MOORLACH UPDATE — Get Mad, Get Motivated — October 19, 2018

When I get mad, I get motivated. That’s probably why I’m in public office. When I did a little research and realized what then-Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector Robert L. “Bob” Citron was doing, I got mad. Mad enough to step out of my comfort zone as a partner in a large local C.P.A. accountancy firm, Balser, Horowitz, Frank & Wakeling, and run against him, unsuccessfully, in the June 1994 primary (see https://www.ronbluecpa.com/location/orange-county).

Well, I’m watching the financial status of California and its municipalities crumble and everyone seems to either be ignoring it or putting their heads in the sand. What to do? There is no singular and accessible public repository to find the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for every municipality. So, my office decided to create it. We went to every school district website or contacted the districts (two or three still haven’t provided them). We also received exceptional assistance from Marc Joffe at Reason Foundation by helping us track down a few of the stragglers.

Since my stint as Chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors in 2012, I’ve been reviewing California county CAFRs and taking their Unrestricted Net (Assets or Deficit) Position (UNP) and dividing it by its population. The per capita UNP is a very reliable indicator of the fiscal status of a municipality and allows us to compare them apples-to-apples (or, in the case below, oranges-to-oranges). The UNP should be positive (net assets), but more than likely it is negative (net deficit).

We reviewed the 482 cities earlier this year because I was mad. I’ve been drafting and presenting pension reform legislation and most of the cities, with the exception of those in Orange County, have been largely disengaged on this ever-increasing millstone. What to do? Show everyone how all of the cities are doing. It’s having an impact. The third and fourth editorial pieces below are recent columns from the Culver City Observer. The columnist gets it. Not only for the city, but for the city’s school teachers (see MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 1 – February 7, 2018). Just wait until the columnist finds out that Culver City Unified is #831 out of 940 — ouch (see MOORLACH UPDATE — California School District Rankings, Group 13 — August 28, 2018).

The second piece below announces our most recent review of the CAFRs for the 944 school districts in California. As a few have combined to save on auditing fees, we have 940 on the list. The Orange County Breeze, in the second piece below, provides the overview from our press release.

I have had the pleasure these past few years of serving on the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee and its Subcommittee No. 1 on Education (see https://sbud.senate.ca.gov/subcommittee1). When I’m told by representatives of our state’s CSU and UC systems that they cannot provide me with a ten-year Strategic Financial Plan, I get mad.

When I hear that teachers in LA voted to go on strike, I get mad. Don’t these people know how desperate their employer’s CAFR is? And, that it will be worse when the June 30, 2018 audits are completed thanks to the now required inclusion of retiree medical liabilities?

So, as an involved and committed elected official, I rolled up my sleeves and, with my staff, started digging. Regretfully, the data we obtained is not encouraging and the trend lines are not going in the right direction.

What to do? It’s time to be proactive! Now! If California’s elected leaders continue to hesitate, then being reactive will be too late and too ugly.

The first piece below is my editorial submission on this most recent school CAFR repository project. To be honest with you, the numbers were so bleak it impacted me emotionally. I was truly saddened to reveal the results of our simple metric. You’ve already seen them by my releasing 14 volumes of data in the month of August. The OC Register gave me an opportunity to expound on Orange County’s 27 public school districts.

If anything, I hope you get mad, too. And, get out of your comfort zone and do something to improve the situation. Volunteer for a campaign. Contribute to a candidate. Put up a yard sign. Even start doing the research to see if you should be a candidate yourself someday. We’re leaving a massive mess to our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Please, get motivated.

 

OPINION

All OC public school districts but one bleed red ink

By JOHN MOORLACH

https://www.ocregister.com/2018/10/18/all-oc-public-school-districts-but-one-bleed-red-ink/

Of Orange County’s 27 public school districts, just one, Fountain Valley Elementary, boasts a positive balance sheet. Unfortunately, the other school districts have balance sheets that have dipped into the red.

The scoring comes as part of my new report, “Financial Soundness Rankings for California’s Public School Districts, Colleges & Universities.” It reviews the financial soundness of all 944 California public school districts. I performed a similar review of California’s 482 cities, including Orange County’s 34 cities, back in March. In that case, 19 O.C. cities ran positive balance sheets, although 15 ran red ink – a much better performance than for the school districts.

The rankings derive from each district’s latest Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which you can find on their respective websites. In each CAFR, look for the “Basic Financial Statements,” starting with the page titled “Statement of Net Position.” Look at the top row for “Government Activities.” Then look down the column to where it says, first “Net Position,” then “Unrestricted.” That’s the number you want: the Unrestricted Net Position, or UNP.

The number will either be positive or, with parentheses around it, negative.

I also divide the UNP by the district’s population to get a per-capita UNP. If negative, that’s the amount each person in the district is in hock for, whether or not your children attend school. Citizens should be concerned about the trajectory of these negative balances, which are commonly attributed to unfunded pension liabilities. As school board members are auditioning for their jobs, they need to be held accountable for dealing with these liabilities.

If the negative number runs too high too long, it will mean cuts in teachers, equipment, band and sports, and ultimately calls for tax increases. In the worst cases, takeover by the state, even bankruptcy, is not out of the question.

Fountain Valley Elementary’s positive number clocks at $78 per capita. For comparison, it ranks 102nd of California’s 944 school districts.

It’s all negative after that, with the second and third “best” being Laguna Beach Unified at ($223) and Fullerton Joint Union High at ($344).

By far the worst is Santa Ana Unified at ($1,805), a very dangerous number. It ranks a dismal 901st of California’s 944 school districts.

Oddly, the next two places of financial distress are held by districts in wealthy OC communities, Irvine Unified ($1,115) and Newport-Mesa Unified ($1,089).

Here are the per capita UNPs for all Orange County school districts:

1. Fountain Valley $ 78

2. Laguna Beach Unified ($ 223)

3. Fullerton Joint Union High ($ 344)

4. Huntington Beach City Union High ($ 350)

5. Huntington Beach City Elementary ($ 508)

6. Centralia Elementary ($ 532)

7. Orange Unified ($ 553)

8. Garden Grove Unified ($ 573)

9. Savanna Elementary ($ 589)

10. Cypress Elementary ($ 607)

11. Los Alamitos Unified ($ 619)

12. Anaheim Union High ($ 675)

13. Magnolia Elementary ($ 741)

14. Fullerton Elementary ($ 743)

15. La Habra City Elementary ($ 752)

16. Saddleback Valley Unified ($ 779)

17. Ocean View ($ 813)

18. Tustin Unified ($ 837)

19. Anaheim Elementary ($ 841)

20. Brea-Olinda Elementary ($ 888)

21. Buena Park Elementary ($ 898)

22. Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified ($ 966)

23. Capistrano Unified ($ 967)

24. Westminster ($ 988)

25. Newport-Mesa Unified ($1,089)

26. Irvine Unified ($1,115)

27. Santa Ana Unified ($1,805)

This is part of my effort to track the per capita UNPs of California’s various government budgets. In addition to the city budgets mentioned earlier, I have tracked counties, community colleges, California State University and the University of California as well as all 50 U.S. states.

You can follow all these analyses on my legislative website. The reports will be regularly updated.

Next year is going to be especially revealing – and distressing – as the Governmental Accounting Standards Board for the first time will require balance sheets to include unfunded retiree medical liabilities, which will show even more city and school districts in critical condition.

And when the next economic recession hits, for even those modestly distressed, it’s going to be one big financial train wreck.

Let’s hope our elected school board members and their administrative staff get in front of this serious cash management squeeze on their horizon. It’s time to be proactive, as taxpayers are not very forgiving with those who are reactive. Especially with supposed leaders who only have one solution: raise taxes.

