Last Friday, the Senate voted to approve three bills related to the Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) between the Governor and nearly two-thirds of the State’s employees, through their respective bargaining units. Senate Bills 28, 47 and 48 will cost the General Fund $2.7 billion. But, we don’t have money for roads and dams. What?
I voted against all three of the bills. I even spoke against them. See minute 13 for February 17 at http://senate.ca.gov/media-archive.
The Sacramento Bee sends out an electronic “Capitol Alert” that discusses a previous vote that I made in Committee in the first piece below.
In my Friday Floor Speech, I mentioned that we have a “dam problem.” The Canada Free Press provides an editorial in the second piece that brings home this concern (also see MOORLACH UPDATE — Art of the Deal — January 13, 2017 january 13, 2017 john moorlach).
In the third piece, found in the Voice of OC, fruit is found from our efforts last year to utilize Mental Health Services Act funding for psychiatric beds (also see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1255 and SB 1273 — July 25, 2016 july 25, 2016 john moorlach).
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BY THE NUMBERS: State workers, you’re closer to getting your raises. A package of labor agreements that would give raises to more than half of the state’s workforce cleared the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee on Monday. Next year, the agreements likely will swell spending on public employee compensation by about $1 billion. The agreements cover the 96,000 state workers represented by SEIU Local 1000, firefighters in Cal Fire Local 2881 and the state’s blue collar maintenance union, IUOE Local 12, among others. Two Republican lawmakers, John Moorlach and Mike Morrell, voted against the deals in the public employment committee. The package heads to the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review next, with another vote expected on Thursday.
California is in a crisis. Actually, California has many crises taking place, including a crisis of leadership
Where in the World is Gov. Jerry Brown?
By Katy Grimes
The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.—Dwight D. Eisenhower
California is in a crisis. Actually, California has many crises taking place, including a crisis of leadership. This lack of leadership has led to glaring misplaced priorities, and now, a crisis of tremendous proportions of aging and severely damaged infrastructure.
Oroville Dam, Levee Breaches, Flooding
The Oroville Dam Spillway hole appears to be much larger than state officials originally let on.
Levees throughout the Central Valley, Carmel Valley, and Northern California, have breached and flooding is forcing residents to evacuate.
And now a large portion of Highway 50 in El Dorado County in the Sierras has collapsed near Bridle Vail Falls.
Where in the world is California Gov. Jerry Brown? The Democratic Governor is missing in action. He hasn’t flown over the Oroville Dam to observe the damage. He hasn’t visited the area to talk to the people fearful of massive flooding. He hasn’t been seen at any of the levee breaks.
Sounding rattled, Brown finally held a press conference on the evening of Feb. 13 at the Office of Emergency Services, two days after 200,000 residents were evacuated near the Oroville Dam, where he asked for federal assistance. It was awkward, particularly following the presidential election, when a defiant Gov. Brown redoubled his promises to protect illegal aliens, invited more refugees to California, and continue his lone fight against climate change, in violation of federal law, and in opposition to President Trump’s stated policies.
“We will protect the precious rights of our people and continue to confront the existential threat of our time—devastating climate change,” Brown said in November. This is Brown’s evangelism, despite how arbitrary and destructive his wealth-redistribution environmental regulations have become.
Another Awkward Moment
Only one week ago, Gov. Jerry Brown’s office submitted a wish list of $100 billion of “key” infrastructure projects for investment statewide, which included raising Folsom Dam to improve flood protection. The list did not specifically list Oroville Dam, but Brown’s pet High Speed Rail project made the list, CNBC reported. “The priority list prepared by California follows calls by President Donald Trump for $1 trillion in infrastructure projects nationwide. Most of the projects on the three-page wish list involve transportation-related projects, such as highways, bridges rail or transit.”
The Democrat Supermajority in the California Legislature has vowed to increase gas taxes as high as 19. cents per gallon, to pay for backlogged transportation maintenance and repairs. The Governor has proposed to increase gas taxes by 11.5 cents per gallon.
But Wait! That’s not all!
“The Governor has not put real transportation funding in his budget,” Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa reported in a recent op ed. “His latest budget mentions $4.2 billion. However, it needs a new revenue source to fund it! If the Governor were serious about fixing the State’s roads, why doesn’t he start allocating some funding to this task? Why not allocate $500 million out of the $122 billion in the general fund budget?”
Instead, Brown continues to focus on climate change issues, which he describes as “existential threats to humanity,” and the election of Donald Trump has made Brown more defiantly stubborn.
In December, Gov. Brown told embattled climate scientists at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco that the state stands ready to lead the charge against climate change if Washington won’t, KQED reported. “We will set the stage,” Brown said. “We will set the example. And whatever Washington thinks they’re doing, California is the future.”
What’s the Plan For California’s Water?
