Homeland Security report: #Obama’s war on #Latinos crushed the hopes of over 400K immigrants

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It’s been a busy year for the US Border Patrol, with total nationwide arrests up 23% from 2015, according to a year-end report issued Friday by the Department of Homeland Security.

President Obama’s war on Latinos has been one of his administrations most important priorities.

DHS released its annual report on immigration enforcement efforts across various federal agencies, highlighting the prioritization of resources on convicted criminals, threats to national security and those who attempt to cross the border unlawfully.

US Border Patrol reported 415,816 apprehensions nationwide, compared to 337,177 in fiscal year 2015.

Read the whole story from CNN

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#ElMonte pensions screw taxpayers – it’s basically stealing

The retired city manager of El Monte collects more than $216,000 a year, plus cost-of-living increases and fully paid health insurance.

Few Americans have pensions anymore — least of all the El Monte taxpayers who fund the retirement scam.

Even more galling, part of a coterie of former El Monte civil servants receive one taxpayer-funded pension through the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) — and a second through a “supplemental” plan approved by the city council in 2000.

The extra pensions, along with other sweeteners granted to El Monte employees over the years, have created one of the heaviest public pension burdens of any city in California.

El Monte’s retirement costs totaled $16.5 million this year. That’s equal to 28% of the city’s general fund.

Among California’s 10 largest cities, only San Jose paid as much toward retirement costs relative to its general fund. Los Angeles spends 20% of its general fund on retirement costs.

Read about the whole scam in the Los Angeles Times

Chinese immigrants rush to buy guns – they know what a #PoliceState looks like

Private gun ownership is generally banned in China. So when Chinese immigrants arrive in the U.S., many are curious about owning firearms.

In Los Angeles, Chinese immigrants frequent Gun Effects, a firearms store housed in a City of Industry strip mall.

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California politicians continue their brutal crack-down on the 2nd Amendment.

On a recent weekday, a line formed at a bilingual English and Chinese sign-in sheet. A few customers puzzled over a Chinese translation of the handgun test beneath an empty wall where the store once displayed assault weapons — all of which were snapped up before California’s tough new gun control measures take effect Jan. 1.

Across the state, sales have surged for semiautomatic rifles with bullet buttons, devices that allow for quick switching of ammunition cartridges and are banned under new law. Overall firearms sales increased by 40% over last year, according to the state Department of Justice.

In November, voters also approved Proposition 63, which outlaws the possession of magazines with more than 10 rounds, expands background checks for those buying bullets and makes it a crime to fail to report a lost or stolen gun.

At Gun Effects, Chinese buyers have shown up in droves to buy the store’s stock of soon-to-be restricted firearms.

Read the whole chilling story in the LA Times

Labor’s challenge from a Trump administration

What’s at risk? Among other things, the board’s recent “quickie” election rule, which speeds up the calendar for union-recognition campaigns and reduces companies’ ability to fight off the efforts through compulsory meetings and other heavy-handed tactics, including cynical use of legal challenges to delay the process. The NLRB has also been moving to make franchising corporations such as McDonald’s share responsibility for the treatment of workers by franchisees, an effort that seems likely to fade away with a quantum shift in outlook under a Trump NLRB.

But the biggest threat could be to unions themselves. For years, anti-union activists have pushed “right to work” laws — barring compulsory payment of union dues to cover the costs of bargaining and maintaining contracts — at state levels with varying degrees of success. But there’s also a movement at the federal level, which could get enough support within Congress and the Trump administration to pass.

That wouldn’t be a death knell for unions, but it would certainly make an already difficult situation even worse.

Read the entire opinion piece in the LA Times

The next #GhostShip: L.A does nothing to stop illegal concerts

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The business of these illicit concerts and music parties has thrived for years in L.A. and elsewhere, despite operating in violation of fire and building ordinances.

The events generated little scrutiny from public officials until earlier this month, when the deadliest fire in modern California history cast a tragic spotlight on the dangers.

Flames swept through the Ghost Ship, an illegally converted warehouse in Oakland where a concert was underway. Thirty-six people died.

Los Angeles’ record of cracking down on such concerts has been sporadic and infrequent at best, according to city data and interviews.

The underground clubs present shows within blocks of L.A. Fire Department stations, but the agency has cited fewer than 10 of them in the last three years.

The feckless city Building and Safety Department says its inspectors do not take the initiative to look for violations in areas known for the music pop-ups, such as downtown’s industrial and fashion districts.

Rather, the lazy department employees waits for someone to file a complaint about a specific address.

Los Angeles has not seen a catastrophe on the scale of the Ghost Ship. But experts said the city is at risk given the size of its music scene and the large number of warehouses and other properties whose owners are willing to host concerts.

Read the whole story in the LA Times

Need more proof the police are #racist…here you go

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Three rookie Miami police officers fired two days before Christmas joked in a group chat with other cops about using predominantly black neighborhoods for target practice.

“Anyone know of an indoor shooting range in Miami?” one officer asked.“Go to model city they have moving targets,” replied another.“There’s a range in Overtown on 1 and 11. Moving targets and they don’t charge,” added a third.

Officers Kevin Bergnes, Miguel Valdes and Bruce Alcin told an investigator that they were joking.

Yeah, right…just joking, ha ha ha. Enjoy your Police State.

Read the whole disgusting story in the Fresno Bee

Obama punishes Russia for #CIA and #NSA failures

capture1The CIA and NSA read every email and listen to every telephone call in America. Yet according to the White House, the Russians rigged the election anyway.

So President Obama ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, closed two rural estates reportedly used by Russian spies, and slapped sanctions on two Russian intelligence organizations and other entities Thursday for their alleged role in what the White House says was a Kremlin-directed effort to interfere with the 2016 presidential race.

Everybody at the CIA and NSA have apparently kept their jobs.

WTF?

Read the full story of America’s latest intelligence failure in the LA Times

#SiliconValley arrogantly snubbed the world; now they’re on the defensive

In 2016, the world of tech was marked by a clash between tech companies and law enforcement over encryption; antagonism between the European Union and Silicon Valley; and a reignited debate over network neutrality.

2017 may be an even more notable year for the future of tech. Key policies are likely to be set and unmade by a Republican-controlled Congress and a new president who maintains an uncertain relationship with the tech industry elite and who has expressed criticism of net neutrality and a desire to expand government surveillance.

Read the whole story in BuzzFeed News

Pentagon brass allow child killers to go free, get pensions

The Pentagon has failed to deal with a little-noticed cascade of child abuse and neglect cases in military families in the years since America went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, a Times investigation has found.

