MOORLACH UPDATE — OC Housing Trust — May 1, 2018

Things have temporarily quieted down on the homelessness front, so allow me to provide an update on my recent efforts in the Senate.

I am a joint-author for SB 1004 (Weiner) and assisted in presenting the bill two weeks ago before the Senate Health Committee (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Right to Peaceably Assemble — April 13, 2018). This bill will provide Mental Health Services Act (Proposition 63) funding for early prevention and intervention for children with a mental illness. This is an appropriate focus for this revenue source. For a first-hand opportunity to see how critical this niche is, please ask to visit the pediatric ward for psychiatric services (see You will be amazed.

I am also the joint-author of SB 1206 (De Leon), which I also presented to the Senate Health Committee last week (see MOORLACH UPDATE — The Joys of Presenting Bills — April 24, 2018). This is the “No Place Like Home” ballot measure that we hope to place on the November ballot. Obtaining funds by borrowing against a reliable revenue source will provide funding for permanent housing with support services for mentally ill homeless individuals.

My concern for the homeless population continues. The most recent discussion that is developing in Orange County is the effort to organize the 34 cities and the County in establishing a Housing Trust to build 2,700 housing units throughout the County for homeless individuals that will blend in and provide necessary supportive services. Norberto Santana, Jr., Editor of the Voice of OC, provides his perspective in the first piece below.

The second piece is from the Orange County Breeze and provides a perspective on the Sanctuary State topic. The Orange County Breeze serves the Cypress/Los Alamitos area and this issue has become a major subject of concern.

It was well past midnight on the last day of the 2017 Session, when SB 54, the Sanctuary State bill, came up for a vote. I thought this bill encapsulated that entire year. The whining, the showmanship and the caustic rhetoric was pervasive. So SB 54 was probably the perfect capstone for last year. Consequently, I stood up and shared my brief thoughts (see

Could OC Use a Regional Housing Agency?

Jamboree Housing Corp.

A Jamboree Housing Corp. development in Anaheim, known as Diamond Apartment Homes, which has permanent housing and mental health services for formerly homeless people. Representatives of the OC cities’ association and Orange County United Way cited it as an example of the type of housing that would be built under the 2,700 units plan.

By Norberto Santana, Jr.

Orange County business and civic leaders are smart to push for the creation of a new regional housing construction agency that can actually build affordable and permanent-supportive housing across our region.

Continuing to wait on the Orange County Board of Supervisors to come up with effective regional governing policies for critical quality of life challenges like homelessness and housing is proving to be a dangerous gamble.

The explosion of homeless encampments – alongside the Santa Ana riverbed, near Angels’ Stadium and at the county civic center – is a stark testament to county supervisors’ ignoring the issue, year after year.

County supervisors’ hasty eviction effort for riverbed homeless earlier this year landed them in federal court and has since left all Orange County cities under threat of having their anti-camping ordinances invalidated by U.S. District Judge David O. Carter.

In addition, their inability to get affordable or permanent supportive housing projects built across Orange County in recent years also has many questioning whether the County of Orange should be the lead agency on any future housing effort.

Given how poorly county supervisors have performed on homelessness, I think there’s only one way that Orange County ends up supporting an affordable housing bond.

Get the money out of the hands of politicians.

That’s why it seems to me that these smart business and civic leaders are moving now to see if they can craft state legislation to create some sort of regional housing construction agency.

We will have to work hard as a community to ensure that any kind of regional housing agency in Orange County is very, very transparent – in real time – to ensure that funds don’t get squandered. That means ensuring authorizing legislation sets that kind of standard and administrators that create that kind of culture.

Now, there was some hope that supervisors might create a housing commission to manage a regional vision and strategy on housing construction.

That never materialized.

According to several sources I interviewed, an interesting model to look at is the City of San Diego Housing Commission – which provides rental assistance, addresses homelessness and creates affordable housing.

In Orange County, there are two sites – already in public ownership and with appropriate zoning – that would be gems in a regional housing strategy.