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

 

Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 10.29.42 AM

Moorlach report finds 2/3 of California’s 944 school districts bleed red ink

http://www.oc-breeze.com/2018/10/05/128366_moorlach-report-finds-2-3-of-californias-944-school-districts-bleed-red-ink/

Sen. John Moorlach released his latest fiscal report, “Financial Soundness Rankings for California’s Public School Districts, Colleges & Universities.” SEE REPORT HERE. It follows his March 2018 reports on the state’s 482 cities that found 2/3 of them in the red; of 58 counties, 55 suffered deficits and only three enjoyed positive balance sheets. His May 2018 report on the 50 U.S. states found only nine were financially healthy, with California ranked among the worst, in 42nd place.

Some key findings from the new education report:

  • About two-thirds of California’s 944 public school districts run negative balance sheets. These statements show the most distressed districts could soon reach a tipping point into insolvency and receivership.
  • Of the state’s large school districts, those in severe distress include Los Angeles Unified School District, with a negative $10.9 billion balance sheet; San Diego Unified at negative $1.5 billion; Fresno Unified at negative $849 million; and Santa Ana Unified at negative $485 million, the worst in Orange County.
  • Of Orange County’s 27 public school districts, only one, Fountain Valley School District, is in positive financial territory.
  • One bright spot is the 58 county boards of education. At least 51 of them have manageable per capita unrestricted net deficits of -$159 or less, with 14 in positive territory.
  • Of the state’s 72 community college districts, only one enjoys a positive unrestricted net position (UNP).
  • Cal State University’s balance sheet is negative $3.66 billion.
  • The University of California’s balance sheet bleeds red ink all over the state, at negative $19.3 billion. Worse, that will double next year, to $38.6 billion, when retiree medical is included.

The Moorlach Report is a flashing caution light to almost every public education budget in California. Unless things can change quickly, taxpayers can expect new levies, and post-secondary students and parents should fear higher tuition.

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

Editor’s Note: Los Alamitos Unified School District is ranked 426, Savannah Elementary School District is ranked 408, Cypress Elementary School District is ranked 423, and Anaheim Union High School District is ranked 463.

Teachers Pensions Beat Others by 3-1 Margin

By Neil Rubenstein

https://www.culvercityobserver.com/story/2018/09/20/opinion/teachers-pensions-beat-others-by-3-1-marginby-neil-rubenstein/7761.html

In an ironic twist, a recent study by the nonprofit Bellwether Education Partners has found that the rising costs of teacher pension plans are starting to eat into their own salary hikes.

Teachers, and their unions, often complain about low salaries. The research from Bellwether shows that, since 1994, teacher salaries have failed to keep pace with inflation.

But total compensation for teachers has risen faster than inflation when non-salary benefits, such as insurance and retirement, are included.

Chad Aldeman, an associate partner at Bellwether, says lack of money isn’t why teacher salaries aren’t rising.

“Even after adjusting for inflation and rising student enrollment, total school spending is up,” Aldeman reports.

“It’s not for lack of money spent on teachers, either. Districts are allocating about the same portion of their budgets to instructional costs – including salaries, wages, and benefits for teachers – as they did 20 years ago.”

Aldeman notes that teachers have the highest retirement benefits of almost any profession.

“While the average civilian employee receives $1.78 for retirement benefits per hour of work, public school teachers receive $6.22 per hour

in retirement compensation,” Aldeman’s report says.

To be fair, teachers pay part of their salary into a taxpayer-backed pension fund.

When the fund does well, retired teachers do too.

But when the fund doesn’t make its financial goals, a deal that California lawmakers signed years ago essentially requires other state residents to make-up the difference—usually through higher property- or sales-taxes, like the ones that Culver’s government officials and its employees want you to approve in November.

Senator: Culver in Bad Financial Shape

Culver City is listed by State Sen. John Moorlach as being in one of most egregiously worst financial positions of the 482 cities that recently filed documents with Sacramento.

Meantime, our Council just moved $10 million from the City’s reserve fund, setting aside those funds by placing them into an irrevocable trust and making them only available to pay for City employees’ retirements.

This financial move should reassure City employees nearing retirement that their hefty pensions will be paid.

But what does the Council’s newly formed trust really do to alleviate the almost $4,000 tax burden for every man, women and child in Culver City who don’t work for our local government?

This commentary does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Observer. Previous columns by Neil Rubenstein can be found at http://www.culvercityobserver.com

After November, Even More Tax Hikes May be Needed

By Neil Rubenstein

https://www.culvercityobserver.com/story/2018/09/27/opinion/after-november-even-more-tax-hikes-may-be-needed/7779.html

Can little Culver City continue to pay super-large paychecks and pensions to current and former City employees?

If so, local taxes will need to continue to rise.

No, I’m just not pointing the finger at our Police and Fire departments, but other City agencies as well. Our City Manager’s total of money and benefits is now over $400,000 annually, and some local government employee’s will never see the inside of a discount store because they’re collecting more than $175,000 in retiree pensions.

On Nov. 6, Culver City voters will be asked to approve another $187 annual property-tax to fund the School District plus a sharp increase in the City’s sales tax.

If our local government can’t reign in its spending now, it’s a safe bet that there will be more taxes to come in future years.

Time for a Culver Firewoman

I just guess I would feel better if we had a better system. After all, it’s been more than 100 years that Culver City has been functioning but has never had one lady in the firehouse.

Isn’t it possible to create a separate classification for paramedics, like so many other departments throughout our country have done? Surely, our Council should wake-up and change this poo-poo policy before our City is sued.

More on City Finances

Continuing the Culver City’ Observer’s policy of informing the public of our dire financial situation: State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, has listed all 482 cities in California based on their current financial situation and outlook for the next few years.

Culver City ranks 478, just five up from the bottom. With 40,000 residents, every man, woman and child in our community would have to pay $3,979 each to pay our City’s expenses.

Sen. Moorlach’s comprehensive study found that Culver’s financial position today is even worse than that of Bell and Maywood—and most of us know how those two cities turned-out.

Moorlach has already gained the support of several anti-tax groups, including the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, which grew out of the 1970s property-tax revolt, and the National Tax Limitation Committee.

For additional information, visit Sen Moorlach’s web site at http://www.moorlach.cssrc.us or call his Orange County Office, (714) 662-6050.

Yee: More ‘Transparency’ Needed

California State Controller Betty Yee spoke on Sept, 22 at a South County Labor meeting that I attended. A group of about 400 activists from several trade unions and candidates for political office were there.

Yee and I had a long conversation on my suggestions to continue to improve financial transparency in California cities and counties. It’s probably only a matter of time before improvements will be mandated by Sacramento.

At our table were Veronica Sauceda, candidate running for L.A. Superior Court Judge No. 4 (www.Saucedaforjudge.com) and Patricia Hunter (www.pattihunter4judge.com/), candidate running for L.A. Superior Court Judge, office No. 16.

Please vote for both Hunter and Sauceda. In my opinion, they will be fair and have integrity.

Rank City Population UNP (thousands) UNP per Capita Year of CAFR

482 Vernon 209 ($101,678) ($486,498) 2017

481 El Segundo 16.717 ($86,756) ($5,190) 2016

480 Richmond 111,785 ($508,981) ($4,553) 2016

479 Oakland 426,074 ($1,789,831) ($4,201) 2016

478 Culver City 40,103 ($159,584) ($3,979) 2017

477 Cathedral City 54,557 ($181,885) ($3,334) 2017

476 Berkeley 121,238 ($394,430) ($3,253) 2017

475 Patterson 22,730 ($71,034) ($3,125) 2016

474 San Francisco 874,228 ($2,560,735) ($2,929) 2017

473 Santa Fe Springs 18,291 ($49,235) ($2,692) 2016

Culver City: Financially, 5th worst city in State of California

UNP: Unrestricted Net Position, in thousands of dollars

UNP: What each Culverite owes in future payments

Year of CAFR: Latest year the City reported

New Teachers, Same Budget Woes

With so many dozens of brand-new teachers with little or no real classroom experience having been hired by the Culver City Unified School District in the past three years, one would think that the district’s average cost of its teaching staff would be much lower.