Previously unreleased reports by the Army, Navy and Air Force reveal numerous cases where military officials knew or suspected that child abuse or neglect was occurring — but failed to intervene or to alert the Family Advocacy Program or state child welfare agencies, the Los Angeles Times found.

Read the whole distressing story in the LA Times

Jonathan Sanchez: California has lost a great friend, a great leader, and a great citizen

aldfjasdlfjdsalfjdSurrounded by his family, Eastern Group Publications (EGP) Associate Publisher and Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Sanchez passed away Dec. 23 at his home in Highland Park, California, his family has announced.

Jonathan’s comes following a short battle with cancer. He was 64,

Jonathan was very private and never wanted to burden his family or friends with his illness, so his passing comes as a shock to many who knew and loved him all these years.

He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, friend and confident to many, an advocate for the Latino community he loved so much and for the Latino-owned small businesses he worked so hard to give a voice to.

Jonathan left us too early and will be sorely missed.

One of nine children, Jonathan was born Aug. 31, 1952 to Juanita Beltran Sanchez and Jose Vicente Sanchez. He was a lifelong Angeleno who spent most of his childhood and adult life in the Northeast Los Angeles communities of Highland Park and Mt. Washington.

Together with his wife of three plus decades, EGP Publisher Dolores Sanchez, they established a highly respected chain of 11 bilingual (English/Spanish language) community newspapers serving East, Northeast and Southeast Los Angeles County. In 2015, the venerable Mexican-American Sun, ELA Brooklyn-Belvedere Comet, Wyvernwood Chronicle and Monterey Park Comet were folded into EGP’s flagship newspaper, the Eastside Sun. EGP’s other publications are the Northeast Sun, Bell Gardens Sun, Montebello Comet and Commerce Comet.

Before joining EGP in 1979, Sanchez was art director at the Bloom Agency, a full service advertising agency that also published monthly magazines. In addition to overseeing the layout and design for the various publications, Sanchez also doubled as a photographer, shooting covers for many magazine covers.

Photography would remain a passion for much of his life. Jonathan was an avid collector of vintage cameras.

Jonathan attended UCLA and completed journalism programs at the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration and The Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

In his capacity as EGP associate publisher and COO, Sanchez oversaw the business side of the family-owned and operated newspaper group, including advertising, client and government relations. He also directed EGP’s special advertising and public relations contracts, such as a multi-year statewide outreach project for California’s former Healthy Families Program that included advertising, public relations, community engagement, enrollment and other elements, and dozens of other contracts.

Shortly before taking ill, Sanchez was elected to the Board of Directors of the California Newspaper Association (CNPA). As a member of the CNPA, Sanchez advocated strongly and successfully against a plan to change California’s public notice laws that would have endangered the public’s ability to know what its government is doing and how taxpayer dollars are being spent. In a letter to state legislators opposing the legislation, Sanchez wrote:

“The changes this legislation would make will severely hamper the community’s right to know, making it more difficult for citizens, taxpayers, property owners and others to access information that could pertain to them, whether in the form of notices about local public works projects, land use and environmental issues, delinquent taxes that could result in property seizure, termination of parental rights, contracting opportunities or ways to mitigate issues arising from government action.” He pointed out that it’s “a step to further disenfranchising Latinos.”

His past professional affiliations include:

Founding Member and Board Member of the Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce

Founding President of the California Hispanic Publishers Association (CHPA), a statewide organization of Hispanic owned newspapers that during his term in office reached more than four million readers a week.

Vice President and founding member of The National Federation of Hispanic Owned Newspapers (NFHON).

Member of the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP)

Member of the National Newspaper Association

Founding member of The New California Media, which later became New America Media

Member of the California Newspaper Publishers Association

Founding member of The California Free Press Association

Member of the Latin Business Association

Member of the Board of Latino Journal

Member of the Latino Health Coalition

Member of the Latino Peace Officers Association

Jonathan was appointed by former Gov. Pete Wilson to the Small Business Development Board of the California Trade and Commerce Agency; and California Inspection/Maintenance Review Committee (Department of Consumer Affairs/Bureau of Automotive Repair.)

He was the founder and president of the Eastern Group Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to “Family Literacy and Community Volunteerism.” The EGP Foundation’s Letters to Santa program benefited more than 90,000 disadvantaged children and their families. The Foundation also provides internships for college and high school students pursuing a career in journalism, and has previously worked with grammar school students helping them publish their own mini newspapers.

Active in community service, Jonathan also served as a member of:

Board of Governors of the Crippled Children’s Society.

Board of Directors of the Boy Scouts of America.

Member of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Advisory Board.

In May 2016, the Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club honored Jonathan and Dolores Sanchez for their support of programs that enrich the lives of children.

Jonathan has received many other recognitions and honors over the years from nonprofit groups, elected officials and the cities where EGP newspapers circulate.

In addition, he has served on numerous boards and committees for community based organizations, law enforcement agencies and educational entities.

Jonathan is survived by his wife Dolores, daughters Deana and Bianca Preciado and her husband Arturo Preciado; brothers David, Miguel, Juan and Pedro and sisters Maria Teresa, Delia and Rose; Dolores’ children Gloria Alvarez and husband Mike Alvarez, their four children and two grandchildren; Michael Sanchez and wife Christine and their five children and four grandchildren; Sarah Ramos and her husband Jon Ramos and their three children and; Joe Sanchez III and his wife Carla, their 8 children, spouses and nearly two dozen grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A Christian Memorial Service will be held Friday, Jan. 6 at 11 a.m. at Pillar of Fire Church: 4900 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA. 90042.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made in Jonathan’s name to the nonprofit Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club in Lincoln Heights: 2635 Pasadena Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90031, (323) 221-9111, or another program supporting children. For more information, visit http://www.labgc.org or email info@labgc.org. Additional information will be posted on the EGP website: http://www.EGPNews.com and/or Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Eastern-Group-Publications/146212265407642 .

For more information, email Gloria Alvarez at galvarez@egpnews.com or leave a message at (323) 221-1092.

Will Trump Call California’s Bluff?

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Believe it or not, but the incoming Trump administration is a godsend for California’s increasingly left-wing political leadership. Note how Democratic elected officials are tripping all over themselves, competing to make the most outrageous attention-grabbing boasts about their plans to fight against the new GOP presidency.Suddenly, these legislators face the prospect of relevancy, real or rhetorical.

Until Trump’s ascension, California’s pols could hardly get much attention — except as weird left-coast folks determined to send their tax base to Texas. Even President Obama sometimes treated California the way one would treat a precocious child. But now things could become contentious as the nation’s most populous and liberal state becomes the test case for the fundamentally conservative idea that states are free to stand up to the federal behemoth.

