1,500,000 Page views in 2016!! Happy New Year!!

On December 31, 2016 California Political Review busted through the 1,500,000 Page view mark for the year, to make it one of the most read news/commentary websites in California!  The Editors at CPR thank you, our readers, for your consistent and growing support, and wish you a wonderful New Year!

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Top 10 Stupidest New Laws in California for 2017

california-flagI’m not in the habit of complaining at the outset of a column, but I’ve taken on a nearly impossible task — figuring out which, of the hundreds of new California laws about to go into effect, are the stupidest.

Don’t laugh. I’m serious.

It’s really, really hard to keep the list at 10 with hundreds of hare-brained schemes that became real laws.

After all, for far too long, the California Legislature has been a “conservative-free zone” — even though there were a handful of “Republicans” occupying seats and taking up space.

I’m going to list the new laws in order of their egregiousness to me, but I’m open to additions or wholesale re-ordering if you care to comment.

Given that Californians are facing 898 new laws going into effect on January 1st, 2017, there’s plenty to hate.

  1. Prop. 63: “2nd Amendment Nullification” Act.  Although various portions go into effect in various years — yes, they staggered implementation of this “critically needed reform,” some out to 2019 — this is the most sweeping assault on our long-cherished, God-given natural right as Americans to protect our lives and our freedom.  It requires you to pass a background check and pay for a permit to buy ammunition for the gun you may have just passed a background check to buy.  Yeah, that’ll stop criminals — who buy their guns and ammo in parking lots from other criminals. WooHoo! Next, it makes high-capacity magazine (any magazine that holds more than 10 rounds) illegal to possess — even if you bought it prior to the current ban and ownership was previously considered grandfathered.  This law should make it clear that the goal of the left is not “safety” — it’s control.
  2. SB880: “Bullet Button Ban.” For years, California Democrats have sought to ban a made-up classification of semi-auto rifles with “evil features” that they re-named “assault weapons” for propaganda purposes. Every year, California Democrats attempt to increase control over this “hated group” of guns — until they finally outright ban all semi-automatics.  This law will not do a single thing to further public safety, as the San Bernardino terrorist attack illustrated — determined mass murderers will simply ignore and work around all gun control laws — as if they are just words on paper. One last bit of irony: in a previous legislative session, this same bill was sponsored by none other than disgraced State Senator Leland Yee. If that name sounds familiar, you’re right. Leland Yee wanted to “protect” Californians from “assault weapons” on our streets — that is, until he was arrested for trafficking fully automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades in exchange for campaign contributions. He’s currently serving a five-year prison sentence.
  3. SB3: Minimum Wage Hike to $15/hour by 2020. As a result of a strong socialist push by unions and complicit governments — such as the union-controlled California legislature — businesses are looking to eliminate as many jobs as possible, investing in automation instead. When you combine this with unchecked illegal immigration — where you have an unlimited labor pool willing to work for sub-par wages under the table — the future for entry-level jobs and small business owners in California is bleak.
  4. AB1785 The “Hands Free” Law. This is another example of government gone wild. AB1785 prescribes driver behavior so severely that in and of itself, I believe it will cause more accidents — and more deaths. Not only must the phone be dash mounted — meaning you’ll have a permanent distraction right in front of you — but you may not text, take photos or video, or enter GPS destinations while driving. Fat chance of stopping those activities with a mere $20 fine. The bill does stipulate that “the only time a driver is allowed to touch the device is when he or she is activating or deactivating a “feature or function.” However, that process should only involve a “single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger,” according to the bill,” mynewsla.com reports. How about “hands off” my phone instead of an unenforceable “hands free” law?
  5. AB 1732: Single-User Restrooms. If you’ve ever had to go so badly that you used the opposite sex restroom at a gas station or Starbucks, then perhaps you think this law is needed. But do we really need another law regulating bathrooms? Some businesses have already put signs on their single-use restrooms designating use by either sex. And sometimes people just take it upon themselves. I can’t help but think this law is unnecessary and diminishes us as a society a little.
  6. SB 1383: Controlling Cow Flatulence. Not making this up. In spite of the fact that 53 California dairy farmers went bankrupt, moved out of state, or just closed down this year, the Marxist-Progressives are back at it again. Capture cow farts or suffer heavy fines.  CARB (CA Air Resources Board) suggests inserting a tube into the cow’s digestive system and venting into a backpack. Even liberals admit that laws like this, where government tries to control the uncontrollable, can have undesirable economic consequences. Lost jobs, lost industries, lost revenue. Stupid law.
  7. AB 857: Ghost Gun Ban.  Even if you manufacture your own gun — starting with an 80 percent receiver — that requires you to have special skills and tools to complete the machining, you must now register it and obtain a serial number from the California Department of Justice. The purpose of this law is simply to record your name and your firearm on a list for eventual confiscation. Once again, control — not public safety — is the goal.
  8. SB1322: Legalizing Child Prostitution. This law bars law enforcement from arresting sex workers who are under the age of 18 for soliciting or engaging in prostitution, or loitering with intent to do so. So teenage girls (and boys) in California will soon be free to have sex in exchange for money without fear of arrest or prosecution. Now that is nuts. I understand the idea of trying to not punish the victim, but certainly granting judges discretion is better than legalizing and therefor “green-lighting” behavior that is so harmful to the individual child.
  9. Prop. 57:  Early Release for so-called Non-Violent Criminals. This was Governor Jerry Brown’s baby — the crown jewel of his prison reform initiatives. Among those offenses he considers “non-violent”: rape of an unconscious person; human trafficking involving sex acts with minors; and assault with a deadly weapon. Blogger Felicia Wilson summed it up well (original emphasis): “Call me crazy, but shouldn’t a crime that includes the word rape or assault be considered, I don’t know … violent?”
  10. AB 2466: Felons Voting. Low-Level felons serving sentences outside of state prison get to keep their right to vote. Hmm. Wonder which party this could possibly help? Just like the “illegal alien vote,” Democrats will have the felon vote locked down. This is simply about protecting their power and making it permanent.

