March 1, 2012 archive

California Death Penalty Opponents Submit Initiative Signatures for November Ballot


The newly renovated San Quentin Prison Death Chamber

AP Photo

California death penalty opponents who wish to abolish the death penalty and substitute life in prison with a possibility of parole submitted 800,000 initiative petition signatures today to elections officials.

Capital punishment opponents announced Thursday they have submitted 800,000 signatures to election authorities to put a measure on the November ballot that would ask voters to replace the death penalty with sentences of life without the possibility of parole.

Efforts to repeal the death penalty have failed repeatedly in California since capital punishment was reinstated in 1978.

But organizers of the SAFE California Act contend that polls show majority support for an initiative that would replace death sentences with an ironclad guarantee that the worst criminals stay in prison for the rest of their lives.

Supporters of the initiative say it will save the state hundreds of millions that would be better spent on schools and public safety.

“Those of us in law enforcement know that the best way to prevent crime is to solve it. Replacing the death penalty with a punishment of life in prison without parole will free up funds for critical tools like DNA testing in the shocking 46% of murder and 56% of reported rape cases that remain unsolved in our state every year,” said Jeanne Woodford, a former warden at San Quentin State Prison who oversaw four executions during her tenure.

She is now campaigning for the initiative to replace death with life sentences. The signatures submitted to county election officials in each of the 58 counties must be verified, but campaign sponsors said they were confident they would easily surpass the 504,000 valid endorsements needed to get the issue on the ballot in November.

What would the supporters propose for the very heinous crimes or murder of prison corrections officers by prisoners already serving a life or lengthy sentence?

The California courts need badly to reform the appeals process and start enforcing the current law. Without the purposeful obstacles of the anti-death penalty crowd, many of the felons on California’s death row would have been executed years ago.

I doubt this initiative will pass, particularly when the ads start to run about some of the scum that are awaiting their maker on San Quentin’s death row.

And, the costs? It will cost more without the death penalty.

But those who support capital punishment say the opponents’ cost-savings figures are inflated. The number of new death sentences fell dramatically last year and for the last decade have been well below the rate of the 1990s, said Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.

“The other side of the coin is the cost of keeping all of these prisoners to the end of their lives, if the promise of true life-without-parole is to be kept,” he said. “Medical costs are a large and growing part of the corrections budget, and those costs escalate dramatically with age.”


AD-38: House Spouse Patricia McKeon Makes Out Good from Husband’s Campaign Account


Rep. Buck McKeon and his wife, Patricia, a candidate for California Assembly

Here is a follow up from Roll Call to a post I made yesterday on the amount of money Patricia McKeon has made from her husband’s Rep. Buck McKeon’s Congressional campaign account.

Several House lawmakers have made their spouses and other relatives the highest-paid workers on their campaigns over the past few years.

During the past four and a half years, these relatives have collectively received millions in salaries, fees and bonuses, according to a CQ MoneyLine study of campaign finance records.

It all appears legal, but some people question whether this spending is ethical or even a good investment of donated money in modern elections.

Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) leads the pack in payments to his spouse. Since 2007, McKeon has reported disbursements to his wife, Patricia, topping $264,000, including a bonus of $4,600 in January 2007. Her compensation more than doubles the salary of the next-highest-paid employee on McKeon’s campaign and does not include thousands in reimbursements for food, travel and other expenses.

In response to Roll Call’s query, McKeon said in a statement, “Patricia gets paid by the campaign as a senior staff member for handling multiple critical elements and roles of the operation and bringing roughly 20 years of experience to the table.”

The fact is the McKeon’s have been “double dipping” for years.

Rep. Buck McKeon gets his Congressional salary of around $175,000 per year, collecting campaign contributions from special interests who are trying to influence legislation and then paying his wife from his collected pool of contributions.

Pretty good work, if you can get it, no?

Here is the chart:

The amount is: $263,168 for Patricia McKeon

Now, Buck wants to use these same political contributors to fund his wife’s campaign for the California State Assembly.

So, she can win political office, collect her $96,000 a year public salary and repeat the cycle.

