MOORLACH UPDATE — Becerra Conflict of Interest — January 20, 2018

I’m back from Haven for Hope (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Haven for Hope — January 19, 2018). Haven for Hope has become nationally recognized as the premier campus dealing with homelessness, mental illness, and providing a structured and compassionate road to recovery (see https://www.havenforhope.org/).

You know my history in trying to help the homeless as the initial Chair of the Orange County Commission to End Homelessness and my efforts in addressing mental illness with SB 585 (Steinberg) for Laura’s Law and SB 1273 for psychiatric recovery beds. In Sacramento, I also participate in the Senate Mental Health Caucus, chaired by Sen. Jim Beall (D – Santa Clara).

With Sen. Beall’s full blessing, I went to San Antonio, Texas, with a large delegation from Orange County. The two-day trip was organized by the Association of California Cities – Orange County. Attendees included numerous city council members from my senatorial district and other cities around the county. It also included the Orange County Director of Housing and Development, Dylan Wright, city staff members, nonprofit representatives, hospital representatives, including Dr. Richard Afable, and interested private citizens.

We started with a dinner meeting Thursday evening. We heard from the founder and key mover-and-shaker, William “Bill” E. Greehey, and the Mayor of San Antonio at the time that this nonprofit was initiated, Phil Hardberger. We also heard from the President and CEO of Haven for Hope, Kenny Wilson. These busy individuals were inspiring and I am grateful for the time and testimonies. I also had an opportunity to share what was happening in California, including my legislative successes and the “No Place Like Home” initiative. There is positive movement. Although it is moving slowly, it is moving.

On Friday we hopped on the shuttle and spent the day at the Haven for Hope campus (see https://www.havenforhope.org/). The day included excellent discussion around the table with the participants, led by Scott Ackerson, the former vice president of Strategic Relationships for Haven for Hope. He had recently completed an analysis of six California counties and their approaches to addressing homelessness. The dialogue was robust. And the campus tour was impressive.

Because this topic is so important, my Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff, and District Director attended. Shortly before we were to leave, we were informed by the Secretary of the Senate that, although the trip was for Senate-related business, it could not be paid for by the state and that my staff would have to use personal vacation time.

State Attorney General Xavier Beccera (D) had proclaimed this summer that Texas was a state where California employees could not go (see https://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/attorney-general-becerra-alabama-kentucky-south-dakota-and-texas-added-list):

  • Texas: HB 3859 was enacted on June 15, 2017. HB 3859, allows foster care agencies to discriminate against children in foster care and potentially disqualify LGBT families from the state’s foster and adoption system.

Allowing social services agencies to have the flexibility to “potentially disqualify” certain families is not a slight, but a cautionary alternative. After seeing this week what two parents could do to their thirteen children in the city of Perris, it would be wise to give child protective personnel a little discretion (see https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/california-torture-house-13-siblings-allowed-eat-once-day-shower-n838671).

As a result of this restriction, I went anyway, forgoing my per diem. And my three outstanding and dedicated staff leaders went on their vacation time. I took care of the costs. This brings us to today’s story in the “Essential Politics” section on the LA Times website.

There are two key thoughts for you to consider. The first is that our Attorney General is a liberal Democrat made from the same cloth as those in the majority party running the state. As such, he has to cater to certain constituencies. The second is that I need you to financially assist me with my efforts in serving our community.

In 2007, I instigated a lawsuit against the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs because they received retroactive defined benefit pension plan benefits without making any provision to pay for them. This retroactive enhancement created an immediate and large debt, thus violating two key articles in the state’s constitution. When a county wants to create a debt, it requires a two-thirds majority of the voters.

Then-State Attorney General Jerry Brown filed an amicus brief opposing my lawsuit. We met at a private meeting at the Pacific Club. He fully understood that granting retroactive benefits was inappropriate. But, he felt compelled to support the union’s position. (Several years later, his Public Employee Pension Reform Act, PEPRA, would include a provision prohibiting the granting of retroactive pension benefits.)

Not too long after that illuminating meeting, Jerry Brown ran for Governor and received an incredible amount of public employee union support, enough to overcome Republican opponent Meg Whitman’s $144 million of personal funding.

Xavier Beccera is up for election this year. He is the appointed incumbent. He will need the same assist in getting elected from public employee unions as Jerry Brown did. So, in spite of the fact that collective bargaining has been the downfall of our state’s finances at every level of government, Xavier still has to support the unions. He’s stuck. And you now have the context of the other portion of my conversation with the reporter (who could have made a few nouns plural).

The second point is that being an elected State Senator is expensive. Especially when I have to fund ordinary and necessary business expenses out of my campaign account in order to effectively serve my District. Thank you Xavier Beccera, for the nonsense and for being blinded to the realities of conducting business in this state and nation.

JANUARY 26th INVITATION

I make this point to remind you that I have a District fund raiser this Friday and I would love to have you and as many of your friends attend or participate. For more information, see https://www.efundraisingconnections.com/c/Moorlach2020/EveningReceptionJan2018.

Essential Politics

California weighs in on Supreme Court case over mandatory union fees for public employees

400x400Patrick McGreevy

http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-updates-california-weighs-into-supreme-court-1516404819-htmlstory.html

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra filed a friend-of-the-court brief Friday to support mandatory union fees for public employees.

The brief was filed in opposition to the case of Mark Janus, an Illinois state employee who objects to paying fees to a union that supports collective bargaining that affects him. His case is being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Becerra’s brief asserts that collective bargaining serves important state interests and that cost-sharing among employees represented by the union is an integral part of the collective bargaining system.

“Our public employees — whether teachers, firefighters, peace officers, nurses — provide critical services to Californians,” Becerra said in a statement. “We all benefit from their professional services. And these employees all benefit from union representation, regardless of whether or not they join the union.”

The state argued that the current collective bargaining system helps resolve personnel issues, and avoids inefficiency and disruption in the workplace.

“Everyone who benefits from representation should share the cost,” Becerra said. “The fees at issue … play an integral role in supporting state workplaces all across the country.”

Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) disagreed with Becerra’s position, but said the attorney general probably felt he had to take the stand “because this is a union controlled state.”

Moorlach said public employee unions often raise campaign contributions to support the city council member, school board member or state elected official with power over pay raises.

“Collective bargaining doesn’t belong in the government sector,” Moorlach said. “The members of the bargaining unit contribute to the person that they negotiate with. That’s why it’s all messed up. It’s the biggest conflict of interest in the United States.”

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