When California Democrats promised to take to the streets to defend the rights of convicted felons, illegal aliens and welfare recipients, they weren’t kidding. If only they were as serious about cracking down on immigration cheats and violent criminals as they are about penalizing law-abiding citizens and gun owners, California would have more jobs, less crime — and might be a place people want to come to instead of fleeing.

Tim Donnelly is a Former California State Assemblyman. FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/tim.donnelly.12/ Twitter: @PatriotNotPol 

This piece was originally published by Breitbart.com/California

Assemblyman Travis Allen: California Democrats legalize child prostitution

Did you know that under SB 1322 a sixteen year old prostitute is no longer a prostitute under the law?  The Democrats in the legislature have legalized underage teens to be prostitutes—that is human trafficking, a subject everyone, we thought opposed.  Now, we know that Democrats have an exception to the prostitution laws—teens can do it legally—while adults can not.

“SB 1322 bars law enforcement from arresting sex workers who are under the age of 18 for soliciting or engaging in prostitution, or loitering with the intent to do so. So teenage girls (and boys) in California will soon be free to have sex in exchange for money without fear of arrest or prosecution.

This terribly destructive legislation was written and passed by the progressive Democrats who control California’s state government with a two-thirds “supermajority.” To their credit, they are sincere in their belief that decriminalizing underage prostitution is good public policy that will help victims of sex trafficking. Unfortunately, the reality is that the legalization of underage prostitution suffers from the fatal defect endemic to progressive-left policymaking: it ignores experience, common sense and most of all human nature — especially its darker side.

Just as Prop. 47 and now Prop. 57 have legalized crimes—57 even allows the rape of women to be considered “non-violent” under certain conditions.  California has become the center of crimes against teens and women—thank you Jerry Brown.

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California Democrats legalize child prostitution

By Assemblyman Travis Allen, Washington Examiner, 12/29/16

Beginning on Jan. 1, prostitution by minors will be legal in California. Yes, you read that right.

SB 1322 bars law enforcement from arresting sex workers who are under the age of 18 for soliciting or engaging in prostitution, or loitering with the intent to do so. So teenage girls (and boys) in California will soon be free to have sex in exchange for money without fear of arrest or prosecution.

This terribly destructive legislation was written and passed by the progressive Democrats who control California’s state government with a two-thirds “supermajority.” To their credit, they are sincere in their belief that decriminalizing underage prostitution is good public policy that will help victims of sex trafficking. Unfortunately, the reality is that the legalization of underage prostitution suffers from the fatal defect endemic to progressive-left policymaking: it ignores experience, common sense and most of all human nature — especially its darker side.

The unintended but predictable consequence of how the real villains — pimps and other traffickers in human misery — will respond to this new law isn’t difficult to foresee. Pimping and pandering will still be against the law whether it involves running adult women or young girls. But legalizing child prostitution will only incentivize the increased exploitation of underage girls. Immunity from arrest means law enforcement can’t interfere with minors engaging in prostitution — which translates into bigger and better cash flow for the pimps. Simply put, more time on the street and less time in jail means more money for pimps, and more victims for them to exploit.

As Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, a national leader on human trafficking issues, told the media, “It just opens up the door for traffickers to use these kids to commit crimes and exploit them even worse.” Another prosecutor insightfully observed that if traffickers wrote legislation to protect themselves, it would read like SB 1322.

Minors involved in prostitution are clearly victims, and allowing our law enforcement officers to pick these minors up and get them away from their pimps and into custody is a dramatically better solution than making it legal for them to sell themselves for sex. That only deepens their victimization and renders law enforcement powerless to stop the cycle of abuse. SB 1322 is not simply misguided — its consequences are immoral.

Unfortunately for Californians, SB 1322 isn’t an outlier — it’s only the tip of the liberal iceberg. 2017 will see the Golden State subjected to wave after wave of laws taking effect that are well-intentioned but disastrous embodiments of progressive utopianism.

One such new Democratic-authored law throws open the door to even greater government dependency on the part of the poor by rolling back proven reforms. In 1996, welfare reform was one of the greatest social legislation achievements of the last century, ending the lifetime welfare system and putting millions of Americans on the road to self-reliance and self-respect. In its wake, California lawmakers passed a law barring increased payments to women who have more children while still on welfare, in order to encourage women to achieve independence before having more children.

It’s a tough provision that works — which was apparently irrelevant to Gov. Jerry Brown, who just signed a bill repealing that prohibition. Henceforth, no matter how many children someone has while on welfare, the state government will ratchet up payments with each child, with no limit. Incredibly, the Democratic author of this bill claims she wants to discourage women from having more children while on welfare — but instead passed legislation replacing that effective reform with a law that restarts the cycle of welfare dependency.

In similarly inverted fashion, state Democrats have taken action to make California’s youth unemployment rate — one of the nation’s highest — even worse by boosting the minimum wage. It is an empirical fact that minimum-wage hikes increase unemployment among those who are the least skilled and most in need of entry-level jobs — our youth. Like other misguided liberal policies, this latest minimum-wage legislation will only lead to fewer jobs for our youth.

And the list goes on. Thanks to other new Democratic-sponsored bills, an estimated 50,000 felons will be voting in the next state election, many from their jail cells; if you go hunting with a buddy and lend him your shotgun, you’ll be breaking the law; state employees will be forbidden from traveling on business to states which prohibit transgender bathrooms. The parade of inane and idiotic legislation in California is virtually unending.

The common thread running through this avalanche of liberal-left legislation is the total absence of common sense and a stubborn insistence on ignoring human nature. On a certain level, we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, progressives still believe eliminating poverty is a matter of spending enough money on enough government programs. Despite spending $15 trillion on anti-poverty and welfare programs since 1965, our national poverty rate is actually slightly higher today than it was then.

