MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Statewide Voter Guide — September 24, 2018

California’s “top two” primary election process, established by voter-approved Proposition 14 in 2010, has converted the June primary election into a nonpartisan-like event where only the top two vote-getters move on to the November general election.

This finds a few statewide races, which are addressed in the piece below, with no registered Republican candidates. Consequently, Democrats are noted with an asterisk (*) and No Party Preference (NPP) are noted with a double asterisk (**). As a member of the California Republican Party, I am encouraged to endorse those candidates who have been registered as Republicans for at least one year.

If you want a quick summary of the information below, those listed in bold are registered Republicans and have my endorsement. Candidates listed in italics would be those whom I would lean towards, as I do not have a Republican alternative. Those in normal type are provided, in the case of the statewide positions, as the second choice.

This is a voter guide to assist you in your decision-making process as you mail in your ballots or enter the voting booth. It is a tool in your research endeavors as an involved citizen. You are more than welcome to disagree with my recommendations and my decision grid. Just have a good reason for your vote.

Allow me to share some thoughts on my recommendations for a few of those candidates seeking statewide offices. For U.S. Senate, I would like to share that former Senate President Pro Tem Kevin DeLeon treated me with the utmost respect and courtesy when I arrived to the State Senate in March of 2015. Although I have voted against most of his major initiatives, we kept a very cordial relationship. We likened it to the wolf and the sheepdog in the old television cartoon shows, where they beat each other up during the day but, at the close of the work shift, they clock out together and walk off as friends. I’m sure he will support any Democrat opponent I may encounter, as this is a partisan sport, but we’ll still have good one-on-one communications.

Sen. DeLeon allowed me to fully participate in the “No Place Like Home” efforts, including editing original bill language and being a joint author on SB 1206, which pursued putting Proposition 2 on the November ballot (see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — 2018 Ballot Measures — September 21, 2018).

I believe the incumbent, Dianne Feinstein, will prevail, as incumbents win 90 percent of the time. I do not believe Feinstein should have rerun for a host of reasons, but she is the more moderate of the two candidates. I see this race as an opportunity for Kevin DeLeon to position himself to possibly replace Senator Feinstein over the next four and maybe six years, as the California Governor appoints a replacement for U.S. Senators when there is a vacancy, as was the case recently with Sen. John McCain’s successor. Consequently, the vote for the next California Governor is more critical. Having a Republican Governor may shape national politics if Feinstein is re-elected. This is another strong reason for Republicans to show up at the polls.

For Lieutenant Governor, I have had the honor of serving with State Senator Ed Hernandez over these past four Sessions. We also disagree on almost every issue, but we have done it with professionalism and humor. Senator Hernandez is a class act and will receive my vote. If he wins, I hope to see him in the Capitol for the next four years, as his potential new office will be one floor below mine. For the record, I have not seen the current Lieutenant Governor in the Capitol hallways since I arrived.

For Insurance Commissioner, I’m leaning toward former Republican and former State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. I have enjoyed working with State Senator Ricardo Lara, but he is also to the left of Dianne Feinstein. I believe Poizner is better prepared to take back the position for another term and he and I have enjoyed a good relationship since his first stint in this position.

For Superintendent of Public Instruction, I prefer Marshall Tuck. I have worked with Assemblyman Tony Thurmond in the Legislature. Most Democratic legislators don’t wear their public employee union credentials on their sleeves, but Thurmond does. In fact, he is hardcore and, consequently, is receiving plenty of support from these unions, even the prison guard union. Someone that beholden is not going to be a change agent in a union controlled Capitol.

While I’m at it, it has been a true honor and privilege to work with Senators Gaines and Anderson these past four Sessions. Both are consummate professionals and will do admirable jobs serving as State Board of Equalization Board Members.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Classic Poker Bluffs — March 5, 2018

The Associated Press weighs in on California’s proposed charitable deduction income tax scheme in the first piece below, which appears in TruthDig and the Greensburg Daily News (also see MOORLACH UPDATE — Tomorrow’s Budget Release — January 9, 2018 and MOORLACH UPDATE — Contribution Contrivance — January 6, 2018).

The second piece is a recent photo from Capital Public Radio showing me working away at the end of last year’s Session. I provide it because, on the last night of that Senate Floor Session, after listening to enough Trump bashing by the Democrats, I stood up and stated that it was a shame the Democratic National Committee didn’t come up with a better candidate for President. If the Democrats could have done someone, anyone, better than Hillary Clinton, perhaps the outcome in November of 2016 may have been different. And I could have been spared all their whining and vitriol.

To have to spend last year listening to “tax return, this” and “Russia, that” — ad nauseam — spare me! And, the taxpayers of California had to pay former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder a retainer, too? When he and Hillary were the biggest hypocrites when it came to the U.S.S.R.? Are you kidding me?

The California Republican Assembly, on whose board I served back in 1991 to 1993, had their convention this past weekend in Buena Park. They asked for an editorial submission for the weekend’s program magazine. The escapade of Democrats moaning and groaning about Russia for its supposed involvement in the November 2016 election, when Eric Holder and Hillary Clinton were waste deep in Russian relations, and a national defense nuclear faux pas, could not be left without some righteous indignation. It is the third piece below.