As the Oroville Dam spillway collapses and water threatens to flood the homes and businesses of more than 200,000 north state residents, the 27 water agencies, 23 million people and thousands of acres of farmland dependent on this water are watching their future supply disappear. So, what’s the plan?
Gov. Brown’s “Water for the 21st Century” plan is on his website:
Ensuring safe and sufficient water supplies for the 21st century requires significant investments in our water infrastructure and natural ecosystems. After five decades of divisive wrangling, the time has arrived for the governor to provide real leadership and solve our longstanding water problems. The goal must be to maintain and enhance water supplies for all Californians and take action to restore the Bay-Delta and meet California’s true water needs.
The collapse of the Oroville Dam spillway highlights the need for the Governor to actually make the necessary investments to update the state’s aging dams, bridges, flood control projects, highways and roads, and stop pretending he is prioritizing this. “The time has arrived for the governor to provide real leadership and solve our longstanding water problems…” Where is this leadership?
Meanwhile, Brown is missing in action. He hasn’t flown over the Oroville Dam to observe the damage. He hasn’t visited the area to talk to the people fearful of flooding. He hasn’t sent surrogates to stand in for him.
Instead, Brown continues to hit Californians over the head with his climate change policies, even as the Trump administration makes plans to deconstruct the federal government’s fraudulent climate change regulations.
“Why is it that this Governor only talks about the problems?” Sen. Moorlach asked in his op ed. “He provides no leadership on solving them. We have the worst balance sheet of all 50 states and all I hear from him is how important it is to address global warming?
Where in the world is Gov. Jerry Brown? Your legacy is calling you Governor.
You don’t lead by hitting people over the head—that’s assault, not leadership. Dwight D. Eisenhower
Supervisors Approve Funding for New Mental Health Crisis Facility
By Nick Gerda
Orange County has long had a severe shortage of hospital beds for people experiencing a mental health crisis, particularly children.
Because of that, many patients have to wait more than a day at an unequipped hospital before they can see a psychiatrist, which experts say often worsens the situation.
But progress is expected to come in December, when county officials plan to open a new crisis stabilization facility in Garden Grove to serve up to 22 patients at a time, including youth aged 13 and up.
The 24/7 facility will accept people who are undergoing a psychiatric emergency and at risk of being hospitalized, but can’t wait for an appointment elsewhere. It is scheduled to open on Dec. 1 and serve anyone meeting that criteria who walks in, is dropped off by police, or is referred by an emergency room, according to the county.
Each patient’s stay will limited to just under 24 hours.
County supervisors approved a contract Tuesday with Exodus Recovery, Inc. to operate the facility. The Culver City-based firm is affiliated with St. Joseph’s Hospital and is run by the husband and wife team of David and Luana Murphy. The company runs several mental health facilities in Los Angeles and elsewhere.
“This is a big step forward for us,” said Supervisor Andrew Do, who led the effort along with Supervisor Lisa Bartlett.
Bartlett said she hoped to get more of these centers opened up throughout Orange County to help people get “back on their feet” again.
She also credited state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Irvine), who succeeded in getting state officials to clarify in July that state Mental Health Services Act funding can be used for crisis stabilization services.
For decades, the county government has had just one crisis stabilization unit, a 10-bed facility is in Santa Ana. There are also several hundred psychiatric beds at private facilities across Orange County, but they are often full.
In response to the shortage, county supervisors sought and received a $3 million state grant to help establish the Garden Grove facility.
The ongoing costs for patient care will be covered by federal and state dollars, in the case of Medi-Cal patients, and private insurance for people who have private coverage. County officials don’t expect to need any other funding sources.
Under its county contract, Exodus is slated receive $9.1 million in the first year, and $7.4 million per year after.
During Tuesday’s supervisors’ meeting, Jennifer Muir Beuthin, general manager of the Orange County Employees Association, raised concerns about the new facility being run by a private contractor. The Santa Ana facility is run by county employees.
Beuthin said the union full supports the new facility, but pointed out that the county admitted that it hasn’t evaluated why it would be better to outsource than have county employees provide the services.
Other information is missing, she said, like the financial health of contractor, how conflicts of interest would be addressed, and who at the county would be assigned to oversee the contract.
Beuthin pointed to another county health contractor that recently filed for bankruptcy, leaving many residents without care.
“We can’t let this happen again,” she said.
Additionally, she said the county was required to to meet and confer with employees before contracting the new crisis bed jobs to a private sector provider.
Mark Refowitz, director of the county’s Health Care Agency, disputed that there was a need to meet and confer. He said the Garden Grove facility is entirely separate from the Santa Ana facility, and that seven county employees will be added to the Santa Ana facility later this year as part of an expansion.
None of the supervisors nor county staff responded to Beuthin’s other concerns regarding the outsourcing.
Nick Gerda covers county government and Santa Ana for Voice of OC. You can contact him at email@example.com.
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