Tag Archive: Julia Brownley

Jan 18 2013

The California Flap: January 18, 2013

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Hilda SolisFormer Secretary of Labor and Rep. Hilda Solis

These are my links for January 8th through January 18th:

  • Hilda Solis considering a run for L.A. County Board of Supervisors – U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis confirmed Friday that she is considering running for a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, plans to “get my footing back in the community” and remain politically active in Los Angeles.”I’m going to take a look at it,” she said of her potential run for the eastern Los Angeles County seat that will be vacated late next year by Supervisor Gloria Molina, who will be termed out of office.Solis declined to offer a date when she will officially announce her decision, saying she wants to take time to “reflect, relax” and spend more time with her 87-year-old mother.

    Solis, 55, has spent 12 years in Washington, first as a San Gabriel Valley congresswoman and, since 2009, as a member of President Obama’s Cabinet.

  • Manufacturing stages U.S. comeback, but not in California – Manufacturing is staging a big comeback in the United States, according to a new U.S. Commerce Department report, but a new state employment report indicates that manufacturing is continuing its years-long slide in California.The federal report says that between the start of 2010 and the end of 2012, manufacturing accounted for 500,000 new jobs. But a state-by-state survey indicates that the effects are being felt mostly in the Upper Midwest and the South.In Indiana, for example, manufacturing accounts for 13.1 percent of jobs and 22.3 percent of earnings, making it the No. 1 state in terms of economic impact. All other states with high-impact manufacturing sectors, except for New Hampshire, are in the two regions.
  • California unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.8% last month – California’s labor market slowed last month as employers shed 17,500 jobs in December and the unemployment rate remained unchanged.The state’s jobless rate, which fell below 10% in November for the first time in nearly four years, stands at 9.8%, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.In addition, job figures for November were revised upward to show a net gain of 6,100 jobs that month.
  • Amgen to spend $200 million on Singapore manufacturing facility – Amgen will invest about $200 million to build a manufacturing facility in Singapore to produce clinical and commercial products, with an initial focus on expansion of monoclonal antibodies, the company announced Wednesday.”Amgen is pleased to be planning for a new world-class facility in Singapore as part of our global expansion strategy,” said Madhu Balachandran, executive vice president of operations. “Singapore is an ideal location to further our manufacturing efforts based on its rich talent pool and friendly business environment.”
  • California lawmakers use Lady Gaga to attract campaign cash – Are Democratic state Sens. Ricardo Lara and Ron Calderon “Little Monsters,” the term Lady Gaga uses affectionalty for her loyal fans.The two state lawmakers will be at Staples Center on Sunday night to see Lady Gaga in concert. They are holding a joint campaign fundraiser at the event, with a $3,900 VIP contribution also including a hotel room for the night. Calderon, a Montebello resident, is raising money for his 2014 state controller campaign while Lara, who lives in Bell Gardens, is hoping to bring in cash for his reelection to the Senate.
  • California High-speed rail critic Rep. Jeff Denham to chair House railroad panel – High-speed rail skeptics gained new traction Wednesday with the promotion of Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, to chairmanship of the House panel that oversees railroads.A sharp critic of California’s ambitious high-speed rail plan, Denham can use his post to challenge one of the Obama administration’s top public works priorities. Future rail legislation must pass through Denham’s subcommittee, which can also hold hearings to shed potentially unflattering light on specific projects like California’s.”I’m opposed to it, but I’m going to work with the California High-Speed Rail Authority on going forward,” Denham said Wednesday. “I want to work together with them, though I still have doubts about their funding and ridership numbers.”

