Sanctuaries Update: 1 Down, 305 to Go

 

One of Sheriff Mark Garber's first acts upon taking office in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, last month was to rescind the controversial and misguided sanctuary policy that had been implemented by his predecessor. The approximately 300 other jurisdictions around the country that have similar policies obstructing immigration enforcement would be wise to follow suit.

 

These policies are inconsistent with federal law, according to a new report by the Justice Department’s Inspector General (OIG), and could result in debarment from certain federal grants, claw backs of previously awarded funds, or other consequences, including prosecution. This report was requested by Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas), who chairs the House appropriations sub-committee in charge of the DOJ budget.

 

The OIG used a list of sanctuary jurisdictions published by the Center for Immigration Studies and determined which of those agencies had received the most funding from DOJ. Their policies were examined for compliance with 8 USC 1373, which states that state and local governments may not have policies, ordinances, or practices that "in any way" prohibit state or local officials from communicating or exchanging information with federal immigration agencies.

Among the OIG findings:

 

 

 

  • All of the 10 jurisdictions selected for the OIG investigation had sanctuary policies that were inconsistent with federal law. The jurisdictions were: the state of California; the state of Connecticut; Chicago; Clark County, Nev. (home of Las Vegas); Cook County, Ill. (which includes Chicago); Miami-Dade County, Fla.; Milwaukee County, Wisc.; Orleans Parish, La. (New Orleans); New York City; and Philadelphia.

     

  • These 10 jurisdictions received more than $342 million from DOJ, representing 63 percent of the total value of the active DOJ law enforcement funding at the time of the report.

     

  • In addition to the 10 sanctuaries that were investigated, the report identified several others with problematic policies: Newark, N.J.; Taos, N.M.; New Orleans; and San Francisco.

     

  • Common efforts by sanctuaries to evade the applicability of 8 USC 1373 with a "savings clause," for example by including language that says "except as provided under federal law" are not sufficient to be considered compliant with federal law and will not protect them from potential consequences of maintaining a sanctuary policy.

The OIG recommended four steps that DOJ could take to make sure that no federal funding is awarded to non-compliant jurisdictions: 1) tell jurisdictions that they are expected to comply with 8 USC 1373 as a condition for receiving DOJ funding; 2) require them to certify and document that they are compliant when they apply for funding; 3) consult with ICE about whether the jurisdictions are cooperating; and 4) ensure that jurisdictions inform their personnel that they are allowed to communicate and share information with ICE.

 

The application deadline for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program funds, in which the DOJ provides partial reimbursement for incarcerating criminal illegal aliens, was in April, 2016. DOJ has had language on its web site about the requirement to comply with 8 USC 1373, together with a warning of the consequences for non-compliance, which include criminal prosecution for a false statement.

 

ICE provided the OIG with an updated list of 155 jurisdictions that have a policy or law that limits or prohibits cooperation with ICE and that had rejected detainers between January 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015. According to a similar report published by the Texas Tribune covering a slightly different time period, there were 165 counties and 1,160 detention locations in the United States that had rejected detainers between January 2014 and September 2015.

In the near future, the Center will publish an updated map and list of sanctuary jurisdictions to reflect this new information.

 

 

 

 

 

The Lull of State Government Corruption, and Approval by the Legislature

Posted by Katy Grimes 

Part l of two parts

Corruption is the misuse of public or private power. Whether it is a state bureaucrat or a company CEO, corruption is the misuse of entrusted power for private gain.

 

During the gubernatorial debate last week, Democratic Gov., Jerry Brown chided Republican challenger Neal Kashkari for having worked at Goldman Sachs.

Brown should remember the old proverb, “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” There is likely far more malfeasance and graft in California state government than in the multinational investment banking firm; government bureaucrats are not elected, and accountable to no one, while Goldman Sachs is at least accountable to its shareholders and regulators.

I’ve written extensively about the well-documented state corruption at the Employment Development Department, State Parks Department, Fish and Game, Air Resources Board, Coastal Commission, CalFire, and this year, even in the State Senate.

