. For background, see MOORLACH UPDATE — Opposition — April 22, 2016 april 22, 2016 john moorlach, MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1251 and SB 1140 — April 12, 2016 april 12, 2016 john moorlach, and MOORLACH UPDATE — Caltrans Insubordination — March 18, 2016 march 18, 2016 john moorlach.

Last Monday’s Floor Session included my first Senate Resolution, SR 65, declaring May as California Lupus Awareness Month. Balita News picked up our press release and it is provided in the third piece below.

Our View: Dangerous ideas? Dems have plenty of them

Democratic National Committee officials sent media outlets a press release Wednesday to alert them to a "Press call" to address the GOP’s "dangerous ideas" ahead of the California Republican Convention.

Among those participating were Senator Barbara Boxer, House Democratic caucus chairman Xavier Becerra and DNC Communications Director Luis Miranda.

Among other things, Boxer, Becerra and Miranda claimed the Republican presidential candidates were all "completely out-of-touch with average Californians."

That’s rich.

The Democratic Party leadership finally must be sensing that Donald Trump, in particular, is resonating with more and more Americans, even Democrats. Why else would they bother to hold a press call on this? Did they forget they hold a huge advantage over the GOP in voter registration in the Golden State?

If you want to talk about dangerous ideas, most of the ones we would mention are ideas generated by California Democrats.

Topping the list would be Gov. Jerry Brown’s "crazy train," the high speed rail system he wants to spend $68 billion or more on although it has no certain funding source and little public support after the initial $10 billion in bonds is spent.

Next up would be a proposal to make California drivers pay taxes based on miles driven. The Democrats have never met a tax they didn’t like, so why not stick it to commuters even more? Forget the fact that Californians already pay among the highest gasoline taxes in the nation.

Unlimited union power, as long as those unions continue to fill Democratic candidates’ campaign coffers, deserves to be on the list, too. From the California Teachers Union to the SEIU, union power is plentiful in Sacramento. If anyone doubted that, just reflect on the minimum wage increase Gov. Brown signed into law recently. Even though the governor knew it would add more than $3 billion per year to the state budget and he had previously opposed the wage hike, he kowtowed to his union buddies. Who cares if thousands of jobs are lost by those who can least afford to be unemployed? The Democrats will laugh about that all the way to the bank as the big bucks from unions continue to roll in.

Union power also comes into play with our last example of a dangerous idea: the Democrats’ belief that transparency is overrated. State Senator John Moorlach of Orange Countyfound that out when he proposed SB 1248, which would have required transparency in California Environmental Quality Act litigation. Democrats called it "dangerous" and killed it in committee. Another one of Moorlach’s bills, SB 1251, which would establish the California Financial Transparency Act and require the state’s financial data to be printed in the voter information pamphlet, also is likely to be killed. Unions up and down the state already are lobbying hard against it.

It appears California Democrats know plenty about dangerous ideas. That’s because they come up with most of them.

Our View: Caltrans audits more than disturbing

In California, it appears, the road to waste is paved not with good intentions, but rather by Caltrans.

At least a report by the State Auditor released recently would lead us to believe that, as well as another audit conducted last year by the state Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Among the findings of these various audits:

1) Caltrans is overstaffed by 3,500 employees, at a cost of $500 million per year.

2) 62 percent of Caltrans projects exceed their budget.

3) One Caltrans employee golfed for 55 days on the clock, even bragging to co-workers about it.

4) Caltrans has weak controls over spending; in some cases no controls.

5) No supporting documentation is maintained for work order costs used to complete field maintenance work.

Orange County state Senator John Moorlach looked over the latest audit and wasted no time providing his thoughts:

“This audit reinforces the fact that our bad roads are not a result of a lack of funding. They’re a result of a lack of competence at Caltrans,” said the Republican from Costa Mesa. “We don’t need to raise gas taxes to fix our roads. We need to stop letting Caltrans waste the road money it already has and then lie about how that money is being used.”

Yes, lie. That was another topic that was addressed in the latest audit.

