MOORLACH UPDATE — Legacy of Faith — May 21, 2018

It’s a big day. I finally made it to a David Whiting column. Front-page, top-of-the-fold no less. It’s in the OC Register and Press Telegram piece below.

I was invited to attend yesterday’s Christ Our Redeemer AME church service, but I had a conflict. Pastor Mark Whitlock has been active in the community, we have made a friendship, and I have attended his church, as it is in my District. I love sampling the churches in my District and this one is well worth visiting. But, here’s a tip. When you attend, it’s business attire for men and Prince Harry/Duchess Meghan dress for the women.

I would have loved to join in on the celebration of Dr. Parham’s new promotion. I met him at the 50th anniversary of the University of California Irvine dinner. I love listening to individuals who know how to use the finer touches of the English vocabulary. Dr. Parham does. I did get the opportunity to congratulate him in person last month, when I was given the honor of throwing the opening pitch on the UCI campus in their game against the CSU Fullerton Titans.

My conflict was taking my folks to the Grace Presbyterian Church in Yorba Linda to listen to my youngest brother, Kent, preach. My brother was in town from the Memphis area for a family reception to send my folks off to a new senior citizens home in Colorado, to be near my sister. The sermon was great. The reception that afternoon was well attended. And having my three siblings and folks together was a rare treat.

My father wanted to immigrate to the United States. After applying and enduring the waiting period, in 1960 we took a small Holland America cruise ship, Groote Beer (Big Bear), which was used for emigration purposes.

My father started all over. He was well situated in the Netherlands, having earned a Doctorandus in Economics at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, one of the top universities in Europe. He settled in by selling life insurance and property and casualty insurance. He also earned his Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) license.

He was an agent for Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company and was a contemporary of David Cox, the former California State Senator for whom the Senate lounge is named after.

Dad is 90 years old now. He should be quite proud of his accomplishments and of his four children and their spouses, his 13 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

The reception was difficult for him yesterday afternoon. He expressed that things were happening to him that he did not have control over. He did not want to leave California. But, he cannot enjoy life without full-time assistance, so it is time for that proverbial change in housing arrangements for he and my mother.

This morning, while I was boarding my flight to Sacramento, Dad was supposed to board a plane at LAX with my brother Kent. Dad refused to get out of the car, as he wants to stay in California. Having lived here for nearly six decades, who can blame him? But, Dad, it’s time to end an amazing chapter and start a new one. I love you, Dad.

 

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New Cal State Dominguez Hills president stands on legacy of fairness, faith, equality

By dwhiting

https://www.ocregister.com/2018/05/20/new-cal-state-president-stands-on-legacy-of-fairness-faith-equality/

In a Sunday church sermon and with characteristic boldness, the current vice chancellor of UCI and future president of Cal State Dominguez Hills made his ambition clear.

Thomas Parham, who will take the reins of CSUDH next month, vowed to transform the university into “a destination campus, not a default campus.”

Parham went on to declare he plans to turn 1.9 grade average students into students with 2.5 grade averages, to build 3.6 students into PhDs.

If it sounds like the same old rhetoric, it’s not.

Parham was like no other vice chancellor at UCI and it’s certain he won’t be like any other public university president when he leads at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

How’s this for starters?: He told the congregation at Christ Our Redeemer Church in Irvine that Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X are in him, that he shares the same birthday as Nat Turner, the slave who led a rebellion in 1831.

“You know,” Parham pointed out from the pulpit, “where my warrior gene comes from.”

But those statements hardly compare to the very fact that Parham spoke from the pulpit, gave a sermon, and did a sly double-take when this leader of public universities boldly spoke about what it means to be a Christian.

“The true measure of the Christian life,” the 64-year-old academic said, “is the degree to which we are able to support and assist other people.

“The challenge is not one of effort but of outcome.”

Still, the service remained both a bittersweet sendoff and a celebration of what Parham has meant to so many during his 33 years at UCI.

A few days before the service, Christ Our Redeemer Rev. Mark Whitlock explained Parham’s promotion this way: “There’s a loss physically, but there’s not a loss spiritually, socially or intellectually.

“Cal State Dominguez has the largest African American student population in California,” said the south Orange County preacher. “And we now share a connection between UCI and Dominguez.”

Whitlock has a point. Parham’s roots run deep wherever they grow.

Legacy of equality

Parham grew up in Los Angeles, earned his bachelor’s degree at UCI, his master’s at Washington University in St. Louis and his doctorate at Southern Illinois University. He went on to join the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania before returning to UCI in 1985.

Along with working as an adjunct faculty member, the licensed psychologist was director of UCI’s Career and Life Planning Center and also served as assistant vice chancellor for Counseling and Health Services.

All the while, students called Parham, “Dr. P.”

Understand, the nickname was a rare honor of informality in the often stuffy world of academia. Instead of being aloof, Parnham was an administrator who moved nearly effortlessly through the widely diverse student body.

He was and remains known for promoting multicultural education, multicultural counseling and respectful leadership.

“Dr. Parham has been a fierce advocate for our students, working tirelessly to make their experience on campus a compelling part of their education,” said UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman. “I shall miss his wise counsel, steady hand, and good humor.”

In selecting Parham to head CUSDH, Cal State Trustee Peter Taylor echoed Gillman: “Dr. Parham has an exceptional history of working with students from diverse backgrounds and has demonstrated unwavering commitment to student achievement.”

Yet, somehow, Parham found the time to have an impact far beyond UCI.

Known for wearing dashikis and African robes on special occasions, Parham in the early 1990s helped found Orange County’s chapter of 100 Black Men of America. He was president for four years and also developed what has become a national curriculum for teens at other chapters.

The current president of the 100 Black Men chapter in Orange County, Marcellous “Mark” Reed, last week summed up Parham’s significance in an area known for an astonishingly low percentage of African Americans.

“He wrote our high school curriculum that prepares these young men for life,” Reed said. “You have an opportunity in America to be whoever you want to be and Dr. Parham instills this kind of thinking.

“He unshackles brains.”

Greater community

In an interview, Whitlock summed up how Parham played a key role during the late 1990s in building the only African Methodist Episcopal Church in south Orange County.

“I call him St. Thomas.”

To be sure, Whitlock is joking. Sort of.

When Whitlock launched Christ Our Redeemer, he had five members and no where to minister. After he met Parham, the pastor had a temporary location on UCI’s campus — and a congregation.

“Suddenly, I had thousands of students around me,” Whitlock recalled of those early days. “Soon, we were creating a sense of family for African Americans.”

Referring to the juggernaut film, “Black Panther,” Whitlock offered, “We had a Wakanda experience.”

Whitlock also credits Parham for mentoring a wide range of cultures and races, while also “being unapologetically black.”

Parham embodies, the pastor said, the concept of “appreciating your history, affirming who are are and loving who you are while also loving others.

“That is so important for African Americans who have identity problems.”

God’s grace

During the Sunday morning service, Parham was presented with a host of honors including commendations from Sen. Kamala Harris, state senators John Moorlach and Patricia Bates, Orange County Supervisors Lisa Bartlett and Todd Spitzer.

Still, the coolest honor was a spontaneous one when two young boys in the congregation high-fived.

As Parham stood before the gathering of hundreds, he explained: “There is no greater blessing in life, next to being a parent, than being entrusted with the intellectual and personal growth and development of students.”

Parham allowed that his mother was a single mom who raised four children, all of whom went to college and two became PhDs. Still, the psychologist and author said the real credit is elsewhere.

“Success,” Parham said, “is not attributed to our effort alone, but to God’s grace.”

As the service ended, the chorus sang, “Amazing grace … How sweet the sound.”

This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District. If you no longer wish to subscribe, just let me know by responding with a request to do so.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Worked So Hard — May 19, 2018

I started my first career in Costa Mesa in 1976. I married my lovely wife in 1980. We had our daughter in 1982 and our first son in 1984. It was time to sell my small condo near the South Coast Metro area. We purchased our first Costa Mesa home in 1984 and have enjoyed the Newport-Mesa area ever since. And, having my District Office near Bear Street, my main commuting route some forty years ago, brings my multiple-career experience full circle.

During the past three-plus decades, we purposed to make Costa Mesa, a city of more than 100,000 people, small. By the time our second son was born in 1991, we were on our way to enjoying Costa Mesa and Orange County as an intimate and close-knit community. It is amazing how many people you can develop relationships with if you work really hard to participate in various social opportunities that abound here.

Running for Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector in 1994 certainly gave me an appreciation of how big and glorious our county really is, even though it is less than 800 square miles. But, you can make it small by getting involved. And, there are so many wonderful people!

I start off with this reminiscing to make a small point. Because I have worked so hard, I now enjoy long standing relationships, including with the three Art of Leadership recipients that were recognized Thursday evening by the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce, the South Coast Metro Alliance, and Mayor Sandy Genis. Therefore, making my presentations was very special.

I have a very high regard for former Costa Mesa Police Chief Dave Snowden. He left the city in 2003, not because he no longer loved public safety, but because the pension formula made it somewhat necessary to retire. This was a lament that he made at his retirement dinner. (Receiving 90 percent of your salary if you retire makes it hard to explain to your spouse that you’re working full-time for the remaining 10 percent — hence the often repeated phrase, “Why work for free?”) As a western movies buff, Chief Snowden would go on to the best job he could ever have wanted, serving as the Police Chief of Beverly Hills. It is great to report that his legacy lives on in Costa Mesa.

Fran and Karen Ursini are community stalwarts and have one of the best barbeque restaurants in the area. Sacramento is loaded with excellent California BBQ establishments, but they seem fewer down here. So, when you’re in the mood, go to Newport Rib Company on Harbor Boulevard. If Fran is in, introduce yourself to the biggest man in Costa Mesa.

Charlene Ashendorf’s husband, Dennis, started my blog a decade or so ago. Their son, Jacob, interned for me when I served as a County Supervisor. After being elected to the Senate, he came on my staff and served in both the District and Capitol Offices. Now he is working for Health and Human Services (HHS) in Washington, D.C. The Ashendorfs should be so proud. Best of all, Charlene was a real encouragement to my wife in her pursuit of oil painting.

It was a great evening celebration to fly home early for and it reminded all of us how important it is to settle in and grow deep roots in your community. The Daily Pilot provides the details in the first piece below.

Here is an insider’s scoop. I asked how the three honorees were selected and found out that Brad Long had suggested them a couple of years ago in an e-mail. How is that for an “amazing” tie-in for the evening? Brad Long was Costa Mesa’s version of my old friend, Huell Howser. Catch some of Brad’s video logs and you’ll see what I mean. He was given a wonderful tribute.

The second piece below is from Fox & Hounds. Ron Stein was the inspiration for my bill, SB 1074 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1297 – COO — April 19, 2018). For more details, see https://moorlach.cssrc.us/content/senate-bill-1074-truth-advertising-gas-prices.

Ron came up to Sacramento and served as my main witness in support of this bill and did an excellent job, but it was voted down in committee (see MOORLACH UPDATE — The Joys of Presenting Bills — April 24, 2018).

Ron provides his perspectives on this exercise and accurately assesses the sensitivities of one State Senator, who recently added to the cost of a gallon of gasoline. Ron was most respectful by referring to him as “Mister,” only to be reprimanded by him with the demand to be referred to as “Senator.” Sensitive, indeed. It reminded me of a famous Barbara Boxer moment where she too acknowledged that she had “worked so hard” (for some levity, please see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixiYZ9DPk8o).

Costa Mesa dinner honors community leaders and contributors

By LUKE MONEY

http://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/news/tn-dpt-me-cm-mayors-dinner-20180518-story.html

It was a night of laughs, cheers and, at times, tears Thursday as about 250 people gathered to honor some of Costa Mesa’s most influential leaders and devoted community contributors during the Art of Leadership Mayor’s Celebration.

This year’s honorees were longtime local volunteer and arts advocate Charlene Ashendorf, former Costa Mesa police chief Dave Snowden and the Ursini family, owners of Newport Rib Co.

“To me, art comes from the place where our heads and our hearts come together, and each of our honorees tonight really exemplifies this in their leadership and in their giving to the community,” Mayor Sandy Genis told the crowd at the Hilton Orange County/Costa Mesa hotel.

The Art of Leadership award went toSnowden, who was Costa Mesa’s police chief for 17 years. He worked to develop community-oriented policing efforts and was deeply involved with local businesses and charities.

“Dave was a true servant leader — he put the organization before himself,” current Police Chief Rob Sharpnack said in a video message. “He had the wisdom and the understanding to allow people to move forward with projects on their own without micromanagement. … He was a good delegator.”

Snowden, who also led the police departments in Baldwin Park and Beverly Hills, said he was “truly humbled” to receive the award.

Leadership, he said, is about finding ways to inspire people to work together for a common purpose.

“I trust people; I delegate to people; I’m not afraid to pick people that I think are a hell of a lot smarter than I am to get the job done,” he said.

Fran and Karen Ursini and their children received the Lifetime Achievement Community Involvement award.