Scandals and corruption appear to be standard operating procedure for government agency employees at the top. Why else would state lawmakers make it easier for unelected bureaucrats to pass laws and regulations?

As the Legislature’s session closed for the year last week, the Sacramento Bee published an op ed by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, “invoking the 2,000th anniversary of Roman dictator Caesar Augustus’ death and decrying the expanding powers of unelected bureaucrats and political appointees,” Sac Bee columnist Dan Walters wrote.

Gatto decried the massive number of regulations passed by Governor-appointed, unelected bureaucrats. “By appointing people to these executive agencies and by telling them what to do, a governor or president can broadly dictate the day-to-day affairs of millions of Americans with almost no outward signs of wielding that power,” Gatto wrote. “And if a legislature dares to try to override some regulation, the governor or president can simply veto the bill. This is a serious imbalance of power.”

While Gatto is right about how the governor can legislate without going through the Legislature, he voted last week for expansion of the power of the unelected Coastal Commission, and three groundwater regulatory bills – clearly a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

But Gatto is not alone – he’s just a vocal hypocrite. Outgoing Senate President Darrell Steinberg had a big hand in expanding unelected bureaucrats’ power.

- See more at: http://www.flashreport.org/blog/2014/09/08/the-lull-of-state-government-corruption-and-approval-by-the-legislature/#sthash.Cf2bigTf.dpuf

 

Part ll: State Government Corruption: Groundwater and Gun Control

Posted by Katy Grimes 

Corruption is the misuse of entrusted power for private gain. Malfeasance and graft thrives in California’s state government. The well-documented corruption at the Employment Development Department, State Parks Department, Fish and Game, Air Resources Board, Coastal Commission, CalFire, and this year, in the State Senate, seems to continue, with business-as-usual by the Legislature.

 

This is Part ll about the unelected bureaucrats on state boards and commissions passing laws, and the Legislature which appears to condone this. Part l covered:  1) the Coastal Commission, 2) Air Resources Board, and 3) Parks Department.  Part l is available here.

4) Groundwater monopoly

Despite California’s historical dry climate and conditions, this continues to be the number one state in farm and ranch production. California’s 80,500 farms and ranches received $42.6 billion for their output of milk, grapes, almonds, nursery plants, cattle and calves, strawberries, lettuce, walnuts, hay and tomatoes.

Even with drought conditions, the vast agricultural expanse of the Central Valley learned to use its water wisely, contrary to a great deal of misinformation. But according to the US Geological Survey, since 1980, the Central Valley’s population has nearly doubled to 3.8 million people.

In addition to difficult dry conditions, farmers have been cut off from water since 2010, thanks to a federal judge who chose to protect a non-indigenous fish, the Delta Smelt, over California’s agricultural food production in the Central Valley.

On August 30, the last day of the 2013-14 legislative session, in the wee hours of the morning, California lawmakers passed three bills to regulate groundwater. Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign the bills into law. The bills order local water agencies to create “groundwater sustainability plans,” to bring groundwater basins up to “sustainable levels” by 2040.

Included are hefty fines for violations.

“If signed by the governor, these bills would allow for the monopolization of California’s groundwater to the detriment of individual farmers, including farmers who have not created the overdraft problem yet may someday need groundwater to keep their crops alive,” California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger said.

The Legislature also passed a $7.5 billion water bond, which will be on the November ballot.

The groundwater bills were opposed by both Democrat and Republican lawmakers from the Central Valley. Supporters of groundwater regulations claim the Central Valley consumes twice as much groundwater as can be sustained.

- See more at: http://www.flashreport.org/blog/2014/09/09/part-ll-state-government-corruption-groundwater-and-gun-control/#sthash.ZHQ1O5yA.dpuf

 

 

Bullet-train foes seek state Supreme Court review

By JULIET WILLIAMS
Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Opponents of California's $68 billion high-speed rail project submitted an appeal Tuesday to the stateSupreme Court, asking it to overturn a lowercourt's ruling that allowed the project to proceed despite questions about whether it complies with promises made to voters.

