MOORLACH UPDATE — Senate Resolution 16 — January 31, 2017

The pace continues. We debated Senate Resolution 16 on the Floor most of yesterday afternoon. The members of the minority party only found out about SR 16 yesterday morning.

The process of quickly adding something to the agenda is called WORF (Without Reference to the File), which is the way that these things are normally done at the end of Session, when lots of bills are moving between chambers. That was not the case here.

What we thought would be “WORFed” was actually moved to “Senate 3rd Reading” meaning that it went straight to the Floor debate without a committee hearing or any of the other normal bill procedures, including being in print 72 hours previous to it being debated. It appears that when you’re in the majority, you can do whatever you want with the Senate Floor’s agenda. And it is becoming clear that Proposition 54 does not apply to Senate Resolutions, so transparency and honest debate need not apply.

SR 16 had inflammatory language in it, similar to the hostile amendments submitted for my SR 8 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Ready to Rumble — January 14, 2017 january 14, 2017 john moorlach). Using ad hominem attacks on the new President to make a point is not my idea of a professional approach to dealing with other branches of government. The afternoon’s activities and my recent editorial were the topic for my interview on the John and Ken Show in the first piece below (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Tantrum Hurts — January 29, 2017 january 29, 2017 john moorlach).

The OC Register provides the latest on the efforts by the city of Laguna Beach to underground high voltage wires on Laguna Canyon Road (also see MOORLACH UPDATE — Governor’s 2017-18 Proposed Budget — January 11, 2017 january 11, 2017 john moorlach).

Sen. John Moorlach: ‘Sacramento’s Trump tantrum worsening state’s fiscal health’

Read more:

Sacramento continues to defy Trump at any chance they can get. Today Senate President Kevin de León put forth a resolution denouncing the temporary travel ban and urged the Department of Homeland Security to provide detainees with access to legal counsel.

The state has also vowed to protect illegal aliens, which could then make Trump withhold federal funding.

California has massive debt, is literally crumbling, and an absurd pension system. We can’t afford to not make deals with the President. Frequent guest State Senator John Moorlach wrote a piece in the OC Register titled, "Sacramento’s Trump tantrum worsening state’s fiscal health:"

"Have you ever watched someone playing chess who realizes that they are a few moves away from being checkmated? But, instead of playing to the conclusion or tipping the king, the player totally disrupts the board and storms off in a tantrum?

I sense this strategy may be playing out in Sacramento, but with the state’s finances.

Consider these concerns:

• Personal income tax revenues, although at all-time highs, are not expected to reach the same levels in the next fiscal year.

• Because California has the largest net unrestricted deficit in the nation, it has to pay the opportunity cost of financing the borrowed money. With interest rates rising, these costs will rise…"

Continue reading Moorlach‘s piece at the OC Register, and listen to his interview from this afternoon:


Laguna Beach plan underway to bury utility lines on major roads

Downed power lines a persistent fire threat in canyon area.




Overhead power lines tower over Laguna Canyon Road, which has been closed 13 times in the past five years.


A plan to bury utility lines to reduce the risk of fire along Laguna Canyon Road and other major roads in Laguna Beach is underway.

The City Council has agreed to move forward with the development of a master plan that would remove all utilities along the canyon and provide an incentive for residents to contribute to the cost of burying utility lines in areas where lack of access during an emergency could prove disastrous.

In the past 10 years, there have been at least four fires in Laguna Beach ignited by downed power lines, including one that blocked Laguna Canyon Road for an entire Labor Day weekend. Most recently, in December, the canyon road was closed for at least eight hours after a car spun out and hit a utility pole, knocking down wires.

Laguna Canyon Road has been shut 13 times in five years.

More than 160 poles have already been taken down, and utilities are underground. The cost to bury the remaining utilities along Laguna Canyon Road from the city’s downtown to El Toro Road is $42 million, said Shohreh Dupuis, the city’s public works director.

The plan will be funded by Measure LL, a ballot measure approved in November that increased occupancy tax on Laguna hotels. Other funding will come from the city’s street lighting fund.

“The canyon to me is very important,” Councilman Kelly Boyd said at the Jan. 17 meeting, when the council approved the plan.

“If we have a severe problem and can’t get people in here, we’re in serious trouble. Laguna Canyon Road, Coast Highway, those are the most important and they need to be done. We need to move ahead and start the process or we’ll all be here in our wheelchairs.”

The master plan for Laguna Canyon Road also includes strategies to improve overall circulation among bicycles, pedestrians and vehicles, Dupuis said.

There are also recommendations such as evaluating the safety of electrical systems citywide and reporting deficiencies to the appropriate utility company, authorizing a cooperative agreement with Caltrans for the development of the Laguna Canyon Road master plan and spending $500,000 over the next 24 months to get proposals for the plan from consulting firms to put it into action.

The plan also includes offering an incentive for residents who live near Bluebird Canyon Drive; Thalia, Monterey and Glenneyre streets; Temple Hills; Coast Highway; and Virginia Way to contribute toward the burying of cables through assessment districts – the traditional way the city has done undergrounding in the past.

“We only have $6 million for these areas and the cost will be $19 million,” Dupuis said. “It will be a way for residents to help out.”

The incentive program is being developed and will come back to the City Council.

The Laguna Canyon Road master plan follows efforts of a City Council subcommittee headed by council members Bob Whalen and Rob Zur Schmiede as well as experts, utility companies, public utility commissions and state legislators.

Focus on citywide undergrounding follows a veto of legislation by Gov. Jerry Brown in September. The bill – spearheaded by state Sen. John Moorlach on behalf of the city – would have required the state to identify areas most at risk for wildfires and the California Public Utilities Commission and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to develop enhanced plans to prevent fires from utility and power lines in Laguna.


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