California is loaded with natural resources and talented people who want to work hard, be successful and enjoy the fruits of that success. The tragedy is that California is in the grip of liberal politicians who believe we can help underage prostitutes by making it legal for them to be prostitutes; who believe we can reduce welfare dependence by increasing opportunities to become dependent; and who think we can increase employment by making it more expensive to hire people. California is ruled by a political party that places a higher priority on dictating to public schools their mascot choices than enabling parents to send their kids to the school of their choice.

Do Brown and the Democrat politicians behind this wave of bad legislation mean well? I believe they do, but unfortunately they’re only succeeding in proving that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It’s the bad luck of Californians that they’re dragging the rest of our state down that road with them.

Travis Allen, a Republican, represents the 72nd Assembly District in the California legislature.

Women: New Victims of Prop. 14 and End of Partisan Nominations

The rich, white male behind Prop. 14 got the trifecta when he spent more than $10 million to end partisan nominations for Constitution offices and legislative races.  The GOP lost 300,000 net voters in four years, gave the Democrats a super majority in both houses of the legislature and assured higher taxes for all Californians.  But, he is rich and can afford it.

Now we find that as Prop. 14 takes hold, the number of women in the legislature has gone down.  In 2016 there were 28 legislative races with only one Party on the ballot, 16 races with only one candidate on the ballot—and the U.S. Senate race had only one Party on the ballot—pitting a woman against a woman.

Hypocrisy of the Democrats, ““One of the easiest ways to increase women’s overall numeric representation is for the Republicans in particular to start fielding an increased number of female candidates,” Lawless says.” Yet when the GOP fielded Susan Shelley in a special election the corporations and womens groups endorsed the male Democrat.  Where were this promoters of women candidates when the Far-Left GOP’er (she endorsed Hillary for President) Meg Whitman ran for governor, these same folks endorsed an old, white male for Guv.

Between the rich killing off the GOP and the hypocrite women on the Left, women are squeezed out of office.  Even for the Senate, the two women were running to replace another women.  Very sad.

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Number of Women in California Legislature Dips to Nearly 20-Year Low. Now What?

By Katie Orr, KQED,  12/30/16

For a lot of women, this was supposed to be a big political year. The year a woman would be elected president and provide some long coattails for other women to grab onto. But, as we now know, Hillary Clinton came up short in her bid for the presidency. And state legislatures around the country saw the number of female representatives either drop or remain flat.

So is it time to throw out the playbook on getting women to run for office and start over? Government professor Jennifer Lawless says: Not so fast.

“For several decades now, the evidence has demonstrated that when women run for office, they are just as likely as men to win their races,” she says.

Lawless directs the Women & Politics Institute at American University in Washington, D.C. The question, Lawless says, isn’t whether women can win elections, but how to convince them to run. She says the majority of women who do run are Democrats, so there’s an easy fix if you’re looking for a way to get more women into office relatively quickly.

“One of the easiest ways to increase women’s overall numeric representation is for the Republicans in particular to start fielding an increased number of female candidates,” Lawless says.

In California, the Republican Party didn’t put any special emphasis on electing women this year. In the state Senate, the party lost one female representative. In the Assembly it lost five. Democrats lost two women in the Senate. But in the Assembly, Democrats actually added three women to their ranks. Overall, there are 26 women serving in the Legislature, the lowest number since 1998.

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia chairs the Legislative Women’s Caucus. She credits the growth in the Assembly to a concerted effort by her and other Democrats, including male colleagues.

“You can’t just say we want more women in office,” Garcia says. “If you have power, you need to use that power to move these women to the front of the list and make sure we’re getting behind them.”

Garcia focused heavily on getting Latino women elected to office this cycle. She says she also wants to help women currently in the Legislature become leaders in policy areas they care about.

“We have women who want to be experts and leaders in housing, who want to be leaders and experts in transportation,” she says. “So how do we prop them up so they can be leading the discussion?”

Aimee Allison agrees it’s smart to focus on women of color. Allison is with PowerPAC+, which provides financial support to progressive candidates of color. She points out that women of color are the most loyal Democratic Party voters, yet elections don’t often reflect that.

“Women in politics tends to be a white woman’s game, largely,” she says. “So the money raised and the spends are not on the full range of diversity, in terms of women.”

While the number of women in the state Legislature fell this year, the number of women serving on county boards of supervisors actually increased, from 67 in 2014 to 76 after the 2016 elections.

Gov. Jerry Brown has been praised for putting women in leadership roles within the state’s executive branch and for filling roughly half his appointed positions with women. But he appeared unconcerned about their numbers in the Legislature when recently speaking with reporters .

“I don’t know that mathematical exactitude is what either the Constitution requires or what we should be worried about,” Brown says. “Not everything is defined by gender. It’s a very important category, but there’s a lot of life that transcends gender.”

Still, Rachel Michelin, with the political training organization California Women Lead, says having more women in the Legislature matters. And with the current number dipping so low,  Michelin says women could be further sidelined from major discussions.

“With that small group of women, you’re losing out on committee chairships. You’re losing out on leadership positions,” she says. ” So that also is going to affect fundraising and the ability to raise money to help get other women elected.”

Michelin says her group is already focused on future elections. In 2021 political districts will be redrawn, possibly creating more open seats in the California Legislature.  When that time comes, Michelin wants more women across the state to be prepared to run for those position

Be Proud: Five of Ten Worst Cities in Nation for Stolen Cars in California!

California has the highest taxes in the nations, except for Hawaii the highest cost of gas, the highest housing costs and the worst roads.  Los Angeles is proud to have a school district with a 54% graduation—and that is when you don’t count the drop outs!  Now California can add another “honor”.

“In San Francisco, which takes the No. 3 spot on the list with 631.7 car thefts per 100,000 people, secured garage parking remains a fairly low priority for renters, says Charley Goss, head of government affairs at the San Francisco Apartment Association. Instead, he says many residents take public transportation or use a bicycle to get around the city rather than pay additional rent to park a car off the street.

“The city will try to minimize the amount of parking that’s provided [in a new apartment building], because it would like to incentivize public transit or certain green ways of transportation,” Goss says.