Democrats in State Offices Are Pushing to Cut Taxes for Wealthy

GEOFF MULVIHILL / The Associated Press

CHERRY HILL, N.J.—Resistance to the Republican tax overhaul comes with an ideological twist for some Democratic state officials: They’ve styled themselves as champions of the working class but are pushing hard for measures that would reduce taxes mostly for the wealthy.

Democratic governors and lawmakers in a handful of high-income, high-tax states are promoting policies that are intended to spare their residents the pain of the new $10,000 cap on deductions for state and local taxes. Connecticut, New Jersey and New York are even planning to sue the federal government over the new cap, which was a key provision of the Republican tax overhaul adopted in December.

The legislative workarounds have moved swiftly through state Senate chambers in California and New Jersey. A bill with similar components passed the Oregon Senate and House in the last two weeks. The concept is under consideration in Connecticut, Maryland, New York, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia.

Proponents say the cap on state and local tax deductions disproportionately affects states controlled by Democrats and raises the cost of living. They say that has the potential to drive well-off residents to other states.

California state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, a Democrat sponsoring the bill there, said the state budget would take a big hit if wealthier residents flee California because they pay the bulk of the taxes.

“We have to offer services like schools, like health care, like resources for senior citizens who have Alzheimer’s,” he said.

John Moorlach, a Republican state senator, finds irony in the Democrats’ efforts.

Last year, a Democratic colleague sarcastically thanked him for taking a stance that would protect yacht owners. This year, Moorlach had a retort: “It’s rich that you guys are trying to help the wealthy now in California,” he said at a January committee meeting. “So welcome aboard.”

De Leon, who is running for U.S. Senate, said it’s the first time he’s ever been criticized for helping the wealthy.

Republican critics say the states should be reassessing their taxes instead of trying to circumvent the new tax law.

“What’s worse?” asked New Jersey state Sen. Joe Pennacchio, a Republican who voted against the work-around measure there. “Not being able to take the tax deduction or having high taxes to begin with?”

Under the deductions, known as SALT for state and local taxes, money paid to state and local governments is not counted as taxable income by the federal government in many cases. The higher a taxpayer’s state and local taxes, the bigger the benefit the federal deduction can be.

The new law caps the deduction while also lowering tax rates. Overall, it’s expected to result in reduced tax bills for most Americans, with the biggest savings going to high earners.

But in California, New Jersey and New York, a much larger share of the top 1 percent of earners — 24 to 43 percent of them — actually would see their federal taxes rise under the GOP tax law, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. That is largely because they would lose most of the benefit of the SALT deduction.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s office describes the push for a work-around to the new cap on local taxes as a matter of fairness, especially if many of the federal tax breaks expire as scheduled in 2027.

“If you eliminate the cap on tax deductions, rich people who are already getting a tax break would be getting a bigger tax cut,” said Steve Wamhoff, a senior fellow at the progressive Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

His organization found that the average federal tax savings from eliminating the cap would be well under $1,000 per tax filer in every state for every income group, except the highest 20 percent of earners. But it would add up to tens of thousands in annual tax savings for the top 1 percent in most states — and more than $100,000 in California.

The New Jersey legislation would let local governments and schools set up charity funds. Taxpayers who donate would receive deductible tax credits toward their property taxes. Under the California bill, the contributions would be to state government entities, and 85 percent of the donations could count against state taxes.

The idea is that counting state and local taxes as charitable donations would allow them to continue being deducted from federal income. Critics say the IRS might not allow it, potentially putting tax filers in those states at risk.

The California Senate on September 12, 2017.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The Democratic California

Legislature’s Eric Holder


By John Moorlach

Looking back on 2017, two noteworthy themes are of interest to reflect upon. The first: What was the alleged impact of Russia on the 2016 presidential election and who was really manipulating whom? The second: What was Eric Holder’s involvement in the whole Russia matter and how does this impact California’s taxpayers?

Holder is the former U.S. attorney general under President Obama who in January 2017 was hired to fight for the California Legislature against President Trump on immigration, the environment and other concerns.

Never mind that the state Senate has unfettered access to the Office of Legislative Counsel and easy access to the state attorney general’s office, or several highly trained lawyers on staff.

The price for Holder’s retainer: $25,000 a month. And, to date, I have no idea what that actually paid for.

Senate President Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, proudly declared these supposed benefits back in January 2017, “Having the former attorney general of the United States brings us a lot of firepower in order to prepare to safeguard the values of the people of California.”

Which values was he protecting in California? Certainly not the scores of people now claiming rampant abuse of power in our state’s unhallowed granite halls.

While he proclaimed Russia’s influence in Trump’s election, we now find that Holder was not safeguarding America’s values in the controversy over the Obama administration’s involvement in the purchase of Uranium One, a Canadian mining company, by Russia under President Vladimir Putin.

Millions of dollars and political favors were traded for untraced uranium exchanges abroad while former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton enriched themselves through their shell charity, the Clinton Global Initiative. Holder was bluffing and deflecting!

Congressional Republicans are pursuing an FBI informant with potentially damaging information who had been kept silent because of a gag order. The media are finally getting hip to the idea that the Clinton cabal perpetrated explicit fraudulent dealings, including extortion, bribery and kickbacks. So Holder had no idea this was going on? Right.

