MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 656, 905, 174 and AB 3129 — September 30, 2018

The Governor waited until the final allowable day, the deadline, to weigh in on SB 656 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Final Hours For Bills — September 28, 2018). He decided to veto it.

I know this was a difficult bill for him. Does he stick to absolutes, not allowing any pension modifications since his minimalist Public Employee Pension Reform Act (PEPRA) passed around this time six years ago (see MOORLACH UPDATE — AB 340 Withholdings — September 12, 2012 september 12, 2012 john moorlach)?

Or does he sign it to address a flaw in the current retirement plans that his Judicial appointees have to live with? A formula where rank and file staff and even courtroom janitors have a better retirement plan (see https://moorlach.cssrc.us/content/senate-bill-656-judicial-retirement-system)? A flaw where many good candidates turn down the offer of an appointment to the bench?

I believe we had a righteous bill, correcting a concern that became evident after nearly 24 years of experience, that could be remedied with a minor deferral modification at no or minimal cost. I say no or minimal, as the actuarial studies leaned toward the worst case situation more than what is most likely to occur. I’m confident in this as I believe most judges like their jobs and stay long after retirement age. And, besides, the cost would be tantamount to an insignificant increase in wages if a raise is considered, but it would be a much more powerful morale booster than a pay raise.

Thank you, Governor Brown, for giving it your attention for the entire month. We have all been busy with the legislative process with August having the focus on the Assembly and the Senate and September having the focus on you.

The East County Today provides a review of a few bills in a manner that reflects my vantage point. It provides the legislative votes and the Governor’s veto message, if applicable.

Now that you have the status on SB 656, as it may be tomorrow’s news, at least in legal publications, today let’s discuss SB 905, SB 174 and AB 3129.

Believe it or not, I supported SB 905. I don’t go to bars, never really have, but that doesn’t mean I should prevent others from staying out past 2 a.m. The Governor saw it differently in the first piece below. It provides the background, the Governor’s message, the details of the bill, and the voting record, highlighting how the East Bay legislators voted. This information is also available at http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/.

The second East County Today piece addresses SB 174, a bill that I recommended that the Governor should veto (see MOORLACH UPDATE — 2018 Top 20 Veto Worthy Bills — September 13, 2018). Well, good news. The Governor vetoed it!

The third East County Today piece addresses AB 3129, which I thought was headed in the right direction, but was a tad severe. The Governor liked the bill.

Governor Brown Vetoes Bill Allowing Cities to Extend Last Call to 4 a.m.

By
ECT

http://eastcountytoday.net/governor-brown-vetoes-bill-allowing-cities-to-extend-last-call-to-4-a-m/

A bill that was introduced by Senator Scott Wiener (San Francisco) that would allow local governments to extend alcohol services for bars and restaurants until 4:00 am was vetoed by Governor Brown on Friday.

According to the Governors veto message, he stated:

I am returning Senate Bill 905 without my signature.

This bill would authorize nine California cities to extend the hours business can serve alcohol from 2:00 am to 4:00 am.

Without question, these two extra hours will result in more drinking. The business and cities in support of this bill see that as a good source of revenue. The California Highway Patrol, however, strongly believes that this increased drinking will lead to more drunk driving.

California’s law regulating late-night drinking has been on the books since 1913. I believe we have enough mischief from midnight to 2 without adding two more hours of mayhem.

Sincerely,

Edmund G Brown Jr.

According to the Bill:

This bill, beginning January 1, 2021, and before January 2, 2026, would require the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to conduct a pilot program that would authorize the department to issue an additional hours license to an on-sale licensee located in a qualified city which would authorize, with or without conditions, the selling, giving, or purchasing of alcoholic beverages at the licensed premises between the hours of 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., upon completion of specified requirements by the qualified city in which the licensee is located. The bill would impose specified fees related to the license to be deposited in the Alcohol Beverage Control Fund. The bill would require the applicant to notify specified persons of the application for an additional hours license and would provide a procedure for protest and hearing regarding the application. The bill would require the Department of the California Highway Patrol and each qualified city that has elected to participate in the program to submit reports to the Legislature and specified committees regarding the regional impact of the additional hours licenses, as specified. The bill would provide that any person under 21 years of age who enters and remains in the licensed public premises during the additional serving hours without lawful business therein is guilty of a misdemeanor, as provided. The pilot program would apply to Cathedral City, Coachella, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Palm Springs, Sacramento, San Francisco, and West Hollywood.

Date Result Location Ayes Noes NVR Motion
8/30/2018 (PASS) Senate Floor 28 8 4 Unfinished Business SB905 Wiener et al. Concurrence
Ayes: Allen, Anderson, Atkins, Beall, Cannella, De León, Delgado, Dodd, Galgiani, Glazer, Hernandez, Hertzberg, Hill, Hueso, Lara, Leyva, McGuire, Mitchell, Monning, Moorlach, Morrell, Pan, Portantino, Roth, Skinner, Stone, Wieckowski, Wiener
Noes: Bates, Chang, Fuller, Gaines, Nguyen, Nielsen, Vidak, Wilk
No Votes Recorded: Berryhill, Bradford, Jackson, Stern
8/29/2018 (PASS) Assembly Floor 51 22 7 SB 905 Wiener Senate Third Reading By SANTIAGO
Ayes: Aguiar-Curry, Berman, Bigelow, Bloom, Bonta, Brough, Burke, Caballero, Calderon, Carrillo, Chau, Chávez, Chen, Chiu, Chu, Cunningham, Daly, Eggman, Fong, Friedman, Cristina Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gipson, Gloria, Gray, Grayson, Harper, Holden, Jones-Sawyer, Kalra, Kamlager-Dove, Kiley, Low, Mathis, Mayes, Medina, Mullin, Obernolte, Quirk, Reyes, Rivas, Rubio, Santiago, Steinorth, Mark Stone, Thurmond, Ting, Voepel, Weber, Wood, Rendon
Noes: Acosta, Arambula, Baker, Cervantes, Choi, Cooley, Dahle, Frazier, Gallagher, Gonzalez Fletcher, Irwin, Lackey, Levine, Maienschein, McCarty, Melendez, Muratsuchi, Nazarian, O’Donnell, Quirk-Silva, Salas, Waldron
No Votes Recorded: Travis Allen, Cooper, Flora, Gabriel, Limón, Patterson, Rodriguez

Governor Vetoes Bill to Let Noncitizens Serve on Boards

By
ECT

https://eastcountytoday.net/governor-vetoes-bill-to-let-noncitizens-serve-on-boards/

On Thursday, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed SB-174, a bill that would have allowed legal residents and undocumented immigrants to serve on local and state boards.

According to the Governor’s veto message, he stated “This bill would open up all boards and commissions to non-citizens. I believe existing law—which requires citizenship for these forms of public service—is a better path.

The bill was introduced by Senator Ricardo Lara who claimed the bill amends an obsolete and unconstitutional 1872 law that blocked the children of Chinese immigrants from participating in civic life. According to Government Code Section 241, a citizen of California is defined as anyone born in the state, except the children of “transient aliens and of alien public ministers and consuls.”

SB 174 deletes the language about “transient aliens,” and does not change eligibility to hold elected office or vote, defined as a person over 18 who is both a resident of California and a citizen of the United States.

In August, Lara Stated:

“Immigrants are integral to California’s success, but racism and exclusion are part of our history too,” said Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens). “The California Inclusion Act is fundamentally about good governance. SB 174 rejects our history of exclusion and says we make the best policy when we hear the voices of all Californians, regardless of where they are born or what they look like.”

Assemblymembers Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) and David Chiu (D-San Francisco) were coauthors of SB 174. Section 241 has been amended only once, in 1971, to lower the age of eligibility for elected office from 21 to 18.

The bill passed the State Senate with a 26-11 vote with Senator Glazer supporting it. In the Assembly, the bill passed with 46-28 vote with neither Assemblymember Frazier or Grayson casting a vote.

Date Result Location Ayes Noes NVR Motion
8/24/2018 (PASS) Senate Floor 26 11 3 Unfinished Business SB174 Lara et al. Concurrence
Ayes: Allen, Atkins, Beall, Bradford, De León, Delgado, Dodd, Galgiani, Glazer, Hernandez, Hertzberg, Hill, Hueso, Jackson, Lara, Leyva, McGuire, Mitchell, Monning, Pan, Portantino, Roth, Skinner, Stern, Wieckowski, Wiener
Noes: Anderson, Bates, Chang, Fuller, Gaines, Moorlach, Morrell, Nielsen, Stone, Vidak, Wilk
No Votes Recorded: Berryhill, Cannella, Nguyen
8/20/2018 (PASS) Assembly Floor 46 26 8 SB 174 Lara Senate Third Reading By GONZALEZ FLETCHER
Ayes: Aguiar-Curry, Arambula, Berman, Bloom, Bonta, Burke, Calderon, Carrillo, Chau, Chávez, Chiu, Chu, Cooper, Eggman, Friedman, Gabriel, Cristina Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gipson, Gloria, Gonzalez Fletcher, Holden, Irwin, Jones-Sawyer, Kalra, Kamlager-Dove, Levine, Limón, Low, McCarty, Medina, Mullin, Nazarian, O’Donnell, Quirk, Reyes, Rivas, Rodriguez, Rubio, Santiago, Mark Stone, Thurmond, Ting, Weber, Wood, Rendon
Noes: Acosta, Travis Allen, Baker, Bigelow, Brough, Chen, Choi, Cooley, Cunningham, Dahle, Flora, Fong, Gallagher, Gray, Harper, Kiley, Lackey, Maienschein, Mathis, Melendez, Obernolte, Patterson, Salas, Steinorth, Voepel, Waldron
No Votes Recorded: Caballero, Cervantes, Daly, Frazier, Grayson, Mayes, Muratsuchi, Quirk-Silva

Governor Brown Signs Domestic Violence Protection Bill

By
ECT

http://eastcountytoday.net/governor-brown-signs-domestic-violence-protection-bill/

On Friday, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill aimed at increasing protections for survivors of domestic violence from gun violence.

The Bill, AB 3129, authored by Blanca E. Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), will prohibit a person who is convicted on or after January 1, 2019, of a misdemeanor violation of willful infliction of corporal injury upon a spouse, cohabitant, or other specified person, from ever possessing a firearm. The bill would make the violation of that prohibition punishable as either a misdemeanor or as a felony.

Locally, Senator Steve Glazer supported the bill along with Assembly members Catharine Baker and Tim Grayson. Assemblyman Jim Frazier voted against the Bill.

Here is the August Press Release when the Legislator Passed the Bill:

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Legislature today passed a bill by Assemblywoman Blanca E. Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) that will increase protections for survivors of domestic violence from gun violence.

Assembly Bill 3129 would impose a lifetime ban on firearm possession against an individual convicted of a serious misdemeanor domestic violence offense. While federal law imposes a lifetime firearms ban on the purchasing or possession if convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor, California law is more lenient than federal law by only imposing a ten-year ban.

“The role of guns in domestic assaults is not limited to homicides, in fact, a 2004 survey of female domestic violence shelter residents in California found that more than one-third have been threatened or harmed with a firearm,” according to the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. “In nearly two-thirds of all cases where a gun was present, the person harming their partner had threatened to shoot or kill her.”

“This bill is about saving lives. We need to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of domestic abusers,” said Assemblywoman Rubio. “Abused women are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser owns a firearm, and domestic violence assaults involving a gun are 12 times more likely to end in death than assaults with other weapons or physical harm. In addition, a recent report from the Center for Disease Control found that 50 percent of all female homicide victims are murdered by their intimate partners. Current California law is inadequate, and this bill will provide one more layer of protection.”

AB 3129 will better protect our survivors of domestic violence by imposing a lifetime ban on firearms for individuals with a history of domestic violence. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.

Assemblywoman Rubio represents the 48th Assembly District, which is comprised of the cities of Azusa, Baldwin Park, Bradbury, City of Industry, Covina, Duarte, El Monte, Glendora, Irwindale, Monrovia, West Covina, and the San Gabriel Valley unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, including Bassett, Charter Oak, Citrus, East Arcadia, Ramona, Valinda and West La Puente.

