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The California Flap: January 8, 2013

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Mission San Juan Capistrano

The California Legislature is in session.

Today’s schedule is here.

The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s is here.

Some important deadlines to remember:

  • January 25, 2013: Deadline to send bill ideas to the California Legislative Counsel for drafting.
  • February 22, 2013: Deadline to introduce bills.

Each member of the Assembly and State Senate are allowed to introduce up to 40 bills in this two year legislative session.

By Thursday, California Governor Jerry Brown must submit his proposed budget.

Governor Jerry Brown will deliver his State of the State address on Thursday, January 24 at 9:00 a.m. before a joint legislative session.

On to the morning’s California headlines:

  • Robert Hertzberg endorses Feuer, leaving Trutanich – Hertzberg had previously endorsed Wendy Greuel in the mayoral race.
  • Jim Brulte For Chairman Of The California Republican Party – While he has not made a formal announcement of his candidacy, it has certainly been much talked about that Jim Brulte, the former leader of both Senate and Assembly Republicans, is seeking the Chairmanship of the California Republican Party. This is great news for the party, and for conservatives in California. I am very excited to endorse his candidacy, and will work hard not only to see that he is elected, but look forward to doing what I can to help make sure that under his leadership the CRP is successful.
  • Software update accidentially cancels food stamp cards for 37,000 Californians – About 37,000 Californians who receive food stamps are currently unable to access their benefits after their electronic benefit cards were accidentally cancelled on Sunday.Eighteen counties, including Orange County, administer the state’s food stamp program, known at the state level as CalFresh (and known federally as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP) through a computer application called CalWIN (CalWORKS Information Network).This past weekend, the primary designer of the CalWIN system, Hewlett Packard, sought to update some of the software, but in the process accidentally cancelled the benefit cards of tens of thousands recipients, including more than 6,700 in Orange County, said TerryLynn Fisher, spokeswoman for the Orange County Social Services Agency.
  • U.S. Supreme Court to hear Proposition 8 arguments on March 26 – The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the legal challenge to Proposition 8 on March 26 and then consider the constitutionality of the federal government’s ban on same-sex marriage benefits the following day.The Supreme Court set the argument schedule Monday in the unfolding legal drama over same-sex marriage rights. The justices would then decide the two cases by the end of the current term in June.The high court agreed to review a federal appeals court’s decision last year invalidating Proposition 8, California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared the law unconstitutional because it stripped away a previous right for same-sex couples to marry in California, and Proposition 8 backers are asking the Supreme Court to overturn that ruling.
  • Brown fails to produce prison plan, seeks end of court control – Gov. Jerry Brown contends California no longer needs to reduce overcrowding in the state’s prisons.Federal judges had given the state until midnight Monday to file plans showing how California would meet federal caps on prison populations. Instead, in a motion filed late in the day, the governor’s lawyers asked the judges to lift those caps.”The overcrowding and healthcare conditions cited by this court to support its population reduction order are now a distant memory,” the state’s lawyers contend.

    The governor takes his case on the road Tuesday, with scheduled press conferences in Sacramento and Los Angeles.

  • The Republicans’ Asian Problem – Much has been made, both before and after last November’s election, of the serious problems Republicans have with Latino voters. GOP nominee Mitt Romney received only a pathetic 29 percent of the Latino vote, compared with President Obama’s 71 percent. The good news, I guess, is that Republicans are now publicly pondering what to do about their lack of appeal to this fast-growing minority group.The bad news? As we head into the next election cycle, Latinos are only the third-worst minority group for Republicans. They got nearly shut out with African Americans, of course, but the GOP has even bigger problems than among Latinos with the fastest-growing minority group of all, Asian Americans. According to national exit polls, Obama received 73 percent of the Asian vote, higher than among Latinos. (In the interests of full disclosure, I admit to having a personal interest in this particular subject as the father of a half-Chinese son.)
  • Darrell Steinberg announces CA Senate committee assignments – Agriculture: Galgiani (Chair), Cannella (Vice Chair), Berryhill, Lieu, Rubio, WolkAppropriations: de León (Chair), Walters (Vice Chair), Gaines, Hill, Lara, Padilla, SteinbergBanking and Financial Institutions: Hill (Chair), Berryhill (Vice Chair), Beall, Calderon, Corbett, Roth, Walters

