Tag Archive: Immigration

Feb 22 2013

The California Flap: February 22, 2013

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Carl WashingtonFormer California Assemblyman Carl Washington

The California Legislature is in session, but there are no floor sessions scheduled until Monday.

Today’s schedule is here.

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

An important deadline to remember for today:

  • 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.

On to today’s California headlines:

  • Carl Washington, a former assemblyman, to plead guilty to fraud – A top L.A. County Probation Department executive who once was a state assemblyman has agreed to plead guilty to federal bank fraud charges, admitting he bilked financial institutions out of nearly $200,000 by falsely claiming to be an identity theft victim. Carl Washington, a division chief of intergovernmental relations and legislative affairs, has agreed to plead guilty to three counts of bank fraud for causing losses of $193,661 to financial institutions, including Farmers and Merchants Bank, First City Credit Union and L.A. Financial Credit Union. Washington, 47, of Paramount, began in the summer of 2011 to run up large debts and file bogus police reports with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, blaming his debts on identity theft.
  • LAO has ‘serious concerns’ with governor’s Prop. 98 calculation – The State Legislative Analyst’s Office is calling into question the legality of Gov. Brown’s proposal to count new revenue from Proposition 39 toward funding for education. In a report released Thursday, the LAO warns that the governor’s plan for the initiative, the California Clean Energy Jobs Act, violates the intent of the law. Proposition 39, which won with 61 percent vote last November, is projected to raise up to half a billion dollars in revenue this fiscal year and as much as a billion per year starting next year for clean energy projects. It does this by changing the tax formula for multistate corporations doing business in California to one used by most other states.
  • California faces rising bill for retiree healthcare – First the good news: The state controller says the cost of providing healthcare to retired public employees did not rise as fast as expected. Now the bad news: Over the next three decades, the bill is expected to be $63.84 billion more than Sacramento has set aside to pay for it, and state officials don’t have a clear plan to cover those costs. The updated figures were released Thursday by state Controller John Chiang. “The current pay-as-we-go model of funding retiree health benefits is shortsighted and a recipe for undermining the fiscal health of future generations of Californians,” Chiang said in a statement. “However, today’s challenge won’t necessarily become tomorrow’s crisis if policymakers can muster the fiscal discipline to invest now so that we can pay tens of billions of dollars less later.” The unfunded liability for retiree healthcare, considered one of the most troublesome threats to California’s financial health, was previously pegged at $62.1 billion.
  • Brown may forge alliance with GOP governors on health plan – When Gov. Jerry Brown meets with the nation’s other governors this weekend in Washington, D.C., he will find common ground with some unlikely counterparts on an unlikely issue: President Obama’s healthcare plan. Among the governors now moving nearly as aggressively as Brown to implement the federal healthcare law are conservatives who have long fought to unravel it. They are finding that they cannot afford to pass up Obama’s offer of billions of dollars in federal aid to cover expansion of their Medicaid programs for the poor. Arizona’s Jan Brewer, New Mexico’s Susana Martinez and Nevada’s Brian Sandoval — all Republicans — have bucked the GOP trend on the Obama law by opting to accept the new federal money. In Florida, where 20% of residents do not have health insurance, Gov. Rick Scott announced Wednesday that he is joining the renegade group.
  • Field Poll: California voters want driver’s licenses, other privileges for illegal immigrants – Californians in record numbers want to grant driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, not charge them extra for college, and offer a path to citizenship, a new Field Poll shows. Attitudes are changing fast: This marks the first time a majority of voters have turned thumbs-up on driver’s licenses since the Field Poll began asking the question in 2005. But voters indicated the welcome mat should extend only to immigrants already living in the state. “Voters are in favor of liberalizing some of the laws toward undocumented immigrants, but at the same time, they don’t want to diminish border control,” said Mark DiCamillo, Field Poll director.
  • Freer home sales market draws Californians to Texas – What draws working and middle class Californians to states like Texas is mostly a freer home sales market, which brings lower prices.  A zero state income tax rate and lower business tax rates that provide incentives for job creation also matter, but to a lesser extent. The Texas advantage occurs even though its property base tax rates are double or triple those in California. However, although the tax rates are higher, because home prices are lower, the rates are applied to the lower values. That is the conclusion of Jed Kolko, the chief economist for Trulia, an online home sales listing company.  Kolko found that net California out-migration (those leaving minus those coming in) is higher for the working and middle class than it is for the wealthy.  Kolko’s statistical analysis actually found that high-income households making $200,000 per year or more were holding steady in California.
  • Garcetti and Greuel have spent $6.6 million and it’s pretty even – Thursday’s latest filing of campaign finance reports in the mayoral race shows the top two candidates essentially as matched in fundraising as they are in positions on the issues. There’s no real news in the numbers, so to sum up: Total raised: Garcetti:$4,138,938 Greuel: $4,078,547 Total spent: Garcetti: $3,501,589 Greuel: $3,154,086 Cash left for final 12 days: Greuel: $1,668,319 Garcetti: $1,504,723
  • Kristin Olsen to move to smaller office after failed GOP move – Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen was ordered to move immediately into a much smaller office in the wake of a failed effort within the Assembly Republican Caucus to oust its leader, Connie Conway. The move was widely regarded as punishment for Olsen, R-Modesto, who had been touted by some Assembly Republicans as a potential successor to Conway. The caucus decided nearly unanimously Thursday to retain Conway, with only one person voting no, members said. “I don’t know the exact circumstances of the reason for the move, but I do know that Assembly member Olsen was not the vote to vacate the chair,” said Kim Nickols, Olsen’s spokeswoman. Nickols declined substantive comment about the caucus leadership turmoil, saying only that “I know that the only thing that’s important to her is that the party unifies, refines its message and implements winning strategies.”
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Jan 31 2013