And let’s not forget that Holder, while in office, was held in contempt by the House of Representatives for failing to provide documents for an investigation into the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Operation Fast and Furious gun “walking” scandal. This surreptitious government operation allowed illegal guns to flow to Mexico, expecting they would be traced instead to Mexican drug gangs.

When the documents were produced after a court order, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, then the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, wrote in a summary, “[T]he documents reveal how senior Justice Department officials – including Attorney General Eric Holder – intensely followed and managed an effort to carefully limit and obstruct the information produced to Congress.”

This was known a year ago when Democrats in the California Legislature hired Holder!

But that wasn’t the point. Rather, the Democrats and Holder made a classic poker bluff on the involvement of Russia in our nation’s politics. The Democrats boldly claimed President Trump benefited from Russian involvement in the 2016 election. When, in fact, Hillary Clinton was deeply involved with Russian money interests over a critical nuclear-bomb ingredient. Reprehensible! A charade! Perhaps treason.

What else was Holder covering up for while he reaped his retainer? Was he aware of the sexual harassment scandals from top Democratic donor Harvey Weinstein and his ilk in Hollywood – an industry we Californians subsidize with some $300 million in tax credits?

Or similar scandals in California’s Capitol Building allegedly involving legislators, senior staff and powerful lobbyists, which now are now coming to light? What values are we talking about?

In his high-stakes poker game, Holder’s bluff has been exposed and it now doesn’t look like the Democrats are going to keep the winnings. There are too many willing to come forward and call the bluff. The perpetrators are being revealed, as their cards are turning over.

And one person that could have helped, that should have helped, but was instead a part of the obfuscation, was Eric Holder.

What a sham. What lousy values.

And Californians paid for this bad deal.

John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, represents the 37th District in the California Senate

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MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 9 — February 23, 2018

Yesterday morning’s Senate Floor session was historic. The Democrat Caucus met at length, then conferred with a Republican Caucus representative, usually Republican Senate Leader Bates, reconvened again, and so forth. After more that two hours of this haggling as to whether to expel or suspend without pay, Senator Tony Mendoza had a staff member submit his letter of resignation to the Chief Assistant Secretary of the Senate.

Our Republican Caucus requested to see the letter. We were informed that it was not accepted by the Democrat Caucus. Apparently, it appears that the President pro Tem wanted to expel Senator Mendoza for political purposes, as the California Democratic Party Convention is scheduled for this weekend in San Diego. Senator Mendoza’s resignation letter addresses this perspective.

Since the Democrats were dragging their feet on accepting the resignation letter, we requested a copy from Senator Mendoza, who provided an electronic version, and I and many of my colleagues tweeted it out (see ). Shortly after this maneuver was done, the Democrats reconvened the session, announced that the Senator’s resignation had been accepted, and promptly adjourned.

There’s the drama. Please don’t make the mistake of assuming that the Republicans were politicizing this sad incident. But, don’t make the mistake that the Democrats were not.

In the last four months, four Democrats have resigned from the legislature, thus removing their super-majority. God does work in mysterious ways.

After the Senate Floor session was quickly adjourned, I was met by a large group from the media as I tried to return from the Chambers to my office. This historic event is covered in the three pieces below by Capital Public Radio, CBS Channel 13 Sacramento (which also aired on their LA affiliate stations), and CBS Bay Area, respectively, below.

The fourth piece below is Volume 9 of the per capita analysis of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports of California’s 482 cities, which provides the cities from number 100 to 51. It also includes another 2 million people, or 5 percent of the state’s population, bringing us up to 80 percent of the state’s residents.

This grouping includes four Orange County cities, Dana Point (#89), and three from my District, Laguna Woods (#100), Lake Forest (#86), and Laguna Beach (#55). For links to the other seven volumes, go to MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 8 — February 22, 2018.

Volume 10 is next and will include the top 50 cities, which covers only 3 percent of the state’s inhabitants. The remaining 17 percent reside in unincorporated areas, which means they are governed by their county boards of supervisors, versus city councils.

California Senator Tony Mendoza Resigns After Sexual Harassment Investigation, But Says He’ll Run For Re-Election

Democratic state Sen. Tony Mendoza is already looking to regain his seat after resigning amid sexual allegations on Thursday.

A Senate investigation found that Mendoza “more likely than not” behaved inappropriately toward six different women, many of them former staffers.

Mendoza told Capital Public Radio he felt the investigation was politically orchestrated by state Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León, who introduced a resolution to expel Mendoza earlier this week.

Senate Rules met about the resolution and was set to bring a disciplinary action to a full Senate vote today.

“He was focused on expulsion,” Mendoza said. “He wanted to make sure he smeared my name, and that I would not have any opportunity, or have a really hard time for my re-election this year.”

On the Senate floor moments after receiving Mendoza’s resignation letter, de León said the Senate did a thorough and necessary investigation according to its zero tolerance harassment policy. He added that Mendoza was given “ample opportunity to provide rebuttals to the allegations.”

“We have completed an exhaustive, objective and independent investigation done by professional experts,” he said. “The bottom line is, we’re going to protect our staff.”

Mendoza wrote in his resignation letter that de León “will not rest until he has my head on a platter.”

The former lawmaker is suing the Senate over the investigation, and plans to run for re-election in the primary this June.

De León and Mendoza are former housemates.

Republican Sen. John Moorlach, who represents parts of Orange County, said he and many of his colleagues thought Mendoza should be suspended until the end of session, without pay, and then be allowed to run again for office in June.

