MOORLACH UPDATE — Rick Reiff Rocks — October 18, 2018

Rick Reiff informed me that “it’s a wrap” for his Inside OC PBS show (see https://www.pbssocal.org/programs/inside-oc/). He’s done a recap of the last three years with selected clips. So Rick’s e-mail is the first piece below.

When Newport Beach City Manager David Kiff announced that he was retiring, I did a little archiving (see MOORLACH UPDATE — David Kiff — July 13, 2018 july 13, 2018 john moorlach).

I decided to do the same for Rick Reiff. He has been in my life since immediately after the bankruptcy! And all the while he has been professional, poised, balanced, humorous and tasteful. He is a first class journalist, columnist, reporter and television host. Thanks for being an OC icon, Rick. I wish you all the best. Here are most, but not close to all, of the memories we’ve shared. (If you are in a line at the DMV, you may want to click on the links — the mentions are usually brief and concise — they are in date order so start from the bottom or top.)

5/14/18
MOORLACH UPDATE — May Revision — May 14, 2018 may 14, 2018 john moorlach

5/7/18
MOORLACH UPDATE — Inside OC, Part 2 — May 7, 2018 may 7, 2018 john moorlach

4/24/18
MOORLACH UPDATE — The Joys of Presenting Bills — April 24, 2018 april 24, 2018 john moorlach

10/21/17
MOORLACH UPDATE — Bonuses and Bogusness — October 21, 2017 october 21, 2017 john moorlach

10/5/17
MOORLACH UPDATE — Rising Tide — October 5, 2017 october 5, 2017 john moorlach

9/27/17
MOORLACH UPDATE — What Pension Crisis? — September 27, 2017 september 27, 2017 john moorlach

5/14/16
MOORLACH UPDATE — Budget Hearings — May 14, 2016 may 14, 2016 john moorlach

12/18/15
MOORLACH UPDATE — Streetcar Skepticism — December 18, 2015 december 18, 2015 john moorlach

10/29/15
MOORLACH UPDATE — Bay Bridge Bloat — October 29, 2015 october 29, 2015 john moorlach

3/29/13
MOORLACH UPDATE — Libraries — March 29, 2013 march 29, 2013 john moorlach

2/8/12

MOORLACH UPDATE — John Williams — February 8, 2012 february 8, 2012 john moorlach

12/19/11
MOORLACH UPDATE — Merry Christmas — December 19, 2011 december 19, 2011 john moorlach

11/22/11

MOORLACH UPDATE — Laura’s Law – Plus — November 22, 2011 november 22, 2011 john moorlach

10/12/11

MOORLACH UPDATE — OCBJ — October 12, 2011 october 12, 2011 john moorlach

8/8/11

MOORLACH UPDATE — Jefferson County — August 8, 2011 august 8, 2011 john moorlach

5/31/11
MOORLACH UPDATE — Southwest — May 31, 2011 may 31, 2011 john moorlach

5/26/11

MOORLACH UPDATE — Memorial Day — May 26, 2011 may 26, 2011 john moorlach

3/28/11

MOORLACH UPDATE — Media Present — March 28, 2011 march 28, 2011 john moorlach

1/3/11

MOORLACH UPDATE — 2010 Review — January 3, 2011 january 3, 2011 john moorlach

12/5/10

MOORLACH UPDATE — OCBJ — December 5, 2010 december 6, 2010 john moorlach

11/1/10

MOORLACH UPDATE — Dinner Debate — November 1, 2010 november 1, 2010 john moorlach

10/12/10

MOORLACH UPDATE — Coyotes — October 12, 2010 october 13, 2010 john moorlach

8/17/10
MOORLACH UPDATE — OCBJ — August 17, 2010 august 17, 2010 john moorlach

8/2/10

MOORLACH UPDATE — Happy 25th JWA — August 2, 2010 august 2, 2010 john moorlach

6/14/10

MOORLACH UPDATE — Voice of OC – June 16, 2010 june 16, 2010 john moorlach

4/26/10
MOORLACH UPDATE — OCBJ — April 26, 2010 april 26, 2010 john moorlach

4/19/10

MOORLACH UPDATE — OCBJ — April 19, 2010 april 19, 2010 john moorlach

12/22/09
MOORLACH UPDATE — LOOK BACKS & OCBJ — December 22, 2009 december 22, 2009 john moorlach

11/30/09

MOORLACH UPDATE — OCBJ — November 30, 2009 november 30, 2009 john moorlach

10/6/08
MOORLACH UPDATE — Twitter Musick — October 9, 2013 october 9, 2013 john moorlach

9/8/08

MOORLACH UPDATE — Poised for Laura’s Law — September 8, 2013 september 7, 2013 john moorlach

7/14/08

MOORLACH UPDATE — Memorial Gardens Building — July 10, 2013 july 10, 2013 john moorlach

3/24/08
MOORLACH UPDATE — Mulling and Inching — March 25, 2013 march 25, 2013 john moorlach

3/10/08

MOORLACH UPDATE — Harold De Boer — March 13, 2013 march 13, 2013 john moorlach

12/31/07
MOORLACH UPDATE — Happy New Year! — December 31, 2012 december 31, 2012 john moorlach

12/10/07
MOORLACH UPDATE — Assumption Rate Impac;ts — December 12, 2012 december 12, 2012 john moorlach

2/26/07
MOORLACH UPDATE — OC Register — February 27, 2011 february 28, 2012 john moorlach

1/29/07

MOORLACH UPDATE — Nick Berardino — January 28, 2012 january 28, 2012 john moorlach

1/8/07

MOORLACH UPDATE — Voice of OC — January 10, 2011 january 10, 2012 john moorlach

12/11/06

MOORLACH UPDATE — AB 109 & CalOptima — December 12, 2011 december 12, 2011 john moorlach

11/6/06

MOORLACH UPDATE — Voice of OC — November 9, 2011 november 9, 2011 john moorlach

8/7/06
MOORLACH UPDATE — Jefferson County — August 8, 2011 august 8, 2011 john moorlach

6/12/06
MOORLACH UPDATE — LB Press-Telegram — June 12, 2011 june 13, 2011 john moorlach

6/5/06
MOORLACH UPDATE — Today’s Hot Off The Press Update — Your Thoughts? june 7, 2011 john moorlach

5/29/06
MOORLACH UPDATE — Memorial Day — May 26, 2011 may 26, 2011 john moorlach

1/30/06
MOORLACH UPDATE — Retroactive Waste — January 31, 2011 january 31, 2011 john moorlach

12/19/05

MOORLACH UPDATE — Lone Voice — December 17, 2010 december 17, 2010 john moorlach

8/8/05

MOORLACH UPDATE — OC Weekly — August 6, 2010 august 6, 2010 john moorlach

7/11/05

MOORLACH UPDATE — KABC — July 12, 2010 july 12, 2010 john moorlach

5/5/05

MOORLACH UPDATE — LOOK BACKS — May 10, 2010 may 10, 2010 john moorlach

12/13/04
MOORLACH UPDATE — LOOK BACKS — December 13, 2009 december 12, 2009 john moorlach

12/8/04

MOORLACH UPDATE — LOOK BACKS — December 8, 2009 december 8, 2009 john moorlach

9/6/04
MOORLACH UPDATE — Retroactive Pensions — september 8, 2009 john moorlach

8/16/04

MOORLACH UPDATE — Twentieth Anniversary — December 5, 2014 december 6, 2014 john moorlach

9/1/03

MOORLACH UPDATE — New Geography — September 4, 2013 september 4, 2013 john moorlach

10/6/03
MOORLACH UPDATE — Twitter Musick — October 9, 2013 october 9, 2013 john moorlach

7/28/03

MOORLACH UPDATE — Federal Task Force — July 27, 2013 july 27, 2013 john moorlach

4/7/03
MOORLACH UPDATE — Property Tax Due Date — April 10, 2013 april 10, 2013 john moorlach

3/4/02
MOORLACH UPDATE — Encyclopedia of Municipal Bonds — March 6, 2012 march 6, 2012 john moorlach

10/1/01

MOORLACH UPDATE — VLF Theft — October 1, 2011 october 1, 2011 john moorlach
9/4/00

MOORLACH UPDATE — Labor Day Weekend — September 4, 2010 september 4, 2010 john moorlach

12/13/99
MOORLACH UPDATE — LOOK BACKS — December 13, 2009 december 12, 2009 john moorlach

7/6/98

MOORLACH UPDATE — Preserving — July 8, 2013 july 8, 2013 john moorlach

4/19/97

MOORLACH UPDATE — IRS — April 10, 2012 april 10, 2012 john moorlach

3/17/97
MOORLACH UPDATE — Laura’s Law — March 19, 2012 march 19, 2012 john moorlach

3/10/97

MOORLACH UPDATE — Bye, Bye — March 9, 2011 march 9, 2012 john moorlach

8/5/96

MOORLACH UPDATE — Wild Animals — August 5, 2011 august 5, 2011 john moorlach

8/28/95

MOORLACH UPDATE — Voice of OC — August 26, 2010 august 27, 2010 john moorlach

12/12/94
MOORLACH UPDATE — Harbor Patrol — December 12, 2009 december 12, 2009 john moorlach

The second piece below is from the LA Times and addresses the current debate over how California prioritizes and spends its transportation funds. It goes into detail on how certain funds have been diverted and how that may be prevented in the future.

Overall, I commend the reporter’s willingness to give a fair review of the facts.
Unfortunately, the piece does not cover how Governor Brown has intentionally reduced spending on transportation during his two terms. While increasing the size of his annual budgets by more than 5 percent per year, the amount devoted to fixing roads has decreased. It’s a budget crime and a manufactured crisis. So, guilting taxpayers into another tax increase is unconscionable.

I also recently contacted the Legislative Analyst’s Office to review some concerns and specific questions that my office had about the taxes and expenditures for the state’s transportation system. You can find the LAO’s response here: https://moorlach.cssrc.us/content/transportation.

Here is my e-mail to the reporter showing the hard data in a slide on the trends. I follow that with a graph on gas prices. Why? Because the real hidden agenda may just be to go after gas-powered vehicles. It’s sick, but that’s what you can do when you control the Governor’s mansion and the State Legislature and have an agenda. You add to this those who will generate corporate profits from the expenditure of this new tax and the picture gets even uglier.

Patrick,

Here is the research we did a few years ago on gas tax revenues, which were trending up, and the Caltrans budget, which was trending down.

This means that the funding that the state has been allocating to transportation has been trending down, while gas tax revenues were trending up. The state has been reducing its skin in the game. Therefore, it has diverted the revenues. Where [the diverted funds] have gone is the big question. Other areas, like MediCal funding or pension contributions or both.

But, with annual budget increases and not restoring funds back to transportation makes a gas tax increase dubious.

It’s been the game in Sacramento to shift funds elsewhere. For the DoF and the Governor to cry poor boy is unfair and looks premeditated. The lower funding appears to have been a choice made by the Governor and those who have voted for the annual budgets.

I look forward to your scholarship and sleuthing.

Source: Energy Information Administration (Courtesy of Stillwater Associates LLC)

Dear friend, in case you haven’t seen it, you are one of the highlights on the Inside OC “farewell” show that began airing this past Sunday. Here’s the YouTube link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxNFd5OA734

We’ve loved doing the show, and you know how much OC needs public programming, but after 14 years I’ve tired of the production side of things.

This finale focuses on the past three seasons (the latest incarnation of the show.)

Initiative to repeal gas tax hike sparks debate over how transportation funds are spent in California

By Patrick McGreevey

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-gas-tax-diversion-20181018-story.html

In urging California voters to repeal new fuel taxes, Republicans say the state already had enough money to repair roads but squandered it by diverting it to other state programs.

Legislative leaders deny that money from motorists has been misused. They say the law prohibits non-transportation projects from getting any of the more than $5-billion annual take from last year’s increase in gas and diesel taxes and vehicle fees.

The dispute has been a major focus of campaign ads and stump speeches by those pushing Proposition 6.

Republican leaders have been pinning their hopes on voters being riled up by accusations that state officials have misspent gas tax funds.

“I find it to be a problem when they take gas tax monies that should go to road repairs and they divert it to everything but road repairs,” Proposition 6 campaign chairman Carl DeMaio said last week during aSacramento debate with Matt Cate, the co-chairman of the campaign against the initiative.

Cate and Democratic elected officials dismiss DeMaio’s claims and say that a ballot measure approved in June further restricts the use of new fuel taxes and vehicle fees enacted as part of Senate Bill 1.

“Proponents of Proposition 6 are using a talking point that is equal parts brazen and baseless,” Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) said. “After voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 69 in June, SB 1 funds cannot and will not be diverted from transportation purposes.”

Rendon was among the state Democratic leaders who pushed through the legislation in April 2017 to raise the state gas tax by 12 cents a gallon, boost taxes on diesel fuel and create a new vehicle fee ranging from $25 to $175 annually, based on a car’s value.

Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders said the new levies were necessary to address a $130-billion backlog in road and bridge repairs caused in part by the fact that the Legislature had not increased the gas tax in 23 years.

The first full year of new funding, in the fiscal year that began July 1, is expected to generate nearly $4.4 billion in revenue.

Most of the money will be set aside for improving roads and bridges. But 22% — nearly $1 billion in the first full year — will go to a broad mix of other projects, including mass transit, intercity rail, and bike and pedestrian paths. Transit and rail programs are covered by vehicle fees.

Other funds will go toward job training and administrative services for state transportation agencies.

In qualifying the repeal measure for the Nov. 6 ballot, DeMaio and Republican leaders have been especially critical of how the state has shifted funds to cover debt payments on Proposition 1B, a $19-billion transportation bond measure passed by California voters in 2006.