Since opening Newport Rib Co. in1984, the restaurant and family have become fixtures in Costa Mesa because of their food, philanthropic involvement and support of youth sports.

“They have given back so much in so many ways for so many causes and organziations,” said Peter Buffa, a former Costa Mesa mayor who emceed Thursday’s event. “They really are a life force in this community.”

Karen Ursini expressed the family’s gratitude. “We are very honored to know that we are part of Costa Mesa and have made it a part of our lives and a part of your lives,” she said.

Ashendorf was tabbed for the Art of Giving Back award. Her long history of community involvement continues with leadership positions on Costa Mesa’s Cultural Arts Committee and Senior Commission, as well as the foundation committee for Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries.

“I’m sure we can agree that in the ‘City of the Arts’ our voices don’t always sing in perfect harmony, nor do we dance to the same beat,” Ashendorf said, referring to the city’s official motto. “But in service, we build a community of hearts. Each of us believes, by giving back, the most rewarding investment is the relationships that we create.”

The three honorees also received certificates of recognition from state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) and the offices of U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) and Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel.

Proceeds from Thursday’s event — which was presented by the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce and the South Coast Metro Alliance in partnership with the city — will benefit arts and educational programs at Costa Mesa and Estancia high schools, Save Our Youth, Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Repertory.

The evening concluded with a tribute to Brad Long, a longtime Costa Mesa city employee who died last year.

Long worked for the city as a videographer and video production specialist, covering community meetings and events and filming other local segments for more than 20 years.

“He really was beloved by everyone who knew him and worked with him,” Buffa said. “I’ve known a lot of people in my life; he was by far the most optimistic, upbeat person I’ve ever met.”

luke.money

Twitter @LukeMMoney

Legislatures Kill Transparency Pricing at the Pump

Ronald Stein

By Ronald SteinFounder of PTS Staffing Solutions, a technical staffing agency headquartered in Irvine

http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2018/05/legislatures-kill-transparency-pricing-pump/

Californians now pay as much as $1.00 more per gallon of fuel than the rest of the country. Shouldn’t the motoring public know why?

A bill in the California Legislature to do just that was Senate Bill 1074, by state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa. Called “Disclosure of government-imposed costs,” it would have required gas stations to post near each gas pump a list of cost factors, such as federal, state and local taxes, costs associated with environmental rules and regulations including the cap-and-trade tax.

Numerous folks and organizations spoke in support of the bill at an April 23 hearing before the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development. I testified myself. Absolutely no one from the public spoke in opposition.

But the Democratic-controlled committee didn’t want the public to know why we’re paying so much, and voted to kill the bill from future consideration.

I watched closely the action on the Senate floor. The senator who spoke most against the bill was Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton. But when the time of the vote came and it became clear the bill would fail, he voted Aye, which could help him in his close recall election bid this June.

Newman already had enough problems on the issue because he provided the key vote last year to pass Senate Bill 1, which jacked up gas taxes $5.5 billion a year. An initiative to repeal that gouging at the gouging at the pump just submitted more than 1 million signatures and also should go before voters this November.

It’s strange that almost every other product we buy comes with the price listed on the tag, with the taxes then clearly added to the receipt: clothes, computers, cars, furniture, office supplies, books, etc.

By contrast, the price at the pump is not broken down by tax or other cost, but actually includes a multitude of taxes, as well as costs from numerous environmental regulations.

In addition to the federal tax on fuels that applies to all states, California’s state taxes are among the highest in the country. Beginning last November, SB 1 alone added 12 cents to a gallon of gasoline and 20 cents to diesel.

SB 1074 specified the multiple taxes and regulatory costs that would have to be listed: a) The federal fuel tax per gallon; b) the state fuel tax per gallon; c) the state sales tax per gallon; d) refinery reformatting costs per gallon; e) cap and trade program compliance costs per gallon; f) low-carbon fuel standard program compliance costs per gallon; and g) renewable fuels standard program compliance costs per gallon.

That’s a lot of taxes and costs.

The cap and trade costs, by the way, now are the major funding source for outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown’s favorite boondoggle, the Choo Choo train project.

The high fuel taxes impact not just drivers, but almost everything in our economy, such as the food carried to grocery stores, materials to housing construction and clothing to children’s stores. Even Amazon.com and other online retailers will charge more for shipping as their costs rise.

Especially hurt by the high cost of fuel are the working poor, who often must commute an hour or more inland because coastal housing is so expensive. Aren’t such people supposed to be a key constituency of the Democratic Party?

No wonder we now have a better understanding of why California suffers the highest percentage of people in poverty and a homeless crisis so acute it shocks the world.

SB 1074 would have given motorists information on what’s really going on. But for the Democratic supermajority in the Legislature, bliss is keeping Californians ignorant.

This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District. If you no longer wish to subscribe, just let me know by responding with a request to do so.

Also follow me on Facebook & Twitter @SenatorMoorlach

MOORLACH UPDATE — Propositions 68 and 69 — May 18, 2018

As I was given the invitation by the Senate leadership to write statewide ballot arguments against both Propositions 68 and 69, I’m also receiving invitations for television interviews and editorial submissions on these two ballot measures (also see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Proposition 68 — March 23, 2018 and MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — June Primary Antics — April 28, 2018).

My other ballot recommendations for the June Primary can be found at MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — June Primary Antics — April 28, 2018.

The Sacramento Bee allowed me to weigh in on the oppose side in the first piece below.

KCRA Channel 3, an NBC affiliate, did separate stories on both measures in the second and third pieces below. To see the clips, just click on the links provided.

And the OC Register and Los Angeles Daily News weighs in on Prop. 69 in the fourth piece below.

Let me remind you that California’s balance sheet is the worst in the nation. And, its attention to infrastructure has been abysmal. I see Sacramento as a person living beyond their means, but putting up a great facade, and displaying improper addiction traits. It’s like an individual barely eking by on a commission-based income, having $25,000 in credit card balances and only making the minimum payments, only to put no money down on a new $90,000 car to keep up the supposedly wealthy image. One small hiccup, and this charade is over.

It’s time for Sacramento’s majority party to meet with a credit counselor. It’s time for plastic surgery (cut the credit cards) and an honest pay-as-you-go budgeting process for the state’s roads and infrastructure. It’s not time to borrow more and tell everyone that “this time the Capital will spend the money on roads. Really, this time. We mean it. We’re even doing a ballot measure to prove it. We won’t screw it up like every other time.” How sad will it get around here? And why do the voters insist on enabling this behavior?

When the creditors come calling, please remember this conversation.

SOAPBOX

Prop. 68 means more debt and higher taxes

BY JOHN MOORLACH

Special to The Sacramento Bee

http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/article211305214.html

http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article211206504.html

It’s time, Californians, to hold on to our collective wallets.

“It does NOT raise taxes,” proponents of Proposition 68 insist in the official state voters’ guide. Then where do they think the money will come from to repay the $4 billion in bonds that are supposed to go for parks and “climate adaptation,” whatever that is?

Bonds are debt. Debt needs to be repaid, with interest. The debt payments will increase the state budget or something in the budget will have to be cut to provide the required funds. But most likely, taxes will have to be raised.

In an economic downturn, bonds must still be paid. And recessions happen.

We are not talking about small change. The Prop. 68 repayment is $7.8 billion – $4 billion in principal, plus $3.8 billion in interest. That means $200 million a year for 40 years from the state’s general fund.

Assuming they don’t leave the state to get relief from ever-high taxes, that means not just our children, but our grandchildren will be paying it off.

Californians have been here before. In 2009, during the Great Recession, when revenues dropped sharply,

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pushed a $13 billion tax increase through the Legislature, on top of $15 billion in budget cuts, including $8.1 billion to education.

Despite the current good times, California’s finances are actually in bad shape. The unrestricted net deficit is a whopping $169 billion, the worst of any state. Our state already owes $74.2 billion on previous bonds, including for the high-speed rail boondoggle, costing the state’s general fund $3.9 billion in debt payments in 2018-19.

Silicon Valley profits are currently filling state coffers. Forecasted personal and corporate income taxes are up $8 billion from Gov. Jerry Brown’s January budget proposal. Which begs the question: If the Prop. 68 projects are so great, why not just fund them with that surplus?

The next time Silicon Valley’s profits tank, expect $40 billion annual deficits, and tax increases. Which is why this accountant and financial planner believes a pay-as-you-go system is best. And you should, too.

John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, represents the 37th state Senate District. He can be contacted atsenator.moorlach.

Prop. 68 promises billions for California parks, clean water

Critics contend debt would be crippling

Mike Luery
Reporter

http://www.kcra.com/article/prop-68-promises-billions-for-california-parks-clean-water/20711288

For bicycle riders like Eric Johnson, the American River Parkway is an urban jewel in Sacramento County — and a place to be cherished.

“It’s nice to be away from the cars,” Johnson said. “It’s nice to be in the nature scene. You know, it’s peaceful.”

That’s why Johnson said he supports Proposition 68, a $4 billion bond measure that would allocate an extra $10 million to the American River Parkway.

“I’m all for it,” Johnson said. “I want more bikeways. Bikes are something that’s definitely growing and needs to be added to. You need to get cars off the roads. More people should bike. It’s good for us.”

Supporters argue that Prop. 68 is good for parks and good for improving water quality statewide.

“California water management is on the right track,” said Tim Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies. “We think it’s important for the voters to support that even if it means a relatively small amount of debt.”

Critics like state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, believe the debt payments on the bond will be anything but small.

“You have to pay for that $4 billion,” he said. “It’s going to cost you another $4 billion in interest. So, over 40 years that’s $200 million a year. Where does that come from?”

Prop. 68 promises millions of dollars in improvements, but opponents contend California should not be borrowing more money.

“We don’t need to go into debt,” said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. “We have a budget surplus.”

Coupal believes the state should be using some of its nearly $9 billion surplus to pay for those projects.

“This is like somebody who has a very large savings account and is paying a maximum on their credit card interest of 18 percent,” Coupal said.

“If you’ve got the cash, isn’t it better not to go into debt because you’re paying in this case, taxpayer dollars to Wall Street,” Coupal asked.

Supporters of Prop. 68 insist the measure will help pay for conservation and other projects that could benefit millions of people across the state now.

“Starting with more flood protection, levee maintenance and levee investments, more money for recycling programs, which are increasingly important to everyone in California,” Quinn said.

The increased debt burden is not a concern for Johnson.

“I would borrow the money for bikes, definitely,” he said. “Less cars, more bikes.”

“I’m not trying to be the guy that spoils the party,” Moorlach said. “I’m just saying, ‘Hey, I’m an accountant. I’m a certified public accountant and a certified financial planner by training, and I’m saying we shouldn’t be adding more debt.’”

 

Gas tax fight heats up with new ballot measure

Prop. 69 promises lockbox for transportation funds

Mike Luery
Reporter

http://www.kcra.com/article/gas-tax-fight-heats-up-with-new-ballot-measure/20724280

Kimberlynn Roach of Sacramento learned the hard way that driving on California roads can be dangerous and costly.

“Really not paying attention to the potholes, even the small ones, split my tires,” she said.

The damage was so extensive that Roach had to buy not one, but two new tires, at a cost of $140.

Road repair supporters said Proposition 69 on the June ballot will protect transportation funds by putting a lockbox on the money generated from Senate Bill 1 — the gas tax law that went into effect in November.

“Prop. 69 is so important because it prevents the Legislature from raiding transportation funds for projects that are not transportation related,” said Orville Thomas of the California Alliance for Jobs.

California drivers began paying 12 cents a gallon more at the pump because of the gas tax. Prop. 69 supporters argue the measure is a constitutional amendment and would guarantee that $2 billion raised from the gas tax can only be spent on fixing California roads, improving transit and easing congestion, including HOV lanes.

“Cities and counties get a direct share of that revenue to invest in safety and road improvement projects in every community across the state,” said Kiana Valentine of the California State Association of Counties. “So, we have a vested interest in making sure the Legislature cannot divert those funds for non-transportation purposes.”

But, tax watchdog Jon Coupal isn’t buying that argument.

“It claims to be a lockbox,” he said. “But again, how many times have we heard the phrase lockbox?”

Coupal doesn’t trust the California Legislature even if Prop. 69 passes. He thinks lawmakers could still find a way around it and use the money for things not related to transportation.

“If people think this money is going for actual roads instead of bureaucracy and pensions, and at the end of the day, virtually all new tax increases in the state of California or at the state or local level are going into pension obligations,” Coupal said.

Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, is also skeptical of Prop. 69.

“I think it’s an indictment of Sacramento,” he said.

Moorlach said that Prop. 69 would interfere with California’s Gann Limit, which puts restrictions on how much money the state can spend.

“So, you’ve got to be careful for your kids and grandkids, what’s being done with a little sleight of hand,” he added.

The California Legislature has borrowed from transportation funds in the past and used the money for other things.

“We have seen three decades of nothing but diversions of valuable transportation dollars,” Coupal said. “I think voters would be foolish to trust them this time.”