Read Steven Greenhut’s analysis in The American Spectator

#Modesto panics after CalPERS rate reduction

A top city official says Modesto is waiting for more details to emerge to gauge the impact of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System’s decision to lower what it expects to earn on its investments, which will require public-sector agencies to pay more toward their employees’ pensions.

But Deputy City Manager Joe Lopez said he expects the decision will add to the challenges the city faces in balancing its budget.

“It will impact us,” he said.

The CalPERS board voted last week to lower what is called the discount rate from 7.5 percent to 7 percent over three years. The rate is what CalPERS expects to earn from its investments. But it has wildly missed that target in its last two fiscal years, earning 2.4 percent and then 0.6 percent.

CalNews.com sources say that privately, city officials are in panic mode.

Read the whole story in the Modesto Bee

Feckless #PoliceState wants all your data stored on Amazon’s Echo

In Arkansas, police investigating a murder case issued a warrant seeking information collected by an Amazon Echo in a suspect’s home. Amazon twice refused to provide data from its servers from the device.

Just like Apple’s refusal earlier this year to unlock an iPhone for the FBI, that is a good thing. But the case raises all sorts of questions about the future of connected devices.

Yes, the Echo is a lot of fun. The so-called “smart speaker” will play a George Michael song on demand, look up the capital of Tennessee and walk you through a cookie recipe, among many other things. The Echo was such a hot gift this Christmas that Amazon sold out of them.

Read the whole story in the: San Jose Mercury News

Alameda County continues its legal harassment of gun stores

A federal appeals court in San Francisco agreed today to have an 11-judge panel review a challenge to an Alameda County ordinance that restricts the locations of gun stores.

The review by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was requested by the 2nd Amendment hating Alameda County.

The county is appealing a decision in which a three-judge panel of the court said by a 2-1 vote in May that the right to buy and sell guns is “part and parcel” of the constitutional Second Amendment right to bear arms.

The smaller panel’s majority said the county should therefore have to justify the law under a rigorous standard, by proving that legal gun stores increase crime or harm neighborhood aesthetics.

The county contends the law is a reasonable way of maintaining public safety and is in keeping with U.S. Supreme Court rulings on gun rights and with historical regulation of commercial gun sales.

The 1998 ordinance prohibits locating gun stores within 500 feet of residential areas, schools, liquor stores and other gun shops in unincorporated areas of the county. Seventeen other cities and counties in California have similar regulations.

Enjoy your Police State.

Read the whole story in the San Francisco Examiner

After #GhostShip fire, San Diego officials target hippie art communes

In the wake of a deadly fire at an Oakland warehouse, authorities in San Diego are cracking down on two art venues in Barrio Logan for fire code violations.

San Diego Fire Marshal Doug Perry said the Dec. 2 blaze that killed 36 people served as a wake-up call to officials in San Diego.“It did heighten our awareness and made us maybe a little more critical or suspicious,” Perry said. “But a lot of these places are inspected annually and have no issues.”

There are, however, problems at two buildings.

Read the whole story in the San Diego Union-Tribune

Hopefully two new commissioners will help clean up the horribly corrupt PUC

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Gov. Jerry Brown announced the appointment of two new commissioners to the California Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday, opting not to renew the terms of Mike Florio and Catherine J.K. Sandoval, whose six-year terms come to an end Sunday.

Brown’s nominees, Martha Guzman Aceves and Clifford Rechtschaffen, have both served in the governor’s office since 2011, and both have backgrounds in energy and environmental policy. They now require state Senate confirmation.

Florio’s departure will wrap up a term blemished by his role in a 2014 scandal in which he and others on the commission were widely criticized for being overly cozy with Pacific Gas & Electric Co., a utility the PUC regulates. The extent of the scandal infuriated regulators and corroded the public’s trust in the PUC.

Calls for Florio’s resignation were raised after emails emerged indicating that he had engaged in behind-the-scenes communications with PG&E, in one instance intervening in the selection of an administrative law judge who would oversee a natural gas rate-setting case.

Exchanges that emerged between then-PG&E Vice President Brian Cherry and other top brass at the utility suggested that Florio was willing to appoint a different judge if the energy provider was unhappy with the commission’s first choice.

Read the whole story in the San Francisco Chronicle

Pew Research Center: Americans don’t hate immigrants after all

The public is divided over many aspects of U.S. immigration policy. However, when asked about the priorities for policy toward illegal immigration, more Americans say better border security and a path to citizenship should be given equal priority than favor either approach individually.

The new national survey, conducted August 9-16 among 2,010 adults, also finds that a large majority (76%) says that undocumented immigrants are as hard-working and honest as U.S. citizens, while 67% say they are no more likely than citizens to commit serious crimes. The survey also finds continued public opposition to building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border: 61% oppose this proposal, which is little changed from earlier this year.

Republicans and racists may hate immigrants…but pretty much every normal person thinks they’re OK.

Read the whole survey at: On Immigration Policy, Partisan Differences but Also Some Common Ground

Cable news ratings look great, everything else, not so good

All three major cable news networks had their largest audiences ever, thanks to the drawing power of the nonstop surprises of the 2016 White House campaign that culminated with the election of Donald Trump.

Year-end numbers from Nielsen showed that the 21st Century Fox-owned Fox News Channel was the most-watched network in all of cable with an average of 2.43 million viewers in prime time, up 36% over last year. Only the four major broadcast networks had a larger audience.

Both Fox News competitors finished in the top 10 among ad-supported networks, with Time Warner’s CNN averaging 1.29 million viewers, up 77%, and NBCUniversal’s MSNBC seeing an 88% gain with 1.1 million viewers.

Political coverage also helped give the Fox Business Network its best year ever. Its audience grew 83% and topped CNBC for the first time in the fourth quarter.

But it was tougher sledding for networks that specialize in scripted dramas and comedy.

Many of the top entertainment channels, such as TBS, SyFy, AMC, Freeform, Spike, History and A&E, saw declines of 10% or more. FX, a network that won the second most Emmys this year behind HBO and the home of the year’s most acclaimed scripted program “The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” was down 8%.

Read the whole story in the LA Times

China plans 30,000 km HSR network, California remains stuck in the Stone Age

The Chinese government plans to expand the country’s high-speed rail network to 30,000 kilometers (18,600 miles) by 2020, part of public infrastructure spending aimed at shoring up economic growth.

The network would connect more than 80 percent of China’s major cities. Last year, China’s high-speed railway totaled 19,000 kilometers (11,800 miles).

Overall, China plans to invest 3.5 trillion yuan ($504 billion) in railway construction between this year and 2020, Yang said. He was speaking at a briefing introducing plans to improve the country’s transportation services.