But, if you check out the CCUSD/CCFT negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreements on the district’s website covering this school year and the last one, you’ll find that the average compensation cost (combined salary and benefits) per teacher is $91,775 and under the CCUSD/CCFT collective Bargaining Agreement on Health and Welfare, it shows that the average cost of a teacher’s health and welfare is $5,222.

To find the teachers’ average salary, you would simply have to subtract the district’s average health and welfare costs from the teachers’ average compensation. In doing the math, you would come up with $86,553 as the teachers’ average salary–not the ridiculously low figure that Bruce Lebedoff Ander gave in his recent letter that was printed in the Observer.

His is almost $20,000 off- the-mark. It may have been $67,270 at one time, but that was probably a long time ago.

Wasn’t it five years ago when some current board members agreed to a five-year plan to give district-wide staff a raise that, at the time, was of an unknown size?

They helped pay for it by taking millions of dollars out of our School District’s reserves, and that, its final district costs turned out to be almost $20 million. That was the equivalent of giving district staff an unprecedented 30 percent salary increase.

But, that’s not even counting the district’s annual Step & Column’s increases of 3 percent to 4.1 percent for teachers with less than 10 years of service in the district. For those fortunate teachers, their salary increases could well have been between 45 percent and 50 percent over the last five years.

Now, Bruce Lebedoff Ander certainly has the right to express his own opinion of me. But hopefully, next time when he tries to throw around monetary figures, he will check the accuracy of his sources before putting out such wildly untrue and misleading information into the public discussion.

This commentary does not necessarily reflect the opionion of the Observer. Previous columns by Neil Rubenstein can be found at www,culvercityobserver.com

image18.png?w=660&h=165

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 — SB 1463 Epilogue — October 4, 2018

With Senate Bill 656 being only the second bill I have had vetoed over my entire public service career, it provides an opportunity to share that I do not react well to vetoes. By this, I mean that I may come back with a different or improved iteration in a subsequent Session. I hint at it in my release on SB 656’s veto, which is provided by the Orange County Breeze in the second piece below.

Allow me to further explain what I mean. I authored Senate Bill 1463 in 2016. It is the first bill of mine that Governor Brown vetoed. It tried to prevent wildfires caused by disrupted or broken electric power lines. Tragically, in the two subsequent years after the Governor’s veto, numerous innocent and mostly elderly people have died as a result of wildfires from electric transformers and lines sparking in high gust weather conditions.

SB 1463 (2016) would have, at the minimum, accelerated the fire prevention efforts at the California Public Utilities Commission and CalFire so the electric utilities could have had the validation to expedite their processes of hardening the infrastructure that causes fires.

Sadly, the Governor’s veto message essentially said, “The bureaucrats are doing their jobs and I prefer to look the other way and let them finish . . . sometime . . . someday . . . in the future.”

Not that SB 1463 would have stopped all of the fires we’ve seen. But, can you imagine what may have transpired if Gov. Brown had taken this bill seriously? Perhaps there could have been one or two fewer fires. Some mitigation efforts to strengthen lines or transistors could have been easily done.

When Sen. Bill Dodd (D – Napa) introduced SB 901, I immediately asked to be a coauthor. I do not coauthor many bills. But, it was focused in the same vein as my redux of SB 1463 in 2018. I used the same bill number as two years prior, but added the use of Cap and Trade revenues to fund hardening the utility lines around the state. That funding would have brought upwards of $600 million annually to address California’s problematic and ostensibly, reduce GHGs caused by wildfires. My bill was killed in the first Senate committee hearing. This bill had no formal opposition. I can only assume the Committee members who voted against it were more concerned about their pet AB 32 projects than about actually reducing GHG emissions. But, SB 901 became the vehicle for a massive wildfire reform package.

For my Senate colleagues in the impacted areas, it created a Conference Committee near the conclusion of this year’s Session to address dealing with utility caused wildfires. And, why not? I stood up on the Senate Floor on many occasions to point out the massive loophole in AB 32’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gases because it did not include those generated by wildfires. So much so, that a few days of wildfires generate more GHGs than all of California’s cars driving for an entire year!

When asked by the Sonoma Valley Sun, for the first piece below, why I voted for a bill that would cost PG&E ratepayers a lot of money, I had two responses. The first is that I have very few PG&E ratepayers in my District. A calloused answer, I know. But, if you live in areas with a higher fire danger, there is an increased cost for addressing this risk.

The second answer was that SB 901 took my recommendation to use Cap and Trade revenues, to the tune of $200 million per year over five years. This is an appropriate use of this unique tax in addressing the generation of GHGs by reducing wildfires.

Not all of my bills will be signed by the Governor. But, when a core piece from one of my bills shows up in another bill, thereby having my fingerprints, then I just may be on board. I even stated the same in behalf of SB 901 on the Senate Floor during the waning hours of this year’s Session (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rEQ9uM7P-o).

For additional history on this matter, here is the journey I’ve had on this topic:

Introduction of SB 1463 in 2016

MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1463 — March 25, 2016

After numerous committee hearings and three Floor votes, SB 1463 headed to Governor’s Desk

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

Strong editorial in support of reducing wildfires

MOORLACH UPDATE — First Veto — September 24, 2016

Governor’s Veto

MOORLACH UPDATE — First Veto — September 24, 2016

MOORLACH UPDATE — Rejection/Disappointment — September 27, 2016

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

After the Santa Rosa fire, the media noticed my previous efforts

MOORLACH UPDATE — Conflagration Legacy — October 12, 2017

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

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

Bay Area disappointment in Brown’s veto and the tragic fire

MOORLACH UPDATE — Bonuses and Bogusness — October 21, 2017

Local frustrations over vetoed bill

MOORLACH UPDATE — Fire Safety Concerns — October 27, 2017

RCRC acknowledgement

MOORLACH UPDATE — Haven for Hope — January 19, 2018

SB 1463 Redux, with Cap and Trade funding introduced

MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1463 Redux — March 30, 2018

Second SB 1463 killed in committee with my reactions

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

My editorial submission to use Cap and Trade

MOORLACH UPDATE — Reducing Wildfires — July 31, 2018

Efforts to use Cap and Trade funding acknowledged as a potential solution

MOORLACH UPDATE — Fire Tornado Funding — August 2, 2018

Other commentators lamenting the lost opportunities with both SB 1463s

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

All to show that my office is providing a full portfolio on critical issues facing California, besides pension liabilities and unrestricted net positions. There is so much to do. And, sometimes, the Legislature picks up on an idea that, I believe, makes sense.

How the state — and you —will help PG&E pay for the fires

PGE_WildFire-Work_ENRready

By Dan de la Torre

http://sonomasun.com/2018/10/04/how-the-state-and-you-will-help-pge-pay-for-the-fires/

At the one-year anniversary of the fires which burned nearly 200,000 acres and claimed the lives of over 40 people in Sonoma and Napa counties, the cost of rebuilding is beginning to take shape — as is PG&E’s ultimate responsibility to pay for it.

The bills are still coming in, and lawsuits against the utility pending. But State Senator Bill Dodd, whose district was ravaged by the fires, thinks the figure is about $10 billion. His SB 901, signed into law by Jerry Brown, authorizes that much in bonds.

To back those bonds, every PG&E ratepayer, even those outside the fire area, will now see $50 added to the monthly bill — for at least 20 years. The other $5 billion will come from PG&E itself.

