Ventura County Recession: Private Sector Loses 1100 Jobs—Governments Gain 2500 Jobs

Here is what you need to know about the recession that is hitting Ventura County.

In September Ventura County LOST 1100 Private Sector Jobs, and gained 100.

The government sector gained 2500 jobs in government, education and health care.  In others words much fewer people with real jobs, providing 2500 government jobs—that means tax dollars going to more, from fewer.

Why is California moving toward a recession?  Ventura County is an example of out of control government and policies that kill private jobs.  Thought you should know in advance of the coming California economic collapse.

Jobs

 

Ventura County Recession: Private Sector Loses 1100 Jobs—Governments Gain 2500 Jobs

The Thousand Oaks Acorn,  11/9/17

 

The California Labor Market report revealed that Ventura County’s September unemployment rate of 4.7 percent was down from a revised 5.3 percent in August. A total of 2,600 nonfarm jobs were added in September, while 1,100 jobs were lost, resulting in a net increase of 1,500 jobs.

The loss in jobs includes 800 in professional and business services, 200 in manufacturing and 100 in leisure and hospitality. The gain in jobs includes 1,900 in government, 600 in educational and health services, and 100 in construction.

Business Bits is compiled using information provided by the City of Thousand Oaks.

Bullet Train Project Comes to Life in Central California –Future Economic Death Trap

Go to Fresno and you see whole areas of the town torn up and other parts looking like a war zone.  Both are because of the choo choo to nowhere.  Freeways are being redirected, bridges built over the freeways and lots of folks are getting hired—billions in contracts have been signed.  But, ask where the money is coming from?  No answer.  Ask the cost of riding the train?  No answer.  Ask the route?  No answer.  This union and crony capitalist scam is spending money it does not happen.

“The challenges the $68 billion project has faced so far are many, including entrenched political opposition, logistical challenges of right-of-way and route selection, clearing the significant environmental hurdles to comply with both state and federal regulations, and securing funding.

“The most obvious challenge is funding,” Richard said in an interview. “But I think our biggest challenge is imagination. Most Americans have not ridden high-speed rail. Most Americans cannot imagine how this project is going to change their lives.”

They admit, the do not have the money to pay their contracts or to finish the project.  Why hasn’t the AG closed down this open scam?  Because he supports it.  Yes, this will change our lives—the people of California will be paying for these payoffs for decades—with nothing to show for it.  Coming to life?  Wait for the criminal indictments for this scam.

xpress-west-1 train

Bullet Train Project Comes to Life in Central California

MATTHEW RENDA, Courthouse News,  11/28/17

 

FRESNO, Calif. (CN) – Driving south on Highway 99 past Madera, a small agricultural town characteristic of California’s Central Valley, the yellow cranes jut out against the horizon.

For proponents of the California high-speed rail project, the cranes are not only the symbols of progress, bustle and productivity; they also represent a sense of inevitability for one of the nation’s largest and most daunting infrastructure projects.

“Building something like this is very hard,” said California High-Speed Rail Authority Board Chairman Dan Richard. “In 21st century America, to build something of any magnitude is an enormous undertaking.”

The challenges the $68 billion project has faced so far are many, including entrenched political opposition, logistical challenges of right-of-way and route selection, clearing the significant environmental hurdles to comply with both state and federal regulations, and securing funding.

“The most obvious challenge is funding,” Richard said in an interview. “But I think our biggest challenge is imagination. Most Americans have not ridden high-speed rail. Most Americans cannot imagine how this project is going to change their lives.”

But critics of the project remain, and in some quarters they are growing more vociferous.

One of the more unlikely critics is Quentin Kopp. Dubbed the father of California high-speed rail, the former state senator was instrumental in convening the California High-Speed Rail Authority in 1996, served as its chairman, and wrote the ballot proposal Proposition 1A — ultimately approved by California voters in 2008.

“The project they have now is not high-speed rail,” Kopp said.

Kopp believes the rail authority’s plans to share track with Caltrain’s regional service from San Jose to San Francisco will not only hinder the system’s ability to be financially self-sustaining once built, but run contrary to the legal provision set forth in Proposition 1A.