If you want your car stolen, you can go to:

  1. Modesto
  2. San Fran
  3. Bakersfield
  4. Fresno
  5. San Jose

Thanks to AB 109 releasing 50,000 prisoners, Prop. 47, not arresting criminals, and soon to be added Prop. 57, California could add more cities next year to the top ten.  Makes you proud!?

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Five of Ten Worst Cities in Nation for Stolen Cars in California!

By Devon Thorsby, U.S. News,  12/29/16

The U.S. News Best Places Data Drill Down, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that sheds light on multiple data points to help readers make the most informed decision when choosing where to live in the United States. Visit our 2016 Best Places to Live ranking to see which of the 100 most populous metro areas made it to the top of the list based on good value, desirability, a strong job market and a high quality of life.

Your ability to use a car to commute is imperative if you live in an area where public transportation is limited. When it comes time to find your next home, the safety of your car should play a major role in your sense of security.

As apartment and condominium communities offer an increasing number of amenities to appeal to potential renters and buyers, resident parking – and secured parking – is often considered a major plus, if not a must, for many.

U.S. News compiled data on car thefts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 2014 – the most recent year for complete data from the bureau – to determine which of the 100 largest metro areas in the country had the highest rate of car theft.

Albuquerque, New Mexico, takes the top spot for highest rate of car theft, with a total of 6,131 thefts in 2014 and 676.9 thefts per 100,000 people. The City of Albuquerque acknowledges its high rate of auto theft on its website, noting New Mexico’s shared border with Mexico gives car thieves added incentive because they can take the stolen vehicles across the border and sell them.

In San Francisco, which takes the No. 3 spot on the list with 631.7 car thefts per 100,000 people, secured garage parking remains a fairly low priority for renters, says Charley Goss, head of government affairs at the San Francisco Apartment Association. Instead, he says many residents take public transportation or use a bicycle to get around the city rather than pay additional rent to park a car off the street.

“The city will try to minimize the amount of parking that’s provided [in a new apartment building], because it would like to incentivize public transit or certain green ways of transportation,” Goss says.

Auto insurance companies not only recommend diligence about locking your car and keeping valuables out of sight to avoid tempting any passersby, but may also offer reduced premiums for drivers who park in a secured garage.

If you know that you live in an area with high rates of car theft, you can take advantage of long-term parking garages run by the city or a private third party, or one provided by your landlord if you live in an apartment building.

Here are the 10 metro areas with the highest rates of car theft in the U.S.

  1. Seattle

Seattle takes the No. 10 spot for highest rates of car theft out of the 100 largest metros in the U.S., with 469.1 thefts per 100,000 people. Despite racking up 17,560 vehicle thefts in 2014 and a higher-than-average property crime rate, Seattle maintains a lower-than-average crime rate, boosting it to the No. 7 spot in the Best Places to Live 2016 rankings.

  1. San Jose, California

The capital of Silicon Valley is known for its high cost of living and the high income of its residents – many of whom are big in the tech industry. The known wealth in the area may be a contributing factor to the number of car thefts reported: 471.4 per 100,000 people. Similar to Seattle, San Jose’s property crime remains below average compared with the rest of the country.

  1. Spokane, Washington

This eastern Washington metro area had the fewest total car thefts in the top 10 with just 2,578 in 2014, but Spokane’s population of just over half a million people means the auto theft rate is 472.3 per 100,000 residents. While violent crime has managed to remain below the national average, property crime in the Spokane area has been consistently higher than the national average for decades.

  1. Fresno, California

With 491.5 car thefts per 100,000 people, Fresno has the seventh-highest rate out of the 100 largest metro areas in the country. Fresno’s high rates of both property crime and violent crime, along with a high rate of unemployment and low average annual salary, contribute to the metro area’s low overall ranking (No. 97 out of 100) for Best Places to Live 2016.

  1. Milwaukee

The only metro area not in the western half of the U.S. on the list, Milwaukee’s rate of car thefts is 539.4 per 100,000 people. With just over 1.5 million residents in its metro area, Milwaukee experienced 8,496 car thefts in 2014, and additionally it has one of the highest violent crime rates in the country.

  1. Stockton, California

Stockton isn’t the only Central Valley metro area on the list, with 559 auto thefts per 100,000 people. In addition to above-average property and violent crime rates, Stockton’s high unemployment rate and high cost of living contribute to its taking the No. 98 spot on the Best Places to Live 2016 list.

  1. Bakersfield, California

A bit further south in California’s Central Valley, Bakersfield also makes the list with 5,328 car thefts in 2014, a rate of 603.9 incidents of theft per 100,000 people. Property crime rates have been declining in the Bakersfield area since 2012, but they remain above the national average. Another metro area with a struggling job market in addition to high crime rates and low incentive to move to the area, Bakersfield ranks No. 95 in the overall Best Places to Live 2016 ranking.

  1. San Francisco

As the largest metro area on the list, San Francisco is third with 631.7 car thefts per 100,000 people, equal to a total of 29,400 incidents in 2014. But the Golden City’s high rates of violent and property crime don’t outweigh the metro area’s ever-flourishing job market and high desirability among U.S. residents. San Francisco owns the No. 9 spot in the Best Places to Live 2016 rankings.

  1. Modesto, California

The sixth and final California metro area on the list, Modesto has the second-highest rate of auto theft out of the 100 largest metro areas in the country, with 649.7 thefts per 100,000 people. With a population of roughly three-quarters of a million people, the Modesto area has one of the highest violent and property crime rates in the country. It ranks No. 99 in the Best Places to Live 2016 ranking, beating out only San Juan, Puerto Rico.

  1. Albuquerque, New Mexico

The second-most eastern city of the 10 places with the highest rates of car theft, Albuquerque saw 676.9 auto thefts per 100,000 people in 2014. The City of Albuquerque notes New Mexico’s close proximity to the U.S. border with Mexico lends to a higher chance of vehicle theft, as criminals may not only be seeking joy rides or compensation from chop shops, but also the potential to take the car over the border to sell in Mexico.