“He can make his case publicly,” Moorlach said. “We’re not individuals that are selected because someone hired us. We’re here because someone voted for us. So, the voters should’ve had their say.”

On Thursday afternoon, Mendoza’s photograph was removed from the roster of senators in the hallway outside the Senate floor.

State Senator Who

Resigned Files Papers To

Run For Office

By Lemor Abrams

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – It’s the latest twist to a sexual harassment scandal rocking the legislature since October.

Embattled state senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) announced in writing Thursday, he’s resigning.

The move shocked his own party and came minutes before senators would’ve had the final word on his fate.

“A letter of resignation has been submitted,” said President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon (D- Los Angeles).

A fiery letter of resignation from their former colleague Tony Mendoza, was passed around and studied with great detail.

Mendoza wrote:

“I shall resign my position as Senator … as it is clear that Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon will not rest until he has my head on a platter,.”

“We won’t tolerate abuse of power and a pattern of behavior that violates our harassment standards,” De Leon said.

The Senate leader, who once shared a Sacramento home with Mendoza, met with senators for hours.

It was a closed caucus. Lawmakers deliberated on a possible expulsion considered unprecedented in modern times.

“The fact is that nobody has been expelled from the Senate in over 100 years — that was the last time it happened. There were three clearcut cases of bribery,” said Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica).

But this was a case of alleged sexual misconduct, investigated by an outside legal team, over a period of months.

And the findings lawmakers say, were enough for Mendoza to lose support within his own democratic party.

“I think that his colleagues were not there to support him. I think they wanted to have him expelled,” said John Moorlach (R-Orange County).

But Mendoza isn’t calling it quits yet. The now ex-senator has already filed papers for another run for office.

“So that he brings his case to the voters,” said Moorlach.

Mendoza’s name may be on the June ballot. But it won’t be seen in Senate chambers anytime soon. His official picture was removed within minutes of his last-minute resignation.

A senate seal now marks the third legislator to step down over harassment claims, in recent months.

State Senator Accused Of

Sexual Misconduct Resigns

SACRAMENTO (AP) — A California state senator accused of sexual misconduct resigned Thursday just ahead of a possible vote to expel him, delivering a scathing resignation letter that called the investigation process a farce.

Democratic Sen. Tony Mendoza of the Los Angeles area said he may still run for the seat this fall, putting his party in an uncomfortable spot. His resignation letter takes aim at the leader of the Senate, a fellow Democrat and Mendoza’s former roommate in Sacramento who was leading the effort to expel him.

“It is clear that Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon will not rest until he has my head on a platter to convince the MeToo movement of his ‘sincerity’ in supporting the MeToo cause,” Mendoza wrote.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon spoke sternly on the floor of the state senate about changing the culture of sexual harassment in Sacramento.

“If we’re serious about changing the culture and holding people accountable for their conduct, we must start here and we must start now,” said de Leon

De Leon, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Dianne Feinstein, added the Legislature “won’t tolerate abuse of power and a pattern of behavior that violates our harassment standards.”

Mendoza is the third California lawmaker to resign over sexual misconduct allegations since the #MeToo movement erupted nationally last fall, leading millions of women to share their experiences on social media.

Lawyers investigating complaints against Mendoza, who is 46 and married, found that he likely engaged in unwanted “flirtatious or sexually suggestive” behavior with six women, including four subordinates, a lobbyist and a young woman in a fellowship with another lawmaker.

Several accusations against Mendoza first became public last fall in a report by the Sacramento Bee newspaper. Under pressure from other lawmakers, Mendoza took a leave of absence. Days before he was set to return in January, the Senate Rules Committee suspended him because the independent investigation had not yet concluded.

Mendoza sued for reinstatement last week alleging that the suspension was unconstitutional, among other arguments. He does not plan to drop his legal challenge.

In a letter pleading his case to colleagues Wednesday, Mendoza said he was sorry if anyone was offended by his behavior but continued to deny wrongdoing.

The investigation released Tuesday found he “more likely than not” engaged in behavior such as offering a 19-year-old intern alcohol in a hotel suite at a Democratic event, suggesting a young woman in a Senate fellowship take a vacation with him and rent a room in his house, and asking several women about their romantic lives.

Mendoza argued in his resignation letter that the “more likely than not” was a low standard of proof not meriting a penalty as high as expulsion. He called the Senate’s process “farcical” and unfair.

“I think his colleagues were not there to support him. I think they wanted him expelled,” said Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa).

By shortly after 12 p.m., Mendoza’s photo had already been removed from the gallery of state senator photos in the Capitol building.

Mendoza has consistently denied wrongdoing and blasted an investigation that he claimed was unfair, illegal and racially motivated. His complaints illustrate the Legislature’s struggle to respond to growing demands for a change in a culture perceived as burying complaints and sheltering offenders.

“Removing senators from the process of deciding cases of sexual harassment involving their friends and roommates is imperative,” said Sen. Andy Vidak, a Republican who first moved to expel Mendoza in January. “The Mendoza mess has brought to light all of the flaws of our sexual harassment policies but hopefully will lead us to some resolution.”