Meanwhile Republicans are doing everything they can to block high speed rail in California.

Read the whole story in the Sacramento Bee

CalPERS finally coming to its senses…sort of

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, better known as CalPERS, is dropping its target rate of return to 7 percent from 7.5. Future investments aren’t expected to earn as much, a realization that’s overdue and comes with major consequences.

If the state pool responsible for some 1.7 million present and future retirees can’t earn as it once did, then employers such as cities, counties and the state will have to kick in more. That goes for public employee unions, too. The pain will need to be spread around.

Unions have fended off the calls for tougher reforms by pinning hopes on revived investment returns. The CalPERS board, filled with labor and elected officials, hasn’t wanted to provoke trouble.

Finally, the dismal science of economics is doing the convincing. Last year’s investment returns barely reached 1 percent. The prior year was 2.4 percent. The fund is paying out $19 billion in benefits while taking in $14 billion in contributions.

Read the whole editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle

Sheila Kuehl to join South Coast Air Quality Management District board

Republicans are expected to lose control of the South Coast Air Quality Management board when an outspoken liberal Democrat is sworn in next week to serve on panel.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl of Santa Monica will serve as Los Angeles County’s representative, replacing conservative Republican Michael Antonovich, who served on the air board since 1988.

He was termed out of office this year.

In addition, Monday’s death of Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit, a Republican, leaves another opening on the air district board.

Riverside County Supervisors will pick his successor on the board.

The district regulates air pollution in the sea-to-mountains air basin covering Orange County and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Kuehl will do an excellent job. Congratulations.

Source: Riverside Press-Enterprise

Nutty professor was probably ‘paranoid’ before #Trump’s election

She told her class Donald Trump’s election was an act of terrorism. People got pissed off, and how she’s going crazy.

For weeks now, nightmares have been jolting Olga Perez Stable Cox awake several hours before sunrise. Sometimes she’s able to fall back asleep, but more often she finds herself lying in the dark, body tossing and thoughts racing, until she’s reduced to tears.

The morning offers fleeting distractions but no permanent relief — a cup of coffee, some Christmas decorating, maybe a phone call from concerned friends.

But the blinds in her home will remain closed, her door will remain locked and the formerly outgoing professor — a woman who has always thrived by connecting with others — will spend another day isolated by fear, weeping, too scared to walk outside.

Clearly she’s a whack-job craving attention.

Read the whole hilarious story in the Washington Post

#JohnKerry helped the #Islamics trash #Israel in the U.N.

Secretary of State John Kerry advised Egyptian and Palestinian diplomats on how to write a resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction that would avoid an American veto.

President Obama outraged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by permitting the passage of a United Nations Security Council resolution.

Israel now is in greater peril as the Islamics will use this propaganda tool as an excuse to kill more innocents.

Read the whole story in the Washington Examiner

Judge tells thugs a the #SFPOA to obey the law

A San Francisco Superior Court judge Tuesday rejected a bid by a police union to block a new use of force policy that would prohibit officers from firing at moving vehicles.

Judge Richard Ulmer denied a motion by the San Francisco Police Officers Association for a preliminary injunction that would have prevented the city from implementing the new policy, which was approved by the Police Commission.

The union filed a lawsuit on Dec. 20 alleging the city had engaged in unfair labor practices by refusing to bargain further on the policy after talks reached an impasse in October. The lawsuit seeks to force the city into arbitration or reopen negotiations.

City attorneys, however, argued that the use of force policy was a managerial decision not subject to union negotiations, and Ulmer agreed Tuesday.

Brutal union president Martin Halloran said the union will continue to fight the case in court.

The union objects to anything that lessens its ability to brutalize citizens, especially people of color, the poor, the homeless and the mentally ill.

The bans on shooting at moving vehicles and on carotid restraints are both backed by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Read the whole story in the San Francisco Examiner

The San Francisco Police Officers Association is a hate group and should be classified as such

The San Francisco Police Officers Association is a hate group and should be classified as such. Their feckless extra-constitutional brutality leveled directly against people of color, the poor, the homeless and the mentally ill must be stopped by city officials.

San Francisco’s new police chief is expected to fight more than crime on his watch — his biggest challenge might be wresting the department from its recent troubles. One thing is certain, though: That task will not be made any easier by a recalcitrant San Francisco Police Officers Association leadership that continues to stand in the way of reforms.

Read the whole story in the San Francisco Examiner

Tech industry still can’t accept election outcome – plans ‘resistance’

President-elect Trump, who built his campaign around promises to erect a wall along the Mexico border and deport millions of immigrants living in the country illegally, has forced many in the Bay Area and beyond to take stock of their priorities and devise a plan for the next four years.

A growing number of Latino entrepreneurs, tech workers and investors are vowing to use their positions — personally and professionally — to push back against restrictive immigration policies, advocate for Latino entrepreneurs and stand up to the president-elect’s caustic rhetoric.

Trump has threatened to round up and deport countless people among the estimated 11 million who are in the U.S. illegally. He has threatened to cut federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities like New York and San Francisco, which protect those living in the country illegally from being identified to federal immigration officials.

He has also considered increasing fees on temporary visas issued to Mexican CEOs, diplomats and North American Free Trade Agreement workers, potentially to pay for the wall he wants to build along the U.S. southern border.

Read the whole story in the San Francisco Chronicle

Calaveras County has had it with marijuana farmers

Calaveras County voters sent packing two county supervisors who last year supported temporary rules that allow existing commercial medical marijuana farms to continue operating.

Two other supervisors who also supported the rules did not run for re-election, meaning an almost entirely new board will evaluate the cannabis controversy with fresh eyes come January.

Calaveras voters also rejected a proposal to make the rules permanent, and some citizens plan to submit a petition for a ballot initiative in the coming months that would effectively ban commercial cultivation.

Opponents of marijuana farming viewed the outcome in November as a clear statement that the people do not want commercial pot operations in Calaveras County.

People have been growing marijuana quietly in Calaveras County for decades. But last year’s catastrophic Butte Fire destroyed the trees and brush that formerly shielded some of those farms, which are now more visible and prone to public scrutiny.

Read the whole story in the Stockton Record

Feckless Oakland Fire Department owns the Ghost Ship fire

The long list of accused suggests the likely difficulty in finding justice for the family members in this horrible case. State law provides a broad shield for local governments that fail to conduct building inspections, and several of the accused won’t have much in the way of assets.

But local officials may be able to grant the public a measure of justice, and they can do this by making overdue changes to the way different agencies conduct public safety. For example, while we’re still learning how the fire happened, it’s quite clear that there needs to be some big changes at the Oakland Fire Department.