Date Result Location Ayes Noes NVR Motion
8/23/2018 (PASS) Senate Floor 26 7 7 Assembly 3rd Reading AB3129 Rubio By Skinner
Ayes: Allen, Atkins, Beall, Bradford, De León, Delgado, Dodd, Galgiani, Glazer, Hernandez, Hertzberg, Hill, Hueso, Jackson, Lara, Leyva, McGuire, Mitchell, Monning, Pan, Portantino, Roth, Skinner, Stern, Wieckowski, Wiener
Noes: Anderson, Gaines, Moorlach, Morrell, Nielsen, Stone, Vidak
No Votes Recorded: Bates, Berryhill, Cannella, Chang, Fuller, Nguyen, Wilk
8/27/2018 (PASS) Assembly Floor 53 19 8 AB 3129 RUBIO Concurrence in Senate Amendments
Ayes: Acosta, Arambula, Baker, Berman, Bloom, Bonta, Burke, Caballero, Calderon, Carrillo, Cervantes, Chau, Chiu, Chu, Cooper, Cunningham, Daly, Eggman, Friedman, Gabriel, Cristina Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gipson, Gloria, Gonzalez Fletcher, Gray, Grayson, Irwin, Jones-Sawyer, Kalra, Kiley, Lackey, Levine, Limón, Low, Maienschein, McCarty, Medina, Mullin, Muratsuchi, Nazarian, O’Donnell, Quirk-Silva, Reyes, Rivas, Rodriguez, Rubio, Santiago, Thurmond, Ting, Weber, Wood, Rendon
Noes: Travis Allen, Bigelow, Brough, Cooley, Frazier, Gallagher, Harper, Kamlager-Dove, Mathis, Mayes, Melendez, Obernolte, Patterson, Quirk, Salas, Steinorth, Mark Stone, Voepel, Waldron
No Votes Recorded: Aguiar-Curry, Chávez, Chen, Choi, Dahle, Flora, Fong, Holden

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Dubious Budget Trailer Bill — September 17, 2018

The LA Times and SD U-T find the world famous columnist, George Skelton, delving into the Legislative Democrats’ vote on AB 1829, interpreting the National Mortgage Settlement Fund. It is a budget trailer bill, a technique for many an abuse.

I argued against this bill in the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee. I mentioned that it reminded me of the diversion by the state of the National Tobacco Settlement some 16 years ago. The joys of being older and having personal history with these arcane historical events (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Daily Pilot — April 1, 2012). I also voted against the bill on the Senate Floor.

We’ll be seeing a number of articles on bills that were approved during the last few days of this year’s Session. They couldn’t be covered by the media at the time, as the volume was too great. But, while digesting what occurred, it is nice to see this bill evaluated by a liberal columnist who concurs with not only my vote, but my historical context, in the piece below.

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Taking money meant for financially pressed homeowners and using it to balance California’s budget is plain wrong

George Skelton

George Skelton
Contact Reporter Capitol Journal

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/us-politics/la-pol-sac-skelton-california-mortgage-settlement-money-20180917-story.html

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-skelton-california-mortgage-settlement-money-20180917-story.html

Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature just showed why many voters don’t trust Sacramento politicians with money — and why last year’s gas tax increase could be repealed on election day.

Ruling Democrats never quite get it. They become caught up in crafty, hurry-up maneuvering in the dark and forget that what they’re concocting often looks ugly when the light shines, which it inevitably does.

Here’s the story briefly: In 2012, Brown and the Legislature took $410 million that was supposed to assist victims of abusive mortgage lending and used it to help balance the state budget. Homeowner groups sued. Two courts ruled against the state and ordered it to replace $331 million.

Just before the current Legislature adjourned Aug. 31, lawmakers passed a bill essentially telling the courts to go pound sand. The measure “confirmed” that Brown spent the money “consistent with the direction given” him by the 2012 Legislature. So there! The governor signed the bill last week.

“The Legislature and the governor said, ‘In your face, judge, we’re going to do what we want to do regardless of how you rule,’” says state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), a former Orange County treasurer-tax collector.

Brown is appealing the case to the state Supreme Court, which hasn’t decided whether to take it.

But regardless of what the court does and whether what the governor and Legislature did was legal or illegal, it was plain wrong. You don’t take money meant for financially pressed homeowners — or former owners who were improperly foreclosed on — and spend it on convenient budget balancing.

“We were facing a difficult budget crisis in 2012,” says H.D. Palmer, spokesman for Brown’s finance department.

Yes, the state was. But it isn’t today. It’s rolling in money, on its way to amassing a $13.5-billion cash reserve.

That disputed $331 million should be spent belatedly to help victims of bad mortgages, or at least on some housing program.

The money came from a 2012 settlement reached by the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers — Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and GMAC — in a suit filed by the federal government and every state except Oklahoma. Lenders were accused of deception and improper foreclosures.

The banks paid $20 billion directly to foreclosed homeowners. In addition, it sent $2.5 billion to the states, with California getting the biggest pot, $410 million.

“Each state attorney general shall designate the uses of the funds,” the agreement decreed. “To the extent practical,” it continued, the money should be spent to assist foreclosure victims and to avoid future mortgage abuses.

Then-state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris — now a U.S. senator — helped negotiate the settlement and, as required by the agreement, designated several housing-related uses for the money. Brown and the Legislature virtually ignored her list.

What they mostly did with the money was use $316 million to make payments on $5 billion in housing bonds approved by voters in 2002 and 2006.

So, wait a minute: The settlement money was supposed to help current mortgage victims and prevent future calamities — not to be used for making payments on old bonds.

That’s essentially what trial and appellate courts ruled. And it’s certainly what Harris thought. In a rarity, there was dissension in the highest Democratic ranks, with Harris objecting to Brown’s use of the money.

In a 2012 written statement, she said: “These funds should be used to help Californians stay in their homes. I plan to work with the governor and Legislature toward a balanced budget that honors our obligations to California’s homeowners.”

The work didn’t pay off. And when the state was sued, Harris opted not to defend it. Brown was forced to hire private attorneys.

In its appeal to the California Supreme Court, the Brown administration is making the state attorney general a separation-of-powers issue. Wearing an odd-looking hat, the state’s chief executive is taking the Legislature’s side.

“Does the Legislature or the attorney general have final authority to decide how to spend money paid to the state?” Brown asks in a petition to the court. The lower courts’ rulings, he asserted, are “squarely at odds with the fundamental principle that the Legislature holds the power of the purse.”

The legislation telling the courts to take a hike passed on party-line votes in each house — Democrats for, Republicans against.

“The bill doesn’t make any difference for two reasons” says Neil Barofsky, a lawyer for the National Asian American Coalition and other groups suing the state. “What one legislature says six years later about what a previous legislature did doesn’t matter.

“And even if the court didn’t see it that way, it wouldn’t matter. The governor is bound to follow the federal consent order” — the mortgage settlement. “That’s his obligation.”

Sacramento politicians have long had a reputation for raiding pots of money set aside for one purpose and using it for another. Some of the reputation is deserved, some not.

In 2003, Gov. Gray Davis and the Legislature grabbed California’s share of a $206-billion national settlement with tobacco companies and used it for budget-balancing. It should have been spent on smoking prevention and treating health problems caused by tobacco.

Currently, opponents of the gas tax hike that’s raising money to repair dilapidated roads accuse the state of pilfering past highway funds for other purposes. It’s basic baloney, but an effective pitch to voters.

Regardless of what the state Supreme Court does, Sacramento Democrats already have lost by snatching the mortgage money.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — AB 448 and SB 1363 — September 12, 2018

Now that the 2018 Session has concluded, the Governor has until the end of September to sign or veto the bills the Legislature sent to his desk in the final two weeks of August. (I hope to provide you with the annual list of the 20 bills Gov. Brown should veto soon.)

I’m happy to say that two bills that I was associated with were signed yesterday. The Governor issues a press releases every day on his bill signing and both bills are mentioned in yesterday’s report. The OC Register covers one of them, AB 448, where I was a co-author and the Floor Manager (Jockey) who presented it on the Senate Floor for approval, in the first piece below (also see MOORLACH UPDATE — Senate Approval of AB 448 — August 9, 2018).

For fun on the singular opposition, see MOORLACH UPDATE — AB 448 — July 8, 2018 and my response at MOORLACH UPDATE — Homelessness JPA Solution — July 11, 2018.

The press release is provided in the second piece below in the Imperial Valley News. It includes the approval of SB 1363 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Quiet Bills, And Not So Quiet — May 3, 2018 and MOORLACH UPDATE — Right to Peaceably Assemble — April 13, 2018).

Form 540, the state equivalent of IRS Form 1040, the traditional income tax return, has a page where filers can designate a portion of their refund towards a specified nonprofit or cause. It’s known as a voluntary contribution and can be deducted on the subsequent year’s return as an itemized deduction (if one’s deductions exceed what is known as the standard deduction).

The good news is that this voluntary contribution gives the causes some nice PR when individuals are preparing their tax returns. Unfortunately, most individuals use professional tax preparers and never even see that they have this option. Most tax preparers do not even inform their clients of this opportunity. Consequently, I initiated a bill to modify this section on the Form 540 earlier this year to make it more manageable and marketed.

After working with the Chair of the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, we decided that we would make 2018 the last year to add voluntary contributions and use 2019 to make the reforms. So, stay tuned for legislation that will assist taxpayers in knowing that worthy causes are included in their tax return preparation process.

As for SB 1363, it was a wonderful collaboration with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to provide a funding source for police officer training for Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT). For more information, see SB 1363 – NAMI California and https://moorlach.cssrc.us/content/senate-bill-1363-national-alliance-mental-illness-california-voluntary-tax-contribution-fund.

Governor signs bill that allows creation of Orange County trust to help homeless people

Theresa Walker

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/msn/governor-signs-bill-that-allows-creation-of-orange-county-trust-to-help-house-homeless-people/ar-BBNcFam

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday, Sept. 11, signed into law a bill that will allow Orange County and its 34 cities to form the Orange County Housing Finance Trust and jointly compete for state and federal funds to help house the local homeless population.

The legislation, known as Assembly Bill 448, had enjoyed bipartisan support from Orange County’s delegation in the state legislature, among county and city elected officials, and in the private sector. County supervisor Michelle Steel was a notable exception.

AB 448 was introduced by Assemblyman Tom Daly (D-Anaheim) and Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton), with Republican co-authors in the state Senate: Pat Bates of Laguna Niguel, John Moorlach of Costa Mesa and Janet Nguyen of Garden Grove.

“This legislation is a product of teamwork, and refreshing cooperation in Orange County,” Quirk-Silva said.

The bill, which goes into effect Jan. 1, does not grant the joint powers authority to be formed any land-use powers, the means to own or operate housing, or the ability to dictate to local jurisdictions where to build. It does call for an annual audit.