The Legislature still hasn’t adopted fair and transparent policies for sexual misconduct four months after dozens of women who work at the Capitol sent a letter calling for a change in culture, said Samantha Corbin, a lobbyist and co-founder of a group called We Said Enough that formed in the wake of the letter.

“There’s a lot of room for interpretation, there’s a lot of ambiguity, and it does neither the victims nor the perpetrators any type of justice,” she said. “It’s unfair for everyone.”

Mendoza’s resignation was the best solution for the women who accused him of misconduct, but it hasn’t delivered justice or due process, Corbin said.

Leaders of the Legislative Women’s Caucus said more work remains to be done to ensure clear sexual harassment policies. Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman and Sen. Connie Leyva said the Legislature must ensure harassment claims are dealt with transparently and “no one is beyond reproach.”

Mendoza’s resignation letter was hand-delivered by an aide moments after the Senate Rules Committee lifted his suspension so he could return to the Capitol and publicly defend himself against expulsion. His photo was quickly removed from a wall showing the sitting lawmakers and replaced with the seal of the Senate.

Mendoza wrote that he wasn’t able to see the evidence against him and was ordered to remain silent about the allegations. He said he couldn’t get a fair hearing with so many of his fellow Democrats running for higher office and thinking about their own political futures.

Lawyers who conducted the investigation released Tuesday found that Mendoza “more likely than not” engaged in behavior such as offering a 19-year-old intern alcohol in a hotel suite at a Democratic event, suggesting a young woman in a Senate fellowship take a vacation with him and rent a room in his house, and asking several women about their romantic lives.

Mendoza, who is 46 and married, said in his resignation letter that “more likely than not” was a low standard of proof that didn’t merit a penalty as high as expulsion. He called the Senate’s process “farcical.”

Mendoza had taken leave and then days before he was set to return in January, the Senate Rules Committee suspended him because the independent investigation had not yet concluded.

He doesn’t plan to drop a lawsuit he filed last week seeking reinstatement. He alleged his suspension was unconstitutional, among other arguments.

Elected officials need to hold themselves to a higher standard, and the Senate doesn’t need to hold itself to the same standard as a court of law, said Kim Nalder, director of the Project for an Informed Electorate at California State University, Sacramento.

“So long as there’s a process that’s transparent and rigorous, that’s what we should expect of them.”

The Senate could be challenged again soon. An investigation has concluded into Sen. Bob Hertzberg, whom at least three female colleagues say made them uncomfortable with hugs. The findings have not been made public.

Two other Los Angeles-area Democratic representatives, Raul Bocanegra and Matt Dababneh, resigned last fall. Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia has taken leave after she was accused of groping.

Rank City Population UNP UNP Per Year of
(Thousands) Capita CAFR
100 Laguna Woods 16,319 $9,704 $595 2017
99 Stockton 320,554 $196,005 $611 2016
98 Goleta 31,760 $19,440 $612 2017
97 Orange Cove 9,369 $5,829 $622 2016
96 Live Oak 8,636 $5,445 $631 2017
95 Corona 167,759 $107,149 $639 2017
94 San Marcos 94,042 $60,067 $639 2017
93 Moorpark 36,828 $23,886 $649 2017
92 Menlo Park 35,670 $23,288 $653 2017
91 Palos Verdes Estates 13,663 $8,959 $656 2017
90 San Carlos 29,311 $19,429 $663 2017
89 Dana Point 33,699 $22,522 $668 2017
88 Bishop 3,954 $2,667 $675 2014
87 La Canada Flintridge 20,497 $13,860 $676 2016
86 Lake Forest 84,931 $57,503 $677 2017
85 Loomis 6,775 $4,612 $681 2017
84 Tulare 64,661 $44,306 $685 2016
83 Woodside 5,666 $3,906 $689 2015
82 San Dimas 34,231 $23,640 $691 2017
81 Clayton 11,284 $7,835 $694 2017
80 Parlier 15,500 $10,820 $698 2016
79 Yucaipa 54,324 $38,545 $710 2016
78 San Joaquin 4,070 $3,013 $740 2017
77 Grass Valley 12,859 $9,728 $757 2016
76 Los Altos 31,402 $24,047 $766 2017
75 Portola Valley 4,707 $3,615 $768 2016
74 Imperial Beach 27,510 $21,546 $783 2016
73 Biggs 1,905 $1,520 $798 2016
72 Poway 50,253 $40,985 $816 2016
71 Buellton 5,129 $4,325 $843 2017
70 Thousand Oaks 131,457 $111,482 $848 2017
69 Cupertino 58,917 $51,164 $868 2016
68 La Habra Heights 5,463 $4,967 $909 2017
67 Signal Hill 11,609 $10,616 $914 2017
66 Williams 5,431 $4,999 $920 2016
65 Atherton 7,148 $6,804 $952 2015
64 Rancho Palos Verdes 42,884 $42,210 $984 2016
63 Camarillo 69,623 $68,550 $985 2017
62 Ontario 174,283 $179,846 $1,032 2017
61 Tiburon 9,508 $9,843 $1,035 2016
60 Lafayette 25,199 $26,382 $1,047 2017
59 Hillsborough 11,753 $12,377 $1,053 2017
58 East Palo Alto 30,340 $33,919 $1,118 2017
57 Woodlake 7,768 $8,957 $1,153 2016
56 Laguna Niguel 66,689 $76,932 $1,154 2016
55 Laguna Beach 23,505 $27,254 $1,159 2016
54 Tulelake 1,002 $1,200 $1,198 2016
53 Arcata 18,374 $23,727 $1,291 2017
52 Hercules 25,675 $34,482 $1,343 2016
51 Pismo Beach 8,247 $11,111 $1,347 2017

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MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 8 — February 22, 2018

The Bond Buyer, the national daily for the municipal bond market, covers my three new pension reform bills and the one I’m coauthoring with Sen. Glazer in the first piece below.