The California Flap: January 31, 2013

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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.

An important deadline to remember:

  • 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.

Around the Capitol today:

Lawmakers are holding a press conference pledging their support for a federal immigration overhaul. Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, will be joined by Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres; Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens; Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez, D-Coachella; Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo; Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento; and Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo. Starting at 10:30 a.m. in room 317 of the State Capitol.

On to the morning’s California headlines:

  • Controversial school bonds create ‘debt for the next generation’ – The Napa Valley Unified School District had a quandary: The district needed a new high school in American Canyon, but taxpayers appeared unwilling to take the financial hit required to build it.So in 2009, the district took out an unusual loan – $22 million with no payments due for 21 years. By 2049, when the debt is paid, it will have cost taxpayers $154 million – seven times the amount borrowed.School board member Jose Hurtado said he stands by the deal. But if it were a mortgage, he acknowledged, “we would run.”Napa is one of at least 1,350 school districts and government agencies across the nation that have turned to a controversial form of borrowing called capital appreciation bonds to finance major projects, a California Watch analysis shows. Relying on these bonds has allowed districts to borrow billions of dollars while postponing payments in some cases for decades.
  • California taxes surge in January, report says – California was flooded with tax dollars in January, according to a new report, and the state received $5 billion more revenue this month than Gov. Jerry Brown had anticipated.The Wednesday report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office shows a stark reversal for the state budget. At the end of November, tax revenue had fallen almost $1 billion short in the current fiscal year, according to figures from Brown’s Department of Finance.Now the state appears to be $5 billion ahead, which could provide further evidence for the governor’s declaration that California has emerged from its financial crisis.The analyst’s office floated three possible causes for the surge in tax revenue. The most positive theory is also the simplest — the economy has improved and there’s more income to tax.The others are less optimistic. It’s possible that wealthy residents, fearful that federal budget negotiations would increase their taxes, decided to cash out investments early. If so, that means the s…
  • PPIC Poll: Californians fear shootings, support citizenship – A new statewide poll finds Californians fearful of mass shootings and strongly in favor of more gun control, while also supporting a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.The poll from the Public Policy Institute of California released Wednesday night also finds more optimism about the state’s economy than at anytime since 2007.”Still,” says PPIC pollster and president Mark Baldassare, “many Californians are expressing concerns about the direction of the economy and the state budget situation.”But it’s the California reaction to recent news headlines that offers an early view on what could become potent political issues during the 2013 legislative season in Sacramento and next year’s statewide elections.65 percent of those polled say the government is not doing enough to regulate access to guns, and an equal number support a nationwide ban on semi-automatic style assault weapons.
  • PPIC Poll: Californians upbeat over future, budget plan – Californians are more optimistic about the future of the state than at any time since before the recession and are giving high marks to Gov. Jerry Brown’s budgeting approach after voters approved higher taxes to help balance the state budget, according to a poll released Wednesday.The Democratic governor’s job approval rating reached a record high 51 percent in the latest poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, with even a slim majority of Republicans giving a thumbs-up to his recent budget proposal.The poll also found broad support for increased gun controls and changes to current immigration laws that would allow a path to citizenship. A majority support the federal health care overhaul that already is under way in California.The percentage of adults who said the state is headed in the right direction was 51 percent, the first time a majority of people said that since January 2007.