    Underscoring his new leadership position, as well as his stated willingness to keep an open mind, Denham met early Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill with the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s two top officials, board chairman Dan Richard and chief executive officer Jeff Morales. In a statement, Richard described the meeting as “collegial and productive

  • California State misses prison benchmark on overcrowding – ‘s official. In a federal court filing Tuesday, California told federal judges that its prisons remain crowded beyond benchmarks set by the court nearly two years ago.The state said its 33 prisons on average are at 149.4% of design capacity. Nearly half of the individual prisons are much higher than that: 172% at North Kern State Prison, 187% at the Central California Women’s Facility, and the men’s section of Valley State Prison in Chowchilla is now at almost 352%.The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced Wednesday that the last female inmates at Valley State have been moved out, freeing up 1,536 beds that can now be used for the male prisoners housed there. Starting next week, the state will begin moving female inmates into a converted 403-bed women’s facility adjacent to Folsom State Prison.
  • Picking a Republican to challenge Brownley – It’s way too early to start writing about the 2014 campaigns, but with the reported statement by former Republican Sen. Tony Strickland that he’s “seriously considering” taking on Rep. Julia Brownley in a rematch of the 2012 campaign, a few preliminary observations seem in order.
  • California lawmaker pushes driver’s licenses for more illegal immigrants – A week after California began issuing driver’s licenses to a select group of young illegal immigrants, a state lawmaker has proposed that licenses be provided to many others who are unlawfully in the country.A new state law that took effect Jan. 1 allows driver’s licenses to be issued to those given a work permit as part of an Obama administration program that suspends deportation for many people who arrived illegally as children.Now, Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D- Salinas) has introduced AB 60, which would provide California driver’s licenses to anyone who can show they pay taxes, regardless of their immigration status.

    Alejo estimates there are up to a million illegal immigrants who are driving without licenses and thus many are on the road without proper training, testing or insurance. His bill would allow licenses if someone provides the Department of Motor Vehicles with a federal individual taxpayer identification number or other document deemed proof of paying taxes.

  • Speaker Pérez modifies Assembly restrictions on press access – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez has modified newly imposed restrictions on reporters’ floor access to legislators by designating a section in the back of the Assembly’s chambers for interviews.The development marks a significant change from Monday, when Pérez ended the longstanding practice of media interviews in the back of chambers during floor sessions. Reporters were required to conduct such talks in a hallway.
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Mar 28 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: March 28, 2012

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Fallbrook, California

Good Wednesday 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.

Governor Jerry Brown has some public events today.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s calendar today includes a California National Guard ceremony at which Col. Sylvia R. Crockett will be promoted to general.

It’s a milestone for the Golden State: She’s the first Latina to attain that rank in the California National Guard, according to the governor’s office.

Crockett, who’s now assistant division commander for the 40th Infantry Division as well as director of strategic communications for the California Military Department, started her career with the California National Guard in 1982. The ceremony starts at 11 a.m. in the the governor’s Capitol office.

Brown is also scheduled to speak with police chiefs, sheriffs, district attorneys and others at the 20th annual legislative day of the Alliance of California Law Enforcement. That talk starts at 1 p.m. at the Sacramento Convention Center.

On to today’s California headlines:

Calif. Democratic treasurer perpetrated $7M fraud

Democratic campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee defrauded at least 50 candidates, officeholders and political organizations out of $7 million in a scheme that dates back more than a decade, according to a court filing made Tuesday by federal prosecutors.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Sacramento filed the additional charges in federal court, providing the most detailed account to date in a case that has left some Democratic candidates scrambling for campaign cash in an election year.

Such filings typically are a prelude to a plea, but prosecutors would not confirm such a development or offer any further details.

Durkee, who heads Durkee & Associates in Burbank, was arrested in September and charged with suspicion of mail fraud after millions of dollars disappeared from the campaign accounts of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, other Democratic members of Congress and several Democratic state lawmakers.

The filing details a complex shell game in which Durkee shifted campaign money to cover an array of personal and business expenses.

In one example, $23,000 taken from Feinstein’s account was used to help pay American Express credit card charges from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Amazon.com, Disneyland, Trader Joe’s and Turners Outdoorsman.

Magic Johnson group to buy Dodgers for record $2B

A group that includes former Lakers star Magic Johnson and longtime baseball executive Stan Kasten agreed Tuesday night to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers from Frank McCourt for a record $2 billion.