“There are two characteristics set forth in Proposition 1A, one that it must run on dedicated tracks and not share a track with any other entity, and the other is that it must be electrified so it can obtain its top speed,” Kepp said.

These issues are central to a lawsuit filed in Sacramento County Superior Court by farmer John Tos, Kings County and other plaintiffs against the California High Speed Rail.

Tos owns nearly 600 acres of farmland in Kings County, and he says his agricultural operations will be severely impacted by the proposed route.

“John has been hurt the worst out of anybody in Kings County,” Kings County Supervisor Doug Verboon said in an interview.

Verboon also opposes high-speed rail, and says even those who support the project in his mostly rural community are completely frustrated with the way the project has been carried out.

“It’s devastating to see our community going through this and they still don’t have a plan,” Verboon said.

But the county supervisor also reluctantly acknowledges that Fresno stands to benefit from high-speed rail, as the station and surrounding commercial and residential development has the potential to transform a currently downtrodden part of the city.

The same goes for the small town of Hanford in Kings County, where the rail authority plans to put a station and a modest maintenance yard.

“If it’s all said and done, we don’t to miss out on the opportunity and it is important to have a station there,” Verboon said. “Not everybody is going to want to go to Fresno.”

This spirit of reluctant acceptance is beginning to pervade communities up and down the Central Valley, an agricultural breadbasket with a politically conservative outlook that is far removed from the palm tree-lined streets, surf-decked beaches or Golden Gate-flecked visions most outsiders harbor of California.

The bustle of new construction and the influx of jobs to a region that had soaring unemployment rates even as the rest of the state recovered post-recession has played a part in catalyzing that perspective shift.

“The money we got was from the federal stimulus program, and the Central Valley is an area that has high poverty and high unemployment,” Richard, the rail authority chairman, said. “The investment we have made has made a tremendous difference there.”

Construction is underway in a 119-mile corridor from Madera to Kern County, with projects running the gamut from large concrete viaducts to highway realignments to large trenches for track running north-south just west of downtown Fresno.

“We’re using 30 percent local contractors and there is a lot of disadvantaged and minority workers on the project right now,” said Toni Tinoco, a spokeswoman for California High-Speed Rail who took Courthouse News on a tour of construction sites from the Madera-Fresno County border to south of Fresno, a city of nearly 500,000. “It’s not just the contractor and subcontractor either, but there are a lot of professional services that come with project too.”

While Tinoco is eager to tout the community benefits of the active construction, she understands the gripes of property and business owners who were displaced or forced to relocate as part of the project.

However, she notes even those contentious matters have sometimes reached a positive resolution.

Cosmopolitan’s, a famed Fresno restaurant, was forced to move due to high-speed rail construction. But it has since capitalized on its new digs located closer to downtown amenities with more and better parking.

Likewise, the Chinatown businesses, which have been hurt by road closures near the construction in Fresno, have recently come around after realizing once the rail is up and running, their proximity to a brand new station may carry more economic benefits in the long term that outweigh the present impairment.

Verboon said these examples may be convenient for high-speed rail officials, but are the exception.

He says his constituents, several of whom have agricultural operations that have run for decades if not centuries, are unable to get fair compensation from the rail agency that is looking after its own bottom line.

“You have a ranch that has been in a family for several generations and it’s worth $500,000. And now it’s worth only $100,000 and it has a train running through it,” Verboon said. “How do you even get compensated for that?”

But the focus on the Central Valley presents another problem for high-speed rail, according to Kopp, the onetime proponent-turned-critic.

“When the ballot measure passed, it specified San Francisco to Los Angeles must be traversed at speeds of 220 miles per hour,” Kopp said, noting the measure also specified the Central Valley would be used as a test track. But current plans call for the first trains to run between Bakersfield and San Jose – not LA to San Francisco – starting in 2025, tentatively.

“You’re gonna start service from Wasco to Chowchilla,” Kopp said. “Wow, so many people are going to ride that.”

Others question whether the rider demand will be there, particularly when the project initially billed as connecting California’s two major metropolitan hubs will – for the time being – only connect some Central Valley cities and San Jose.