There’s the 100-acre county-owned property in Irvine near the Great Park that is already in a SB2 zone, which allows fast development for homeless shelters. Note that early land use plans for the Navy transfer of the former El Toro Marine Air base centered heavily around homelessness.

There’s another 100-acre property in Costa Mesa, the Fairview Developmental Center, which has been zoned institutional for 50 years and has already been used as a setting for mental health treatment. Fairview is currently owned by the state and State Senator John Moorlach – for years, the lone advocate on homelessness on the board of supervisors – has introduced legislation advocating the transfer of Fairview to local public ownership.

Both properties could easily see development plans and projects created that are consistent with community standards and would quickly create a solid regional system to combat homelessness.

An Orange County Affordable Housing Construction Authority could mirror the model utilized at the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) where board members are a mix of county supervisors and city officials.

Except, I would issue the challenge to organizers to include more private sector people and non-politicians on the board of directors as opposed to the approach at OCTA or even worse the Orange County Fire Authority, which is such a big board of politicians that the agency doesn’t get good governance or direction.

Notice that earlier this month, when Orange County Supervisors were asked at their public meeting about the potential of supporting state bonds for housing construction, virtually none supported the effort.

In March, The Kennedy Commission called on supervisors to support an affordable housing bond for the Fall 2018 election.

“With local funds the County of Orange will be in a position to leverage significant federal and state resources to help address our current housing and homeless crisis,” wrote Kennedy Commission Executive Director Cesar Covarrubias. “With the 2017 Housing Package, the State of California is making a significant investment to address homelessness and provide affordable housing. But these state funds will only be available to counties that make similar investments to help leverage funding.”

Given everything the board of supervisors has been through on homelessness in court – exposing the utter weakness of the county system of care and permanent supportive housing – supervisors still don’t have a strategy or even an interest in finding resources to build relevant housing.

In fact, the only time during the county public discussion on housing that County Supervisor Michelle Steel even spoke up was to register her opposition to future state housing bonds. Supervisor Todd Spitzer publicly pulled up the bill setting up the statewide bond (SB2) on his phone and was critical.

Politicians politick. They can’t help it. It’s part of their DNA.

But it doesn’t get anything done.

And we should all wake up to that fact.

Recent poll shows majority of Californians support sanctuary for undocumented immigrants

By Shelley Henderson

The results of a recent poll by the Institute of Government Studies at UC Berkeley show a strong division among California voters on the so-called sanctuary law, with 56% of respondents favoring sanctuary and 41% opposing (3% were undecided).

Faced with a poll like this, the first thing to seek out is how the questions were asked. Here is the text of the two questions:

Last year California passed a state law that provides sanctuary to undocumented immigrants living in the country and limits cooperation with federal immigration officials who are attempting to deport these immigrants. Generally speaking, do you favor or oppose this law?

Some cities in California have passed local laws that attempt to opt out their communities from the new state law. If local officials in your city were to propose to opt out your community from the state’s new law providing sanctuary for undocumented immigrants, would you favor or oppose it?

This targets the California Values Act (SB 54) and the ordinance enacted by the City of Los Alamitos that resulted in an ACLU lawsuit — without saying so right out loud.

The questions paint the scene so as to make federal authorities (read: the Trump Administration) as targeting all illegal immigrants. Practically speaking, ICE tried to pick up illegal aliens already in the custody of local authorities in order to deport them because, beyond the local legal trouble, they were in the country illegally and thereby subject to deportation.

To my knowledge, Los Alamitos is the only city to have passed an ordinance “to opt out” of the California Values Act. That ordinance actually states that the City views the federal Constitution as supreme over Sacramento puppeteers.

All other entities — cities plus at least two counties, Orange and San Diego — have voted to support the federal lawsuit, which actually calls out three different State laws:

SB 54 restricts how local law enforcement communicates with federal immigration authorities. AB 103 directs the California attorney general to inspect facilities where the federal government is detaining immigrants in the state. And AB 450 penalizes California employers who give Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents access to employee records or some areas of businesses without a warrant or subpoena.

