MOORLACH UPDATE — California School District Rankings, Group 4 — August 16, 2018

Group 4 brings us to 28 percent of the California school districts under review. This grouping finds 67 districts in the tight UNP negative range of $(257) to $(385) per capita.

We see the first larger school districts in this grouping with unrestricted net deficits in the nine-digit range:

#214 Eastside Union High in San Jose #881 $ (168M)
#242 Huntington Beach Union High #839 $ (115M)
#253 Kern High #916 $ (230M)

We also see two more Orange County districts, with Fullerton Joint Union High at #239 and Huntington Beach Union High, which is in my Senate District, at #242.

Group 1 was totally comprised of school districts that had positive UNPs, cumulatively totaling $164 million. Group 2 transitioned into the negative zone, with a cumulative net UNP of $54 million. Group 3 starts the deficit range in full tilt and has a cumulative negative amount of $(314 million). Group 4, cumulatively, is $(1.237 billion). This gives a hint as to where this study is going.

200 Tamalpais Union High Larkspur Marin 636 116,994 $ (30,120,907) $ (257)
201 Burnt Ranch Elementary Burnt Ranch Trinity 147 745 $ (194,289) $ (261)
202 Pacheco Union Elem Redding Shasta 295 8,761 $ (2,309,107) $ (264)
203 Fortuna Union High Fortuna Humboldt 403 22,983 $ (6,108,862) $ (266)
204 Nevada Joint Union High Grass Valley Nevada 584 82,161 $ (21,985,990) $ (268)
205 Horicon Elementary Annapolis Sonoma 183 1,708 $ (474,974) $ (278)
206 Weed Union Elementary Weed Siskiyou 245 3,927 $ (1,117,002) $ (284)
207 Pacific Union Elementary Arcata Humboldt 260 4,843 $ (1,386,754) $ (286)
208 Oak View Union Elem Acampo San Joaquin 226 3,029 $ (867,622) $ (286)
209 San Benito High Hollister San Benito 521 53,087 $ (15,430,275) $ (291)
210 Hermosa Beach City Elem Hermosa Beach Los Angeles 397 20,136 $ (5,873,120) $ (292)
211 Jefferson Union High Daly City San Mateo 697 151,948 $ (44,623,713) $ (294)
212 Wilmar Union Elementary Petaluma Marin 237 3,394 $ (1,002,649) $ (295)
213 Pleasant Grove Jt Union Pleasant Grove Sutter 161 906 $ (269,966) $ (298)
214 East Side Union High San Jose Santa Clara 881 564,053 $(168,277,885) $ (298)
215 Banta Elementary Tracy San Joaquin 274 5,574 $ (1,676,684) $ (301)
216 Rio Dell Elementary Rio Dell Humboldt 241 3,505 $ (1,060,602) $ (303)
217 Cayucos Elementary Cayucos SLO 231 3,016 $ (919,327) $ (305)
218 Mulberry Elementary Brawley Imperial 128 151 $ (46,194) $ (306)
219 Junction Elementary Palo Cedro Shasta 246 3,744 $ (1,146,456) $ (306)
220 Santa Cruz City Schools Soquel Santa Cruz 747 188,082 $ (58,301,997) $ (310)
221 San Dieguito Union High Encinitas San Diego 733 177,730 $ (55,447,369) $ (312)
222 Columbia Elementary Redding Shasta 331 9,892 $ (3,092,476) $ (313)
223 Lakeside Joint Los Gatos Santa Clara 225 2,748 $ (862,740) $ (314)
224 Columbine Elementary Delano Kern 133 273 $ (85,779) $ (314)
225 Las Lomitas Elementary Menlo Park San Mateo 353 12,086 $ (3,811,753) $ (315)
226 Lewiston Elementary Lewiston Trinity 188 1,562 $ (497,446) $ (318)
227 Wright Elementary Santa Rosa Sonoma 393 17,674 $ (5,643,369) $ (319)
228 Westwood Unified Westwood Lassen 190 1,611 $ (515,392) $ (320)
229 San Bruno Park Elem San Bruno San Mateo 488 38,699 $ (12,407,730) $ (321)
230 Southern Trinity Jt Unified Mad River Trinity 165 1,010 $ (326,020) $ (323)
231 Happy Valley Union Elem Anderson Shasta 285 6,084 $ (1,975,596) $ (325)
232 Reeds Creek Elementary Red Bluff Tehama 176 1,278 $ (418,594) $ (328)
233 W. Sonoma County Un Hi Sebastopol Sonoma 533 49,343 $ (16,259,945) $ (330)
234 Bella Vista Elementary Bella Vista Shasta 253 3,833 $ (1,269,000) $ (331)
235 Monroe Elementary Fresno Fresno 175 1,243 $ (414,899) $ (334)
236 Siskiyou Union High Mount Shasta Siskiyou 384 15,733 $ (5,256,483) $ (334)
237 Blue Lake Union Elem Blue Lake Humboldt 223 2,511 $ (852,953) $ (340)
238 Trinity Alps Unified Weaverville Trinity 326 8,562 $ (2,933,186) $ (343)
239 Fullerton Joint Union High Fullerton Orange 814 263,036 $ (90,589,885) $ (344)
240 Butteville Union Elem Edgewood Siskiyou 197 1,695 $ (584,821) $ (345)
241 Cambrian San Jose Santa Clara 475 32,532 $ (11,229,775) $ (345)
242 Huntington Beach Un High Huntington Bch Orange 839 329,030 $(115,027,881) $ (350)
243 Belmont-Redwood Shores Belmont San Mateo 517 43,444 $ (15,261,796) $ (351)
244 Springville Union Elem Springville Tulare 261 3,954 $ (1,392,304) $ (352)
245 Mother Lode Union Elem Placerville El Dorado 392 15,789 $ (5,610,462) $ (355)
246 San Antonio Union Elem Lockwood Monterey 207 1,926 $ (685,406) $ (356)
247 Lowell Joint Whittier Los Angeles 487 34,101 $ (12,147,456) $ (356)
248 Plumas Unified Quincy Plumas 409 18,031 $ (6,491,995) $ (360)
249 Northern Humboldt Un McKinleyville Humboldt 531 45,040 $ (16,228,137) $ (360)
250 Solana Beach Elementary Solana Beach San Diego 508 40,123 $ (14,483,154) $ (361)
251 Mark Twain Union Elem Angels Camp Calaveras 344 9,227 $ (3,364,467) $ (365)
252 Guerneville Elementary Guerneville Sonoma 283 5,289 $ (1,929,254) $ (365)
253 Kern High Bakersfield Kern 916 628,427 $(230,245,783) $ (366)
254 Liberty Elementary Petaluma Marin 214 1,973 $ (723,240) $ (367)
255 San Ysidro Elementary San Ysidro San Diego 536 44,586 $ (16,514,353) $ (370)
256 Pleasant Ridge Un Elem Grass Valley Nevada 429 20,653 $ (7,670,419) $ (371)
257 Rincon Valley Union Elem Santa Rosa Sonoma 524 41,970 $ (15,704,738) $ (374)
258 Whittier Union High Whittier Los Angeles 804 225,194 $ (84,308,349) $ (374)
259 Bret Harte Union High Angels Camp Calaveras 424 19,439 $ (7,281,356) $ (375)
260 Merced Union High Atwater Merced 768 175,034 $ (65,590,618) $ (375)
261 Pleasant Valley Joint Un San Miguel SLO 167 918 $ (344,136) $ (375)
262 South Fork Union Weldon Kern 264 3,877 $ (1,455,255) $ (375)
263 Monson-Sultana Joint Un Dinuba Tulare 233 2,525 $ (947,940) $ (375)
264 Heber Elementary Heber Imperial 320 7,574 $ (2,852,999) $ (377)
265 Goleta Union Elementary Goleta Santa Barb. 637 80,029 $ (30,518,794) $ (381)
266 Gerber Union Elementary Gerber Tehama 256 3,448 $ (1,320,308) $ (383)
267 Lemon Grove Lemon Grove San Diego 505 36,950 $ (14,218,684) $ (385)


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MOORLACH UPDATE — California School District Rankings, Group 3 — August 15, 2018

Group 3 of 14 provides the last of the top 20 percent of the school districts in the state of California. They are ranked in order of their unrestricted net positions (UNP) divided by the populations they serve.

Orange County has another school district represented with Laguna Beach Unified, which is in position #180. It is a basic aid district and it is in my Senate District. A basic aid district keeps the money from local property taxes and still receives the constitutionally guaranteed state basic aid funding. Out of California’s nearly 1,000 elementary, high school, and unified school districts, approximately 80 are basic aid districts. The joys of being located in a coastal area with very high property values.

This group also includes three school districts that represent more than 100,000 constituents. This means larger districts can be managed as adeptly as those providing services to smaller populations. All three have substantial negative UNPs, ranked #551, #676 and #746, but their larger constituencies provide for a lower per capita amount.

Again, the first column is the district’s ranking. Therefore, the lower the better. The next three columns provide the district’s name, city and county. The fifth column is the ranking of the district’s UNP compared to the other districts. Again, the lower the better. The sixth column is the population for the District. The seventh column is the UNP from the District’s most current available audited Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) and the eighth and final column is the per capita amount (UNP divided by population). For this column, the higher the better.

