14 Aug

Episode 16 – Score One for the Good Guys

Where California gets its appeals.

California’s appellate court has come down with a surprise ruling on SB96. They’ve put a stay on the law pending further clarification from our own Secretary of State Alex Padilla. That means that it’s entirely plausible, and, indeed likely that, should the signatures be certified by Orange, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino Counties, we might see a recall election as early as the fall. That would be great news for those of us who are aching to oust Newman from his seat.

Recall Update – Josh Newman is the #1 Fundraiser in California

http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article165966302.html

  • “State Sen. Josh Newman has spent only eight months as an elected official, but his campaign cash during the first half of 2017 topped all California lawmakers, according to state disclosures filed last week.”
  • In the first half of 2017, Newman has raised over $1.5 million for his war chest.
    • He got most of that in June – $1.1 million.
      • This will certainly help him combat the recall effort.

Recall Update – Dems Call in a Ringer to the FPPC

http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/editorials/article166581877.html

  • In March, Sec. State Alex Padilla appointed Brian Hatch to the FPPC.
    • Hatch has been a lobbyist in Sacramento for firefighters unions for 40 years.
  • “As detailed by The Sacramento Bee’s Taryn Luna, Hatch secretly met with a lawyer for Senate Democrats who is urging the commission to reverse a policy in a way that could benefit Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, as Newman fends off a recall orchestrated by the California Republican Party.”
  • “Former lobbyist Hatch conferred with a Democratic lawyer, seemingly encouraging steps that could lead to the policy reversal that would benefit Newman. At Hatch’s urging, and over the objections of Fair Political Practices Commission Chair Jodi Remke, the commission is considering changing the rule at its meeting next (this) week. The effort reeks of politics.”
  • “But if legislators believe the Denham-Newman rule is unfair, they could pass legislation specifically stating that legislators can give unlimited sums to recall-related campaigns, or they could sue to invalidate the rule.”
    • Before, I would have argued that the democratically controlled legislature wouldn’t vote for such a blatantly partisan bill designed specifically to help one of their own, but they’ve already passed SB 96 that did exactly that when they changed the law to impede the recall process. I don’t know why they don’t just take the next logical step and pass a law saying they can donate unlimited funds to Newman. Why the song and dance? They already control everything.

Recall Update – Appeals Court Stays SB96?

https://twitter.com/joncoupal/status/897242801280139264

http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-updates-a-recall-election-for-state-sen-josh-1502755663-htmlstory.html

  • Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association tweeted that the California Court of Appeals has ordered Sec. State Alex Padilla to justify SB96’s manipulation of recall election rules.
  • SB96 is stayed for now.
  • “Justice Vance W. Raye’s order issued Monday requires state elections officials to set aside the new law until the case is resolved in court. That delay would probably mean a recall election could be held in Newman’s Southern California district in November.”
  • “A spokesman for Secretary of State Alex Padilla said the court order is still being reviewed. A spokesperson for the Newman anti-recall campaign did not immediately return a message seeking comment.”

Local Story – Asm Chen Proposes Increase to Homeowners’ Exemption

http://www.ocregister.com/2017/08/12/want-to-improve-housing-affordability-increase-the-homewowners-exemption/

  • Phillip Chen and Jon Coupal argue that immediate financial relief is needed in lieu of a solution to California’s housing crisis.
    • The homeowners’ exemption on property tax hasn’t been increased in California in over 40 years.
      • In 1972 when the median home price in California was $28,000
      • The current median home price is $500,000.
        • That’s nearly an 1800% increase, with no increase to the property tax exemption.
    • Chen’s bill would increase the exemption to $25,000
    • It would also raise the renter’s credit according to inflation.
      • Why doesn’t this happen currently?
  • “Californians are paying some of the highest taxes in the nation, exacerbating the ability of ordinary citizens to afford a home. Even with Proposition 13, which has proven effective in limiting the growth of homeowners’ property tax bills, California still ranks in the top third of all states in per capita property tax revenue.”
  • “Moreover, high taxes and unaffordable housing are taking their toll on the California economy. In the last decade, California has lost more than 1 million people in net domestic out migration to other states. We all know at least a few people who have moved to Nevada, Texas, Oregon, Florida or Arizona to find a less expensive place to live.”
  • AB1100 was introduced back in February and was approved by the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee with bipartisan support back in May. When the legislature gets back from their summer break it will be able to take up AB1100.
  • This doesn’t actually do anything to address the housing crisis. It’s a shortage crisis. While increasing tax exemptions and renters credits will put more money into people’s pockets, it doesn’t do anything to increase the amount of available housing units on the market. Any solution taken up by the legislature needs to be multi-faceted.