  • For millionaire athletes, states with highest tax rates may not make the cut – Is Lefty’s stance on California’s tax hikes a sign of things to come for millionaire athletes?The Golden State’s new 13.3 percent income tax on top earners prompted golfer Phil Mickelson to say earlier this month he was considering a move, and according to the accountants who advise millionaire athletes, he was just saying what a lot of jocks were already thinking. Federal taxes on the top income bracket just rose by roughly 5 percent, and, while there’s nothing rich athletes can do about that, they are paying attention to which states dip into their game checks — and how much they take.“They’re going to have an exodus of people,” said John Karaffa, president of ProSport CPA, a Virginia-based firm that represents nearly 300 professional athletes, primarily in basketball and football. “I think they’ll see some [leave California] for sure. They were already a very high tax state and it’s getting to a point where folks have to make a business decision as well as a lifestyle decision.”
  • Legislation proposed to help California launch healthcare overhaul – The state Legislature gaveled in a special session on healthcare Monday, pushing forward with sweeping proposals to help California implement President Obama’s healthcare overhaul.The measures, including a major expansion of Medi-Cal, the state’s public insurance program for the poor, would cement the state’s status as the nation’s earliest and most aggressive adopter of the federal Affordable Care Act. Beginning in January 2014, the law requires most Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty.Gov. Jerry Brown called the special session so healthcare bills that he signs can take effect within 90 days rather than next year.
  • Counties express concerns about Medi-Cal expansion – As state lawmakers propose a major expansion of Medi-Cal to help California implement President Obama’s healthcare overhaul, county officials are raising concerns that the proposal could siphon critical dollars from their safety-net programs.On Monday, legislative leaders in both houses sponsored bills that would dramatically expand the state’s public insurance program. Under the proposals, individuals earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level — or $15,415 a year — would be covered, potentially adding more than 1 million Californians to the Medi-Cal rolls.The federal government would subsidize costs for the first three years, phasing down to 90% afterward.Currently, counties receive state funding to care for the uninsured. But Gov. Jerry Brown has said that if the state were to administer the Medi-Cal expansion it may reduce the roughly $2 billion it gives to counties each year to cover the new costs. In his proposed budget, the governor said the state might also shift…
  • State ordered to pay back districts $1 billion for 20-year-old mandate – A state commission has ruled that the state must reimburse school districts about $1 billion in mandated special education costs dating back 20 years. But like many protracted mandate cases, the victory is largely one of principle. Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing to include a small payback in next year’s budget, and the dollars will come from funding within Proposition 98, so it will essentially involve shifting education dollars around.The unreimbursed expenses are for intervention plans for special education students identified with behavior problems. In the early 1990s the State Board of Education, under orders from the Legislature, prescribed interventions that teachers should incorporate into individual education plans, known as IEPs, according to Paul Golaszewski, an analyst with the Legislative Analyst’s Office who has followed the case.
  • L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, again, cast as possible transportation secretary – L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, again, cast as possible transportation secretaryThe departure of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood raised new questions over what Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa would do if he is offered the job – either now or after July 1, when his term as mayor expires. | Also: Doug McIntyre on the mayor’s next moveVillaraigosa was in South Korea for the Special Olympics and is not expected to return until Thursday.
  • Phil Mickelson’s net state income tax increase: 83.6%!!!!! – Richard Rider, the dean of the small-government/low-tax movement in San Diego County, has come up with some stunning number-crunching on his blog:“Here’s the fact that EVERYONE (including me) initially undervalued concerning [Rancho Santa Fe pro golfer Phil] Mickelson and CA state income taxes. Starting in 2013, Mickelson’s NET state income tax has jumped 83.6%! And yes, this huge increase hits most Californians making more than $2 million income.“Here’s why. Until 2013, state income taxes were deductible for federalincome tax purposes. Starting in 2013, for the really rich, this deductibility largely goes away (as does deducting property taxes and many other deductions). For people with over $2 million of income, they lose 80% of such deductions.“With Proposition 30 passed in November, CA has raised its income tax on the wealthy by 29%. The combined tax increase is breathtaking. Do the math, and you find that in 2011 the net CA income tax for Mickelson was 6.7% In 2013 his net CA income tax is 12.3% — an increase of 83.6%.”This is mind-boggling. No wonder Phil said he was contemplating “drastic changes.”
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Aug 22 2012

California Ready to Grant Driver’s Licenses to Illegal Immigrants?