Screen Shot 2018-09-12 at 10.52.11 AM

Governor Brown Issues Legislative Update

https://www.imperialvalleynews.com/index.php/news/california-news/16255-governor-brown-issues-legislative-update-9-11-18.html

Sacramento, California – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced that he has signed the following bills:

  • AB 448 by Assemblymember Tom Daly (D-Anaheim) – Joint powers authorities: Orange County Housing Finance Trust.
  • AB 700 by Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) – Outdoor advertising displays: arenas.
  • AB 1790 by Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) – Valley Fever Education, Early Diagnosis, and Treatment Act.
  • AB 2036 by Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson) – State Capitol: Mervyn M. Dymally bust.
  • AB 2097 by Assemblymember Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita) – Carpet recycling: annual reports.
  • AB 2175 by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) – Vessels: removal.
  • AB 2293 by Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes (D-Grand Terrace) – Emergency medical services: report.
  • AB 2540 by Assemblymember Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco) – State facilities and public buildings: vote centers and polling places.
  • AB 2620 by Assemblymember Philip Ting (D-San Francisco) – Rental passenger vehicle transactions.
  • AB 2745 by Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) – State parks: merchandise sales.
  • AB 2894 by Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) – Postsecondary education: students called to active military duty during an academic term.
  • AB 3067 by Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Arcadia) – Internet: marketing: minors: cannabis.
  • AB 3098 by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) – Residential care facilities for the elderly: emergency and disaster plans.
  • AB 3257 by the Committee on Natural Resources – Natural resources.
  • SB 954 by Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) – Mediation: confidentiality: disclosure.
  • SB 963 by Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) – Water replenishment districts.
  • SB 1046 by Senator Richard Roth (D-Riverside) – Insurance: long-term care.
  • SB 1076 by Senator Robert Hertzberg (D-Los Angeles) – Emergency preparedness: electrical utilities: electromagnetic pulse attacks and geomagnetic storm events.
  • SB 1113 by Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) – Mental health in the workplace: voluntary standards.
  • SB 1133 by Senator Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) – Water quality control plans: funding.
  • SB 1201 by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) – Contracts: consumer protection: residential mortgage lending.
  • SB 1202 by Senator Jeff Stone (R-Temecula) – Land use: development fees.
  • SB 1246 by Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado Hills) – Property tax: claims for refund.
  • SB 1363 by Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) – Personal income taxes: voluntary contributions: National Alliance on Mental Illness California Voluntary Tax Contribution Fund.
  • SB 1383 by Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) – Teacher credentialing: Committee of Credentials: membership.
  • SB 1410 by Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga) – Public utilities: inspection and audit of books and records.
  • SB 1503 by the Committee on Governmental Organization – Alcoholic beverages: licensees.

The Governor also announced that he has vetoed the following bills:

  • AB 1715 by Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) – International trade and investment offices.
  • AB 2790 by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) – Veterans: Internal Audits for Veterans Affairs.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Session Closing Days — August 31, 2018

I decided to share my research on California’s colleges Thursday afternoon in a debate on the Senate Floor regarding Senate Bill 320.

I shared that the University of California system has an unrestricted net position (UNP) of a negative $19 billion. I also mentioned that the Governor’s budget mentioned UC also has an unfunded retiree medical of another $19 billion. This means the June 30, 2018, audited financial statements for UC, thanks to new Government Accounting Standards Board requirements, will show a negative $38 billion UNP (see MOORLACH UPDATE — UC, CCC and CSU — May 11, 2018).

I also mentioned that the negative UNP for the California State University system was just under $4 billion (not including the Other Post Employment Benefit, or OPEB, for retiree medical).

The California Community Colleges, cumulatively, are at a deficit $5.5 billion, not including retiree medical.

So, why increase their insurance premiums and ancillary costs for off-site medical clinics? Why keep putting financial mandates on our state’s college campuses?

Surely, the UC Board of Regents is under too much pressure to raise tuition. Consequently, these college systems will undoubtedly be coming to Sacramento for additional funding. And they should, because it was the Capitol that imposed on their cash flows. After all, nothing comes for free. And when the supposed donated funding stops, you know who will be left holding the tab. The Sacramento Bee provides its take in the piece below.

Should California public colleges prescribe abortion pills? The choice is up to Jerry Brown

By Taryn Luna and Bryan Anderson

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/msn/should-california-public-colleges-prescribe-abortion-pills-the-choice-is-up-to-jerry-brown/ar-BBMFTfz

https://www.modbee.com/news/state/california/article217410615.html

Gov. Jerry Brown will decide if women attending California public universities should have access to abortion pills at campus health centers.

Women can typically receive the medication, a two-pill dosage of mifepristone and misoprostol, from a doctor up to nine or 10 weeks after the first day of the last menstrual cycle. The pills can be taken at home and health care organizations say the effect is similar to a heavy menstrual period, causing bleeding and cramps.

Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, introduced Senate Bill 320 to provide students with greater access to care for early pregnancy termination without seeking transportation or missing classes to receive safe reproductive health services.

The Senate approved the bill Thursday with a 26 to 13 vote. The Assembly signed off Wednesday, 52-25.

“A woman should always have the right to decide when she incorporates a family into her life,” Leyva said.

Anti-abortion rights activists, including the California Catholic Conference, condemn the proposal as discriminatory against students and health care workers who do not support abortion. Opponents argue that the availability of abortion pills on campus would reduce the effort and thought women put into a decision to have an abortion. They say it would leave women to suffer the effects of the medication alone in their dorm rooms without care.

Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, said he is worried the University of California cannot afford to implement the bill.

“We’ve got to stop putting more financial pressure on our system,” Moorlach said.

But Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D- Santa Barbara, said it will cost nothing because the program is privately funded.

“If we want to talk about the issue, this isn’t about the money because it’s not going to cost the state a dime,” Jackson said.

The proposal, which Leyva initially unveiled last year, mandates that all schools in the California State University and University of California systems offer abortion medication, which would be an optional service for private and community colleges.

The latest iteration of the proposal would allot $200,000 in private grant money to each student health center to cover the costs of implementing the program and $200,000 to each university system.

UC and CSU have not taken positions on the bill.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Spewing Carbon Into The Air — August 8, 2018

The air quality in Sacramento continues to be awful, with the heavy smoke in the area caused by fires in Northern California. Consequently, the media attention to this tragic state of events and addressing it in the future continues.

My 2016 bill, SB 1463, started with a simple request from within my District from Laguna Beach. It enjoyed a healthy review by committees in both chambers and never received a vote of opposition. But, it was vetoed by Governor Brown. So, we did another SB 1463 this year (using the number again on an intentional basis).

Katy Grimes of the FlashReport covers it in the piece below. Which prompts me to provide the substantive UPDATEs covering both bills over the last three years, in reverse date order. For a couple of them, I provide my frustrations expressed in the postings, as I know you can’t possibly link to them all (but, the evidence is here that shows my diligence to this critical topic):

MOORLACH UPDATE — Fire Tornado Funding — August 2, 2018

MOORLACH UPDATE — Reducing Wildfires — July 31, 2018

MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1297 – COO — April 19, 2018

Let the record show that I tried to address the global warming concerns with SB 1463. I would conclude that the state’s efforts to truly address greenhouse gases are, at best, a joke, and at worst, a fraud. Not including the greenhouse gases generated by wildfires and not approving the provision of a simple way to address the hardening of electrical power lines is, in my opinion, legislative malpractice by the majority party.

MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1463 Redux — March 30, 2018

MOORLACH UPDATE — Haven for Hope — January 19, 2018

MOORLACH UPDATE — Burning Year End Issues — December 15, 2017

A few days of wildfires generate as much in greenhouse gases as all of the cars in California operating for an entire year. [Governor Brown’s] not addressing the real root causes of “climate change” makes him look like a flimflam man. Consequently, I’ll try to help him out in his last year of office by crafting legislation that directs cap and trade tax revenues towards addressing the state’s aging and vulnerable utilities infrastructure and electrical power distribution.

With more than 40 casualties, most of them 70 years of age or older who could not flee, this state needs to get serious about reducing wildfires. Blaming climate change is embarrassing and it’s a misdirection of the most disingenuous type.

MOORLACH UPDATE — Secretive and Expensive Union Deals — November 3, 2017

MOORLACH UPDATE — Fire Safety Concerns — October 27, 2017

MOORLACH UPDATE — Bonuses and Bogusness — October 21, 2017

MOORLACH UPDATE — Conflagration Legacy — October 12, 2017

MOORLACH UPDATE — Governor’s 2017-18 Proposed Budget — January 11, 2017

MOORLACH UPDATE — Thank you, Vin Scully — September 28, 2016

MOORLACH UPDATE — Rejection/Disappointment — September 27, 2016

MOORLACH UPDATE — First Veto — September 24, 2016

MOORLACH UPDATE — Moving Down the Line — August 31, 2016

MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1463 — March 25, 2016

Not to belabor this topic, but CalMatters is back with a piece on this topic in “As California burns, climate goals may go up in smoke–even after the flames are out,” by Julie Cart (see https://calmatters.org/articles/as-california-burns-climate-goals-may-go-up-in-smoke-even-after-the-flames-are-out/). Here are the opening paragraphs:

As crews across California battle more than a dozen wildfires—including the largest in state history—the blazes are spewing enough carbon into the air to undo some of the good done by the state’s climate policies.

What’s even worse: Climate-warming compounds that will be released by the charred forests long after the fires are extinguished may do more to warm up the planet than the immediate harm from smoky air.

Scientists say that only about 15 percent of a forest’s store of carbon is expelled during burns. The remainder is released slowly over the coming years and decades, as trees decay.

That second hit of carbon, experts say, contains compounds that do more to accelerate climate change than those from the original fire. And future fires over previously burned ground could make climate prospects even more bleak.

“The worst possible situation is the fire that comes through and kills everything,” said Nic Enstice, regional science coordinator for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. “Then, ten or fifteen years later, another fire comes through and releases all the carbon left in the trees on the ground. That’s really bad.”

It’s a scenario that could explode at any time. Enstice cited a research paper published this year that laid out a chilling tableau: California has more than a 120 million dead trees strewn around its mountain ranges, with the southern Sierra hardest hit.

When fires hit those downed trees, the state will begin to experience “mass fires” spewing plumes of carbon. The resulting conflagrations, according to the researcher, will be almost unimaginable.

“The emissions from those fires will be unlike anything we will have ever seen,” Enstice said. “And you won’t be able put it out.”

And today’s The Wall Street Journal opines in “Fire and Water in California” (see https://www.wsj.com/articles/fire-and-water-in-california-1533683261).

Here are the concluding paragraphs:

Another challenge is state politicians who’d rather spend money on green pork. This year the Democratic legislature appropriated a mere $30 million of cap-and-trade revenues for fuel reductions on 60,000 acres of forest land. They allocated $335 million for electric vehicle subsidies. Democrats have also spent billions on high-speed rail, but only this year did they get around to appropriating $101 million to replace a dozen or so Vietnam War-era helicopters unequipped with modern technology that enables night-flying for fire-fighting.

Imagine the damage that could have been averted—and lives saved—if the state had replaced the antiques earlier and cleared millions of dead trees in lieu of building the train whose costs are careening toward $100 billion and may never be finished. But instead of examining their own priorities, the state’s politicians will blame the damaging fires on climate change and Donald Trump.

Katy Grimes

CA Gov. Jerry Brown Vetoed Bipartisan Wildfire Management Bill in 2016

Posted by Katy Grimes

http://www.flashreport.org/blog/2018/08/08/ca-gov-jerry-brown-vetoed-bipartisan-wildfire-management-bill-in-2016/

Last year, as all Hell was breaking loose in California as residents were burned out of their homes, neighborhoods and businesses, Gov. Jerry Brown was jetting around the world spouting climate change propaganda, and calling this California’s ‘new normal.’

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“With climate change, some scientists are saying Southern California is literally burning up, and burning up as maybe a metaphor or a description not just to the fires right here, but what we can expect over the next years and decades,” Brown said.Today, as California burns once again under torrential wildfires, many Californians have been asking why the dramatic increase in wildfires in the last five years… that is everyone except Governor Jerry Brown. Governor Brown claims that year-round, devastating fires are the “new normal” we must accept.

Megan Barth and I reported Monday:

“Supporting Obama-era regulations have resulted in the new normal: an endless and devastating fire season. Obama-era regulations introduced excessive layers of bureaucracy that blocked proper forest management and increased environmentalist litigation and costs– a result of far too many radical environmentalists, bureaucrats, Leftist politicians and judicial activists who would rather let forests burn, than let anyone thin out overgrown trees or let professional loggers harvest usable timber left from beetle infestation, or selectively cut timber.”

Mismanaged, overcrowded forests provide fuel to historic California wildfires, experts say. The 129 million dead trees throughout California’s forests are serving as matchsticks and kindling.

Jerry Brown, busy mulling ways to prevent the end of the world, took the Clinton and Obama-era gross regulations a step even further when he vetoed a bipartisan wildfire management bill in 2016.

At the request of the City Council of Laguna Beach, Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), authored SB 1463 in 2016, a bipartisan bill which would have given local governments more say in fire-prevention efforts through the Public Utilities Commission proceeding making maps of fire hazard areas around utility lines.