132 Chowchilla Elementary Chowchilla Madera 274 22,462 $ (1,712,027) $ (76)
133 Santa Ynez Valley Un High Santa Ynez Santa Barb. 277 22,130 $ (1,776,749) $ (80)
134 Happy Valley Elementary Santa Cruz Santa Cruz 136 1,465 $ (118,533) $ (81)
135 Susanville Elementary Susanville Lassen 219 10,291 $ (844,337) $ (82)
136 Big Springs Union Elem Montague Siskiyou 143 1,752 $ (149,923) $ (86)
137 Ballard Elementary Solvang Santa Barb. 141 1,510 $ (136,461) $ (90)
138 McCloud Union Elementary McCloud Siskiyou 137 1,314 $ (120,950) $ (92)
139 Cinnabar Elementary Petaluma Marin 156 2,693 $ (252,556) $ (94)
140 Shaffer Union Elementary Litchfield Lassen 226 9,230 $ (869,686) $ (94)
141 Feather Falls Union Elem Oroville Butte 126 409 $ (39,913) $ (98)
142 Foresthill Union Elementary Foresthill Placer 204 6,613 $ (668,174) $(101)
143 Raymond-Knowles Union Raymond Madera 140 1,292 $ (135,126) $(105)
144 El Nido Elementary El Nido Merced 146 1,767 $ (194,069) $(110)
145 Death Valley Unified Shoshone Inyo 132 748 $ (83,039) $(111)
146 Kit Carson Union Elem Hanford Kings 162 2,402 $ (270,581) $(113)
147 Lassen Union High Susanville Lassen 318 24,917 $ (2,857,616) $(115)
148 Sequoia Union Elementary Lemon Cove Tulare 160 2,166 $ (263,551) $(122)
149 Jamestown Elementary Jamestown Tuolumne 241 8,791 $ (1,070,099) $(122)
150 Millbrae Elementary Millbrae San Mateo 334 25,996 $ (3,287,439) $(126)
151 Traver Joint Elementary Traver Tulare 145 1,260 $ (164,802) $(131)
152 Sierra-Plumas Joint Unified Loyalton Sierra 192 3,543 $ (519,581) $(147)
153 Julian Union Elementary Julian San Diego 200 4,324 $ (637,581) $(147)
154 Anderson Union High Anderson Shasta 392 38,887 $ (5,770,353) $(148)
155 Knights Ferry Elementary Knights Ferry Stanislaus 134 640 $ (95,279) $(149)
156 San Marcos Unified San Marcos San Diego 551 122,661 $(18,412,624) $(150)
157 Nevada City Elementary Nevada City Nevada 295 15,467 $ (2,327,434) $(150)
158 Tres Pinos Union Elem Tres Pinos San Benito 138 811 $ (122,684) $(151)
159 Atwater Elementary Atwater Merced 385 35,507 $ (5,421,961) $(153)
160 Winton Winton Merced 273 10,975 $ (1,683,858) $(153)
161 Peninsula Union Samoa Humboldt 130 479 $ (75,596) $(158)
162 Big Valley Joint Unified Bieber Lassen 158 1,612 $ (256,856) $(159)
163 Chicago Park Elementary Grass Valley Nevada 148 1,208 $ (194,900) $(161)
164 Campbell Union High San Jose Santa Clara 676 237,306 $(40,200,067) $(169)
165 Chualar Union Chualar Monterey 171 2,215 $ (385,079) $(174)
166 Curtis Creek Elementary Sonora Tuolumne 266 8,901 $ (1,566,273) $(176)
167 Sonora Elementary Sonora Tuolumne 265 8,648 $ (1,558,025) $(180)
168 Sonora Union High Sonora Tuolumne 418 38,795 $ (7,027,442) $(181)
169 Sierra Sands Unified Ridgecrest Kern 419 37,163 $ (7,216,186) $(194)
170 Columbia Union Columbia Tuolumne 247 6,019 $ (1,176,787) $(196)
171 Bolinas-Stinson Union Bolinas Marin 184 2,415 $ (475,671) $(197)
172 Warner Unified Warner Spgs San Diego 187 2,462 $ (495,684) $(201)
173 Surprise Valley Joint Uni Cedarville Modoc 153 1,156 $ (234,850) $(203)
174 Evergreen Union Cottonwood Shasta 280 9,344 $ (1,907,136) $(204)
175 Arcohe Union Elementary Herald Sacramento 237 4,927 $ (1,025,162) $(208)
176 Manchester Union Elem Manchester Mendocino 142 638 $ (137,578) $(216)
177 Earlimart Elementary Earlimart Tulare 296 11,042 $ (2,383,832) $(216)
178 Kernville Union Elementary Lake Isabella Kern 309 12,048 $ (2,611,047) $(217)
179 Hanford Joint Union High Hanford Kings 509 68,327 $(14,966,314) $(219)
180 Laguna Beach Unified Laguna Bch Orange 414 30,473 $ (6,788,067) $(223)
181 Yreka Union High Yreka Siskiyou 351 17,270 $ (3,857,307) $(223)
182 Sausalito Marin City Sausalito Marin 302 11,019 $ (2,483,861) $(225)
183 Oak Grove Union Elem Santa Rosa Sonoma 246 5,188 $ (1,176,588) $(227)
184 Penn Valley Union Elem Penn Valley Nevada 325 12,937 $ (2,979,902) $(230)
185 Sebastopol Union Elem Sebastopol Sonoma 319 12,164 $ (2,858,065) $(235)
186 Valley Home Joint Elem Valley Home Stanislaus 177 1,754 $ (418,716) $(239)
187 Merced River Union Elem Winton Merced 150 846 $ (203,769) $(241)
188 Old Adobe Union Petaluma Marin 405 26,703 $ (6,448,003) $(241)
189 Oroville Union High Oroville Butte 489 54,687 $(13,238,974) $(242)
190 Chowchilla Union High Chowchilla Madera 395 24,294 $ (5,901,580) $(243)
191 Fremont Union High Sunnyvale Santa Clara 746 241,047 $(58,921,212) $(244)
192 Jefferson Elementary Daly City San Mateo 589 92,377 $(22,824,994) $(247)
193 South Bay Union Imperial Bch San Diego 565 81,290 $(20,094,408) $(247)
194 Liberty Elementary Tulare Tulare 185 1,973 $ (489,222) $(248)
195 Fortuna Elementary Fortuna Humboldt 343 13,699 $ (3,464,715) $(253)
196 Brawley Union High Brawley Imperial 424 29,638 $ (7,508,725) $(253)
197 Latrobe Shingle Spgs El Dorado 208 2,718 $ (693,115) $(255)
198 Delano Joint Union High Delano Kern 555 73,816 $(18,955,630) $(257)
199 Pacific Union Elementary Fresno Fresno 218 3,152 $ (810,867) $(257)


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MOORLACH UPDATE — California School District Rankings, Group 2 — August 14, 2018

The second of 14 editions of California’s school districts finds us finishing up those that have unrestricted net assets, versus unrestricted net deficits.

Only two school districts have not made their comprehensive annual financial reports (CAFRs) available. This is a very small segment, considering we’ve obtained the information for nearly 1,000 districts.

We have shown these two districts at a zero unrestricted net position (UNP), but actual numbers may vary depending on some disclosure by Big Sur Unified and Linns Valley-Poso Flat Union. Based on the percentages, casting them at zero may not be a charitable gesture, as those serving a small constituency have fared better in this ranking.

We just found, in looking for a third missing audited financial statement, that another two districts have paired up for their CAFR, so we’re now focused on 935 reporting entities.

We also have our first Orange County school district, which is the only one in County to have a positive UNP. It is Fountain Valley Elementary and it is in 102nd place. Rankings 67 to 132 are provided below first.

I wouldn’t want to leave you without an interesting update discussion of SB 1421, which is provided by the Daily Bulletin and the OC Register at the very bottom below (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1421 and SB 828 — May 31, 2018 and MOORLACH UPDATE — California Cop Culture — June 19, 2018).