 

Caldwell: The Wild, Wild West

In 2016, Californians will legally buy 1.3 million guns.  No idea how many illegal guns sales there are?  Thanks to AB 109, 50,000 criminals were let out of jail early and Prop. 47 made sure petty criminals never see the inside of a jail.  Steal property worth under $950 and you get a ticket—big deal.  My good friend Andy Caldwell calls this the “Wild, Wild, West”.

“So Gov. Brown, with great sleight of hand, dumped thousands of prisoners out of state prison remanding them to county jails. Since most county jails were already overcrowded themselves, the domino effect resulted in the phenomenon of catch-and-release on our streets. In other words, cops would book and immediately release criminals on a routine basis because our county jails no longer had the capacity to retain criminals awaiting trial nor many who were convicted.

Few can feel safe on our streets.  San Jose admits they need 300 more cops-and can’t hire them.  We protect criminals from foreign countries, those that murdered Kate Steinle and Marilyn Pharis were illegal aliens—protected by government—government refused to protect Pharis or Steinle.  Yup, had not thought about this way, but California is the wild west.

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Editorials : Guest Opinion: The Wild, Wild West

By Andy Caldwell, Santa Barbara News-Press,  12/29/16

   
 
 
 

I often write about the self-inflicted blows to our economy by our government, but what about the inflicted blows to public safety and welfare delivered by the electorate? Following the Legislature’s lead in approving AB109, voters subsequently approved Propositions 47 and 57, inflicting the most dangerous and dastardly atrocities on law and order imaginable.

AB109, if you recall, was Gov. Jerry Brown’s attempt to deal with three huge problems all having to do with prison overcrowding. First, our state was being threatened by the federal government for not having adequate medical treatment facilities for inmates. We were expected to spend billions on prison hospitals. Second, we had severe overcrowding in the prisons meaning we needed to spend even more money building greater capacity. Third, due to extremely generous pay and benefits to state prison guards, a problem in and of itself, options one and two were not considered feasible. So Gov. Brown, with great sleight of hand, dumped thousands of prisoners out of state prison remanding them to county jails. Since most county jails were already overcrowded themselves, the domino effect resulted in the phenomenon of catch-and-release on our streets. In other words, cops would book and immediately release criminals on a routine basis because our county jails no longer had the capacity to retain criminals awaiting trial nor many who were convicted.

Then came Propositions 47 and 57. The first downgraded a long list of felonies, mostly having to do with various forms of theft to misdemeanor status, while the latter granted early parole and release to a number of felons with the claim that their crimes were nonviolent in nature. These so-called nonviolent crimes include rape by intoxication, human trafficking involving sex with minors, drive-by shootings, assault with a deadly weapon, hostage-taking, domestic violence, failing to register as a sex offender, and the list goes on and on.

Why did these ballot propositions pass? Well, Attorney General Kamala Harris (our new U.S. senator) helped fool the voters by giving the measures deceptive titles and descriptions. Moreover, too many California voters are simply stuck on stupid.

Our situation is now dire. For many crimes, we no longer catch and release, we simply issue tickets. Only felons are seeing the inside of a jail or prison; what is worse, thousands of criminals are not even bothering to show up for court proceedings because they no longer fear incarceration as a consequence for their crimes. Some police departments are no longer investigating certain crimes because they know full well no prosecution or penalty will ensue. They have better things to do than write tickets and witness yet another failure to appear in court.

Moreover, our state Legislature has surely and deliberately taken away the rights of the citizenry to protect their lives and property by way of a dozen or so gun and ammunition control laws, leaving us at the mercy of the thousands of “nonviolent” felons now roaming free in our communities. Herein lies the legacy of Jerry Brown.

Andy Caldwell is the executive director of COLAB and host of The Andy Caldwell Radio Show, weekdays from 3-5 p.m., on News-Press Radio AM 1290.

 

 
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LA’s busy immigration courts could swell under Trump

Currently there are over 500,000 deportation cases that are in the courts.  Some will not be heard for up to four years, as if that mattered.  In deportation cases 93% of those to have a deportation hearing do not show up.  This is a farce.  Why show up—no one is going to look for you.  Add to that the 800,000 criminal illegal aliens given amnesty by Obama—and who will have the amnesty withdrawn on January 20, 2017—and we have a crisis.

“”This is the year that the crisis really came to a head,” said Jennifer Chacón, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine and observer of the immigration courts. “We’ve had growing backlogs, but people are getting their cases calendered for years from now.”

Those cases nationwide are at 526,175, according to the Transcactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, which uses government data to track the immigration courts. California currently has nearly 100,000 cases, with about half filling the courts in Los Angeles. That has all led to wait times at the courts that range from 2-4 years. (The Denver courts currently chart the longest average wait time in the nation, at 1,033 days, or 2.8 years.)

The answer is simple.  If you are given a notice of a hearing, it is held in 48 hours—either you are here legally or not, this is not rocket science.  The law is clear, oey and enforce the law.  These cases can be heard in a matter of months.  Just one questioned asked, “can you prove you have permission to be in this country?”  Once answered in the negative, they are ready for immediate deportation.  If they want to appeal, they should—from their native country.  What do you think?

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LA’s busy immigration courts could swell under Trump

by Dorian Merina, KPCC,  12/27/16

The nation’s busy immigration courts – already burdened by an unprecedented backlog of half a million cases – could strain even more if a Trump administration steps up deportations as promised.

“This is the year that the crisis really came to a head,” said Jennifer Chacón, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine and observer of the immigration courts. “We’ve had growing backlogs, but people are getting their cases calendered for years from now.”

Those cases nationwide are at 526,175, according to the Transcactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, which uses government data to track the immigration courts. California currently has nearly 100,000 cases, with about half filling the courts in Los Angeles. That has all led to wait times at the courts that range from 2-4 years. (The Denver courts currently chart the longest average wait time in the nation, at 1,033 days, or 2.8 years.)