Laguna Beach went through four fires sparked by utility lines in the last ten years, and has done as much in the way of prevention as they could afford. The bill would have allowed cities to work with utilities to underground utility lines, and work with the Public Utilities Commission to develop updated fire maps by requiring the PUC to take into consideration areas in which communities are at risk from the consequences of wildfire — not just those areas where certain environmental hazards are present.

Moorlach’s bill came about when on February 2, 2016, the PUC served the final version of Fire Map 1, and the City of Laguna Beach was not placed within the low-risk margins of the Utility Fire Threat Index.

Gov. Brown vetoed SB 1463, despite being passed by the Legislature, 75-0 in the Assembly and 39-0 in the Senate. That tells you this was political. The Governor’s veto message did not properly address why he vetoed the bill. Brown claimed that the PUC and CalFire have already been doing what Moorlach’s bill sought to accomplish. How on earth could Brown kill this bill when the state was burning down?

“SB 1463 would have not only safeguarded Laguna and other high fire-risk communities in Orange County, but would have helped other vulnerable communities throughout the state that are often threatened by wildfires caused by sparks from shorted or fallen utility lines,” Sen. Moorlach said in a statement following the surprise veto. “The Governor’s veto impedes the necessity to more urgently address the California Public Utilities Commission’s focus on identifying high risk areas that should be prioritized for appropriate mitigation measures.”

California fires produced as much pollution in 2 days as all the state’s cars do in a year.

After SB 1463 was killed by Gov. Brown, Sen. Moorlach and his brilliant staff had an epiphany: Redirect the state’s accumulated cap-and-trade funds into wildfire prevention.

Authored in 2018, the new Senate Bill 1463, aptly named “Cap and Trees,” would continuously appropriate 25 percent of state cap-and-trade funds to counties to harden the state’s utility infrastructure and better manage wildlands and our overgrown and drought-weakened forests, Moorlach recently wrote in a San Francisco Chronicle op ed.

The idea was to actually reduce the state’s highest source of greenhouse gas emissions, curb the impacts of future wildfires and prevent unnecessary damage to life and property, the new SB 1463 fact sheet reported.

However, SB 1463 was killed in the radical Senate Environmental Quality Committee by Democrats, even though there was no opposition to it. The killing was purely political, with no regard given to the people of the state.

Cap and Trade was a scheme born out of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, known as AB 32, which charged the California Air Resources Board with lowering greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. In addition, AB 32 requires the ARB to inventory GHG emissions in California, and approve statewide GHG emissions limits.

As important, Sen. Moorlach’s second version of SB 1463 would also have required the California Air Resources Board to include greenhouse gas emissions from wildland and forest fires in their updated Scoping Plan. The ARB does not actually track GHGs – they just estimate. The ARB is extorting millions of dollars from California businesses on their best guesses.

It is estimated that “for every 2 to 3 days these wildfires burn, GHG emissions are roughly equal to the annual emissions from every car in the entire state of California,” USA Today/Reno Gazette reported in 2017. Last year, there were more than 9,000 major wildfires which burned over 1.2 million acres. Several of the large fires were caused or exacerbated by sparking utility lines.

The problem is that the Air Resources Board Scoping Plan ignores the most egregious of all GHG emission problems – manmade wildfires. Instead, the ARB spends a substantial amount of cap and trade funds on high-speed rail, which literally increases GHG emissions and eliminates large carbon sinks. The ARB has a history of diverting funds to pet projects and programs that have little or nothing to do with actually reducing GHG emissions.

The Senate Environmental Quality Committee, responsible for killing Moorlach’s SB 1463, has a radical environmentalist/preservationist as the committee consultant. In the only bill analysis done on SB 1463, this is the drivel she wrote:

“…natural disasters that emit GHGs (such as wildfires) occurred before climate change, will continue to occur as the climate continues to change, and will persist even if mankind ultimately solves the problem of climate change.”

“While science can now conclusively attribute individual extreme events to climate change, it is important to distinguish that extreme events like the recent wildfires in California are a symptom of climate change, not the cause.”

“The overwhelming consensus of climate scientists is that climate change is anthropogenic, meaning human activity has caused the rising GHG concentrations in the atmosphere and, therefore, increasing average global temperatures and the extreme events climate change causes.”

“To include GHG emissions from natural disasters in the state’s inventory that tracks progress towards California’s climate goals, even ones that are made worse by climate change, betrays the fundamental scientific understanding that human activity is responsible for climate change.” (Her emphasis, not mine) 04/19/18- Senate Environmental Quality

Jerry Brown’s Exploitation of California Events

“There is no hope for the truth when world leaders like Governor Brown of California (he runs the 19th largest economy in the world) can present such utterly false information in pursuit of a political agenda,” Dr. Tim Ball wrote about Brown’s recent screed on the fires:

“Since civilization emerged 10,000 years ago, we haven’t had this kind of heat condition, and it’s going to continue getting worse and that’s the way it is.” — Jerry Brown

“Civilization began more than 10,000 years ago and, in my opinion, it hasn’t reached California yet,” Dr. Ball added in a guest opinion at Watts Up With That, an outstanding website dedicated to actual science (no emotions) about global warming and climate change.

In his introductory climatology class, Dr. Ball tells his students to “watch for a sequence of events from California. This will begin with complaints about drought and threatened water supplies. In the Fall, we will have stories about fires decimating the landscape and burning up communities. The next in the sequence is rain and mudslides. Welcome to sunny southern California. I don’t recall a year in which that sequence did not occur. The only differences were the intensity of the events, the hysteria of the media and the degree of political exploitation.”

Dr. Ball concluded: “Exploitation of the California events is just another example of the standard ploy of environmentalists to take normal events and present them as abnormal.”

Jerry Brown’s Real Legacy

Remember when Gov. Jerry Brown said the world needs ‘brain washing’ on climate change. Sounding indeed brainwashed, Brown said, “The problem … is us. It’s our whole way of life. It’s our comfort … It’s the greed. It’s the indulgence. It’s the pattern. And it’s the inertia.”

Brown screeched in 2015 that California has an overpopulation problem, and the ongoing drought was proof that the explosion of population in California has reached the limit of what the states’ resources can provide. “We are altering this planet with this incredible power of science, technology and economic advance,” Brown told the publisher of the Los Angeles Times. “If California is going to have 50 million people, they’re not going to live the same way the native people lived, much less the way people do today.… You have to find a more elegant way of relating to material things. You have to use them with greater sensitivity and sophistication.”

Brown has managed to divert the fawning, slobbering California media away from his actual responsibilities as California Governor, and instead has them focused on hysteria, doom, gloom, and intangibles like “climate change.”

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MOORLACH UPDATE —Surpluses and Surcharges — July 27, 2018

How about another state tax for a specific service?  Let’s just forget that providing public safety is a core function of government and that projected tax revenues are at the highest level in state history.  All the same, the Governor is guilting the Legislature to cram down yet another tax expansion, making it an urgent requirement before the Session concludes at the end of August.  Call it an urgency for an emergency.

Isn’t it great how government bureaucracies work?  They are not incentivized to keep current with the technology in the marketplace because being competitive is not a requirement.  They realize after many years that telephone land lines are declining and that cell lines are expanding.  Shocking news, right?  So, it’s time to change the formula.

I haven’t received any specific details on how the numbers will play out.  When I talked to the reporter about the Modesto Bee and Merced Sun Star piece below, she had not yet received anything from the Office of Emergency Management or CalFire at the time of our chat.  Last month, I made two specific requests to the Governor’s Emergency Liaison for specific details, to no avail.

The Governor wants to tax an increasing sector for cell phones, yet wanting to tax gasoline by the gallon, a supposedly decreasing sector thanks to his trying to move drivers over to electric vehicles.  Again, no understanding of changing technologies and trends.  But, the bureaucracy finally awakes and demands an immediate tax increase.  It’s a sad mind blower.  It’s always the taxpayers that have to suffer from poor governmental planning and management.

I have a podcast on this proposed cell phone tax increase, which you can listen to, as well as other podcasts I’ve prepared during this Legislative year, HERE.

Governor Brown has lost his supermajority in the Senate and no longer has the 27 Democrat votes necessary to modify this tax.  Sen. Mendoza resigned as a result of the #MeToo movement earlier in the year.  Sen. Newman was soundly recalled for voting for Senate Bill 1, the gas tax increase.  This reverberation is not lost on Republicans and those Democrats up for reelection this November.  Stay tuned.

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Cell phones, landlines would be taxed more to pay for 911 upgrade under Jerry Brown’s plan

BY TARYN LUNA

tluna@sacbee.com

 

https://www.modbee.com/news/state/california/article215246475.html

https://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/state/california/article215246475.html

 

After raising prices at the gas pump last year, Gov. Jerry Brown wants to increase taxes on Californians again to overhaul the 911 emergency services system.

The Brown administration is asking the state Legislature to erase an existing tax on in-state phone calls in exchange for a flat fee on cell phone lines, landlines and other connected devices capable of contacting 911. The tax, estimated to start at a monthly rate of 34 cents per line, is expected to generate $175.4 million in the first calendar year — more than double the current tax — with the possibility of ballooning to over $400 million based on need in later years.

“It is an increase in an existing surcharge to modernize an antiquated system that is critical to be able to provide timely emergency information to Californians,” said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the California Department of Finance. “This falls into a fundamental purpose of government, which is protecting public safety.”

There’s little disagreement that 911 technology desperately needs an upgrade in California. The system dates back to the 1960s and the state admits it’s failed in times of crisis. Five years ago, the California Technology Agency reported that many of the network’s radio parts had been discontinued by the manufacturer.

The new digital system would allow 911 dispatchers to accept calls, texts and video. The Brown administration says it would be more reliable than the existing network, deliver calls faster and allow dispatchers to more accurately pinpoint the location of wireless callers, among other safety benefits.

But Brown’s proposal, wrapped up in Senate Bill 870 and Assembly Bill 1836, would require the support of two-thirds of the members of the state Legislature. Some lawmakers are hesitant to support even modest tax increases in an election year, fearing negative campaign attacks.

The recall of former Sen. Josh Newman, who GOP operatives tied to the gas tax, is fresh in the minds of Republicans and Democrats.

“Someone just got recalled for raising a tax,” said Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa. “I will tell you that we’re getting pressure as Republicans to not vote for the tax increase. That’s legitimate.”

Moorlach, like some other Republican lawmakers, questions why the state refuses to dip into its existing treasury to fund a system that Brown argues is critical to public safety. The administration expects a $9 billion budget surplus in the fiscal year that began July 1, and anticipates total reserves to hit $16 billion next year.

“911 services are in jeopardy because their funding hasn’t been made a priority in the budget,” said Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, in a letter opposing the tax to constituents. “With a $9 billion surplus, I believe the state has plenty of money to fund these important services. The Legislature doesn’t need to take even more money out of our pockets.”

The Brown administration said a fee on lines provides a permanent and more reliable funding stream than the budget, which is susceptible to ups and downs in the economy.

“The 911 system needs to continue operating flawlessly,” said Patrick Mallon, assistant director of public safety communications at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. “There is a significant danger in tying the future of the 911 system to a budget surplus we have in 2018-2019. This legislation will last for another 25 years. What if we’re flush this year and not next year?”

Mallon and other supporters say both the 911 system and the model to fund it are outdated.

Several 911 dispatch centers were evacuated last year after the main spillway cracked at the Oroville Dam and high water threatened to flood Butte, Sutter and Yuba counties. Under the existing 911 system, there was no way to automatically reroute emergency calls to other centers.

“For 24 hours, if you lived in that area, you were held incommunicado,” Mallon said. “If you needed to evacuate and needed some help, you called somewhere where there was nobody there.”

A new Next Gen 911 system would be able to automatically send calls to the nearest operable center. The changes would include transitioning the California Public Safety Microwave Network from analog to digital and offer more paths for calls to reach 911 operators if cables are damaged by fires or earthquakes. The new system would also enable live monitoring of outages.