In any case, I think that the poll would show different results with questions less sympathetic with the California Legislature’s sanctuary mania.

Further, seeing the circus after the City of Los Alamitos swore fealty to the United States Constitution, who would want their own city to open itself to political pumpkin-chucking and an ACLU lawsuit? Little Los Alamitos has maybe two-days of attorney fees accumulated in a GoFundMe appeal. The municipal budget won’t support prolonged litigation. It is inevitable, without outside help, that the tiny city (population 12,000) will have to concede the legal bullying, not on principle but for lack of funds.

Poll internals for the first question

The news release about the poll includs breakdowns for answers to the both question above.

Most interesting is that just about everybody has an opinion. The “I dunno” segment is tiny — a mere 3%.

Democrats wildly support the California Values Act. Republicans even more strongly oppose it. Those with no party preference lightly favor it, with a higher percentage of undecideds/don’t knows.

That big split was loudly displayed at the most recent Los Alamitos City Council meeting. Partisans on both sides deployed tactics to drown out the other side. Drums? Check! Megaphones? Check! Folk songs? Check! Amped band? Well… I think supporters of the sanctuary law outdid the opposition on this particular tactic.

Neither those in favor nor those opposed were addressing moderates in a way that might convince rather than bully or beat down. The poll shows that moderates mildly favor the California Values Act, 52% to 43%.

Poll internals for the second question

As with the first question, everybody has an opinion.

Of further interest is that those with no stated party affiliation break 42% to 50% in opposition to a local ordinance like that in Los Alamitos. That split carries the question into majority opposed territory — something Democrats alone couldn’t reach.

As you might expect, Democrats heavily oppose a local ordinance, 19% to 75%. Republicans even more heavily approve, 85% to 13%.

The mushy middle — political moderates — are evenly split.

And it is again coastal California against inland California: coastal counties heavily oppose (38% to 56%) and inland counties favor (53% to 42%). Orange County continues its historical anomalous identity among coastal counties.

Votes for SB 54

For the record, Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-72), and State Senators Janet Nguyen (R-34) and John Moorlach (R-37) voted against SB 54.

State Senator Josh Newman (D-29) and Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-65) voted in favor of SB 54.

Senator Newman faces a recall brought about because he (and Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva) voted in favor of increasing the state gas tax.

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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


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

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?


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.


John Moorlach criticizes majority party’s 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.



Take a scalpel to $345 million in California’s 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.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — 2017 Top 20 Veto Worthy Bills — September 22, 2017

This is the third year that I have enjoyed the end of the Legislative Session, a grueling exercise where hundreds of bills are voted on in rapid succession and, with a few exceptions, very little Floor debate. And, for the third time, I have been invited by the FlashReport to list the 20 worst bills that on the Governor’s desk awaiting either a signature or a veto. For these 20, we’re definitely encouraging a veto (also see MOORLACH UPDATE — 2016 Veto Worthy Bills — September 12, 2016 september 12, 2016 john moorlach and MOORLACH UPDATE — Worst and Vaguest — September 22, 2015 september 22, 2015 john moorlach).

Last year we were permitted to provide the worst 25 bills. This year the list could have been double that. But, we were once again constrained to 20 bills the Governor should veto. We did not include some worthy bills as they have already been signed, as they either were voted on some time ago or were budget trailer bills Gov. Brown signed upon receipt.

I want to thank my Sacramento Capitol Office staff for doing an outstanding job of assisting me in my research on all the bills that came before me for a vote. I also want to thank them for their willingness to improve on our technologies to stay organized on the massive volume that occurs with the legislative process. With that, thank you Lance Christensen, my Chief of Staff, Eric Dietz, my Legislative Director, Robert Nash, my Legislative Analyst and electronic organizer par excellence. They kept my sanity intact the last few weeks.

I also want to thank Jacob Ashendorf, who served in my Capitol Office the past few months, but recently accepted a job offer in D.C. He is now my fifth staff member to join the Health and Human Services executive team. I don’t know whom to be mad at more, HHS Secretary Tom Price or President Donald Trump.