    Budget & Fiscal Review: Leno (Chair), Emmerson (Vice Chair), Anderson, Beall, Berryhill, Block, DeSaulnier, Fuller, Gaines, Hancock, Hill, Jackson, Monning, Price Jr., Roth, Wright

  • Lawmakers return to work, get assignments – Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo: Accountability and Administrative Review; Budget (vice chairman); Budget Subcommitee No. 6 (Budget Process, Oversight and Program Evaluation); Judiciary; Labor and Employment; Utilities and Commerce.Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita: Arts, Entertainment, Sports and Internet Media; Business, Professions and Consumer Protection; Health; Higher Education; Rules (vice chairman).
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The California Flap: January 7, 2013

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California Legislature

The California Assembly will start its session at noon and the California State Senate at 2 PM.

Today’s schedule is here.

The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s is here.

Some important deadlines to remember:

  • January 25, 2013: Deadline to send bill ideas to the California Legislative Counsel for drafting.
  • February 22, 2013: Deadline to introduce bills.

Each member of the Assembly and State Senate are allowed to introduce up to 40 bills in this two year legislative session.

By Thursday, California Governor Jerry Brown must submit is proposed budget.

On to a few California headlines:

These are my links for January 4th through January 7th:

  • Dan Walters: Parcel tax changes could be big battle in California Legislature – The Legislature’s Democratic leaders want to use their newly minted supermajorities to do things that they could not do before, but are leery of doing things that might alienate voters and jeopardize those supermajorities.They prefer, therefore, an incremental approach to using their two-thirds legislative votes, thus slowly warming voters to the exercise of their new power, rather than shocking them.One likely way they’ll wield their new authority is a constitutional amendment to reduce the voter approval margin for local government and school district parcel taxes from two-thirds to either a simple majority or 55 percent.
  • Getting around California Proposition 13 – One would hope that the Proposition 30 tax increases passed by voters would have sated the California Legislature’s appetite for additional revenue. But proposals are already circulating for potential new tax increases in this new year. Legislators would be better advised to see how much they collect from Prop. 30 before pursuing additional monies from Californians.Proposals are focusing on Prop. 13, the landmark 1978 tax-limitation measure that has undergirded the state’s prosperity since then. Prop. 13 limited property taxes to 1 percent of assessed value plus annual increases of up to 2 percent of the tax bill. When a property changes ownership, the new owner pays 1 percent of the newly assessed value.
  • GOP still relevant to California’s fiscal future – Many political pundits would have us now believe that Republicans are as relevant to California politics as fantasy football is to the NFL. To the contrary, there is an important role for the GOP in Sacramento and throughout the state this next legislative session.California voters, notwithstanding historic reluctance to approve higher taxes, passed Proposition 30 in November. They did so believing the promise that the projected additional revenue would help plug the budget gap and save public education from dramatic cuts.
  • Tom McClintock just said ‘no’ to ‘cliff’ solution – Never one to build bridges, Rep. Tom McClintock has spent the better part of 30 years in office deriding the government that gives him his paycheck.But as he showed last week, his political machine of one has gained compatriots among the shrunken but more conservative band of Republicans representing California in the House. That doesn’t bode well for California as it tries to get back some of the money it sends to Washington, and certainly not for the Sierra district McClintock represents.McClintock wasn’t among the hard-liners who openly challenged House Speaker John Boehner’s leadership when the new Congress convened last week. But he did join several of them for a press event shortly after the November election in Washington, D.C., offering his election analysis and prescription for the Republican Party.
  • Gun-control worries draw 6,000 to Ontario gun show – There are some Americans who believe there are too many firearms in the United States, and there are those like the thousands who attend events like Crossroads of the West Gun Show.”We have a Second Amendment which says `the right to keep and arms shall not be infringed.’ Infringed means you don’t mess with it,” said customer Patrick Hill of Menifee.Crossroads of the West is a frequent event at the Ontario Convention Center. When the show is town, thousands gather to peruse or buy any of myriad firearms such as a vintage Remington shotgun, a Ruger Redhawk revolver, Glock semi-automatic pistol or a modern AR-15-style rifle.