66 Belleview Elementary Sonora Tuolumne 45 1,711 $ 697,730 $ 408
67 Wheatland Wheatland Yuba 16 7,531 $ 3,062,000 $ 407
68 Montgomery Elementary Cazadero Sonoma 63 881 $ 354,783 $ 403
69 Hart-Ransom Union Elem Modesto Stanislaus 23 4,453 $ 1,783,705 $ 401
70 Mark West Union Elem Santa Rosa Sonoma 7 14,858 $ 5,900,143 $ 397
71 Firebaugh-Las Deltas Uni Firebaugh Fresno 14 8,998 $ 3,352,744 $ 373
72 Semitropic Elementary Wasco Kern 92 368 $ 129,145 $ 351
73 Douglas City Elementary Douglas City Trinity 69 831 $ 290,410 $ 349
74 Elkins Elementary Paskenta Tehama 100 270 $ 91,495 $ 339
75 Bogus Elementary Montague Siskiyou 93 358 $ 118,339 $ 331
76 Garfield Elementary Eureka Humboldt 96 331 $ 107,899 $ 326
77 Jefferson Elementary Paicines San Benito 107 203 $ 65,049 $ 320
78 Trinity Center Elementary Trinity Center Trinity 91 424 $ 131,760 $ 311
79 Gazelle Union Elementary Gazelle Siskiyou 102 290 $ 89,235 $ 308
80 Kenwood Kenwood Sonoma 29 4,276 $ 1,291,001 $ 302
81 South San Francisco Unif So San Francisco San Mateo 2 82,935 $ 22,830,283 $ 275
82 Flournoy Union Elementary Flournoy Tehama 104 267 $ 72,816 $ 273
83 Cuddeback Union Elem Carlotta Humboldt 79 892 $ 220,293 $ 247
84 Indian Diggings Elementary Somerset El Dorado 110 164 $ 39,078 $ 238
85 Waukena Joint Union Elem Tulare Tulare 75 1,021 $ 235,246 $ 230
86 Stone Corral Elementary Visalia Tulare 83 745 $ 170,096 $ 228
87 Lake Elementary Orland Glenn 101 418 $ 90,128 $ 216
88 Happy Camp Union Elem Happy Camp Siskiyou 72 1,304 $ 270,429 $ 207
89 Pine Ridge Elementary Auberry Fresno 84 897 $ 168,329 $ 188
90 Di Giorgio Elementary Arvin Kern 82 967 $ 180,048 $ 186
91 Browns Elementary Rio Oso Sutter 89 975 $ 135,317 $ 139
92 Klamath River Union Elem Horse Creek Siskiyou 109 470 $ 60,376 $ 128
93 Robla Elementary Sacramento Sacramento 19 20,773 $ 2,656,403 $ 128
94 Paradise Elementary Modesto Stanislaus 94 936 $ 118,285 $ 126
95 Rockford Elementary Porterville Tulare 85 1,344 $ 164,825 $ 123
96 Caliente Union Elementary Caliente Kern 95 964 $ 115,753 $ 120
97 Junction City Elementary Junction City Trinity 103 695 $ 81,391 $ 117
98 Twain Harte Twain Harte Tuolumne 48 5,468 $ 626,757 $ 115
99 Wasco Union High Wasco Kern 13 31,543 $ 3,357,016 $ 106
100 Round Valley Joint Elem Bishop Inyo 98 1,047 $ 104,672 $ 100
101 Kneeland Elementary Kneeland Humboldt 113 337 $ 26,881 $ 80
102 Fountain Valley Elementary Fountain Valley Orange 10 56,680 $ 4,442,293 $ 78
103 Indian Springs Elementary Big Bend Shasta 114 220 $ 16,282 $ 74
104 San Lucas Union Elem San Lucas Monterey 112 417 $ 28,309 $ 68
105 Raisin City Elementary Raisin City Fresno 87 2,129 $ 140,090 $ 66
106 Green Point Elementary Blue Lake Humboldt 115 233 $ 14,007 $ 60
107 North County Joint Union Hollister San Benito 80 3,668 $ 219,029 $ 60
108 Big Pine Unified Big Pine Inyo 99 1,820 $ 103,599 $ 57
109 Summerville Union High Tuolumne Tuolumne 51 9,824 $ 552,045 $ 56
110 Strathmore Union Elem Strathmore Tulare 70 5,820 $ 281,596 $ 48
111 Bonny Doon Union Elem Santa Cruz Santa Cruz 90 3,069 $ 134,295 $ 44
112 Alta-Dutch Flat Union Elem Alta Placer 105 1,950 $ 66,099 $ 34
113 Monte Rio Union Elem Monte Rio Sonoma 108 2,292 $ 60,948 $ 27
114 Oak Run Elementary Oak Run Shasta 117 608 $ 7,541 $ 12
115 Orchard Elementary San Jose Santa Clara 78 19,431 $ 223,597 $ 12
116 Modoc Joint Unified Alturas Modoc 106 5,941 $ 65,541 $ 11
117 Palo Verde Union Elem Tulare Tulare 116 2,810 $ 12,295 $ 4
118 Three Rivers Union Elem Three Rivers Tulare 118 2,363 $ 1,506 $ 1
119 Big Sur Unified Big Sur Monterey 119 465 $ – $ –
120 Linns Valley-Poso Flat Un Glennville Kern 120 642 $ – $ –
121 Fieldbrook Elementary McKinleyville Humboldt 121 876 $ (1,390) $ (2)
122 Somis Union Somis Ventura 123 3,295 $ (29,603) $ (9)
123 Lucerne Elementary Lucerne Lake 129 3,388 $ (58,603) $ (17)
124 Lassen View Union Elem Los Molinos Tehama 131 2,816 $ (79,639) $ (28)
125 Armona Union Elementary Armona Kings 149 6,533 $ (196,891) $ (30)
126 Golden Feather Union Elem Oroville Butte 135 2,756 $ (103,750) $ (38)
127 Big Lagoon Union Elem Trinidad Humboldt 122 462 $ (25,973) $ (56)
128 Vineland Elementary Bakersfield Kern 157 4,428 $ (253,793) $ (57)
129 Whitmore Union Elementary Whitmore Shasta 127 736 $ (45,336) $ (62)
130 Cutten Elementary Eureka Humboldt 166 5,307 $ (331,869) $ (63)
131 Bridgeville Elementary Bridgeville Humboldt 125 564 $ (36,684) $ (65)
132 Chowchilla Elementary Chowchilla Madera 274 22,462 $ (1,712,027) $ (76)

California bill takes aim at secrecy surrounding police officer personnel records

By tsaavedra |
Orange County Register

More than 40 years of police secrecy could begin to crumble if California lawmakers pass a new bill allowing the public release of personnel records for law enforcement officers involved in deadly force, on-duty sexual assaults and falsifying evidence.

Senate Bill 1421, by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, is the latest effort to open police records in the name of transparency. Since 1976, California law enforcement officers have been protected by statutes and court rulings — the strictest in the nation — that make it illegal to release virtually all police personnel records, including those involving wrongdoing and disciplinary action.

Past efforts to undo those protections have been rejected under withering opposition by law enforcement unions, which argue that releasing confidential personnel information would endanger police lives, fuel lawsuits and make it more difficult for officers to do their jobs.

However, Skinner said her bill is more narrow than past efforts and focuses on only the most serious of offenses. Details such as home addresses, names of family members and telephone numbers would remain exempt from disclosure. Additionally, under Skinner’s proposal, the release of information could be delayed when there is an open investigation.

“I believe the bill really balances the rights of law enforcement with the right of the public to know,” Skinner said. “(The public) will have the ability to see the agency took (its concerns) seriously. … Until we have access, we won’t be able to determine that.”

Supporters of the SB 1421 say police transparency is key to gaining the trust of the community.

Current law “allows bad officers to perpetuate and bad supervisors to continue their behavior without it ever being known,” said James Chanin, a former American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who practices in San Francisco. “The quality of policing goes down.”

For example, an off-duty Buena Park police officer in March pulled his gun on a man he mistakenly thought had stolen a roll of Mentos from a convenience store. A video of the police gaffe went viral on the internet. Yet, under current law, it is highly unlikely the public will ever know whether the officer was disciplined or retrained. Even his name remains secret, though his face has been seen by a million viewers.

When a Cleveland officer in 2014 shot and killed 14-year-old Tamir Rice, a letter was released from his previous employer saying that agency had found him unfit to be an officer and allowed him to resign.

The release of that kind of information is a crime in California.

“The public has a right to know what’s going on with their taxpayer money, but not in this state,” Chanin said.

Existing law has become a safety net for bad cops, critics say.

In 2006, Berkeley police officers refused — citing state protections — to cooperate with a civilian probe into the theft of heroin, methamphetamines and other drugs from 286 envelopes in the evidence locker. Without police participation, the probe was unable to determine the extent of the security breach.

The Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights was passed by the Legislature in 1976 as a way to keep police supervisors from framing the rank-and-file in the heat of scandal. Before then, officers could be bullied into taking polygraph tests or face losing their jobs. Police brass, according to some stories, would lean on wives and families to get confessions from officers when politically expedient.

The bill of rights basically makes it difficult to fire police officers.

That bill was coupled with a 1978 statute that prohibited disclosure of police disciplinary files to the public without court approval. Those provisions are codified in Penal Codes sections 832.7 and 832.8.

Supporters were worried that criminal defendants were using police disciplinary records to fish for evidence that would help their cases.

California’s protections were made virtually impenetrable in 2006, when the California Supreme Court ruled in Copley Press v. Superior Court of San Diego County that civilian police commissions could not publicly disclose their findings on police misconduct. As a result, some commissions could no longer gain access to personnel files. Lobbyists for the police said these protections were necessary for officer safety.

Specifically, Skinner’s bill would allow for the disclosure of reports, investigations or findings for incidents involving the discharge of a firearm or electronic control weapons, strikes by weapons to the head or neck area or deadly force; incidents of sustained sexual assault by an officer; and findings of dishonesty by an officer.

The proposal is scheduled to be heard Thursday by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. It already has been passed by the Senate.

The Peace Officers Research Association of California opposes the bill because of what it believes are damaging side effects to police. Among the concerns, the group says, is that officers fearing their names might be disclosed might hesitate in the field before acting, creating a police safety issue.

State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, co-authored the bill and believes the benefits outweigh the risks.

“I’m trying to assist to getting to the truth and getting to the truth faster,” Moorlach said. “I think there has been a credibility concern about whether we are being told the truth.”


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MOORLACH UPDATE — California School Rankings, Group 1 — August 13, 2018

Summer is just about over and school is about to start. So, how is/are the school districts that you live in doing?

Today is the first of 14 editions on the Unrestricted Net Positions (UNP) of the 939 school districts (as three pairings are combined, we will show 936). We are not including the 58 County Departments of Education or Special Districts.

We have ranked them by the Unrestricted Net Position divided by the district’s population for the per capita amount. This is your asset or, in the case of a deficit, your liability.

This year, we have already provided you with the Per Capita UNP rankings of the 50 states, 58 counties, 72 community college districts and 482 incorporated cities.

We were unable to find any repository of this particular temperature gauge of a California school district’s finances. So, we’ve compiled it ourselves. Now that defined benefit pension plan liabilities must be included in the audited financial statements, comparisons are a little more reliable. However, the financial reports for June 30, 2018, which will be released around the end of this year (hopefully), will also reflect a liability that is currently off of the books, the retiree medical unfunded liability (Other Post Employment Benefit or OPEB). If you think the numbers are disappointing for your district now, just wait until next year.

The first column indicates the position. Therefore, the lower the better. The next three columns provide the District’s name, city and county. The fifth column is the ranking of the UNP in total compared to the other Districts. Again, the lower the better. The sixth column is the population for the District. The seventh column is the UNP from the District’s most current available audited Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and the eighth is the per capita amount (UNP divided by population). For this column, the higher the better.

Group 1 has mostly smaller school districts, with the largest having a population of less than 29,000. For perspective, Orange County does not have any school districts with this small of a population. Of these districts, 44 of them, two-thirds of the 66, have less than 1,000 constituents.

The last few weeks of the Session are the busiest. So my life will be nuts between now and the end of August. But, I’ll try to get these out on a regular basis. Along with my staff, I also want to thank Marc Joffe from Reason Foundation for his assistance in providing access to numerous audited financial reports during this and other projects. His efforts expedited our research and I am thankful for his help.