Oakland’s Fire Department was supposed to conduct yearly inspections of commercial buildings like the Ghost Ship warehouse, yet no city records of a fire examination of the building have been found. There have also been widely reported problems with the department’s inspections process in the fire-prone Oakland hills.

Read the whole editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle

New California gun laws flood the streets with over 300K semiautomatic rifles

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Nice going California Legislature.

The new gun control legislation, six bills signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in July, was a boon to 2016 gun sales already on an upward trend.

Nearly one million firearms were purchased in California as of Dec. 9, the most recent state data available, compared to just over 700,000 guns sold in all of 2015. Sales have likely soared beyond one million guns since then.

Semiautomatic rifle sales have more than doubled. The California Department of Justice reported 364,643 semiautomatic rifles had been sold by Dec. 9.

Read the whole story in the Press Democrat

How dumb can one man be? #Drexel professor tweets support for ‘white genocide’

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A Drexel University professor has been summoned to a meeting with school officials after he tweeted a Christmas Eve message supporting “white genocide.”

How dumb can one man be?

George Ciccariello-Maher, who is white and an associate professor of politics at the Philadelphia university, told the Associated Press by email Monday that his Christmas Eve message to nearly 11,000 Twitter followers — “All I Want for Christmas is White Genocide” — was meant to be satirical.

Like we said, how dumb can one man be?

Naturally, Drexel was not amused, condemning Ciccariello-Maher’s tweet and saying in a statement it was “taking this situation very seriously.”

Ciccariello-Maher followed up his initial tweet by praising the “massacre” of whites in Haiti during the country’s slave uprising and revolution more than two centuries ago.

Read the whole story in the LA Times

New #SoCalGas leak at #AlisoCanyon

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Southern California Gas Co. officials sought to allay concerns Monday about a “small amount” of methane seeping since Saturday from the vicinity of a plugged storage well near the San Fernando Valley that was responsible for the nation’s largest atmospheric release of natural gas.

SoCalGas spokesman Chris Gilbride said a “very slight and intermittent indication of methane” was detected Saturday morning near the SS-25 wellhead at the Aliso Canyon storage facility above the upscale Los Angeles community of Porter Ranch.

Before the leaking well was plugged in February, it spewed more than 100,000 metric tons of methane into the atmosphere over more than three months, sickened thousands and prompted the temporary relocation of more than 8,300 households and two schools.

Gilbride said The Gas Co. has determined that recent rainstorms “triggered” the latest release of methane that had been trapped in the soil, a phenomenon referred to as “off-gassing,” after the massive, months-long leak that was discovered at the site in October 2015.

“The methane releases are very slight and not believed to pose a present or potential hazard to human health, safety or the environment,” Gilbride said. “The highly sensitive infrared camera images indicate an amount similar to the wisping vapors of a single table candle.”

As if anyone would take what Southern California Gas says at face value.

Read the whole story in the Los Angeles Daily News

#SFPD thugs sue so they can remain thugs

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After a rancorous yearlong process, community outrage and lawsuits, San Francisco’s Police Commission approved a new use-of-force policy that would prohibit the city’s police officers from shooting at moving vehicles or using carotid restraints.

Two days later, the San Francisco police officers union asked a Superior Court judge to grant a restraining order that would prevent the new policy from moving forward.

The union’s argument is that the Police Commission violated the union’s collective bargaining rights by going forward with policies that affect the officers’ working conditions.

In court Friday, the city argued that under case law, these changes fall under management discretion and are not within the scope of bargaining. It also argued that it negotiated the changes to the policy that affect working conditions — including police discipline and training.

In past cases, the courts have determined that the use of deadly force doesn’t fall under the “scope of representation” related to employment conditions.

Given the importance of legal precedent, it seems unlikely for the judge to rule otherwise in this case.

But the court battle is another way to slow down a badly needed reform by which the S.F. Police Officers Association has decided it shouldn’t have to abide.

Enjoy your Police State.

Read the whole story in the San Francisco Chronicle

Reckless #Stanislaus deputy crashes patrol car during high-speed pursuit

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Stanislaus County sheriff’s deputies arrested a 34-year-old man who was involved in a vehicle pursuit Sunday that ended when a patrol car crashed in downtown Modesto.

The deputy ran a stop sign and was involved in a collision.

The suspect got away, but was apprehended later using information from the license plate of the vehicle he was driving.

The whole dangerous incident could have been avoided while the outcome remained the same. This is simply bad police work that put the public at risk needlessly.

Read the whole story in the Modesto Bee

L.A. takes the #PoliceState to a new level – proposes to ban adults

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In an attempt to make Los Angeles parks seem super safe, City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell has proposed barring adults unaccompanied by children from entering playgrounds.

It’s an effort, he said, to keep city parks “free of creepy activity.”Who wouldn’t want to ban creepy activity or creepy people from playgrounds?

O’Farrell is proposing to bar any adult from sitting on a bench, exercising or otherwise enjoying public space near playground unless he or she brought a child along.

O’Farrell argues that we can’t assume every adult who wanders into a children’s play area is benign. That makes a childless adult a criminal just for being in a particular public space.

Read the whole editorial in the LA Times

#Healdsburg police won’t arrest illegal immigrants

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Healdsburg’s new mayor wants to assure members of the Latino community that despite President-elect Donald Trump’s talk of deporting millions of undocumented immigrants, the Healdsburg Police Department doesn’t have plans to cooperate with such a program.

“There are a lot of people out there that are afraid based of his rhetoric,” Mayor Shaun McCaffery said in reference to Trump’s talk of mass deportations.McCaffery, unanimously selected as mayor this week by his council colleagues, is planning an informational tour of local schools beginning in January where, among other things, he’ll assure students police aren’t arresting people simply because of immigration status.

“It’s pretty unlikely the local police force will become a deportation force,” he said Wednesday. “We can assure them local elected officials are looking out for everyone’s best interests, including those who are undocumented.”

Read the whole story in the The Press Democrat

Long trip to the U.S. for #Islamics ends in deportation

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From his home village in the rice fields of eastern Bangladesh, the 30-year-old restaurant worker had traveled through a dozen countries to reach the United States, nearly collapsing in relief when he saw the American flag flying over the border crossing at San Ysidro.

For 18 months he bounced among detention centers in San Diego, Louisiana and Alabama, praying for an immigration judge to let him remain in the country.

Now it appeared his time had run out.

He sat near the front as the bus approached a plane looming beside an empty airstrip. Two dozen shackled Bangladeshis and Indians twisted in their seats, some shouting in protest, when the bus stopped.

An immigration officer who looked to be from Pakistan barked at the group in Urdu: “You’re all going home, either alive or dead,” he said.