Central Valley residents argue in their petition that the July 31 ruling by the appellate court undercuts 100 years of legal precedent requiring strict compliance with the intent of the voters in implementing a voter-approved bond measure.

Proposition 1A, approved by voters, promised that the state would identify funding for the first useable segment of the rail line and that it would have necessary environmental clearances done before starting construction.

The plaintiffs, Kings County and landowners in the Central Valley, successfully argued in Sacramento County Superior Court that the state failed on both counts, identifying only $6 billion of the estimated $26 billion needed for the first 130-mile segment, and failing to secure sufficient environmental approvals.

In rulings that prevented the sale of $8.6 billion in voter-approved bonds and created ongoing uncertainty about the project, the judge ordered the state to draft a new funding plan and seek more environmental clearances.


Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/09/02/6672950/bullet-train-foes-seek-state-supreme.html#mi_rss=Capitol%20and%20California#storylink=cpy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACA 8: A Direct Assault on Prop. 13

By Jon Coupal

For millions of California homeowners, Saturday was a day that will live in infamy. Without a single public hearing, the California Assembly passed Assembly Constitutional Amendment No. 8 (ACA 8), the most egregious attack on Prop. 13 ever to come out of the Legislature.

ACA 8 would repeal Prop. 13’s requirement that local “special taxes” (taxes intended for a specific purpose or purposes) be approved by a two-thirds vote. Instead, special taxes imposed for the repayment of local bonded indebtedness would be reduced to 55%. The ostensible justification for ACA 8 is to make it easier to finance local “infrastructure.”

There are several reasons why ACA 8 will inevitably inflict severe harm on California homeowners. First, while state bonds are repaid out of the state’s general fund -- into which most Californians contribute through income or sales taxes -- the same is not true for local bonds. Local bonds, usually referred to as “general obligation” bonds, are repaid exclusively by property owners. That means that voters who do not own property can vote to raise taxes on those who do.

Second, making it easier to pass local bonds will only add to California’s debt crisis. A recent study from the California Public Policy Center calculated total government debt in California as being $1.1 trillion. This figure dwarfs the $27.8 billion “wall of debt” Governor Brown himself has acknowledged as part of budgetary borrowing. Making it easier to incur local debt for “infrastructure financing” raises the obvious question: Does any sane person believe that California needs even more debt?

Third, while building local roads and libraries may be a worthy cause, the interests backing ACA 8 are hardly motivated by the goodness of their hearts. The usual cabal of unions, construction interests and the Wall Street bond industry all are chasing more tax dollars. The amount of money at stake -- your money -- is staggering. They care not a whit for the broader interests of California’s fiscal health or the interests of citizen taxpayers.

Is there any good news here? Yes. First, the passage of ACA 8 occurred in just one house of the Legislature. It must also pass in the Senate. There are a lot of reasons to believe that passage in the Senate is anything but automatic. The details of the politics here are too complex to go into at this time. But suffice it to say that liberal members of the California Senate might not be so quick to drink the anti-Prop. 13 KoolAid as did their colleagues in the Assembly.

Second, we are heartened by the fact that all Republican members of the California Assembly voted against repealing one of Prop. 13's most important protections. We say this as non-partisans as more than a third of HJTA’s members are registered Democrats. However, it has usually been the Republicans who have stood up to defend Prop. 13.

Just three weeks ago, my weekly column was entitled “Will Republican Legislators Betray Taxpayers?” While Republican support for homeowners can’t be taken for granted, on Saturday the Republicans in the Assembly forcefully defended Prop. 13 on the floor of that chamber. We couldn’t be more pleased for their courage for standing up to the special interests.

Finally, because Prop 13. defenders -- in this case, Republicans -- spoke as one voice, this forced Democrats who portray themselves as “moderates” to either stand up to their ultra-liberal leadership and vote “no” on ACA 8 or cave to the pressure of Speaker Perez and the special interests and vote “yes.” This time, the so-called “moderate” Democrats failed -- miserably. ACA 8 passed with zero votes to spare.