I couldn’t leave you without an article. This one comes from the Daily Republic and also addresses the concerns about California’s Department of Transportation. It is at the bottom.

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The Right Stuff: Who really benefits from higher road tax?

By Jim McCully

I believe most folks who drive realize the outsized amount we pay for fuel in our state. In fact, according to State Sen. John Moorlach of Orange County, Californians pay one of the highest fuel taxes and fees (a euphemism for tax), including hidden cap and trade “fees.” Thanks to the Democrat/Socialists/ Progressive majority party in Sacramento. Also, despite the huge taxes paid, we rank among the lowest ranked roads in our nation.

We saw our taxes go up this year but if you look at the legislation this is only a preview of coming attractions. Think voters, we pay a huge fuel tax which any logical person would believe should go to repair and maintain our extensive road and bridge system. Yet we have among the worst rated road and bridge maintenance in the nation. Why? Because we trusted current legislators.

But wait! Where did the money go? Recently I told you the seven Bay Area state bridges took in, according to the most recent available fiscal year 2016-2017, $720 million-plus in tolls, which is apparently not enough! So, we were gifted with Measure 3 which will double that amount, assuming a constant rate, in five years to $1.4 billion-plus. WOW! Can our dear leaders in Sacramento figure out how to maintain the bridges with that amount of our hard-earned tax dollars?

Our Solano County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) which, by the way, does a terrific job promoting Solano County, reported 110,000 people per day commute in and out of Solano County for work; 50,000 leave here and a large amount cross one or more bridges; and 60,000 drive into Solano. Many of these cross one or more bridges. Do you think this mismanagement impacts our economic recovery and expansion? Getting the picture?

Remember every tax dollar taken unnecessarily out of your wallet is a dollar you don’t spend on your family’s benefit. Should we all pay our fair share of taxes for the common good? Sure, we should and gladly as they benefit us all. Taxes are necessary for a civil society to function. However, the issues are how many, how much, how spent, and decided by whom?

Now after decades of mis-rule by our majority party in Sacramento, suddenly these wizards of smartness have found out the roads need to be fixed. Who knew? Now we have a sense of urgency after years of broken axels and damaged tires. Why? Simple: elections. Time to crank up the propaganda machine.

Well our Democratic Assemblyman Jim Frasier is the head of the Transportation Committee in the Assembly. Surely, he, of all legislators, has known the scope of the problem. After all, his committee oversees Caltrans.

Let’s look at one fiscal year 2015-2016: we paid the 4th highest transportation tax in America, we took in $10.4 billion (a billion is a thousand million), and Caltrans spent just 20 percent on road repair and new construction? Huh? Where did the other 80 percent go? Good question. Caltrans wasted half a billion annually on extra staffing, The Legislative Analyst’s Office reported. Caltrans was over staffed by 3,500 positions at a cost of $500 million per annum (salaries, health insurance, dental, eye, and the Public Employee Retirement System contributions).

This does nothing to improve roads but sure gets public employee union money to Democrat politicians. Always follow the money folks. If you think Solano County is immune from this stuff, guess again. California ranked 46 in rural road repair, 49 in urban interstate road condition and 46 in urban interstate congestion. Poor road conditions cost taxpayers $17 billion. Yes, voters $17 billion. That equals $702.88 per motorists. How do you like your majority party’s money management now?

Voters nothing will change unless we change it. Our infrastructure should be non-partisan but it isn’t.

Remember there is a choice about this awful waste. Our own Fairfield resident Lisa Romero is running against Frasier.

Jim McCully is the northwest regional vice chairman of the California State Republican Party and a member of the Solano County Republican Central Committee.


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MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Proposition 6 — August 11, 2018

Campaign season has started and November 6th is not that far off. One of the ballot measures you will be voting on is Proposition 6, which would repeal the gas and auto tax increase voted in by the Democratic supermajority and one Republican last year with Senate Bill 1.

The battle over Prop. 6 will be between taxpayers and tax-eaters. The “tax-eaters” are the cities, counties and state that will be fixing the roads. It is also the companies that will be retained to assist in this effort. So, the private sector industries benefiting from the taxpayers will be opposing this ballot measure in order to protect their potential profits. As they say, “when money talks, the truth is silent.” So you will hear plenty of reasons to oppose Prop. 6 by this well funded, and selfishly motivated constituency.

The sad story is that if this collaboration of tax-eaters could just convince Caltrans to be one of the better managed Departments of Transportation, we could have avoided this debate. Governor Brown failed in improving this department.

The “taxpayers” are you and your neighbors who are feeling the stress of being overtaxed. Last month, in the 29th Senate District, the voters showed their dissatisfaction with the gas tax increase by recalling their Senator, who had voted for it. The natives are definitely restless and this will be a fierce fall campaign battle.

The titular leader of the Proposition weighs in with two similar editorial pieces. The first is from the San Diego Union-Tribune and the second is from the San Francisco Chronicle. Carl DeMaio has been the energy bunny on this issue and continues to lead the charge. If you’ve been reading my UPDATEs since my election to the State Senate, you’ll see my research in both pieces.

Why Californians should repeal gas tax

By Carl DeMaio

Californians are struggling as the cost of living skyrockets higher. Unfortunately, state politicians are simply adding to the financial strain on working families with massive increases in our gas and car taxes.

That’s why it is important to vote Yes on Proposition 6 to repeal these regressive and unfair tax hikes that will increase the cost of living for the typical family of four by up to $800 more per year.

It gets worse! If we don’t pass Proposition 6, the car and gas tax hikes are slated to increase every year automatically — without a vote of the people.

This year Californians will pay nearly $1 more per gallon because of taxes, fees and other government mandates. By 2021, many Californians will be paying close to $2 more a gallon extra because of taxes, fees and other government mandates — that’s up to $40 extra each time you fill up your car.

Everyone agrees we need to fix our roads, but state politicians and special interests are lying to voters when they claim the gas and car tax hikes will be used to fix our crumbling roads.

As we have seen in the past, the gas tax money is largely diverted away from roads and what little funding that is provided to roads is riddled with waste, fraud and abuse.

State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, released an independent analysis of CalTrans’ budget showing that only 20 percent of the gas tax funds were spent anywhere near roads.

Where do the politicians divert the gas tax money to? The funding has been diverted to cover budget deficits so politicians can continue to spend in other areas like higher salaries and pensions for state workers. For example, bus drivers in the Bay Area are earning six figures annually — with one bus driver earning $227,516 in pay and benefits last year alone!

Of the funds actually spent on infrastructure, the majority of funds get diverted from roads to transit buses, light rail projects, bike lanes (to replace roads), and even park land acquisition.

Our existing transportation agencies are riddled with waste and inefficiency. A recent study by the Reason Foundation shows for every $1 spent on average nationally to maintain or repair a mile of roadway, California spends $4.7 dollars for the same mile — a waste inflation factor of 470 percent.

Politicians will try to mislead you by bringing up the recently approved Proposition 69. Written entirely by politicians themselves, it is not the “lock box” they claim it is.

First, Proposition 69 did not cover all of the gas tax and transportation taxes we have to pay. Second, Proposition 69 contained zero accountability on where the gas funds will be spent — transit, bike lanes, parks, rail projects, etc. could receive all the funds instead of roads. Finally, the gas tax measure is specifically written to allow the governor to transfer the funds to cover General Fund shortfalls without a vote of the legislature or the people.

By voting Yes on Proposition 6 you can back a better solution to fix our roads without tax hikes.

Consider this simple fact: Before the latest gas and car tax hikes, Californians already paid one of the highest gas tax rates in the nation. That provides more than enough funding to have great roads, but only if the money is properly spent.

The Proposition 6 coalition not only seeks the repeal of the gas and car tax hikes, but we propose all of the previous gas tax be spent entirely on roads. We also propose earmarking the sales tax on cars to regional, inter-modal transportation projects. Finally we would impose significant accountability, efficiency and transparency reforms to make sure our funds are effectively spent.

A Yes vote on Proposition 6 will provide immediate tax relief to working families to help them with their cost of living. A Yes vote on Proposition 6 sends a message to out-of-touch politicians that we must make California more affordable, not less affordable. And a Yes vote on Proposition 6 puts us on the path to fixing our roads without a tax hike.

Nearly 1 million Californians signed the petition to get Proposition 6 on the ballot — Democrats, independents and Republicans all see our cost of living as unsustainable. Get more information on the Yes on Prop 6 campaign and join our grassroots effort by going to

DeMaio, a former San Diego City Councilmember, is Chairman of Reform California – Yes on Prop 6.



Repeal California’s gas tax increase and require road repairs

By Carl DeMaio

In this era of divisive politics, here’s something everyone can agree on: The cost of living in California is way too high. And the recently imposed increases in the state gasoline taxes and vehicle fees will hit working families hard by increasing the cost of living for the typical family of four by roughly $800 per year.

These tax increases are unfair, regressive and simply too much. That’s why nearly 1 million Californians from all walks of life signed the petition to get Proposition 6, the “Voter Approval for Future Gas and Vehicle Taxes and 2017 Tax Repeal Initiative,” on the ballot. Democrats, independents and Republicans all see our cost of living as unsustainable.

In addition to providing immediate tax relief to working families by repealing the gas tax and vehicle fee increases, a “yes” vote on Prop. 6 sends a message to out-of-touch politicians that we must make California more, not less, affordable.

If we don’t pass Prop. 6, a gas tax is slated to increase every year automatically — without a vote of the people.

This year, Californians will pay nearly $1 more per gallon because of increased taxes, vehicle registration and commercial weight fees and other government mandates such as the cap-and-trade assessment on fuels. By 2021, many Californians will be paying close to $2 more a gallon extra because of taxes, fees and other government mandates.