Orange County Story – Supes Authorize Payout to Voice of OC

http://voiceofoc.org/2017/08/county-supervisors-vote-to-pay-voice-of-oc-121396-in-legal-costs-after-losing-public-records-case/

  • Last week, the Board of Supervisors lost a Freedom of Information Act case against the Voice of OC.
    • In 2016, VoOC sued the county to obtain information on a public statement Supervisor Todd Spitzer wanted to make concerning his handcuffing and citizen’s arrest of a preacher at a Wahoo’s restaurant back in 2015.
    • “After more than a year in court, Superior Court Judge Walter Schwarm ruled in May the Wahoo records are public and ordered the county to release them. The ruling became final in June. He allowed the county to keep from the public a separate set of emails related to a county contract with the preacher’s employer.”
  • However, not all the records concerning this incident were released.
    • “In its statement the county said “On County Counsel [Leon Page]’s recommendation, the County litigated this Public Records Act lawsuit to protect an important right known as the deliberative process privilege. This privilege exists to protect creative debate and candid consideration of policy alternatives within an agency.”
    • Basically, the court said the unreleased statement should be public, but the emails and written discussion that occurred in the leadup to the statement being drafted were still protected. This is similar to the process privilege lawyers and clients enjoy. That information, as far as I know (and correct me if I’m not) is not discoverable.
  • “The records released by the court showed Spitzer repeatedly tried to issue a public statement suggesting he would have been justified using “deadly force” against the preacher, who Spitzer handcuffed on Good Friday 2015 for allegedly staring suspiciously at the supervisor and a nearby table knife.”
  • “The records also showed that the county’s then-spokeswoman urged Spitzer not to issue his statement – which was titled “I WILL NEVER TURN MY BACK ON THE PUBLIC OR ITS SAFETY” – saying it could expose the county to a lawsuit. Spitzer, who is running for District Attorney, ultimately backed off.”
  • Ultimately, the VoOC won the publication of Spitzer’s statement and the emails related to that. They weren’t awarded the emails associated with the Boys Town organization, for which the preacher worked.
  • The VoOC was awarded all their legal fees and 4 of the 26 requested items.

California Story – Chad Mayes Doubles Down on his Decision

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-republican-california-climate-change-20170814-story.html