Read the whole story in the Los Angeles Times

California city makes wealthy pay more for water

captureOne of the Bay Area’s wealthiest communities has a small uprising on its hands: a group of millionaires angry about water rates. And local leaders are moving to quash it.

Attorneys for the town of Hillsborough filed court documents this month defending the practice of hitting residents with higher water rates when they use more of the stuff, a policy that helps encourage conservation.

But nine people in the town, where homes go for an average $4.3 million and historically consume three times as much water as elsewhere, say the bigger bills don’t reflect the cost of providing the water — and are therefore unconstitutional. They’re suing the town in an attempt to lower prices and recoup their payments.

The lawsuit in San Mateo County Superior Court takes aim not only at tiered water rates, which have been challenged in a handful of California cities, but Hillsborough’s penalties for excessive water use. The suit alleges that fines, which have been common across the state as cities push for water savings during five years of drought, should also correlate with costs.

“All they’re really doing is charging extra for extra water use,” said Beau Burbidge, the attorney representing the Hillsborough residents. “It’s kind of a tier over the tiers itself.

Read the whole story in the San Francisco Chronicle

 

Even Liberals hate California’s school bond racket

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Over the objections of Gov. Jerry Brown, California voters passed Proposition 51, a $9 billion bond measure to construct and modernize the state’s public school, charter school and community college facilities. Now the governor is redoubling his efforts to reform the state’s costly and convoluted school bond system, worrying school districts that construction project funds might be delayed or denied.

The governor is right. California needs to find more fair, cheaper and faster ways to finance school and community college facility construction.

It is in every Californian’s interest to keep borrowing costs low. Repaying Prop. 51 bond principal and interest crowds out general fund spending on other needs — affordable housing, transportation and water infrastructure, pensions.

Read the whole story in the San Francisco Chronicle

Judge hammers feckless DA’s office

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“How does this happen?”Judge Barbara Zuniga asked that question of Stanislaus County Chief Deputy District Attorney Marlisa Ferreira three times within a minute Thursday morning during the preliminary hearing for Modesto attorney Frank Carson and two co-defendants charged with murder.

The prosecution had just revealed it found additional evidence Wednesday night in the form of recorded conversations – 82 audio files – and “four regular folder files” that may or may not have been turned over to the defense.

The news prompted the judge to later claim she’d never seen a District Attorney’s Office make so many mistakes “with respect to discovery.”

Carson and brothers Baljit Athwal and Daljit Atwal, accused in the killing of Turlock resident Korey Kauffman in March 2012, had been held in custody without bail since their arrests in August 2015. On Thursday afternoon, Zuniga ordered their release from jail on their own recognizance after prosecutors’ disclosure. She also said she’ll impose sanctions on the District Attorney’s Office.

Enjoy your Police State.

Read the whole story in the Modesto Bee

Duh! #FresnoSheriff assistant says thief stole guns, armor, ammunition from his car

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It was raining when Fresno County Assistant Sheriff Tom Gattie got home from work, so he parked his car in the driveway of his Clovis home, grabbed his briefcase, locked the vehicle and headed inside.

Left in the car were a specialty weapon, as well as a shotgun, a handgun, body armor and ammunition.

Someone then broke into his vehicle and stole the weapons and other gear. Now Gattie and Clovis police are asking for the public’s help to recover the weapons and other materials.

WTF, was Gattie going to melt if he got a little wet? Now a whack-job is running around town with all of his firepower.

Enjoy your Police State.

Read the whole story in the Fresno Bee

Brown grants 112 pardons

Governor Brown granted pardons to 112 people whose sentences were completed more than a decade ago. Many of the 112 were convicted of nonviolent drug offenses.

The pardons included the recipient’s time on probation or parole and the sentences handed down by a court. Most do not serve the entire terms.

Many recipients had been granted certificates of rehabilitation by a county superior court, a process in which a judge reviews an applicant’s record and declares they have lived as law-abiding citizens since their case was discharged.

A gubernatorial pardon does not erase a conviction, but state and federal law enforcement agencies are informed and the pardon becomes a public record.

The state’s longest-serving governor has now issued 1,258 pardons, including 404 during his first stint as governor. Brown, a former Jesuit seminarian, has restored a practice that largely lapsed under his three immediate predecessors.

Read the whole story in the Long Beach Press-Telegram

Did a whack-job target City Hall?

The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed Friday it is investigating a potential threat against several City Council members and a security breach at City Hall.

The investigation began after a serrated, metal cutting tool was found in the council chamber sitting on top of an agenda form with some of the council members’ names underlined, and with dates written next to them.

The discovery was made on a chamber pew at the conclusion of the Dec. 14 council meeting, which was the last one held before the council went on holiday recess until 2017.

Members of the public must pass through metal detectors before entering City Hall, and the LAPD is still unsure how the five-inch tool got into the council chamber, said Senior Lead Officer Grant Hiramoto.

“Officers are now looking at tape from the meeting to try and determine who was sitting in that area,” Hiramoto told City News Service.

Source: Los Angeles Daily News

After her first failure, Kamala Harris files new charges against operators of Backpage.com

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Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris announced new criminal charges Friday against the operators of classified ad website Backpage.com, accusing them of laundering earnings from escorts as well as pimping children and adult women on their websites.

The charges come two weeks after a Sacramento judge threw out pimping charges against the same three men, ruling that websites such as Backpage.com — which Harris had condemned as the “world’s top online brothel” — are protected from lawsuits when they publish speech posted by other people.

But in the new 40-count criminal complaint, Harris accused the operators of personally creating profiles for thousands of women, including minors, to increase revenue from the illegal sex trade. The profiles appeared on their two other websites, BigCity and EvilEmpire, which were used to draw Web traffic to Backpage’s prostitution business, the complaint said.

The complaint listed 10 victims whose profiles were created without their knowledge. In one case, a woman contacted Backpage to remove her photograph from EvilEmpire, but was told by Backpage staff that the two companies were not affiliated and therefore her picture could not be removed, according to the complaint.

Backpage Chief Executive Carl Ferrer, 55, along with the site’s former owners Michael Lacey, 68, and James Larkin, 67, are charged with more than two dozen counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit pimping. Ferrer is also charged with 12 counts of pimping, seven of which involve minors. Harris said the charges are based on new evidence.

Read the whole story in the LA Times

Non-Latin American immigrants are crushing the Mexican and US borders

In a surge Mexican officials are calling unprecedented, some 15,000 migrants from outside Latin America passed through Baja California this year — nearly five times the number seen in 2015.

More than a third of the detainees being held in California immigration holding centers in September were from outside Latin America, U.S. officials say.