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California Department of Motor Vehicles websiteCalifornia DMV

California Democrats have tried this type of Hispandering before, but California voters have not been willing to accept granting a driver’s license to someone who is here illegally.

But, now with President Obama’s controversial immigration selective enforcement, they will try it again.

California is on the verge of allowing hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants to receive driver’s licenses for the first time in nearly two decades.

The key question is how to do it.

The issue of granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants has raged in the Legislature for much of the past decade, without resolution, but fighting is largely moot now due to a new federal policy.

President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals gives a select group of undocumented immigrants the right to live and work in the United States for two years without fear of deportation.

California is laying the groundwork for extending the privilege to drivi
ng, too, for an estimated 400,000 immigrants.

“It appears that young people who receive federal deferrals will be eligible for California driver’s licenses,” the Department of Motor Vehicles said in a written statement Tuesday.

“But it remains uncertain whether clarifying legislation or regulations will be necessary,” the DMV statement said.

Gil Duran, spokesman for Gov. Jerry Brown, said the DMV statement reflects the governor’s position but that he could not elaborate.

The glitch is that state regulations allow only certain types of federal immigration documents to support the issuance of a driver’s license.

There WILL be a profound negative outcry should this become California DMV policy.

Any legislation that needs to be passed will be immediately subject to a California referendum and not enacted.

Now, whether Governor Jerry Brown will order this change, or has the power to do so, will also be subject to court action.

Do California Democrats really want such a blatant pander play to Hispanics to be at the forefront going into the November election season?

I doubt they will and after the initial bloviating by the Hispanic-Democratic Caucus, this issue will be relegated to the back bench.

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May 03 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: May 3, 2012

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El Cajon Hills, California

Good Wednesday morning!

The California Legislature is in session. California Assembly and State Senate Floor Sessions will begin at noon.  Today’s schedule is here.

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

California Governor Jerry Brown today takes the stage along with former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Gov. Jerry Brown joins former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today at a big-ticket Bay Area Council event in San Jose.

The 2012 Outlook Conference will look at trends affecting business, the economy and politics. Rice is speaking at 1 p.m., while Brown is scheduled to start at 3:35 p.m. sharp. Clinton’s talk is set for 5 p.m. Other speakers include the CEOs of LinkedIn, DuPont, PG&E Corp., and Kaiser Permanente.

On to today’s California headlines:

Signatures for Molly Munger’s tax plan submitted in Los Angeles

Supporters of a tax measure backed by wealthy civil rights attorney Molly Munger have started submitting the voter signatures they’ve collected in their qualification campaign.

The campaign announced late today that it is submitting 241,049 signatures to elections officials in Los Angeles County. Backers hope to submit signatures of 775,000 voters in all. Roughly 504,000 valid signatures are needed to qualify the proposal for the November ballot.

Campaign spokesman Nathan Ballard said supporters are wrapping up signature-gathering efforts this week. He said he is “optimistic” that they will hit that target.

Munger’s measure, which is supported by the California State PTA, would raise income taxes on a sliding scale on all but the poorest California workers for 12 years, with most of the estimated $10 billion in revenues going directly to schools and early development programs. A portion of the money would be used to pay down school bond debt for the first several years.

Supporters of the tax measure backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, which would temporarily hike the sales tax and increase income taxes for Californians making more than $250,000 a year, sought earlier this year to persuade Munger to drop her effort so there would not be more than one tax measure on the same ballot. That campaign has not yet announced turning in petition signatures.

Brown’s tax hike finishes signature gathering

Supporters of Governor Jerry Brown’s tax increase initiative believe they’ve got the signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot, less than seven weeks after hitting the streets.

The initiative to temporarily raise income taxes on the most wealthy and sales taxes on everyone wrapped up its paid signature gathering on Wednesday, according to Democratic political consultant Gale Kaufman, a top advisor to the campaign.