Furthermore, the obvious problem of funding hovers even as construction booms in and around Fresno.

Richard, the rail authority chair, said high-speed rail has “its arms around where about two-thirds of the money will come from.”

But he acknowledges that the federal support originally contemplated by the architects of high-speed rail like Kopp does not seem to be forthcoming.

While the state of California and Gov. Jerry Brown said funds generated via its cap-and-trade program on carbon emissions will be siphoned off to support high-speed rail, it remains unclear how much that program can generate.

The high-speed rail authority confirmed in October that it has spent the $3.5 billion in federal stimulus funds, which Richard said was used to get the project to where it is today.

Critics like Kopp and Verboon say that money has largely been squandered through inefficiency, cost overruns and other logistical quagmires.

The rail authority also maintains private investment has the possibility to overcome funding issues, with Richard and other board members saying they expect investors to get in the game as the project nears fruition.

Kopp calls that “propaganda,” though the project was buoyed by news earlier this month that the rail authority awarded a $30 million contract to DB Engineering, the U.S.-based arm of German rail giant Deutsche Bahn. Richard said at the time several companies from countries like Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Canada and China demonstrated growing international interest in the project, lending it weight and validity.

But during the same meeting, fellow board member Dan Curtin said he was troubled by the lack of plans for soliciting private investment in the contract between the rail authority and DB Engineering.

And the fact that Richard is the main spokesman for the rail authority underscores another area of concern: a recent exodus in executive leadership.

CEO Jeff Morales stepped down this past spring and has yet to be replaced. Other senior leadership positions recently vacated also remain empty.

Despite these persistent challenges, even critics treat the project with a sense of inevitability, a good sign for the embattled rail authority staff members charged with managing the first ever high-speed rail project in the United States and one of the largest public infrastructure projects of the new century.

Richard hopes that positive sign and the ever-present cranes hovering beside the Fresno skyline are enough to be the harbingers of a new era of transportation in California and beyond.

 

Democrat Congressman Al Green Slept With And Then Sued Allegedly Drug-Addicted Staffer

How sick are the Democrats?  San Fran Nan took years after first finding out that John Conyers was a sexual predator.  She defended Congressman Bob Filner through his abuses of women and she was the number one defender of the rapist Bill Clinton.  Now we find yet another example of how the Democrats abuse women on Capitol Hill.

“Texas Democratic Rep. Al Green had sex with a staffer who he said was a drug addict and then sued her when she threatened to go public with claims she suffered a hostile work environment, saying he “will not be extorted or blackmailed.”

Lucinda Daniels, his onetime district director, claimed she suffered a hostile work environment, claimed sexual harassment and demanded $1.8 million. Green sued her, saying she was using their sexual relationship to shake him down at the behest of other unnamed conspirators.

Pass this along to your friends and put the story on Facebook and Twitter—here is another Democrat protected by Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat Party.

lawsuit

Congressman Slept With And Then Sued Allegedly Drug-Addicted Staffer

Luke Rosiak, Daily Caller,  11/27/17

Texas Democratic Rep. Al Green had sex with a staffer who he said was a drug addict and then sued her when she threatened to go public with claims she suffered a hostile work environment, saying he “will not be extorted or blackmailed.”

Lucinda Daniels, his onetime district director, claimed she suffered a hostile work environment, claimed sexual harassment and demanded $1.8 million. Green sued her, saying she was using their sexual relationship to shake him down at the behest of other unnamed conspirators.

“Daniels has threatened to go public with her complaints if the Congressman does not per her money. Green has done nothing wrong and refuses to pay ‘hush money’ just for political expediency. Green will not be extorted or blackmailed by Daniels. He will not be the victim of a shakedown by Daniels and her agents. Green demands vindication of his actions and now sues Daniels for declaratory judgment relief relating to her workplace allegations and her quest for money,” documents Green filed in federal court in 2008 say.

Daniels also unknowingly dialed the congressman while she was allegedly buying cocaine. Green submitted the voicemail, now sealed, as evidence in the case.

In the recording, “Daniels is heard ‘snorting’ the cocaine immediately before questioning whether it was ‘cut’ with some other substance and being assured that it was “straight off the ki[lo] … Daniels asks for the purchase price of the drugs, which she calls her ‘Tuesday special’ price. In response, the drug dealer sells her the drugs for $40.”