As they traverse a circuitous and dangerous path up the spine of South America, Central America and Mexico, they have strained resources along the route and presented new challenges for securing America’s southern border.

Read the whole story in the Los Angeles Times

President Obama personally OK’d U.S. abstention from U.N. vote to nail Israel

President Obama personally directed Friday that the U.S. abstain from a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity, seeing the escalation of settlement building as an increasing threat to the viability of a two-state solution to the region’s problems.

Ahead of the expected vote, Obama, who is vacationing with his family in Hawaii, convened a discussion Thursday with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John F. Kerry and other top national security officials.

The vote was postponed, but U.S. officials continued to monitor discussions over the Egyptian-authored resolution until Friday. Obama spoke with national security advisor Susan Rice on Friday to issue his final decision.

President-elect Donald Trump’s intervention in the discussions, which included a conversation with Egypt’s president Thursday that preceded the delay in the planned vote, did not affect Obama’s calculations, deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters..

“There’s one president at a time,” he said.

The decision to allow the resolution to pass, rather than cast a veto to block it “is consistent with long-standing, bipartisan U.S. policy” opposing Israeli settlement activity, Rhodes said.

Read the whole story in the LA Times

How the feds let LA’s biggest crime boss get away

The team of federal prosecutors was on a roll. For nearly five years, the Public Corruption and Civil Rights section of the U.S. attorney’s office had been building and winning cases against a group from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department accused of carrying out a plan to obstruct a federal investigation into allegations of inmate abuse at the county jails.

The prosecutors worked their way up the chain of command. But when it went after its last and largest target — former Sheriff Lee Baca — the government’s run of wins came to an abrupt end this week.

The mistrial declared Thursday after jurors deadlocked 11 to 1 in favor of acquitting Baca of conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges affirmed what even prosecutors knew going into the trial: Convicting Baca would be much harder than the others.

Read the whole story in the LA Times

Republicans in Washington vow to block high speed rail

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Federal officials are unlikely to make any new loans in the next month.

Meanwhile, the election of Republican Donald Trump makes the rail authority’s funding problem more serious than ever.

The project has long been vilified by congressional Republicans, particularly by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), who has called it a “boondoggle” that was “doomed to fail from the start.”

House rail subcommittee Chairman Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) has vowed to block any future federal funding for the project, citing long-standing concerns about its poor management controls and planning.

Senior congressional staffers say they don’t have any direct knowledge of Trump’s views or those of Elaine Chao, his pick for Transportation secretary, but they doubt they will attempt to challenge the existing Republican opposition to the project.

Read the whole story in the LA Times

#PoliceState Update: Fantastic invisible knife leads to citizen’s execution

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Many questions remained unanswered Thursday after a deputy from the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office fatally shot a man Wednesday evening on an east Stockton street.

The Sheriff’s Office said the deputy discharged his weapon because he felt an imminent risk of physical danger when he confronted a knife-wielding man.

However people who were in the area at the time expressed doubts about the deputy’s actions, saying the man he shot was a “nice person” and that they didn’t see a knife at the scene.

So we have an invisible knife that only the deputy could see, and another dead citizen. Enjoy your Police State.

Read the whole story in the Stockton Record

#PoliceState thug Lee Baca must be convicted

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Lee Baca presented himself as a reform-minded sheriff who brought education programs to his jails and campaigned for improved human relations in Los Angeles County and around the world, yet he presided over a jail system in which deputies brutally beat inmates and formed cliques that fostered a culture of violence and contempt of outsiders.

Under Baca, discipline was lax or non-existent. He ignored the official monitors and department whistleblowers who tried to warn him of the problems. He mishandled department finances. He was a poor administrator.

The actual crimes Baca was charged with — conspiracy and obstruction of justice for orchestrating, or at least accepting, a scheme to thwart an FBI investigation into jail brutality — are harder to prove. On Thursday, the jury announced it was deadlocked, and the judge declared a mistrial.

There must be a new trial immediately and this Police State thug must be convicted.

Read the whole story in the LA Times

City Attorney’s Office tells feckless #SFPOA to get lost – use of force policy is OK

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The San Francisco Police Commission is not required to bargain with the police union over provisions of a new use of force policy that would prohibit officers from shooting at moving vehicles, the City Attorney’s Office said Thursday.

The San Francisco Police Officers Association filed an unfair labor practices lawsuit in Superior Court Tuesday seeking to block the city from unilaterally implementing the new policy, which was approved by the Police Commission.

San Francisco ended four months of negotiations with the union over the use of force policy in October when it declared an impasse.

They were able to reach an agreement on a number of items but remained at odds over the prohibition of shooting at moving vehicles.

Read the whole story in the San Francisco Examiner

Jury hands down another California sick-joke death penalty verdict

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Mothers of four women abducted off the streets of Santa Ana and Anaheim embraced Wednesday as jurors overcame divisions to recommend a sex offender receive the death penalty for their kidnap and murder.

A chaotic final day of jury deliberation gave way to emotional relief for the victims’ families, as jurors agreed with defendant Steven Gordon’s contention he deserves to die for his role in the killing of Kianna Jackson, 20; Josephine Vargas, 34; Martha Anaya, 28; and Jarrae Estepp, 21.

Judge Patrick H. Donahue will make the decision Feb. 3 if Gordon is sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.

Everyone knows the death penalty in California is fake…nothing more than a sick joke perpetuated by a feckless legal system.

Read the whole story in the San Jose Mercury News

Kamala Harris opens civil rights investigation against brutal Kern County cops

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The California attorney general’s office has opened a civil rights investigation into two law enforcement agencies after a series of deadly shootings — including the death of a 73-year-old man.

The two noncriminal investigations will look into whether the Kern County Sheriff’s Office and the Bakersfield Police Department have shown a “pattern or practice” of violating state or federal law, and could lead to demands for reforms.

They will be conducted by the state Department of Justice Civil Rights Enforcement Section.

The department decided to investigate after complaints by residents and community organizations.

It also looked at media reports and spent more than a year reviewing information on officer-involved shootings and deaths of people in police custody, the office said.

Read the whole story in the LA Times

Hannah-Beth Jackson re-introduces family leave legislation

 

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Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson is once more seeking to extend family leave laws to some of the smallest businesses in California — and this time she hopes to give families more protected time off.

Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) has reintroduced the New Parents Leave Act, which Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed last legislative session, citing concern over the proposal’s effect on small businesses and the liability issues it could raise.

Senate Bill 63, which is substantially similar to its predecessor, would allow parents at companies with 20 to 49 employees to take time off to care for a newborn or newly adopted child without fear of losing their jobs.

But the new version of the act would grant parents a period of 12 weeks protected job leave instead of six.