But, supporters of the measure argue that won’t happen under Prop. 69.

“The legislators themselves chose to author this to make sure that future legislatures don’t come in to divert these funds,” Thomas said.

Back at the gas pump, Roach said she does want safer roads but isn’t sure who to trust when it comes to billions of dollars in transportation funding.

“Let’s just hope for the best,” Roach said.

Meanwhile on Sacramento’s busy Arden Way on Wednesday, KCRA 3 found a road construction crew making repairs. The money for the project comes from the gas tax hike and the improvements are a welcome relief to drivers like Gladine Williams.

“California roads have definitely deteriorated over the last 10 years,” Williams said. “There’s a lot of areas where I used to enjoy taking that drive. Now, I’m like, ‘Oh, I can’t go down that street.’”

Voters will decide Prop. 69’s fate next month, but in the meantime, Williams has this perspective.

“You have to be more cautious. You don’t want to hit a pothole,” Williams said.

Even if Prop. 69 passes in June, there is another proposition to repeal California’s gas tax that is expected to make the November ballot. If voters approve that measure, then billions of dollars designated for transportation projects would essentially disappear.

“If voters want to repeal this (gas tax) and create unsafe transportation options then there won’t be anything left to protect anymore,” Thomas said. “All that funding for local projects would be gone.”

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OPINION

Vote yes, with some caveats, on California Prop. 69

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

https://www.dailynews.com/2018/05/17/vote-yes-with-some-caveats-on-california-prop-69/

Whatever one believes about the wisdom of recently enacted gas tax and vehicle-registration fee increases, most will likely agree that those revenues should be used to improve California’s transportation infrastructure.

Proposition 69 offers Californians an opportunity to ensure that the additional taxes and fees from Senate Bill 1 actually go toward transportation.

Currently, the state constitution ensures the bulk of SB1 revenues will go to transportation infrastructure. Revenues from gasoline excise taxes and diesel excise taxes, which together constitute more than half of SB1’s projected revenues, are already restricted to transit.

But diesel sales taxes and the new transportation improvement fee are not currently protected from being readily siphoned off. So long as these fees and taxes are being collected, taxpayers deserve to know that there are at least some constitutional constraints on how that money is used.

Opponents like Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, say it’s embarrassing, even insulting, to have to tell the Legislature to only spend SB1 revenues on transportation purposes. Moorlach is right about that.

There’s little reason to trust politicians in Sacramento to spend the public’s money responsibly. Proposition 69 at the very least offers some degree of restraint on what the Legislature does with SB1 money.

While we’d prefer the Legislature was full of fiscally responsible individuals who would never mislead the public, would always make the most prudent decisions and would stick to their word, we don’t have that Legislature. And in cases like this, the marginal benefits of having some restrictions on how SB1 money is used, to ensure the money is being used toward transportation purposes, is often the best we can hope for.

Ultimately, while we have reservations about the measure’s raising of the Gann Limit by hundreds of millions of dollars according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, given the amount of revenues SB1 is dealing with, it’s important to have some degree of certainty that that money will go toward its intended purposes.

On balance, we suggest voting yes on Proposition 69.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1099 — May 16, 2018

The joys of introducing bills is that you will invariably have opposition. That comes with the territory. But, when you do a bill to protect innocent residents with their First Amendment rights, who wish to attend a Ben Shapiro lecture, you don’t anticipate being attacked from an organization that is trying to defend Second Amendment rights. Especially when you reached out to them in drafting your bill.

If the opposition is legitimate, I try to make the necessary amendments, which we are attempting to do. But, when the attacks are fabricated and used to create a stir in order to generate contributions under a false pretense, then that crosses a line that most will be offended by. It’s a classic cheap shot.

In case anyone actually believed the ad hominem attacks against me by this coalition, let me remind you that I have voted consistently to protect every Californian’s right to defend themselves by any means necessary. I have consistently received “A” ratings by any relevant gun group, including the Firearms Policy Coalition. I was recently the Vice Chair for the Outdoor Sporting Caucus and sponsored several shooting and gun safety events here in and near the Capitol.

If these credentials are not persuasive enough, my parents and their immediate families faced the Nazis in the Netherlands during World War II and were threatened with their lives. I don’t need to be lectured on what happens when a government disarms its people. I am doing no such thing with my bill. I

I’m only trying to protect those who want to exercise their First Amendment rights to peaceably assemble. This should not be a reason to defame my character just so this group can raise money off of their malicious attacks.

Outrage over this tactic has occurred and even a long-time Capitol reporter was not amused. The reaction appears in the Flashreport and is provided below.

By way of background, SB 1099 was a result of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the subject of hate speech on California’s campuses. My reaction to the testimony was that I want people to have their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble (see https://moorlach.cssrc.us/content/senate-bill-1099-right-peaceably-assemble). They should not be physically harmed by left-wing rioters like Antifa.

California’s Constitution provides the same guarantees in Article I, Section 3. (a):

“The people have the right to instruct their representatives, petition government for redress of grievances, and assemble freely to consult for the common good.”

Ben Shapiro was in attendance for that entire October hearing and provided his two-minute testimony at its conclusion (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Showmanship Let Down — October 7, 2017). I guess no good deed goes unpunished. SB 1099 was approved by the Senate Public Safety Committee and is now in Senate Appropriations.

Katy Grimes

Fundraising Stunt by Firearms Coalition Attacks Pro-2A

Senator

Posted by Katy Grimes

http://www.flashreport.org/blog/2018/05/16/fundraising-stunt-by-firearms-coalition-attacks-pro-2a-senator/

California Republican Senator John Moorlach has authored a bill to protect people attending peaceful rallies and public events by prohibiting thugs at these events from carrying weapons of all kinds.

Sen. John Moorlach

However, in what appears to be a fundraising stunt, the California Firearms Policy Coalition claims Sen. Moorlach“is attacking your Second Amendment rights.”

The Need for SB 1099

“Antifa,” which promotes anarchy and communism, and disingenuously defines itself as “Anti-fascist activists,” is the most active, violent fascist group in America currently.

Antifa mobilized across the United States during President Trump’s election, and over Conservative speakers on college campuses. They have justified their use of violence as needed to combat perceived “authoritarianism.”

While most rational Americans identify Antifa as the real fascists, we watched in horror as Antifa protesters hurled glass bottles and bricks at police officers at a march in Portland, Oregon in 2017. They attacked peaceful protesters at a “No to Marxism in America” rally in Berkeley, CA, with 2×4 boards, pepper spray, and beat people with homemade shields that read “No Hate,” CNBC reported.

There were violent clashes at University of California, Berkeley, where conservative writer and speaker Ben Shapiro was scheduled to speak.

Yvette Felarca, the national organizer of By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), an Antifa group, has been arrested and charged with assault by means of force likely to inflict great bodily injury, a felony, and participating in a riot, and inciting a riot. Felarca was even ordered to pay $10,000 in attorney’s fees and $1,100 in court fees, over her failed attempt to get a permanent restraining order against the former president of the Berkeley College Republicans, Troy Worden.

These violent protests by Antifa, where their thug members brandished weapons, violate the First Amendment rights of citizens to peaceably assemble. Antifa has made it clear they want to kill Conservatives, and scare the hell out of peaceable protestors. In fact, Antifa’s manifesto openly rejects free speech and defends assassinations.

Born out of these violent protests is Senate Bill 1099, authored by Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa. SB 1099 would prohibit a person attending or participating in a demonstration or protest from carrying or possessing firearms, baseball bats, rocks, or lengths of wood or lumber exceeding specified dimensions, among other things. The crime would occur only after a person, who has been warned, refuses to dispose of the item or leave.

Moorlach said the United States Constitution declares that we not only have the right to free speech, but that we have the right to peaceably assemble. These rights are jeopardized when violent protesters overtake peaceful assemblies. People should have the right to a public assembly without the fear of being physically assaulted.

Yet the Firearms Policy Coalition interpreted SB 1099 this way:

“SB 1099, which was authored by state Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), would not just ban carrying a concealed firearm at rallies though. It would effectively ban being in possession of anything that could be used for self-defense while you are exercising your First Amendment rights.”

And they posted this meme on Twitter:

The Firearms Policy Coalition cannot possibly be a serious defender of the Second Amendment if they ignore the First Amendment, which promises “the right of the people peaceably to assemble…”

“I am used to being attacked from liberals, and usually from union reps,” Sen. John Moorlach said during an interview. “I was a tough negotiator. But I’m not used to it from a group I’ve gotten the highest rating on each year.” Moorlach also receives an “A” grade from Gun Owners of California.

Students attending a rally at U.C. Berkeley have a reasonable expectation that it will not be violent. American citizens who attend political candidate rallies have a reasonable expectation that they will not have to defend themselves from violent thugs.

But then came Antifa and Black Lives Matter. Yvette Felarca and her violent minions protested Milo Yiannopolous’ appearance at UC Berkeley and directly confronted pro-Trump protesters on March 4 and April 15 in rallies in Civic Center Park that turned violent. At many Trump rallies in California supporters were viciously attacked and injured by Antifa and BLM masked thugs. Arrests were made.

Why This Bill?

Twisting the meaning of SB 1099 and claiming it is anti-Second Amendment is farcical. Moorlach has made it clear that the goal of the bill is to protect people’s right to protest and attend rallies – without black-masked thugs hitting them in the head with lead pipes.

Sen. Moorlach explained how the Los Angeles City Council recently passed an ordinance restricting various items from being carried during a protest, ranging from metal pipes to tear gas, including heavy lumber capable of being weaponized. He said SB 1099 just mirrors this policy by implementing the same restrictions statewide. Los Angeles worked closely with their police department on these restrictions, and has taken the lead on protecting freedom of assembly.

Ben Shapiro speaking in the Senate Judiciary Committee

“On its website, the Firearms Policy Coalition claims SB 1099 “Prohibits CCW Permit Holders from Carrying at Rallies or Protests.” However, Sen. Moorlach and his staff said they invited the FPC to be involved in drafting amendments to the bill in order to fine tune the bill’s language to their liking. Instead of FPC engaging in a good faith process to mollify their concerns, FPC’s letter of strong opposition stated that there were no amendments that would satisfy them or result in a support position. How was Senator Moorlach supposed to work with that intransigent position? Should he surrender to their every unreasonable demand?”

Craig DeLuz is Director of Legislative and Public Affairs for the Firearms Policy Coalition, and a former Capitol staffer. He’s rock solid on gun owner’s rights, which is why this reaction is perplexing. Moorlach is not doing a gun grab. There are plenty of places where people are not allowed carrying a concealed weapon: Professional sports stadiums, airports, courthouses, hospitals, schools and government buildings.

Knowing the legislative process well, DeLuz could have easily drafted acceptable amendments. Instead, after only one committee hearing, DeLuz and his team began a attack campaign referring to Moorlack as a George Soros puppet. Soros funds many gun control initiatives.

The FPC claims SB 1099 “would bar CCW-holders from carrying a firearm at public rallies in California.” However, Moorlach said he and his staff told DeLuz they were open to amendments since they used the same language of the LA City Council’s ordinance, including addressing CCW permit holders.

But instead, the FPC came out swinging, even though DeLuz and his staff are well-acquainted with the bill and committee process.

“How do you build a coalition?” asked Moorlach, based on the FPC response and unwillingness to work together on the bill. And now, how can the Firearms Policy Coalition ask for Moorlach’s vote on any pro-gun bill after this grandstanding?

Has the FPC ever done a meme like the one of Moorlach on any other lawmaker, or are they just aligning their sights on Moorlach to raise funds?

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MOORLACH UPDATE — May Revision — May 14, 2018

Governor Brown announced his May Revision last Friday morning.

Low and behold, between Proposition 55 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 32 and Propositions — September 18, 2016) and the gas tax increase last year (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Not Amused — April 17, 2017andMOORLACH UPDATE — Do You Recall? — July 10, 2017), he has more than $8 billion in excess of the previously forecasted revenues. Now, there is a peculiar problem to have.

In one recent e-mail exchange with a friend, I lamented the perspectives on the state’s finances.

“California is like one of those 3-D photos which shows a different scene depending on the angle at which you are viewing the photo.

“Gov. Jerry Brown sees a surplus.

“Sen. Moorlach sees massive deficits.

“Gov. Brown looks at receipts.

“I look at balance sheets.

“And I see future generations grappling with major priority decisions thrust on them by this generation.

“Watching train wrecks in slow motion is getting a little old for me.”

So, I’m piping in with some ideas. They are in the FlashReport, which is the first piece below.

With this one-time money, let’s address one-time opportunities. Let’s not build the base, thus requiring ongoing funding in the years ahead.

In recent UPDATE editions you’ve heard me address homelessness, mental health services, electric power lines causing wildfires (that have wiped out greenhouse gas reduction goals by multiples), massive unfunded pension liabilities, upside-down unrestricted net positions at all levels of government, educational system fiscal hemorrhaging at all levels, and water storage mismanagement. So, Governor Brown, thanks for making a token stab at a few of these, but more can be done.