In the immediate aftermath of the fires, blame seemed to be focused solely on PG&E, and the company began a defense on multiple fronts. Because of a legal doctrine known as Inverse Condemnation, PG&E knew that it couldn’t fight any legal battles in court because of the way the language is structured in that particular law.

The law in essence says that even if PG&E did everything it was supposed to regarding maintenance and equipment, as mandated by the state-run California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), it would be liable — no matter what.

With this in mind PG&E began a media campaign to improve its image. It ran ads profiling how the company interacts with the community. It also ran commercials on how much money it spends on overall maintenance, its equipment, and its program to trim tree branches from around power lines. PG&E said it spends $1 billion annually cutting down dead trees and dry brush.

wildfire_powerline

PG&E also blamed climate change as one of the main factors in last year’s fires, something that Governor Jerry Brown has also strongly advocated.

In Sacramento, PG&E lobbied legislators to find a compromise that would allow the company to continue without facing bankruptcy. The legislature and the governor went back and forth with a number or proposals before settling on SB 901. The chief architect of this bill was state Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa).

The Sun recently interviewed both Dodd and Senator John Moorlach (R- Orange County) to get an overview of the bill.

According to both Senators, the 100-plus-page bill addresses the issue on several fronts. A) It makes it easier for PG&E to engage in forest management including tree cutting and disposal of dead wood and dry brush caused by the recent drought. B) Working alongside the CPUC, PG&E will begin the preliminary process of designing underground power lines. C) A financial “stress test” will be conducted to determine how much PG&E can pay without causing it to go into bankruptcy and cause its stockholders, many which are elderly and depend on a limited return from these stocks, to continue to invest.

Senator Dodd suggested that SB 901 will allocate approximately $10 billion in the form of bonds that will immediately be available to plaintiffs suing PG&E. For their part, ratepayers will be assessed that $50 monthly surcharge.

With over 200 individual lawsuits and virtually every city, county and municipality affected by the fires engaging in their own lawsuits, the assumption from Senator Dodd is that $10 billion will be enough to cover all costs.

But it does not address overruns, and it is far from exact.

One of the cities suing PG&E is Santa Rosa. “Honesty I don’t know, as the city is still assessing how much damage the fires caused so at this point there is no price tag,” Assistant City Attorney Adam Abel told The Sun.

To complicate state budget matters, SB 901 does not address claims in connection with lasts year’s devastating fires in Southern California. Or more recent fires in Redding and beyond.

As noted, all PG&E customers will chip in with that monthly $50 fee — no matter where they live.

Diana and Doug Gill, visiting Sonoma from Livermore recently, say the situation is frustrating. They understand that someone has to pay for the overall costs but are demanding more answers. Diana questioned not just the cost of the fire but the cause, as she doesn’t believe that a fire could have spread as rapidly as it did. Like many, she questions if there is a missing element that hasn’t been made public.

SB 901 was signed into law on Friday, September 21. Brown, whose term is ending this year, has said that long, epic fire seasons will be the new normal in California. How to pay for them remains the question.

A plausible possibility is a bill that didn’t pass, but could come back in the next session. AB 33, introduced by East Bay Assemblyman Dr. Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), would have also issued a series of bonds to expedite payments, but had no ceiling price cap. The bill would authorize as many bonds as needed — $50 billion or more was a number mentioned by Quirk’s office.

That figure may have been too high for an election year, but the 2019 legislature might reconsider such an option when the costs of fighting more recent fire disasters come due.

 

image3

image1

 

Governor Brown vetoes Moorlach Judicial Pension Reform SB 656

http://www.oc-breeze.com/2018/10/01/128123_governor-brown-vetoes-moorlach-judicial-pension-reform-sb-656/

I am disappointed that Gov. Jerry Brown today vetoed Senate Bill 656, which I authored. At a minimal cost, it would have made key changes to the retirement system of the pensions of California judges, encouraging our best lawyers to seek these positions, and our best judges to stay in them. More than 800 California Superior Court Judges signed on in support of SB 656, as comparable retirement incentives for all state employees was a fair and just modification to make. And providing the appropriate benefits ensures judicial quality and integrity, which are essential to our democracy.

Specifically, SB 656 would have authorized a judge, who is not otherwise eligible to retire with a monthly allowance, to retire and receive the annuity at a later date upon reaching the prescribed retirement age. It would have permitted those judges who face difficult personal circumstances in their later years, such as caring for an ailing spouse, to leave office with the promise of later taking the retirement they worked so hard to achieve.

That means the current system is retained. Under it, if a judge must leave office early, he or she must take a lump sum payment instead of retirement annuity, a reduction in benefits that discourages the best from seeking and accepting these posts.

I want to thank my staff, who worked on this bill for two years, for all of their hard work. I also want to thank the staff at the California Public Employees Retirement System for their assistance in drafting the language. Most importantly, I want to thank the majority of California’s Superior Court judges who took the time to encourage us in this endeavor.

This year Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law two of my three bills that reached his desk. I want to thank him for those he signed. But, I believe that SB 656 is so critical to the morale of our judicial colleagues, that I am considering reintroducing this necessary solution again next year under the next governor.

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

image18.png?w=660&h=165

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 — Happy Independence Day Week — July 1, 2018

In a state where public employee unions have dominated at the expense of taxpayers, it is a breath of fresh air to see the U.S. Supreme Court rule appropriately in the Janus decision.

Better yet, for those members who have been forced to pay union dues used to underwrite the campaigns of candidates that they would not have voted for, the Janus decision provides freedom. (Over the past few years, on average, less than 6 percent of California public employee union political contributions have gone to Republicans.)

Mandatory and compulsory withholdings from a paycheck is a form of bondage. Government employees, you now have the keys to freedom. Happy Independence Day week!

The San Jose Mercury News provides a side-by-side, pro and con, debate on the ruling and my perspective is the first piece below (also see MOORLACH UPDATE – Janus Decision – june 28, 2018).

The Sacramento FOX News 40 provides a perspective on the numerous bills that the public employee union leaders have already submitted to willing legislators to counteract Janus, as if these supposed antidotes will be constitutional. I was not amused, and clearly stated the realities of life in California’s Capital. It’s the second piece below.

The Orange County Breeze provides my press release on the good news in the third piece below.

But, wait, that’s not all! Gov. Brown signed the largest budget in state history on Wednesday. That provides for another opportunity to share my concerns, which the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Los Angeles Daily News, and OC Register have published in the fourth piece below. Since you are subject to mandatory income tax withholdings, it will be a long time of bondage for you, and it could get worse.

Welcome to the 2018-2019 Budget year, which begins today.

Let’s hope next year’s budget deals with the fiscal cancer of overly generous defined benefit pension plans foisted on the taxpayers by the public employee union leaders that municipalities are now trying to address.

Wishing you a wonderful Independence Day week, and remember what President Ronald Reagan once said:

“Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but the democrats believe every day is April 15.”

Opinion: Janus court decision is a big win for Californians

We can now tackle California’s severe problems, getting the state balance sheet back into the black

By State Sen. John Moorlach

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/06/30/opinion-janus-court-decision-is-a-big-win-for-californians/

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees decision struck a strong blow for freedom, not just for public employees, but all Americans. This is especially true for Californians.

The 5-4 majority decision, written by Justice Samuel Alito, reversed the high court’s 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. Abood had upheld the power of unions to mandate union dues, provided those dues were used only for collective bargaining, not direct political advocacy.

“Abood was wrongly decided and is now overruled,” thundered the Janus decision. “It was also decided when public-sector unionism was a relatively new phenomenon. Today, however, public-sector union membership has surpassed that in the private sector, and that ascendency corresponds with a parallel increase in public spending.”

That’s as concise a summary as you’ll get of how public-employee unions manipulated the system to significantly expand state spending on their pay and pensions. So much so that the state’s balance sheet – when including pensions and retiree health care for state workers – is now $250 billion in the red.