Voters agreed with arguments from then-Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former state Senate leader Don Perata (D-Oakland), who said the bonds would “make a real difference to the lives of millions of Californians, who will find it easier to get to work.”

Although most of the measure’s money went to improving highways, the bond projects also included $40 million to expand railroad tracks used by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. over Tehachapi Pass and to help eliminate a bottleneck in Colton that delayed Union Pacific and BNSF trains.

Some public officials objected at the time to using public bond funds to help private railroad companies, saying the voters who approved the bonds intended them to fix roads. State transportation officials said the rail projects helped California’s economy by improving the flow of goods.

Those transportation bond payments were covered at first by the state’s general fund, which also pays for most other public programs, including schools, prisons, public safety and social services.

But in 2007, the state began using money from fuel taxes for the more than $1 billion in debt service on the bonds, freeing up that amount in the general fund for other programs.

The state stopped that practice in 2010 and instead began using truck weight fees to service the Proposition 1B debt. Before those shifts, the weight fees and fuel excise taxes went into the State Highway Account, which paid for state highway rehabilitation projects and maintenance.

Fuel taxes in place before SB 1 continue to go into that fund, but the new tax revenue goes to new, restricted accounts, including one for road maintenance and rehabilitation.

Last year, the debt service on the Proposition 1B bonds included $499.6 million in principal, $795 million in interest and $481,000 in fees. Since 2010, the state has paid $4.9 billion in interest on the bonds.

The use of gas tax money and then truck weight fees to pay debt service drew objections from state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), an accountant who previously served as Orange County treasurer and tax collector.

Money “should have come out of the general fund to pay the debt,” he said. “It’s a little bookkeeping shuffle. Now the state is coming and saying, ‘Oh geez, we need to fix roads.’ Well you had the money to fix roads. You just allocated them to somewhere else.”

Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose), chairman of the state Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, defended using truck weight fees to pay bond debt.

“The money is actually going to transportation projects,” Beall said of the bond debt. “The advantages far exceed the interest cost by repairing the roads quicker and getting them done before they start falling apart even worse. It’s cheaper to do it with bonds.”

Proposition 6 supporters have also noted that for the last nine years, the state Department of Motor Vehicles has transferred money to the general fund — $89 million in the current budget — from processing fees charged to insurance companies and others for requesting driver information.

H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the state Finance Department, said that money has “never been considered to be vehicle revenues.”

From 2013 to 2015, the state also loaned the high-speed rail project $54 million from a transportation account funded by the sales tax on diesel fuel. The loan has not yet been repaid, officials said.

DeMaio has also criticized the use of $34 million from the State Highway Account over the last five years for a program that creates bike lanes and pedestrian walkways and makes sidewalks accessible to the disabled.

He says that fuel fees should go only to roads and that bike and pedestrian lanes should be funded by the tax on car sales.

“There is great frustration when people find that there is no money for potholes, but we are removing lanes to do these dedicated bike lanes,” DeMaio said. “We believe bike lanes should be additive, not subtractive. It shouldn’t be an either-or; it should be a both.”

But the state has proposed spending $1 billion of SB 1 money over the next 10 years on such projects, and on providing sidewalk improvements and safe routes to schools.

“They are part of the transportation system,” Beall said. “It’s not a significant amount, but if we can get more people to use bicycle paths and that kind of transportation, it helps everybody.”

The official name of SB 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act, is misleading, said Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield), vice chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee.

Because the new law was pitched largely as funding for road repairs, “Californians are going to be upset, and they should be upset,” when hundreds of millions of dollars instead go to other programs, Fong said.

Beall said supporters of SB 1 were clear throughout the debate that the measure would fund transportation needs besides roads, including mass transit.

“The transit does get cars off the road. That’s why we do it,” Beall said. “It’s a wise investment.”

State Senate leader Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) said all spending under SB 1 has been restricted by the California Constitution.

The document says all taxes on fuels for motor vehicles used on public roads can be used only for “research, planning, construction, improvement, maintenance, and operation of public streets and highways [and their related public facilities for nonmotorized traffic]” as well as the same purposes for mass transit.

“No gas tax money has been used for purposes other than those explicitly allowed,” Atkins said.

But Proposition 6 backers say the definition of what constitutes allowable transportation spending is too broad under the Constitution, and they have proposed a 2020 ballot measure to dedicate all fuel tax money to road and bridge projects.

In criticizing the current definition as too broad, initiative backers note that new transportation revenue also includes up to $50 million during the next decade for local governments to provide job training to people, including those just out of prison, so they can work on transportation projects.

About $79 million a year in tax money from gas pumped into off-road vehicles and boats will go to the general fund for state parks department programs during the next decade, while $26 million a year in gas and diesel taxes for farm equipment, including tractors, will go to the state Department of Food and Agriculture.

“When you look at the debate on SB 1, there is a significant amount of money that isn’t for road projects — that goes to parks, that goes to labor programs, that goes to non-road infrastructure,” Fongsaid.

The agriculture agency will use the fuel taxes it gets to pay for inspections and keeping produce-harming pests from the state through point-of-entry terminals. Parks officials said fuel tax money from off-road vehicles will be spent on programs including increased law enforcement, environmental monitoring and maintenance.

Another $70 million is pegged to go to state universities during the next decade for transportation research.

Atkins defended the existing spending plan.

“Nothing in Senate Bill 1, or its companion constitutional amendment approved by the voters in June of 2018, changed the limited uses of gas tax revenues,” she said.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — The Joys of Presenting Bills — April 24, 2018

Monday was mixed. SB 1363 passed unanimously on the Senate Floor. SB 1074 was killed in the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee on the basis that the price for a gallon is the price for a gallon of gas and the details be damned. And SB 1031, 1032 and SB 1433 were killed in the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee, with SB 1033 held back for more consultation with the Committee Chair and CalPERS. The Sacramento Bee covers it in the first piece below. It also discusses SB 1149, of which I was a proud Co-Author.

SB 1159 went out of Senate Appropriations successfully (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Right to Peaceably Assemble — April 13, 2018). The new Editor for CalMatters, Dan Morain, has some fun with it in the second piece below. Dan was formally with the LA Times and recently resigned from the Sacramento Bee. We go pretty far back.

Dan’s piece brings up an interesting concern. As a C.P.A., am I prohibited from doing something that will encourage more C.P.A.s to run for legislative office? Is it really self-serving? Would any other legislator be able to carry such a bill?

All retired C.P.A.s are required to note that they are “retired” or “inactive” on their stationery. But, attorneys in the Legislature are exempted from the requirement to obtain continuing professional education. Other professional licenses do not require qualifiers. I know that retired military officers do it. If you’ve earned an MBA, you can keep it behind your name for the remainder of your life.

Accordingly, I worked for the last couple of years with the California State Board of Accountancy for a reasonable solution. They recommended that instead of doing something administratively, that I introduce a bill. The Board supported the language we proposed for SB 1159. I did have a potential author, a former staffer for Congressman Brad Sherman, but he resigned from the Assembly recently. Consequently, I decided to move forward and let the cards fall where they may.

For entertainment value, the most recent edition of Inside OC finds host Rick Reiff rattling my cage on a number of current issues. It’s the third link below.

Last week I voted “No” on SB 832 (Portantino) and SB 951 (Mitchell). When I was interviewed by the OC Register‘s Editorial Board about my candidacy for State Senator in 2015, I provided the following position (see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — OC Register Endorsement — February 15, 2015):

Though the Legislature has often doled out tax credits to preferred industries, such as Hollywood and “green-energy” companies, Mr. Moorlach finds such favoritism distasteful. “I’m not an advocate of special incentives,” he said.

Three years later and I’m still of the same mind. I would prefer to deposit $330 million in one of California’s pension plans or other post employment benefits to reduce the unfunded liabilities. And why give a tax credit to one industry when so many others are trying to make do? Why not a “no better, no worse” approach?

And, worse, while the Capitol is trying to improve the culture, why give tax credits to an industry that brought us Weinstein and Toback? The Los Angeles Business Journal mentions the fun on this topic in the fourth piece below.

The LA Times addresses SB 1206 (De Leon) in the fifth piece below. This bill was introduced by Sen. De Leon and myself and I will be presenting it in the Senate Health Committee tomorrow. We need funding to build immediate housing for the state’s mentally ill homeless population and we need to do it now. This is a new approach on “No Place Like Home.”

Last week, Wednesday, I had one of the more awkward moments while presenting a bill. SB 1325 used an existing “Act” title. Rather than debate the actual policy in my bill, one of my Senate colleagues made it personal and proceeded to impugn my intentions where he actually presumed that I was being a racist toward an Asian Pacific Islander Caucus member, a charge that not only caught me off guard, but was highly inappropriate and regrettable.

I met with both of them the following morning to dispose them of any untoward motives. Ironically, a few minutes after these two discussions, my grandson, Koa, was born. Koa would qualify as a member of the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus.

The presentation is addressed by Vactruth.com in the last piece below.

image8Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 9.52.04 PM

The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

Cost-of-living adjustments for California state worker pensions are safe, for now

BY ADAM ASHTON

aashton

http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/the-state-worker/article209675374.html

Future state workers, your pension cost-of-living adjustments are safe, and you won’t get to choose between a CalPERS pension and a 401(k) plan anytime soon.

Both proposals were shot down on Monday by a Senate committee that rejected a pack of bills aimed at reducing the risk taxpayers face if an economic crisis cripples the state’s public pension funds.

Most of the bills came from Republican Sen. John Moorlach of Costa Mesa and Democratic Sen. Steve Glazer of Orinda, who argue that the rising cost of public pensions could drive local governments into bankruptcy when the next recession hits.

“We need to right-size the system. We need to restore public trust, because we’re going off a fiscal cliff,” said Glazer, the former Orinda mayor who sponsored the bill that would have allowed state workers to choose to participate in defined contribution 401(k) plan instead of the defined benefit plan offered by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.

California’s two largest public pension funds, CalPERS and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, each have about 71 percent of the assets they’d need to pay all of the benefits they owe to public workers and retirees.

They’ve been trying to close the gap between what they have and what they owe by raising the amount of money they charge to public employers and employees, prompting some local governments and school districts to complain that pension costs are “crowding out” resources for other services.

But Glazer and Moorlach could not convince the Senate Public Employee and Retirement Committee that the looming crisis they see is dangerous enough to tinker with pension commitments made by the state and local agencies to millions of people.

Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, countered that she wanted to find ways to encourage more people to join pension programs instead of 401(k) plans. “I just think we need to do everything we can to get our young people into defined-benefit plans,” she said.

The pension overhaul bills the committee rejected were:

Moorlach’s Senate Bill 1032, which would make it easier for local governments to separate from CalPERS without paying the hefty termination fees that CalPERS charges to fund pension obligations for defunct agencies. If an agency quits CalPERS without paying the fees, CalPERS slashes the pensions it provides to the agency’s former workers.

Moorlach’s SB 1031, which would prohibit pension funds from providing cost-of-living adjustments to retirees if the pension fund has less than 80 percent of the assets it would need to pay the benefits it owes. Most retired public employees can receive cost-of-living adjustments of 2 percent each year, but some contracts allow up to 5 percent. Moorlach’s proposal would have applied only to state workers hired after Jan. 1, 2019.

▪ Glazer’s SB 1149, which would have allowed new state workers to opt for a 401(k) plan instead of a pension. The concept is attractive to younger workers who do not intend to be career civil servants. The University of California is offering a similar plan, and 37 percent of new workers are choosing 401(k) plans instead of pensions.

The bills are essentially dead for this legislative session, although they could be revived if enough lawmakers want to bring them back from reconsideration.

A long line of union representatives spoke against each bill. Terry Brennand, a lobbyist for SEIU California, called the Glazer bill a “disaster waiting to happen.”

Ted Toppin, a lobbyist for state scientists and engineers, called the bill to waive CalPERS’ termination fees an opportunity for employers to “stiff” their workers in retirement.

The unions want more time for the pension funds to benefit from recent changes that have employers kicking in more money for retirement plans and to recalibrate from the 2012 law that eliminated especially generous plans that the Legislature offered to public employees during the dot-com boom.

 

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By Dan Morain

An accountant’s trick

 

Calling politicians self-serving can be redundant. It can be bipartisan, too.

Sen. John Moorlach, an Orange County Republican, and Congressman Brad Sherman, a San Fernando Valley Democrat, are certified public accountants. Because they haven’t kept up with their continuing education requirements, their licenses are inactive. No big deal. Lots of professionals let their licenses lapse.

So what? In 2009, the Legislature, without a single no vote, approved a measure that says all inactive CPAs must disclose their status on any business communications in which they call themselves CPAs. That includes Moorlach and Sherman.

Unlike other CPAs, however, Moorlach can carry legislation, and he is, to the delight of Sherman.Senate Bill 1159 would exempt any CPA member of the Legislature or Congress from having to disclose that they’re inactive. The bill would affect two people: Moorlach and Sherman. Sherman wrote a letter of support:

“I believe that my colleagues, as well as other interested parties, would more carefully review my letters and documents on tax and budgeting issues if I could sign them as follows: Congressman Brad Sherman, CPA.”

A rich target: The Senate Appropriations Committee approved Moorlach’s bill unanimously on Monday. At an earlier hearing, Moorlach seemed somewhat sheepish, calling the bill “a little self-serving.” Sen. Bill Dodd, a Napa Valley Democrat, voted no at that hearing, and made a point that accountants would appreciate: pushing a single bill through the legislative process costs about $10,000.

Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 9.56.04 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzIE8NKn1Xg

 

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ENTERTAINMENT: FINAL BILL COULD INCLUDE INCENTIVES ON DIVERSITY

Film Credit Clears Committees

By Matthew Blake

Los Angeles — A bill to extend California’s motion picture tax credit program sailed through Assembly and Senate committees last week.