As I sit on the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, including its Subcommittee 1 on Education, and last year on the Budget Conference Committee, which may occur again this year, the next four weeks will keep me very, very busy on what is now a $300 billion annual budget!

As additional funding for the homeless and mentally ill is provided in the May Revision, the second piece provides an opportunity to catch up on this topic in Orange County. I have mentioned that these concerns are on the radar screen with the Governor’s office, in the interview referred to by the Voice of OC below. The piece provides a wonderful biography of Federal Judge David O. Carter, whom I have known for more than two decades and have the utmost of respect for. And, my comments were made with that admiration in mind.

Gov. Brown’s May Revise Shows

No Need for Gas Tax Increase

By John Moorlach

http://www.flashreport.org/blog/2018/05/13/gov-browns-may-revise-shows-no-need-for-gas-tax-increase/

The first takeaway from Gov. Jerry Brown’s May Revision of his budget for 2018-19 is that California didn’t need that $5.5 billion yearly gas-tax increase the Legislature passed last year. The proposal shows we have $8 billion in revenues in excess of projections.

In one area I persistently agree with Governor Brown, “Despite strong fiscal health in the short term, the risks to the long-term health of the state budget continue to mount.” Unfortunately, according to the governor’s budget revision, we have $291 billion in long-term costs and the legislature has done little to fix the state’s fundamental problems.

In his budget announcement and press conference, Brown emphasized the volatility of tax revenues, especially capital gains-tax revenues, shown in this chart:

And he emphasized we’re overdue for a recession. Of course, he didn’t mention it has been President Trump’s economic policies – tax cuts and regulation reform – that have lifted the national economy above the sub-par performance of the Obama administration.

“How you ride the tiger is what we now face,” he said. “It’s going up, but when it goes down, a lot of these programs will be cut. Life is very giddy at the peaks.” No doubt, he is right. But he also ignored most of the reasons for this volatility even as he pointed out the Rainy Day fund will be filled at $13 billion, though he estimated that an impending economic storm would require resources closer to $60 billion. That’s a budget hole expected in the next recession, which could be $30 billion a year for two years. In such a scenario, the Rainy Day Fund would provide just 22 percent of that potential revenue shortage.

I see a much bigger danger. Taxes are so high in this state. To survive the next recession, companies will flee to states with much lower taxes. Because of the state’s punishing taxes, including then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s $13 billion tax increase in 2009, our state’s economy crashed hard. Unemployment soared to double-digits and was exceeded only by the rates in Michigan and Nevada. It may happen again.

The period of rising revenues we’re now enjoying should be used to reduce our already committed liabilities and the overall tax burden.

Of course, having increased taxes last year – not just the gas tax, but the cap-and-trade tax Brown pushed through, estimated at $2.2 billion a year – Brown wasn’t about to suggest cutting taxes. It will be up to the voters to repeal the gas tax this November.

Given that the rising tax revenues won’t be returned to the taxpayers who worked so hard to earn them, the governor at least is proposing spending the money on some true needs. I have worked up a list of options, below, of 15 one-time spending recommendations that should be prioritized. But first let me recognize three of Brown’s proposals that have some overlap to my suggestions:

· $2 billion for infrastructure: “The proposal will target these funds to the universities, courts, state facilities and flood control. Investments are also proposed for high-priority capital expenditures.”

· $359 million for homelessness. His proposal notes more funding will begin to flow “from a bond and a fee on real estate transactions” passed last year – another tax that I opposed and don’t believe we need. This money would be a “bridge” until these funds are spent.

· $312 million for mental health “for enhanced early detection of mental health problems and the education of mental health professionals.” The budget proposal also would put the $2 billion “No Place Like Home” initiative funding on the ballot “to accelerate the delivery of housing projects to serve the mentally ill.”

My proposals include prefunding the $2 billion for No Place Like Home, which will be paid back with the bond proceeds.

I’d also like to help out cities and counties with their pensions by injecting several billion dollars directed to their unfunded liabilities in lieu of taxpayer rebates. In his press conference, Brown unfortunately answered, when that question was raised, “A lot of cities signed up for pensions they can’t afford. The state can’t step into the shoes of the cities and counties. They’re going to have to handle that.”

Again, he’s largely right. And he’s actually putting his legal resources and political chits behind the overturning of the so-called “California Rule,” which ratchets up pension costs with no ability for governments to correct costs at the front end, leading them to fiscal ruin at the back end.

Because of that, we’ve got cities and counties laying off police and fire simply because their pension costs are so high. And the cities and counties can’t raise their tax base more than 2 cents on the sales tax. Current leaders in our cities and counties weren’t the ones who spiked pensions decades ago, but the California Legislature made it really easy.

Sacramento is renowned for taking funds from cities and counties during recessions. Giving something back to them would be a noble thing to do.

The state also has a backlog of rape kits. Not only is that unfair to the victims, but after catching the Golden State Killer, how many more predators could we catch and prosecute?

We also need to harden power lines across the state. If this state wants to emphasize electric cars, we’re going to be sending a whole lot more electricity around, which means more wildfires unless the power lines are put underground.

Compared to his January proposal, the governor’s May Revise only tinkered with education funding. But we could use more funding for career technical education. A lot of kids don’t want to go to college, but could have successful careers in the trades or other vocations. They should be afforded the training opportunities just as much as those we send to our elite institutions.

Finally, this budget largely is a stopgap getting the governor beyond his tenure in office. He said he wanted to leave it in good shape for his successor. But so much more needs to be done, especially in improving the state’s harsh anti-business fiscal policies, shoring up pensions, fixing long-neglected infrastructure and reducing the housing and homelessness crises.

Below is a list of my 15 policy proposals for spending the $8 billion in excess revenues. It is largely in priority order. And if the state wins the litigation for the No Place Like Home bond dollars, or it is approved by the voters on the ballot in November, then that money could be cycled into any of the remaining priorities.

Priority Description Amount

1 No Place Like Home Prefunding of approved bonding $2,000,000,000

2 Provide funding to 482 cities to be appropriated to

their pension liabilities $482,000,000

3 Provide funding to 58 counties to be appropriated to

their pension liabilities $580,000,000

4 Provide matching funds for city pension liabilities $964,000,000

5 Provide matching funds for county pension liabilities $1,160,000,000

6 Fully fund bringing current the Rape Kit testing backlog $12,500,000

7 Fund Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS) gun

holder backlog $12,500,000

8 Hardening of electric power lines around state $1,168,000,000

9 Oroville Dam state water project conveyance levee

repairs $100,000,000

10 Temperance Flat construction $250,000,000

11 Refund the Fire Tax $471,000,000

12 Continue Career Technical Education Funding at prior

level $200,000,000

13 Renters’ Tax Credit increase $300,000,000

14 Opioid treatment and prevention task force $100,000,000

15 Water Tax off-set $200,000,000

$8,000,000,000

HOUSING & HOMELESSNESS

Federal Judge in Homeless Case Keeps Everyone Running

By Thy Vo

https://voiceofoc.org/2018/05/federal-judge-in-homeless-case-keeps-everyone-running/

Just before dawn on a dewy February morning, U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter led a march of county workers, elected officials, lawyers and reporters through the county’s largest homeless encampment, a village of tents and makeshift shelters for more than 500 people along the Santa Ana Riverbed.

Unsatisfied with secondhand information about living conditions at the riverbed, the 74-year-old Carter, dressed in jeans and a blue sweater bearing the federal court’s seal, went to see for himself, talking to dozens of homeless people, picking up trash and recruiting volunteers.

If judges are normally weary of media attention, Carter embraced the pack of reporters trailing him along the river trail, saying the exposure would raise public consciousness about homelessness and spur people to “do the good thing.”

“We get it up there, and get it to boil,” the federal court judge said.

It was not Carter’s first visit to a homeless encampment, and it wasn’t his last.

Over the last few months, Carter, a Marine combat veteran who was seriously wounded during the Vietnam War, has demanded public officials run to catch up with “decades of neglect” on homelessness.

Under his pressure, county officials worked around the clock for a week to dismantle the riverbed encampment and relocate more than 700 people to emergency shelters and motels. Before officials could take another breath, he demanded they act on a second major encampment at the Santa Ana Civic Center.

Throughout the process, Carter visited shelters and encampments unannounced in the early morning, to get an unsupervised glimpse of how people were faring. He once visited the riverbed at 4:30 a.m. to check on a homeless couple he had met the previous evening, saying he could not sleep and had come to see of the couple was okay.

Now he wants city officials in south Orange County to find locations for new emergency shelters, or possibly face suspension of the anti-camping and anti-loitering laws that cities have used to police the presence of homeless people in public spaces.

“I was literally begged by one of your (county) supervisors to take a breath and slow down,” Carter said at a court hearing in early April. “No. Absolutely not.”

Some public officials were unwilling to go on the record criticizing Carter, while others who have been at odds with the judge didn’t return calls for comment. But his actions in the homelessness case have garnered plenty of controversy, including private accusations of judicial activism and that he is legislating from the bench.

Earlier this month, State Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) told television journalist Rick Reiff the judge is taking public officials to task on what they are doing to directly help the homeless.

“I just hope that he has an end game that works out well for everybody,” Moorlach said. “but it’s certainly rattling the cages of every single council member in Orange County.”

Combat Veteran

If the judge has surprised county politicians, for those who know Carter, he’s exactly in character.

“He gets down in the trenches. That’s the way he was in Vietnam, and in our platoon,” said former Marine Sgt. Al Anderson, who served as Carter’s platoon sergeant in Vietnam and remains a close friend.

The judge has been a fixture in the Orange County legal community from his time as a senior deputy district attorney in the late 1970s to his later appointments to the state Superior Court and federal bench.

Often described in articles and by those who know him as the hardest-working judge in Orange County, Carter is known to open his courtroom as early as 7 a.m. and work late into the evening, on weekends and holidays. Combined with his athleticism, younger attorneys often struggle to keep up with Carter.

A former college track athlete, as a deputy district attorney Carter would run 23 miles from the courthouse in Santa Ana to his home in Laguna Beach once a week, unless he was engaged in a major trial. He later ran the Boston Marathon in 2 hours and 36 minutes, and still exercises rigorously.

Carter declined to speak with Voice of OC for this story, citing a desire to stay out of the media until the end of litigation over homelessness.

Former state Assemblyman Tom Umberg, a Democrat living in Santa Ana who is currently a private attorney, said he has worked with Carter for years as part of the Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan, a project of the State Department to provide support to the Afghan legal community.

Umberg recalled an appointment he made with Carter, about 15 years ago, to go running in Newport Beach.

“He just pulled up, got out of the car, and started running. I had to catch up with him,” Umberg said. “That’s emblematic of how he does things. He said ‘hi’ once I caught up to him.”

Carter was born in Providence, Rhode Island and raised by his grandfather after his father abandoned him at age four. His grandfather, a court bailiff, had a fourth grade education and worked in coal mines before joining the Army at sixteen, Carter told Orange County Lawyer magazine last year. He fought in the Philippines and achieved the rank of captain.

Carter also would go on to the join the military, joining the Marines after graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a 4.0 grade point average.

He arrived in Central Vietnam as a 24-year-old lieutenant on Christmas Eve 1967, just before the start of the Tet Offensive, and immediately sought out Anderson, who was acting platoon commander. The two went back to Anderson’s bunker and talked for three and a half hours.

Anderson had already been in Vietnam for six months and their battalion, 1st Battalion, 9th Regiment, known as the “One Nine” had seen heavy combat. “You have to read people quick,” said Anderson.

“We were both sizing one another up. Can I trust this person?” Anderson said. “And the end result of that conversation was, ‘yeah, I can trust you with my life and I can trust you with the life of our platoon’.”

Most of Carter’s four months in Vietnam were spent in combat. The One Nine has the grim nickname “The Walking Dead” because of its reputation for high casualties and seeing heavy combat.

Carter’s experience lived up to that expectation. On April 16, 1968, outnumbered by North Vietnamese soldiers at Khe Sanh, 38 men from Carter’s platoon went up a hill, and only 8 came down. Carter was seriously wounded: a grenade blew off his lip, sniper fire shattered his arm in multiple places, and his face and teeth were injured.

He continued to fight for hours despite his injuries, but at the end of the battle, Carter was so seriously hurt he was mistaken for dead and put in a body bag.

Carter later received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his actions at Khe Sanh, and spent nine months recovering at a hospital in Guam. It was while recovering that he decided to become a lawyer, telling Orange County Lawyer magazine last year that he struggled with “survivor’s guilt.”

War changes many people, Anderson said, but many of the qualities he saw in Carter that first night in his bunker, he still sees today.

“He’s down to earth, very intelligent, but not presumptuous,” said Anderson. “I never want to hurt another person in my life. And he’s the same way.”