The burden on judges could also increase, as dockets swell with more cases and those on the bench come under increasing pressure to render decisions.

“I see this as a pot that is going to boil over and scald everybody,” said Bruce Einhorn, a former immigration judge in Los Angeles. “I just don’t see pragmatically how you can almost double the number of cases without spending huge amounts of money to try to accommodate the dockets of the cases already on schedule and those that will be brought into the system.”

The backlog of cases is not new. It has steadily increased over the past decade — even as fewer immigrants have been apprehended along the Southwest border in recent years. In response, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the agency that oversees the courts, has added more judges, including one to Los Angeles in November. It’s also prioritized juvenile cases in an effort to speed up cases of migrant youth.

President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to step up deportations, starting with what he called an estimated 2-3 million undocumented immigrants with criminal records. That could affect the detention system, where many immigrants are held as they contest their deportation or await court dates.

The largest privately-run site in California is in Adelanto and holds about 2,000 adult detainees, but its troubled record on health care and treatment of detainees raises questions about how it and other sites could handle a boost of detainees.

Another factor that could affect the courts is who ends up heading the Justice Department, which ultimately runs the courts. Trump has named Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) to be attorney general.

Sessions, who still must clear a confirmation hearing, has fought efforts at comprehensive immigration reform as a senator and has pushed for limiting legal immigration. As attorney general, he would wield tremendous influence over the courts, including overseeing the hiring of judges, setting priorities and reviewing an appeals process for court decisions.

Mathews: Should California Corruption Be Forgot, and Never Thought Upon?

Joe Mathews is one of the great thinkers of our time.  While I do not always agree with him, he does make me think.  His belief is that if we had just a little bit of “corruption” we could build the housing that we need, instead of having the process hold up affordable housing and market priced homes.

“A famous observation of Samuel Huntington, one of the 20th century’s greatest political scientists, applies now in California.

“In terms of economic growth, the only thing worse than a society with a rigid, over centralized, dishonest bureaucracy is one with a rigid, over centralized, honest bureaucracy.”

Huntington wrote. ““A society which is relatively uncorrupt … may find a certain amount of corruption a welcome lubricant easing the path to modernization.”

Mathews makes a great point in support of getting “a little dirty”, “That’s why the change we need is not legal—it’s cultural. We need to be more politically mature and realize that big progress in governance almost always involves actions that are not entirely forthright. Indeed, some of our country’s most effective officials—like the Daleys in Chicago, or even a California character like Willie Brown, the former Assembly speaker and San Francisco mayor—were effective precisely because they didn’t always color inside the lines.

So as we greet 2017, let’s raise a toast to dealmaking that brings real progress, even when it’s dirty.”  Just a thought.

jerry-brown-signs-laws

Should California Corruption Be Forgot, and Never Thought Upon?

If the Golden State Is to Right Its Biggest Wrongs in the New Year, We’ll Have to Embrace Some Dirty Deals

 

By Joe Mathews, Zocalo Public Square,  12/29/16

Grab a glass of champagne. Then bend your mind around this New Year’s resolution for Californians: In 2017, let’s become more tolerant of political corruption.

Yes, bigotry against political skullduggery is just about the last socially acceptable prejudice in our state. And while the idea of tolerating dirty deal-making may sound perverse or strange, so are the ways we make decisions in California. We rarely consider how all of our rules curtailing the power and discretion of elected officials—rules approved in the name of preventing corruption—have made it so difficult to respond to large scale problems in our state that we no longer try.

Our state’s governance system has long been premised on the notion that our chosen representatives must be extremely naughty people. And so we’ve designed a highly complex government over the last century with the primary goal of preventing corruption, by limiting the power and discretion of elected and appointed officials to make dirty deals—or just about any other deals. That is the channel connecting our state’s rivers of regulations, oceans of laws, and tsunamis of formulas for budgets and taxes that defy human navigation.

All these obstacles have worked to a point: We’re a pretty clean state by American standards, with a relatively low rate of public corruption convictions. And the corruption cases you see here typically involve very small stakes for a big state—minor embezzlements, small-time cover-ups, and politicians who violate tricky campaign finance laws or (heaven forbid) live outside their districts.

The perverse result of our clean but hampered government is that we’ve opted to embrace large-scale, incapacitating societal wrongs, instead of accepting even the smallest rule-bending in the legislature or city hall (what other jurisdictions might still consider part of the cost of getting stuff done). In California, among the richest places on earth, thousands of homeless people are on the streets, and we tolerate the highest poverty rate in the United States. We have done little to respond to a huge and expanding shortage of housing for working and middle-class people. Our roads, bridges and waterworks are in dangerous disrepair. Our health system makes it hard to get health care, our schools offer too little education, and our tax system, by bipartisan acknowledgment, doesn’t tax us efficiently or fairly.

In hamstringing our politicians, we’ve frustrated ourselves.

And yet, attacking such big problems is considered wildly unrealistic. There are too many rules and regulations standing in the way of large-scale action. And if we got rid of those rules, we fear we would be abetting corruption.

Which is why we so desperately need to adopt a new attitude toward corruption.

A famous observation of Samuel Huntington, one of the 20th century’s greatest political scientists, applies now in California.

“In terms of economic growth, the only thing worse than a society with a rigid, over centralized, dishonest bureaucracy is one with a rigid, over centralized, honest bureaucracy.”

“In terms of economic growth, the only thing worse than a society with a rigid, over centralized, dishonest bureaucracy is one with a rigid, over centralized, honest bureaucracy,” Huntington wrote. ““A society which is relatively uncorrupt … may find a certain amount of corruption a welcome lubricant easing the path to modernization.”

California needs lubrication—and a little more corruption that allows us to advance larger public goals.