“Clearly we have a lot of work to do – I think there is much more we should do,” said Kansen Chu, a San Jose-based Democrat and chair of the Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media committee.

Chu and four other members of the committee all voted on April 18 to approve Assembly Bill 1734, which would lengthen by five years California’s $330-million-a-year film and television tax credit program. The policy is due to sunset at the end of 2019.

Committee members also approved without opposition Assembly Bill 2936, a similar measure to continue the credits.

The California Senate Government and Finance Committee, meanwhile, passed its own tax credit legislation, Senate Bill 951, on April 19 by a 5-1 vote.

Chu expressed concerns the tax credits aren’t doing enough to diversify Hollywood.

Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon, a Democrat from eastern L.A. County and sponsor of AB 1734, has said that a final version of the bill could include greater incentives for women and minority filmmakers.

The California legislature passed in 2014 an expansion of the state’s tax credit program for movies and television shows from $100 million a year in credits to $330 million per annum.

The legislation provides television shows relocating to the Golden State and movies that shoot in California with a refund of 20 percent to 25 percent on crew member wages, as well as production and editing costs. The policy applies statewide but has an outsized effect in Los Angeles County, which hosts more than 90 percent of shoots that use the credits.

California differs from other states, such as Georgia and Louisiana, by limiting its credit programs to film crew, without reimbursement for the wages of actors, writers and directors.

The California Chamber of Commerce and various labor unions attended the committee hearing to shower praise on tax credits, stating that they generated billions of dollars in spending including crew wages.

The lone dissenting vote came from Sen. John Moorlach, a Costa Mesa Republican.

“I don’t want to pick winners and losers” among businesses, Moorlach said in an interview. “I want to try and protect tax revenues for my state.”

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With money tied up in court,

California lawmakers try again with

new plan to spend $2 billion on

homeless housing

By LIAM DILLON

http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-updates-with-money-tied-up-in-court-california-1524524828-htmlstory.html

A measure to spend $2 billion on housing homeless Californians could be on the November statewide ballot.

State Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) is pushing the idea to deal with what he said was a “burgeoning humanitarian crisis whose epicenter is here in California.”

De León’s new measure is a do-over for a 2016 plan passed by the Legislature to redirect $2 billion toward building homeless housing from a voter-approved 1% income tax surcharge on millionaires that funds mental health services. A Sacramento attorney sued over that decision, arguing that the move violated constitutional rules on approving loans without a public vote and that lawmakers shouldn’t take money away from mental health treatment. The case remains active in Sacramento Superior Court and it’s unclear when, or if, the state will be able to spend the $2 billion.

De León’s Senate Bill 1206 would put the $2-billion loan on the ballot in November, freeing up the money if voters approve the measure. De León said had he been able to predict the 2016 plan would end up in court, he would have sought a ballot measure at the time.

“We thought this was like apple pie and baseball and puppies,” De León said. “Who would oppose the idea of repurposing the dollars to build immediate housing as a permanent solution for homelessness? Obviously with a crystal ball, had I anticipated the litigation, I would have worked to place it on the ballot.”

De León noted that the 2016 plan had bipartisan supermajority support in the Legislature, something his new bill also will need to get on the ballot. Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) is a coauthor of the plan.

SB 1206 is scheduled for its first hearing in the Legislature on Wednesday.

Should De León’s measure be approved, it will join a crowded list of housing issues before voters in November. Californians will decide on a separate $4-billion bond to help finance new low-income housing and home loans for veterans. De León said he’s not worried those two measures will compete against each other because voters are aware of the scale of the state’s housing problems and the proposed homeless housing bond redirects existing dollars instead of raising taxes.

“Once [voters] know that the impact on their pocketbook is not existent, I’m confident that they’ll join me and my colleague John Moorlach in support of this measure,” De León said.

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California Democratic Senators Newman and Pan Caught Fabricating Racism To Exterminate Civil Rights Bill

https://vactruth.com/2018/04/24/racist-california-democratic-senators/

Last week California Democratic Senators Josh Newman and Richard Pan fabricated claims of racism to exterminate a civil rights bill, and they got away with it despite their failure to provide any evidence substantiating their allegations. To date, Senators Newman and Pan have not been held accountable for their actions.

The civil rights bill these Democratic Senators exterminated was simple: it would have guaranteed individuals and families the right to self-quarantine in their homes in the event of a pandemic, without fear of being criminalized for simply existing in their natural state (i.e., free of antibiotics or experimental vaccines). Why would anyone want to exterminate a person’s obvious right to simply exist at home in an un-medicated state, especially a perfectly healthy person?

Well, apparently the California Senate Health Committee wants to exterminate such a right.

Background of this Civil Rights Bill: PANDA

The bill in question was a scientifically supported, common sense civil rights safeguard introduced by Republican Senator John Moorlach. It was originally authored and named the Peaceful and Natural Dignity Act (“PANDA”) in the year 2013 by Greg Glaser, JD, for the Pandemic Response Project. Here is the original Change.org petition from the year 2013: link.

PANDA was written and named by Glaser before virtually everyone (including Glaser) had ever heard of Senator Pan. This is because the PANDA bill was written 1-year before Senator Pan gained notoriety by introducing California’s mandatory vaccination law SB 277. Recall that Senator Pan capitalized on the 2014 Disneyland measles event to push SB 277 through the California legislature, even though not a single child was injured by those measles, or even by most measles – see here; and further, the measles-containing vaccine has not been scientifically proven to be safer than the measles – see here.

We spoke with Glaser to confirm these details. And indeed, Glaser helped us confirm the obvious: his bill “PANDA” was named before Pan’s SB 277 and it was a reference to the word “pandemic” because it came through the Pandemic Response Project.

Interestingly, when naming the bill in 2013, Glaser chose the panda bear analogy because, in his words, “The panda is a beautiful symbol of both peace and nature, especially given the legal protection pandas enjoy.

As an endangered species they are afforded legal protection to exist in their own natural home habitat. So protecting pandas in their home is a good analogy for also protecting the right of peaceful humans to live naturally in our homes, even if there is a pandemic somewhere among the public outside.”

Moreover, “PANDAS” is also the well-known acronym for the prominent vaccine injury, “Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcus”.

Democratic Senators Newman and Pan Fabricate a Race Card to Exterminate Civil Rights

Senator Moorlach who introduced the bill was shocked when Senator Newman claimed on the record that there were racial and offensive undertones to the pneumonic title “PANDA” (Peaceful and Natural Dignity Act). In addition to whispering something to Senator Newman before the event in question, Senator Pan nodded along in agreement with Senator Newman that the bill’s name was a personal affront to Senator Pan.

In the words of Senator Newman: “Where did the acronym PANDA come from? The panda animal would seem to have very little to do with vaccinations, but it does tend to have a racial or ethnic tinge to it; it also includes the first three letters of my colleague’s name, and I could see where one might take offense.” See video at 2:03:40: link.

From the video recording, Senator Moorlach was obviously stunned and speechless at Senator Newman’s allegation. Senator Moorlach said he did not know what to say, because he had never drawn the same pneumonic association that Newman was suggesting was racial. The video also shows the Democratic chair of the Committee refused to let Glaser even speak a word to explain the bill’s name origin (naturally, Glaser would have explained that PANDA was a reference to “pandemic” because it came through the Pandemic Response Project, long before SB 277). It is currently unknown whether the chair of the committee was also collaborating with Newman to intentionally fabricate a racism allegation, especially because he was also involved in the pre-event whispers with Senator Pan.

It is also unknown how much information the other Senators had about PANDA’s name origin. Their complete silence on the video suggests they lacked context or information necessary to know that Newman and Pan’s race card had indeed been fabricated.

The notion of racism here was simply a non-issue, but as no California Senator would ever go on record supporting a civil rights bill that could be perceived or labeled as having a potentially racist title, they obviously all voted no. Perhaps the majority would have voted no anyway on the merits, but we will probably never know.

PANDA: Why It Is Necessary

Glaser says the PANDA bill is necessary to create a civil rights safeguard against current California law that allows authorities to exercise a form of absolute power, by arresting healthy individuals who simply choose to remain un-medicated at home during a pandemic:

The local health officer may take any preventive measure that may be necessary to protect and preserve the public health from any public health hazard during any “state of war emergency,” “state of emergency,” or “local emergency”…. Any person who… refuses or neglects to conform … is guilty of a misdemeanor.”

Cal. Health and Safety Code §§101040 and 120275

According to Glaser’s research submitted for the Senate hearing, PANDA was based upon a report by public health scholars at Boston University, in partnership with the ACLU, who found:

“Highly discriminatory and forcible vaccination and quarantine measures adopted in response to outbreaks of the plague and smallpox over the past century have consistently accelerated rather than slowed the spread of disease, while fomenting public distrust and, in some cases, riots…”

Annas, G., Mariner, W., Parmet, W., Pandemic Preparedness: The Need for a Public Health (Not A Law Enforcement/National Security) Approach. American Civil Liberties Union, January 2008.

And the CDC has observed the exact same phenomenon, which was reported in the CDC’s published journal in the year 2013:

During outbreaks of plague and cholera, the fear of discrimination and mandatory quarantine and isolation led the weakest social groups and minorities to escape affected areas and, thus, contribute to spreading the disease farther and faster, as occurred regularly in towns affected by deadly disease outbreaks. [And] in the globalized world, fear, alarm, and panic, augmented by global media, can spread farther and faster and, thus, play a larger role than in the past.

Tognotti, E., Lessons from the History of Quarantine, from Plague to Influenza A, Centers for Diseases Control EID Journal, Volume 19, Number 2—February 2013; DOI: 10.3201/eid1902.120312

Glaser also highlighted during the Senate Hearing that PANDA has a legal precedent in California’s current Tuberculosis control law:

“No examination or inspection shall be required of any person who depends exclusively on prayer for healing in accordance with the teachings of any well recognized religious sect, denomination or organization and claims exemption on that ground, except that the provisions of this code regarding compulsory reporting of communicable diseases and isolation and quarantine shall apply where there is probable cause to suspect that the person is infected with the disease in a communicable stage. Such person shall not be required to submit to any medical treatment, or to go to or be confined in a hospital or other medical institution; provided, he or she can be safely quarantined and/or isolated in his or her own home or other suitable place of his or her choice.” Cal. Health & Safety Code section 121370

Sixty physicians were on record supporting PANDA, along with several PhDs and rights groups. By contrast, the AAP was opposed to the bill. Ultimately, the Senate Health Committee voted no on the bill. But suspiciously, they never even engaged Glaser or Moorlach in dialogue regarding the substantive points raised by the ACLU and CDC Journal findings.

Instead, Senator Pan conducted a unilateral dialogue with a single opposition witness regarding cherry-picked measles cases. Senator Pan did not question the expert witness in support of PANDA, Tina Kimmel, PhD, MPH, who worked for the California Department of Public Health for most of her career, including within the Immunization Branch.

Dr. Kimmel provided testimony that emphasized why mandating vaccination has been proven to be counterproductive to public health goals. Indeed, none of the Senators asked Dr. Kimmel any questions. So on multiple levels, it does not appear that PANDA was given a fair or honest hearing.

If PANDA Had Been Given A Fair Hearing

Let’s consider why this bill – PANDA – is much more effective than mass coercive vaccination in the event of a public health emergency.

Even if we ignore the studies and surveys that show unvaccinated people are statistically healthier than vaccinated people, we cannot ignore the large, time-tested and statistically validated fact that isolation, sanitization and self-quarantine is far and away the most effective method whereby infectious disease transmission is obviated.

Note for example the figure below: it compares smallpox fatality rates in virtually unvaccinated and “unprotected” Leicester versus vaccinated/revaccinated populations in various areas (Japan, London, etc.). What does one see? The smallpox fatality rates are significantly lower in unvaccinated Leicester – a region which utilized the self-quarantine method to preclude infectious disease transmission.

The facts ostensibly demonstrate that mass coercive vaccination is not the most effective method (in fact, evidence indicates it worsens mortality).

Beyond the scientific aspect, coercive vaccination (in public health emergencies) that abrogates civil liberties, constitutional rights, and bioethical principles internationally regarded (bodily autonomy, inviolability, self-determination, etc.) acts to foster distrust of governmental authorities, and actually elicits greater rebellion and associated chaos. These legal concerns from the ACLU and CDC were the primary point that Glaser emphasized during the hearing, while his fellow witness, Dr. Kimmel, focused her testimony on the public health benefits of PANDA.

So, what could possibly be the impetus for opposition to this logical, scientifically/statistically proven method, which sensibly balances public health with respect for civil liberties? Did Big Pharma strike again?

We contacted Glaser after the hearing to obtain his impression of the day’s events. In his own words:

“When Senator Newman challenged the name PANDA as derogatory, I was shocked. I know Senator Moorlach was shocked too. He was just standing there and didn’t know what to say. Obviously racism isn’t something our offices had ever talked about or even considered.

The Committee chair wouldn’t even let me speak to explain the bill’s origins from the word “pandemic”. I found it strange that a surprise, fabricated side-issue could actually derail a very serious civil rights bill. I’m not a political guy, so I didn’t really understand what was happening in that Senate room. All I know is what I saw.

The Senators asked no questions about the ACLU or CDC references that we provided. Perhaps that’s just how these hearings go, but it didn’t seem like an honest hearing to me. From my experience in courtrooms, I can only say that ignoring actual evidence in favor of an unsubstantiated sideshow would never happen in an honest courtroom.

I also observed several other bills on calendar at this Health Committee, and there was an obvious pattern – this Health Committee has taken up the banner of financing the public’s demand for drugs and surgery.

I would say that even appears to be their primary purpose. Natural health and organic living are not discussed or considered among these Senators, let alone respected as the primary means for good health. If mass financing of drugs and surgery is what California health politics has devolved into, I have no interest.