While passage of ACA 8 is a horrible insult and injury to homeowners, at least now we know who our friends are. Come election time, when some “moderate” Assembly Democrat tells you how much he or she represents citizen taxpayers and homeowners, you will now be armed with the truth. After all, legislative votes should have consequences. Especially, at the next election.

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association -- California's largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers' rights.

 

California Mirrors Nation’s “Hunger Games” Set-up

Posted by Leslie Eastman    Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 8:15am

Professor Glenn Reynolds likens Washington, D.C ., to the iconic Panem, capital city of “The Hunger Games“.

As the nation’s wealth becomes concentrated along the Potomac, it becomes easier to make the analogy:

America’s capital seems bubble-wrapped in its own vibrant economic boom, while great chunks of the nation struggle with uncertainty about how to keep the engine going.

In fact, six of the 10 wealthiest American counties are Washington suburbs.

Washington once was the manifest of power. Now you can add “center of wealth” to its portfolio, crystallizing the elite institutional disconnect between it and the rest of the country.

This set-up is duplicated in my home state of California, in which the bluest of the blue areas is getting greener – and not in the eco-friendly sense of the word, either:

Richer counties like Santa Clara, Marin, and San Mateo in the more affluent San Francisco Bay Area saw a decline in unemployment, to levels at or significantly below the national 7.7 percent rate, while Central Valley counties of Fresno, Tulare and others actually saw marked increases in their jobless numbers in November.

Unemployment in Stockton, currently in the midst of a municipal bankruptcy, stood at 17.1 percent last month.

More: http://legalinsurrection.com/2013/05/california-mirrors-nations-hunger-games-set-up/

 

Julian Bond backs IRS tea party targeting

By KEVIN ROBILLARD | 5/14/13 11:34 AM EDT

Civil rights icon Julian Bond defended the IRS for targeting tea party groups, on Tuesday, labeling them “the Taliban wing of American politics.”

“I think it’s entirely legitimate to look at the tea party,” Bond said on MSNBC. “Here are a group of people who are admittedly racist, who are overtly political, who’ve tried as best they can to harm President Obama in every way they can.”

Continue Reading

Bond was chairman of the NAACP in 2004, when the IRS opened an investigationinto their nonprofit status following the group’s convention, where Bond delivered a speech criticizing President George W. Bush, and the IRS alleged they passed out fliers opposing Bush’s reelection.

“I don’t think there are any parallels to what we’re seeing today,” he said. “Of course we were unfairly targeted.”

Bond said he hoped the tea party’s treatment wouldn’t lead to its reemergence as a political force.

“I hope they don’t get any more air,” Bond said. “They are the Taliban wing of American politics. We all ought to be a little worried about them.”

Host Thomas Roberts asked Bond if he thought that assessment was “a little harsh.”

“Not at all, not at all,” Bond said. “The truth may hurt, but it’s the truth.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/julian-bond-backs-irs-tea-party-targeting-91337.html

 


 

Dear Fellow Gun Owners,

 

Well, the Democrats have won yet another one!  On May 1, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 140 authored by Democrat Senator Mark Leno, which attempts to address the current Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS) backlog by using the surplus in the Dealer Record of Sale (DROS) fund that is collected by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to cover background checks.

 

Current law states that DROS fees, paid by gun buyers to a firearms dealer, are to be remitted immediately by the dealer to the DOJ to pay the cost of the background checks.  The law specifically states if a surplus in the fund results, due to an overage of fees paid by gun purchasers, the money is to be returned to gun purchasers in the form of a fee reduction.

Senator Mark Leno has other ideas.

 

Since 2004, when the DROS fee increased from $14 to $19, the reserve in the DROS Account has steadily increased and is now projected to grow to $12.7 million for 2013-14. To date, no one knows exactly how the funds have grown so large if the total $19.00 fee is necessary to fund background checks from start to finish. What is known is that despite what the law says, Senator Leno wants to use YOUR surplus fees to help DOJ establish more agents to address an unprecedented backlog of armed and dangerous persons, which DOJ complains have been impossible to pursue due to drastic budgetary cuts they received from -you guessed it -Democrats who now rule over every budget decision!   Are you angry yet?