Jackson also reintroduced a second bill identical to another vetoed by Brown that would expand the definition of a family member in the law. The proposal would grant employees 12 weeks of family leave to care for a grandparent, grandchild, sibling, parent-in-law or adult child.

Read the whole story in the LA Times

Susanville riot involves 100 prisoners

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California officials say four inmates were hospitalized following a riot involving about 100 prisoners at the California Correctional Center in Susanville.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Thursday that one inmate was shot when guards attempted to stop the fighting.

Three were injured by other inmates. Investigators are reviewing the guards’ use of deadly force.

Read the whole story in the LA Times

Who Will Be Your Legislative Champion? Picking the Right Bill Author

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By Chris Micheli

It is often a time-consuming and sometimes daunting task to find just the right author for a bill to introduce in the California Legislature. How do some lobbyists pick the right bill author? While there is no cookie-cutter approach to doing so, there are some questions to help guide you through the process to choose a good author for your proposed legislation.

Non-Controversial Bills

Many bills are “run of the mill” measures (i.e., they are relatively straight forward and not controversial) and, as a result, picking the right author is less critical to the bill’s likely success in the legislative process. In some instances, however, a bill author can make or break a bill’s travels through the legislative process and ultimate action by the Governor. Some bills do not require much work by the author because of the non-controversial nature of the measure. Others, however, will require tremendous time and commitment by the bill’s author. So, picking the right legislator becomes quite important for the more controversial bills.

Overview

Certainly many legislators and their staff choose measures that the legislator will author. However, in other instances, sponsors or interest groups ask an author to carry their proposal. So, what goes into picking a bill author? There are a number of factors to consider. For example, if the bill deals with an issue in a particular legislative district, then it is appropriate to have as the bill’s author the legislator representing that district. If the bill is a significant policy issue, then there is always a strong desire to have the policy committee chair (or a member of that policy committee) author the particular measure.

In addition to those practical ones, an important consideration for many lobbyists is a preference for legislators who will understand and personally advocate for their bill. For example, a legislator who practiced as a CPA would be of benefit to a complicated tax law change bill. Or, a legislator who previously served on a local transportation district’s board might be a solid author for a transportation funding measure. A bill author who is recognized by his or her colleagues as an expert in the subject matter of your bill is naturally very helpful to the bill’s chances of success.

Moreover, an author who works diligently in support of his or her bill is an important quality in having a successful bill. With more controversial bills that pit major interest groups against each other, it is important for a legislator to be willing and able to advocate for the bill with his or her legislative colleagues. There is no better lobbyist than the bill’s author with his or her fellow legislators. The legislator may also be called upon to help negotiate amendments to resolve a powerful interest group’s opposition. And they may speak to the media about the bill and its purpose. Of course, a good author is often apparent when he or she is presenting the bill in committee or on the floor.

House of Origin

Which house do you want to start the bill? What are the pros and cons of the Assembly versus the Senate? Do you want to build momentum for your bill and start in the easier house? Or start in the more difficult house to get over the main hurdle(s)? What are the fiscal impacts of the bill? The following is a list of other considerations in choosing a bill author:

District Bills

If the sponsor of the bill is located in a particular legislator’s district, or the subject matter of the bill relates to a particular legislator’s district, then it is appropriate to first seek that legislator to be your bill author. This approach is generally viewed as a matter of legislative courtesy and a legislator in this position will expect to be asked to author the bill. An additional issue here will be whether to have the Assembly Member or the Senator author the bill.

Policy Expertise

In dealing with a substantive policy issue in a bill, an obvious approach is to select as an author a member of the policy committee through which the bill will travel. Even better, can you get one of the policy committee chairs to author the bill? If not, will one of the committee members author the bill? Often fellow committee members are more open to supporting a bill by one of their colleagues who sits on the same committee. And, besides, at least that way your bill is guaranteed at least one aye vote in committee!

Leadership

Naturally, members of the Assembly or Senate leadership often make good bill authors but, for obvious reasons, they are usually selective in the bills they choose to author. And, as appealing as having the Appropriations Committee Chair author a bill, they are even more particular about which bills they agree to author. Even they usually hold a bill or two of theirs on the “Suspense File” in an effort to diffuse their colleagues from being too upset because their colleagues usually do not get all of their bills off the Suspense File either.

Minority Party Members

In many instances, minority party members make excellent bill authors, especially those who enjoy good working relationships with their majority party colleagues. These legislators often have particular policy area expertise or they represent a legislative district that is affected by the legislation.

Work Ethic

Ultimately, a lot of success is achieved by hard work and knowledge about the bill. A bill author who is committed and knowledgeable about his or her bill is better as an author than a legislator who is the opposite because his or her colleagues will readily recognize that the bill is not important to that legislator.

No “Sponsored” Bills

Interest groups should also be aware that there are usually several legislators each term who do not author “sponsored bills.” These legislators only want bills from their staff, constituents or themselves. This can present some issues in selecting a bill author, especially if it is a bill that this legislator should carry due to their policy expertise or because they represent a particular legislative district.

Questions for Consideration

Although any sponsor would like to get its ideal author, that may not always be possible. Here are some of the key questions to pose in looking for your best bill author:

Is the author in a leadership position? Does the bill need to be authored by a legislative leader?

Do you need the leader of the geographic delegation to carry the bill? For example, having the chair of the LA delegation carry a bill to benefit Los Angeles County could be helpful.

Do you want an ethnic group of legislators to support the bill? Would the chair of the Latino Caucus, for example, help your bill’s chances of success?

Do you need an author with strong ties to the Governor?

Is the legislator a recognized leader in the subject matter of your bill so that he or she would expect to carry the bill?

Does a particular legislator have a strong interest in the specific bill or the general policy area?

Has this legislator authored a similar bill in the past?

Does the legislator have particularly strong personal or committee staff to help the bill’s chances of getting through the legislative process?

Will your author be an effective advocate for the bill? Will he or she do well in presenting the bill? Is he or she well-liked by his or her colleagues?

How committed is the author to the bill? Will he or she actively lobby his or her colleagues in favor of the bill?

Does the legislator have a good relationship with either supporters or opponents of the bill that could impact the bill’s passage in the Legislature? In other words, will this legislator be able to negotiate with the opposition to secure their neutrality?

Will you work well with the author and his or her staff?

There are certainly other questions and other factors that may go into determining who is likely your best bill author. But the questions posed above should provide a good avenue to get started in the process.

 

Chris Micheli is an attorney and legislative advocate at the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc. He can be contacted at 916-448-3075 or cmicheli@apreamicheli.com. He serves as an Adjunct Professor at McGeorge School of Law.