    Saturday’s show, however, was Crossroads’ first in Ontario since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in December. The gunman who perpetrated that mass killing shot and killed 20 children and six women at the Newtown, Conn., campus after killing his mother and before ending his rampage by suicide.

  • California gun sales have risen, gun injuries have decreased – California has millions more guns than it did 10 years ago. It also has thousands fewer gun injuries and deaths each year.Those are two simple facts that, depending on whom you ask, have everything or nothing to do with each other.Last month’s horrific Connecticut school shooting has reignited the debate over gun control in California, a state with some of the nation’s strictest gun laws. State legislators will likely take up additional gun law proposals later this year, ranging from further limits on ammunition purchases to requiring regular background checks for gun owners.

Here is Dan Walter’s of the Sacramento Bee about the start of the California Legislative session:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/hd1PYcItzwY[/youtube]

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Flap’s California Afternoon Collection: February 5, 2012

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These are my links for February 5th:

  • Dan Walters: Democrats may be Jerry Brown’s big hurdle on budget

    “Gov. Jerry Brown and his fellow Democrats in the Legislature settled on a hastily revised state budget last June – after Brown had vetoed legislators’ first version – and pronounced it to be balanced and timely.

    “My colleagues and I have voted on a responsible budget,” Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, told constituents in a newsletter, adding, “While we have projected additional revenues, we have also identified further tough cuts if these revenues are not realized. We are charged with the responsibility to pass a balanced budget on time. Democratic lawmakers have done so.”

    Dickinson wasn’t alone in crowing to constituents about the budget. But it wasn’t on time, nor was it balanced, as Capitol insiders suspected then and we know for certain seven months later.

    The quickly revised budget hinged on a sudden, even miraculous, projection by Brown’s bean counters that the state would receive another $4 billion in revenue. But in December, they acknowledged that more than half of the windfall won’t show up, thus triggering some spending cuts, although not enough to offset the missing income.

    If anything, the situation has deteriorated.”


  • Red-light cameras boost coffers, rile drivers

    “California has the most expensive red-light camera tickets in the world – the fine is so steep that one camera in Oakland generates more than $3 million a year – and a Fremont man is launching a protest group to do something about that.

    If Roger Jones has his way, that freezing dread that knifes through a driver the moment he sees the overhead flash of a traffic camera will become a thing of the past.

    But he’s facing quite an uphill fight against officials hungry for the cash the cameras sweep in and police who are convinced they make the roads safer.”


  • Neophyte Democratic candidate joins Berman/Sherman race

    “If the battle between Democratic Reps. Howard Berman of Valley Village and Brad Sherman of Sherman Oaks for a newly drawn San Fernando Valley congressional district is a clash of two Goliaths, as some have suggested, then the contest just got another would-be David.

    Vincent Gilmore, a 31-year-old gardener who lives in Van Nuys, recently announced that he is making his first bid for elected office by joining what is expected to be one of the costliest, most watched House races in history. The Democrat said he isn’t taking donations and is spending as little as possible “for ethical reasons.” He’s relying mainly on a website — www.vincegilmore2012.com — and YouTube videos to reach voters.”


  • Nurses flex their political muscle in Sacramento and across California

    “Rose Ann DeMoro is always ready for another fight.

    And why not? During the past decade, the leader of the California Nurses Association has won so many of her battles.

    Largely because of CNA efforts, California is poised to become the first state where registered nurses make an average salary above $100,000.

    The union helped defeat gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman in 2010 and has become a political force, throwing financial support behind candidates for offices ranging from Santa Rosa City Council to state attorney general.

    And more recently, nurses flexed their muscles with a series of one-day walkouts in support of other hospital employees who are in tough contract negotiations.

    “This is a significant career with responsibility for life and death,” DeMoro said. Hospitals, she said, “are looking to make more money off the backs of nurses. That’s not going to happen.”

    The health care industry bristles at CNA tactics, including last Tuesday’s one-day nurse walkout at Kaiser Permanente hospitals alongside striking workers from the smaller National Union of Healthcare Workers. Hospital officials say the solidarity strikes put patients at risk.”


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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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Flap’s California Morning Collection: November 7, 2011

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Mission San Francisco de Asis

The California Legislature is not in session.