Green said Daniels “act[ed] sluggish at work as through under the influence of drugs” and “slurr[ed] her speech as if under drug influence.” He claims she fell “asleep on the phone in the middle of telephone conversations with staff and the Congressman” and had “a general appearance of incoherence at times due to apparent drug use.”

Lucinda Daniels, the staffer, claimed she suffered a hostile work environment.

Green confronted Daniels on the drug use and suggested she seek treatment. Not long afterward, Daniels “claims the Congressman retaliated against her in the workplace because of her gender and because she refused additional romantic requests.” Green rejected her claims as false.

Though the case apparently went unnoticed, Green’s office put out a preemptive statement Monday in conjunction with Daniels saying:

In the present climate, we wish to jointly quiet any curious minds about our former and present relationship with one another. We are friends, and have long been friends. At an unfortunate time in our lives, when both of our feelings were hurt, we hastily made allegations and charges against one another that have been absolutely resolved.

This matter has been resolved without payment of any money or transfer of any consideration of any kind by either of us to the other. As friends, we have both agreed that we see no need to make further statements regarding this absolutely resolved matter.

College spending $60k to turn computer lab into ‘safe space’–Really!

The students that attend Santa Monica College want to be prepared for the future.  So, radical students and the Administration are preparing them for a future—of therapy instead of a job.  Which is more important to the students—a computer lab or a “safe room”?  This is why educators have thrown away preparing students for a successful future of work and family.  Instead they are preparing for the revolution and assure adults of the future as unable to emotionally survive in the real world.

“Santa Monica College will move forward with a plan to transform a popular computer lab into a social justice center despite a petition signed by hundreds of students.

According to The Stringer, the proposal to construct the Social Justice and Gender Equity Center was spearheaded by Dr. Nancy Grass, Dean of Student Life, and would cost a total of $500,000, including $60,000 for a “computer lab update.”

“It is morally wrong to take a program as valuable as the Computer Lab from all of us while at the same time using the student fees that we all paid to do so.”

In the future the students in the safe room will be in poverty and emotionally disabled—the others will have great jobs and finance the poverty level existence of those unable to survive hearing views they do not like and having people in office they dislike.  Santa Monica College is a breeding ground for poverty and mental illness.

Work_in_the_computer_lab

College spending $60k to turn computer lab into ‘safe space’

Nikita Vladimirov, Campus Reform,  11/29/17

   
  • Santa Monica College is preparing to spend $60,000 to “update” a popular computer lab in order to make way for a new $500,000 social justice center.
  • The move was approved unanimously by the student government’s Board of Directors, but more than 300 students have signed a petition protesting the use of student fees to finance the removal of a popular service.

Santa Monica College will move forward with a plan to transform a popular computer lab into a social justice center despite a petition signed by hundreds of students.

According to The Stringer, the proposal to construct the Social Justice and Gender Equity Center was spearheaded by Dr. Nancy Grass, Dean of Student Life, and would cost a total of $500,000, including $60,000 for a “computer lab update.”

“It is morally wrong to take a program as valuable as the Computer Lab from all of us while at the same time using the student fees that we all paid to do so.”

While a university representative told Campus Reform that students proposed to “update the outdated computer and technology” and repurpose unused space, Lee Peterson, the supervisor of the Cayton Lab, previously expressed his concerns about the proposal.

“The administration is basically demanding that the student government spend more money on anything that it has in the entire history of SMC, all at once, without any significant discussion,” he told the publication.

A letter from the Associated Students President shared on social media also explains that the proposal will “add a Safe Space for Undocumented Students, DACA Students, LGBTQ+ Community, Religious Practice, and many more.”

As of press time, however, more than 330 people had signed a Change.org petition labeling the potential move “a huge waste of student resources” that will be “destructive to the community as a whole.”

“The computer lab offers free printing and internet access as well as computers to all students, and should not be removed. This petition seeks to ensure the preservation of the Cayton Center Computer Lab only,” the document states.