California must expedite the building of affordable housing, homeless housing, housing near transit, and housing on lots already zoned for housing—even if it means paying off certain interests to prevent their opposition and handing out exemptions to planning requirements and zoning and environmental laws like party favors. The alternative is to let the scandalous housing shortage grow, while we cross all the regulatory t’s and let NIMBYs tie us in knots. L.A. voters, for example, just approved money for homeless housing we need now—but it likely will take at least five years to have the housing in place if we follow the usual procedures. And it could be even worse if anti-growth activists, posing as warriors against corruption, succeed in passing a moratorium on certain developments on L.A.’s March ballot.

The poor state of California’s roads also cries out for some big corrupt deals, damn the environmental reviews. For years, the state has failed to address a $130-billion-plus backlog in state and local road repairs. A legislative report found that more than two-thirds of roads are in poor or mediocre condition, one of the worst records of any state in the country.

But California’s mix of limitations on infrastructure and taxes mean we’ll keep falling behind—as long as we play by the rules. Raising taxes to cover repairs requires a two-thirds vote of both houses of the state legislature and getting to two-thirds in cases like this requires buying votes with spending. But our abstemious governor hasn’t been willing to do the buying. He should resolve to be less righteous and more road-friendly in 2017. (And how fast can we get some contracts out the door and get construction crews on the highways?)

Roads and housing aren’t the only contexts where we prioritize following all the rules over meeting the needs of Californians. In education, state leaders make a fetish of meeting the very low requirement of the constitutional funding formula for schools—instead of finding ways, kosher or not, to lengthen our short school year (just 180 days) and offer students the math, science, arts and foreign language they need, but aren’t getting.

Our aqueducts and water mains so badly need updates and repairs that politicians should be raiding other government accounts to secure the necessary funds. But moving money around brings lawsuits and scrutiny. So no one dares resolve the problem, not even in a time of drought. Now is the moment to break rules and accelerate water infrastructure. Find ways to bully or buy off anyone who objects.

The stakes of our anti-corruption fixation may get higher in 2017. California finds itself in a confrontation with President-elect Donald Trump. Politicians are talking about how they are ready to fight Trump if he attacks California policies or threatens vulnerable people, like immigrants and Muslims.

Fighting may be necessary, but California and its governments are at a decided disadvantage in a battle with the richer and more powerful federal government. Dealmaking might be the better strategy, at least at first. On recent trips to Sacramento, lobbyists and other behind-the-scenes players argued to me that California should find some way to buy off Trump—either personally or in his presidential role—given the president-elect’s love of negotiations and his lack of interest in ethics or legal niceties. Of course, such creative dealmaking runs up against Californian rules and sensibilities.

That’s why the change we need is not legal—it’s cultural. We need to be more politically mature and realize that big progress in governance almost always involves actions that are not entirely forthright. Indeed, some of our country’s most effective officials—like the Daleys in Chicago, or even a California character like Willie Brown, the former Assembly speaker and San Francisco mayor—were effective precisely because they didn’t always color inside the lines.

So as we greet 2017, let’s raise a toast to dealmaking that brings real progress, even when it’s dirty.

 

A Case Study On Pension Reform: San Jose’s Grand Compromise

San Jose can not hire cops.  They are down 300.  Could this be why it is the ninth worst city in the nation for stolen cars?  Cops have more important crimes to prevent or solve.  Why the problem is hiring?  The pensions are no longer affordable by the city, so they can not afford the CalPERS payment.  Will till July 1, 2017 when the mandated contributions to CalPERS go up by double digits.  Could this be why so many are buying guns?

“Deputy Chief, Michael Knox says staffing numbers are at a dangerous low. In fact, he says they’re down at least 300 street-ready officers right now. “It causes us to put an enormous amount of stress on the existing staff,” Knox says “to make up for everyone who has left this department.”

He blames the exodus mostly on a watershed moment back in 2012. That’s when San Jose voters passed local ballot measure B. The initiative poured vinegar into the sweet tea of public worker compensation deals by making sweeping cuts to retirement pensions. Current employees would have to pay more for their retirement benefits or take a less generous pension. New employees would be offered less. All public workers would lose their disability protections as well the certainty of their pensions, altogether if there was a fiscal emergency.”

This is a problem facing all cities in California.  Santa Barbara spends $10 million a year on pensions—without the double digit increases they will pay $40 million in five years. Wonder how crime will rise when cops are not hired—just to pay for the out of control pension system.  Glad we have the Second Amendment.

Police car

A Case Study On Pension Reform: San Jose’s Grand Compromise

Ali Budner, Capitol Public Radio,  12/29/16

Cities and states across the country are facing public employee pension debt that is challenging and, in some cases, crippling their budgets. But some municipalities are experimenting with ways to solve that problem. In San Jose, California, voters passed a set of sweeping pension reforms back in 2012. The public employee unions fought back in court. Now a new initiative passed this November may offer a compromise that works.

It’s a rainy day in October. Three recruiting officers from the San Jose Police Department are standing behind a table in a bustling room on a nearby public university campus. Today is the school’s career fair and the SJPD booth is covered in schwag–stickers, pens, even tiny bottles of hand sanitizer–emblazoned with the Department’s logo. They’re hoping job-seekers will stop and apply.

Deputy Chief, Michael Knox says staffing numbers are at a dangerous low. In fact, he says they’re down at least 300 street-ready officers right now. “It causes us to put an enormous amount of stress on the existing staff,” Knox says “to make up for everyone who has left this department.”

He blames the exodus mostly on a watershed moment back in 2012. That’s when San Jose voters passed local ballot measure B. The initiative poured vinegar into the sweet tea of public worker compensation deals by making sweeping cuts to retirement pensions. Current employees would have to pay more for their retirement benefits or take a less generous pension. New employees would be offered less. All public workers would lose their disability protections as well the certainty of their pensions, altogether if there was a fiscal emergency.

“That has made it increasingly difficult to compete with other agencies,” says Knox. “And not only to recruit but to retain our staff.”

