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Nov 10 2011

Flap’s California Afternoon Collection: November 10, 2011

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Avalon, Catalina Island

These are my links for November 10th PM:

  • Do Local Tax Election Results Foreshadow 2012 State Tax Fight?- With the expectation that taxes dealing with California’s budget issues will dominate the state’s general election one year from now, the tea-leaves of yesterday’s local elections around the state might indicate how voters are feeling about taxes.Overall, there were 53 tax, bond and fee measures on local ballots. With the understanding that the results are preliminary for the final counts are not in, 40 of the 53 tax measures passed for a solid passing percentage of 75%. The results included 18 of 22 city majority vote tax measures passing, and 11 of 14 parcel tax measures in special districts and school districts getting the necessary two-thirds vote to pass.
  • Police arrest UC Berkeley students, professor over Occupy camp – San Jose Mercury News- Moving quickly to quell a protest on the site where the Free Speech Movement was born, UC Berkeley police in riot gear on Wednesday tore down tents and arrested at least seven people who had established an Occupy Cal camp.The violent clash was in stark contrast to peaceful speeches about protecting higher education from budget cuts and a short march that started the demonstration in front of Sproul Hall at noon. By 3:30 p.m., protesters linking arms were facing down lines of police officers as the Occupy group tried to protect a handful of tents that had been erected on a lawn in front of the building.
  • Dan Walters: New California Senate maps still not settled- It’s been nearly three months since the state redistricting commission released its maps for 177 congressional, legislative and Board of Equalization districts.They’re not quite final. A Republican-backed referendum to overturn state Senate maps is still pending, with signatures to qualify for next year’s ballot being submitted this week.The state Supreme Court had summarily rejected a GOP legal challenge to the Senate maps. But were the referendum to gain enough signatures to qualify for next year’s ballot, the Supreme Court would be compelled to step back into the issue, deciding which Senate districts would be used for the 2012 elections pending the referendum’s outcome.

    However, the court and the ballot are not the only venues for challenging what the commission wrought. Any election law changes that affect four California counties – Monterey, Merced, Yuba and Kings – are subject to review by the U.S. Justice Department under the federal Voting Rights Act.

  • GOP lawmakers demand special session on public pensions- Four GOP lawmakers this morning praised Gov. Jerry Brown’s 12-point plan to change public pensions, then challenged him to go a step further by calling a special session to address the issue.”The Legislature needs to give our full attention to this, right now,” Senate Republican leader Bob Dutton said at a press conference held in his office. “After the first of the year, we’re going to be all budget, all the time.”The Rancho Cucamonga Republican said that he sent his request that Brown reconvene lawmakers before the regular session starts in January. Dutton said he hadn’t received a response as of this morning.
  • California Politicians may get good fundraising news- The state Fair Political Practices Commission might have an early Christmas gift for some of the state’s politicians who lost money in accounts handled by campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee of Burbank.Durkee is accused of misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars, or possibly millions, from the more than 400 accounts that she controlled for some of the state’s top politicians.Among those affected are Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who is believed to have lost $5 million in campaign funds.

    Others, like City Controller Wendy Greuel, who had more than $500,000 with Durkee in her run for mayor for 2013, was among the lucky officials who did not lose any money, campaign aides say.

  • Taxpayers Take On L.A. County’s Unconstitutional Grocery Bag Tax- With inflation eating away at Californians’ buying power, going to the grocery store has become an increasingly expensive activity for the average family. But in their quest to create an environmentally-friendly utopia, California liberals don’t seem to care that families are struggling to pay those hefty grocery bills. The most blatant example of this insensitivity is the imposition of a new grocery bag tax.Several cities and counties across the state have passed or are considering plastic bag bans in order to placate the demands of the environmental elites. As part of the bans, local municipalities also impose a 5 or 10-cent tax per bag if customers fail to bring their own grocery bags to the store.  This tax increase was never brought before voters and as such is a violation of last year’s Proposition 26, which specifically precludes a new tax—or euphemistically referred to as a “fee” to skirt tax laws—without a two-thirds vote. Los Angeles County passed such an ordinance in its unincorporated areas and it went into effect July 1.

Enjoy your afternoon!

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