The State Emergency Telephone Number Account, the funding pool for the 911 system, currently relies on a less than one percent tax on the cost of in-state phone calls.

As more cell phone users opt to text instead of call, revenue has dropped an average of 6 percent a year since 2011. The existing tax generated about $80.6 million in revenue for the 911 system last year. Now consumers pay about 14 cents per month, according to OES.
The new tax rate would be determined every October and range from 20 to 80 cents per line per month. The change would not kick in until Jan. 1.

The money would be used to continue the existing 911 system, cover administrative charges and begin the multi-year development of the Next Gen 911 call system and the analog-to-digital conversion of the California Public Safety Microwave Network. With half of the current fiscal year funded from the new tax, the state expects to receive $133.5 million in revenue for the 911 system in 2018-19 and cover an additional $10.3 million in expenditures with leftover money from last year.

Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, said upgrading and modernizing “California’s 911 system is an urgent public-safety priority” and long overdue. Legislative leaders and Brown are actively discussing the proposal with their GOP colleagues and may need several of their votes to pass the bill after lawmakers return to the Capitol next month.

Rob Stutzman, a Sacramento-based Republican consultant, said of all the two-thirds bills in the current legislative session, the 911 tax “is the most defensible for what it provides.”

Despite targeting Newman over a tax increase last year, he said some Republicans could get away with voting for this one. Opposing it may pose a problem, he said.

“I could see some Republicans feeling the pressure to vote for it because they could be vulnerable to an attack that they didn’t update the 911 system,” Stutzman said. “’Assemblyman so-and-so voted to let your kids sit on the side of the road without the cops being able to find them’ — that’s how it would manifest itself in a campaign.”

Mallon and others said OES has been working on the proposal for some time, but it wasn’t a legislative priority until this year. The California State Sheriffs’ Association, California Fire Chiefs Association, California Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association and others support Brown’s plan.

“This bill is about saving lives,” said Brian Ferguson, a spokesman for Brown in an email. “Enacting this legislation now is critical to sustaining and modernizing our 911 system which Californians expect to work without fail during emergencies. “

MOORLACH UPDATE — Perspectives On Liberal Agendas — July 9, 2018

A recent Sacramento Bee editorial submission really set off reporter, columnist, and author Katy Grimes and gave her the opportunity to really let loose; and I mean really. You can find the instigation of Ms. Grimes’s rebuttal at https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/california-forum/article214309449.html.

This is not the first time Ms. Grimes has expressed her opinion about the job Governor Brown has done (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Devastating Legacy — October 11, 2017).

Her latest rendition is found in the Canada Free Press, and it is the first piece below.

The second piece is not an editorial, per se, but a truncation of my interview with the world famous Larry O’Connor. Larry is an old friend and he is the most listened to radio talk show host in Washington, D.C. He is also a frequent guest on The Ingraham Angle Show on FOX. He substituted for Doug McIntyre this morning and I was invited on KABC 790 AM to discuss the recent ruling by Federal Judge Mendez on California’s status as a sanctuary state.

I opined that former California State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon used the election of President Donald Trump as a bully pulpit in 2017 to generate media attention for his planned run for U.S. Senate. However, an unexpected thing happened on his way to D.C., Sen. Dianne Feinstein announced she was rerunning for yet another term. In her mid-80s, who would have guessed?

Consequently, I see the hiring of former United States Attorney General Eric Holder and the numerous legislative and legal activities that resulted last year, as a way for the then-President Pro Tem to garner better statewide name recognition. It was classic showmanship and grandstanding and I gave him high marks for the strategy. But, it came at considerable taxpayer expense and the jeopardizing of public safety for California’s residents.

The brief synopsis of my interview is provided by KABC 790 AM in the second piece below.

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Governor Brown’s aberrant style of leadership has been as maniacal as a third-World dictator, and his legacy is a complete and total failure, tainted by frequent lunatic ravings.

Jerry Brown’s California: Socialist, Climate-Conscious Open Borders Utopia

By Katy Grimes

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Food or Fish, Liberty or Oppression, Victim or Fighter? We Californians have many decisions to make about our future, thanks to our maniacal third-World wanna-be dictator-Governor Jerry Brown—a childless Marxist, who cares only about himself. Brown has never lived a life that calls upon one to sacrifice for the benefit of one’s own family and children. And it shows.

The narcissistic manic Gov. Jerry Brown, California’s four-term Democratic Governor is mostly responsible for the decline of the state. The once-golden state is now a socialist, climate-conscious utopia with open borders. This has occurred, cheered-on and virtually uncriticized by California’s mainstream media—almost as if the media is state-run.

Brown, who wants to outlaw private ownership of automobiles, supports universal single-payer health care, and issues in-state “visas” for illegal aliens, hates the Californians who have “little green lawns,” are climate deniers, and “freeloaders.” California is a cesspool and Jerry Brown offers  absolution to criminals through hundreds of pardons and commutations.

Narcissists have several telltale diversion tactics they use to escape responsibility:

Intimidate/Blame. Accuse/Project. Argue/Exhaust. Deny/Rewrite. Divert/Attack. Fear/Avoid.

We’ve witnessed California’s ludicrous Governor Jerry Brown use all of these tactics to divert responsibility for the demise of the once great Golden State. Yet California is a glaring example of radical leftist policies to avoid, and in far too many places resembles a third-world banana republic. In 2017, Brown said the world needs ‘brain washing’ on climate change. Sounding indeed brainwashed, Brown said, “The problem…is us. It’s our whole way of life. It’s our comfort…It’s the greed. It’s the indulgence. It’s the pattern. And it’s the inertia.”

California has one of the worst failing education systems in the country, the highest income taxes, highest gas tax, highest poverty in the nation, a billion dollar budget deficit, the state pension system is underfunded by $1 trillion, and violent crime is on the rise. But we now have transgender bathrooms, and a new law that says knowingly transmitting HIV to a partner will no longer be a felony offense.

According to Republican State Senator John Moorlach, a CPA, many of California’s 482 cities are in financial distress, facing a tipping point to insolvency mainly due to unfunded pension liabilities. Moorlach says:

Those are the facts. Yet a recent op-ed by Bonnie Castillo, the Executive Director of the radicalized California Nurses Union, summed up what she says is wrong with California. Only she claims “these glaring needs are a testament to the worst inequality in the United States since the Great Depression,” ignoring that it is the Democrat Party’s own socialistic policies which gave us:

  • a major affordable housing and homelessness crisis;
  • a lack of jobs that pay a living wage;
  • a health care system that leaves behind millions of Californians because they have no health coverage or because they have exorbitant out-of-pocket costs for health insurance;
  • escalating public college and university tuition that limits educational opportunity or leaves students weighted down with debt for decades.

Her solution? More and higher taxes. “Legislators should continue to require the wealthiest among us to contribute to the societal common good,” Castillo said. She also took a shot at Proposition 13, which cut property taxes down to 1 percent and limited the growth rate of future assessments to 2 percent. Even with Proposition 13, California is ranked 17th out of all 50 states in property taxes, according to WalletHub.com.

High Taxes = Outbound Migration By Millionaires

Ms. Castillo’s and Jerry Brown’s socialistic attacks on the wealthy have so dramatically impacted California, that according to new research from Stanford University and members of the California Franchise Tax Board, California lost an estimated 138 high income individuals due to the passage of the Proposition 30—a tax hike pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown and approved by voters in 2012, ZeroHedge.com reported. Prop. 30 retroactively raised taxes on the state’s highest earners to 13.3%, leaving California top-earners with the highest state income tax rate in the country. It also hiked the tax rate on income between $300,000 and $500,000 by 2%, while raising the tax rate on income over $500,000 by 3%.

“How viable are millionaire taxes when lower-tax states are a short distance away?” the study asks. “Can states sustain these new millionaire taxes without suffering out- migration of top tax payers? How attached are millionaires to the places where they currently earn their income?”

Water Lies

Droughts are nature’s fault; they are naturally occurring. Water shortages are the fault of government officials, and California’s water shortages fall squarely on Jerry Brown. The state of California hasn’t significantly invested in water storage since the 1970s when Jerry Brown was governor the first time around. “This is an era of limits and we all had better get used to it,” Brown said upon being elected governor in 1975, embracing the “small is beautiful” way of thinking. Since then, California’s population has doubled, as have environmental demands. And, more than fifty-percent of the state’s water resources are allowed to flow out the San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean.

Rather than build the desperately needed infrastructure projects to collect and store water during the wet years, Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed into law a new water conservation act that will limit each citizen to just 50 gallons per person per day by 2050. According to the San Jose Mercury News, Governor Brown “signed two bills, SB 606 by Sen. Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) and AB 1668 by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), that require cities, water districts, and large agricultural water districts to set strict annual water budgets, potentially facing fines of $1,000 per day if they don’t meet them, and $10,000 a day during drought emergencies, Daily Wire reported.

The truth is that 50 percent of California’s water goes toward environmental purposes. Of the rest of the water, only about 10 percent goes to “urban” uses for homes and businesses, and 40 percent is used by agriculture. A full 50 percent of the water is used for environmental purposes.

Democrat lawmakers and federal environmental regulators have authorized more than 81 billion gallons of water to flow out to the ocean, instead of being used for human consumption. This is environmental extremism at its worst, and it is killing California agriculture.

More than 80,000 acres of farmland could be back into production, if only farmers and ranchers had the 81 billion gallons of water running off into the ocean.

In 2015, when California’s 5-year drought was still in full force, Gov. Brown’s hand-picked appointees at the State Water Resources Control Board  ordered the release of massive amounts of water from the New Melones Reservoir and Lake Tulloch, to save a dozen fish. This occurred at the same time Brown was threatening to fine residents who water “their little green lawns,” and for lingering in the shower too long.

So while the governor and his environmentalist water gatekeepers were going to empty reservoirs to save a few fish, farmers have been deprived of water.

“Friday, the board’s regulators released their plan to disrupt a century of California water law and demand twice as much water flow down the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Merced rivers in a purported effort to save salmon,” Mike Dunbar wrote in the Modesto Bee over the weekend. “This is a water grab, pure and simple. And we must fight it, not just talk about it.”

“This declaration of economic war is not just about water. It’s a war over our homes, our jobs and our children.”

California is home to one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients. California is home to the most residents living below the poverty line in the country. And now with our politicians’ disregard for federal immigration laws, more than a quarter of the 38 million Californians were not even born in the United States.

California’s Oligarchs

“Why would a labor union, for example, support open borders?” Ed Ring wrote in a recent op ed. “Don’t they understand that if you continue to import low-skilled workers, wages will remain low? But maybe these labor organizations don’t want things to improve for California’s low income communities. Maybe the worse things get, the more members they’ll recruit, the more resentment they’ll exploit, the more agitators will join their army. Maybe this is just about power.”

Governor Brown’s aberrant style of leadership has been as maniacal as a third-World dictator, and his legacy is a complete and total failure, tainted by frequent lunatic ravings.

Brown says humankind would face dire straits if his climate change policies are not fulfilled. “Maybe not in my life, I’ll be dead…Most of you people, when I look out here, a lot of you people are going to be alive,” Brown said  at a legislative hearing one year ago extending his cap and trade legislation for another decade, despite no evidence of air quality improvements. “And you’re going to be alive in a horrible situation. You’re going to see mass migrations, vector diseases, forest fires, Southern California burning up. That’s real guys. That’s what the scientists of the world are saying.”

“I’m not here for some cockamamie legacy that people talk about,” Brown  added. “This isn’t for me. I’m going to be dead. It’s for you. It’s for you and it’s damn real.”

Katy Grimes is an investigative journalist, Senior Correspondent with the Flash Report, ReaganBabe, and Senior Media Fellow with Energy and Environmental Institute. A longtime political analyst, she has written for The Sacramento Union, The Washington Examiner, Watchdog.org, The Pacific Research Institute’s CalWatchdog, The San Francisco Examiner, The Business Journal, E&E Legal, The Sacramento Bee, Legal Insurrection, Canada Free Press, and Laura Ingraham’s LifeZette, and can be heard regularly on many talk radio shows each week.