Even worse, more than half our 482 cities also are out of fiscal balance with three of our cities recently seeking bankruptcy protection. Read your local papers and you’ll find that almost every local government and school district in the state is cutting services to pay for the pension costs of decades past. No wonder the Golden State’s taxes are higher than anywhere in the country.

Union defenders of the mandatory dues for collective bargaining maintained that doing so was non-political, being only concerned with pay and working conditions of all employees. Justice Alito ably rebutted that, writing, “To the contrary, union speech covers critically important and public matters such as the State’s budget crisis, taxes, and collective bargaining issues related to education, child welfare, healthcare, and minority rights.”

He must have had California in mind on that one. Giving public employees pay and benefits packages so high they sharply reduce services for constituents, while risking bankruptcy and virtually guaranteeing higher taxes, obviously impacts everyone in the state.

To cite one example, the recently enacted California budget allocates $9 billion just for pension payments. Janus should make it easier to find solutions to the pension and retiree medical crises. Just as important, the decision should increase the chances we can enact sensible reforms to the state’s education system, such as performance pay for the best teachers to improve test scores for students – often minorities – in the lowest-performing schools.

Janus does not mean the end of public-employee unions. Indeed, it will encourage them to actually work for the benefit of their members, and all Californians, instead of going off on political tangents. As Janus noted, “Experience shows that unions can be effective even without agency fees.”

How are these unions reacting? Not well. A slew of legislation and budget trailer bills have already surfaced in an attempt to anticipate this historic sea change. Union leaders will not go quietly, as their slush fund that has garnered them political dominance is in jeopardy.

Janus also upholds the grand American principle of free speech – which means you don’t rob others to pay for your own free speech. The high court found, “The First Amendment is violated when money is taken from nonconsenting employees for a public-sector union; employees must choose to support the union before anything is taken from them.”

I look forward to a post-Janus future where we can finally tackle the severe problems that face California, beginning with getting the state balance sheet back into the black.

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

 

State Leaders Already Making Moves to Protect Union Members After Supreme Court Ruling

BY JOE KHALIL

https://fox40.com/2018/06/28/state-leaders-already-making-moves-to-protect-union-members-after-supreme-court-ruling/

The Supreme Court dealt a major blow to all public employee unions Wednesday but it was a blow California union leaders had been preparing for.

“There’s nothing the state can do to change this decision itself. But we think there are things to do for the state to protect its workforce,” said Steve Smith with the California Labor Federation.

In its Janus case decision, the Supreme Court said public unions can no longer collect dues from employees who aren’t union members. Smith acknowledges that for more than a year labor leaders in California have been working to soften the blow if the courts came down with that decision.

At least six bills became law, or are close to it, all of which offer benefits for union members or make joining a union easier for employees.

Republican State Senator John Moorlach, R-Irvine, has an issue with labor leaders efforts. He says it’s an attempt to get around the Supreme Court’s decision.

“The unions are in such dominance here in Sacramento that there are two parties — the Republican Party and the union party. The union party is trying to get in front of Janus,” Moorlach said.

Moorlach says each of the labor-backed bills should be reviewed in light of the court’s decision.

“I just simply disagree. I think, again, this is good public policy,” Smith said.

But Smith says big money interests will soon be in California campaigning against union membership. He claims what all these new laws offer is protection for workers.

“Out of state groups funded by billionaires are going to try to seek to exploit this decision to further erode California’s middle class and the legislature absolutely needs to protect workers against that,” Smith said.

Senator Moorlach comments on the United States Supreme Court’s Janus decision

http://www.oc-breeze.com/2018/06/30/123596_senator-moorlach-comments-on-the-united-states-supreme-courts-janus-decision/

I commend the United States Supreme Court for freeing public employees from paying mandatory union dues with the Janus decision published this morning. This decision will have a profound impact on the lives of many California employees who want the choice of where to spend their hard earned money without being forced to subsidize public employee unions that do not represent them or their beliefs.

The court had it right when it referenced previous court decisions the five Justices felt were incorrect “when public-sector unionism was a relatively new phenomenon.” Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito declared:

“For these reasons, States and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees.… Neither an agency fee nor any other payment to the union may be deducted from a nonmember’s wages, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay. By agreeing to pay, nonmembers are waiving their First Amendment rights, and such a waiver cannot be presumed.”

As I have pointed out over the years, the unions are so powerful they effectively fund the campaigns of their potential bosses in the Legislature and in local representative governments. The Janus decision will loosen the vice-grip unions now have on state and local finances and operations.

Now unions will have to earn the trust of members by delivering actual benefits, much like a service club, instead of being preoccupied with political positions that often have nothing to do with proper representation.

Screen Shot 2018-07-01 at 3.27.51 PM

California’s Titanic budget heading for fiscal icebergs

By John M. W. Moorlach

https://www.ocregister.com/2018/06/30/californias-titanic-budget-heading-for-fiscal-icebergs/

Before the Titanic hit the iceberg in 1912, the crew and passengers were partying and enjoying the amenities of the greatest ocean liner the world had ever seen.

In 2018, the California Legislature passed a budget Titanic for fiscal year 2018-19, which begins on July 1. Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law on June 27. Most legislators celebrated because it fills up the Rainy Day Fund and spends $139 billion for the general fund, up 9 percent from the previous year. Not one, but four fiscal icebergs lie ahead.

The first iceberg is the process itself, which has devolved to just three people deciding what’s in the budget: the governor, the Senate leader and the Assembly speaker. That means the concerns of 40 million Californians, as expressed through their 120 elected legislators, were almost entirely ignored.

The Senate-Assembly Conference Committee on the budget, on which I sat for the second straight year, became irrelevant. It is supposed to hammer out differences between the two chambers on some 100 budget proposals, but ended up not being a decision-making body, as established by the California Constitution and the legislative Joint Rules. This deal was foreordained and the Legislature was complicit in an abdication of its duty, acting only as a rubber stamp in the very end.

The Legislature ought to do an evaluation: Does it change the Constitution?

The second iceberg is the balance sheet of the state. It is still ugly. We have the largest unrestricted net deficit ($169 billion) and the largest unfunded pension liabilities in the nation.

And as of June 30, 2018, new Government Accounting Standards Board rules will require California to include an estimated $91.5 billion in unfunded retiree medical liabilities. The Golden State’s balance sheet deficit will be more than a quarter-trillion dollars!

The University of California’s unrestricted net deficit was $11 billion in 2016. The next year, 2017, it was $19 billion upside down. When we add the retiree medical for the UC system to the balance sheet for June 30, 2018, it will be more than $38 billion in the red!

And this additional ice mass is going to be the responsibility of the Legislature and taxpayers, because students don’t want to pay higher tuition.

The third iceberg is just dealing with the budget itself. This budget sets aside funds, including filling up the Rainy Day Fund. This is a good and righteous thing. It will help to reduce the deficit, but it doesn’t attack the debt.

In a year when one enjoys a bumper crop, one must set aside cash, but also pay down credit card balances. Sacramento is spending all the revenues, and it’s assuming this revenue level will be the case moving forward. It’s a common error, folks.

The new budget’s 9 percent spending increase over last year’s budget itself is but a fraction of a whopping 59 percent increase in just seven years. How many Californians are taking home paychecks almost two-thirds higher than in 2011?

This extravagant spending sets us up, again, for a massive hit when we’re struck by the next recession, something Gov. Brown himself keeps warning us about. And the Californians of the future will probably say, “What was the Class of 2018 thinking, when the icebergs were approaching, and they were partying?”

Sacramento has got to get ahead of this mess, but it isn’t.