Glaser also advised that he is uncertain where his PANDA bill may go from here. But he did offer a parting insight:

“If you believe that we can trust pharmaceutical companies to inject people only with drugs and toxins that are good for them, then you are neither a historian nor a critical thinker. There is a reason these companies demanded legal immunity from lawsuits – their products are inherently dangerous. And government officials are also immune from lawsuits. So the system inherently lacks accountability, regardless of one’s position on vaccination. Sadly, the political system is ironically dismissing the scientific method to promote a one-size-fits-all experimental pharmacy for the American people. Even vaccine-enthusiasts must admit that mandatory vaccination policies eliminate the continued availability of a control sample – a group of healthy and natural people – who check and balance their assumptions about the science of immunity.”

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.

Also follow me on Facebook & Twitter @SenatorMoorlach

MOORLACH UPDATE — Right to Peaceably Assemble — April 13, 2018

I have a diversified portfolio of bills that we have introduced for consideration, as you can see on my website at  http://district37.cssrc.us/legislation.

I also have the opportunity to be a co-author on a number of bills.  And, on rare occasions, I’m even a joint-author.  This was the case for SB 1004 (Weiner), which will establish a strategic, statewide focus for how counties utilize funds generated by the Mental Health Services Act for prevention and intervention in the early stages of mental illness (see http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB1004).

I testified on behalf of SB 1004 this past week, along with Sacramento Mayor and former State Senator pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, an author of Proposition 63 (2004), in Senate Health Committee, where it passed unanimously.  On the subject of the Mental Health Services Act, which has become a major focus of my time over the years, I was appointed to the Senate Select Committee on Mental Health during Wednesday’s Senate Rules Committee meeting.

The LA Times discusses another bill of mine in the piece below, SB 1099, the Right to Peaceably Assemble.  Last October, the Senate Judiciary Committee, where I serve as Vice Chair, held a hearing on hate speech, which spurred several ideas (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Combatting Hate — October 3, 2017MOORLACH UPDATE — Elephant in the Room — October 4, 2017 and MOORLACH UPDATE — Showmanship Let Down — October 7, 2017).

After considering a number of responses to the nonsense that had recently occurred at the University of California Berkeley, I thought the city of Los Angeles had the best response, so I am trying to duplicate it on a statewide basis.

I also wish to thank University of California, Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman for providing me with a copy of his new book, “Free Speech On Campus,” which he co-authored with University of California, Berkeley Law School, and former University of California, Irvine Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky (see https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300226560/free-speech-campus).

Now that I finally have an article that addresses one of my bills, allow me to give you an update on our portfolio.  Here is a follow up on the calendar that I provided in MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1463 Redux — March 30, 2018.

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

Although this bill was referred to as self-serving, it still passed out of Committee with 6 votes, 2 opposed and 1 abstention.

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

This bill was killed on a partisan vote of 2 to 4.

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.

Both bills were killed on a partisan vote of 2 to 4.

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

Although I was tied up presenting the above 3 bills in Education Committee, Sen. Nguyen kindly presented this bill, with a big assist from Sen. Beall, and it moved forward with 6 votes and 1 abstention.  It will be heard by Senate Appropriations on Monday morning, April 16th.

This week, I only had SB 1004, discussed above.  Next week I will also present the following two bills:

April 18 — SB 1463 — Cap and Trees

See http://district37.cssrc.us/content/senate-bill-1463-cap-and-trees

Senate Environmental Quality Committee

April 18 — SB 1325 — Peaceful and Natural Dignity Act (PANDA)

See http://district37.cssrc.us/content/senate-bill-1325-peaceful-and-natural-dignity-act-panda

Senate Health Committee

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By PATRICK MCGREEVY

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-california-legislature-campus-free-speech-20180413-story.html

Last year’s bloody clashes on California college campuses have spawned a battle in the state Legislature over how far the law should go to protect unpopular speech and prevent violence between those with opposing political views.

In recent weeks, legislators have started to act on bills introduced in response to a series of confrontations, including a melee at UC Berkeley over a proposed campus speech by right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

Lawmakers and activists have fought over a wide range of proposals, many introduced by Republicans who say conservative speech is being vetoed by violence on California campuses.

Similar debates are happening in statehouses across the U.S., with many Democrats concerned that neo-Nazis and other purveyors of hate speech are instigating conflict, citing violence in Charlottesville, Va., last summer when white nationalists marched across the University of Virginia campus, and a far-right rally the following day that turned fatal.

California’s Democratic majority has scuttled bills including one that would have disciplined students who interfere with speeches, or withheld funds from campuses that don’t take steps to protect controversial speaking events.

“Freedom of speech is not free in California — it comes with a price,” Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) said in a statement after the Democrats voted down her penalty bill. “As long as you say what government wants to hear, they’ll protect your right to speak.”

Another sidelined bill would have made it a crime to wear masks or disguises to demonstrations, but opponents said it could be used to quash free speech. Other measures, including legislation modeled on a Los Angeles antiviolence ordinance, are expected to be taken up in the next few weeks.

But stronger bipartisan consensus has emerged around a bill that would require state colleges to affirm in formal statements the importance of freedom of expression, and to set the stage for student instruction on the history and value of the First Amendment.

“When you have everyone with a deeper appreciation for why we need to have a free exchange of ideas, then people will be less inclined to take action against ideas that they find repugnant or wrong,” said Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin), who coauthored the bill with Democratic Assemblyman Bill Quirk of Hayward.

In all, nine bills were introduced in response to incidents including the February 2017 riot at UC Berkeley in which 150 protesters, many masked agitators, caused some $100,000 in damage and injured several people there to attend Yiannopoulos’ speech, which was canceled.

The anti-Yiannopoulos protesters, who accused him of hate speech, hurled Molotov cocktails, set fires, threw fireworks at police and smashed windows using barricades, according to authorities. Many wore face coverings to hide their identity.

Clashes in later months resulted in the cancellation of an appearance on campus by conservative commentator Ann Coulter.

And in April of last year, an off-campus event billed as a “Patriot Day” rally by far-right, pro-Trump activists resulted in 21 arrests after fights broke out with counterprotesters. The Times reported both sides threw rocks and sticks at one another.

Naweed Tahmas, a leader of the UC Berkeley College Republicans, testified at one of a series of legislative hearings held in recent weeks that he has been chased, threatened, punched and spat on by people on campus who disagree with his political views.

“I am not exaggerating when I say that free speech is on life support at UC Berkeley,” Tahmas told legislators. “I do not feel safe on my own campus.”

Nobody from the public testified against the bill, but Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk Silva (D-Fullerton) disputed the claims of supporters.

“Where I would disagree is, unlike some of your information for Berkeley, I think free speech is alive and well,” she said, noting that Yiannopoulos spoke at Cal State Fullerton in her district and there was no violence because steps were taken to keep protesters apart.

A federal lawsuit alleges that Katrina Redelsheimer and her husband, John Jennings, went to UC Berkeley last year to hear Yiannopoulos and were attacked by a crowd of black-clad anarchists who beat the couple with sticks, kicked them and doused them with pepper spray.

“I thought that my husband was dead,” Redelsheimer said this month, recalling the sight of her husband lying unconscious on the ground.

The lawsuit charges that the UC administrators and police violated the couple’s civil rights by failing to protect them, “permitting hordes of rioters to swarm the University campus in a violent rage.”

UC administrator Karen French told lawmakers during a hearing last week that free-speech rights are a priority for the universities, but that restrictions on public events are sometimes warranted when student safety is at risk.

The Kiley-Quirk measure has been endorsed by the 13 Democrats and Republicans who make up the Assembly Committee on Higher Education. The measure was drafted with input from Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC Berkeley School of Law, and Howard Gillman, chancellor of UC Irvine.

The instruction on the importance of the First Amendment can happen in classrooms, at student orientations or in other venues, according to the bill. Supporters say its aim is to strike a balance that avoids punishing schools or students.

“Through educational programming, universities can help foster an appreciation for the history and value of free speech, and why it is essential to democratic government and academic freedom,” Chemerinsky said.

Another legislative committee recommended a measure by state Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) that would require the California Community Colleges and California State University systems to adopt “free expression” policies that end the practice of limiting speeches and literature distribution to small, remote “free speech zones” on campuses.

Instead, the bill would require larger outdoor areas on campuses to be designated for public discourse, including allowing students to “spontaneously and contemporaneously distribute literature and assemble.”

The rejected Melendez bill would have gone much further by allowing the state to withhold funding from campuses that fail to comply with a statewide policy on free speech.

The legislation would have also prohibited university administrators from disinviting speakers who students have invited to events, and created disciplinary actions for students who interfere with the free-speech rights of others.

Opponents were concerned that the bill’s proposal to allow funds to be withheld from campuses deemed out of compliance could result in the disruption of thousands of students’ college educations.

Jose Medina (D-Riverside), chairman of the Committee on Higher Education, said the proposal was “too prescriptive, and I believe if enacted it would result in unintended consequences.”

That drew rebukes from Melendez and Tahmas, who charged that Democrats “failed in their duty to protect the constitutional rights of California’s students.”

Tension rose again this week when a Senate panel rejected a Republican bill that would have made it a crime to wear a mask or disguise to public demonstrations.

Nielsen told colleagues that he introduced the bill out of alarm that law enforcement did not act more aggressively in stopping violence at UC Berkeley.

A representative of the ACLU of California said that there is no need for Nielsen’s bill because the law already makes it illegal to wear a mask during the commission of a crime, adding that allowing police to arrest masked persons not committing a crime could lead to disparate treatment based on the message of the demonstrator.

Still awaiting a vote are measures including a bill by state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) modeled after a Los Angeles ordinance that makes it a crime to carry sticks, rocks, baseball bats, glass bottles, guns, knives and pepper spray at public demonstrations.

“I just think you don’t need a two-by-four or a lead pipe to hold up a sign,” Moorlach said. “We’re trying to say you should not be intimidating people and you should not be causing physical harm to people, nor should you be destroying property that belongs to the state of California.”

Redelsheimer is skeptical of the flurry of legislative activity in Sacramento.

“State-funded institutions are already required to abide by the First Amendment,” she said. “Attacking people with sticks and pepper spray is similarly already illegal. As usual, what we need is the will to abide by and enforce existing law rather than create new legislation.”

patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com

 

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MOORLACH UPDATE — City Rankings – Vol. 3 — February 10, 2018

The state of California has 482 cities, all required to have their annual financial statements audited by an independent certified public accountant or certified public accounting firm. We just have not found a repository that provides all of these Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs) in one place.

Consequently, I am providing a resource with the data. And it is done in a metric format, using the unrestricted net position (UNP) divided by the city’s population.

The bottom 32 cities were provided in MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 1 – February 7, 2018. The next 50 worst are provided in MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 2 — February 8, 2018.

Today I am releasing Volume 3: the cities ranked between 400 and 351 in the chart below. This grouping represents about 8.6 percent of the state’s population.

Combining Volumes 1-3: These 132 cities comprise nearly 45 percent of California’s residents, but are only 27 percent of its cities. Stated differently, nearly one-half of Californians are living in the bottom quartile of cities.

Three Orange County cities are in Volume 3. They are Fullerton (#386), Orange (#367, and in my District), and Fountain Valley (#362).

What observations can we make? Here are three to consider. Most of Orange County cities with large unrestricted net deficits tend to be full service, having their own Police and Fire Departments. Contract cities utilizing the Orange County Sheriff and the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) have the pension liabilities reported on the County of Orange and OCFA balance sheets. This is a dilemma for discussion at another time.

They are also older cities. For instance, Fullerton was founded in 1887, two years before Orange County splintered off of Los Angeles County. These legacy cities have larger retired populations than those recently incorporated in South County.

And they are looking for alternative resources. The voters in the city of Fountain Valley approved Measure HH in 2016, raising its sales tax rate an additional 1 percent. Here was the ballot question:

To maintain 911 emergency response times, fire stations, police officers/firefighters/paramedics, anti-gang/drug programs, after school, senior programs; upgrade first responder disaster communication; repair stormwater systems to prevent flooding, streets/potholes/parks; other general city services, shall the City of Fountain Valley establish a one-cent sales tax providing $11.5 million annually for twenty year term, requiring public disclosure of expenditures, independent audits, all funds only for Fountain Valley?

One year ago today, the Los Angeles Times provided the following story in their “California’s Pension Crisis” series, titled “Costs push cities toward the brink,” by Judy Lin (see https://www.pressreader.com/usa/los-angeles-times/20170210/281500750997569). The city of Richmond is featured. It also approved a sales tax ballot measure in 2014 for an increase of 0.5 percent.

Increasing the sales tax is a solution. But, instead of referring to potholes, it should be honest and mention the pensions (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Pension Tax Begins — December 21, 2016).

Cities with budget struggles considering a sales tax increase measure should communicate to its residents that every pension reform currently available has been implemented and that a citizens accountability committee has certified that all excessive costs have or will be trimmed

Then the city council should keep the tax increase small, targeted, and limited in duration and commit that there will be no increases in salaries or benefits until a positive unrestricted net position is achieved (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Secretive and Expensive Union Deals — November 3, 2017).