But the man who pioneered Measure B — former San Jose Mayor, Chuck Reed — says pension reform was necessary. When he took office back in 2007, he inherited a massive budget deficit. To deal with it, first he did all the things that make people hate politicians. He laid people off, raised taxes, and made deep cuts to public services. But he sayspension costs were the real culprit.In the first two years of his term, the city’s pension debt had actually skyrocketed to almost a billion dollars. “And so when the choice was cutting services more, raising taxes more, or making some modification to retirement benefits,” Reed says, “the public was supportive of reasonable modifications.”

“It’s not a hard and fast rule,” says Josh Rauh, professor of Finance at Stanford University. “But once more than 20 percent of the city’s revenues are going towards public employee pensions, people start saying ‘gee, this is untenable’. That’s what happened in San Jose. They crossed that threshold.”

Measure B passed with nearly 70 percent of the vote. Reed says, “It felt like the people of San Jose agreed with me that we needed to do something about retirement costs.” He argues it’s something other cities and state of California should be doing, but aren’t.

He points to a framed editorial cartoon on his office wall. It shows California as a Titanic-like ship sinking into the sea. And two men with life jackets reading “San Jose” and “San Diego” (another city that passed its own version of pension reform) are watching it sink from their tiny lifeboat.

“So San Diego and San Jose are rowing away in a pension reform lifeboat while the state of California sinks,” says Reed.

But public employee unions saw Measure B differently. They despised the new law. And it wasn’t just them. Some in the business community worried about its effect on city agencies, especially public safety.

Reginald Swilley, a co-owner of the Minority Business Consortium in San Jose, was so upset about the number of officers the police department lost after Measure B passed, he said he had trouble talking about it. He’s an African American businessman and activist. “You know the problem with police and black people around the country, right?” He says. “We need good police.”

Critics of Measure B eventually got their say. Soon after voters passed the measure in 2012, the public employee unions challenged its legality. A superior court judge struck down a handful of the law’s provisions — saying it was unconstitutional to alter benefits for current employees.

“San Jose made a risky gamble and it failed,” says Tom Saggau, spokesperson for the San Jose police officers and firefighters. He was at the table when the city and the unions negotiated an entirely new voter initiative (Measure F) based on the court ruling. It passed by a healthy margin this November. It’s a compromise that both sides seem happy with.

For the workers, says Saggau, “it’s a vested benefit, that restores disability protections, and keeps a promise that if you do what you say you’re going to do, have a career here in San Jose, you’re gonna have a retirement benefit that you’re gonna be able to support yourself on.”

And the city says it will still save about $3 billion over the next 30 years. That’s because this compromise will significantly cut down on retiree health benefits and cost of living adjustments. It will also eliminate the “13th check” — an annual bonus payment public workers had received in the years before 2012.

 

Panic at the Salon: Leftist Actress Chops Off Hair to Avoid Looking Like Mrs. Trump

Trump Derangement Syndrome is epidemic in the Hollywood community.  Some threatened to leave the country—they were just joking.  But Olivia Wilde, a second tier actress on “House”, who to get a job on “Vinyl” (HBO—quickly cancelled, she had to go totally, frontally nude) is so fearful of the Trump family, she is cutting her hair off!  Not a joke—except on her.

“Celebrities are getting desperate after the Trump victory. Leftist actress Olivia Wilde –a huge Clinton supporter –believed her hair resembled Melania Trump’s and decided to debut a new haircut on Instagram with the hashtag, “#nomoremelaniahair.”

People magazine reported that because they had the same length of chestnut brown hair with highlights at the end, and often styled it the exact same way — with long, loose face-framing waves, Wilde believed she had “Melania Trump” hair. As if anyone without a huge ego would notice “hair twins.””

But since Melania is a brunette, will Olivia color her hair blonde?  Melania is a women, will Olivia have a sex change?  Opps, can’t do that because someone might mistake her for Donald Trump.  No wonder therapists in Hollywood drive Rolls-Royce’s!  Olivia needs deep therapy if she thinks her hair means anything to anybody.

Donald Trump SNL

Panic at the Salon: Leftist Actress Chops Off Hair to Avoid Looking Like Mrs. Trump

By Melissa Mullins, MRC NewsBusters,  12/27/16

Celebrities are getting desperate after the Trump victory. Leftist actress Olivia Wilde –a huge Clinton supporter –believed her hair resembled Melania Trump’s and decided to debut a new haircut on Instagram with the hashtag, “#nomoremelaniahair.”

People magazine reported that because they had the same length of chestnut brown hair with highlights at the end, and often styled it the exact same way — with long, loose face-framing waves, Wilde believed she had “Melania Trump” hair. As if anyone without a huge ego would notice “hair twins.”

In addition to chopping off her long and luscious locks, Wilde is also part of another trend – by wearing a T-shirt full of safety pins to support minorities, women and anyone who felt unsafe during a Trump presidency and promoting the Women’s March on Washington the day after Trump’s inauguration.

It’s still unclear what women, minorities and anyone else has to fear under a Trump presidency, unless you count those disastrous haircuts some women have been getting to make political statements.

According to New York magazine, liberal women are taking it to the salon and making drastic changes to their hair in order to make a political statement against President-elect Donald Trump.

Heidi Mitchell gave a few detailed accounts on just how some women are deciding to make the cut, such as Julianna Evans who usually makes the trek to Washington D.C. from New York City  in order to her stylist to get her hair colored and trimmed. After the November 8 election, Evans “fell into a downward spiral” and “cried for three days” and decided to take it out on her hair when she noticed a few gray hairs:

“I felt like it was the worst thing, politically, that ever happened in my lifetime. It was catastrophic…Literally without thinking, I grabbed the Natural Black box by Garnier…I was like, f** it! The election deadened my soul. I think I wanted to do something defiant to feel stronger.”

Mitchell writes that November is usually seen as a slow month in salons, but not this year, according to Nicole Butler – a creative director and master colorist at Daniel’s Salon in Dupont Circle whom she interviewed. Butler said she received numerous bookings with at least three women a day asking for a completely new look – whether it be a new color or chopping off 6+ inches of hair. “Usually stuff like this is planned for weeks and put on the books after several consultations, but this was very spontaneous…It was like a mass declaration of independence.”