This year we also had the privilege of hosting a Capitol Fellow. James Moore, a Harvard grad who played basketball in high school, made me not feel tall. James was able to work a bill or two of mine to the Governor’s desk. So, that offensive experience on the court came in handy.

Now that we have a tradition, I’ll try to keep you posted on the status of these 20 bills in future UPDATEs.

bc2f75af-1bb0-4394-b7b3-b576ff825671.jpgFlashReport 2017 Top Bills Worthy Of The Governor’s Veto

Introduction from FlashReport Publisher Jon Fleischman

This is the 12th year that we have presented for your viewing displeasure the worst pieces of legislation sitting on the Governor’s desk. Of course there are a great many bills on the Governor’s desk – most of them worthy of a veto. Thus the task of trying to cull through those bills and single out just the twenty worst is not easy. For the second year in a row, our list comes to us courtesy of both State Senator John Moorlach and Assemblyman Matt Harper. I will add that this session in particular was over-the-top with noxious legislation, and limiting this list to twenty bills was no easy task. – Flash

The FlashReport Top 20 Bills Worthy Of The Governor’s Veto

As compiled and described by State Senator John Moorlach and Assemblyman Matthew Harper

Supermajority legislative leaders declared that the 2017 Session “may be the most productive and progressive legislative session in memory.” They may be right. And it’s only half done.

We don’t know if that is something to brag about, though. We believe that media perspectives describing 2017 as a rage reaction against the new Trump Administration are also accurate. From the first day of Session last December, the Democrats provided an anti-Trump resolution nearly every week and emphasized a strong move to the left on policies that will hurt California, prohibiting the state from leading the nation to prosperity.

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What was most stunning was how unabashed the public employee unions were in pushing through massive, if not coercive, requests to strengthen their declining membership numbers. AB 1250 was a brazen attempt to eliminate non-profits’ contracts and hand county services over to unions. Luckily, the non-profit world summoned enough strength to fight it off, at least until January. But in light of these union bills, it begged the question, “Who’s your daddy?”

Regretfully, our “Top 20” list is not comprehensive and does not include all the terrible bills the legislature has passed and the governor has signed this year. The gas-tax increase (SB 1) and cap-and-tax (AB 398) are already the law of the land.

There also were several bills we watched throughout the year to see if they were going to make it to final floor votes. Several didn’t.

Finally, the bills below are those that, despite our opposition, were affirmed by both the Senate and the Assembly and are going to the Governor’s desk. He has until October 15 to sign them – or prevent them from harming Californians by vetoing them. We present them to you in numerical order.


AB 20 (Kalra) Send Jobs, Not Investments to Dakota Bill: Paves the way for the California Public Employees Retirement System to “divesting” from valuable investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline. Doing so could reduce the value of CalPERS assets, endangering retiree pensions.

AB 168 (Eggman) Across the Board Salary Lowballing: Inhibits employers’ ability to hire qualified employees, prohibiting employers from using past salary information of a prospective employee as a factor in deciding whether to hire someone, or how much to pay them. This will lead to reduced production at a time when the state economy is starting to falter. Instead of helping employees, an unknown number of their jobs could be killed.

AB 199 (Chu) Construction Reduction Act: We should be avoiding government-mandated prevailing wages, not increasing their requirements. This legislation would significantly increase circumstances where prevailing wages would be mandated.

AB 569 (Gonzalez Fletcher) Discrimination of Church by State: Beyond limiting private religious organizations’ code-of-conduct policies for employees, it could bring the state into conflict with federal religious-rights legislation because it mandates that employers provide employee handbooks to include information on abortion coverage. That violates the religious conscience of many employers and employees.

AB 890 (Medina) Voter Suppression Act: This is anti-democratic and would silence voters pursuing pro-growth land-use decisions, usurping local control by mandating changes in local land use decision-making via state law.

AB 1008 (McCarty, Gipson, Holden, Reyes, Weber) Employment Meddling Act: This bill prohibits employers from inquiring about or using a prior criminal conviction of an prospective employee as a factor in whether to make them a conditional offer of employment. This is another bureaucratic hassle for businesses, increasing costs and, in the end, killing job opportunities because of increased legal liabilities and administrative burdens for employers.