A Respected Jurist

After Vietnam, Carter went back to UCLA and received his law degree. He joined the Orange County District Attorney’s office in 1972, where he rose to Senior Deputy District Attorney in charge of homicide. Carter prosecuted the serial killer William Bonin, known as the “freeway killer,” who later became the first person executed in California by lethal injection.

In 1982, Carter was appointed a Superior Court judge by Gov. Jerry Brown, where he earned the nickname “King David.” He was known for pushing rehabilitative and educational alternatives to jail time for juvenile offenders, before it became a norm. He also created a tattoo removal program for gang members to encourage people to find jobs and transition back to society.

In 1986, while still a judge, Carter was recruited by the Democratic Party to run for the 38th Congressional District seat against first term Republican incumbent Robert Dornan.

If ambitious, highly motivated and driven, Carter was “raw,” said George Urch, Carter’s campaign manager at the time.

In addition to traditional campaign staples like direct mail, Carter’s strategy included “walking like crazy” across the district and standing on street corners and street medians during rush hour with a “Carter for Congress” sign, talking to voters.

“I kept trying to say, ‘that’s great, but most of those people aren’t registered voters and Democrats’,” Urch said.

If Carter had his way, his campaign would be run “with a Xerox copier and 18 pairs of sneakers,” Mike Houlihan, another campaign staffer, told the Los Angeles Times in 1986.

Carter ended up losing the primary to another Democrat and fellow former Marine, six-term state Assemblyman Richard Robinson, and returned to the state bench.

In 1998, President Bill Clinton nominated Carter to the federal bench, an appointment that was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate in 1999.

As a federal court judge, Carter has tackled some of the biggest cases to come to the Central District Court.

He presided over the longest trial in the history of the Central District, which involved the prosecution of more than 40 alleged Mexican Mafia members. The next year, Carter became involved in the indictment of more than 40 members of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang.

Carter presided over a massive $500 million intellectual property battle between MGA Entertainment and Mattel over the rights to Bratz dolls. And in 2009, he dismissed a lawsuit brought by Laguna Niguel attorney Orly Taitz, which challenged then-President Barack Obama’s election based on claims that Obama is not a natural born citizen.

“He had to control a court room and multiple attorneys in cases fraught with legal challenges and high emotions,” U.S. District Judge Jeffrey T. Miller said of the Aryan Brotherhood and Mexican Mafia cases. “He can do that. And his work ethic is legendary.”

At 74, many remark Carter appears to run as hard as he always has.

“He’s a Marine who has been temporarily reassigned as a judge,” said Umberg.

In addition to dealing with heavy caseloads in his own courtroom, Carter has spent significant time doing humanitarian work overseas. His wife, Mary Ellen Carter, who he met during his congressional campaign, runs a nonprofit supporting schools in Malawi out of their Laguna Beach home.

Kate Corrigan, a criminal defense attorney who frequently appears before Carter, alters her diet to prepare for trials in his courtroom, limiting her caffeine intake and consuming “slow burn” foods.

“If you’re going to practice in his courtroom, you’ve got to have stamina, know what you’re talking about, and you’ve got to be ready, because he will not tolerate laziness, not knowing your case, and not doing the best you can,” Corrigan said. “He causes everyone in the courtroom to really elevate their level of practice.”

Carter’s style has generated some controversy.

In the 1980s, Carter began duct-taping the mouths of unruly defendants in his courtroom for spitting at court staff and shouting profanities, preferring to silence defendants rather than disrupt the proceedings. The American Civil Liberties Union reported Carter to the Commission on Judicial Performance, although he said he would continue the practice.

During the recent litigation on homelessness, Carter met privately with elected officials and power brokers, without attorneys on the case present; threatened cities with a Department of Justice investigation into the practice of dumping homeless people city-to-city; and held long court hearings where mayors and city officials from across the county were invited (his court staff took attendance to take note of who did not show up).

Moorlach said on a local television program earlier this month that he has been assisting Carter with “strategies in Sacramento.”

“(Carter) approached me and said, ‘I cannot call you, but you can call me.’ So I did,” Moorlach told Reiff.

Although at times effusive of the county’s efforts to clean up the riverbed, Carter could also be short-tempered, at one point angrily reprimanding the county’s lead attorney.

Corrigan believes Carter’s critics just aren’t used to a judge who does things differently.

“I’ve been on the podium examining a witness at 1:35 a.m. Was that a long day? Yeah, but it enabled the court to get all the information,” Corrigan said. “So I think people are quick to criticize when people don’t do things the way they see other judges do it.”

She points to early morning probation conferences where Carter descends from the bench and talks face-to-face with her clients.

“He makes them feel part of the community and takes an interest in getting them back into the community. If they’re messing up, he’ll sanction them,” Corrigan said. “When you have someone who comes out of a gang, to have a judge take the time to ask them how they’re doing, how are things – it’s a different type of relationship that develops.”

Carter was the same way with the young men in his platoon, said Anderson.

“That’s a real precarious place you’re putting yourself into as a combat leader, because you’re getting down on a very personal level with men that, tomorrow, you’re going to send into harm’s way, and through not of your own, some of them are not going to come back,” said Anderson. “It’s an emotional risk that you willingly engage in. Not all combat leaders do that, and that is part of who Judge Carter is.”

Corrigan believes Carter’s personal approach has made a difference in the lives of many of her clients.

“He becomes their champion,” she said.

Contact Thy Vo at tvo or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — UC, CCC and CSU — May 11, 2018

This week we are seeing increasing tensions facing municipalities and their finances. Employees want raises. Customers do not want price increases. Funders do not want to pony up more. And, retirees want their promised pension and health care benefits paid for.

With four decades of Democratic control of the state’s Legislature, we’ve seen the public employee unions involved in who is elected to serve in Sacramento and on school boards. Keeping pension plan contributions artificially low, paying for retiree medical on a pay-as-you-go-basis, and giving raises that only worsen the situation, public employee unions have finally painted themselves into the proverbial corner.

My editorial below provides a review of this Gordian knot. Something is going to snap and our Democrat-controlled state needs to be put on notice. They have allowed this tension to build and they now have to provide the leadership to fix it. Not an easy task, but a necessary one. It’s the first piece below in Fox & Hounds.

The second piece below is my next set of rankings, this time for the 72 California Community College Districts. It is not a pretty picture. Only one district has a positive unrestricted net position (UNP). Fortunately, it is partially in my 37th Senatorial District. Coast finds itself in 49th place and Rancho Santiago in 52nd. The population numbers, whose total falls far short of the state’s total population, were provided by the California Community College Chancellor’s office. (Population is used to be consistent with the previous UNP calculations for California’s cities and counties and for the 50 states.)

If you’re asking how the California State University system is doing, here’s the most recent update:

CSUF

The third piece below is from the Agoura Acorn. It shows that my ranking of the 482 cities is being noticed (see MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings, Vol. 10 — February 27, 2018). City managers and their staff members, city council members and the voters all need to work together to develop strategic financial plans to bring their balance sheets back to a healthy position. Those that have been good stewards deserve the right to give themselves a pat on the back.

UC Strikers Don’t See Full Budget Picture

Senator John Moorlach

By Senator John MoorlachCalifornia State Senate, 37th District

http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2018/05/uc-strikers-dont-see-full-budget-picture/

I get the impression the University of California workers who went on strike May 7 don’t know the half of the financial problems of which the UC system suffers.

According to the Los Angeles Times, more than 20,000 members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees “walked off their jobs,” including “custodians, gardeners, cooks, truck drivers, lab technicians and nurse aides.”

Among other things, the union is demanding “a multiyear contract with annual pay raises of 6 percent, no increase in healthcare premiums and continued full pension benefits at the retirement age of 60.” UC countered with 3 percent annual raises for four years, raising the retirement age “to 65 for new employees who choose a pension instead of a 401(k) plan” and $25 a month in increased health-care premiums.

The AFSCME strikers were joined Tuesday by 14,000 members of the California Nurses Association and 15,000 members of the University Professional & Technical Employees, such as pharmacists and physical therapists. That forced the rescheduling of “more than 12,000 surgeries, cancer treatments and appointments.”

I guess the Hippocratic Oath’s pledge to “First, do no harm,” isn’t so important these days. And because this is a government-run system, the strike may be a strong warning against single-payer and other proposed socialized medicine schemes. In the private sector, if one part goes on strike, you can turn to another part. But when government goes on strike, you’re stuck, perhaps even getting a date with the Grim Reaper.

One worker was quoted lamenting “her pay increases over two decades at UCLA have not kept up with rising rent.” Of course, that’s a complaint almost all California renters could make because the Legislature and recent governors have refused to adequately address the causes for the state’s low housing supply. Blame also goes to AFSCME and the other public employee unions who keep financing the campaigns of legislators who refuse to solve the state’s pressing problems, while doing the unions’ bidding on pay and other issues.

But the UC strikers do have a point that the system’s finances are not in good shape. Let me add a few more concerns to their litany of problems.

First, according to Gov. Jerry Brown’s January budget proposal, p.13, UC system retirement liabilities amount to $10.9 billion for pensions and $19.3 billion for health care – $30.2 billion total.

Second, from the UC system’s 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, p. 36, the unrestricted net deficit is $19.3 billion. The U.C. system is upside down by nearly $20 billion! If the retiree health liability were added, it would double the deficit. Such is the joy of making financial promises that come due in the future.

UC

Third, the Democratic-controlled state Legislature continues to reduce state funding of the UC system. Their fiscal priority is endorsed by Gov. Brown.

Fourth, as the Los Angeles Times reported in 2015, the UC system now employs more administrators than professors: “The number of those making at least $500,000 annually grew by 14percent in the last year, to 445, and the system’s administrative ranks have swelled by 60 percent over the last decade – far outpacing tenure-track faculty.” As of that year, the system employed 10,539 administrators to 8,899 profs. Does anyone think a private-sector company could survive with more executives than production workers?

Tragically, these same administrators refuse to provide a 10-year strategic financial plan to provide a road map out of their fiscal morass.

And just a year ago, an audit by State Auditor Elaine M. Howle revealed severe financial mismanagement by UC President Janet Napolitano, including, “The Office of the President accumulated more than $175 million in restricted and discretionary reserves that it failed to disclose to the regents and created undisclosed budgets to spend those reserve funds.”

Fifth, this combined financial mismanagement obviously has increased tuition. Although an increase was avoided this year, the current resident tuition is $11,502, compared to just $2,896 in 1998. That’s a 297 percent increase in 20 years. By contrast, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ CPI Inflation Calculator clocks overall price increases during that time at just 116 percent. Put another way, UC tuition increased at almost three times the inflation rate.

There are numerous tensions impacting the UC System. A defined-benefit pension plan prevents pay raises, as does the inability to constantly raise tuition. The solution resides with the state’s Democratic governor and Legislature.

More than 40 years of Democratic control have created this Gordian knot and something will snap soon. Perhaps the unions should realize the mess they have helped create. And voters should do the same.