See in California, if you know how to work the system, you can make out pretty good drinking from the public trough.

California voters should just say NO to both of these POLS.


AD-38: Former Congressional Staffer Calls McKeon Campaign an All-Cost Frenzy


Patricia McKeon, wife of Rep. Buck McKeon and candidate for California Assembly as she addresses the Simi Valley Tea Party

You remember the FLAP about the controversial political memo that was reportedly hacked out of Rep. Buck McKeon’s e-mail account. Now, one of Rep. McKeon’s former staff is coming forward criticizing the involvement of the Congressman in his wife, Patricia’s California Assembly campaign.

The unethical, malicious trend shadowing the 38th CA Assembly District republican primary forces asking: what of Congressman and Mrs. McKeon?

Heretofore, I have attested to the McKeons’ straightforward, gracious character.  Plain spoken, honorable people would have been my testimony. But the following has recast my understanding.

The Jan. 6, 2012-Buck McKeon “strategy” memo detailing collusion between Buck McKeon Chief of Staff Bob Cochran, BM Deputy Chief of Staff Bob Haueter, and Tony Marsh regarding “thorough background checks” of former McKeon District Director Scott Wilk and his political consultant Jason Roe, and their “shady political connections.”

Their collusion also targets CA Rep. Congressman Elton Gallegly. Cochran et al. are to “make sure that Elton is made a part of the conversation and that his similar situation is known” regarding the Countrywide loan scandal that had ensnared Buck McKeon.

Jan. 18, 2012-Mrs. McKeon files a bastardly criminal charge against Scott Wilk with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office.

Jan. 25, 2012-The DA discredits and rejects the charges.

Feb. 6, 2012-Bob Haueter continues insisting that the DA is investigating Scott Wilk.

Knowing such, observe: rather than performing due diligence regarding his re-election against California Democratic Party-endorsed and increasingly well-funded challenger Dr. Lee Rogers Congressman.

McKeon has turned his arsenal towards ensuring Wilk’s loss to Mrs. McKeon in their 38th CA AD primary.

Observe their assumption that Scott Wilk has “shady political connections”.  The memo did not say “thorough background checks into….. possible recent shady political connections” but “into… their…..shady political connections”. Did the thought if we can’t find any skeletons in his closet, then we will put some there follow that assumption?  Being “sure we are doing an all-out hatchet job on . . .” republican leaders” may have preceded it.

Furthermore, why “destroy” a former District Director with a record of loyalty?  Is opposing a McKeon, damnable?

Observe that Wilk is not the only conservative that Buck McKeon had turned his arsenal towards. Making “sure Elton is made part of the conversation . . .” regarding Countrywide is hurling a fellow conservative and his district under the bus. Was the idea if we go down, everybody goes down?

Observe the frenzy guiding Mrs. McKeon’s Assembly campaign.  A wildly spurious criminal charge aimed at, imprisonment?  Or just financial and professional ruin?  Is opposing a McKeon, criminal?

Furthermore, the memo is riddled with federal violations. Section 734.406 of Federal Election Commission law summarily criminalizes “Participation in political activities while on duty, in uniform, in any room or building occupied in the discharge of official duties, or using a Federal vehicle.” Bob Haueter alleging hacking of House email as the reason for the memo’s exposure coupled with Buck McKeon Spokesperson Alissa McCurely calling it “an internal staff memo” confirm that it was drafted with federal property and on federal time.

In other words, this former staffer of Rep. Buck McKeon questions the need of the Congressman to use underhanded tactics, including involvement of the Los Angeles County District Attorney, in order to subvert the election process – particularly since Patricia McKeon’s chief opponent is also a former Buck McKeon aide, Scott Wilk. And, to use his Congressional influence to smear another Republican Congressman, Elton Gallegly.

Andre Hollins who wrote the above is well known in the Santa Clarita Valley. He has served as McKeon’s Antelope Valley Field Representative and is a former president of the Santa Clarita Valley Republican Assembly. Prior to moving to Santa Clarita Valley he handled voter registration for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

By the way, has there ever been an investigation into the theft of that memo?


Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-03-01


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