“If a safe space is necessary, then other accommodation should be found,” the petition continues. “It is morally wrong to take a program as valuable as the Computer Lab from all of us while at the same time using the student fees that we all paid to do so.”

Ben Kolodny, vice president of the school’s Small Gov Club and the author of the petition, told Campus Reform that despite student pressure, the Associated Students Board of Directors passed the measure unanimously on Monday.

“I and the former Associated students president were kicked out of the meeting illegally by a demand made by the sitting AS President,” Kolodny claimed, adding that “When I tried to come back in, police tried to bar my way.”

Kolodny also alleged that “public comment was not allowed” after the board introduced new information to the proposal, arguing that the action violated the Brown Act, a California law that is intended to protect public access to meetings of local government agencies.

“We will be filling a ‘Cure and Correct’ order and attempting to get this overturned,” he vowed.

A university spokesperson, however, insisted that “no one was removed from the Associated Students Board meeting and no students who left were denied entry to return.”

“Several students were disruptive, and were asked to be quiet,” the official maintained. “Some of these students left the meeting on their own, and later several of these students returned on their own to the meeting.”

On Sunday, Kolodny also noted that the website for the new social justice center had already been created prior to the Monday vote, and that a “plan to establish a gender equity center to serve all students” was listed as “Objective 3” of the school’s broad “Master Plan for Education.”

In a statement to Campus Reform, a college representative further explained that the initial concept for a gender equity center “came from students and faculty three years ago” and that the students later decided that a “Social Justice Center would best encompass the desired range of student needs.”

Ring: Rhetoric to Challenge California’s Statist Elites

Those running the State, the big corporations, the very rich really want the peons, the middle class to leave.  They prefer robots, drones and illegal aliens.  Tax policies keep families poor.  Gas taxes make sure transportation is the most expensive in the nation.  Environment regulations designed by the rich Progressives assure high housing costs.  They make sure kids get a poor education by making it hard to a quality education by keeping students in failed schools run by unions, not educators.

“The ruling elites are a powerful coalition, comprised of left wing oligarchs including most of Silicon Valley’s billionaires, California’s public sector unions armed with the billion dollars (or more) they collect every year in forced dues, and the environmentalist lobby and their powerful trial lawyer cohorts.

Defeating California’s ruling elite requires a new coalition, comprised of the private sector middle class, enlightened members of the public sector middle class, and members of disadvantaged communities that aspire to the middle class. Attracting members of these communities, especially California’s Latinos, Asians, and African Americans, requires convincing them that current policies actually harm their interests.

But it not only the middle class that are the victims of the elites—it is people of color, used and abused by the rich and special interests.  Time to return government to all the people.

telsa-elon-musk

Rhetoric to Challenge California’s Statist Elites

by Ed Ring, California Policy Center,  11/22/17

California’s ruling elites have enacted policies that make it impossible for middle class citizens to live here. They have artificially elevated the cost of living, nearly destroyed public education, decimated public services, neglected public infrastructure, and declared war on small business. To deflect criticism, they’ve convinced a critical mass of voters that any attempts to roll back these abominable policies are being engineered by racist, sexist plutocrats, and their willing puppets in the Republican party.

Exposing this diabolical, conniving scam won’t be easy. The ruling elites are a powerful coalition, comprised of left wing oligarchs including most of Silicon Valley’s billionaires, California’s public sector unions armed with the billion dollars (or more) they collect every year in forced dues, and the environmentalist lobby and their powerful trial lawyer cohorts.

Defeating California’s ruling elite requires a new coalition, comprised of the private sector middle class, enlightened members of the public sector middle class, and members of disadvantaged communities that aspire to the middle class. Attracting members of these communities, especially California’s Latinos, Asians, and African Americans, requires convincing them that current policies actually harm their interests.

To do this, there are two moral arguments the elites make that have to be debunked, because they underlie all of the intrusive, statist policies that are destroying California’s middle class. The first is the argument that capitalism is inherently evil and must be strictly curbed if not completely replaced by socialism. The second is the argument that unprecedented sacrifices must be made in order to save the planet from an environmental catastrophe.