Rank City Population UNP UNP Per Year of
(Thousands) Capita CAFR
400 Azusa 49,762 ($47,761) ($960) 2016
399 Maywood 28,016 ($26,683) ($952) 2015
398 Oxnard 207,772 ($197,253) ($949) 2016
397 Placerville 10,743 ($10,169) ($947) 2015
396 Calexico 40,921 ($38,429) ($939) 2016
395 Big Bear Lake 5,047 ($4,713) ($934) 2017
394 San Bruno 45,295 ($42,134) ($930) 2017
393 Petaluma 60,941 ($55,662) ($913) 2017
392 El Cajon 102,803 ($92,231) ($897) 2017
391 Pinole 18,975 ($17,015) ($897) 2016
390 Modesto 215,080 ($191,484) ($890) 2017
389 San Luis Obispo 46,724 ($41,497) ($888) 2017
388 San Leandro 88,274 ($77,776) ($881) 2016
387 Grover Beach 13,438 ($11,773) ($876) 2017
386 Fullerton 142,234 ($123,501) ($868) 2017
385 Atwater 30,406 ($25,983) ($855) 2016
384 Lompoc 44,042 ($37,631) ($854) 2017
383 Santa Rosa 176,799 ($149,789) ($847) 2016
382 Millbrae 23,168 ($19,446) ($839) 2017
381 Auburn 14,096 ($11,812) ($838) 2016
380 Newark 45,422 ($37,879) ($834) 2017
379 Chula Vista 267,917 ($222,843) ($832) 2017
378 Chico 93,383 ($77,226) ($827) 2017
377 Fremont 231,664 ($190,950) ($824) 2017
376 Eureka 27,120 ($22,017) ($812) 2016
375 Nevada City 3,208 ($2,589) ($807) 2015
374 Carson 93,674 ($75,486) ($806) 2016
373 Glendale 201,748 ($162,510) ($806) 2017
372 Bell 36,408 ($29,273) ($804) 2017
371 Covina 49,011 ($39,203) ($800) 2017
370 Seaside 34,165 ($26,815) ($785) 2017
369 Jackson 4,838 ($3,708) ($766) 2016
368 Brisbane 4,722 ($3,507) ($743) 2016
367 Orange 140,882 ($103,910) ($738) 2017
366 Albany 18,988 ($13,976) ($736) 2016
365 Salinas 162,470 ($116,218) ($715) 2017
364 Cloverdale 8,931 ($6,345) ($710) 2016
363 Blythe 19,660 ($13,750) ($699) 2015
362 Fountain Valley 56,709 ($39,063) ($689) 2017
361 King City 14,480 ($9,903) ($684) 2015
360 Hermosa Beach 19,616 ($13,287) ($677) 2017
359 Rolling Hills Estates 8,059 ($5,396) ($670) 2017
358 Rohnert Park 42,067 ($27,943) ($664) 2017
357 Willows 6,187 ($4,100) ($663) 2017
356 Escondido 151,492 ($99,262) ($655) 2017
355 Hemet 81,868 ($52,490) ($641) 2016
354 Marysville 11,973 ($7,614) ($636) 2016
353 Susanville 15,046 ($9,198) ($611) 2017
352 Merced 84,464 ($51,206) ($606) 2016
351 Healdsburg 11,800 ($6,976) ($591) 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JANUARY 26th INVITATION

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

Essential Politics

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

400x400Patrick McGreevy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Tomorrow’s Budget Release — January 9, 2018

Governor Brown releases his 2018-19 Budget tomorrow morning. The Sacramento Bee provides its perspectives in their front-page piece below.

The Federal Tax Act is mentioned. For more on the proposed schemes, see MOORLACH UPDATE — Contribution Contrivance — January 6, 2018.

For my editorial that is referenced, see MOORLACH UPDATE — 2018-2019 Budget Recommendations — January 4, 2018.

Let me go down memory lane. On Saturday, May 8, 1999, the following headlines were to be read in the OC’s major dailies:

“State may have $4 billion in surplus revenue — Budget: A forecast cites continuing economic growth among the reasons for extra funds” (OC Register)

“Davis Studies Allocation of Excess Funds” (LA Times)

You know the rest of the story. History has told us that a word should have been inserted into these two story titles: “temporary.”

So, while California currently has “temporary” surplus revenues, thanks to raising tax rates and a robust economy, it should be improving its balance sheet, which still has the largest unrestricted net deficit in the nation. (I mentioned recently that the state of New York bumped California out of last place, but I was wrong, as the balance sheet I was looking at was for the city of New York — more on this later.)

Tomorrow will start the process of preparing the one bill the Legislature is required to prepare and pass. I will be outlining some of the issues that I’ll be looking for in the budget on my Twitter stream. If you’re not following me on Twitter, I can be found at @SenatorMoorlach.

Let’s see what surprises our Governor provides in the morning.

Jerry Brown’s last budget: 19 billion reasons to smile and two big questions

BY ADAM ASHTON

aashton
http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article193579089.html

Gov. Jerry Brown has 19 billion reasons to feel optimistic when he releases his last budget proposal this week.

Eight years after he took office in the free fall of the Great Recession, the state is on pace to build a $19.3 billion surplus by July 1, 2019.

But these are not necessarily flush times, warn the liberal policy advocates who normally would be urging Brown to put the surplus into new government services.

They see two strong headwinds they expect Brown to cite when he reveals a budget that salts away revenue and avoids expensive commitments.

One comes from aftershocks created by the tax overhaul President Donald Trump signed last month.

Because Trump’s plan slashes federal revenue, California leaders expect Congress to next cut funding for social services that they consider critical. That, in turn, could blow a hole in parts of the state’s budget that depend on federal funding, like Medi-Cal.

The second drag on the upcoming budget comes from Brown’s own preoccupation with a recession. He continually warns that lean days are just around the corner even as the state exceeds its revenue targets.

“Make no doubt about it, cuts are coming in the next few years, and they’ll be big,” Brown said last year as he released a $180 billion plan.

With that backdrop, here are five things to watch when Brown’s delivers his budget:

Health care hurdles

A year ago the biggest question for Brown’s budget was whether Trump would fulfill his campaign pledge to repeal Obamacare. That mattered to California because the state used President Obama’s signature health care law to greatly expand its health insurance program for lower-income adults, Medi-Cal. Repealing Obamacare could have disrupted tens of billions of dollars in funding for Medi-Cal.

Today, Obamacare lives, but Trump’s new tax law poses similar problems for California government. The tax cuts are projected to swell the federal deficit by $1.4 trillion over a decade, increasing pressure to cut spending on entitlement programs like Medicare. Some Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, have said they want to target those programs next to rein in spending.

California gets $60 billion a year from the federal government for Medi-Cal. California residents receive about $70 billion in benefits annually from Medicare, and the Republican Congress has not yet renewed a children’s health insurance program that provides $3 billion in benefits to California families.

Changes to any of those programs would challenge Brown and California lawmakers to find money for those services or let residents lose access to those services.

“We know the Republicans in Washington, D.C., will be issuing some major federal budget cut proposals in the next weeks,” said Chris Hoene, executive director of the California Budget and Policy Center. As a result, “we’re expecting a pretty cautious (state budget from Brown) because of the high degree of uncertainty.”

Will Brown take a swipe at the tax overhaul?

Gov. Brown blasted the new tax law while Republicans advanced it, calling it “evil in the extreme.” He charged that the law favored corporations over low-income Americans and seemed to single out his state by striking a popular state and local tax deduction that some 6 million Californians claimed last year.

Brown could use his budget to strike back by signaling his intent to adjust California tax laws in a way that would let residents claim new deductions on the federal returns.

One proposal, already submitted in a bill by state Senate President Kevin de León, would let Californians report their state taxes as if they were charitable contributions, allowing residents to deduct those taxes on their IRS returns. Another more complicated idea floated by tax experts would have California shift its personal income tax to a different employer tax that businesses could deduct.

Even more California vs. Trump

Need more examples of Sacramento’s rift with the Trump administration creating unanswerable budget dilemmas?

Take cannabis.

California expects to collect $1 billion in taxes this year from its now legalized marijuana industry. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement of a new policy raising the spectre of a revived emphasis on prosecuting federal cannabis offenses could diminish those proceeds.

California’s new “sanctuary state” law is another fault line. Sessions’ has warned cities with laws that discourage enforcement of federal immigration laws that they could lose Justice Department grants that support their police departments.

California receives about $28 million in those grants. That’s not a lot of money in the scheme of the state’s $135 billion general fund budget, but presents another potential disruption of California government services.

A dollar saved is a dollar earned

The Legislative Analyst’s Office projects that California would be free to spend about $7 billion of its surplus in the upcoming budget year, with the other $12 billion earmarked for reserves. Its outlook also projected an additional $5.3 billion in uncommitted education funding.

Few expect Brown to call for spending much of the general fund surplus. He’s cast himself as a penny-pinching check on lawmakers who’d commit revenue in windfall years to ongoing programs that would have to be cut in a recession.

Still, some lobbyists expect Brown to offer some of the money to programs and departments as one-time boosts in revenue for capital projects or short-term expenses. He’s done that in the past.

“Instead of committing any balance to ongoing money for ongoing purposes, he will give to school districts but will caution them not to spend for ongoing expenses like compensation,” said Kevin Gordon, a lobbyist who represents large school districts as president of Capitol Advisors Group.

Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Phil Ting held a briefing last month where he said Democrats would push to spend about half of the general fund surplus, using it on education, health care for undocumented immigrants, and social services.

Others are urging Brown to focus on debt. Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, has called for Brown to use some of the surplus to pay into the state’s underfunded public pension programs, CalPERS and CalSTRS. Republican Sen. John Moorlach of Costa Mesa last week made a similar argument in an editorial, encouraging Brown to use the surplus for bond debt and the pension funds.

What about Mother Nature?

Starting with the damaged Oroville Dam, California seemed to careen from disaster to disaster in 2017. The dam’s spillway alone is projected to cost more than $500 million to repair.

The state’s fire season, too, was among its deadliest and most expensive. California had spent nearly $600 million on the wildfires between July 1 and early December, a record-setting pace.

Brown maintains that the state will face more weather-related extremes in years ahead because of climate change. He could set aside more money to deal with those events in the next budget by allocating money for environmental programs or by beefing up the state’s ability to respond disasters by hiring more emergency responders. The state firefighter union, for instance, is nudging Brown to hire more year-round firefighters.

Adam Ashton: 916-321-1063, @Adam_Ashton.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Showmanship Let Down — October 7, 2017

Dan Morain and I go back to his days at the LA Times, where I recognized his work back in 2000 when I used to give the annual “Moorlach Award” to those in the journalism industry that had stood out in the previous twelve months (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Voice of OC — December 8, 2010). I found that awards for those in the media were named after someone, like Pulitzer or Loeb, so I followed suit. Having been the victim of poor journalistic work, I thought recognizing good work would mean something a little special to those in the trade. Dan Morain is special.

Dan and I are now back together. He was one of the first breakfast appointments I had in Sacramento, where he now ably serves as the Editorial Page Editor for The Sacramento Bee. Dan and I have stayed in contact over the years. Dan shares my burden for the mentally ill. He was especially interested in my Laura’s Law journey, as I successfully pursued a legislative remedy to fund county staff in assisting some who are mentally ill and have had encounters with law enforcement officials (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Laura’s Law Journey — August 11, 2014). My efforts would find Orange County leading the state in offering this program, which has now been adopted by numerous counties (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Laura’s Law Resolution Passes — May 13, 2014). In fact, it garnered national recognition and I was honored by the Treatment Advocacy Center (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Catalyst — March 14, 2015).

Dan called me yesterday. “Did I sandbag [Senate Judicial Committee Chair] Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson?” Absolutely not! In fact, we worked politely and professionally through the appropriate channels and were rebuffed. Even one of the Democratic Senators on the Committee tried to convince the Chair to allow Ben Shapiro a more prominent place on the agenda and he was denied.

My staff put together a timeline of their efforts and I e-mailed Dan the following:

Timeline of Judiciary Hearing Events

 Prior to 9/20/17: Pro Tem’s Office worked with Judiciary Committee to develop an informational hearing to address issue of hate. At no point was the Vice Chair or Sen. Republican Caucus invited to participate and contribute suggestions for the hearing.

 9/20/17: The Judiciary Committee notified its members of the hearing along with the date, time, and title.

 9/21/17 – 9:49 AM: Sen. Moorlach’s staff reached out via e-mail to the Judiciary Committee and asked if Ben Shapiro could be considered as a witness for the hearing, since Sen. Moorlach had not had a prior opportunity to offer input and the agenda had not yet been finalized.

 9/21/17 – 9:54 AM: The Judiciary Committee responded via e-mail to Sen. Moorlach’s request to invite Ben Shapiro and promised to “float it with the Chair,” though it was “probably too late to add additional speakers.”

 9/21/17 – 2:07 PM: Judiciary Committee staff e-mailed out to the committee members’ staffs a draft agenda, emphasizing that it was only a draft, and “there may yet be some additions and revisions to the order, format, etc.”

 9/29/17 – 8:51 AM: Sen. Moorlach’s staff followed up with the Judiciary Committee via e-mail to see if the Chair had made a decision about adding Ben Shapiro to the hearing witness list.

 9/29/17 – ~11:05 AM: Sen. Moorlach’s staff followed up with the Judiciary Committee in person in the Committee’s office to see if the Chair had made a decision about adding Ben Shapiro to the hearing witness list. Sen. Moorlach’s staff informed the Committee staff that Sen. Moorlach had invited Ben Shapiro and he would be appearing to speak during the public comment portion of the hearing, but that Sen. Moorlach, as the Vice Chair, would greatly appreciate it if Ben Shapiro could be included during one of the panels. Sen. Moorlach’s staff was again advised it was likely the panels were full but that the Chair would again be asked since Ben Shapiro was planning on attending whether or not he was included in the panels.

 9/29/17 – 2:06 PM: Judiciary Committee staff alerted Sen. Moorlach’s staff via e-mail that the Chair was alerted to Ben Shapiro’s attendance but the request to include him in one of the panels was denied. It was reiterated that “Mr. Shapiro is most welcome to participate in the public comment period, of course.”

I informed Dan Morain that after all of our attempts, I just let Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson be Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson. Being a bully is what she does best. As a former prosecutor for the Santa Barbara County District Attorney, she has a certain overbearing mode that she operates under.