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OC GOP Senator: Kevin de León pushed sanctuary state movement for personal ambition

By Sandy Wells

KABC News

http://www.kabc.com/2018/07/09/oc-gop-senator-kevin-de-leon-pushed-sanctuary-state-movement-for-personal-ambition/

California’s “sanctuary state” laws survived a legal challenge by the Trump administration last week after a federal judge declined to block state measures aimed at confounding cooperation with Washington’s crackdown on illegal immigration. However, Judge John Mendez of U.S. District Court in Sacramento diluted his ruling with an injunction that bars California officials from imposing fines of up to $10,000 on employers who grant immigration officials access to a private workplace or to employment records.

John Moorlach, Republican State Senator from Orange County, says the statewide sanctuary movement has been driven by the political aspirations of former State Senate President pro tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles).

“So he uses last year – 2017 – and his reaction to Donald Trump being elected – he uses it as a bully pulpit to start hammering on Donald Trump. Almost every week we had a new resolution on the senate floor on some component. I think he saw it as an opportunity to start building his campaign for U.S. Senate.”

But he says de León’s gambit has not paid off.

“Now where is he in the polls? He’s just about nowhere.”

John Moorlach was a guest on McIntyre in the Morning.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — May Revision — May 14, 2018

Governor Brown announced his May Revision last Friday morning.

Low and behold, between Proposition 55 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 32 and Propositions — September 18, 2016) and the gas tax increase last year (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Not Amused — April 17, 2017andMOORLACH UPDATE — Do You Recall? — July 10, 2017), he has more than $8 billion in excess of the previously forecasted revenues. Now, there is a peculiar problem to have.

In one recent e-mail exchange with a friend, I lamented the perspectives on the state’s finances.

“California is like one of those 3-D photos which shows a different scene depending on the angle at which you are viewing the photo.

“Gov. Jerry Brown sees a surplus.

“Sen. Moorlach sees massive deficits.

“Gov. Brown looks at receipts.

“I look at balance sheets.

“And I see future generations grappling with major priority decisions thrust on them by this generation.

“Watching train wrecks in slow motion is getting a little old for me.”

So, I’m piping in with some ideas. They are in the FlashReport, which is the first piece below.

With this one-time money, let’s address one-time opportunities. Let’s not build the base, thus requiring ongoing funding in the years ahead.

In recent UPDATE editions you’ve heard me address homelessness, mental health services, electric power lines causing wildfires (that have wiped out greenhouse gas reduction goals by multiples), massive unfunded pension liabilities, upside-down unrestricted net positions at all levels of government, educational system fiscal hemorrhaging at all levels, and water storage mismanagement. So, Governor Brown, thanks for making a token stab at a few of these, but more can be done.

As I sit on the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, including its Subcommittee 1 on Education, and last year on the Budget Conference Committee, which may occur again this year, the next four weeks will keep me very, very busy on what is now a $300 billion annual budget!

As additional funding for the homeless and mentally ill is provided in the May Revision, the second piece provides an opportunity to catch up on this topic in Orange County. I have mentioned that these concerns are on the radar screen with the Governor’s office, in the interview referred to by the Voice of OC below. The piece provides a wonderful biography of Federal Judge David O. Carter, whom I have known for more than two decades and have the utmost of respect for. And, my comments were made with that admiration in mind.

Gov. Brown’s May Revise Shows

No Need for Gas Tax Increase

By John Moorlach

http://www.flashreport.org/blog/2018/05/13/gov-browns-may-revise-shows-no-need-for-gas-tax-increase/

The first takeaway from Gov. Jerry Brown’s May Revision of his budget for 2018-19 is that California didn’t need that $5.5 billion yearly gas-tax increase the Legislature passed last year. The proposal shows we have $8 billion in revenues in excess of projections.

In one area I persistently agree with Governor Brown, “Despite strong fiscal health in the short term, the risks to the long-term health of the state budget continue to mount.” Unfortunately, according to the governor’s budget revision, we have $291 billion in long-term costs and the legislature has done little to fix the state’s fundamental problems.

In his budget announcement and press conference, Brown emphasized the volatility of tax revenues, especially capital gains-tax revenues, shown in this chart:

And he emphasized we’re overdue for a recession. Of course, he didn’t mention it has been President Trump’s economic policies – tax cuts and regulation reform – that have lifted the national economy above the sub-par performance of the Obama administration.

“How you ride the tiger is what we now face,” he said. “It’s going up, but when it goes down, a lot of these programs will be cut. Life is very giddy at the peaks.” No doubt, he is right. But he also ignored most of the reasons for this volatility even as he pointed out the Rainy Day fund will be filled at $13 billion, though he estimated that an impending economic storm would require resources closer to $60 billion. That’s a budget hole expected in the next recession, which could be $30 billion a year for two years. In such a scenario, the Rainy Day Fund would provide just 22 percent of that potential revenue shortage.

I see a much bigger danger. Taxes are so high in this state. To survive the next recession, companies will flee to states with much lower taxes. Because of the state’s punishing taxes, including then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s $13 billion tax increase in 2009, our state’s economy crashed hard. Unemployment soared to double-digits and was exceeded only by the rates in Michigan and Nevada. It may happen again.

The period of rising revenues we’re now enjoying should be used to reduce our already committed liabilities and the overall tax burden.

Of course, having increased taxes last year – not just the gas tax, but the cap-and-trade tax Brown pushed through, estimated at $2.2 billion a year – Brown wasn’t about to suggest cutting taxes. It will be up to the voters to repeal the gas tax this November.

Given that the rising tax revenues won’t be returned to the taxpayers who worked so hard to earn them, the governor at least is proposing spending the money on some true needs. I have worked up a list of options, below, of 15 one-time spending recommendations that should be prioritized. But first let me recognize three of Brown’s proposals that have some overlap to my suggestions:

· $2 billion for infrastructure: “The proposal will target these funds to the universities, courts, state facilities and flood control. Investments are also proposed for high-priority capital expenditures.”

· $359 million for homelessness. His proposal notes more funding will begin to flow “from a bond and a fee on real estate transactions” passed last year – another tax that I opposed and don’t believe we need. This money would be a “bridge” until these funds are spent.

· $312 million for mental health “for enhanced early detection of mental health problems and the education of mental health professionals.” The budget proposal also would put the $2 billion “No Place Like Home” initiative funding on the ballot “to accelerate the delivery of housing projects to serve the mentally ill.”

My proposals include prefunding the $2 billion for No Place Like Home, which will be paid back with the bond proceeds.

I’d also like to help out cities and counties with their pensions by injecting several billion dollars directed to their unfunded liabilities in lieu of taxpayer rebates. In his press conference, Brown unfortunately answered, when that question was raised, “A lot of cities signed up for pensions they can’t afford. The state can’t step into the shoes of the cities and counties. They’re going to have to handle that.”

Again, he’s largely right. And he’s actually putting his legal resources and political chits behind the overturning of the so-called “California Rule,” which ratchets up pension costs with no ability for governments to correct costs at the front end, leading them to fiscal ruin at the back end.

Because of that, we’ve got cities and counties laying off police and fire simply because their pension costs are so high. And the cities and counties can’t raise their tax base more than 2 cents on the sales tax. Current leaders in our cities and counties weren’t the ones who spiked pensions decades ago, but the California Legislature made it really easy.

Sacramento is renowned for taking funds from cities and counties during recessions. Giving something back to them would be a noble thing to do.

The state also has a backlog of rape kits. Not only is that unfair to the victims, but after catching the Golden State Killer, how many more predators could we catch and prosecute?

We also need to harden power lines across the state. If this state wants to emphasize electric cars, we’re going to be sending a whole lot more electricity around, which means more wildfires unless the power lines are put underground.

Compared to his January proposal, the governor’s May Revise only tinkered with education funding. But we could use more funding for career technical education. A lot of kids don’t want to go to college, but could have successful careers in the trades or other vocations. They should be afforded the training opportunities just as much as those we send to our elite institutions.

Finally, this budget largely is a stopgap getting the governor beyond his tenure in office. He said he wanted to leave it in good shape for his successor. But so much more needs to be done, especially in improving the state’s harsh anti-business fiscal policies, shoring up pensions, fixing long-neglected infrastructure and reducing the housing and homelessness crises.

Below is a list of my 15 policy proposals for spending the $8 billion in excess revenues. It is largely in priority order. And if the state wins the litigation for the No Place Like Home bond dollars, or it is approved by the voters on the ballot in November, then that money could be cycled into any of the remaining priorities.

Priority Description Amount

1 No Place Like Home Prefunding of approved bonding $2,000,000,000

2 Provide funding to 482 cities to be appropriated to

their pension liabilities $482,000,000

3 Provide funding to 58 counties to be appropriated to

their pension liabilities $580,000,000

4 Provide matching funds for city pension liabilities $964,000,000

5 Provide matching funds for county pension liabilities $1,160,000,000

6 Fully fund bringing current the Rape Kit testing backlog $12,500,000

7 Fund Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS) gun

holder backlog $12,500,000

8 Hardening of electric power lines around state $1,168,000,000

9 Oroville Dam state water project conveyance levee

repairs $100,000,000

10 Temperance Flat construction $250,000,000

11 Refund the Fire Tax $471,000,000

12 Continue Career Technical Education Funding at prior

level $200,000,000

13 Renters’ Tax Credit increase $300,000,000

14 Opioid treatment and prevention task force $100,000,000

15 Water Tax off-set $200,000,000

$8,000,000,000

HOUSING & HOMELESSNESS

Federal Judge in Homeless Case Keeps Everyone Running

By Thy Vo

https://voiceofoc.org/2018/05/federal-judge-in-homeless-case-keeps-everyone-running/

Just before dawn on a dewy February morning, U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter led a march of county workers, elected officials, lawyers and reporters through the county’s largest homeless encampment, a village of tents and makeshift shelters for more than 500 people along the Santa Ana Riverbed.

Unsatisfied with secondhand information about living conditions at the riverbed, the 74-year-old Carter, dressed in jeans and a blue sweater bearing the federal court’s seal, went to see for himself, talking to dozens of homeless people, picking up trash and recruiting volunteers.

If judges are normally weary of media attention, Carter embraced the pack of reporters trailing him along the river trail, saying the exposure would raise public consciousness about homelessness and spur people to “do the good thing.”

“We get it up there, and get it to boil,” the federal court judge said.

It was not Carter’s first visit to a homeless encampment, and it wasn’t his last.

Over the last few months, Carter, a Marine combat veteran who was seriously wounded during the Vietnam War, has demanded public officials run to catch up with “decades of neglect” on homelessness.

Under his pressure, county officials worked around the clock for a week to dismantle the riverbed encampment and relocate more than 700 people to emergency shelters and motels. Before officials could take another breath, he demanded they act on a second major encampment at the Santa Ana Civic Center.

Throughout the process, Carter visited shelters and encampments unannounced in the early morning, to get an unsupervised glimpse of how people were faring. He once visited the riverbed at 4:30 a.m. to check on a homeless couple he had met the previous evening, saying he could not sleep and had come to see of the couple was okay.

Now he wants city officials in south Orange County to find locations for new emergency shelters, or possibly face suspension of the anti-camping and anti-loitering laws that cities have used to police the presence of homeless people in public spaces.

“I was literally begged by one of your (county) supervisors to take a breath and slow down,” Carter said at a court hearing in early April. “No. Absolutely not.”

Some public officials were unwilling to go on the record criticizing Carter, while others who have been at odds with the judge didn’t return calls for comment. But his actions in the homelessness case have garnered plenty of controversy, including private accusations of judicial activism and that he is legislating from the bench.

Earlier this month, State Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) told television journalist Rick Reiff the judge is taking public officials to task on what they are doing to directly help the homeless.

“I just hope that he has an end game that works out well for everybody,” Moorlach said. “but it’s certainly rattling the cages of every single council member in Orange County.”

Combat Veteran

If the judge has surprised county politicians, for those who know Carter, he’s exactly in character.