In addition to fighting the higher costs, a “yes” Prop. 6 will end this fraud being perpetrated by Sacramento: That the state spends the money to fix our roads. Want proof? Prior to these gas and car tax increases, California drivers were already paying some of the highest gas taxes in the country, and yet we still have the fourth-worst roads, according to Business Insider.

State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa (Orange County), a certified public accountant, has called out a California Legislative Analyst Office’s analysis of state highway and road programs funding and spending that shows only 20 percent of the gas tax funds were spent on roads.

The politicians will claim that Proposition 69, the “Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox” initiative approved by 81 percent of the electorate in June, provides a guarantee for road spending, but that is a flat lie.

Prop. 69 fails to cover all the transportation taxes we pay. It fails to guarantee even a single penny for roads. Instead, Prop. 69 allows the money to be diverted to a wide range of programs, including bike lanes, parkland acquisition, transit programs, light rail, and the state’s debt-ridden government pension program. Finally, the law gives the governor the ability to transfer all gas tax funds to cover General Fund shortfalls without even a vote of the Legislature or the people!

Bottom line: There is no guarantee for roads in these more recent gas and vehicle tax increases.

What little money that does make it to the roads is riddled with waste, fraud and abuse. The Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report reveals that California spends 2.6 times per mile more than the national average on state-controlled highways.

In 2014, California state auditors slammed Caltrans for “weak cost controls” that “create opportunities for fraud, waste and abuse.” Those same auditors also found Caltrans is overstaffed by 3,500 employees at a cost of a half billion dollars a year. One Caltrans engineer even golfed for 55 days while on the clock!

There is a better plan to fix our roads and transportation systems without a tax increase that will hurt working families.

The Prop. 6 coalition not only seeks the repeal of the gas tax and vehicle fee increases imposed by the Legislature this year, but we propose that 100 percent of gas tax revenues be spent on roads. We also propose earmarking the sales tax on autos for regional inter-modal transportation projects approved by voters in the region served. Finally, we would impose significant accountability, efficiency and transparency reforms to make sure our tax funds are effectively spent.

A “yes” vote on Prop. 6:

•Puts us on the path to fixing our roads without a gas tax increase.

•Gives struggling working families a break when they need it the most.

Carl DeMaio, a former San Diego city council member, is the chairman of Reform California — Yes on Prop 6. For more information, go to To comment, submit your letter to the editor at



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MOORLACH UPDATE — Senate Approval of AB 448 — August 9, 2018

It’s not often that I have to point out that a news piece is a little dated. Assembly Bill 448 was presented on the Senate Floor on Monday afternoon and passed unanimously. One Senate seat is vacant and two Senators were absent, so obtaining a 37-0 vote is quite a statement. I had the honor of being the Floor Manager for the bill, also know as the Floor Jockey for Assemblymembers Daly and Quirk-Silva, and it can be seen by CLICKING HERE.

The OC Register front-page, top-of-the-fold piece below also covers the public debate this bill has enjoyed in Orange County between Supervisor Steel (see MOORLACH UPDATE — AB 448 — July 8, 2018) and myself (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Homelessness JPA Solution — July 11, 2018).

Collaboration on obtaining available funding is a smart move. Healthy structured communication between cities, nonprofits, and the private sector is also a smart move. And this dovetails with Federal Judge David O. Carter’s efforts concerning the homeless. The bill goes back to the Assembly for concurrence and then it is up to the Governor to sign it, thus confirming his ongoing concerns for addressing the homeless issue in California.

P.S. I also want to wish my patient and loving wife, Trina, a happy 38th anniversary!


Bill would create housing trust

Proposed legislation puts county in a better position to finance supportive shelter

By Theresa Walker


With the state legislature back in session, Orange County is poised to see the approval of a bill that could dramatically change the landscape for housing its homeless population.

Assembly Bill 448 would create the Orange County Housing Trust, a regional joint powers authority that would allow the county and its 34 cities to collectively compete for hundreds of millions of dollars in public and private funding.

It would more quickly finance the construction of supportive housing for homeless people, and affordable housing for others with low incomes .

Proponents see AB 448 as a potential game changer in a county that for more than a decade had been notoriously slow — if not completely non-responsive — in addressing a growing homeless crisis, but in the past couple of years has scrambled to catch up.

“If this is created, Orange County will have a leg up on other parts of California in attracting the necessary funds to address homelessness,” said Assemblyman Tom Daly (D-Anaheim), who introduced the bill in May with Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton).

The bill’s purpose, as described in its text, is strictly a financing mechanism, with no land-use authority, no means to own or operate housing, or to dictate to local jurisdictions where to build.

The housing trust, which could issue bonds and leverage private dollars, would be governed by a board of directors to include city and county representatives, and community members.

The bill also calls for an annual audit for transparency.

Bipartisan support

AB 448 quickly gained bipartisan support among state and local elected officials, with the notable exception of Orange County’s 2nd District Supervisor Michelle Steel.

Its coauthors in the state senate are Republicans: Pat Bates of Laguna Niguel, John Moorlach of Costa Mesa, and Janet Nguyen of Garden Grove. The legislation also has broad support in the private sector.

The legislation grew out of the simultaneous efforts of former Santa Ana Mayor and Irvine Company No. 2 executive Dan Young to secure $100 million in private financing and the Association of California Cities – Orange County to harness the backing of city officials in creating an estimated 2,700 units of supportive housing.

So far, the ACC-OC has identified 2,000 potential sites, said Heather Stratman, executive director of the ACC-OC. And a collection of 50 wealthy “legacy families” in Orange County are poised to commit $2 million each that could be used to leverage public dollars.

“So many legacy families in Orange County want to do their part,” said Bill Taormina, a wealthy Anaheim businessman who, as one of the legacy families, has helped line up the pledges of private support.


Supervisor Steel outlined her opposition in an Op-Ed published in the Orange County Registerin July.

She argued that AB 448 would “take away local control, and grow the size of government to build large scale homeless and subsidized government housing in your backyard with your hard-earned dollars.”

Sen. Moorlach responded days later with his own opinion piece, also published in The Register, that called Steel’s opposition “classic NIMBYism and fearmongering.”

The bill made its way smoothly through the Assembly against the backdrop of a still unfolding civil rights lawsuit filed in late January over the dismantling of homeless encampments at the Santa Ana River Trail and a scathing report from the Orange County Grand Jury in May that blamed the failure of local elected leadership, poor city-county collaboration and NIMBY residents for not housing the chronically homeless.

AB 448 is expected to go straight to the Senate floor this month and be approved before the Aug. 31 end of the current legislative session, then sent to Gov. Jerry Brown. The governor would have until Sept. 30 to sign or veto any legislation.

A good start

Homeless advocate Mohammed Aly called the stamp of approval from Moorlach, who spent about 10 years apiece in each of his previous roles as a county supervisor and the treasurer-tax collector, a good sign of the bill’s attention to accountability. Aly helped line up endorsements for AB 448 in its early stages.

“Nobody is more fiscally responsible than Sen. Moorlach,” said Aly, a lawyer who founded the Orange County Poverty Alleviation Coalition and has gone to battle numerous times with county and city officials over treatment of homeless people.

Quirk-Silva said the bill not only is backed by Orange County’s state delegation but also by legislators elsewhere in California.

“It’s one of the few times you see some real significant bipartisan support,” she said.

AB 448 is similar to housing trusts established in Santa Clara County, Silicon Valley, and San Mateo County, said Cesar Covarrubias, executive director of The Kennedy Commission, an Irvine-based nonprofit that advocates from the local to the federal government for housing that people earning less than $10 an hour could afford.

While he applauds the Orange County legislation as a good start at a regional approach toward financing affordable housing for homeless people and others with low incomes, Covarrubias said it doesn’t go far enough. The Kennedy Commission has long advocated for a local housing bond.

“Strategically, you need to be in support of creating more resources and not just taking advantage of the opportunities.” Covarrubias said.


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MOORLACH UPDATE — Spewing Carbon Into The Air — August 8, 2018

The air quality in Sacramento continues to be awful, with the heavy smoke in the area caused by fires in Northern California. Consequently, the media attention to this tragic state of events and addressing it in the future continues.

My 2016 bill, SB 1463, started with a simple request from within my District from Laguna Beach. It enjoyed a healthy review by committees in both chambers and never received a vote of opposition. But, it was vetoed by Governor Brown. So, we did another SB 1463 this year (using the number again on an intentional basis).

Katy Grimes of the FlashReport covers it in the piece below. Which prompts me to provide the substantive UPDATEs covering both bills over the last three years, in reverse date order. For a couple of them, I provide my frustrations expressed in the postings, as I know you can’t possibly link to them all (but, the evidence is here that shows my diligence to this critical topic):

MOORLACH UPDATE — Fire Tornado Funding — August 2, 2018

MOORLACH UPDATE — Reducing Wildfires — July 31, 2018

MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1297 – COO — April 19, 2018

Let the record show that I tried to address the global warming concerns with SB 1463. I would conclude that the state’s efforts to truly address greenhouse gases are, at best, a joke, and at worst, a fraud. Not including the greenhouse gases generated by wildfires and not approving the provision of a simple way to address the hardening of electrical power lines is, in my opinion, legislative malpractice by the majority party.

MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1463 Redux — March 30, 2018

MOORLACH UPDATE — Haven for Hope — January 19, 2018

MOORLACH UPDATE — Burning Year End Issues — December 15, 2017

A few days of wildfires generate as much in greenhouse gases as all of the cars in California operating for an entire year. [Governor Brown's] not addressing the real root causes of “climate change” makes him look like a flimflam man. Consequently, I’ll try to help him out in his last year of office by crafting legislation that directs cap and trade tax revenues towards addressing the state’s aging and vulnerable utilities infrastructure and electrical power distribution.