  • Asm. Leader Chad Mayes only had one regret about California’s Cap and Trade bill – that he didn’t attend the bill signing in person.
    • “The perception was, ‘He didn’t go because he was getting heat.’ That’s not how I operate,” Mayes said, explaining his absence as a scheduling conflict. “When you do the right thing, it’s a good idea to stand by that.”
  • Mayes and those other Republican legislators that voted for the bill used their vote to show California voters they are serious about issues that matter to the general public.
    • This supports the idea that they were just sick of always being on the losing side of every vote.
      • ““There is historically a tension between being relevant as the minority party, and achieving success on the margins — as opposed to being 100% doctrinaire,” said Rob Stutzman, a former Schwarzenegger advisor.”
  • “But for conservative critics, the entire episode was a betrayal of party principles and a tactical blunder. In their eyes, Mayes did nothing more than help liberals increase costs for California businesses and then take a victory lap. They accuse him of providing political cover to Democrats in the state Capitol while ignoring the wishes of his caucus, the majority of which opposed the legislation.”
    • For someone who acts as the Republican leader in the Assembly, this was literally the worst thing he could have done.
  • Many local and county GOP committees have already voted to remove him from his leadership position, including the San Bernardino County GOP committee – his home county.
    • The only way Mayes can actually be removed from his position is if the Republican members of the assembly vote him out. They are currently on their summer recess.
  • Mayes isn’t the only one who is facing criticism.
    • “Although Mayes has been the focus of criticism, some of the seven other Republicans who voted for the legislation have been under fire as well. Right-wing activists entered the district office of Assemblyman Marc Steinorth (R-Rancho Cucamonga) and didn’t leave until the California Highway Patrol arrived. Assemblyman Devon Mathis (R-Visalia), who drew attention for his emotional speech before the vote explaining his support for cap and trade, faced angry comments from constituents during a town hall meeting last month.”
  • However, those beleaguered Republicans might find solace, both politically and financially, in the many business leaders who supported the Cap and Trade bill.
    • Mathis was flanked on stage at his recent town hall by business leaders who described his vote as “courageous” and called the legislation “a hell of a deal.” Dorothy Rothrock, who supports the legislation as president of the California Manufacturers and Technology Assn., described their presence as a “show of force.”
  • Regardless, many in their districts feel betrayed by their votes. The job of an assembly person is to represent their community. It’s clear many of those Republicans who voted for Cap and Trade may have misread their constituency.

California Story – Sanctuary State Sue Trump Administration

http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-updates-san-francisco-sues-trump-administration-1502729412-htmlstory.html

  • Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed suit against the Justice Department over threats of withholding federal funding from Sanctuary Cities.
    • Last year, California cities and municipalities received around $28 million in federal law enforcement funding.
      • He claims the Trump Administration is trying to “bully” California.
        • “It’s a low blow to our men and women who wear the badge, for the federal government to threaten their crime-fighting resources in order to force them to do the work of the federal government when it comes to immigration enforcement,” the attorney general said at a San Francisco news conference.
    • There are several points of contention with the Trump Administration’s newly imposed rules:
      • Cities would have to provide federal immigration officials with access to detainment facilities (prisons) to interrogate suspected illegal immigrants.
      • Cities would have to give Homeland Security 48-hours’ notice before releasing an individual they’ve identified.
  • Becerra sees this as the Trump Administration forcing local police departments to act as de facto immigration enforcement.
    • “Our police and deputies are focused on fighting crime, not breaking up hardworking families.”
  • I’m confused. Do the states not want anything to do with federal enforcement of any crime, or is it just immigration crime? If they take this stance with Homeland Security, they shouldn’t cooperate with and/or assist the FBI, ATF, CIA, and any other federal agency to help them enforce federal laws. At least not if they want to be consistent. Is it just because it’s Homeland Security and they’re dealing with illegal immigration? Probably.

Crazy California Story – Let’s Get Rid of Gasoline Powered Cars

http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/California-should-phase-out-gas-powered-cars-11743326.php

  • The reasons given for eliminating gas powered cars by 2030 are as follows:
    • It would fight climate change.
    • It would improve our health.
    • It would create jobs, lift the economy, and increase energy independence.
  • We’re ready because…
    • We already have two great electric cars! Tesla and the Chevy Bolt! They have a long range and there are 11,000 public charging stations out there, with more being added every day.
      • Unless there are charging stations as frequently dispersed as gas stations that can charge a car as quickly as you can fuel it, this will never be practical.
      • Anyone who lives in an apartment or who doesn’t have access to outlets to charge their vehicle won’t benefit much from electric cars.
    • Electric cars are economical!
    • California drivers want electric cars! Because so many people ordered Teslas!
  • Here’s what we can do!
    • Ask your legislator to introduce or support legislation to phase out gas cars by 2030. Tell your legislator to support AB1184, introduced by Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, which would allocate $3 billion in subsidies for electric vehicles to increase demand and speed up innovation.
    • Decide that your next car will be gas-free.
    • Advocate for your city council member and county supervisor to introduce and support building ordinances that require charging infrastructure in new construction and retrofits.
    • Ask your employer, your landlord, your supermarket, your shopping center to put in charging stations.
  • California: Living in the freaking clouds.
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