 

SB 140 blatantly bypasses current law of returning surplus fees, by reallocating the surplus to cover the inefficiencies within the Department of Justice that Democrats created.

Using DROS fees for this purpose is essentially a tax upon a portion of California citizens (law abiding gun buyers), which is patently unfair.  Implementation of SB 140 incurs an enormous cost of approximately $25 million to hire and train new DOJ agents with no assurance that these new agent positions will end once the backlog of APPS no longer exists! 

 

Furthermore, this tax on only a few, places an undue and unfair burden on the exercising of a constitutional right.  The DROS fee was established so that gun buyers would pay for their background checks, not to support general law enforcement activities.

 

Will you stand with GOC to take this and other equally unconstitutional measures to court?

Our form of government requires all of our participation.  The Right to Bear Arms ensures that every citizen can defend and retain every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution.

With the anti-gun super-majority in place, we anticipate the passage of more unconstitutional bills like this one, which is why we are preparing for the legal fight ahead.  Simply stated - we must build our legal war chest.  Will you partner with us to raise money to help cover the extensive legal fees and costs associated with taking these over-reaching, unconstitutional bills to court?

 

Donate now.  Every dollar helps us retain our precious freedom.

 

As Churchill so aptly stated, “If you’re going through Hell, KEEP GOING!”  We intend to.

 

Sincerely,

 

Sam Paredes,

Executive Director

GUN OWNERS OF CALIFORNIA

 

Obama uses executive power to move gun control agenda forward

By Jordy Yager - 03/29/13 06:00 AM ET

President Obama is quietly moving forward on gun control.

The president has used his executive powers to bolster the national background check system, jumpstart government research on the causes of gun violence and create a million-dollar ad campaign aimed at safe gun ownership.

The executive steps will give federal law enforcement officials access to more data about guns and their owners, help keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, and lay the groundwork for future legislative efforts.
 
Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/290885-obama-uses-executive-power-to-move-gun-control-forward#ixzz2OxAAbxme 
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

 

PALIN, BECK FLIP OUT OVER MSNBC AD

Network blasted for pushing collective ownership of children

 GARTH KANT

MSNBC is airing a provocative message for parents: Your kids belong to the community – not to you.

The network released a promo video featuring Melissa Harris-Perry, host of a weekend morning MSNBC show and professor of political science at Tulane University, who says Americans must grow beyond the idea that children belong to their parents.

 “We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. Your kid is yours and totally your responsibility,” Harris-Perry said. “We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children.

“So part of it is, we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities. Once it’s everybody’s responsibility and not just the household’s, then we start making better investments.”

At least three leading conservatives immediately blasted the promo.

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/04/palin-beck-flip-out-over-msnbc-ad/#u5VAqaRD87g2ZKRR.99 


 

Federal judges take scores of junkets, investigation finds

Conservatives fund seminars influencing attending judges

·    CHRIS YOUNG, REITY O'BRIEN and ANDREA FULLER, Center for Public Integrity

·       Posted March 29, 2013 at 6:18 a.m.

Conservative foundations, multinational oil companies and a prescription-drug maker were the most frequent sponsors of more than 100 expenses-paid educational seminars attended by federal judges over a 4-1/2-year period, according to a Center for Public Integrity investigation.

Leading the list of sponsors of the 109 seminars identified by the Center were the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, The Searle Freedom Trust, ExxonMobil Corp., Shell Oil Co., pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. and State Farm Insurance Cos. Each sponsored 54 seminars.

Judicial conferences are billed as educational retreats intended to improve judges’ understanding of the law and economics. Judges and seminar hosts say the conferences, which feature lectures and panel discussions, provide helpful information that refines their legal expertise.

But they’ve long drawn scrutiny for how they are funded and organized. Sponsors pick up the cost of judges’ expenses, which often include airfare, hotel stays and meals.