With more than 40 casualties, most of them 70 years of age or older who could not flee, this state needs to get serious about reducing wildfires. Blaming climate change is embarrassing and it’s a misdirection of the most disingenuous type.

MOORLACH UPDATE — Secretive and Expensive Union Deals — November 3, 2017

MOORLACH UPDATE — Fire Safety Concerns — October 27, 2017

MOORLACH UPDATE — Bonuses and Bogusness — October 21, 2017

MOORLACH UPDATE — Conflagration Legacy — October 12, 2017

MOORLACH UPDATE — Governor’s 2017-18 Proposed Budget — January 11, 2017

MOORLACH UPDATE — Thank you, Vin Scully — September 28, 2016

MOORLACH UPDATE — Rejection/Disappointment — September 27, 2016

MOORLACH UPDATE — First Veto — September 24, 2016

MOORLACH UPDATE — Moving Down the Line — August 31, 2016

MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1463 — March 25, 2016

Not to belabor this topic, but CalMatters is back with a piece on this topic in "As California burns, climate goals may go up in smoke–even after the flames are out," by Julie Cart (see Here are the opening paragraphs:

As crews across California battle more than a dozen wildfires—including the largest in state history—the blazes are spewing enough carbon into the air to undo some of the good done by the state’s climate policies.

What’s even worse: Climate-warming compounds that will be released by the charred forests long after the fires are extinguished may do more to warm up the planet than the immediate harm from smoky air.

Scientists say that only about 15 percent of a forest’s store of carbon is expelled during burns. The remainder is released slowly over the coming years and decades, as trees decay.

That second hit of carbon, experts say, contains compounds that do more to accelerate climate change than those from the original fire. And future fires over previously burned ground could make climate prospects even more bleak.

“The worst possible situation is the fire that comes through and kills everything,” said Nic Enstice, regional science coordinator for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. “Then, ten or fifteen years later, another fire comes through and releases all the carbon left in the trees on the ground. That’s really bad.”

It’s a scenario that could explode at any time. Enstice cited a research paper published this year that laid out a chilling tableau: California has more than a 120 million dead trees strewn around its mountain ranges, with the southern Sierra hardest hit.

When fires hit those downed trees, the state will begin to experience “mass fires” spewing plumes of carbon. The resulting conflagrations, according to the researcher, will be almost unimaginable.

“The emissions from those fires will be unlike anything we will have ever seen,” Enstice said. “And you won’t be able put it out.”

And today’s The Wall Street Journal opines in "Fire and Water in California" (see

Here are the concluding paragraphs:

Another challenge is state politicians who’d rather spend money on green pork. This year the Democratic legislature appropriated a mere $30 million of cap-and-trade revenues for fuel reductions on 60,000 acres of forest land. They allocated $335 million for electric vehicle subsidies. Democrats have also spent billions on high-speed rail, but only this year did they get around to appropriating $101 million to replace a dozen or so Vietnam War-era helicopters unequipped with modern technology that enables night-flying for fire-fighting.

Imagine the damage that could have been averted—and lives saved—if the state had replaced the antiques earlier and cleared millions of dead trees in lieu of building the train whose costs are careening toward $100 billion and may never be finished. But instead of examining their own priorities, the state’s politicians will blame the damaging fires on climate change and Donald Trump.

Katy Grimes

CA Gov. Jerry Brown Vetoed Bipartisan Wildfire Management Bill in 2016

Posted by Katy Grimes

Last year, as all Hell was breaking loose in California as residents were burned out of their homes, neighborhoods and businesses, Gov. Jerry Brown was jetting around the world spouting climate change propaganda, and calling this California’s ‘new normal.’


“With climate change, some scientists are saying Southern California is literally burning up, and burning up as maybe a metaphor or a description not just to the fires right here, but what we can expect over the next years and decades,” Brown said.Today, as California burns once again under torrential wildfires, many Californians have been asking why the dramatic increase in wildfires in the last five years… that is everyone except Governor Jerry Brown. Governor Brown claims that year-round, devastating fires are the “new normal” we must accept.

Megan Barth and I reported Monday:

“Supporting Obama-era regulations have resulted in the new normal: an endless and devastating fire season. Obama-era regulations introduced excessive layers of bureaucracy that blocked proper forest management and increased environmentalist litigation and costs– a result of far too many radical environmentalists, bureaucrats, Leftist politicians and judicial activists who would rather let forests burn, than let anyone thin out overgrown trees or let professional loggers harvest usable timber left from beetle infestation, or selectively cut timber.”

Mismanaged, overcrowded forests provide fuel to historic California wildfires, experts say. The 129 million dead trees throughout California’s forests are serving as matchsticks and kindling.

Jerry Brown, busy mulling ways to prevent the end of the world, took the Clinton and Obama-era gross regulations a step even further when he vetoed a bipartisan wildfire management bill in 2016.

At the request of the City Council of Laguna Beach, Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), authored SB 1463 in 2016, a bipartisan bill which would have given local governments more say in fire-prevention efforts through the Public Utilities Commission proceeding making maps of fire hazard areas around utility lines.

Laguna Beach went through four fires sparked by utility lines in the last ten years, and has done as much in the way of prevention as they could afford. The bill would have allowed cities to work with utilities to underground utility lines, and work with the Public Utilities Commission to develop updated fire maps by requiring the PUC to take into consideration areas in which communities are at risk from the consequences of wildfire — not just those areas where certain environmental hazards are present.

Moorlach’s bill came about when on February 2, 2016, the PUC served the final version of Fire Map 1, and the City of Laguna Beach was not placed within the low-risk margins of the Utility Fire Threat Index.

Gov. Brown vetoed SB 1463, despite being passed by the Legislature, 75-0 in the Assembly and 39-0 in the Senate. That tells you this was political. The Governor’s veto message did not properly address why he vetoed the bill. Brown claimed that the PUC and CalFire have already been doing what Moorlach’s bill sought to accomplish. How on earth could Brown kill this bill when the state was burning down?

“SB 1463 would have not only safeguarded Laguna and other high fire-risk communities in Orange County, but would have helped other vulnerable communities throughout the state that are often threatened by wildfires caused by sparks from shorted or fallen utility lines,” Sen. Moorlach said in a statement following the surprise veto. “The Governor’s veto impedes the necessity to more urgently address the California Public Utilities Commission’s focus on identifying high risk areas that should be prioritized for appropriate mitigation measures.”

California fires produced as much pollution in 2 days as all the state’s cars do in a year.

After SB 1463 was killed by Gov. Brown, Sen. Moorlach and his brilliant staff had an epiphany: Redirect the state’s accumulated cap-and-trade funds into wildfire prevention.

Authored in 2018, the new Senate Bill 1463, aptly named “Cap and Trees,” would continuously appropriate 25 percent of state cap-and-trade funds to counties to harden the state’s utility infrastructure and better manage wildlands and our overgrown and drought-weakened forests, Moorlach recently wrote in a San Francisco Chronicle op ed.

The idea was to actually reduce the state’s highest source of greenhouse gas emissions, curb the impacts of future wildfires and prevent unnecessary damage to life and property, the new SB 1463 fact sheet reported.

However, SB 1463 was killed in the radical Senate Environmental Quality Committee by Democrats, even though there was no opposition to it. The killing was purely political, with no regard given to the people of the state.

Cap and Trade was a scheme born out of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, known as AB 32, which charged the California Air Resources Board with lowering greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. In addition, AB 32 requires the ARB to inventory GHG emissions in California, and approve statewide GHG emissions limits.

As important, Sen. Moorlach’s second version of SB 1463 would also have required the California Air Resources Board to include greenhouse gas emissions from wildland and forest fires in their updated Scoping Plan. The ARB does not actually track GHGs – they just estimate. The ARB is extorting millions of dollars from California businesses on their best guesses.

It is estimated that “for every 2 to 3 days these wildfires burn, GHG emissions are roughly equal to the annual emissions from every car in the entire state of California,” USA Today/Reno Gazette reported in 2017. Last year, there were more than 9,000 major wildfires which burned over 1.2 million acres. Several of the large fires were caused or exacerbated by sparking utility lines.

The problem is that the Air Resources Board Scoping Plan ignores the most egregious of all GHG emission problems – manmade wildfires. Instead, the ARB spends a substantial amount of cap and trade funds on high-speed rail, which literally increases GHG emissions and eliminates large carbon sinks. The ARB has a history of diverting funds to pet projects and programs that have little or nothing to do with actually reducing GHG emissions.

The Senate Environmental Quality Committee, responsible for killing Moorlach’s SB 1463, has a radical environmentalist/preservationist as the committee consultant. In the only bill analysis done on SB 1463, this is the drivel she wrote:

“…natural disasters that emit GHGs (such as wildfires) occurred before climate change, will continue to occur as the climate continues to change, and will persist even if mankind ultimately solves the problem of climate change.”

“While science can now conclusively attribute individual extreme events to climate change, it is important to distinguish that extreme events like the recent wildfires in California are a symptom of climate change, not the cause.”

“The overwhelming consensus of climate scientists is that climate change is anthropogenic, meaning human activity has caused the rising GHG concentrations in the atmosphere and, therefore, increasing average global temperatures and the extreme events climate change causes.”

“To include GHG emissions from natural disasters in the state’s inventory that tracks progress towards California’s climate goals, even ones that are made worse by climate change, betrays the fundamental scientific understanding that human activity is responsible for climate change.” (Her emphasis, not mine) 04/19/18- Senate Environmental Quality

Jerry Brown’s Exploitation of California Events

“There is no hope for the truth when world leaders like Governor Brown of California (he runs the 19th largest economy in the world) can present such utterly false information in pursuit of a political agenda,” Dr. Tim Ball wrote about Brown’s recent screed on the fires:

“Since civilization emerged 10,000 years ago, we haven’t had this kind of heat condition, and it’s going to continue getting worse and that’s the way it is.” — Jerry Brown

“Civilization began more than 10,000 years ago and, in my opinion, it hasn’t reached California yet,” Dr. Ball added in a guest opinion at Watts Up With That, an outstanding website dedicated to actual science (no emotions) about global warming and climate change.