Corrupt Capitalism vs Competitive Capitalism

Here are examples of two very different ways to critique wealth. In each example, the first phrase is employed by the ruling elites. It feeds on resentment and ignorance. The second phrase is offered as a counter argument. It appeals to the aspiring middle class family, or the small businessperson. It is designed to extol the positive virtues of capitalism and expose the opportunistic cynicism of the statist elites.

(1) “Tax the corporations” vs “make corporations compete.”

(2) “Capitalism is inherently evil” vs “no economic system in history has delivered more individual freedom and prosperity.”

(3) “Wealth is usually the result of privilege” vs “Wealth is usually the result of hard work in a free society.”

(4) “Government needs to regulate corporations” vs “corrupt corporations use regulations to destroy their smaller competitors.”

(5) “We have to redistribute wealth so people can afford to live” vs “we have to nurture capitalist competition to lower the cost of living.”

These arguments shine a spotlight on the great con job promulgated by the elites: The ruling class does not care about you, but we do. Because like you, we have to try to make payments on a half-million or even a million dollar mortgage, just to own a small house. Like you, we have to pay more for gasoline and electricity than any other citizens in any other state in America. Like you, we have to send our children to failing K-12 schools, then sink further into debt to pay tuition for them to attend colleges and universities where they don’t get a good education.

Extreme Environmentalism vs Practical Environmentalism

Apart from the distraction of race and gender, environmentalism provides the moral argument used as cover for policies that have imposed a punitive cost of living on Californians. It is important to make the distinction between attacks that discredit environmentalism in its entirety, and environmentalist reform that exposes the hidden agendas and inherent futility of California’s extremist environmental policies. Here are examples of two very different ways to apply environmentalist values.

(1) “Stop urban sprawl” vs “California has 163,000 square miles of land and is nearly empty, adding 10 million more people on quarter acre lots (even including new roads and new commercial/industrial centers) would consume less than 2,000 square miles!”

(2) “People need to live in multi-family dwellings” vs “detached single family homes are cheaper per unit to build than multi-family dwellings, and are more popular among buyers.”

(3) “There isn’t enough water for people to have detached homes and yards” vs “for less than $20 billion, we could build enough desalination capacity to provide water to every home and business in Los Angeles County; farming consumes 80% of all water diversions in California, we are exporting water intensive crops like alfalfa, grown using massively subsidized water, in the Imperial Valley (desert)!”

(4) “The government needs to discourage further development of fossil fuels such as clean natural gas” vs “Californians are paying as much as ten times what energy consumers pay for electricity in low cost states, and that California’s CO2 emissions are a minute fraction of those from other nations such as China and India.”

(5) “We have to get people out of their cars and build passenger rail” vs “cars, trucks and buses offer far more convenience and versatility, and are on the verge of becoming 100% clean and sustainable modes of transportation.”

(6) “No new mines and quarries should be allowed within California, and existing ones should be phased out” vs “developing in-state natural resources creates in-state jobs and costs less than importing materials from elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada.”

When the elites demand “environmental justice” for people of color, ask them (using the San Francisco Bay Area as an example) what any of that has to do with why we can’t build homes on the eastern slopes of the Mt. Hamilton Range, or in San Jose’s Coyote Valley, or along the I-280 corridor in the Santa Cruz mountains. Ask them why they’re paying 60% of their income for rent or a mortgage, when California has 163,000 square miles of land and is nearly empty. Ask why money that is being spent on high speed rail, using imported materials, isn’t instead being used to create high paying jobs in road and infrastructure projects that will actually improve lives. Ask why thousands of people aren’t working in high paying jobs in mining and quarrying, so building materials can cost less.

For aggressive reformers, good questions are plentiful. What have California’s elites done for working families? Have they gotten you better jobs? Have they nurtured robust and competitive housing markets to lower the price of a home? Have they widened the freeways? Have they enabled competition to drive down the cost-of-living? Have they made your communities safe and prosperous and affordable? Have they done anything other than bribe your so-called leaders with campaign contributions so they’ll do what they’re told?

It comes down to this: These purported spokespersons for true environmentalist values have become personally successful by fomenting environmentalist panic, but they do not represent the best interests of ordinary Californians, and they do not articulate a realistic or practical vision of environmentalism.