Rank District 2017 UNP 2017 District Population UNP/Capita
1 South Orange County $83,186,942 591,081 $141
2 Kern ($24,407,524) 591,485 ($41)
3 Mt. San Jacinto ($26,107,605) 544,193 ($48)
4 Sequoias ($13,622,739) 244,680 ($56)
5 Desert ($17,593,173) 244,129 ($72)
6 Los Rios ($76,956,775) 1,066,090 ($72)
7 San Bernardino ($29,946,195) 410,908 ($73)
8 Ventura County ($44,212,297) 553,353 ($80)
9 Shasta-Tehama-Trinity ($13,609,307) 158,904 ($86)
10 West Valley-Mission ($26,429,039) 300,850 ($88)
11 Chaffey ($53,344,187) 577,460 ($92)
12 Cerritos ($30,754,067) 290,202 ($106)
13 Victor Valley ($27,866,128) 255,654 ($109)
14 Cabrillo ($22,178,332) 185,651 ($119)
15 Butte-Glenn ($18,021,028) 149,555 ($120)
16 Rio Hondo ($37,805,930) 275,269 ($137)
17 Los Angeles ($483,001,473) 3,516,075 ($137)
18 Citrus ($24,465,271) 156,851 ($156)
19 Redwoods ($19,426,746) 119,869 ($162)
20 Palo Verde ($4,982,085) 30,583 ($163)
21 Yuba ($32,731,256) 198,605 ($165)
22 North Orange County ($101,654,778) 613,254 ($166)
23 San Jose-Evergreen ($94,503,997) 570,010 ($166)
24 Yosemite ($72,601,400) 409,138 ($177)
25 Barstow ($7,254,139) 40,791 ($178)
26 Riverside ($115,288,064) 634,884 ($182)
27 Antelope Valley ($52,236,343) 285,288 ($183)
28 Compton ($37,540,755) 191,948 ($196)
29 Allan Hancock ($34,520,699) 173,456 ($199)
30 Gavilan ($26,249,179) 131,744 ($199)
31 Ohlone ($25,438,032) 126,416 ($201)
32 Palomar ($109,819,309) 541,005 ($203)
33 San Joaquin Delta ($101,561,796) 487,504 ($208)
34 Merced ($37,259,056) 173,666 ($215)
35 State Center ($141,966,881) 645,766 ($220)
36 San Luis Obispo ($40,940,406) 185,523 ($221)
37 MiraCosta ($56,291,181) 247,913 ($227)
38 Solano ($63,570,452) 273,023 ($233)
39 Hartnell ($43,854,554) 179,635 ($244)
40 Pasadena Area ($69,427,565) 277,299 ($250)
41 West Kern ($6,071,531) 22,683 ($268)
42 Southwestern ($90,271,831) 332,316 ($272)
43 El Camino ($101,465,752) 369,572 ($275)
44 Long Beach ($93,604,840) 325,308 ($288)
45 Lassen ($6,107,439) 21,120 ($289)
46 Grossmon-Cuyamaca ($89,372,170) 293,073 ($305)
47 San Diego ($222,094,823) 723,674 ($307)
48 Sonoma County ($97,778,136) 303,347 ($322)
49 Coast ($139,706,512) 422,996 ($330)
50 Sierra ($103,762,259) 313,362 ($331)
51 Monterey Peninsula ($24,769,062) 74,557 ($332)
52 Rancho Santiago ($139,721,315) 415,059 ($337)
53 Contra Costa ($245,641,680) 693,578 ($354)
54 Mt. San Antonio ($176,761,054) 494,640 ($357)
55 Chabot-Las Positas ($162,672,527) 441,568 ($368)
56 Mendocino-Lake ($20,538,136) 55,212 ($372)
57 West Hills ($29,555,264) 77,171 ($383)
58 Peralta ($172,624,829) 437,756 ($394)
59 Siskiyou ($10,275,967) 25,912 ($397)
60 Copper Mountain ($11,863,625) 29,148 ($407)
61 Santa Clarita ($78,336,304) 187,346 ($418)
62 San Francisco ($258,346,230) 615,052 ($420)
63 Feather River ($6,127,000) 13,007 ($471)
64 Lake Tahoe ($9,506,898) 18,932 ($502)
65 Napa Valley ($43,111,304) 80,940 ($533)
66 Foothill-DeAnza ($151,968,279) 274,388 ($554)
67 Glendale ($83,827,497) 144,078 ($582)
68 Santa Barbara ($62,002,814) 105,264 ($589)
69 Imperial ($77,844,770) 116,261 ($670)
70 San Mateo ($322,508,565) 426,976 ($755)
71 Marin ($132,234,453) 165,703 ($798)
72 Santa Monica ($180,429,059) 75,457 ($2,391)

Goals set for Agoura

By Stephanie Bertholdo, — sbertholdo

https://www.theacorn.com/articles/goals-set-for-agoura/

Council members, managers and personnel from all departments of the City of Agoura Hills met last week to outline achievements reached this past year and upcoming goals.

The city took a broader look at goals for the first time, discussing projects, budgets and priorities for two years instead of one.

City Manager Greg Ramirez kicked off the meeting with news that Agoura Hills ranked 35 out of 482 cities for “fiscal soundness” in a study commissioned by state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa).

The two-year budget review demonstrated the Agoura’s fiscal focus. Ramirez said the city’s budget is projected to be balanced this year and next.

Two new hotels are planned for Agoura Hills, which will add more revenue to the city’s coffers. The general fund revenue, Ramirez said, is on the uptick; Expenses are going up also, but slightly less so.

Several people attended the meeting to praise officials for contributing city funds to help pave Fairview Place, a private road in Old Agoura. A group of neighbors in the area chipped in money to repair the road, but they didn’t have enough funds to complete the project.

Ramiro Adeva, director of public works, said the midsection of the rural road off Fairview Place and Chesebro Road was in bad shape. While cities generally won’t spend public money on private projects, he said, there was a public benefit in helping with the project. Fairview Place provides an emergency exit out of Old Agoura. If a mass evacuation was needed, the road could have damaged cars, slowed traffic and created a dangerous situation for residents and first responders.

Adeva said Fairview Place is also used as part of the route for the annual Great Race 10K. Keeping runners safe is an additional public benefit, he said.

The city paid for about 300 feet of pavement for the road. The cost was estimated at $50,000, which was included in the overlay budget.

Old Agoura resident George Colman thanked the city for the help.

“It wasn’t in our ability to fund (completely),” he said.

Mayor Bill Koehler said the newly paved road would be beneficial on many fronts. Dan Halprin, an Old Agoura resident who organized the road improvement with his neighbors, was thanked by the council.

Other goals discussed at the meeting included the construction of Old Agoura Bridge, which, when completed, will provide a walkway connection to Old Agoura Park. The crosswalk will be moved and a prefabricated bridge will be installed, Adeva said.

The project will cost about $186,000 and will be paid for through community development grants. Construction will begin in May and June, and the project is estimated to be completed by July.

Water quality was also discussed. New laws will require the city to pay for a water treatment plant and a low-flow diversion project. Stormwater that flows down the Lindero Creek channel will be pretreated, and large debris like branches and rocks will be removed before the water lands at the treatment plant, Adeva said. Phase two, he said, will see the transformation of the concrete channel into a natural wetland area.

Adeva said the treatment plant-wetland area will offer an educational component to science classes offered in Las Virgenes Unified School District. The cost for the projects is estimated at $10.6 million, and half of the cost will come from a matching grant program.

Landscape beautification of Reyes Adobe Road is underway. Adeva said the project is now under state review, and bids will open by July. The project will include the planting of 60 new oak trees.

Adeva said private property owners have agreed to allow the city to removed diseased oleander trees from their properties; also, recycled water will be used on properties that face a main arterial road.

A new park is being planned for the city. Agoura Village Park, now in the concept phase of planning, will be built over a flood channel on Cornell Road. Pedestrian and bike trails are planned for the area, and equestrian use will be maintained via the Zuma trail.

The project, Adeva said, will benefit the city in many ways: water quality will be improved, and the park will add beauty to the area.

Surrounding businesses, he said, have agreed to partner with the city on the project, which, when completed, will offer educational opportunities as well as community activities.

Other projects discussed at the meeting included the remodeling of park restrooms throughout the city and the addition of charging stations for electric vehicles at the Agoura Hills Recreation and Event Center.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Inside OC, Part 2 — May 7, 2018

On April 13th, I taped a 30-minute interview with Rick Reiff, this year’s recipient of the lifetime achievement award by the Orange County Press Club, for Inside OC (MOORLACH UPDATE — The Joys of Presenting Bills — April 24, 2018). He found that we had plenty more to discuss, so we kept the cameras rolling and the informal jam session provided enough material for a second show.

To watch the second half, click on the first link below. To skip the show, but get the gist, Rick Reiff’s column in the Voice of OC is the second piece below.

BONUS: My folks, Kent and Rita Moorlach, will be moving to Colorado to be closer to my sister. Their four children will be hosting a farewell reception for them on Sunday, May 20th, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Buena Park. If you know my folks and would like to attend, please contact Aly Henderson, my District Scheduler, for the details at 714-662-6050 or aly.henderson.

The difficult issue of homelessness: State Sen. John Moorlach rips Supervisor Todd Spitzer, reaches out to Gov. Brown, gives qualified support to Judge Carter. And he explains why he’s not running for governor.

OPINION

Reiff: Moorlach Rips Spitzer, Assesses Judge Carter, Considered Governor Run

By Rick Reiff

https://voiceofoc.org/2018/05/reiff-moorlach-rips-spitzer-assesses-judge-carter-considered-governor-run/

State Senator John Moorlach says Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer is playing politics with the homeless issue in order to boost his campaign for district attorney.

“I think some people are really good at seeing the pitch forks and saying, ‘I’ve got to get in front of that parade,’” Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, said on the “Inside OC with Rick Reiff” public affairs program. “And I think Supervisor Spitzer did that quite well with the El Toro airport, probably learned a lot from that strategy.

“And he finds himself in a race against an incumbent. Incumbents win 90 percent of the time. And I think he’s maybe manipulating a lot of people for his own personal benefit and I don’t find that amusing.”

Moorlach, who previously served on the board of supervisors with Spitzer, echoed the criticism of other supervisors over Spitzer’s recent appearances at city council meetings in Costa Mesa, Laguna Niguel and Irvine. Spitzer sided with residents opposed to a since-rescinded county plan to put homeless shelters in those communities and labeled homeless people as sex offenders and drug addicts.

Moorlach accused Spitzer of cajoling the other supervisors into backing the homeless-shelter proposal and then opposing it himself: “He feigned that … he was going to be a real leader and he just turned out to be a manipulator, in my opinion.”

Moorlach has long worked on homelessness and mental health issues. He said he’s helping federal Judge David O. Carter in his efforts to address the county’s homeless problem.

“He approached me and said, ‘I cannot call you, but you can call me.’ So I did,” Moorlach said. “And I have been trying to assist him in strategies in Sacramento.”

Moorlach gave qualified support to Carter’s efforts: “He’s being referred to affectionately as Rambo. He’s a Vietnam vet, he’s just an incredible individual and doing a good job as a federal judge … What he’s trying to do is grab the tiger by the tail and really say, ‘We’ve got to start doing things now.’

“He’s been real good about trying that. I just hope that he has an end game that works out well for everybody, but it’s certainly rattling the cages of every single council member in Orange County and he’s taking the mayors and city managers to task to say, ‘Hey, what are you doing, where are you going to put them, what’s your respective share?”

Moorlach said he is working on a legislative proposal to free up state money for construction of housing for the mentally ill and working with state lawmakers and the city of Costa Mesa on the possible use of the Fairview Developmental Center to provide emergency services for the mentally ill homeless.

Moorlach said he has also reached out to Gov. Jerry Brown, telling him, “Jerry, excuse me, Governor, what can we do in your last few months, from a legacy perspective, to make Orange County be a model for the rest of the state?”

He said the governor’s office has been “very focused” on the homeless issue “so I’m looking for some solutions there, too.”

Moorlach said he was unlikely to endorse either of the Republicans running for governor in the June 6 primary – fellow OC lawmaker Travis Allen or San Diego businessman John Cox – because there’s no reason to upset one of them when he thinks Democrats will win both spots in the “top two” primary.

He lamented that, “One of those two should have stepped down and then we would have had a Republican in the top two and in November we would have had a fun time as a party.”

Moorlach said he also considered running for governor: “I had plenty of people asking me to, so yeah, I did think about it.”

He said he decided not to run because, “I don’t think I could have convinced John Cox and Travis Allen to step down, so then it’s a mess. If the path isn’t there, what’s the point?”

The interview is airing this week on PBS SoCal and Cox (show times

. It is the second of a two-part discussion. In the first part, which aired last month, Moorlach discussed his analysis of balance sheets for all 482 California cities and other government entities – he found most are in or headed for the red. That interview is also on YouTube.

Opinions expressed in editorials belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.

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MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Vote No on Proposition 68 — May 5, 2018

The June Primary is on the horizon, only a month away. This period of time is affectionately referred to as "silly season." Consequently, even though I am not on the ballot this year, I am still pulled into various races and, this year, ballot measures. Therefore, I note my e-mails as "MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE" for you to know that the content for those with this label are politically oriented.

Many ask me for my ballot recommendations every cycle. For the June Primary it can be found at MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — June Primary Antics — April 28, 2018.

For the U.S. Senate race, the pundits believe the two names that will appear on the November ballot are that of the incumbent, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and State Senator Kevin de Leon. The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board engaged Senator de Leon in a lengthy interview where he mentions me. It can be read and/or listened to at http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/commentary/sd-utbg-kevin-de-leon-interview-20180504-story.html. As the segment where I am mentioned discusses SB 1206, I may provide that snippet in a future UPDATE (see MOORLACH UPDATE — OC Housing Trust — May 1, 2018).

Proposition 68 is another bond measure and today’s subject. It was Senator Kevin de Leon who asked me to write the ballot argument in opposition (see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Proposition 68 — March 23, 2018).

I decided to provide the largest unrestricted net deficits for the states, based on the information I had at the time. I also provided the updated per capita unrestricted net positions recently (see MOORLACH UPDATE — 2017 State Per Capita UNPs — April 2, 2018).

But, to make things more visual, here is the history of California’s unrestricted net position over the past nearly two decades:

Governor Wilson left a nice "surplus," the last real "surplus" this state has seen. The state jumped into the red in 2002, under Gov. Gray Davis, who was recalled in 2003, largely for mismanaging the state’s finances through the energy crisis and pension spiking. Then the unrestricted net position kept getting worse under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, as he endured the Great Recession with little success. He also abandoned pension reform efforts. Yet today he tediously keeps lecturing other Republicans about “moderation,” even as we try to clean up the mess he left behind.

With the requirement that unfunded pension liabilities be added to municipality balance sheets, California experienced another big jump in 2015. With the unfunded retiree medical, which will be added to municipality balance sheets next year, California is upside down by a quarter trillion dollars!