I had the only bill this year that addressed free speech on campus, SB 677 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Senate Bill 677 — April 6, 2017). The bill was “double referred” meaning that it was assigned to be heard in two committees, Senate Education and Senate Judiciary, in that order. That was reasonable to me. However, without any notice, the committee hearings were reversed. When my staff was alerted, they were told that Senator Jackson wanted the bill first and there was no time to appeal to Senate Rules to change the hearing order back.

When it went before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chair Jackson strongly opposed a bill to address bullying by instructors in public school classrooms (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Student Whistleblower Protection Bill — April 14, 2017  and MOORLACH UPDATE — Voted Down — April 25, 2017).

After my presentation, the only Committee member arguing against SB 677 was Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (see MOORLACH UPDATE — PACE and HERO — April 30, 2017). When the roll was taken, Senator Joel Anderson and I voted for the bill, Senator Jackson voted against, and Senators Hertzberg, Monning, Stern and Wieckowski abstained! It is my assumption that they didn’t necessarily oppose the bill, but they didn’t want to go sideways with the Chair. So SB 677 was not voted down, it just died for failing to obtain two more votes. So much for the majority party caring about free speech on state funded college campuses.

At that point in time, what I thought to be a reasonable approach to deal with bully professors was sandbagged by a bully Senator. This experience is one of many that set the stage for Ben Shapiro reaping her wrath. So much for free speech while she wields the gavel.

Why do I bring this all up? So you can appreciate the tyranny of the majority through a wonderful real life example. One that Dan Morain observed and was outraged by (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Elephant in the Room — October 4, 2017). His next piece, the first one below, will probably print in Sunday’s edition, is provided below for you today. His conclusion makes me sense that Dan was let down by the behavior he observed.

Now that we’re watching the media appreciate firsthand the nonsense of how conservatives are being treated in Sacramento, it seems only obvious that the free press should be outraged by the liberal bias in the Capitol. Since November 8th, the monopoly party in the California Legislature has been apoplectic because the Democratic National Committee presented a Democrat Presidential candidate that was awful, corrupt and incompetent and should have lost the election.

The shadow over the 2017 Senate Legislative Session was the berating of President Trump. I’m not here to defend our new President, but I put up with the last one for eight years and kept my opinions of his leadership skill sets civil. But, the state of California is currently the outlier. And it continues to push as the liberal showman in confronting the White House. I’m not seeing leadership from my Democrat colleagues, just showmanship. So I addressed it, once again, in the second piece below in the Orange County Breeze, dealing with the Governor’s signing of SB 54, the “Sanctuary State” bill.

I will try to give you a score sheet of how the Governor is doing on my request that he veto 20 particular bills. He let me down on this one.

The OC Register‘s Sunday Commentary Section will carry the third piece below. It is co-written by the world famous Jon Coupal and deals with the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (see MOORLACH UPDATE — I Told You So! — August 26, 2017).

What if your child convinced you to co-sign on a $3 billion loan and never made a payment, leaving the responsibility of making the debt payments to you? Now, after 13 years, CIRM is finally promising to pay you something. Really? Is it $3 billion? Or is it $10,000? I’d lean toward the latter. You’ve been bagged. Someone has to tell your child to give back the remaining unspent loan proceeds and apply it against the loan. Put a tourniquet on this major let down, please.

Dan Morain

Dan Morain

Editorial page editor, political affairs columnist and editorial writer

DAN MORAIN

Who is Ben Shapiro and why do people want to take selfies with him?

Conservative personality Ben Shapiro has a hard time going out and not being recognized by fans. Sac State junior Morgan Umphreys spotted him at a Starbucks on Watt and asked for a photo. He happily obliged. Dan Morain

http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/dan-morain/article177487796.html

Morgan Umphreys couldn’t believe her good fortune when she saw Ben Shapiro at a Starbucks on Watt Avenue in Sacramento last week.

The Sac State junior tried to snag tickets for Shapiro’s appearance at UC Berkeley last month, but they were sold out. In the birthplace of the free speech movement, protesters had tried to block his appearance. But Shapiro speaks to Umphreys, and millions of others.

Would he mind taking a photo? “Very exciting,” she said, her hand to heart. She deeply she appreciates that Shapiro sticks to facts without emotion and advocates for the “greater good” on his podcasts and videos.

Umphreys was the second Sac State coed to ask for a photo, as did a middle-aged man, one of Shapiro’s 842,000 Twitter followers. The conservative writer, commentator and #NeverTrumper gladly obliged.

“Yeah, I get that a lot,” Shapiro said. Such is a burden of being a celebrity of the right, one he happily shoulders.

Shapiro, 33, is a UCLA-Harvard Law School grad who is building a new media empire. His Daily Wire website gets 80 million views a month, no doubt pleasing his funders, the Texas oil billionaire brothers Farris and Dan Wilks. His podcasts and videos attract 750,000 a day or more.

He is whip smart and quick, not the sort of person you’d want to face in a debate unprepared on a cable show, as Piers Morgan discovered when he invited Shapiro on after the Sandy Hook slaughter in 2012. The episode has more than 6 million views on YouTube. It was not a good night for Morgan.

“We fly under the radar, get big readership and make money. I’m OK with that,” he said.

Shapiro was in Sacramento from his home in L.A. to visit his in-laws, who live here. He and his wife, a doctor, and their two toddlers were planning to spend the Sukkot holiday weekend with the folks.

The timing was convenient: Sen. John Moorlach, vice chairman of the California Senate Judiciary Committee, invited him to testify as the committee delves into the rise of white supremacy. It’s a worthy undertaking, and Shapiro, an Orthodox Jew, would have had some insights, given the vicious anti-Semitism he has been enduring, and his experience with the alt-right.

Alas, Senate Democrats, who control the committee, had other plans, and gave him two minutes during the public comment period at the end of the three-plus-hour hearing last week. No matter. He got his points across, including ones about attempts by the far-left to silence dissident voices.

Shapiro worked briefly for a law firm in Century City, hated it, dabbled in radio, and became an editor at Breitbart, shortly before Andrew Breitbart died in 2012. He stayed on as Steve Bannon took control the site. Bannon, said Shapiro, can be charming but is abusive and was “very interested in using Breitbart for his own ambition.”

Which is?

“Power.”

Shapiro quit Breitbart in March 2016 when Corey R. Lewandowski, then Donald Trump’s campaign manager, grabbed Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields and Breitbart failed to properly defend her. Breitbart, Shapiro said at the time, had become Trump’s “personal Pravda.”

That’s when anti-Semitic vitriol got especially bad. The Anti-Defamation League issued a report last October titled “Anti-Semitic targeting of journalists during the 2016 presidential campaign.” Ten journalists, all of them Jewish, received 83 percent of the 19,253 anti-Semitic tweets, the report said. Shapiro endured the worst. It went over the top when his son was born last year.

“Notably, Ben Shapiro, the former Breitbart reporter at the forefront of the so-called #NeverTrump movement, was targeted by more than 7,400 anti-Semitic Tweets,” the report said.

Shapiro’s Daily Wire was having a particularly busy run last week, given the Las Vegas shooting and Shapiro’s podcast assault on Jimmy Kimmel over the late night comic’s emotional monologue on gun violence.

“I don’t know why our so-called leaders continue to allow this to happen,” Kimmel said after Stephen Paddock killed 58 concertgoers. “Or maybe a better question is: Why do we continue to let them allow it to happen?”

Shapiro lit in the following morning: “A late-night talk show host who used to host ‘The Man Show’ with women bouncing on trampolines? He’s now the great arbiter of what constitutes morality in politics and if you disagree with him, your thoughts and prayers are insufficient.”

Shapiro interspersed his lecture with words from his sponsors, one of which is defendmyfamilynow.comand its “Complete concealed carry and home defense” manual. A man has to eat.

He remains a critic of Trump and Bannon and his crew, including the contemptible Milo Yiannopoulos: “Bannon’s attempt to paint himself as the face of Trumpism is bound the fail because Trumpism doesn’t exist separate from Trump. Trumpism isn’t a philosophy.” What is it? “A cult of personality.”

Yes, he can be provocative. He believes homosexuality is a sin and opposes same sex marriage, but is a libertarian who doesn’t care what you do so long as it doesn’t affect him. He believes transgender people have a mental disorder and is critical of Black Lives Matter. Lots of people hold such views. It’s called free speech.

Last month, when Shapiro spoke at UC Berkeley to 700 people, UC spent $600,000 on security. What has become of us when protesters would prompt the University of California to spend such a sum for free speech? What were Senate Democrats thinking when they denied him a seat at the table to talk about the rise of white supremacy?

I don’t want a selfie with Shapiro. But sometimes it’s tough to be a liberal.

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John Moorlach criticizes majority party’s Senate Bill 54 showmanship

http://www.oc-breeze.com/2017/10/06/110038_john-moorlach-criticizes-majority-partys-senate-bill-54-showmanship/

California Sen. John Moorlach on Gov. Jerry Brown signing Senate Bill 54:

Secession seems to be in the air. On Sunday, 90 percent of Catalonia voters chose to secede from Spain. Last June, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra authorized signature gathering to put a California Secession initiative on the Nov. 2018 ballot.

So it’s not surprising that today Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 54, which effectively declares California has seceded from the United States on major parts of immigration-law enforcement.

In a statement, the governor explained his signature, “This bill states that local authorities will not ask about immigration status during routine interactions. It also bans unconstitutional detainer requests and prohibits the commandeering of local officials to do the work of immigration agents,” meaning federal officers of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

He did claim the bill “does not prevent or prohibit” ICE or “the Department of Homeland Security from doing their own work in any way. They are free to use their own considerable resources to enforce federal immigration law in California.”

Yet Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said, “This law is inconsistent with widely accepted best practices of open communication amongst all levels of law enforcement.” Although she did note “not all cooperation is restricted.”

I warned about this on the Senate floor back in April when, based on my eight years as an Orange County Supervisor, I noted, “I come out of Countyland, and we have assistance agreements. Our police departments in Orange County – we have 34 cities – they have mutual aid agreements. They work together. They respect their city borders, but they work together to apprehend the bad guys. So to unilaterally discontinue such a longstanding reciprocal understanding with the federal government, is disturbing. It’s disturbing to our constituents. So no wonder the California State Sheriffs Association is opposed.

“Why do we want to engage the federal government in yet another funding battle. California has a very precarious budget. It has major unfunded liabilities. It has major retiree medical expenses. It has severe infrastructure concerns. We just don’t need to jeopardize a funding source from the federal government for a state that is really having some fiscal concerns and is going to be asking our residents to step up to the bar for another tax increase.”

It’s also worth remembering that Article 3, Section 1 of the California Constitution stipulates, “The State of California is an inseparable part of the United States of America, and the United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land.”

SB 54 is another example of showmanship by the majority party. Let’s hope they learn the art of leadership soon.

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

 

OPINION

Take a scalpel to $345 million in California’s stem-cell research waste

By JON COUPAL and JOHN MOORLACH

http://www.ocregister.com/2017/10/07/take-a-scalpel-to-345-million-in-californias-stem-cell-research-waste/

Just as good scientists are drawn to conclusions by solid data, the decision whether to spend another $345 million by California’s state-run stem-cell research project should be based on an objective analysis as to whether it would be cost-effective. A rigorous cost-benefit analysis is not only fiscally prudent, it avoids being drawn into the moral dilemmas posed by stem-cell research, especially with respect to cells from human embryos.

Created in 2004 with the passage of Proposition 71, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine was authorized to spend $3 billion in bond proceeds. But as is typical with most bonds, the interest payments would double the cost to $6 billion. CIRM has made $2.4 billion in grants and used $255 million for administration and prepaid interest — leaving $345 million remaining to disburse.

Should CIRM distribute the remaining $345 million (which, with interest, would amount to $690 million in repayment costs)? Should this remaining pool of funds be doled out?

According to the ballot pamphlet mailed to voters, proponents promised the bond proceeds would advance the “cure and treatment” of “cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, spinal cord injuries, blindness, Lou Gehrig’s disease, HIV/AIDS, mental health disorders, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, and more than 70 other diseases and injuries.”

But actual outcomes for these promised advances are speculative at best and nonexistent at worst.

Similar benefits were promised to the California economy to “generate millions of new tax dollars.”

In a Prop. 71 ad, actor Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson’s, urged, “Vote yes on 71, and save the life of someone you love.” Initiative backers also promised royalties to the state could be as much as $1.1 billion, thus providing a source of funds to pay off the bonds.

This past August, almost 13 years after Prop. 71 passed, CIRM announced it would cough up its first royalty check to the state on the new technologies it developed. Can anyone say “bust”?

With such a dismal record, this would be a good time to shut the spigot on issuing the remaining $345 million — meaning some $690 million would be saved by state taxpayers. That money could be better spent on pensions, schools, roads, housing or better basic medical care for our residents.

And required bond payments include $313 million from the 2017-18 budget, which began on July 1, and another $309 million from the 2018-19 budget. Total: $622 million for just two years. No wonder the Democratic supermajority raised the gas tax to find money for roads.

Unbelievably, a recently proposed $5 billion initiative for the 2018 ballot to extend the subsidy — effectively a second opinion on the project — was dumped last June. Even supporters didn’t think they could resell their snake oil.

When it seemed the new initiative might be advanced, the California Stem Cell Report ran an op-ed by Joe Rodota and Bernard Munos. “CIRM has over-invested in academic research, and under-invested in translating that research into therapies that cure diseases and prolong heathy lives,” they noted. “California needs to right that balance.”

But with the new initiative now moribund, CIRM therefore continues to operate as a kind of advanced high-school science project, instead of moving toward the cures promised to voters in Prop. 71.