The price would shatter the mark for a North American sports franchise, topping the $1.1 billion Stephen Ross paid for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins in 2009.

Mark Walter, chief executive officer of the financial services firm Guggenheim Partners, would become the controlling owner.

The deal, revealed about five hours after Major League Baseball owners approved three finalists for an intended auction, is one of several steps toward a sale of the team by the end of April. It is subject to approval in federal bankruptcy court.

“I am thrilled to be part of the historic Dodger franchise and intend to build on the fantastic foundation laid by Frank McCourt as we drive the Dodgers back to the front page of the sports section in our wonderful community of Los Angeles,” Johnson said in a statement.

As part of the agreement, the Dodgers said McCourt and “certain affiliates of the purchasers” would acquire the land surrounding Dodger Stadium, including its parking lots, for $150 million.

Rallying around Brownley

As expected, the region’s Democratic establishment is rallying around Assemblywoman Julia Brownley of Oak Park in the 26th Congressional District as party leaders and activists seek to consolidate enough support behind a single candidate to ensure a second-place finish in the June primary.

The challenge has been discussed here before at some length: With four Democrats on the ballot, a strong Republican in Sen. Tony Strickland of Moorpark and a strong independent in Supervisor Linda Parks of Thousand Oaks, Democrats are in danger of not qualifying a candidate for the November election under the state’s new primary election system, in which only the top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation, make it to general election ballot.

California courts scrap $2 billion tech project

One of the largest public technology projects in California history is history.

Faced with mounting criticism about the cost, the state Judicial Council, the policy arm of the courts, on Tuesday voted to pull the plug on a $2 billion computer upgrade for California’s 58 trial courts.

The decision ended a 10-year quest to electronically unify the nation’s largest state court system, a goal that ballooned in price as California hit its worst budget crisis in years.

The council chose instead to give local courts the ability to choose their own tech improvements, setting aside $8.6 million to study that issue and perhaps salvage scraps from the abandoned project.

The computer upgrade has divided a judicial branch trying to weather more than $600 million in budget cuts over the past three years. With courts cutting hours to the public and laying off workers, the tech upgrade became a primary target of critics who said judicial leaders should abandon the project and use the money to restore or maintain other operations.

Hundreds of court employees from the Bay Area and elsewhere rallied outside the state building in San Francisco to press for an end to the tech project.

“It’s just not the right time to go forward with this project,” Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge James Herman, a council member who prepared a report on the upgrade, said after a nearly all-day hearing.

And, finally, Dan Walters on the California Judicial Flap:

Enjoy your morning!

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Feb 21 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: February 21, 2012

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Santa Monica Pier this past weekend

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

On to today’s California headlines:

CA-26: Democrat Rep Brad Sherman is OUT and Assemblywoman Julia Brownley Is IN

Well, the rumors have born some fruit with California Assemblywoman Julia Brownley announcing over the long President’s Holiday weekend that she will run for Congress. Rep. Brad Sherman had coincidentally announced that he was remaining in CA-30 to duke it out with fellow Democrat Rep. Howard Berman for that Congressional seat.

Brownley lives in Santa Monica, but told Timm Herdt of the Ventura County Star that she would rent an apartment in Oak Park (unincorporated, Ventura County, but in CA-26) yesterday.

Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, stepping in after
Supervisor Steve Bennett dropped out last week, said Sunday she will be a
Democratic candidate in Ventura County’s new 26th Congressional
District.

Brownley, who lives in Santa Monica, has represented much of Ventura
County in the Assembly for the past five years. Her district includes
Port Hueneme, about half of Oxnard, Westlake Village and Oak Park —
areas that make up about 16 percent of the congressional district.

Brownley said she will move to an apartment in Oak Park this week.

Most, if not all of CA-26 is in Ventura County and Democrat Brownley,
while she represented Oxnard and Port Hueneme in the California
Assembly is from Santa Monica in Los Angeles County. Her carpetbagger
status (renting an apartment, in order to run for office in the
Congressional District – although federal law allows non-resident
candidacy, in any case) will be an issue.