In his introductory climatology class, Dr. Ball tells his students to “watch for a sequence of events from California. This will begin with complaints about drought and threatened water supplies. In the Fall, we will have stories about fires decimating the landscape and burning up communities. The next in the sequence is rain and mudslides. Welcome to sunny southern California. I don’t recall a year in which that sequence did not occur. The only differences were the intensity of the events, the hysteria of the media and the degree of political exploitation.”

Dr. Ball concluded: “Exploitation of the California events is just another example of the standard ploy of environmentalists to take normal events and present them as abnormal.”

Jerry Brown’s Real Legacy

Remember when Gov. Jerry Brown said the world needs ‘brain washing’ on climate change. Sounding indeed brainwashed, Brown said, “The problem … is us. It’s our whole way of life. It’s our comfort … It’s the greed. It’s the indulgence. It’s the pattern. And it’s the inertia.”

Brown screeched in 2015 that California has an overpopulation problem, and the ongoing drought was proof that the explosion of population in California has reached the limit of what the states’ resources can provide. “We are altering this planet with this incredible power of science, technology and economic advance,” Brown told the publisher of the Los Angeles Times. “If California is going to have 50 million people, they’re not going to live the same way the native people lived, much less the way people do today.… You have to find a more elegant way of relating to material things. You have to use them with greater sensitivity and sophistication.”

Brown has managed to divert the fawning, slobbering California media away from his actual responsibilities as California Governor, and instead has them focused on hysteria, doom, gloom, and intangibles like “climate change.”


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MOORLACH UPDATE — Model Legislator — August 4, 2018

After having written several commentaries recently that have been published around the state, the question that has been coming to my mind is, “Where are the Letters to the Editor?” Why doesn’t someone pipe in and take me on. After all, the funnest part of writing editorials is enjoying the published reactions.

Well, no sooner after this thought crossed my mind and the San Francisco Chronicle publishes one! And, it was an affirming one, to boot. I’m not sure my “ulterior motive” was to eliminate a “fire prevention fee,” but I’ll take the kind words all the same. It’s the first piece below (also see MOORLACH UPDATE — Reducing Wildfires — July 31, 2018).

MyNewsLA provides the latest news on Judge David O. Carter’s efforts to address the homelessness crisis in Orange County (for a sampling on this topic, see MOORLACH UPDATE — Homelessness JPA Solution — July 11, 2018).

Judge Carter held a long hearing yesterday and the results are provided in the second piece below. Judge Carter really wants to use Fairview Developmental Center as a temporary solution. He asked if the host city would approve 3 or 4 beds. Costa Mesa has certainly carried its share of the load. But, it also needs to vision for the future for this closing facility.

In the meantime, I’m working to support a collaborative plan to house 2,700 in temporary housing units with supportive services countywide. In visioning for this effort, there is a way to help individuals help themselves. By providing temporary housing, and requiring an achievable plan to assist those who wish to obtain occupational skills, work at a job, and save money, thus allowing them to reenter the fulfilling life of self-sufficiency.

Letters to the Editor:

Model legislator

Regarding “3 practical steps to reduce wildfires here” (Open Forum, July 31): Thank you for publishing Republican state Sen. John Moorlach’s piece on how to address wildfires in California and about their impacts on climate change. We should put some Republican ideas on the table when they’re good ones. Instead of promoting President Trump, why can’t you publish more Moorlach?

He is a model legislator who has worked across the aisle with San Francisco’s own state Sen. Scott Wiener on SB384 (reforming the sex offender registry). That said, Moorlach has an ulterior motive — stopping the statewide fire prevention fee. He is right to do so: It just backfills the spiraling pension debt without increasing services. Too much Trump ignores this problem.

Thomas Busse, San Francisco

OC Officials Move Closer to Homeless Solutions



Santa Ana and Anaheim officials moved closer Friday to settling with homeless advocates who filed a federal class-action lawsuit to block law enforcement from enforcing anti-camping ordinances.

Santa Ana and Orange County officials have a tentative agreement to open a jointly operated 700-bed facility and Anaheim officials are working on a 200-bed site.

U.S. District Judge David O. Carter, who is presiding over the lawsuit, praised Anaheim and Santa Ana officials, but he prodded Santa Ana and Orange County leaders who had a memorandum of understanding that came a bit unglued Thursday to settle their differences.

Carter also pressed Costa Mesa City Manager Tom Hatch to consider using the Fairview Developmental Center in his city as a temporary shelter for transients.

Officials estimate there are 2,584 unsheltered transients in the county, so the goal is to provide shelter for 60 percent, or 1,550 people. Officials are hoping to set aside 425 beds for transients in northern cities, 200 to 300 for those in the central part of the county and 300 beds for transients in south county.

Carter said the county will receive at least $15.5 million in emergency shelter funds from the state in the coming year with $9.9 million for cities, including $5.1 million for Anaheim and $4.8 million for Santa Ana.

“So when I hear we don’t have any money, yeah we do,” Carter said.

Carter ordered all of the attorneys back to court Sept. 7 for a hearing in which he will consider issuing a temporary restraining order if more progress isn’t made to provide shelter beds.

Carter has the authority to issue a restraining order preventing cities from enforcing anti-camping ordinances until officials can provide proof they have enough beds for transients in their city.

The judge has been using the threat of the restraining order to prod local officials to work out a settlement or face “10 years of litigation” and the specter of scrambling to build shelter beds while being unable to arrest transients for camping.

Those cities could see a mass migration of transients from other cities where anti-camping ordinances could be enforced, Carter said.

Carter said he toured the Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa and said it was “ideal” as a temporary shelter because it has dormitories and other facilities that are largely unused on a sprawling campus.

Earlier this year state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, and Supervisor Shawn Nelson asked state officials who own the property previously used to treat severely developmentally disabled about using it as a temporary shelter for the homeless. The proposal didn’t set well with Costa Mesa City Council members and angry residents, prompting the council to pass a resolution opposing any such plan.

Hatch told the judge residents several years ago approved a general plan for the property which would set aside 50 percent of it for single-family homes, 25 percent for open space and 25 percent for “institutional activities.”

Carter pressed Hatch to have city officials call Gov. Jerry Brown, who the judge spoke with last night, to see if a deal could be worked out to let the county use the center as a temporary shelter.

“It’s magnificent. It’s perfect,” Carter said of the center.

The judge said any such move would be temporary to help officials work on more long-term plans for more permanent housing for the homeless.

Carter, however, said he understood any such move would be unpopular in the city.

“Costa Mesa is always wiling to do its fair share,” Hatch said.

Still up in the air is what leaders in south Orange County cities will do to address homelessness. Laguna Niguel City Manager Kristine Ridge said she heard Carter’s admonitions “loud and clear” and would alert her colleagues.

Attorney Carol Sobel, who represents the homeless in the lawsuit, said she was optimistic all sides could come to a settlement. She referenced her 18 years of involvement in similar litigation in Los Angeles County.

“So this is like a speedway,” she told reporters after the hearing.


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MOORLACH UPDATE — August Bill Blitz — August 3, 2018

The month of August has arrived. August is the last month of the 2017-2018 Legislative Session. Accordingly, I will be voting on what seems to be an easy one-thousand bills between Monday and August 31st. Consequently, you may see me referenced in articles like The Sacramento Bee piece below when I break from the customary herd and vote for certain bills.

Two thoughts. The first is that I did sneak in some family time during the summer break. My father and mother have not had the chance to visit me while in Sacramento. So, my wife and I drove them up and nearly gave them the full tour. The lights were being replaced, so with massive scaffolding where our desks usually are, I couldn’t bring them onto the Senate Floor.


The second thought is the bill discussed below. The author, Sen. Nancy Skinner, visited with me and explained her bill and requested my vote. I asked her a number of questions about my concerns and she responded to each one with my satisfaction. Serving many years in prison or jail for being with certain individuals at the wrong place and time is not necessarily a fair stiff-sentencing opportunity. It is certainly a reminder that we must teach our children to pick their friends properly. But, suffering for the illegal actions committed by someone else deserves another look. That is why I voted for SB 1437.


He’s in jail for a murder he didn’t witness. A California bill might set him free.



Neko Wilson says he got cold feet that day nine years ago. He was 27, and had originally gone to Kerman, a city in Fresno County, to case a marijuana grow house with a few other people. He says he backed out when his partners decided to rob the house and circled the block instead, trying and failing to contact the group.

Later, he found out that one man in the group killed the couple in the house. Court documents say Wilson had not entered the house or even left his car. But two weeks later, officers from the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office arrested him and charged him with two counts of murder. The officers used the felony murder rule, a California law that says people can be held criminally liable for murder if a death occurs during a felony, like a burglary or robbery, even if the person wasn’t present.

Now California lawmakers appear poised to change the decades-old law, and Wilson, who has spent nine years in Fresno County Jail awaiting trial, may soon have the chance to walk free.

Senate Bill 1437, introduced by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, passed the Senate in May with support from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers. It would limit the application of the felony murder rule by stating that a person can be convicted of murder only if he or she “was the actual killer” or “aided, abetted, counseled, commanded, induced, solicited, requested, or assisted the actual killer” or “was a major participant in the underlying felony and acted with reckless indifference to human life.”

Skinner said that the felony murder doctrine disproportionately affects vulnerable groups.

“The law is not fairly applied,” she said. “If it were universally applied to any and every person that was in or around a crime that resulted in a homicide, then many more people would have been charged with felony murder and the statute would have been changed a long time ago. What we see from data is that it’s young people, low-income people and people of color who are black and brown that are more often charged with felony murder.”