The fourth iceberg is: What will happen tomorrow, and the next year and the following year? This state’s boom shows signs of leveling off. California is growing at the national average, no longer faster. It’s now following current trends. And actually we’re probably going to be growing slower than the national average. Silicon Valley is doing great, but the rest of the state hasn’t done nearly as well.

For these reasons, and many more, I did not vote for Gov. Brown’s farewell budget. When the next financial crisis strikes, the Good Ship Sacramento will hit not one, but four icebergs. Put your life vests on.

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

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 — 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 https://www.choc.org/programs-services/mental-health/). 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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQZqhzCTYMk).

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.

https://voiceofoc.org/2018/05/santana-could-oc-use-a-regional-housing-agency/

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

http://www.oc-breeze.com/2018/04/30/120624_recent-poll-shows-majority-of-californians-support-sanctuary-for-undocumented-immigrants/

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.

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 — Funding OC’s Homelessness — March 18, 2018

Yesterday morning I decided to sit in on Judge David Carter’s homeless hearing for a brief period. I have been working with Judge Carter as a liaison with the state and its efforts to find funding for the homeless.

I have recently met with Elaine Howle, the State Auditor, to review her most recent audit report on the status of the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) created by Proposition 63 in 2004 (see http://www.auditor.ca.gov/pdfs/reports/2017-117.pdf).

This past week, as a follow up, I also met with Toby Ewing, the Executive Director, of the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission to corroborate the audit findings (see http://www.mhsoac.ca.gov/).

The audit report found some $2.5 billion in unspent funds to assist those with mental illness has accumulated since the passage of Proposition 63 in 2004. This is the case for all 58 counties and the state. There has been a paralysis and lack of leadership by the Department of Health Care Services as to what and where these funds can go, frustrating all parties.

Both of these meetings were disconcerting. I am no longer an executive who can provide guidance and direct staff to get something accomplished. I am now a legislator in a state so large that managing it is next to impossible. You thought Caltrans was messed up. Well, serious improvements can also be made to the Department of Health Care Services, which directs MHSA funding (see http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/mh/Pages/MH_Prop63.aspx).

I now must provide directives through legislation. Fine, but I am only allowed 20 bills per year. And, my executive brain is screaming in a legislator’s body. So, one of my bills this year is to establish an executive position to help run this state, SB 1297, but more on that at another time.

I dropped by the hearing after it had been proceeding for about an hour, but Judge Carter brought me up front and I listened to his reactions to various components of the State Auditor’s MHSA audit report. He also provided PowerPoint slides showing various pages. His lecture also included available locations, with Fairview Developmental Center being the most prominent one that he was aware of (see
MOORLACH UPDATE — Burning Year End Issues — December 15, 2017). The audience cheered in applause when it was recommended.

Judge Carter had invited Mayors and City Managers to be present and then, around 11 a.m., took them for a tour of the nearby bus depot, a location that I worked to provide as a roof for the homeless while still a County Supervisor. In the meantime, it has been made available and currently has some 400 residents! Due to other commitments, I left midway through the walk. The Voice of OC provides their take in the first piece below.

It was a Federal Judge that may have started this dilemma with the mandate for the State of California to reduce its inmate population. Instead of building more prisons, which is cost prohibitive thanks to the high cost to staff them with the providing of public safety defined benefit pensions and other employee benefits, the Governor backed and signed AB 109, Public Safety Realignment, in 2011, which released supposed nonviolent inmates prematurely to the 58 counties. The ironies continue. But, I digress.

As you know, after reviewing my recent ten volume series, cities are not flush with the cash needed to address this immediate housing requirement for the homeless.

The media is picking up my recent study on the fiscal well being of California’s 482 cities. The Orange County Breeze provides a reaction concerning its marketing sphere of influence in the second piece below. The Bakersfield California provides its local perspective in the third piece. Chino and Chino Hills are noted in the Chino Champion in the fourth piece below. And Fox and Hounds rounds out the topic in the fifth piece.

The MHSA provides a funding opportunity and I worked side-by-side with President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon in 2016 on the passage of AB 1618, “No Place Like Home,” to securitize this tax revenue source (see http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/mh/Pages/MH_Prop63.aspx). We announced the initiative at Skid Row in Los Angeles (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Governor’s 2016-17 Proposed Budget — January 8, 2016)

Senate President pro Tem Kevin de Leon even allowed me to provide input on constructing the bill. It passed and was signed into law, but has not been implemented because it is tied up in Sacramento County Superior Court on validation concerns. (One would wish that Attorney General Becerra would push the courts to help our homeless instead of constantly fighting the Trump Administration, but I digress.)

Senator de Leon is trying to request $2 billion from the Governor, which would be replaced once the bonds are issued. This would start the process of counties submitting grants for immediate housing construction now. I also informed the President pro Tem to tell the Governor that there are $2.5 billion in funds that can be used as collateral for the cash advance.

Federal Judge Expands OC Homeless Housing to Include Longtime Santa Ana Civic Center Camp

By THY VO and SPENCER CUSTODIO

https://voiceofoc.org/2018/03/federal-judge-expands-oc-homeless-housing-to-include-longtime-santa-ana-civic-center-camp/

SPENCER CUSTODIO, Voice of OC

Homeless people congregate in the Plaza of the Flags at the Santa Ana Civic Center on March 17, 2018. About 150 people live in tents and make shift structures at the Plaza.

U.S. District Judge David O. Carter expanded the scope of his inquiry into homelessness at the Santa Ana riverbed Saturday pushing city and county officials during a day-long federal court hearing to also agree to relocate the roughly 150 homeless people living in the Santa Ana Civic Center.

County Supervisor Andrew Do, before a crowd of activists, homeless people, county officials and city managers from across the county, struck a decidedly different tone than he has in the past.

“We don’t have a defense. I’m going to be the first to own up that we have failed,” Do said at the start of the hearing, to loud applause. “To lead requires we are proactive and not reactive, and we have failed.”

Carter held the hearing at Santa Ana City Hall, where just outside, hundreds of homeless people have camped for more than a decade, although numbers have dwindled after the recent opening of an emergency shelter nearby. The Civic Center is part of Do’s supervisorial district.

Carter has taken an unusually active role in pushing collaboration and negotiations between government officials and attorneys for the homeless. The hearing was called Saturday to resolve complaints, part of a federal lawsuit against the county, that former riverbed homeless people being moved from motel rooms have not been given adequate services and housing options by the county.

Attorneys for homeless people cited examples of people with serious medical problems and disabilities who cannot sleep in a shelter, or who rely on a spouse or partner as a caretaker. The medical and detox beds offered by the county often do not allow people to be housed with their partners.

For example, Shane Allen, a man who is confined to a wheelchair after a stroke who also suffers from stage 4 cancer, has a weakened immune system and cannot live in a shelter, said attorney Brooke Weitzman. As Allen also depends on his wife as a caretaker, sending them to different shelters would be an unnecessary emotional burden, Weitzman said.

Allen waited to testify at the hearing through the late afternoon, when he was taken to a hospital by paramedics for heart issues.

After several hours of negotiation, attorneys for homeless clients and for the county came to an informal agreement.

Over the next week, the county will continue to relocate nearly 600 former riverbed homeless, most now in motel rooms, as their 30-day maximum stays begin to expire.

People who can prove the need for privacy and individualized housing may be, pending approval by the county, allowed to stay in motel rooms for additional time.

“This is not a blanket extension of all motel vouchers,” said Do, who called the extension of motel stays a “big concession.” “If we feel there are cases that warrant closer examination…we are willing to extend the motel vouchers for those individuals, on a case-by-case basis.”

No more than 100 people will be moved out of motels each day, so the attorneys for the homeless – Weitzman and Carol Sobel — won’t be overwhelmed as they monitor the process.

Carter has also required the county to turn over information to Weitzman and Sobel about each person relocated from the riverbed and where they will be placed after their motel stay. The attorneys, with permission from each individual, will have access to clinical evaluations conducted by the county.