“He gets down in the trenches. That’s the way he was in Vietnam, and in our platoon,” said former Marine Sgt. Al Anderson, who served as Carter’s platoon sergeant in Vietnam and remains a close friend.

The judge has been a fixture in the Orange County legal community from his time as a senior deputy district attorney in the late 1970s to his later appointments to the state Superior Court and federal bench.

Often described in articles and by those who know him as the hardest-working judge in Orange County, Carter is known to open his courtroom as early as 7 a.m. and work late into the evening, on weekends and holidays. Combined with his athleticism, younger attorneys often struggle to keep up with Carter.

A former college track athlete, as a deputy district attorney Carter would run 23 miles from the courthouse in Santa Ana to his home in Laguna Beach once a week, unless he was engaged in a major trial. He later ran the Boston Marathon in 2 hours and 36 minutes, and still exercises rigorously.

Carter declined to speak with Voice of OC for this story, citing a desire to stay out of the media until the end of litigation over homelessness.

Former state Assemblyman Tom Umberg, a Democrat living in Santa Ana who is currently a private attorney, said he has worked with Carter for years as part of the Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan, a project of the State Department to provide support to the Afghan legal community.

Umberg recalled an appointment he made with Carter, about 15 years ago, to go running in Newport Beach.

“He just pulled up, got out of the car, and started running. I had to catch up with him,” Umberg said. “That’s emblematic of how he does things. He said ‘hi’ once I caught up to him.”

Carter was born in Providence, Rhode Island and raised by his grandfather after his father abandoned him at age four. His grandfather, a court bailiff, had a fourth grade education and worked in coal mines before joining the Army at sixteen, Carter told Orange County Lawyer magazine last year. He fought in the Philippines and achieved the rank of captain.

Carter also would go on to the join the military, joining the Marines after graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a 4.0 grade point average.

He arrived in Central Vietnam as a 24-year-old lieutenant on Christmas Eve 1967, just before the start of the Tet Offensive, and immediately sought out Anderson, who was acting platoon commander. The two went back to Anderson’s bunker and talked for three and a half hours.

Anderson had already been in Vietnam for six months and their battalion, 1st Battalion, 9th Regiment, known as the “One Nine” had seen heavy combat. “You have to read people quick,” said Anderson.

“We were both sizing one another up. Can I trust this person?” Anderson said. “And the end result of that conversation was, ‘yeah, I can trust you with my life and I can trust you with the life of our platoon’.”

Most of Carter’s four months in Vietnam were spent in combat. The One Nine has the grim nickname “The Walking Dead” because of its reputation for high casualties and seeing heavy combat.

Carter’s experience lived up to that expectation. On April 16, 1968, outnumbered by North Vietnamese soldiers at Khe Sanh, 38 men from Carter’s platoon went up a hill, and only 8 came down. Carter was seriously wounded: a grenade blew off his lip, sniper fire shattered his arm in multiple places, and his face and teeth were injured.

He continued to fight for hours despite his injuries, but at the end of the battle, Carter was so seriously hurt he was mistaken for dead and put in a body bag.

Carter later received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his actions at Khe Sanh, and spent nine months recovering at a hospital in Guam. It was while recovering that he decided to become a lawyer, telling Orange County Lawyer magazine last year that he struggled with “survivor’s guilt.”

War changes many people, Anderson said, but many of the qualities he saw in Carter that first night in his bunker, he still sees today.

“He’s down to earth, very intelligent, but not presumptuous,” said Anderson. “I never want to hurt another person in my life. And he’s the same way.”

A Respected Jurist

After Vietnam, Carter went back to UCLA and received his law degree. He joined the Orange County District Attorney’s office in 1972, where he rose to Senior Deputy District Attorney in charge of homicide. Carter prosecuted the serial killer William Bonin, known as the “freeway killer,” who later became the first person executed in California by lethal injection.

In 1982, Carter was appointed a Superior Court judge by Gov. Jerry Brown, where he earned the nickname “King David.” He was known for pushing rehabilitative and educational alternatives to jail time for juvenile offenders, before it became a norm. He also created a tattoo removal program for gang members to encourage people to find jobs and transition back to society.

In 1986, while still a judge, Carter was recruited by the Democratic Party to run for the 38th Congressional District seat against first term Republican incumbent Robert Dornan.

If ambitious, highly motivated and driven, Carter was “raw,” said George Urch, Carter’s campaign manager at the time.

In addition to traditional campaign staples like direct mail, Carter’s strategy included “walking like crazy” across the district and standing on street corners and street medians during rush hour with a “Carter for Congress” sign, talking to voters.

“I kept trying to say, ‘that’s great, but most of those people aren’t registered voters and Democrats’,” Urch said.

If Carter had his way, his campaign would be run “with a Xerox copier and 18 pairs of sneakers,” Mike Houlihan, another campaign staffer, told the Los Angeles Times in 1986.

Carter ended up losing the primary to another Democrat and fellow former Marine, six-term state Assemblyman Richard Robinson, and returned to the state bench.

In 1998, President Bill Clinton nominated Carter to the federal bench, an appointment that was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate in 1999.

As a federal court judge, Carter has tackled some of the biggest cases to come to the Central District Court.

He presided over the longest trial in the history of the Central District, which involved the prosecution of more than 40 alleged Mexican Mafia members. The next year, Carter became involved in the indictment of more than 40 members of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang.

Carter presided over a massive $500 million intellectual property battle between MGA Entertainment and Mattel over the rights to Bratz dolls. And in 2009, he dismissed a lawsuit brought by Laguna Niguel attorney Orly Taitz, which challenged then-President Barack Obama’s election based on claims that Obama is not a natural born citizen.

“He had to control a court room and multiple attorneys in cases fraught with legal challenges and high emotions,” U.S. District Judge Jeffrey T. Miller said of the Aryan Brotherhood and Mexican Mafia cases. “He can do that. And his work ethic is legendary.”

At 74, many remark Carter appears to run as hard as he always has.

“He’s a Marine who has been temporarily reassigned as a judge,” said Umberg.

In addition to dealing with heavy caseloads in his own courtroom, Carter has spent significant time doing humanitarian work overseas. His wife, Mary Ellen Carter, who he met during his congressional campaign, runs a nonprofit supporting schools in Malawi out of their Laguna Beach home.

Kate Corrigan, a criminal defense attorney who frequently appears before Carter, alters her diet to prepare for trials in his courtroom, limiting her caffeine intake and consuming “slow burn” foods.

“If you’re going to practice in his courtroom, you’ve got to have stamina, know what you’re talking about, and you’ve got to be ready, because he will not tolerate laziness, not knowing your case, and not doing the best you can,” Corrigan said. “He causes everyone in the courtroom to really elevate their level of practice.”

Carter’s style has generated some controversy.

In the 1980s, Carter began duct-taping the mouths of unruly defendants in his courtroom for spitting at court staff and shouting profanities, preferring to silence defendants rather than disrupt the proceedings. The American Civil Liberties Union reported Carter to the Commission on Judicial Performance, although he said he would continue the practice.

During the recent litigation on homelessness, Carter met privately with elected officials and power brokers, without attorneys on the case present; threatened cities with a Department of Justice investigation into the practice of dumping homeless people city-to-city; and held long court hearings where mayors and city officials from across the county were invited (his court staff took attendance to take note of who did not show up).

Moorlach said on a local television program earlier this month that he has been assisting Carter with “strategies in Sacramento.”

“(Carter) approached me and said, ‘I cannot call you, but you can call me.’ So I did,” Moorlach told Reiff.

Although at times effusive of the county’s efforts to clean up the riverbed, Carter could also be short-tempered, at one point angrily reprimanding the county’s lead attorney.

Corrigan believes Carter’s critics just aren’t used to a judge who does things differently.

“I’ve been on the podium examining a witness at 1:35 a.m. Was that a long day? Yeah, but it enabled the court to get all the information,” Corrigan said. “So I think people are quick to criticize when people don’t do things the way they see other judges do it.”

She points to early morning probation conferences where Carter descends from the bench and talks face-to-face with her clients.

“He makes them feel part of the community and takes an interest in getting them back into the community. If they’re messing up, he’ll sanction them,” Corrigan said. “When you have someone who comes out of a gang, to have a judge take the time to ask them how they’re doing, how are things – it’s a different type of relationship that develops.”

Carter was the same way with the young men in his platoon, said Anderson.

“That’s a real precarious place you’re putting yourself into as a combat leader, because you’re getting down on a very personal level with men that, tomorrow, you’re going to send into harm’s way, and through not of your own, some of them are not going to come back,” said Anderson. “It’s an emotional risk that you willingly engage in. Not all combat leaders do that, and that is part of who Judge Carter is.”

Corrigan believes Carter’s personal approach has made a difference in the lives of many of her clients.

“He becomes their champion,” she said.

Contact Thy Vo at tvo or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.

This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District. If you no longer wish to subscribe, just let me know by responding with a request to do so.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1463 Redux — March 30, 2018

Allow me to wish you a solemn Good Friday.

The first piece below in CalMatters was hinted at in yesterday’s UPDATE (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Homelessness Press Release — March 29, 2018) .

CalMatters has done a lengthy analysis on the condition of the state’s forests. The status is not good. Government does not manage forests well. In fact, when I sat on the County’s retirement board, it owned hundreds of acres of timberland. None of it was next to or near a federal or state forest. And that was intentional.

I was happy to comment for the piece by calling out the utter hypocrisy of our Governor’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. I participated in a recent Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee Hearing on the condition of the state’s forests. I called out the Governor’s blind spot there, so I did it again (see
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hARsdtnpEFY).

I tried to address this with SB 1463 (2016), which is the only bill that I have ever had vetoed by a Governor over the more than two decades that I’ve been in this industry (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Secretive and Expensive Union Deals — November 3, 2017 and MOORLACH UPDATE — Fire Safety Concerns — October 27, 2017.

It’s painful to try and address a matter, have it pooh-poohed, and then watch as 44 people are killed by a fire started by electric lines in Sonoma and Napa counties. I have been here before; trying to prevent major tragedies is what I do.

This year, I’m bringing SB 1463 back (see http://district37.cssrc.us/content/senate-bill-1463-cap-and-trees). But, with a twist. Use Cap and Trade Tax revenues to harden utility lines, like those that run directly adjacent to Laguna Canyon Road (133). I mentioned this in the Budget and Fiscal Review Hearing for a reason.

Now that I’m on the subject of my 2018 legislation, next week I present the following bills:

April 2 — SB 1159 – CPA Designation
See http://district37.cssrc.us/content/senate-bill-1159-cpa-designation)
Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee

April 4 — SB 1368 – Statewide Open Enrollment
See http://district37.cssrc.us/content/senate-bill-1368-statewide-open-enrollment
Senate Education Committee

April 4 — SB 1344 and SCA 16 – Education Savings Account Act of 2020
See http://district37.cssrc.us/content/senate-bill-1344-senate-constitutional-amendment-16-education-savings-account-act-2020
Senate Education Committee
NOTE: Please watch the two short videos on this subject at the link.

April 4 — SB 1363 – National Alliance on Mental Illness California Voluntary Tax Contribution Fund
See http://district37.cssrc.us/content/senate-bill-1363-national-alliance-mental-illness-california-voluntary-tax-contribution-fund
Senate Governance and Finance Committee

It has been a very busy Easter Break here in the District. As you can imagine, I had a rather packed calendar and plenty of preparation to do for next week. The homeless discussion that Judge Carter has forced on many communities and their elected leaders has really shaken up the OC. And the family fighting has not been pretty or pleasant. Consequently, there are two follow up articles on this subject. They are in the Daily Pilot and the Voice of OC in the second and third paraphrased pieces below; since you’ve read enough this week (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Homelessness Communication — March 28, 2018 march 28, 2018 john moorlach).

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California fights wildfires aggressively—but prevention takes a back seat

By Julie Cart

https://calmatters.org/articles/california-fights-wildfires-aggressively-but-prevention-takes-a-back-seat/

Dave Kinateder has a keen eye for trees. But when Kinateder, a fire ecologist in the Plumas National Forest, surveys a hillside lush with pines, he doesn’t see abundance or the glory of nature’s bounty.