With Ventura County Supervisor Steve benefit precipitously
withdrawing from the race, there was a Democratic Party void (i.e. a
well known Democratic POL candidate) and apparently Brownley will fill
it.

Now, whether Brownley can beat Thousand Oaks based Ventura County
Supervisor Linda Parks and/or Republican California State Senator Tony
Strickland in the June primary election (remember the top two advance to
the November general election) is another story. Plus, there are other
Democrats in the race which may dilute the Democratic vote.

Chevron’s influence in El Segundo comes under increased scrutiny

When El Segundo leaders last year were deciding whether to pursue a nearly ninefold tax hike on the Chevron oil refinery, they looked out to a City Council chambers filled with company supporters.

Employees and their families, school leaders and former elected officials argued the proposed increase to the refinery’s acreage tax was ill-timed and even wrong.

Whether they had any sway is difficult to know, but the council weeks later dropped the plan to put the hike on the April municipal ballot and instead entered into negotiations with Chevron. Those talks could win El Segundo millions of dollars more from the oil company if they go the city’s way.

But as both sides come to the table, Chevron’s influence in the town it helped found 100 years ago has come under scrutiny.

Tax plans would boost schools but leave social safety net vulnerable

As education groups battle over which California tax initiative would give the biggest boost to schools, advocates for low-income residents fear safety-net programs remain vulnerable no matter what happens on the ballot in November.

Proponents for three competing tax measures are focusing heavily on schools because voters prioritize education funding most. But it remains an open question how other programs will fare.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal raises several billion dollars for the state’s general fund that he says would help protect schools from severe reductions. But he has proposed deep cuts in welfare-to-work and child care in the first year even if his taxes pass.

Two rival plans largely bypass the state to send money directly to schools and counties. They leave unanswered how the state would close an estimated $9.2 billion deficit through June 2013.

“If tax revenues aren’t available to help balance the budget … it puts pressure on higher education, on health and social service programs, on parks,” said Jean Ross, executive director of the California Budget Project, which advocates for low-income residents. “It puts pressure on everything that isn’t constitutionally protected.”

Dan Walters: Democrats set to boost state Senate clout

When Republican Assemblyman Cameron Smyth decided to leave the Legislature rather than run for the state Senate this year, it virtually guaranteed that Democrats will achieve a two-thirds supermajority in the Senate, changing the Capitol’s political dynamics.

Having already won – via a 2010 ballot measure – the right to pass budgets by simple majority votes, Democrats would gain more power in the Senate over other issues, such as taxes.

That would, in turn, isolate Republicans in the Assembly, who are likely to retain more than a third of the lower house’s 80 seats this year, and could even gain one or two. They could still block tax increases, constitutional amendments and other measures requiring two-thirds votes.

The die was cast for a Democratic supermajority in the Senate when the state’s new independent redistricting commission redrew its 40 districts.

Enjoy your morning!

By the way, the California GOP Convention is coming up this weekend at Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport hotel in Burlingame.

California Republican Party members can look forward to hearing not only from GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich at their convention next weekend, but also from one of his former rivals.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will speak at Saturday’s dinner along with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. KSFO (560 AM) radio host Brian Sussman will emcee the event.

Pawlenty, who quit the presidential race last August after a disappointing finish in the Iowa straw poll, is now co-chairman of Mitt Romney’s presidential bid.

Gingrich will be headlining Saturday’s luncheon at the convention, held Friday through Sunday at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport hotel in Burlingame.

Also on the convention’s speaker list are California Reps. Kevin McCarthy and Darrell Issa, who share the main attraction at Friday’s dinner with Republican National Committee Co-Chairwoman Sharon Day. The Sunday prayer breakfast will feature the Rev. Lou Sheldon, founder and chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition , which has offices in both Washington, D.C., and Anaheim.

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