It will likely take several weeks for elections officials to verify all the signatures, collected at a brisk pace following the governor’s eleventh hour compromise with liberal activists who were originally pushing a millionaires tax initiative.

Meantime, Brown’s fall tax hike competition also made news Wednesday.

Education activist Molly Munger and her PTA allies began submitting signatures for their temporary, virtually across-the-board income tax increase to help fund K-12 schools. The independently wealthy Munger has bankrolled the entire signature gathering effort — some $7.2 million. And as she said in a March interview, she’s prepared to self-fund the entire 2012 campaign.

Even so, the Munger measure continues to fare poorly in public statewide polls, though its backers remain adamant that it’s the best choice for voters who care about school funding.

SEIU drops initiatives as part of California hospital accord

A labor union that pushed a pair of ballot measures to rein in excessive hospital billing and expand healthcare for the poor has dropped them — in exchange for an agreement that, among other things, enlists the hospital industry in the union’s organizing efforts.

The agreement, announced late Wednesday, ends a months-long public battle between the Service Employees International Union and the California Hospital Assn. Private hospitals had accused the union of using the initiative process as leverage in contract negotiations to expand its membership, a charge the union strongly denied.

Under the new pact, dubbed a Partnership for a Healthy California, the hospital association pledges to facilitate meetings between the SEIU and CEOs of hospitals and health systems employing 100,000 non-union workers. (Those hospitals, the document notes, are not bound to sign organizing agreements.) In turn, the SEIU agreed not to file petition signatures with county election officials and the secretary of state’s office.

On Wednesday, both parties downplayed the organizing component of the deal, instead painting the agreement as the product of an unprecedented partnership dedicated to tackling the most pressing issues in modern healthcare. The SEIU and the hospital assn. vowed to form a labor-management task force to find ways to lower costs, improve quality and expand access.


The End of Illegal Immigration, and its Political Implications

There are two important political ramifications to these numbers.

  •     The explosive growth in Latino voters may have already happened.  Latinos accounted for about 20 percent of the California electorate in 2010, and that percent has risen dramatically since 1994 and Proposition 187, the anti-immigrant measure.  It will probably continue rising, but not as rapidly as it has.  There are 4.5 million under 18 Latinos; they will reach voting age in the next two decades, and most are citizens and were born here.  But that may not be enough to maintain the current levels of growth of the Latino electorate, and that electorate will join the rest of Californians in growing older.  As Josh Kraushaar of the Nation Journal wrote recently, “For Democrats, the expected long-term explosion of Latino voters may not end up materializing.  While there was a significant spike in the Hispanic population at the first half of the last decade, the economic recession and tighter immigration crackdown have slowed that to a trickle.”
  •     The second is the passing of immigration as a political issue.  Michael Barone of the American Enterprise Institute recently wrote that, ”The illegal immigration problem is going away.”  Illegal immigration became a political issue because, as Barone put it, “Mexican immigrants tend to be younger, poorer, less educated and less fluent in English.  They are also more likely to be illegal.”  With this flow stopped, many observers see the political issue eventually fading away.

Enjoy your morning and Dan Walters in his Daily Video: Budget season is here

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Oct 25 2011

Mexico Consular ID Cards Now Accepted as Valid Identification in Sonoma County

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Good grief….
In Sonoma County, a California driver’s license is accepted as valid identification — but so is a card issued by the Mexican consulate.

Mexican nationals will be able to give their country’s state-issued identification cards as valid ID to Santa Rosa police officers and Sonoma County sheriffs, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported.

The idea is to reduce the immigration-related duties of local cops, the newspaper reported. Accepting Mexican consulate-issued cards will reduce the number of people booked into jail for lacking ID, and ergo, will reduce deportations from Santa Rosa County Jail, the newspaper reported.

“Today is a great day,” Sonoma County Assistant Sheriff Lorenzo Dueñas said. “We’re now going to accept the matriculár consular ID.”

Come on now.

Either you are going to enforce the immigration laws or change the laws.

This selective enforcement of immigration laws by the Obama Administration Justice Department is a de facto immigration amnesty by the Executive Branch of government. California sanctuary cities are not tolerable, nor Constitutional.

If I was pulled over and was an unlicensed driver, all hell would break lose. But, if you are an illegal immigrant, WHO IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE IN THE USA ANYWAY, can hand over some phony baloney ID card (probably forged) as ID and then will be let go?

No, something is wrong here.

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