A recent survey of 1,000 prisoners conducted by the bill’s supporters concluded that the felony murder rule disproportionately affected women and young people. Of the women convicted of first degree murder under the felony murder rule, 72 percent were not the perpetrators of the homicide, according to the survey.

Skinner’s proposed change would be retroactive, allowing those imprisoned to seek new hearings by proving their actions did not fall into the new definition of the law. Prosecutors would have to prove otherwise, or allow re-sentencing.

Supporters estimate that between 400 and 800 people are serving sentences for felony murder and could apply for re-sentencing.

The bill, which is pending in the Assembly, easily gained the support from majority Democrats in the Senate. Two conservative Republican senators, Joel Anderson of San Diego and John Moorlach of Costa Mesa, also voted for it.

Anderson says the bill merely assigns blame to the correct people. Murderers and shoplifters committed different crimes and therefore should be punished differently, he said.

“This bill sets out to separate the two, to give real justice to those who weren’t active participants in the murder of another,” Sen. Anderson said on the Senate floor.

The bill still faces intense opposition from prosecutors and police organizations, who say it allows people who have committed crimes leading to a death to potentially go free without accepting responsibility for the death.

“A robbery that results in a death is worse than one that doesn’t,” said Cory Salzillo, the legislative director for the California State Sheriffs Association. “…There is a culpability that should attach when a person participates in a crime and a homicide is the result of that crime.”

Victim advocacy groups also argued that the bill’s language was too broad, providing no difference in treatment between violent felonies and nonviolent felonies.

Nina Salarno, the president of Crime Victims United, said that although the group supports some changes, the bill went too far to reduce sentencing for felons.

“The difference between serious and violent felonies and other felonies is a huge issue,” Salarno said. “You’re treating a home invasion in the same way as a felony car theft with nobody involved. There’s a huge distinct difference between robbing a car in a parking lot with nobody in it and a home invasion. If you’re an accomplice to a home invasion, you should bear responsibility for the injury and death of people.”

A legislative analysis estimated it could cost millions for the courts to process the re-sentencing requests, but also stated that shorter sentences could save millions annually. According to state budget estimates, each state prisoner will cost taxpayers more than $80,000 this year. Prosecutors have noted that many people are serving time under the law because of plea bargains, which will leave few or no court records to reference during the re-sentencing process.

The felony murder rule has been debated for decades. In 1983, the liberal-dominated California Supreme Court urged the Legislature to abolish the rule, writing in People v. Dillon that it “anachronistically resurrects from a bygone age a `barbaric’ concept.”

Jacque Wilson, Neko Wilson’s brother and a public defender in San Francisco, said that the bill is Neko Wilson’s chance to reunite with his family.

“He hasn’t seen his daughter in nine years,” Jacque Wilson said. “She was three and now she’s 12. It’s another tool of mass incarceration that is devastating poor families and people of color. It’s ripping families apart.”


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MOORLACH UPDATE — Fire Tornado Funding — August 2, 2018

It is frustrating to provide solutions to obvious problems, like pension liabilities and wildfires, only to have the Democrats vote the bills down in committee.

Regretfully, the wildfires continue in Northern California. I provided a solution with SB 1463 two years ago (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1463 — March 25, 2016). And a repeat version, with funding from an existing revenue stream this year (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Reducing Wildfires — July 31, 2018).

So, we can at least claim that a Republican tried to get in front of the wildfire and legitimate greenhouse gas concerns with a reasonable solution. There are billions of dollars in the cap and trade fund that can easily be reassigned from other projects that aren’t priorities to the state right now and are going to projects like the high-speed rail. The Governor has $621 million dollars annually to reduce greenhouse gases and wildfires in a productive way.

With that, you won’t see me surprised about fire tornadoes. The Napa Valley Register, a sister publication of The Sacramento Bee, provides the latest on the tragic events occurring around the state in the piece below.

‘No one expected a fire tornado.’ Jerry Brown says wildfires are going to get expensive.

By Angela Hart And Taryn Luna

At least six people dead. More than 1,000 homes leveled and another 17,000 under threat. Nearly 13,000 firefighters, from as far away as Florida and Maine to Australia and New Zealand, battling ferocious wildfires burning across California.

California firefighters and emergency responders are being pummeled by increasingly extreme and unpredictable wildfires, as the state’s climate becomes hotter and the land grows drier.

"The need to protect these communities…is requiring more firefighters, more resources all the time," said Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott, in an interview. "Fire is a way of life in California. It’s not going away, so we have to learn to live with it."

The deadly blazes, in Sonoma County in 2017 and in Shasta County this summer, are prompting urgent calls for a major change of course in how California prepares for and responds to wildfires. State lawmakers, fire officials and both candidates for governor say if the state doesn’t act, conditions will worsen in years to come. More people will die, more homes will be lost and large swaths of pristine forestland will be wiped out, they fear.

"We’re in for a really rough ride," Gov. Jerry Brown said at a news conference Wednesday in Sacramento. "It’s going to get expensive, it’s going to get dangerous, and we have to apply all our creativity to make the best of what is going to be an increasingly bad situation."

Officials are beginning to undertake a broad, more ambitious prevention strategy that includes aggressively thinning out thick forests in rural, rugged parts of the state, increasing state funding for firefighters, training and equipment, incorporating into firefighter training new methods for battling unpredictable, wind-driven fires and working with local governments to update land use plans and building codes that discourage development in fire-prone areas or call for more safety measures.

"The risks are much bigger than what we may have traditionally thought of," Pimlott said. "These are literally 100, 150-foot flame lengths…there’s no way we’re going to stop that kind of a fire, so we are changing tactics."

Pimlott said the key priority is protecting life and property.

"We’re going to make every effort to protect these communities, to get people evacuated, but what it means is we may not be able to put a bulldozer or firefighter or engine company down in front of that fire," he said. "We use roads, we use ridge tops, we use geographic features where we can have a much higher probability of success."

It’s also about finding money to hire firefighters and purchase equipment, fire officials and lawmakers said.

"We have a limited number of resources," Pimlott said. "You always want more… California, even now, has become very good at organizing limited resources and identifying priorities."

Since the fiscal year began July 1, Cal Fire has already spent $115 million of the $443 million allocated in this year’s budget for fighting wildfires, and the state is on track exceed the current budget if wildfires intensify. The worst fires tend to occur in late fall and early winter.

During last year’s fires, the state spent $773 million, far more than the $427 million initially approved.

Brown said Wednesday that the state will spend what it must to attack the fires.

"There is money in this year’s budget," he said. "In a year or slightly longer, that money will start to diminish… Things will get much tighter in the next five years as the business cycle turns negative and the fires continue."

He suggested California has been caught off-guard by the current demands.

"No one expected a fire tornado," Brown said. "We’re getting a new phenomenon and that new phenomenon is we’re in a new climate weather era and so we have to learn."

Brown since 2015 has directed more than $800 million in one-time budget funds for fire prevention, including the removal of dead trees and other vegetation that fuel fires.

In May he outlined in an executive order a $96 million plan to expand vegetation thinning, controlled fires and reforestation on up to 500,000 acres of land. He also spent $160 million in cap-and-trade revenue to support forest improvements and fire protection.

The plan also seeks to make it easier for private landowners to thin vegetation on their properties by streamlining the approvals process for permits needed to do so.

Some say the state’s efforts to date don’t go far enough.

Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox blasted state lawmakers for not adequately funding fire prevention. He downplayed concerns voiced by his Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, and Brown, about climate change and the increasing threat of disastrous wildfires.

Cox, who toured the fire zone in Shasta County this week with Republican lawmakers, said "I don’t know," if climate change is human-caused.

"Politicians like Mr. Brown and Mr. Newsom are distracting people," Cox said. "What’s really going on here is they’re blaming this on climate change to cover up for the fact that they haven’t devoted the time and the resources and the planning to actually doing something about forestry management."

Cox also backs the thinning of forests, saying the state should be investing in "fire breaks, controlled burns, and clearing out dead and diseased trees."

He said the state also needs to invest more heavily on boosting the ranks of firefighters, training and equipment.

"We’re going to find the money, believe me," Cox said.

Newsom spokesman Nathan Click said "Cox’s Trumpian climate change denials, in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, only undermine what little credibility remains in his campaign."

Newsom outlined a detailed approach for how he’d address the looming wildfire threat to California. He said the state must improve vegetation management, boost funding for fire prevention and containment, bolster resources for fire departments across the state, invest in weather monitoring technology and a statewide early warning system and more aggressively lower greenhouse gas emissions to put the state on a path to 100 percent renewable energy.

"The science is clear — increased fire threat due to climate change is becoming a fact of life in our state," Newsom said in a statement. "We need a comprehensive strategy and more resources to address this growing crisis."

Assembly Minority Leader Brian Dahle, a Republican from Lassen County, and Assemblyman Jim Wood, a Democrat from Sonoma County, are pushing, as part of the state’s broader efforts, legislation easing regulations and allowing greater thinning of trees, grasses and other vegetation from thick forests that allow wildfires to spread so quickly.

"By not doing that, we’re burning down our forests," Dahle said. "We know if we don’t do anything, it’s going to burn."

Wood said it needs to be done on a "large scale," with ongoing state money. He also floated the idea of greater state investment in an early fire detection system.

"I firmly believe, as I know Brian does, that we need to invest more in reducing the fuel load," Wood said. "I think it’s long overdue and it’s going to take a sustained, long-term investment."

Dahle voiced support for ideas being floated by other lawmakers to redirect a larger share of state cap-and-trade money into wildfire prevention.

"I think there’s a lot better places we could spend our greenhouse gas monies," he said, noting a proposal from state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, to dedicate a quarter of the state’s cap-and-trade funds to pay for power utility infrastructure upgrades and forest management to help reduce the threat of wildfires.

"We still need to fund firefighters and tankers and helicopters," Dahle said. "But we also need to take the smallest trees out. If you thin out the canopy, fires burn slower and not as intensely."


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