The second piece provides Volume 8, with cities #150 to #101. This grouping covers about 5 percent of the state’s population, which means that three-quarters of the cities are in the bottom 382.

The six Orange County cities in this bracket are Stanton (#150), San Clemente (#142), Villa Park (#130) (which is in my Senatorial District), Yorba Linda (#129), Aliso Viejo (#107), and La Palma (#104).

One interesting city in this group is Loyalton (#124), the city that inspired SB 1032 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — CalPERS Exit Strategies — November 18, 2017).

The top 100 cities are next with Volumes 9 and 10.

For more on the first seven volumes and the four bills discussed in The Bond Buyer piece, go to:

MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 1 – February 7, 2018
MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 2 — February 8, 2018
MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 3 — February 10, 2018

MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 4 — February 12, 2018

MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 5 — February 14, 2018

MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 6 — February 16, 2018

MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 7 — February 20, 2018

P.S. Senate Floor session started at 9 a.m. this morning. The entire agenda was focused on what would be done as a result of the Senator Tony Mendoza sexual harassment investigation and the resulting report that was released this week. After two hours of closed door Caucus meetings by held both parties, Sen. Mendoza submitted his resignation. It took the Democrats more time to accept it. So, many of my Republican colleagues and myself tweeted out his letter. This moved things along. The Democrats returned to the Floor close to the noon hour, announced their acceptance of Sen. Mendoza’s letter, and promptly closed the Session so many of my colleagues could catch their flights.

State lawmakers maneuver as CalPERS brings more change

By Keeley Webster

Two California state lawmakers introduced pension bills as its largest public pension fund decided to shorten its amortization period to 20 from 30 years for all investments gains and losses.

The new actuarial policy the California Public Employees’ Retirement System adopted last week would raise employer contributions starting in 2021.

It comes on top of a series of rate increases since 2012. The largest came last year when the pension fund’s earnings forecast was dropped to 7% from 7.5%, but it won’t be fully phased in until 2024.

California State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, said he thinks the best approach this year is to tackle public pension issues incrementally.

CalPERS’ actions enhance its long-term sustainability, but are “likely to precipitate short-term pressure to some governmental budgets,” Fitch Ratings said in a Friday report.

“Potential cost pressures will vary by locality and may depend on legal decisions going forward, but local governments in California will be especially challenged given their limited ability to raise revenues and a history of judicial decisions protecting existing pension arrangements,” Fitch analysts wrote.

The League of California Cities did not take a position on the latest change, because it received a mixed reception from the cities it represents.

Cities citing extreme financial hardship raised concerns that reducing the amortization schedule will increase their employer contribution rates even beyond what they can afford, according to the League. But some cities support the change because they believe it is prudent to shore up the fund and pay down the unfunded accrued liability faster instead of pushing the financial burden to future employees, employers and taxpayers, the League said.

Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, introduced three pension reform bills, revising two he floated last year that died in committee ahead of the pension fund’s announcement. Moorlach’sGOP holds only 13 of the 40 state Senate seats.

Senate Bill 1031 would allow public employers to freeze cost of living adjustments for retirees if the pension fund isn’t 80% funded, while SB 1032 would make it easier for local governments to exit CalPERS without paying termination fees.

CalPERS’ unfunded liability is currently estimated at $140 billion and it only has about 68% of the money needed to fulfill its obligations.

A third bill, SB 1033, would shift the burden of increased pension costs to the last city that hired an employee. Moorlach said that often a small city will train a police officer, who is then hired by a larger city and given a significant raise. The smaller city is then responsible for paying higher pension costs for the years the officer worked there.

Moorlach said he thinks the best approach is to tackle the issues incrementally. If Gov. Jerry Brown, in his last year in office, decides to create a trailer budget bill proposing more wholesale changes, Moorlach said he would support such an effort.

“It depends on how aggressive he wants to get this year and whether he has the juice or he’s a lame duck,” Moorlach said. “He has already done an amicus brief saying the California Rule has to be removed.” Moorlach is referring to a case before the state Supreme Court challenging the legal assumption that it is impossible to reduce future benefits accruals for current state and local government employees.

Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, introduced SB 1149 last week, which would offer new employees the option of choosing a more portable 401(k)-style plan and opt out of CalPERS. Moorlachis a co-sponsor.

Under Glazer’s bill, new employees’ contributions would be fully matched by the state, at the same level the state now contributes to CalPERS.

The main difference is that workers who leave state employment would be able to take with them the entire balance in their retirement plan, including both the employee and employer contributions and investment gains.

Currently, public employees have to stay in the job for five years before they vest into CalPERS or the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. If they leave before vesting, they do not receive pensions and they are not able to keep money their employers pay into the pension funds on their behalf.

“This pension reform idea would be good for employees and provide a more stable fiscal foundation for the state,” said Glazer, adding it would be especially attractive to younger workers who do not intend to work for the government their entire lives.