AB 1209 (Gonzalez Fletcher) Women Employee Reduction Act: Gender discrimination already is against state and federal law. This would increase companies’ red tape in providing useless data about employee compensation to state busybodies, who would then post the information online. It could kill the jobs of the women it’s supposed to help.

AB 1269 (Mark Stone) Mobile Home Tax: This is a tax on mobile home parks and increases regulations on them. It could encourage owners to bulldoze the parks and turn them into condos.

AB 1274 (O’Donnell) Fee Hidden as a Tax: This is yet another car tax that is estimated to cost certain car owners over $100 million. The majority can’t get enough of car taxes.

AB 1455 (Bocanegra) Public Employee Bargaining Secrecy Act: How can we be reducing transparency? Yet this bill would prohibit local governments from sharing with the public documents concerning labor negotiations. We should be doing everything in our power to increase government transparency for our taxpayers.

AB 1461 (Thurmond) Are Food Handler Cards for Farmers Next?: Pointless red tape to give food unions an edge on the new “gig economy” by increasing the costs of doing business for companies that send food ingredients to your home for you to prepare.

AB 1513 (Kalra) Union Invasion of Privacy: Requiring that the Department of Social Services release private information of registered home care aides is a blatant invasion of privacy. It is also a shameless attempt by public employee unions to increase their membership.

SB 2 (Atkins) Killing Homes and Jobs for the Middle Class Act: Would raise taxes on real-estate transactions (by hundreds of millions of dollars annually), thereby discouraging home purchases.

SB 3 (Beall) California Legislature’s Housing Sub-Prime Act: Another massive, unneeded multi-billion dollar bond measure that doesn’t address or solve the underlying issues of housing supply or costs. It just creates more debt for the state for generations to come for homes they won’t be able to afford.

SB 5 (De Leon) Park Bond Boondoggle: Who doesn’t want more parks? But at $6.5 billion for principal and interest, that’s $235 million a year removed from the General Fund. Voters just enacted the Proposition 1 water bond in 2014. Let’s wisely spend all that money first. A review of this bill shows pork-barrel spending at it’s finest.

SB 54 (De Leon) Sanctuary State Nonsense: California has prioritized defiance to the federal government over its duty to govern responsibly and protect its citizens. If signed, this bill could cost the state and local governments hundreds of millions of dollars in public safety grants, establishing a state mandate that state and local governments may not assist federal immigration authorities as they attempt to find and detain illegal aliens. This is showmanship for the cameras, not leadership for the people.

SB 63 (Jackson) Small Business Meddling Act: It goes without saying that allowing new parents to bond with a child is very important and the state has a number of paid and unpaid benefit programs to provide for that leave. This bill requires that a an employer with 20 or more employees to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave within one year of the child’s birth. And employers must maintain the employee’s group health coverage during that leave. There should be concern about the impact of this heavy-handed requirement on small businesses and the potential liability that could result.

SB 149 (McGuire, Wiener) Do As I Say, Not As I Disclose: This Constitutionally-dubious legislation would preclude a candidate for President from being placed on the California ballot if they have not publicly disclosed their tax returns – yet another dig on President Trump. It’s disingenuous to limit disclosure of tax documents to only presidential candidates. Why not all elected officials attempting to get on the ballot in California? This didn’t seem to be an issue in 2010 or 2014 when Governor Brown did not release his own tax returns.

SB 239 (Wiener) HIV Assault Act: Although strides have been made in HIV and AIDS treatment, those infected still can die. So intentionally infecting someone is as serious as assault and battery and even homicide, and should retain similar penalties. This legislation reduces this crime from a felony to a misdemeanor.

SB 285 (Atkins) Bargaining Meddling Act:Federal and state laws already guarantee the right to collective bargaining. The author claims this bill extends that right “to employees who are choosing whether or not to become or remain union members.” But it’s really redundant and would just increase costs for local governments, reducing services to the public.

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