The last thing the Golden State needs is another debt. It should be focused on reducing its liabilities, not increasing them.

Our state is number one in another wrong category: unrestricted net position. How does it compare? Here are the 50 states in numerical order, from worst to best audited balance sheets:

Rank State UNP (Thousands) Year of CAFR
1 California $(169,499,683) 2017
2 Illinois $(161,239,415) 2017
3 New Jersey $(148,863,714) 2017
4 Massachusetts $ (63,992,915) 2017
5 Connecticut $ (52,826,131) 2017
6 New York $ (45,599,000) 2017
7 Kentucky $ (40,157,358) 2017
8 Maryland $ (27,010,946) 2017
9 Texas $ (25,170,339) 2017
10 Pennsylvania $ (21,275,848) 2017
11 Florida $ (12,401,193) 2017
12 Louisiana $ (11,949,852) 2017
13 Ohio $ (10,571,925) 2017
14 Michigan $ (9,848,197) 2017
15 Wisconsin $ (8,361,432) 2017
16 Colorado $ (8,359,538) 2017
17 Hawaii $ (7,996,567) 2017
18 Alabama $ (7,578,278) 2016
19 Mississippi $ (6,058,425) 2017
20 Missouri $ (5,787,207) 2017
21 Virginia $ (5,344,284) 2017
22 Arizona $ (5,341,848) 2017
23 Indiana $ (5,319,406) 2017
24 Georgia $ (5,210,957) 2017
25 Minnesota $ (5,029,153) 2017
26 Rhose Island $ (4,581,514) 2017
27 West Virginia $ (4,455,964) 2017
28 Delaware $ (3,622,572) 2017
29 South Carolina $ (3,497,642) 2017
30 Washington $ (3,376,575) 2017
31 Kansas $ (3,205,914) 2017
32 Oregon $ (2,482,259) 2017
33 Vermont $ (2,263,168) 2017
34 Arkansas $ (2,160,882) 2017
35 Maine $ (1,885,023) 2017
36 New Hampshire $ (1,683,141) 2017
37 Nevada $ (1,580,030) 2017
38 Iowa $ (999,603) 2017
39 Montana $ (971,795) 2017
40 New Mexico $ (326,978) 2016
41 South Dakota $ 267,296 2017
42 Nebraska $ 550,525 2017
43 Utah $ 819,880 2017
44 Idaho $ 1,146,468 2017
45 Oklahoma $ 1,484,206 2017
46 North Carolina $ 1,822,821 2017
47 Tennessee $ 2,736,079 2017
48 Wyoming $ 4,518,976 2017
49 North Dakota $ 5,989,501 2017
50 Alaska $ 14,558,125 2017

You know I’m singing off the right song sheet when the LA Times Editorial Board has a support position for Proposition 68.

The Associated Press has published an article on this subject and it is the first piece below, found in The Seattle Times and The Modesto Bee.

The publisher of the Orange County Breeze provides her endorsement for a "no" vote on this measure in the second piece below.

I am fully aware that bond measures pass nearly 90 percent of the time in this state. The majority of voters live with a credit card mentality. I also understand that California’s population continues to grow, so future residents can share in the repayment efforts.

But, the truth be told, internal growth is slowing down and this state is experiencing a net out migration of its residents to other states. If growth is stabilizing, then Sacramento is making a huge mistake with the issuance of more debt. Bondholders are never stiffed, so currently budgeted programs will be contracted and/or taxes will be raised should the economy level out or decline.

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Ballot measure aims to preserve Salton Sea, help air quality

By SOPHIA BOLLAG

The Associated Press

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/ballot-measure-aims-to-preserve-salton-sea-help-air-quality/

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A project to protect Californians who live near the Salton Sea from deteriorating air quality could sink or swim based on the outcome of a June ballot measure.

Proposition 68 would allow the state to borrow $4 billion through bonds to fund parks and environmental protection projects, including $200 million for a plan to preserve the rapidly shrinking Salton Sea.

California’s largest lake has been evaporating since San Diego’s regional water agency stopped sending it water this year. Falling water levels increase the lake’s salinity and expose thousands of acres of dusty lakebed, which wind sweeps into nearby farming communities. The dust worsens air quality in the Imperial Valley, where childhood asthma rates are already among the highest in the state.

“It is an environmental time bomb that is ticking,” said state Sen. Kevin de Leon, who authored the bill to place the measure on the ballot. “This is a down payment to begin the process of restoring and revitalizing the Salton Sea.”

The measure would also fund parks in underserved parts of the state and projects to protect against flooding and to clean up water supplies. There are four other propositions on the June 5 primary ballot, including state constitutional amendments about how to spend money from the state’s recent gas tax increase and cap-and-trade fees.

Flooding created the Salton Sea after the Colorado breached a dike in 1905. It sits about 150 miles (240 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles. It is home to hundreds of bird species including pelicans and cormorants, but rising salinity and pollution have depleted populations of fish and the birds that eat them.

The conservation project would build ponds and channels or pipelines around the edges of the lake to control dust and create bird habitats. The project’s first phase has $80 million of the roughly $410 million needed.

The $200 million from the bond measure “would be a healthy additional dose of funding to build these projects and the benefits could be quite large,” said Pacific Institute researcher Michael Cohen, who studies the Salton Sea.

Proposition 68 would authorize general obligation bonds, which must be repaid with interest over time.

State Sen. John Moorlach said the state shouldn’t add more bond debt.

“There is already too much debt on the books in California,” said Moorlach, a Costa Mesa Republican. “A bond means that a tax is coming.”

The state currently spends a little less than 5 percent of its general operating budget on debt. The Legislative Analyst’s Office predicts that if Proposition 68 passes, annual spending on debt could remain below 5 percent through 2025.

Proponents argue the state isn’t overly burdened with debt and that Proposition 68 would fund vital projects.

The ballot measure would also provide $725 million to build parks in underserved neighborhoods. A similar bond measure in 2006 also promised to build parks, but more than a decade later about a fifth of those parks still aren’t finished.

Twenty-eight neighborhood park projects funded by the 2006 measure remain in progress, two of which are still in the planning phase, according to data from the California Natural Resources Agency.

De Leon, a Los Angeles Democrat, said he hopes the lessons learned from implementing the 2006 bond measure will ensure parks are built more efficiently if Proposition 68 passes.

“We want to make sure that the dollars go out the door sooner rather than later because our children can’t wait longer to have access to Mother Nature, nor should they,” de Leon said. “I have great confidence that that will happen.”

June 5, 2018 primary election: Proposition 68

Shelley Henderson SHELLEY HENDERSON

http://www.oc-breeze.com/2018/04/29/120587_june-5-2018-primary-election-proposition-68/

Proposition 68 was put on the ballot by the California State Legislature — meaning that the State Legislators didn’t feel like doing their job, or were scared to do their job. That’s a black mark against it.

It began its life as SB 5, sponsored by Kevin De León. He represents the 24th State Senate District and served as the State Senate President pro tempore from Oct. 15, 2014, to Mar. 21, 2018. He is currently running to unseat Dianne Feinstein as one of two Congressional Senators. Feinstein is currently California’s senior United States Senator. Our junior senator is Kamala Harris, who refused to defend Proposition 8 at the Supreme Court when she was California’s Attorney General.

Proposition 68’s official summary:

Authorizes $4 billion in general obligation bonds for: parks, natural resources protection, climate adaptation, water quality and supply, and flood protection. Fiscal Impact: Increased state bond repayment costs averaging $200 million annually over 40 years. Local government savings for natural resources-related projects, likely averaging several tens of millions of dollars annually over the next few decades.

All you need to know about general obligation bonds is that they represent another form of taxation — a prolonged and exquisite torture over forty years to repay them!

If Californians want to spend money on parks, natural resources protection, climate adaptation, water quality and supply, and flood protection — all fine common goods to spend the common treasury on — the spending should appear as current expenses in the budget that the governor and legislature cooperatively craft each year.

I see that I have good company in opposing Proposition 68. California State Senator John Moorlach continues to be a solitary voice, crying in the wilderness, against spending what ya ain’t got. Go, Big John! (Senator Moorlach is about two feet taller than I am.)

I will vote no on this.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Quiet Bills, And Not So Quiet — May 3, 2018

Senate Bill 688 is one of my quiet mental health related bills (see https://moorlach.cssrc.us/content/senate-bill-688-mhsa-transparency).

It’s very simple in that it will require counties to follow generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for their Mental Health Services Act reports and provide the data on the counties’ websites. The Voice of OC mentions it in the piece below.

Another quiet bill is SB 1363 (see https://moorlach.cssrc.us/content/senate-bill-1363-national-alliance-mental-illness-california-voluntary-tax-contribution-fund and MOORLACH UPDATE — Right to Peaceably Assemble — April 13, 2018).

However, there are bills that some of my colleagues write that are not quiet at all. For instance, AB 2943 by Assemblyman Evan Low is causing my phones to ring off the hook. I strongly oppose this bill and I’m not amused that a good segment of my constituency is upset by its introduction. If you’re one of them, and you’re making calls to Legislators, you can skip my office, please.

HOUSING & HOMELESSNESS

Anaheim, Buena Park and Fullerton Team Up to Battle Homelessness

By Spencer Custodio

https://voiceofoc.org/2018/05/anaheim-buena-park-and-fullerton-team-up-to-battle-homelessness/

The mayors, city managers and police chiefs of Anaheim, Buena Park and Fullerton met with U.S. District Judge David O. Carter Tuesday morning about creating a plan to combat homelessness that would be a “model” for the rest of the county.

“He (Carter) realized we had done more (than other cities) and encouraged us to join together to see if we couldn’t do a special project to create a model,” Fullerton Mayor Doug Chaffee said during the City Council meeting.

“He (Carter) also acknowledged that south county doesn’t do its share — he said that very strongly,” Chaffee said from the dais.

Carter is overseeing two federal lawsuits against the county. One lawsuit was filed in January on behalf of the Santa Ana Riverbed homeless population after the county moved to evict the people without providing a place for them to go. The cities of Orange, Anaheim and Costa Mesa also are named in that lawsuit.

The second lawsuit, filed in February on behalf of the disabled homeless, alleges the county excludes disabled people from county services, according to the lawyers.

In an attempt to get all Orange County cities under Carter’s jurisdiction, the Santa Ana City Council unanimously voted April 24 to sue the other 33 cities.

Throughout the court hearings over the past three months, Carter has repeatedly said he wants South County cities to “step up” and contribute their “fair share” to the homeless population.

“I appreciate what Judge Carter’s doing. He’s asked that our three cities … report back about mid-June,” Chaffee said.

Chaffee said, in a quick interview after the council meeting, Fullerton, Buena Park and Anaheim are looking for a site for some type of shelter, but it’s still too early to give specifics.

“We’re looking for a site,” Chafee said. “We need a site, then a plan, then ask for the money (from the county) … Without a site, we can’t have a plan.”

He said it would operate somewhat like the Bridges at Kraemer Place homeless shelter in Anaheim. Fullerton helps fund the site at $500,000 a year. Homeless people have to be screened for outstanding warrants and referred to get into Kraemer’s 24-hour shelter. Sex offenders aren’t allowed.

“I think if we could get him a model project, that’s our goal … It would be somewhat like Bridges,” but without the restrictive background checks, Chaffee said.

Chaffee this year is a candidate for the Orange County Board of Supervisors seat now held by Shawn Nelson, who is a candidate for Congress.

The City Council also authorized staff to review city ordinances about homelessness and bring back suggested changes to the council. According to the agenda staff report, some city codes are outdated and need revision, like one that limits churches to house only 12 people per night in emergency beds.

“Part of the direction to staff is that we work with the plan. Part of that (plan) is collaborating with our other cities, Anaheim and Buena Park,” Chaffee said.

Councilwoman Jennifer Fitzgerald directed staff to come up with a plan to hire more personnel, along with a budget, and show it to the county in an attempt to get the plan funded.

“I would like to see our staff put together a plan for additional police officers and mental health professionals that also includes a budget with it that we take to the county to get funded,” Fitzgerald said during the meeting.

Council members also liked the Orange County housing authority proposal from the Association of California Cities — Orange County (ACCOC) and supported the association’s proposed 2,700 homes with support like mental and health services for homeless people, known as “permanent supportive housing.”

“That is not just a pie in the sky plan,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m the president of that organization this year. We have committed to working with the county — all 34 cities.”

Chaffee voiced support for the trust plan, but was wary of south county’s efforts.

“I would support the suggestion that we consider the countywide housing trust … I don’t know how we get all the cities in there, it may be more regional,” Chaffee said. “I’m concerned about south county not doing their share. Do we include them in the trust? Then it’s just one more thing for them to screw around with — pardon me.”

Carter, during the April 4 court hearing, called on south county mayors to take their “proportional” share of the homeless population and the mayors agreed to find a homeless shelter site at the April 19 meeting of south county mayors.

At the meeting, the mayors proposed a remote site near Silverado Canyon on Santiago Road, next to a library and a preschool. Public pushback followed immediately and the idea was shot down by a unanimous vote of the Board of Supervisors April 24.