People will be given 48-hours notice before they are relocated.

“We will see how this works,” said Sobel. “Frankly, I think they’re going to run out [of shelter space].”

Do said the county has identified $70 million in funding from the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) that will be made available to address homelessness, although he declined to give further details about that funding when asked by a reporter.

A recent audit report released Feb. 27 by the State Auditor’s office found local health agencies statewide have “amassed hundreds of millions in unspent MHSA funds.”

More details about that funding will be announced at a special meeting of the Board of Supervisors at 9 a.m. Monday, where supervisors will discuss additional services and housing options for homeless people.

Although Saturday’s hearing was called to address the future of former riverbed homeless people, Carter expanded it to include the Santa Ana Civic Center, where at least 150 people still sleep each night. He pointed to a murder that occurred last week and a woman who was raped the night before.

“I haven’t told you until today that I am adamant of getting rid of this degradation in the Civic Center. I’m going to put more stress on the system, and if you’re not going to do it, I’m going to write an opinion,” Carter said Saturday morning. “Got it? It’s not ramping down, it’s ramping up.”

Carter announced Saturday night the city of Santa Ana and the county agreed to begin a “dignified and humane movement of people” from the Civic Center area. The Santa Ana Police will work with county social workers to clear the area with a similar strategy used at the riverbed.

Beginning Sunday, women living at the Civic Center will be offered immediate shelter at WISEPlace, a women’s shelter with a contract with the county.

County CEO Frank Kim said the county and city have not worked out details of when and how they will begin to move people out of the Civic Center.

Carter was largely complimentary of county officials, praising Do and county Supervisor Todd Spitzer for their leadership. He also thanked the Sheriff’s Department, Health Care Agency workers and Weitzman and Sobel for facilitating a peaceful clear-out of the riverbed encampment.

The county began clearing a massive homeless encampment from the Santa Ana Riverbed on Feb. 20. By the following week, officials said all people on the riverbed had been moved to motels and other shelters, and closed the riverbed to the public on Feb. 26. No one was arrested for refusing to leave the area.

On Saturday, Carter called on cities to step up and contribute to solutions.

“Each of your cities doesn’t want this problem to land in your city,” Carter told the audience, which included city managers and representatives from the most of the county’s 34 cities. “Maybe our constituency would understand that if…it’s one way to solve it is if everybody steps up.”

State Sen. John Moorlach, (R-Costa Mesa) who is sponsoring a bill in the state legislature to determine the use of the Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa, also was invited to the hearing by Carter.

Homeless advocates are eyeing the large property as a potential site for permanent supportive housing for the homeless or a mental health facility. The 114-acre developmental center, owned by the state, is slated to close in 2021.

Moorlach also has worked with state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) to support legislation, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in July 2016, that creates $2 billion in bond proceeds to fund housing for the homeless. The bonds would be repaid with funding from the Mental Health Services Act, although use of the money is still pending court approval.

De Leon also spoke by phone with Carter Saturday morning before the hearing, the judge said. Moorlach, in a phone call with a reporter Saturday night, said he is working with De Leon to find other funding sources to address homelessness.

Meanwhile, Carter rebuked cities that have moved homeless people out of their cities and into other cities, especially those “dumping” them off at the Civic Center.

“If hypothetically there is dumping, moving of human beings from one city or another, you’ve created a problem, not only in terms of loading up the riverbed, but you’ve created a problem for cities like Anaheim and Santa Ana,” Carter said.

He said if anyone wants to claim dumping isn’t happening, they would be called on to prove it under oath.

“Be very careful what your accusation is, in terms of not taking some of these folks back into your communities that are pristine and virtuous,” Carter said, pointing to a representative from the U.S. Attorney’s office who he had invited to the meeting. “But if anyone wants to play the [body camera] tapes, I’m asking for a Justice Department investigation.”

Carter paused, and the room was silent for a moment.

“That silence means we’ve forgiven and forgotten and it never happens again,” said the judge.

Contact Thy Vo at tvo and Spencer Custodio at scustodio.

Senator John Moorlach ranks California’s 482 cities for financial soundness

http://www.oc-breeze.com/2018/03/14/118553_senator-john-moorlach-ranks-californias-482-cities-for-financial-soundness/

Which California cities are in financial distress and which are sound? Today State Sen. John Moorlach releases the first edition of his new report, “Senator John Moorlach Ranks California’s 482 Cities for Financial Soundness.”

The report examines the audited finances of the state’s 482 cities. Specifically, it looks at each city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, and the per-capita share for a city’s Unrestricted Net Position, or UNP.

A negative UNP shows a city has fiscal concerns that city officials should be aware of. If they are not aware of the problem, this is a useful tool for the city residents to hold their elected officials accountable.

“Why the project?” Senator Moorlach asked. “Well, in the California Senate I carried some eight public employee pension reform measures in 2017 alone. And did the cities come to testify in support? No. And, are they now highly concerned about their predicament? Yes.”

Senator Moorlach plans to update the study every six months.

A copy of the study is available on Senator Moorlach’s website by clicking HERE.

If you would like to request an interview with Senator John Moorlach, please contact John Seiler at john.seileror 714-662-6050.

About Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa):

State Senator John Moorlach represents the 37th district of California, is a trained Certified Financial Planner and is the only trained CPA in the California Senate. He gained national attention 23 years ago when he was appointed Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector and helped the County recover from its bankruptcy filing – at the time the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. Follow him on Facebook & Twitter.

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

Editor’s Note: Of the 482 cities in California, Cypress ranks in at 33, and highest among the cities in Orange County. It is the only Orange County city in the top 50. La Palma is ranked 104, Stanton at 150, Seal Beach at 201, Buena Park at 302, Los Alamitos at 328, followed closely by Garden Grove at 330.

 

Worth Noting: Historical Society holding St. Patrick’s Day Walking Tour

http://www.bakersfield.com/news/community-briefs/worth-noting-historical-society-holding-st-patrick-s-day-walking/article_0f6b1904-27f2-11e8-b21d-e78293185de9.html

California Senator John Moorlach has ranked California’s cities based on financial soundness and Bakersfield ranks closer to the bottom of the list than the top. Bakersfield was ranked 289th out of 482 cities.

Here & There

http://www.championnewspapers.com/opinion_and_commentary/here_and_there/article_3a6b15c8-2932-11e8-87a4-c32aa67d628a.html

In State Senator (37th district) John Moorlach’s ranking of 482 California cities for “financial soundness,” Chino Hills came in at 154 and Chino came in 104. Both cities fit into what he described as the “positive part of the curve.” Mr. Moorlach based his rankings by dividing the city’s unrestricted financial position by the city’s population.

Ranking California’s 482 Cities for Financial Soundness

Senator John Moorlach

By Senator John MoorlachCalifornia State Senate, 37th District

Which California cities are in financial distress and which are sound? I am releasing the first edition of my new report, “Senator John Moorlach Ranks California’s 482 Cities for Financial Soundness.”

The report examines the audited finances of the state’s 482 cities. Specifically, it looks at each city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, and the per-capita share for a city’s Unrestricted Net Position, or UNP.

A negative UNP shows a city has fiscal concerns that city officials should be aware of. If they are not aware of the problem, this is a useful tool for the city residents to hold their elected officials accountable.

Why the project?

Well, in the California Senate I carried some eight public employee pension reform measures in 2017 alone. And did the cities come to testify in support? No.

And, are they now highly concerned about their predicament? Yes.

I plan to update the study every six months.