According to the State Auditor, Caltrans lied to state legislators for seven years about implementing recommendations from a $250,000 study conducted to help the agency improve field maintenance operations for greater efficiency. While legislators thought Caltrans was following these recommendations, it wasn’t. And it didn’t seem to care that taxpayers’ money was wasted on the study.

“The metrics tell the story," Moorlach said in a release. "We pay some of the nation’s highest costs for our roads, and we have some of the worst roads to show for it. Caltrans is a broken agency.”

Broken and gigantic. It has nearly 20,000 employees (about one-quarter of whom work at Caltrans headquarters) and an annual budget of more than $10.5 billion.

According to its website, Caltrans’ vision is to be a "performance-driven, transparent and accountable organization that values its people, resources and partners, and meets new challenges through leadership, innovation and teamwork."

Its stated goals? "Safety and health, stewardship and efficiency, sustainability, livability and economy, system performance, organizational excellence." It’s values? "Integrity, commitment, teamwork, innovation."

Unfortunately, it appears the agency is falling short on transparency, teamwork, stewardship, efficiency and integrity.

The time for bloated bureaucracies is long past, particularly when California has such a long list of highway infrastructure needs. State lawmakers should trim some of the fat from Caltrans’ budget and make whatever changes necessary to make it function efficiently and transparently.

May is ‘California Lupus Awareness Month’

(Sacramento) – Senator Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) yesterday presented Senate Resolution 65, which designates May as “California Lupus Awareness Month.” Senate Resolution 65 passed with a 36-0 vote, receiving overwhelming, bipartisan support. The measure seeks to bring greater awareness, understanding and insight to the devastating effects of Lupus.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of various parts of the body including: the skin, joints, heart, and kidneys. At present, Lupus affects 1.5 million Americans, many of whom are women.

“Lupus has affected my office, as my District Director’s wife – Megan – was diagnosed with Lupus in high school,” said Moorlach. “Without the support of the Lupus community, Megan, and many of those diagnosed, would have nowhere to turn to as they look to combat this life affecting disease. I want to thank the Lupus Foundation of Northern California, Lupus Foundation of Southern California, and Lupus Los Angeles for all of their dedicated work helping the Lupus community in California.”

In attendance for the passing of Senate Resolution 65 were representatives from the Lupus Foundation of Northern California, Lupus Foundation of Southern California, and Lupus Los Angeles.

“Every day, lupus patients confront challenges from chronic, debilitating pain to kidney disease and chemotherapy. What gives these survivors the strength that we are in awe of is the message that they are not alone in the fight. With the message of support from their doctors, their family, their peers and community organizations like the Lupus Foundation of Northern California (LFNC) comes hope that they have Lupus; Lupus doesn’t have them. We are thrilled and grateful that Senator Moorlach and his colleagues are adding their voices to that chorus of hope,” said Erin C. Badillo, Executive Director,Lupus Foundation of Northern California.

Senate Approves Resolution Designating May as "California Lupus Awareness Month" (photo courtesy of http://district37.cssrc.us/)

Senate Approves Resolution Designating May as “California Lupus Awareness Month” (photo courtesy of http://district37.cssrc.us/)

“Working with Senator Moorlach and his staff has been a very valuable experience. I greatly appreciate his efforts to bring together the three leading lupus organizations in California. The collaboration has been both positive and productive and the groups have combined forces to promote lupus awareness and disease prevention to the community through the California State Senate,” stated Hollaine Hopkins, Executive Director, Lupus Foundation of Southern California.

“Recognition by State officials of the importance of Lupus awareness and advocacy work, helps to support our Lupus community in their everyday life by validating their experience with this often invisible disease. Addressing the needs of the chronically ill through government funded research programs and through better access to healthcare are important steps in finding a cure to this devastating disease. Lupus LA commends Senator Moorlach and his colleagues in the Senate in their efforts to bring forth awareness and improved care to the Lupus community, ” said Toby L. Berkow, Executive Director, LUPUS LA.

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

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