Homeless services manager Rebecca Leifkes said homelessness in Fullerton increased 54 percent in the past five years and the city is now home to 496 homeless people. Police calls about homelessness have also increased from 2,125 in 2012 to 6,749 calls last year, she said.

Leifkes also said Fullerton has 1,508 affordable housing units for “low, extremely low and very low” income earners, which are defined as 30 to 60 percent of the area’s median income, according to the staff report.

Under the ACCOC plan, Leifkes said Fullerton would need 120 permanent supportive housing units in order to help spread the responsibility around the cities in the county.

Additionally, Fullerton is home to the National Guard armory that holds at least 200 beds and typically operates as an overnight homeless shelter during winter months. But due to the riverbed and civic center clearouts, combined with the lack of shelter beds in the county, Gov. Jerry Brown extended the shelter use April 10 for another three months. The Santa Ana National Guard armory shelter was also extended.

Council members also levied criticism at the county for its unspent Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) money.

A Voice of OC review of county funds in March found at least $230 million of unspent funding that could be used to help alleviate homelessness. Of that amount, $186 million is MHSA funds and another $73 million to $136 million in “unassigned” general fund money

“I just want to be sure that we keep asking and looking for that funding,” Councilman Jesus Silva said. “I want to make sure we get to the bottom of where (the MHSA money is).”

Fitzgerald said the county doesn’t do enough to keep track of the MHSA money.

“The county has 200 programs right now that they fund through that funding … but there’s no comprehensive audit of those funds,” Fitzgerald said.

The council also supported four different state Senate and Assembly bills centered around homelessness and mental health. Three of the bills garnered unanimous support from the council.

Councilman Bruce Whitaker didn’t support Senate Bill 1045, which is a pilot program for San Francisco and Los Angeles Counties that would create a process for appointing a conservator for someone who is chronically homeless and can’t take care of themselves. He said it was too broad and could be abused.

Additionally, Assembly Bill 1971 increases the definition of “gravely disabled” to mean people who can’t provide for themselves and pose a danger because they failed to receive mental or medical health services. Under the proposed bill, introduced in January, people who are “gravely disabled’ could be involuntarily held for up to 6 months if they continue to be prove an immediate danger to themselves or others.

The other two bills relate to funding, including one from Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) which would require all counties report their MHSA funds online, including revenues and expenditures.

“$200 million of that seems to have gone to Orange County and it’s sitting somewhere in a bank account,” Chaffee said during the meeting.

Spencer Custodio is a Voice of OC reporter who covers south Orange County and Fullerton. You can reach him at scustodio.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — OC Housing Trust — May 1, 2018

Things have temporarily quieted down on the homelessness front, so allow me to provide an update on my recent efforts in the Senate.

I am a joint-author for SB 1004 (Weiner) and assisted in presenting the bill two weeks ago before the Senate Health Committee (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Right to Peaceably Assemble — April 13, 2018). This bill will provide Mental Health Services Act (Proposition 63) funding for early prevention and intervention for children with a mental illness. This is an appropriate focus for this revenue source. For a first-hand opportunity to see how critical this niche is, please ask to visit the pediatric ward for psychiatric services (see https://www.choc.org/programs-services/mental-health/). You will be amazed.

I am also the joint-author of SB 1206 (De Leon), which I also presented to the Senate Health Committee last week (see MOORLACH UPDATE — The Joys of Presenting Bills — April 24, 2018). This is the “No Place Like Home” ballot measure that we hope to place on the November ballot. Obtaining funds by borrowing against a reliable revenue source will provide funding for permanent housing with support services for mentally ill homeless individuals.

My concern for the homeless population continues. The most recent discussion that is developing in Orange County is the effort to organize the 34 cities and the County in establishing a Housing Trust to build 2,700 housing units throughout the County for homeless individuals that will blend in and provide necessary supportive services. Norberto Santana, Jr., Editor of the Voice of OC, provides his perspective in the first piece below.

The second piece is from the Orange County Breeze and provides a perspective on the Sanctuary State topic. The Orange County Breeze serves the Cypress/Los Alamitos area and this issue has become a major subject of concern.

It was well past midnight on the last day of the 2017 Session, when SB 54, the Sanctuary State bill, came up for a vote. I thought this bill encapsulated that entire year. The whining, the showmanship and the caustic rhetoric was pervasive. So SB 54 was probably the perfect capstone for last year. Consequently, I stood up and shared my brief thoughts (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQZqhzCTYMk).

Could OC Use a Regional Housing Agency?

Jamboree Housing Corp.

A Jamboree Housing Corp. development in Anaheim, known as Diamond Apartment Homes, which has permanent housing and mental health services for formerly homeless people. Representatives of the OC cities’ association and Orange County United Way cited it as an example of the type of housing that would be built under the 2,700 units plan.

By Norberto Santana, Jr.

https://voiceofoc.org/2018/05/santana-could-oc-use-a-regional-housing-agency/

Orange County business and civic leaders are smart to push for the creation of a new regional housing construction agency that can actually build affordable and permanent-supportive housing across our region.

Continuing to wait on the Orange County Board of Supervisors to come up with effective regional governing policies for critical quality of life challenges like homelessness and housing is proving to be a dangerous gamble.

The explosion of homeless encampments – alongside the Santa Ana riverbed, near Angels’ Stadium and at the county civic center – is a stark testament to county supervisors’ ignoring the issue, year after year.

County supervisors’ hasty eviction effort for riverbed homeless earlier this year landed them in federal court and has since left all Orange County cities under threat of having their anti-camping ordinances invalidated by U.S. District Judge David O. Carter.

In addition, their inability to get affordable or permanent supportive housing projects built across Orange County in recent years also has many questioning whether the County of Orange should be the lead agency on any future housing effort.

Given how poorly county supervisors have performed on homelessness, I think there’s only one way that Orange County ends up supporting an affordable housing bond.

Get the money out of the hands of politicians.

That’s why it seems to me that these smart business and civic leaders are moving now to see if they can craft state legislation to create some sort of regional housing construction agency.

We will have to work hard as a community to ensure that any kind of regional housing agency in Orange County is very, very transparent – in real time – to ensure that funds don’t get squandered. That means ensuring authorizing legislation sets that kind of standard and administrators that create that kind of culture.

Now, there was some hope that supervisors might create a housing commission to manage a regional vision and strategy on housing construction.

That never materialized.

According to several sources I interviewed, an interesting model to look at is the City of San Diego Housing Commission – which provides rental assistance, addresses homelessness and creates affordable housing.

In Orange County, there are two sites – already in public ownership and with appropriate zoning – that would be gems in a regional housing strategy.

There’s the 100-acre county-owned property in Irvine near the Great Park that is already in a SB2 zone, which allows fast development for homeless shelters. Note that early land use plans for the Navy transfer of the former El Toro Marine Air base centered heavily around homelessness.

There’s another 100-acre property in Costa Mesa, the Fairview Developmental Center, which has been zoned institutional for 50 years and has already been used as a setting for mental health treatment. Fairview is currently owned by the state and State Senator John Moorlach – for years, the lone advocate on homelessness on the board of supervisors – has introduced legislation advocating the transfer of Fairview to local public ownership.

Both properties could easily see development plans and projects created that are consistent with community standards and would quickly create a solid regional system to combat homelessness.

An Orange County Affordable Housing Construction Authority could mirror the model utilized at the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) where board members are a mix of county supervisors and city officials.

Except, I would issue the challenge to organizers to include more private sector people and non-politicians on the board of directors as opposed to the approach at OCTA or even worse the Orange County Fire Authority, which is such a big board of politicians that the agency doesn’t get good governance or direction.

Notice that earlier this month, when Orange County Supervisors were asked at their public meeting about the potential of supporting state bonds for housing construction, virtually none supported the effort.

In March, The Kennedy Commission called on supervisors to support an affordable housing bond for the Fall 2018 election.

“With local funds the County of Orange will be in a position to leverage significant federal and state resources to help address our current housing and homeless crisis,” wrote Kennedy Commission Executive Director Cesar Covarrubias. “With the 2017 Housing Package, the State of California is making a significant investment to address homelessness and provide affordable housing. But these state funds will only be available to counties that make similar investments to help leverage funding.”

Given everything the board of supervisors has been through on homelessness in court – exposing the utter weakness of the county system of care and permanent supportive housing – supervisors still don’t have a strategy or even an interest in finding resources to build relevant housing.

In fact, the only time during the county public discussion on housing that County Supervisor Michelle Steel even spoke up was to register her opposition to future state housing bonds. Supervisor Todd Spitzer publicly pulled up the bill setting up the statewide bond (SB2) on his phone and was critical.

Politicians politick. They can’t help it. It’s part of their DNA.

But it doesn’t get anything done.

And we should all wake up to that fact.

Recent poll shows majority of Californians support sanctuary for undocumented immigrants

By Shelley Henderson

http://www.oc-breeze.com/2018/04/30/120624_recent-poll-shows-majority-of-californians-support-sanctuary-for-undocumented-immigrants/

The results of a recent poll by the Institute of Government Studies at UC Berkeley show a strong division among California voters on the so-called sanctuary law, with 56% of respondents favoring sanctuary and 41% opposing (3% were undecided).

Faced with a poll like this, the first thing to seek out is how the questions were asked. Here is the text of the two questions:

Last year California passed a state law that provides sanctuary to undocumented immigrants living in the country and limits cooperation with federal immigration officials who are attempting to deport these immigrants. Generally speaking, do you favor or oppose this law?

Some cities in California have passed local laws that attempt to opt out their communities from the new state law. If local officials in your city were to propose to opt out your community from the state’s new law providing sanctuary for undocumented immigrants, would you favor or oppose it?

This targets the California Values Act (SB 54) and the ordinance enacted by the City of Los Alamitos that resulted in an ACLU lawsuit — without saying so right out loud.

The questions paint the scene so as to make federal authorities (read: the Trump Administration) as targeting all illegal immigrants. Practically speaking, ICE tried to pick up illegal aliens already in the custody of local authorities in order to deport them because, beyond the local legal trouble, they were in the country illegally and thereby subject to deportation.

To my knowledge, Los Alamitos is the only city to have passed an ordinance “to opt out” of the California Values Act. That ordinance actually states that the City views the federal Constitution as supreme over Sacramento puppeteers.

All other entities — cities plus at least two counties, Orange and San Diego — have voted to support the federal lawsuit, which actually calls out three different State laws:

SB 54 restricts how local law enforcement communicates with federal immigration authorities. AB 103 directs the California attorney general to inspect facilities where the federal government is detaining immigrants in the state. And AB 450 penalizes California employers who give Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents access to employee records or some areas of businesses without a warrant or subpoena.

In any case, I think that the poll would show different results with questions less sympathetic with the California Legislature’s sanctuary mania.

Further, seeing the circus after the City of Los Alamitos swore fealty to the United States Constitution, who would want their own city to open itself to political pumpkin-chucking and an ACLU lawsuit? Little Los Alamitos has maybe two-days of attorney fees accumulated in a GoFundMe appeal. The municipal budget won’t support prolonged litigation. It is inevitable, without outside help, that the tiny city (population 12,000) will have to concede the legal bullying, not on principle but for lack of funds.

Poll internals for the first question

The news release about the poll includs breakdowns for answers to the both question above.

Most interesting is that just about everybody has an opinion. The “I dunno” segment is tiny — a mere 3%.

Democrats wildly support the California Values Act. Republicans even more strongly oppose it. Those with no party preference lightly favor it, with a higher percentage of undecideds/don’t knows.

That big split was loudly displayed at the most recent Los Alamitos City Council meeting. Partisans on both sides deployed tactics to drown out the other side. Drums? Check! Megaphones? Check! Folk songs? Check! Amped band? Well… I think supporters of the sanctuary law outdid the opposition on this particular tactic.

Neither those in favor nor those opposed were addressing moderates in a way that might convince rather than bully or beat down. The poll shows that moderates mildly favor the California Values Act, 52% to 43%.

Poll internals for the second question

As with the first question, everybody has an opinion.

Of further interest is that those with no stated party affiliation break 42% to 50% in opposition to a local ordinance like that in Los Alamitos. That split carries the question into majority opposed territory — something Democrats alone couldn’t reach.

As you might expect, Democrats heavily oppose a local ordinance, 19% to 75%. Republicans even more heavily approve, 85% to 13%.

The mushy middle — political moderates — are evenly split.

And it is again coastal California against inland California: coastal counties heavily oppose (38% to 56%) and inland counties favor (53% to 42%). Orange County continues its historical anomalous identity among coastal counties.

Votes for SB 54

For the record, Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-72), and State Senators Janet Nguyen (R-34) and John Moorlach (R-37) voted against SB 54.

State Senator Josh Newman (D-29) and Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-65) voted in favor of SB 54.

Senator Newman faces a recall brought about because he (and Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva) voted in favor of increasing the state gas tax.

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