California’s elite has declared war on the working class. They have used race as a distraction, and extreme environmentalism as the phony moral justification for their self-serving policies. They must be exposed.

The Moral High Ground

This fact – that the rhetoric of California’s elite does not translate into a better quality of life for the people they govern – is the core moral argument against current policies. Across virtually every issue, the policies of the elites are failing ordinary Californians. Pouring money into public schools has not helped students. Raising taxes has not improved services. Expanding college curricula that replace academic rigor with what amounts to political indoctrination has not improved employment opportunities for graduates. And creating artificial scarcity in the name of saving the planet has not helped the planet, but it has impoverished millions of California’s most economically vulnerable residents.

In claiming the moral high ground, reformers can use the same rhetoric the elites have employed for decades, and by doing so will find the elites have already done much of their work for them. The seditious goal of making California friendlier to small businesses, with more affordable housing, more affordable energy, better jobs and better schools is furthered by reminding Californians what the elites have done. They have engaged in one of the biggest cons of all time, enriching themselves at the expense of the average worker.

Once the issues of race and environmentalism are exposed as overstated issues, overemphasized in order to manipulate the electorate, then the resentment the elites have inculcated in their constituents can be turned against them.

Pro-growth policies don’t have to rely on terminology that has been tainted by the status-quo elites. “Free market,” “Libertarian,” “Conservative,” “Classical liberal,” etc. have seductive appeal for many ideologically driven reformers, but they have limited value in California politics. Reformers have to supplement their vocabulary, borrowing more from the left than from the right. The values and slogans that the ruling class has invested decades in inculcating in the minds of Californians can be used against them, because these elites have engaged in rank hypocrisy. Terms such as “social justice” and “equity” now have tremendous value to reformers, because reform policies will further those goals, whereas the policies implemented by California’s elite have condemned ordinary people to poverty.

Examples of using terms popular with the left to advance reformer causes:
Social justice – charter schools, teacher accountability
Civil Rights – the right to a quality education in a school chosen by parents
Equity – competitive land development to create affordable housing
Micro-aggression – countless taxes, hidden taxes, fees and regulations
Fairness – prices for energy and water competitive with other states
Progressive – pension benefits with lower percentage formulas for highly paid public employees
Diversity – college curricula that embrace conservative as well as liberal values
Anti-Discrimination – merit based, color blind criteria for hiring and college admissions

A pragmatic, centrist ideology that co-opts the rhetoric of the status-quo elites to attack the ruling class can resist being pigeonholed as left or right, or conservative or socialist. We are pragmatists. We are pro-growth, pro-job Californians and our policies will lead to prosperity, affordable housing, affordable utilities, affordable education, and social justice and equity for all Californians, and not just the elites.

 

Elias: No punishment for corruption under Gov. Brown

We have an Attorney General in Sacramento that prefers to sue Donald Trump, 21 times, so far, instead of pursuing criminal indictments against the corrupt of the Brown Administration.

“On the day Gov. Jerry Brown returned to his office after 12 days wandering around Europe preaching the ills of climate change and the current United States response to it, a Los Angeles judge unsealed the latest evidence of corruption among his appointees here at home.

The key revelation in documents made public after more than a year of secrecy once again spotlights the California Public Utilities Commission — made up primarily of trusted former Brown aides. Other problem areas also festered during Brown’s absence.

The documents show the PUC asked the Legislature for $6.045 million in early 2016 to pay private lawyers for allegedly helping it comply with subpoenas and search warrants in the state attorney general’s ongoing criminal investigation of a highly questionable settlement that now sees consumers paying about 70 percent of the cost for shutting down the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.”

Look at CalTrans, keeping thousands on its payroll that are not needed.  How about failed government education, run by the unions?  CalPERS is a mass of corruption—I expect a major scandal in the future.  When will the people take back the State?