That’s why Sen. John Moorlach (coauthor of this piece) sponsored Senate Constitutional Amendment 7. Requiring a two-thirds vote of both houses of the Legislature, it would have repealed Article XXXV of the California Constitution, which codified Prop. 71.

Gov. Jerry Brown, among others, has prudently warned of the coming inevitable recession. And recent federal data show jobs growth in the state rising at only a 1.2 percent annual rate. This should be a time for excising waste and terminating this disappointing abuse of taxpayer dollars.

Jon Coupal is the president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, is a state senator representing the 37th District.

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.

Also follow me on Facebook & Twitter @SenatorMoorlach.

MOORLACH UPDATE — Elephant in the Room — October 4, 2017

The term “elephant in the room” has its own Wikipedia page (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephant_in_the_room). Yesterday, however, the elephant really was in the room and it was still ignored (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Combatting Hate — October 3, 2017).

Ben Shapiro is a young, conservative, California resident who has an amazing intellect and an accomplished career. He also is genuine and sincere. And is interested in getting to the truth. But, he was ignored by the Chair of the Senate Judiciary and its staff, even after my office made repeated attempts to include him in the discussion for over ten days. And Senator Joel Anderson, without any prompting from me, made a polite request at the beginning of the hearing. The Sacramento Bee took note in their lead editorial in the first piece below.

This was a classic display of how the supermajority runs the Legislature and how tone deaf they truly are. A discussion on hate speech? Really? And a one-sided dialogue at that. We even had one speaker do a character assassination on a highly visible individual while opposing hate speech. Seriously? I kindly advised her that she should practice what she preaches.

The bottom line? I lamented that the hate speech was coming from the left in the amount of violence that was being displayed. It’s not the speakers. It’s the left wing anarchists that are the ones intimidating our state’s fine university systems and providing what Ben Shapiro refers to as “the heckler’s veto.”

Maybe the Democrats could gather these destructive groups together and provide a free showing of the movie “Gandhi”? There are other ways to exercise your frustrations. Sit ins are fine. Or do what the voters did in November by electing a Republican to serve in the White House. The Democrats have three years to get their proverbial acts together, or the hate displayed by anti-Trump agitators will ensure he is re-elected. And that, my friends, is the elephant in the room.

The LA Times Essential Politics online edition provides additional insights on the hearing in the second piece below. The hearing is the lead story in the FlashReport in the third piece below. And, it would only be fair to hear from The Daily Wire, which is the fourth and concluding piece below.

P.S. Watching my social media explode over the last 24 hours as we covered Ben’s 120-second public comment and media interview after the hearing on Facebook Live, I realized that we drilled into a frustrated reserve of people who are tired of this out-of-balance state, fiscally and ideologically. Sometimes we have to say things that aren’t popular, but that’s precisely the point of free speech.

 

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EDITORIALS

California Democrats are all for free speech – just not conservative Ben Shapiro’s

BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD

HTTP://WWW.SACBEE.COM/OPINION/EDITORIALS/ARTICLE176877401.HTML

The First Amendment can be so messy, as Senate Democrats surely must see.

Convening the first of multiple hearings into the rise of white supremacy in California, the Senate Judiciary Committee, controlled by Democrats like all of Sacramento, invited an august panel of speakers.

UC Berkeley Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky was the ideal speaker to describe the boundaries of the First Amendment. Joanna Mendelson, senior investigative researcher at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, was the perfect person to discuss neo-Nazis in California and elsewhere.

But conservative writer and speaker Ben Shapiro, suggested by Sen. John Moorlach, vice chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a Republican from Orange County, would have had something to offer, too. The alt-right has vilified Shapiro, who quit the conservative online site Breitbart last year, and now dares to question Breitbart boss Steve Bannon, provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and President Donald Trump.

Rather than invite Shapiro to join others at the table, Judiciary Committee Chair Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, cluelessly granted Shapiro 120 seconds during the public comment period at the end of the hearing, roughly three hours after it began.

Jackson told The Sacramento Bee’s Taryn Luna that she knew little about Shapiro and didn’t think he’d be someone “whose testimony today would be particularly helpful” at the hearing titled “Combating Hate While Protecting the Constitution.”

Shapiro can be divisive, particularly on issues of gender identity and Black Lives Matter. But while some people see his views as offensive, he has lived through the issue. UC Berkeley spent $600,000 to ensure he could safely deliver a speech last month, an absurd sum for someone who is not a head of state. Shapiro left with the ideal photo-op: tweeting to his 829,000 followers a picture of himself thanking Berkeley Police Chief Andrew Greenwood.

Perhaps Moorlach’s invitation to Shapiro was a stunt. If it was, so what? Politicians routinely pull stunts to illustrate points. On Tuesday, Senate Democrats unwittingly helped make the Republicans’ point. By not listening politely for 10 minutes, they gave Shapiro 120 seconds of fame and then some. Another hearing on the worthy topic is set for Oct. 18. Let’s hope Democrats seek differing perspectives, offensive though they might be.

Senate committee examines hate speech in California

Mina Corpuz

http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-updates-
senate-committee-hears-ways-to-combat-1507064745-htmlstory.html

The Senate Judiciary Committee conducts a hearing on hate speech Tuesday. (Mina Corpuz / Los Angeles Times)

Hate speech might be upsetting, but it is generally protected under the 1st Amendment, California legislators were told in Sacramento on Tuesday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee kicked off a series of hearings Tuesday to define hate speech and to find a way to address it while upholding the Constitution.

While the issue has been more prevalent in other states, California has had its share of activity from white supremacist groups, including skinheads and the Aryan Brotherhood.

Joanna Mendelson, a researcher from the Anti-Defamation League, said those groups have been involved in prison gangs and political rallies. They mostly are concentrated in areas such as San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino and along Highway 99 from Fresno to Sacramento, she said.

In June 2016, white nationalist skinheads rallied at the Capitol in Sacramento. Marchers clashed with protesters and seven people were stabbed.

The hearings are examining whether additional protections are needed. They are being held in response to a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August that ended in violence. Senate leader Kevin de Léon called for the hearings on the first day the Legislature reconvened.

“California isn’t immune to hateful speech and actions,” said Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), who chairs the committee.

Legislators can condemn hateful speech and behavior and pass stronger hate crime legislation, Mendelson said.

Law enforcement and university counsel shared what strategies and policies have worked for them to support free speech and ensure safety.

Berkeley Police Chief Andrew Greenwood said separating groups of people at protests to create a space for peaceful expression has worked.

Ben Shapiro, a conservative speaker invited by committee member Sen. John Moorlach (R-Cost Mesa), briefly addressed legislators.

Shapiro spoke at UC Berkeley in September. Hundreds of protesters turned out and the university spent about $600,000 on security.

“This intent for some of the folks on the left to conflate speech they don’t like with hate speech and suggest there are legislative remedies is in violation of 1st Amendment ideals, and legislation to actually push that would be a violation of the 1st Amendment itself,” Shapiro told reporters after the hearing.

Hate speech can’t be protected if it incites illegal activity, causes someone to feel imminent fear for their safety or creates a hostile environment through harassment, said Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC Berkeley’s School of Law.

“The fact that we might have difficulty drawing the line with hate, doesn’t mean that there isn’t hate,”he said.

California Democrats Schooled

On Definition of ‘Hate Speech’

At Hearing

Posted by Katy Grimes

http://www.flashreport.org/blog/2017/10/04/californias-version-of-the-difference-between-hate-speech-and-violence/

There is a rumor going around the California State Capitol that the Legislature is about to vote on a ban of humor in the state, because every time someone laughs at something funny, it is apparently at the expense of someone else’s feelings.

If this sounds silly, the Senate hearing held Tuesday, ostensibly on “hate speech,” was even more nonsensical.

“If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought, not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.”

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court

Or as some say, the best remedy for speech we don’t like is more speech. Fighting words with more words is a healthy exercise. It’s how most of us were raised, long ago in a far away land. But Democrats in California’s Legislature don’t agree.

Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee of the California State Legislature conducted an informational hearing on “Combatting Hate While Protecting the Constitution.” But the committee chaired by Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, didn’t present any balance – it was only speech with which she agreed that was allowed at the hearing.

Ben Shapiro, a Conservative journalist and speaker, was invited to the hearing by Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, Vice Chairman of the same committee. But Shapiro was not allowed to speak with the panelists, on the panels, or debate the two speakers. Shapiro was relegated to the public comment period at the end of the 3 ½ hour hearing, and allotted two minutes.

It’s a good thing that Shapiro speaks fast, and thinks even faster. His two minutes were more effective than the entire 3 ½ hours of pompous, self-congratulatory political grandstanding, and virtue signaling by all of the other speakers combined.

The takeaway from the hearing is that the California State Legislature doesn’t get to decide what speech is good and what speech is bad. But don’t tell Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson. Oops.

What Hate Speech?

In September, journalist Ben Shapiro visited the University of California, Berkeley to deliver a speech about personal responsibility and individualism. Shapiro had spoken on the Berkeley campus the year before, but this is 2017, and Donald J. Trump is President, and apparently this is a problem for the left.

UC Berkeley has been in the news frequently of late with images of black masked, and black clad Antifa thugs protesting and beating on students attempting to attend speeches by Conservative speakers. Given that liberal speakers are in abundance on the Berkeley campus, one would think that a little variety, and a little diversity of thought, would not be a threat.

Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter, and David Horowitz have all been invited to the campus to speak, and all been overruled by what Shapiro identified as the “hecklers veto,” a form of censorship, where a speaker’s event is canceled due to the actual or potential hostility of ideological opponents. In this case, the hecklers veto was leftists, thugs, and campus snowflakes fearful of this dangerous ‘diversity of thought’ concept.

This year, UC Berkeley charged the sponsor group of Shapiro’s appearance, Young America’s Foundation, a $15,000 security fee. “Then, the school blocked off the upper level of the auditorium, fearful that radicals from the violent far-left-leaning group Antifa would infiltrate the speech and begin hurling objects from the balcony onto the crowd below,” Shapiro explained in a recent article on The Daily Wire. “Finally, the school ended up spending some $600,000 on additional policing, including the creation of cement barriers and hiring of hundreds of armed police officers for a prospective riot.”

Last year Shapiro’s appearance cost the school nothing. This year it cost $600,000. But it wasn’t Shapiro’s appearance that cost so much; it was the violent thug protesters threatening to shut him down. And UC Berkely tried to present this as Ben Shapiro’s fault.

Why Have the Hearing?

Following the Charlottesville, VA protests in August, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, announced that the California Senate would investigate the rise in white supremacy in California… As if what happens in Charlottesville, 2,314 miles across the country, is relevant to California.

“I see the rising tide of hate and intolerance,” de León said in August. “I believe future generations will look back on this moment in time as a turning point because how we chose to respond will shape the character of this nation and this great state for years to come.”

At issue is Kevin de León’s inability to abide by the 2016 election and this duly elected president; consequently, the entire state must go through this pretentious parody of hate speech hearings.

“We’re seeing a huge rise in acts of hate,” said Sen. Jackson, Chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “That’s a very serious problem we need to address.”

But what this charade is really about is California Democrats and the left (including Sen. Jackson) conflating a spurious rise in “racial strife” to the 2016 presidential campaign and President Donald Trump. Every day the Senate and Assembly are in session, Democrat lawmakers rise to speak grouse and whimper and wail about Donald Trump and the 2016 election – at the expense of the actual governing of a state they all proclaim to care so much about.

Faux Panels Declare ‘Hate’

The panelists invited to the hearing were from the NAACP, CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations), Equality California (LGBT rights lobbying group), and the speakers were Erwin Chemerinsky, the new Dean at Berkeley Law School, and Joanna Mendelson with the ADL (Anti-Defamation League). While Chemerinsky was quite relevant as a legal defender of all speech, hateful or not, Mendelson presented an extremely biased analysis of hate groups, hate speech and included the “Alt-Right” in California’s hate group list.

But the price of admission to the hearing was worth it when Chemerinsky put Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, in his pious place when Chemerinsky corrected Monning on his assertion that hate speech wasn’t protected under the First Amendment. “Hate speech is protected speech,” Chemerinsky said. And Chemerinsky reminded Monning that it is illegal to try to prevent speech in advancement of the actual event. Monning is an attorney and surely knows better, but was caught advancing what he thought was a popular line of thinking with a traditionally liberal law professor. But Chemerinsky is intellectually honest on free speech issues, and schooled Senator prevaricator Monning.

Sen. John Moorlach took the ADL’s Joanna Mendelson to task on her biased description of Milo Yiannopoulos, when she described him as a “misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, transphobic troll.” Moorlach suggested that her name-calling was no different than the accused “haters” she referenced in her talk. Moorlach said she may want to refer to those accusations as “some say” Milo is those things.

“White supremacists deserve free speech, California lawmakers told” the Sacramento Bee online headline screamed shortly after the hearing. However, this headline makes it appear the legislature doesn’t understand free speech. How embarrassing.

As for Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson who denied she’d ever heard of Ben Shapiro until today’s hearing, either she lives in such a massive liberal echo chamber that she’s never heard of this outspoken, conservative Jewish prodigy from SoCal, or she’s a liar. Both scenarios are completely plausible. The irony of the hearing is that Shapiro’s name was invoked throughout the proceeding as if he was living in the heads of the lawmakers and speakers rent-free.

My assessment is that Conservatives won the day. The left looked like the fools they are. As for the Sacramento Bee, their “reporter” didn’t interview any of the regular suspects – it was just another “he said, she said” boring article with a provocative title.