The change would make the state’s pension obligations more predictable, because the state would no longer be at risk of an unfunded liability for employees, who choose the new option, according to the legislation.

Glazer’s proposal is modeled after a University of California option that has been offered to new employees since 2016. More than a third of eligible UCLA employees hired since 2016 have chosen the 401(k)-style plan over the traditional pension system, according to the university.

Rank City Population UNP UNP Per Year of
(Thousands) Capita CAFR
150 Stanton 39,611 $12,720 $321 2017
149 Farmersville 11,248 $3,672 $326 2016
148 Ferndale 1,445 $477 $330 2017
147 Rancho Cucamonga 177,324 $58,568 $330 2017
146 Twentynine Palms 26,919 $8,985 $334 2017
145 Duarte 22,033 $7,466 $339 2016
144 Eastvale 64,613 $21,957 $340 2017
143 Adelanto 34,273 $11,892 $347 2014
142 San Clemente 65,975 $23,089 $350 2017
141 Walnut 30,134 $10,661 $354 2017
140 Chino 88,026 $32,426 $368 2016
139 Pico Rivera 64,046 $23,639 $369 2016
138 Lakewood 79,272 $29,923 $377 2017
137 Plymouth 1,009 $382 $379 2016
136 Gonzales 8,549 $3,330 $390 2017
135 Wheatland 3,509 $1,369 $390 2016
134 Calabasas 24,202 $9,452 $391 2017
133 Diamond Bar 57,066 $22,743 $399 2016
132 Loma Linda 24,528 $10,216 $417 2016
131 La Puente 40,455 $16,918 $418 2017
130 Villa Park 5,944 $2,505 $421 2017
129 Yorba Linda 67,890 $28,716 $423 2016
128 Hesperia 94,133 $40,510 $430 2017
127 Coachella 45,551 $19,631 $431 2017
126 Saratoga 30,569 $13,439 $440 2017
125 Vista 101,797 $47,397 $466 2016
124 Loyalton 766 $360 $470 2016
123 Colfax 2,070 $981 $474 2016
122 Brentwood 61,055 $29,172 $478 2017
121 Lawndale 33,365 $16,090 $482 2016
120 Los Gatos 31,314 $15,134 $483 2017
119 Santa Clarita 216,350 $104,942 $485 2017
118 Hollister 36,677 $17,813 $486 2017
117 Oakley 41,199 $20,395 $495 2016
116 Dunsmuir 1,612 $804 $499 2015
115 Blue Lake 1,295 $656 $507 2016
114 Windsor 27,371 $13,936 $509 2016
113 Rio Dell 3,447 $1,760 $511 2016
112 Marina 21,528 $11,012 $512 2017
111 Fillmore 15,683 $8,060 $514 2017
110 Calistoga 5,238 $2,730 $521 2017
109 Highland 54,377 $28,350 $521 2017
108 Weed 2,805 $1,495 $533 2016
107 Aliso Viejo 50,312 $26,883 $534 2017
106 Rancho Cordova 73,872 $39,760 $538 2017
105 Palo Alto 68,691 $37,300 $543 2017
104 La Palma 15,984 $9,052 $566 2017
103 Orinda 18,935 $10,917 $577 2016
102 Shasta Lake 10,386 $6,099 $587 2017

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MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 7 — February 20, 2018

Last Friday was the deadline to submit proposed bills. I hit my allotment of 20. I also coauthored a select few bills that were submitted by other Legislators (also see MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 6 — February 16, 2018).

The Orange County Breeze, in the first piece below, provides my release describing SB 1033 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 6 — February 16, 2018).

The Signal provides another example where I am a coauthor, this time of AB 2796 (Lackey), and it is the second piece below.

Volume 7 of the City CAFR Rankings provides for #200 to #151 and is the third piece below. These 50 cities comprise 2.2 million people, so the combined 7 volumes make up 70 percent of the state’s population.

OC cities include Laguna Hills (#198), Mission Viejo (#171), and Rancho Santa Margarita (#156).

The listing shows not all the June 30, 2017 CAFRs were completed by January of the following year, which is the norm. This may mean that the audits of the cities are more difficult, or Certified Public Accounting (CPA) firms that specialize in this industry have more work than time allows. A County as large as the OC was usually completed within six months, by the month of December. But, California’s CAFR is usually not completed until March of the following year. Two cities in this grouping, Calipatria and Maricopa, show the 2014 CAFR as the most current, which may indicate other concerns. Fortuna and Holtville show their 2015 CAFR as the most recent. Let’s hope a little public scrutiny like I’m providing will encourage these cities to become current.

As most cities receive funding from the Federal government, the independent CPA firm that is retained must comply with OMB A-133 single audit requirements (see This mandates that certain continuing professional education (CPE) courses be completed by key staff (see Auditing cities is a serious and complex engagement and not all firms are interested in the burdens of pursuing this particular niche. The city of Bell may remind you that the liability exposure is rather severe.

For the previous six volumes, go to:

MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 1 – February 7, 2018
MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 2 — February 8, 2018
MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 3 — February 10, 2018

MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 4 — February 12, 2018
MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 5 — February 14, 2018
MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 6 — February 16, 2018

Senator John Moorlach introduces Senate Bill 1033, the Pension Fairness Act of 2018

“It is fair for an employee to be paid a pension based on each place he or she works. But currently, the formula used by the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) biases retirement costs in favor of bigger cities that can pay higher salaries against smaller cities who are often on the hook for payments they didn’t agree to.”

