Category: Thousand Oaks City Council

May 21 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: May 21, 2012

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The Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California during May 20, 2012 Pasadena Half Marathon

Good Monday morning!

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 here.

Today is the last day to register to vote in the June 5, 2012, California Primary Election.

On to today’s California headlines:

Governor seeks to cut programs Dems pledge to save

Gov. Jerry Brown’s latest budget proposal attempts to close a formidable $15.7 billion deficit, but the real debate at the Capitol in the next few weeks probably will be over how to cut just a fraction of the big amount.

That’s because about $2 billion in the governor’s budget represents permanent reductions in spending on state welfare, child care and other programs that Democratic leaders in the Senate and Assembly have pledged to protect.

Brown’s other budget proposals might be more controversial with the Legislature if the state weren’t facing such a large shortfall. Those include one-time solutions such as his proposal to seize almost $300 million from the national mortgage settlement that Attorney General Kamala Harris hoped to use to help distressed mortgage payers stay in their homes.

Some of Brown’s other reductions, like delaying the repayment of some loans, won’t cause a stir at all. The Legislature, which can pass a budget by a majority vote, has just under four weeks to approve a spending plan to cover the deficit by the June 15 deadline.

‘Tax the rich’ is the opposite of reform

Gov. Jerry Brown defends his soak-the-rich tax proposal as just. And besides, he says, it’s popular with the non-rich.

Never mind that it’s the opposite of reform, that it would make California’s roller-coaster tax system even more volatile.

But maybe things do have to get worse before they get better. The state treasury is starved for more revenue. The governor is trying to avoid massive cuts to K-12 schools and more swats at the universities. It’s probably not practical to wait for reform.

Brown’s November ballot initiative would whack the wealthy, raising state income tax rates by one percentage point for single-filers earning more than $250,000, by two points for those making more than $300,000 and by three points on earnings exceeding $500,000. Double those income thresholds for joint filers.

Currently, the top rate for million-dollar earners is 10.3%. Brown would jack it to 13.3%.

The governor also would tack on a token quarter-cent sales tax increase for everyone.

Calif. inmate switch puts pressure on county jails

The number of jail beds in Riverside County east of Los Angeles was finally catching up with the region’s rapid growth when state lawmakers passed sweeping legislation that assigned thousands of inmates who would have gone to prison to their local lock-ups instead.

Almost overnight, the county of more than 2.2 million people was booking 200 new inmates a month and began early releases for hundreds of other, less-serious offenders to make room. In the past five months, the county has released 1,500 offenders early in a constant churn that forces jail deputies to decide which of their wards are the “best of the worst,” Sheriff Stan Sniff said.

“Ultimately, it becomes a crap shoot because dealing with these people, the crystal ball only goes so far,” he said.

Like Sniff, many sheriffs throughout the state are releasing local inmates early to make room for offenders who previously would have gone to prison. For more than half of California’s 58 counties, the situation is compounded by prior court-ordered caps on their jail populations.

The law took effect on Oct. 1 and is part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to restructure state government and push more services to the county level. Opponents had cited the dangers of early releases in arguing against the shift, but after seven months, it’s unclear whether the law is leading to a spike in violent crime.

There have been a few instances of released inmates committing serious new

offenses and anecdotal reports of rising property crimes in some areas, but it’s too soon to tell if those cases equate to a trend, said Ryan Sherman, spokesman for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the union representing state prison guards.

Law enforcement officials say it will take at least a year before any spike in crime rates can be linked definitively to the realignment.

Thousand Oaks City Council member succumbs to battle with cancer 

City Councilmember Tom Glancy, who just last week handed in his letter of resignation to the city, has died. He was 71.

Glancy, a 32-year resident of Thousand Oaks, stepped down from the council on May 11 after his long bout with cancer took a turn for the worse.

In a press release sent out by the city Friday afternoon, Glancy’s wife, Karen, said: “Tom passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family. He was a remarkable man in every way.”

Enjoy your morning and Dan Walter’s Daily video: Last week was a tough one for California

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Mar 09 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: March 9, 2012

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Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

Good Friday morning!

The California Legislature is in session, but there are no floor sessions nor committees scheduled for today.