On to today’s headlines:

  • 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.

  • Two efforts launched to repeal Calif. DREAM Act – Total Buzz : The Orange County Register – Two proposed ballot measures seeking to block the California DREAM Act, which would provide financial aid to qualifying illegal immigrants, took steps forward this week.
    A petition for a proposed referendum by Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, was cleared for circulation Thursday by Attorney General Kamala Harris. Read the referendum and read the approved title and summary.
    Another proposed measure would not only block the state DREAM Act but would require fingerprinting for Medi-Cal pregnancy services, with fingerprint reports relayed to the federal Department of Homeland Security. The proposed measure was submitted Monday to Harris for approval so that signatures can be gathered. It is proposed by former state GOP chairman Tirso Del Junco, San Diego Republican Ted Hilton and Concord Republican Bill Siler.
  • 2012 Proposition voting will require a college degree; long ballot good for Republicans historically. – It will take a college degree to understand the Secretary of State’s voter information pamphlet for the November, 2012 election, given the partisan, pro-union move by the Legislature and the Governor to force measures off the ballot next June, and lump them all together in November.  But history demonstrates the crowded ballot really helps Republicans, whom demographics demonstrate are better educated and more prepared to comprehend the information and actually vote than voters registered in other parties in California.=====

    Most probably

  • Dan Walters: Profligacy persists in California – As recession lingers, the bipartisan history of expedient, irresponsible fiscal decisions continues to haunt the state.Gov. Jerry Brown, elected on a promise to avoid budget gimmicks, nevertheless resorted to a fanciful projection of $4 billion in extra revenue to balance the 2001-12 budget on paper – money that so far isn’t showing up and probably won’t.

    And he signed a bill that delays action on a union-opposed ballot measure that would compel the state to shift future windfalls into emergency reserves.

    Meanwhile, bean counters are projecting another multibillion-dollar deficit for the 2012-13 budget.

    The beat goes on.

  • An accidental social media phenomenon emerges from the Occupy Oakland general strike – Few people would know the name Spencer Mills or be able to identify his face.
    But tens of thousands of online viewers around the world would recognize his online alias, OakFoSho. Nearly 60,000 have tuned into his video stream of the violence that erupted after Wednesday’s Occupy Oakland general strike. Many heard Mills narrating in the early hours of Thursday while tear gas filled the middle of the city’s downtown district.
    That the images appeared jerky and blurry dissuaded no one. They could see the flames, the police, the protesters and the boom of the tear gas canisters exploding, all live. The experience provided a new twist to the old Gil Scott-Heron political song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”
    Mills live-streamed with nothing more than a Motorola Droid X smartphone equipped with an 8-megapixel camera and Web access.
  • Fullerton officer charged in beating death gets big L.A. pension – Los Angeles officials are calling for a review of the pension given to one of the two Fullerton police officers charged in the beating death of a homeless man.Jay Cicinelli, a former Los Angeles Police Department officer who lost an eye when he was shot on the job in 1996 during a routine traffic stop, receives 70% of his salary as a disability pension. City officials approved the large sum because it was unclear at the time whether he could again work in law enforcement.

    But Cicinelli soon got a job with the Fullerton Police Department, where he eventually earned $88,544 a year on top of his $39,625 in pension benefits from L.A.

    The issue came to the attention of the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions Department after Cicinelli’s name surfaced as one of the six officers involved in the incident that led to the death of Kelly Thomas.

  • Presidents are bowing out at some Cal State schools – San Francisco State President Robert Corrigan decided this summer that at 76, he could not outlast a battered state economy that has forced deep cuts in programs and faculty at his and other Cal State campuses.
    In August, he announced that he would step down at the end of the academic year to return to research and writing, leaving worries about the budget to his successor.
    Corrigan is not alone.
    Long-serving presidents of four other Cal State campuses — Northridge, Fullerton, San Bernardino and the California Maritime Academy — also are retiring this year or next. The university’s leaders face the challenge of finding replacements during the state’s fiscal crisis and at a time when Cal State is also under scrutiny for recent hiring and compensation decisions.
    Searches are underway to find candidates for Northridge and Fullerton, with the Board of Trustees due to fill those positions by January.

Enjoy your morning! 

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