07 Sep

(D)s Prioritize Higher Taxes Over Veterans

SQS-Brown Vets Cemetery

Let us talk about priorities. Why has Sharon Quirk-Silva not re-introduced a bill for the Veteran’s Cemetery in Irvine?

Sharon Quirk-Silva introduced a bill into the Assembly for the Veteran’s Cemetery in Irvine (AB409) which never even got a vote in committee.

The (D) Super-Majority outright ignored it. Her bill was later rolled into SB96. SB96 was a budget “trailer bill” which is basically an empty bill that is passed by the Senate with one line to be “Gutted” and a new bill full of legislation to b “Amended” into it by the Assembly before coming back for a vote before both houses. It’s a procedural trick which violates the spirit of the law and the very premise of good and open government.

To complicate matters because the Cemetery was rolled into SB96 with 95 other provisions, one of which is also an appropriations item, it is unconstitutional not once but twice and once specifically owing to the provision for the Veteran’s Cemetery itself. Read More

11 May

Why Support the Newman Recall?

There has been a lot of debate recently concerning the potential recall of State Senator Josh Newman of California’s 29th senate district. And rightfully so. Recalling a politician is no easy task, even when the impetus behind the recall is something as divisive as a widely unpopular gas and vehicle registration tax. It is an endeavor that oftentimes sees the enthusiasm of supporters and the public at large wane as the process goes on. This is completely understandable. The world of local politics is murky and toxic.

Ling Ling Chang, Suhkee Kang, and Josh Newman (subject of potential recall)

Here there be dragons.

So, why support a recall? The biggest reason for me is we didn’t have a say in approving this tax. Now, if you listen to our interview with Sen. Newman you will find that he believes that we did have a say in the tax. We elected him to the state senate to represent us and our interests. In doing so, we have implicitly given our approval to his actions, whatever they may be. We, in essence, stand behind his votes because they are our votes.

How ridiculous does that sound? That an elected politician would attempt to justify his vote for a controversial (and downright stupid) bill simply because he was duly elected is the height of hubris. Such a stance fails to address the very real concerns people have about the bill. The argument that “we had to do something” just doesn’t hold water. To continue with aqueous analogies, what is the point of bailing out a sinking ship when you have yet to patch up the hole?

There’s a lot of rhetoric out there right now regarding the gas tax. Most of it is moot now that Gov. Brown has signed SB1 into law, but it has bearing on my motivations behind supporting this recall. Here are some facts. California spent $419,090 per state-controlled highway mile in 2013. This put us at 44th of 50 in terms of total spending per mile. In that same year, we ranked 10th in the nation in total state-controlled highway miles at 18,535. That means in 2013 we spent nearly $7.8 billion on California highways only to have them be some of the worst roads in America. (source)

Our daily commute

A typical day on California highways.

We spend more to repair fewer miles of road than several other states. In 2013, Texas had 80,490 miles of state-controlled highways. That’s 4.3 times the mileage of California’s state-controlled highways. Given that fact, one would expect Texas’ cost per mile to be around the same magnitude difference from California’s. Not so. Texas only paid $177,357 per mile. They were able to service over 4 times the amount of mileage California did for nearly 2.4 times less money.

When we asked Sen. Newman about this discrepancy, he stated that there are many differences between Texas and California, which is true. California has a higher cost of living. California wages are typically higher than wages in Texas. Things just cost more here. All of that is true. However, it’s also true that Caltrans may be massively overstaffed. It may also be true that Texas has found cost-effective ways to service its larger state-controlled highway system than we have.

What we needed to do before passing this bill was to take a full audit of Caltrans and determine where and how we can cut costs. That’s just responsible governance. Instead, we get a manufactured crisis that won’t even come close to addressing the infrastructure issues we have in this state. We get a tax and fee increase that will cost working families hundreds of dollars extra per year (or more). We get a bill that has the potential of doing largely the opposite of its stated intention.

What we have is an unacceptably large pile of unanswered questions. The answer to those questions was not to pass a tax increase on the working and middle classes. Our elected officials owed us more than that. They still do. Josh Newman ran on being fiscally conservative. It’s part of the reason I voted for him. His actions have shown that he cares more about voting in lockstep with the Democrats in Sacramento than he does actually serving our district.

That is my main reason for supporting this recall. He has betrayed out trust. We didn’t have a voice in Sacramento when he voted for this tax and fee increase. We must use our voice now to recall him and elect a true advocate for our interests.

21 Apr

Quid Pro Quo on SB1? Say It Ain’t So

Rumors on the possibly illegal quid pro quo deal to get SB1 passed are heating up with Melissa Melendez, (R) Lake Elsinore, asking the Attorney General to look into the shady dealings. Melendez said the following in a news release:

“I am for working toward a solution and understand the need for compromise, but there is a big difference between compromise and bribery,”

I won’t hold my breath for the (D) Attorney General to look into the (D) Governor’s shading dealings in a State run lock, stock and barrel by (D)s. This is the same Governor who illegally used State workers to survey his private ranch without nary a repercussion because the rules, much like the taxes of SB1, fall squarely on the unconnected folks dont’cha know.

20 Apr

Tone Deaf Democrat Wants to Embolden Bad Cops

Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D) wants to embolden officers who lie by making it harder to punish them. His newest bill, AB1298, which is sitting in committee as of 18 April 2017, seeks to ratchet up the standard to punish for officers who lie in their official capacity.

Lower Standards for All… in government.

When an officer lies on the job they are known colloquially as a “Brady Officer” owing to a 1963 US Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland. When labeled as such their history of untruthiness is handed to the defense.

This is a big issue with law enforcement because the inability to testify makes it extremely difficult to do one’s job as an officer and it can ruin one’s career. Here’s a quick except from the online Law Enforcement reference site Police One;

“An officer who has been proved to have lied during a disciplinary investigation, or in any other context, will be placed on a Brady list which is then provided to prosecutors. If an officer on the list is scheduled to testify in a case, a prosecutor will be notified by the agency so that the appropriate disclosure can be made.”

This is a solid little piece of advice for officers and it essentially is summed up by “you expect the truth from citizens, they should expect the truth from you”.

That the United States Supreme Court had to tell prosecutors and police departments to not put habitual liars on the stand, lest they be forced to disclose the records, in order to convict people should tell you plenty about the goals of our supposed justice system.

That’s what makes Assemblyman Santiago’s bill so tone-deaf and tone-deaf. It makes no sense that in an era of #BlackLivesMatters and being #Woke and every third meme about the maltreatment of people by law enforcement that a (D) would be able to support, nay! defend, the lies by officers in their official capacity.

Yet Santiago knows that he’s safe in his district so he has no qualms about crushing those below him and subjecting them to the worst of the bad apples. It’s not like his lowly Angelino constituents can match the massive funding he likely gets from his police union benefactors.

Officers, like all those in government, should be held to a higher standard than those for whom they purport to work. We citizens should not be expected to be better than those writing and enforcing the very laws used against us day to day. Until we find angels amongst men to rule over us we should subject the men and women we do have to the highest standards.

This bill will do nothing to help with the growing gap in trust between the citizenry and law enforcement and will likely make people less likely to trust the police knowing that there are more brazen liars amongst them being further protected.