The Legislature will resume on Monday – the Assembly at 12 Noon and the Senate at 2 PM.

Today is candidate filing deadline for California Legislative, Congressional and Senate races. The June Primary election set of candidates will be set as of 5 PM.

The California Republican Party Board of Directors will be meeting this weekend to consider endorsements for the June Primary election (top two election).

Now that the filing period is coming to an end, the California Republican Party board of directors will meet Sunday to make endorsements ahead of the June primary. Central committees in counties across the state have been meeting to consider making endorsement recommendations in races for Congress and the state Legislature. Those recommendations, or lack of recommendation in some cases, will come up for board approval this weekend. The board will also consider whether to back one of at least four Republican candidates in the race for U.S. Senate. Securing that stamp of approval requires a two-thirds vote.

On to today’s headlines:

Jerry Brown predicts ongoing budget problems, “finger-pointing” if his tax measures fails

Gov. Jerry Brown said Thursday he is racing to clear the November ballot of two rival tax initiatives because failure will lead to severe ongoing budget problems and Democratic blame-trading.

“If we get down the road and there are no taxes,” he said, “there’s going to be a lot of finger-pointing.”

The Democratic governor, who proposes to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California’s highest earners, said a proposed tax on millionaires would attract many of the same people who might otherwise support his plan, splitting the vote and likely leaving both measures to fail.

“That would, I think, pretty well ensure the defeat,” Brown told The Bee’s editorial board. “I don’t want to say it’s an absolute, but it’s – I want to choose my words wisely – but I wouldn’t be counting on that tax measure.”

Brown’s meeting was his second this week with a newspaper editorial board, in an increasingly public effort by the governor and his allies to pressure the supporters of two other tax plans to withdraw. Also Thursday, the California Business Roundtable announced its opposition to the other measures.

What deficit? Legal mountain lion hunt dominates state Capitol

Once again, California faces a budget crisis. Revenues are projected to come in lower than anticipated. The governor and special interest groups are sparring over competing tax measures. Angry college students are occupying the Capitol.

And yet the most talked about issue in Sacramento these days is a Fish and Game Commissioner who legally killed a mountain lion in Idaho.

Ever since news of Dan Richards‘ hunting trip came to light in late February, the Watchdog has been patiently waiting for the story to burn itself out.  But after three weeks of intense scrutiny, the story doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. News organizations, state policy makers and callers to legislative offices continue debating this only-in-California controversy.

The latest development: about 60 people spoke in Richards’ defense at a commission hearing in Riverside on Wednesday, backing the beleaguered commissioner as animal rights groups and environmentalists continue to call for his head. This was after leader of the Senate called Richards a “jackass” and 40 Democratic Assembly members and the lieutenant governor called for his resignation.

Dan Walters: Redistricting, top-two primary change California’s election game

The suburban area of Ventura and Los Angeles counties had long been the domain of Republican Rep. Elton Gallegly.

But Gallegly is retiring this year. As redrawn, the 26th District has a nearly six percentage point Democratic registration advantage, so Democrats see it as a potential gain in their quest to recapture control of Congress.

Initially, Democrats pinned their hopes on Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett, but he withdrew. A flock of Democrats jumped in, much to the dismay of party leaders, because Republican state Sen. Tony Strickland also decided to run, giving Republicans a fighting chance of retaining the seat.

After much internal jockeying, party leaders persuaded a local Democratic assemblywoman, Julia Brownley, to enter the race, but the top-two primary system looms as a worrisome factor for the party.


‘Right to Vote’ proposed ballot initiative filed in Thousand Oaks

A Thousand Oaks planning commissioner has filed papers for a proposed ballot initiative that would require the city to hold elections to fill City Council vacancies.

Michael “Mic” Farris submitted the proposed initiative with the city clerk Thursday, two days after the council appointed Planning Commissioner Joel Price to the council seat left vacant by Dennis Gillette, who retired March 1 because of health concerns.

“I think the last two vacancies that the council filled, including the most recent one, left people dissatisfied with how it was resolved,” Farris said of the council’s decision to make appointments. “I know many people wanted to see a (special) election. People would prefer an election if given an opportunity, and this would provide that to the voters.”

In 2005, the council appointed Tom Glancy to the panel after Councilman Ed Masry retired because of health issues.