Read more: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2013/mar/29/federal-judges-and-junkets/?partner=RSS#ixzz2Ox9GyLRB 
- vcstar.com 

 

State Senate seat could be big battle

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com

Published: Friday, Mar. 29, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3A

Ordinarily, a special legislative election in a rural corner of California would not generate much outside interest.

But the May 21 election to fill a state Senate vacancy in the southern San Joaquin Valley is getting a lot of attention because its outcome is in doubt. Were the Republican to win, it could imperil the Democrats' supermajority in the Senate, especially because Republicans are expected to pick up one or two Senate seats in the 2014 regular election.

The vacancy was created when Democrat Michael Rubio of East Bakersfield resigned midway through his first Senate term to work for Chevron. But because Rubio was elected in the 16th Senate District in 2010 – before Senate districts were redrawn – the special election to fill his seat must be conducted in the old district.


Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/03/29/5301342/dan-walters-state-senate-seat.html#storylink=omni_popular#storylink=cpy

 

 

End the Billion Dollar Owens Lake Rip-off of LA Ratepayers by Ted “Elmer Gantry” Schade

 Written by James Enstrom and Harold Calahan

08 Feb 2013

VOICES - During the past decade the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control Officer Ted Schade has extracted $1.2 billion from Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) Ratepayers, increasing their water bills by up to 20%.  This Ratepayer money has been used to build Ted’s Empire in the Great Basin (Alpine, Inyo, and Mono Counties) in order to control dust from Owens Lake.  

 

The dust, a form of particulate matter  air pollution, is blown off the dry lake bed by wind.  Owens Lake has been largely dry since the Los Angeles Aqueduct was completed in 1913 by DWP’s Chief Engineer William Mulholland.  This aqueduct has made possible the delivery of water necessary for the growth and survival of Los Angeles for the past century.  As an organization deeply concerned about Owens Lake, DWP has worked diligently to successfully reduce the lake dust to an entirely safe level.

The Great Basin, which has a population density of only two people per square mile, is not experiencing any documentable adverse health effects from the current level of Owens Lake dust. 

Read More: http://www.citywatchla.com/in-case-you-missed-it-hidden/4487-end-the-billion-dollar-owens-lake-rip-off-of-la-ratepayers-by-ted-elmer-gantry-schade

 

Berkley, CA Councilman Wants Billions in Email Taxes – to Fund Post Office

Let's pummel a successful private endeavor to prop up a failed government one

 Seton Motley (Diary)  |  March 11th, 2013 at 07:56 AM

 

Yes, Leftists are talking about taxing emails.  Again.

Ponder for but a moment the monumental government overreach necessary to monitor and count every email every American sends.  Network Neutrality and President Barack Obama’s Cyber Security Executive Order are hay-yuge government Web data grabs.  They pale in comparison to this.

And – shocker – this latest tax-your-every-email notion emanates from Berkley, California.

(City Councilman) Gordon Wozniack suggested that (taxing) email, which is partially responsible for killing off demand for letter-carrying services, could save “vital functions” of the post office….

Which would be not unlike taxing the Henry Ford Motor Company to prop up the horse-buggy industry.

Read More: http://www.redstate.com/setonmotley/2013/03/11/berkley-ca-councilman-wants-billions-in-email-taxes-to-fund-post-office/


 

Report: California lawmakers skirt contribution limits

BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Posted:   03/11/2013 01:00:53 AM PDT

SACRAMENTO (AP) -- California lawmakers are circumventing campaign finance limits through "ballot measure" committees that set no caps on the amount donors can contribute, according to a report.

The committees allow legislators to ask contributors for more than the $4,100 per election they can solicit for their own campaigns.

The accounts must be used to support or oppose any ballot measure, but that can include proposals still in the development stage that might never see the light of day, the Sacramento Bee reported.