An op-ed specifically looking at Orange County’s cities also is online in the Orange County Register, “Most Orange County city finances bleed red ink.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the previous six volumes, go to:

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

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

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

http://www.oc-breeze.com/2018/02/17/117455_senator-john-moorlach-introduces-senate-bill-1033-the-pension-fairness-act-of-2018/

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

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

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

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

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

Bill would require emergency information as part of car purchases

By Andrew Clark

https://signalscv.com/2018/02/bill-require-emergency-information-part-car-purchases/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Daily Pilot has picked up SB 1031 in the first piece below (see MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 4 — February 12, 2018).

The Orange County Breeze provides the notification that we released to announce our three pension related bills in the second piece below.

It is followed by the next 50 cities, #300-251, in our series. No OC cities are included in this group. The above link provides the last volume and links to the first three.

Senate Bill 1032, the second of the three bills introduced last week, is an updated version of last year’s SB 681 (see http://district37.cssrc.us/content/senate-bill-681-local-pension-control and MOORLACH UPDATE — CalPERS Exit Strategies — November 18, 2017). It is another solution for struggling municipalities that need options in designing a financial work around plan.

Getting bills out of the Senate Public Employee and Retirement Committee, the customary first stop for pension legislation, will be very difficult, as the unions control three of the five votes. But, we need to provide solutions for municipalities that have contracted with CalPERS that need to consider something more fiscally reasonable and realistic than the very expensive TAP (Terminating Agency Pool) exit strategy. This current straight-jacket approach is not an appropriate strategy at all and is actually fiscal extortion. CalPERS has lost its way and has become a mother of plan sponsors and not a fiduciary provider. Let’s hope this second effort motivates CalPERS to resolve their misplaced authority over what should just be servicing financial customers (versus debt bondage).

BONUS: Do you want to learn more about California’s public employee defined benefit pension plans? I will be participating with fellow governing board members and experts at a public forum on Public Pensions hosted by the Association of California Cities – Orange County (ACCOC) Friday morning, March 9th at the Newport Beach Community Center. You are invited to attend. For more information visit: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07ef40p9z654ae1d40&oseq=&c=&ch.

Political Landscape: State Sen. Moorlach proposes cost-of-living limit on state pension systems

By DAILY PILOT STAFF

http://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/news/tn-dpt-me-pol-landscape-20180212-story.html

Political Landscape: State Sen. Moorlach proposes cost-of-living limit on state pension systems

State Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) has introduced a bill that could limit cost-of-living adjustments for state pensions. (File Photo)

State Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) has introduced a bill he contends will reduce the future taxpayer burden to fund the state system while also protecting pensioners’ vested funds

Senate Bill 1031, introduced Thursday, would limit the pension system from making any cost-of-living (COLA) adjustments after Jan. 1, 2019, if the unfunded actuarial liability of the system is greater than 20%.

“It would protect the solvency of public-employee pensions by making sure each yearly COLA … isn’t so large it tips the underlying fund into insolvency,” Moorlach said in a statement. “If a pension system is funded at less than 80%, then the COLA would be suspended until the funding status recovers.

“The requirement would prod pension boards and policymakers to ensure pensions are adequately funded and don’t end up being cut sharply in an emergency, as happened recently to Detroit’s pensions. Not just taxpayers, but state employees and retirees should be the biggest supporters of Senate Bill 1031.”

Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2018-19 sets aside $9.3 billion for pensions, with $6.2 billion toward the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and nearly $3.1 billion to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS).

The CalPERS funding is $389 million more than last year.

Inline image 3

Senator John Moorlach introduces Senate Bill 1031 to protect pensions funds

http://www.oc-breeze.com/2018/02/13/117252_senator-john-moorlach-introduces-senate-bill-1031-protect-pensions-funds/

Senator John Moorlach introduces Senate Bill 1031 to protect pensions funds

“With California’s pension problem getting worse every year, I am introducing three new bills to both reduce the future burden on taxpayers and protect retired public employees’ vested funds. Gov. Jerry Brown emphasized the problem in his new budget proposal for fiscal year 2018-19, slating a whopping $9.3 billion just to pay for current pension obligations. That cost is only going to increase and divert money from other priorities unless we make it better.”

“Senate Bill 1031 is the first bill. It would protect the solvency of public-employee pensions by making sure each yearly COLA – cost-of-living-adjustment – isn’t so large it tips the underlying fund into insolvency. If a pension system is funded at less than 80 percent, then the COLA would be suspended until the funding status recovers.”

“The requirement would prod pension boards and policymakers to ensure pensions are adequately funded and don’t end up being cut sharply in an emergency, as happened recently to Detroit’s pensions. Not just taxpayers, but state employees and retirees should be the biggest supporters of Senate Bill 1031.”

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

Rank City Population UNP UNP Per Year of
(Thousands) Capita CAFR
300 Whittier 87,708 ($29,250) ($333) 2017
299 Oakdale 22,711 ($7,411) ($326) 2016
298 Burlingame 30,148 ($9,583) ($318) 2017
297 Roseville 135,868 ($42,898) ($316) 2017
296 Santee 57,100 ($17,759) ($311) 2017
295 Colusa 6,340 ($1,966) ($310) 2017
294 Antioch 114,241 ($34,184) ($299) 2017
293 Campbell 42,726 ($12,748) ($298) 2016
292 Selma 25,156 ($7,383) ($293) 2017
291 Crescent City 6,389 ($1,867) ($292) 2017
290 Oceanside 176,461 ($50,292) ($285) 2017
289 Bakersfield 383,512 ($108,784) ($284) 2017
288 Baldwin Park 75,537 ($21,286) ($282) 2016
287 San Anselmo 12,937 ($3,570) ($276) 2017
286 Grand Terrace 12,435 ($3,219) ($259) 2015
285 Dinuba 24,861 ($6,392) ($257) 2017
284 Sanger 26,412 ($6,695) ($253) 2016
283 California City 14,248 ($3,408) ($239) 2016
282 Dixon 19,298 ($4,444) ($230) 2017
281 Larkspur 12,572 ($2,850) ($227) 2017
280 Livermore 89,648 ($20,114) ($224) 2017
279 Martinez 37,658 ($8,402) ($223) 2016
278 Exeter 10,985 ($2,404) ($219) 2016
277 Clearlake 15,531 ($3,388) ($218) 2015
276 Anderson 10,450 ($2,150) ($206) 2016
275 Barstow 24,248 ($4,893) ($202) 2016
274 Pleasanton 75,916 ($15,319) ($202) 2017
273 Fort Bragg 7,772 ($1,518) ($195) 2017
272 Lake Elsinore 62,092 ($12,062) ($194) 2017
271 La Mesa 60,286 ($11,563) ($192) 2016
270 Galt 25,693 ($4,605) ($179) 2016
269 Reedley 26,152 ($4,457) ($170) 2017
268 Madera 66,082 ($11,207) ($170) 2016
267 Lakeport 4,786 ($801) ($167) 2016
266 San Mateo 103,426 ($16,647) ($161) 2017
265 Mount Shasta 3,355 ($523) ($156) 2017
264 Arroyo Grande 17,736 ($2,754) ($155) 2016
263 Glendora 52,608 ($7,938) ($151) 2017
262 Kingsburg 12,338 ($1,834) ($149) 2017
261 San Ramon 80,550 ($11,566) ($144) 2017
260 Corning 7,522 ($1,065) ($142) 2016
259 Yuba City 67,445 ($9,467) ($140) 2016
258 Watsonville 53,015 ($7,184) ($136) 2016
257 Cotati 7,272 ($958) ($132) 2017
256 Greenfield 17,866 ($2,284) ($128) 2015
255 Murrieta 114,914 ($14,654) ($128) 2016
254 Gridley 6,704 ($843) ($126) 2016
253 Belvedere 2,172 ($264) ($122) 2017
252 Santa Maria 106,280 ($10,597) ($100) 2016
251 Burbank 105,033 ($9,364) ($89) 2017

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

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.