For that I offer a big “W” for “whatever.” (And this is me giving a big eye roll)

WATCH: Shapiro Testifies Before California Legislature, Blasts Them For Trying To Limit Free Speech

On Tuesday, the Democrat-dominated California legislature, conducting a hearing with the title, “Combating Hate While Protecting the Constitution,” limited Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro to two minutes to give a rarely-heard conservative viewpoint on free speech, but they still got an earful, as Shapiro admonished the legislature to do their jobs, ensure that all citizens’ First Amendment rights should be protected and the “heckler’s veto” should be stopped. Shapiro was invited to speak by GOP state senator John Moorlach.

The female moderator began, “Mr. Shapiro, your name has come up a few times; before today I didn’t know who you were. I heard from Mr. Moorlach. Nice to meet you.”

Shapiro, responded, “Nice to meet you as well.”

The moderator said, “The floor is yours. I would like, just to ask, you don’t have to, because this is free speech time, the subject matter is ‘Combating Hate While Protecting The Constitution,’ and if you have a couple minutes worth of ideas about that that would be great. If you’d rather not talk on that, that’s okay, too.

Shapiro grinned, “Oh, no, I’m perfectly happy to talk about that.”

Moderator: “Great.”

Shapiro, in typical rapid-fire style, stated:

I appreciate the 120 seconds. Your job, obviously here at the legislature, is to ensure that our freedom of expression is maintained, that our First Amendment rights are maintained, and what that means, first and foremost, in my experiences at college campuses, is that the “heckler’s veto” must be stopped.

So, I was at Cal State Los Angeles, in February 2016, and there was almost a riot there, and the police were not allowed to do their jobs, and students were physically assaulted in the crowd. It is the job of this legislature to ensure that police can do their jobs, and when they do do their jobs, and they’re allowed to do that at places like UC Berkeley, everything goes fine.

And I’d like to make a point here about UC Berkeley: the reason it cost $600,000 to bring me to UC Berkeley was not because of me, okay? Everybody keeps suggesting that it was because I was coming; I’m so controversial; I’m so terrible. I came exactly one year before, and it cost this many dollars (Shapiro closed his hand and raised it), it cost zero dollars for security at UC Berkeley. The reason it cost $600,000 at UC Berkeley is because Antifa and violent groups had decided that Berkeley was their domain, and they were going to be able to ride roughshod over law enforcement there.

And this does bring up one final point I want to make in the long period of time I have to discuss, and that is the problem with a legislative body such as yours trying to draw lines specifically about what hate speech constitutes, because the fact is that one of the reasons groups like Antifa show up is not because they know who I am, it’s because they’ve been told by people that I am promulgating hate speech, which is utterly false and utterly untrue.

There are people who say vile things and with whom I disagree, among them people like Milo Yiannopoulos, who sent me a picture of a black baby on the day of my child’s birth, because I wasn’t sufficiently standing up for the white population, supposedly.

But that does not mean that the legislature gets to decide what hate speech is. I have been labeled a promulgator of hate speech when I was the number one target of hate speech, according to the ADL, among the journalistic community in 2016.

So let me suggest that as a legislature, your chief job is to ensure that my taxpayer dollars in this state go toward making sure that people like me and people with whom I disagree get to speak in places like college campuses, and not toward regulating what speech you find good and what speech you find bad, because it’s a really dangerous business. There’s speech I don’t like; there’s speech you don’t like, but if we can’t agree there’s a difference between speech and violence, we’re not going to be able to have a free state, let alone a free country.

Interviewed later by a reporter who asked why he had decided to come to Sacramento to testify, Shapiro responded, “I was asked by legislative Republicans to come here; they wanted to actually have me on one of the panels, but Democrats wouldn’t allow that sort of thing because that might be too much free speech … so I was glad to hear from all those people, but it would have been nice if they would have allowed one person from the Right to actually talk for more than 120 seconds.”

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.

Also follow me on Facebook & Twitter @SenatorMoorlach.

MOORLACH UPDATE — Combatting Hate — October 3, 2017

I’m back from a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing that was held this morning at the Capitol. Although I am the Committee Vice Chair, the agenda was established by the Chair without my consultation. We did offer to invite Ben Shapiro, the host of the top conservative podcast in the nation, to serve on a panel (see http://www.dailywire.com/authors/ben-shapiro#). The Chair refused to accept the addition to her format.

Ben Shapiro received more notoriety recently, at the same time I was enjoying the conclusion of the Legislative Session, for giving a speech at the University of California at Berkeley. The Police Chief of Berkeley was a presenter on the final panel this morning.

The Chair did offer to allow Ben Shapiro to speak for two minutes during the Public Comments segment at the conclusion of the hearing. Accordingly, he sat politely during the three hours of presentations and was the first public speaker.

The first piece below is our announcement that Ben Shapiro was invited and would attend and appears in the Orange County Breeze. The second piece, from the LA Times online, provides a clue as to why Ben Shapiro was in Sacramento. And, the third and final piece from Independent Journal Review provides the details of this morning’s event and his two minute presentation.

For a brief interview with Ben Shapiro immediately after his brief presentation, see ​http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article176846456.html?#emlnl=Alerts_Newsletter​.

Senator Moorlach has invited Ben Shapiro to Senate hearing on First Amendment

http://www.oc-breeze.com/2017/10/02/109789_senator-moorlach-has-invited-ben-shapiro-to-senate-hearing-on-first-amendment/

Tomorrow, I will participate in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing called by Senate Pro Tem Kevin De Leon and chaired by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson in our State’s Capitol. The hearing is titled, “Combatting Hate While Protecting the Constitution.”

As Vice Chair, I invited noted political commentator and free speech advocate Ben Shapiro to testify before the committee in an effort to provide a conservative viewpoint.

Just a few weeks ago, Mr. Shapiro gave a highly publicized speech at the University of California at Berkeley, one of many speeches he has headlined on college campuses. He has also been on numerous panels discussing First Amendment rights on television and in front of the U.S. Congress. Mr. Shapiro graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2004, at age 20, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, and then cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2007.

As a student of U.S. history and the Constitution, I am aware of the many debates on the most sensitive of issues our country has faced since even before its inception. I am hopeful our political discourse can open up communication between those of differing ideologies so we can enjoy our freedoms outlined in the Constitution.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL AGENDA FOR THE HEARING

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

Conservative speaker Ben Shapiro is in Sacramento to raise campaign money for Ami Bera challenger

400x400Chris Megerian

http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-updates-ben-shapiro-congress-1507049264-htmlstory.html

Ben Shapiro (Joshua Blanchard / Getty Images for Politicon)Ben Shapiro (Joshua Blanchard / Getty Images for Politicon)

Yona Barash, a Republican surgeon seeking his first elected office, is getting his congressional campaign rolling with a conservative commentator who has stoked controversy in California.

Barash invited Ben Shapiro to his Tuesday evening fundraiser as he tries to build a war chest to unseat Sacramento-area Rep. Ami Bera, a Democrat from Elk Grove. General admission tickets are $150, while attending the VIP reception costs $1,000.

Shapiro runs a website called the Daily Wire and previously worked at Breitbart News, although he’s since become an outspoken critic of Stephen K. Bannon and President Trump. He was a frequent target of anti-Semitic harassment during last year’s campaign.

Shapiro also has provoked a backlash with his criticisms of the Black Lives Matter movement and discussion of gender identity. Hundreds of police, some in riot gear, provided security while he spoke on UC Berkeley’s campus last month.

The fundraiser is not Shapiro’s only event in Sacramento on Tuesday. He also was invited by state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) to a Capitol hearing on 1st Amendment issues titled “Combating Hate While Protecting the Constitution.” Shapiro is expected to speak during the public comment period of the hearing.

THE DECLARATION

Ben Shapiro Crashes California Legislature’s Judiciary Committee and Conducts Lecture on Hate Speech

BY VICTORIA TAFT

http://ijr.com/the-declaration/2017/10/989985-ben-shapiro-crashes-california-legislatures-judiciary-committee-conducts-lecture-hate-speech/

shapiro twitter@RealDailyWire/Twitter

The California state Senate Judiciary Committee held a meeting on “hate speech” on Tuesday and, according to The Daily Wire, not one conservative speaker was asked to officially testify before the committee.

That’s an odd move considering that far-left antifa and its allies have violently rioted to shut down conservative speech in the “birthplace of the free speech movement,” the University of California, Berkeley, becoming the impetus for the hearing in the first place.

One of two Republicans on the committee, John Moorlach, invited Ben Shapiro of The Daily Wire to show up to see if he could a word in edgewise.

Shapiro said he’d tried to be on a guest panel, but “the Democrats wouldn’t allow that sort of thing because that might be too much free speech,” so he basically crashed the hearing.

Shapiro was given two minutes to speak and said in part that the Legislature really had no role in selecting what kind of speech is appropriate and which speech is not:

“And this does bring up one final point … and that is the problem with a legislative body such as yours trying to draw lines specifically about what hate speech constitutes, because the fact is that one of the reasons groups like Antifa show up is not because they know who I am, it’s because they’ve been told by people that I am promulgating hate speech, which is utterly false and utterly untrue.

There are people who say vile things and with whom I disagree, among them people like Milo Yiannopoulos, who sent me a picture of a black baby on the day of my child’s birth, because I wasn’t sufficiently standing up for the white population, supposedly.

But that does not mean that the legislature gets to decide what hate speech is. I have been labeled a promulgator of hate speech when I was the number one target of hate speech, according to the ADL, among the journalistic community in 2016.”

We think those two minutes packed a punch. Watch it below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kap5ZVPLRw

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MOORLACH UPDATE — LA BOS Meddling — September 15, 2017

Senator Anthony Mendoza (D – Artesia), has been meddling with the structure of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors since I came up here to Sacramento. His efforts in the last Session failed. He came back with another version of expanding the number of Supervisors this year and it also failed earlier this week. However, after a bill is killed on the Floor or in Committee, the author is granted the ability to have it reconsidered.

Yesterday, after considerable cajoling by the supporters of Senate Constitutional Amendment (SCA) 12, it barely passed. Why? A few reasons. Based on my observations:

1. The Board of Supervisors for LA County has become distant and powerful. That has created resentment by many of the Senators who represent the Los Angeles area.

2. The LA County BoS has either ignored certain parts of the county, or provided more funding to favored areas. This has also created resentment.

3. Those supporting the SCA 12, which puts a measure on the June, 2018 ballot, do not believe that it will pass in the Assembly. Therefore, they can express their frustrations, obtain their pound of flesh, and hope that things improve.

4. In an era of term limits, both for Senators and Supervisors, I dubbed this measure on the Floor as the “Where Do I Land Next Act”

5. There are also undercurrents that have nothing to do with the LA BoS, like jockeying for the President pro Tem position. But, this background intrigue would take too long to explain.

Consequently, this power play is being done for the wrong reasons. As a former Orange County Supervisor and member of the Executive Board of the California State Association of Counties, I was not amused. I spoke against the measure both times. The first speech provided seven reasons to vote against SCA 12 see
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtG0cyU9BZM&feature=youtu.be). The LA Times provides a snippet from my second submission to the debate club (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_7NLzUy-hc&feature=youtu.be). It is in their piece below, where I exhorted my colleagues not to waiver. But, the undercurrents were too powerful.

What’s the takeaway? LA Board, this is a wake up call. My suggestion is an old one: do what Los Angeles County did in 1889, when Orange County was created, by having one or two areas splinter off (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Happy Quasquicentennial! — December 31, 2013 ).

We have about 120 bills to address on this final day of the 2017 Session. The game is to guess when we will conclude tonight. Some are anticipating that we may go as late as 4 a.m. tomorrow morning.

BONUS: Visit Crystal Cove Monday afternoon if you are a California Historical Landmark enthusiast (see MOORLACH UPDATE Who Runs Our Government? September 14, 2017).

In reversal, state Senate approves ballot measure that would expand the L.A. County Board of Supervisors

Patrick McGreevy

http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-updates-in-reversal-state-senate-approves-1505431616-htmlstory.html

After falling short of votes earlier in the week, a bill that would expand the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors won the two-thirds majority vote needed for passage in the state Senate on Thursday. The proposal, which would increase the board’s members from five to seven, would be put on the June 2018 ballot for voter approval should it pass the Assembly.

Acknowledging the measure faces a tough sell, Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) said he will take it up in that chamber in January so he has time to muster the needed votes.

“Today was a huge step in the right direction for the people of L.A. County and all Californians,” Mendoza said. “The LA. County Board of Supervisors has remained the same since 1850, when the population was just 3,000. It is time we give L.A. County’s 10 million residents a fair and representational government.”

Mendoza won sufficient votes after he said he will drop a controversial proposal to make the county administrative officer an elected position.

Los Angeles County’s delegation in the Senate split over the proposal, but four Republicans and two Democrats from other parts of the state changed their position and voted to support the measure, giving it the bare 27-vote margin it needed to pass.

With the county Board of Supervisors opposed, Democratic senators from Los Angeles County who voted against the measure included Ricardo Lara, Henry Stern and Holly Mitchell.

Mitchell said it would not be proper to allow all of the counties in California to determine how Los Angeles is governed.

“The people of Los Angeles County, while we appreciate your concern, have voted three times against a proposal just like this one,” Mitchell said during the floor debate. “If you are concerned about the people of Los Angeles County, allow the people of Los Angeles County to determine their own future and fate.”

Mendoza said his proposal is different from the failed county initiatives because his includes strict cost-containment measures. He criticized county board members who are opposing his bill.

“They are not looking at the greater good. They are looking at self-preservation,” Mendoza said.

Sen. Jeff Stone (R-Temecula) is a former Riverside County supervisor who agreed with the concern that each Los Angeles board member is representing too many people at more than 1 million.

“People deserve to be able to have an elected official they can depend on,” Stone said.

However, Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), a former Orange County supervisor, said it is awkward having the state tell Los Angeles County how to govern.

“I see this as antagonistic,” he said, offering that a better solution might be to divide Los Angeles County into two or three counties.

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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