He sees a disaster-in-waiting.

“It’s a ticking time bomb,” he said, gazing across the dense, green carpet of trees near Quincy, a small community high in the northern Sierra Nevada.

Last year’s wildfires, the worst in modern California history, have put a microscope on the forests that cover a third of the state–in particular, on managing these wooded lands in ways that would reduce the frequency and intensity of such blazes.

California is grappling with the counterintuitive dilemma of too many trees, packed too closely together, robbed of the space they need to thrive—and with how to clear out more than 100 million dead trees, felled by drought or insects, that provide tinder for the next infernos.

Curing these unhealthy forests is both difficult and expensive, and as with human health, prevention is far less costly than treatment. But these days the state firefighting agency, Cal Fire, spends the bulk of its resources battling fires rather than practicing preventive measures.

At stake is nothing less than life, property, air quality and the lands that hold most of California’s water. A state commission recently prescribed radical changes to address what it terms the “neglect” of California’s largest forests.

A 19th-century California forest would have held fewer than 50 trees an acre. Today the state’s forests have grown to an unnatural 300 to 500 trees an acre, or more. That doesn’t count the 2 million drought-stressed trees a month lost to bark beetles that have killed entire stands.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who in 2014 declared tree mortality a state of emergency, said in his January State of the State address that California needs to manage its forests more intelligently. He vowed to convene a task force “to review thoroughly the way our forests are managed and suggest ways to reduce the threat of devastating fires.”

California has dozens of agencies attacking problem but still cannot keep up with the work. Crews around the state have been busy clearing trees as fast as funding allows. This wielding of chainsaws they call “whacking and stacking” leaves massive wood piles along highways in some areas. But it amounts to no more than triage: Cal Fire removes trees on fewer than 40,000 acres a year, far short of its goal of clearing a half-million acres annually.

Kinateder estimates that removing trees in this way costs as much as $1,400 an acre. By comparison, controlled burns—those set by fire managers to remove vegetation from forests—is a bargain at less than $150 an acre. Fighting a wildfire comes in at just over $800 an acre, according to the report.

Far from the forest floor, California officials are wrestling with the financial and environmental cost of the state’s forest practices. At a hearing in March in Sacramento, legislators listened to lurid descriptions of raging fire and wrenching stories of human misery recounted by a stream of state and local officials: flames rearing up like an enormous beast, residents running for their lives, neighborhoods leveled, fire burning so hot and for so long that soils were rendered sterile.

California’s troubled forests

33 Million
Number of forested acres in California

129 million
Number of dead trees in California

500,000 Acres
Number of acres Cal Fire* aspires to clear each year

40,000 Acres
Number of acres Cal Fire clears each year

$800
Average cost per acre to fight a fire

$150
Average cost per acre to clear a forest by controlled burn

* California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

Source: Little Hoover Commission report on forest management in California, February 2018

A portion of the proceedings focused on a recent report about wildfires and forest health from the Little Hoover Commission, an independent state oversight agency that gave its findings to the governor and Legislature in February. The document pulled no punches, calling the state of the Sierra Nevada’s forests “an unprecedented environmental catastrophe.”

It cited a century of “mismanaging” the 10 million wooded acres in the Sierra, calling out state and federal firefighting agencies for their longstanding policy of aggressively putting out all fires rather than letting those that can safely burn do so, thereby thinning the choked woodlands.

Helge Eng, deputy director of Cal Fire, acknowledged the report was “spot on” in its assessment of the state of the Sierra, adding that the analysis “did an especially good job of recognizing that there are no easy, black-and-white answers to the problems we are facing.”

Cal Fire boasts that it stops 95 percent of fires at 10 acres or less, saving lives, property and entire forests from conflagration. Fire experts argue that a negative could be turned into a positive if fire bosses let them burn while still steering them away from people and structures and toward overgrown wildlands in need of clearing.

That’s an approach sometimes used by the National Park Service, but it’s difficult to defend when forests are ablaze, frightening the public and many elected officials alike.

Still, the report said, “it is not enough for agency leaders, scientists and advocates to recognize the benefits of fire as a tool; the bureaucracy of the state government and public sentiment as a whole must undergo a culture shift to embrace fire as a tool for forest health.”

Eng said Cal Fire is considering adopting the managed-burn approach, when appropriate, but noted that federal firefighters are often working in wild settings, away from development.

“Cal Fire’s mission is different; we protect life and property” in areas that may be densely populated, Eng said in a written response to questions. “There is most often not an opportunity to let a fire burn. The risk to human life is just too great.”

The report also detailed a public safety threat from 129 million dead trees, the crushing cost—up to $1,000 a tree—to private property owners to have trees removed from their land and the enormous burden on rural governments to both recover from fire and prepare their forests to mitigate the intensity of the next one. In no uncertain terms, the commission prescribed dramatically ramping up tree-thinning projects and, as awful as the optics are, creating and controlling some fires to achieve the same result.

Eng agreed that the state firefighting agency was far from achieving its “aspirational” goal of clearing a half-million acres of land each year, citing such impediments as “the logistics of capacity of staff and equipment and environmental compliance,” among other factors.

In a moment notable for its rarity in Sacramento, there was bipartisan agreement in the hearing room this month about the problem, its scope and the appropriate measures to deal with it. Focus more intensely on the problem, they agreed, and throw money at it. The state spent $900 million fighting fires last year. Just one of those late-season blazes caused more than $9 billion in reported property damage.

“We’ve made mistakes, and we’ve created systems that are unwieldy….

It’s all of our fault,” Jim Branham, executive officer of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, a state agency, told CALmatters. “Money alone won’t solve it, but we won’t solve it without money, either.”

The mosaic of land ownership in California means the state owns only 2 percent of the forests but has legal responsibility over much more: 31 million acres, including land in rural counties.

Cal Fire received more than $200 million for forest health projects last year and has proposed an additional $160 million for the next fiscal year. Those sums are on top of the agency’s current $2.7 billion budget. Cal Fire, in turn, doles out millions of those dollars in grants to local governments and community groups to do some thinning themselves, and it teams with the federal Forest Service to tackle clearing projects.

The work to improve forest health dovetails with other state priorities—protecting water sources and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

The Sierra Nevada range is the headwaters for 60 percent of California’s developed water supply. Burned, denuded hillsides don’t store water efficiently when it rains. Sediment cascades downhill, filling streams, affecting water quality and loading up reservoirs, reducing their storage capacity

The carbon equation is equally direct: When trees burn or decay, they release greenhouse gases. The 2013 Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park produced emissions equal to those of 2.3 million cars in a year.

Prescribed burns emit less carbon than higher-intensity fires, because managed fire is aimed at smaller trees and shrubs. Cleared forest land may still ignite, but it will burn with less intensity and fewer emissions.

Moreover, when trees die, they stop absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. The state depends on that critical service to help reduce greenhouse gases. Research suggests that severely burned areas regrow with shrubs or grasses, plants that store about 10 percent less carbon than trees do.

John Moorlach, a Republican state senator from Costa Mesa, suggests the Democratic governor, a champion of the fight against climate change, has a “gigantic blind spot” when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. Moorlach said in an interview that Brown’s emphasis on electric cars, for example, ignores the role of fire in California’s greenhouse gas inventory.

“We’re being absolute phonies about climate change if we are not dealing with the real driver of greenhouse gas; that’s these wildfires,” said Moorlach. He has proposed that the state dedicate 25 percent of the revenue from its cap and trade greenhouse-gas-reduction system to help counties’ fire mitigation efforts.

Counties would welcome the help. Randy Hanvelt, a supervisor in Tuolumne County, said that where forest management is concerned, there’s a “leadership problem.”

“Talk is cheap,” he said. “We have got ourselves a giant colossal mess. This is a war of sorts. Time is against us. Every available tool has to be applied.”

One such tool is carefully designed burns. But the meticulous planning necessary can take two to three years, and the burns require favorable weather, a permit from the local air district and, crucially, buy-in from local communities that must first be educated about the benefits. And controlled doesn’t mean risk-free.

“Politically, you have to have the ability to make mistakes and move on,” he said.

Nick Bunch, who plans thinning projects for the Plumas National Forest, pointed to a partly cleared hillside outside of Quincy where one of his extensively planned prescribed burns went awry, undone by a shift in the wind.

“We were about an hour into the burn and the smoke started going into town,” Bunch said, shaking his head at the memory. Even though the burn was going as planned, the smoke was not acceptable to nearby residents, who protested to fire officials. “Phones started ringing. Calls were made, and we shut it down.”

Another method is used in Florida, which trains and certifies private property owners to burn their overgrown land and provides limited liability coverage in some cases. Florida cleared 2.1 million acres this way last year. Scott Stephens, who heads a wildland fire research lab at the University of California, Berkeley, said the widespread adoption of the policy has educated residents on both its benefits and risks.

Back in Plumas County, a hulking building in a parking lot outside a community health complex may offer the final piece of the forest-health puzzle: creating a market for trees removed from California’s forests.

Part of a project managed by the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment, the unremarkable square structure shows a potential use for California trees. The building is the state’s first to be fully constructed from cross-laminated timber—layers of wood pressed together to make thick sheets and posts—equal to or greater than the strength of steel.

In addition, the $2.3 million facility will house a large boiler to provide heat for the health center by consuming 500 tons of local wood chips a year.

The project is the brainchild of the institute, which envisions it as a way to boost the economies of forest communities. It’s the kind of innovation the governor and Legislature hoped to promote by establishing a Wood Products Working Group to develop commercial uses for the piles of trees beside the state’s roads.

There’s little left in California today of the early 20th century’s timber cutters, sawmills and biomass industry. If the state follows the Little Hoover Commission’s recommendations and accelerates forest thinning, an entire segment of state industry would need to be rejuvenated.

Meanwhile, officials emphasize the need to educate Californians about the role of forests in the ecosystem.

“If you want people to care about something, they have to understand why it matters,” said Pedro Nava, chairman of the Little Hoover Commission. “They need to understand the deep connection between the health of our state and the state of our forests.”

Branham, of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, said that won’t be easy.

“Some of our messages are counterintuitive: We must cut down healthy living trees to save the forest,” he noted. “It’s a challenge.”

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Costa Mesa council opposes using Fairview Developmental Center as emergency homeless shelter

By LUKE MONEY

http://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/news/tn-dpt-me-cm-fairview-meeting-20180329-story.html

In an interview Thursday, Moorlach said he thought “the City Council overreacted to a press release” and that the idea wasn’t “to put all of the homeless at Fairview.”

“I think there’s a stretch here,” he said. “There’s a hysteria and it’s sad to watch because leadership dictates that you have conversations and you start working on solutions and that’s all that occurred.”

There is no imminent or concrete plan, he added, and any legislative action regarding Fairview would likely take months to move forward.

In the background of all this is U.S. District Judge David Carter, who is presiding over a federal lawsuit that homeless advocates filed in response to the county’s move to clear encampments along the Santa Ana River. Moorlach said the judge has mentioned Fairview during those proceedings.

“I would think the residents of Costa Mesa would rather have the homeless in a facility that’s closed up at night … a place that’s safe and has security, than to have them in their backyard or at their businesses or on their porches,” Moorlach said.

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Costa Mesa Opposes Homeless Shelter at Fairview Mental Facility

By SPENCER CUSTODIO

https://voiceofoc.org/2018/03/costa-mesa-opposes-homeless-shelter-at-fairview-mental-facility/

Moorlach, in a Thursday podcast, criticized Spitzer’s actions over the past few weeks.

“We’re dying in Orange County and Sacramento for good leaders. We don’t need reactors. We need cooler heads. We need people that can control the situation and take the bigger picture and start providing solutions,” Moorlach said.

“It was real interesting to watch, say, Supervisor Spitzer, who is not leading. But he’s certainly reacting, he’s polarizing and he’s creating wedges between communities and leaders. It’s not a pretty picture.”

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