In both cases, the decision to appoint someone to fill the seat until the end of the retiring council member’s term angered some residents.

Enjoy your morning!

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Mar 07 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: March 7, 2012

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El Cajon Hills, California

Good Morning.

The California Legislature is in session. Today’s schedule is here.

On to today’s California headlines:

Anti-tax groups put brakes on California spending cap initiative

Fiscal conservatives seeking a constitutional cap on state spending suggested Tuesday they likely will wait until 2014.

Proponents have been concerned that the state spending cap would be buried on the November ballot with tax initiatives and a proposal to limit union dues collection, said Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

The California Taxpayers Association, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and Small Business Action Committee want to reset the state’s spending limit at the 2010-11 level. They would cap spending growth based on a formula tied to population and cost-of-living increases. The measure was cleared for circulation on Feb. 8, but proponents have yet to gather signatures.

Waiting until 2014 could be a blow for the California Republican Party. Chairman Tom Del Beccaro in recent weeks has touted the spending cap initiative as central to motivating GOP voters to polls in November and winning targeted legislative races.

“There was no question we had the resources to qualify,” Coupal said. “The issue was whether the business community was having second thoughts about whether we’d have the resources to run a credible campaign. I think they looked at the political landscape much like we did and saw some of the tax measures on the ballot and some of the proposals in the Legislature and felt like the timing was not right for spending cap.”

Some Initiatives Flush With Cash, Others Bare

It’s by no means a perfect way to measure the eventual outcome at the polls, but money often talks loudest in campaigns for or against ballot measures in California. And at this juncture, the money recorded in publicly filed fundraising reports has some interesting things to say.

In a nutshell: tobacco is king… and Governor Jerry Brown’s dialing for dollars is paying off.

First, a look at the two initiatives on the June 5 statewide primary ballot. Neither has received much attention — in part, perhaps, because of all the focus on the looming November initiative war.

When it comes to money, one June campaign stands out: opposition to the Proposition 29 tobacco tax increase.

Prop 29 seeks to add $1 in taxes to each pack of cigarettes sold in California, with the money (backers estimate $700 million a year) earmarked for cancer research. As you might expect, the battle lines here are drawn largely between anti-smoking groups and Big Tobacco.

The main campaign in support of Prop 29 has had only one significant contributions so far in 2012, a $1.5 million check from cycling champion Lance Armstrong. The campaign reported less than $250,000 in cash at the end of 2011, and will clearly need more big bucks like those from Armstrong… as the anti-Prop 29 campaign has come in with guns blazing. In just the first eight weeks of 2012, the campaign collected $12 million — most of which came from two large checks, one from Altria/Philip Morris ($7 million) and one from R.J. Reynolds ($3 million).


Thousand Oaks City Council picks Joel Price to fill vacant seat

After 16 interviews over the course of three hours, the Thousand Oaks City Council selected Joel Price on Tuesday night to fill a vacant seat on the council.

The vote was 3 to 1 to appoint Price to the seat vacated by Dennis Gillette, who has retired due to health concerns. Price will serve out the remainder of Gillette’s term beginning March 22 and ending in November 2014.

Councilwoman Claudia Bill-de la Peña cast the dissenting vote, calling an appointment the worst solution to filling the vacancy. The two other options the council passed on were to leave the seat empty until the city held a special election in November or to adopt an ordinance allowing the council to appoint someone until a special election in November.

During his interview, Price told the council his priorities were public safety, particularly in light of the shift of certain inmates from prison to local jails, along with maintaining open space and stabilizing the economy.

Price, a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department, told council members he had considered running for council once he retired.

Jerry Brown: ‘It’s good that we have old politicians around’

Gov. Jerry Brown, who will turn 74 next month, found himself last night in the company of an older politician, a rare enough occurrence Brown’s thoughts turned to age.

“It’s good that we have old politicians around,” said Brown, in San Francisco to welcome Israeli President Shimon Peres, 88, to Temple Emanu-El. “There’s a lot of these young ones, and they give us a lot of energy, but we need the wisdom of those who’ve gone through all the struggles.”

The Democratic governor recalled meeting Peres some 40 years ago, when Peres was promoting Israeli bonds.

Enjoy your morning!

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