“An example of the current system: A small city trains and hires a police officer. He or she then is hired by a bigger city and is given a large raise. The current amounts paid into CalPERS are based on current salary, so the small city is hammered for the higher cost, even though the officer no longer patrols there.

“Current law mandates CalPERS must define ‘a significant increase in actuarial liability’ and ‘implement program changes to ensure … the increased liability’ is borne by the agency granting it. But that’s not happening.

“I’m introducing Senate Bill 1033 to put teeth into that requirement. It would mandate the agency increasing compensation must bear all actuarial liability for the action.”

This article was released by the Office of Senator John Moorlach.

Bill would require emergency information as part of car purchases

By Andrew Clark

Car buyers looking to purchase new wheels may soon add emergency contact information to the purchase forms if a new bill introduced in the state legislature gets approved.

Assembly Bill 2796, authored by Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, and co-authored by Assemblymen Steven Choi, R-Irvine, and Adrin Nazarian, D-Sherman Oaks, as well as Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, would require dealers to add the contact information to the transfer of ownership paperwork. Lackey said Monday he thought of his career as a highway patrolman and the length of time it can take to notify next of kin after fatal crashes when crafting the legislation.

“I made over 40 death notifications,” he said. “The longer it takes to get that message to the family, the more tragic it is.”

Legislative documents stated the bill “would require law enforcement personnel, when practicable, to expeditiously provide emergency contact information from the system, either verbal or written, to the emergency department of a general acute care hospital receiving a motor vehicle crash victim who is unconscious or otherwise incapable of communication.”

The bill is modeled after one in New Jersey that required the creation of an emergency contact registry when filing for a temporary license plate from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

“We applaud Assemblyman Lackey for drawing attention to this critical issue by proposing an efficient way for loved ones of a crash victim to be notified much sooner,” said Shaun Rundle, deputy director for the California Peace Officers’ Association. “The public benefit here could not be clearer.”

The bill was introduced Friday, the last day of the legislative session to introduce proposed laws, and is yet to be assigned to a committee, according to legislative information posted Monday.

Should the bill be signed into law, it would go into effect by Jan. 1.

Rank City Population UNP UNP Per Year of
(Thousands) Capita CAFR
200 Jurupa Valley 101,315 $8,644 $85 2016
199 American Canyon 20,570 $2,076 $101 2016
198 Laguna Hills 31,544 $3,315 $105 2017
197 Wasco 26,980 $2,945 $109 2016
196 Calipatria 7,555 $877 $116 2014
195 Norco 26,882 $3,195 $119 2017
194 Kerman 14,614 $1,742 $119 2017
193 Menifee 90,660 $10,903 $120 2016
192 Avalon 3,718 $460 $124 2016
191 Moreno Valley 206,750 $26,675 $129 2017
190 Solana Beach 13,527 $1,795 $133 2017
189 Visalia 133,151 $17,877 $134 2017
188 Yreka 7,777 $1,045 $134 2016
187 Huron 7,186 $967 $135 2016
186 Moraga 16,676 $2,261 $136 2017
185 Fowler 6,091 $846 $139 2016
184 Fortuna 11,989 $1,759 $147 2015
183 Lemoore 26,369 $3,912 $148 2016
182 Encinitas 62,288 $9,510 $153 2017
181 Bellflower 76,657 $11,890 $155 2017
180 Sierra Madre 11,010 $1,732 $157 2016
179 Tehachapi 12,280 $2,028 $165 2017
178 Perris 75,739 $12,523 $165 2016
177 Citrus Heights 87,013 $14,663 $169 2016
176 McFarland 14,919 $2,567 $172 2016
175 Holtville 6,255 $1,079 $173 2015
174 Ione 7,772 $1,434 $185 2017
173 Ceres 47,754 $9,957 $209 2016
172 Yucca Valley 21,519 $4,498 $209 2017
171 Mission Viejo 96,718 $20,367 $211 2017
170 Santa Monica 93,834 $19,957 $213 2016
169 Mendota 11,828 $2,571 $217 2016
168 Hughson 7,331 $1,637 $223 2016
167 Palmdale 158,605 $36,278 $229 2017
166 Porterville 59,908 $13,714 $229 2017
165 Rosemead 54,984 $13,109 $238 2016
164 Waterford 8,906 $2,233 $251 2017
163 San Jacinto 47,925 $12,389 $259 2016
162 Mountain View 79,278 $20,918 $264 2017
161 Imperial 18,658 $5,103 $274 2016
160 Orland 7,812 $2,146 $275 2016
159 Delano 53,152 $14,843 $279 2016
158 Temecula 111,024 $31,506 $284 2017
157 Canyon Lake 10,891 $3,105 $285 2016
156 Rancho Santa Margarita 48,602 $13,960 $287 2017
155 Chowchilla 18,840 $5,504 $292 2016
154 Chino Hills 80,676 $23,695 $294 2017
153 Maricopa 1,140 $336 $295 2014
152 Port Hueneme 22,808 $6,742 $296 2016
151 Temple City 36,389 $11,585 $318 2016

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