During the past two years legislators collected $2.7 million through these committees. A Bee review found some of those funds were used to pay for items with questionable connections to ballot measures -- including thank-you gifts to donors, a lawmaker's tuition and contributions to nonprofits. Some lawmakers spent the money on out-of-state fundraisers.

Filtering contributions through the committees can "kill two birds with one stone" for donors, said Jessica Levinson, a campaign finance and ethics expert at the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

"If you support the ballot measure and you want to just support the candidate because of just emotional support, or you want to support the candidate because you want to get something in return, it's kind of a win-win," Levinson told the newspaper.

At least two dozen lawmakers maintained ballot measure committees in the two years leading up to the 2012 election.

They say the committees allowthem to help state and local efforts to shape policy and to communicate with voters on issues outside Sacramento.

Assemblyman Isadore Hall's "Inspiration and Hope for California" committee didn't put the funds directly toward any proposals up for a vote in the last two years, the Bee said. But it did spend $6,800 for a seminar at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and $1,700 at the University of Southern California.

Hall, a Compton Democrat, told the newspaper attending what he described as leadership seminars at Harvard and USC helped him play a greater role in formulating and supporting future measures on the ballot. He defended the committee, telling the Bee it creates "opportunity for exposure in terms of different ideas that would affect the state of California."

Phillip Ung, a policy advocate for California Common Cause, told the newspaper the ballot measure committees essentially are "political slush funds" that can be used to offset costs that would usually fall to the more strictly regulated re-election committees.

"In the long term, they can't continue the way they are because they're just being abused by some elected officials," he said.

Information from: The Sacramento Bee, http://www.sacbee.com

 

The Supermajority and the Merry Go Round

by: Brian Leubitz

Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 05:54:51 AM PDT

You would need a supercomputer to keep up with the supermajority these days. But perhaps the better question is what that means for the state.

With the recent Los Angeles elections, the Assembly will certainly lose Bob Blumenfield, and the May run-offs could mean that Curren Price will need a replacement for his Senate seat. The LA Times attempts to break it down:

Blumenfield, chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, won't leave state office until July 1. But his planned departure is among a handful of resignations in both houses that have set off a round of musical chairs for the Democrats who dominate the Legislature.

Read More: http://www.calitics.com/diary/14899/the-supermajority-and-the-merry-go-round


SHOULD CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN TAKE A VICTORY LAP?

by Joel Kotkin 03/11/2013

"Memento Mori" – "Remember your mortality" – was whispered into the ears of Roman generals as they celebrated their great military triumphs. Someone should be whispering something similar in the ear of Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been quick to celebrate his tax and budget "triumph" and to denounce as "declinists" those who threaten to rain on the gubernatorial parade.

Brown speaks about California's "rendezvous with destiny" and the state's "special destiny... more vibrant and more stunning in its boldness." His pitch certainly has persuaded much of the mainstream media to add their horns to the triumph.

Yet right now, despite its many blessings, our state remains more on a collision course with mediocrity – at best– than with any such manifest destiny. California may not be a "death-spiral state" as some conservatives suggest, but Brown's triumphs – the Proposition 30 tax increases, the marginalization of the GOP as well as his Democratic rivals – have been more political than substantial and have done little to address the state's major long-term challenges.

Let's check this out. Unemployment remains the third-highest among the states; we still have one-third of the nation's welfare recipients; the highest poverty rate in the country, with one in five of California's diminishing ranks of children living in poverty, including more than a third of children in Fresno. Our education system, with new dollars or not, continues to fail young people and our economy.

Read More: http://www.newgeography.com/content/003556-should-california-governor-jerry-brown-take-a-victory-lap

 

 

 

State Sen. Michael Rubio resigns, will take job with Chevron

State Sen. MichaelRubio announced today that he is resigning from the state Legislature and taking a job directing California governmental affairs for Chevron Corporation.

The East Bakersfield Democrat cited a desire to spend more time with his family in a statement released today, saying he "realized that my current professional path has left little opportunity to be home for those who are most important to me, which is why I am making a change."

Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2013/02/state-sen-michael-rubio-resigns-will-take-job-with-chevron.html#storylink=cpy

 

 

Of Obesity, Bridges and Peanuts

February 18, 2013By Jon Coupal

Have California school officials found their own bizarre way to support Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity? What else could possibly explain their skimming of at least $170 million -- and possibly much more -- from federal funds supplied to provide nutritional lunches to the state’s poorest children? The just-released findings by state auditors show the biggest offender is the Los Angeles Unified School District, having misappropriated $158 million. For LAUSD observers this comes as small surprise considering the district’s abysmal record of managing its funds.

A trustee for Santa Ana Unified School district, which has been ordered to repay $2.7 million to the Student Meal Fund, tried to excuse his district’s action by saying, “If the law was as simple as, you can do this or you can’t, we would understand it.” The comment is a reminder of the huge disconnect between many government officials and the general public. Most regular folks understand that it is wrong to take food from hungry children without having to be told -- the few who don’t appreciate the difference between right and wrong usually end up being sent to prison.

While we are looking at skimming, it has recently been revealed that Cal Fire has been hiding $3.6 million. Incidentally, this is the same agency that is imposing an illegal fire tax over which the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has filed a class action lawsuit. This latest revelation comes on the heels of the State Parks Department scandal involving $54 million in hidden funds. When officials are interviewed they reveal the tendency to hide extra money is the result of their fear that if the word gets out that they are flush with cash, Sacramento lawmakers will cut their budget. After all, where would these bureaucrats be if the extra money were spent on other needy programs or, heaven forbid, returned to taxpayers?

Read More: http://hjta.org/california-commentary/obesity-bridges-and-peanuts


 

Guv Brown to Raise Taxes on Small Business and Middle Class by Ending Most of Enterprise Zone Incentives—Guv Perry HAPPY

by STEPHEN FRANK on 02/19/

 

Guv Brown knows taxes—he knows how to raise taxes without anybody noticing.  For instance if you cut a tax credit, then the tax bill becomes higher.  If you end a tax credit for an Enterprise Zone who would get hurt?

“According to the Franchise Tax board 93% tax returns filed take advantage of the tax credits available in this program are filed by businesses and individuals with net assets of $5 million or lower.”

Jerry is all he can do to assure Rick Perry is re-elected Governor of Texas—and California becomes Calcutta.

 

JERRY BROWN VS. THE LOCALS — AGAIN

By Amy Wong, Capitol Weekly, 02/18/13

The governor’s efforts to reform California’s 29-year-old enterprise zone system, an ongoing tax-break program that encourages business investment and promotes new jobs in economically distressed areas of the state, is his latest attempt in a series of major moves targeting local businesses and governance.

Critics claim that the governor’s reforms could further drive businesses out of California, but Brown and his allies believe the $700 million EZ program is deeply flawed, with little oversight and accountability. In effect, they are asking: Is the money the state loses by providing the tax breaks good policy?

Read More: http://capoliticalnews.com/2013/02/19/guv-brown-to-raise-taxes-on-small-business-and-middle-class-by-ending-most-of-enterprise-zone-incentives-guv-perry-happy/

 

DOES BROWN REALLY THINK CALIFORNIA’S ECONOMY IS ‘SUCCESSFUL’?

By U-T San Diego Editorial Board , 2/18/13

The war of words between California Gov. Jerry Brown and Texas Gov. Rick Perry over whose state is more accommodating to economic growth has been illuminating, but in a depressing way. Brown is on record as saying his state is overregulated, to the detriment of the economy. How could he plausibly disagree with Perry when Perry said the same thing?

But instead of acknowledging hard truths about the Golden State, Brown and his aides employed their favorite poll-tested tactic of trashing Texas. And when they did talk about California, we heard an appalling confirmation of the governor and his staff’s indifference to the state’s economic suffering. In an interview with U-T business reporter Jonathan Horn, here’s what Kish Rajan, the director of Brown’s Office of Business and Economic Development, had to say:

Read More: http://capoliticalnews.com/2013/02/19/does-brown-really-think-californias-economy-is-successful/

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