SACRAMENTO, CA - OCTOBER 27:  California Governor Jerry Brown announces his public employee pension reform plan October 27, 2011 at the State Capitol in Sacramento, California.  Gov. Brown proposed 12 major reforms for state and local pension systems that he claims would end abuses and reduce taypayer costs by billions of dollars.  (Photo by Max Whittaker/Getty Images)

Thomas Elias: No punishment for corruption under Gov. Brown


Thomas Elias, The Union,  11/27/17

 

On the day Gov. Jerry Brown returned to his office after 12 days wandering around Europe preaching the ills of climate change and the current United States response to it, a Los Angeles judge unsealed the latest evidence of corruption among his appointees here at home.

The key revelation in documents made public after more than a year of secrecy once again spotlights the California Public Utilities Commission — made up primarily of trusted former Brown aides. Other problem areas also festered during Brown’s absence.

The documents show the PUC asked the Legislature for $6.045 million in early 2016 to pay private lawyers for allegedly helping it comply with subpoenas and search warrants in the state attorney general’s ongoing criminal investigation of a highly questionable settlement that now sees consumers paying about 70 percent of the cost for shutting down the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. The new money comes atop $5.2 million in public money the commissioners paid their lawyers since 2015.

That essence of the San Onofre settlement was reached during a secret meeting between leaders of the PUC and the Southern California Edison Co. in a luxury hotel in Warsaw, Poland almost half a decade ago.

The time is long gone when Brown could plausibly deny knowing of the corruption among his appointees or others in whose choice he had a hand, like Napolitano.

Under pressure, the PUC has reopened its decision on that agreement, which precluded public hearings that might have spotlighted Edison’s key role in causing the plant’s shutdown.

The documents demonstrate that once the PUC got its new funds, the private law firm it hired fought the investigation, rather than cooperating with it, as the PUC had promised. Among other things, those private lawyers questioned the validity of a key search warrant and tried to assert the Warsaw meeting was legal — even though the commission had already fined Edison for not formally reporting it.

(Irony: The commission was in on the meeting, but fined other participants for not reporting. Meanwhile commissioners neither reported the meeting to the public nor fined their own participant.)

Said San Diego consumer lawyer Maria Severson, one of two attorneys who won release of the long-hidden documents, “There were sufficient facts in the (subpoenas) to lead to a strong suspicion of guilt, … nonfeasance and even malfeasance (and) probable cause (to believe) that they conspired to obstruct justice or the administration of the laws.”

Brown said nothing about the released documents, and has refused comment repeatedly about dubious PUC moves. He has yet to criticize any of his commission appointees, while they refuse repeated requests to furnish a legal justification for use of public funds to defend commissioners in a criminal investigation.

Meanwhile, the PUC issued a written statement insisting it “has cooperated with the attorney general’s office though every step of the investigation.” That’s not what the judge, William C. Ryan, concluded when he wrote that “The PUC has withheld hundreds of documents, claiming … privilege.”

State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, whose house OK’d the funding, added in an email that “I believe the PUC can expect vigorous examination (from lawmakers).”

As this went on, Brown also was mute about admitted interference by aides to University of California President Janet Napolitano with an audit of UC. While state auditor Elaine Howell asked UC regents to consider disciplining those who interfered with the audit, Brown said nothing, even though he has been an ex-officio regent for many years.

It’s hard to believe Napolitano didn’t know what her aides were up to. When football or basketball coaches’ assistants break rules, the head coach is usually fired. Why not Napolitano?

Nor did Brown punish Energy Commission members for handing out tens of millions of gasoline tax dollars to a company headed by a former academic who advised that commission’s staff on how to evaluate grant applications for hydrogen highway funds, then quit his university job and three months later filed a multimillion-dollar grant application that was accepted.

Instead of firing or disciplining the commission chairman who enabled this obvious conflict of interest, Brown reappointed him.

The time is long gone when Brown could plausibly deny knowing of the corruption among his appointees or others in whose choice he had a hand, like Napolitano.

It’s all part of a pattern of not merely corruption, but complete unaccountability in Brown’s administration, where top appointees usually continue in prestigious, powerful jobs no matter what misdeeds they do or OK.

Email Thomas Elias at tdelias@aol.com. His book, “The Burzynski Breakthrough: The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It,” is now available in a soft cover fourth edition.

 

Report: California one of worst places in the world for oil and gas investments

California is as good a place for oil and gas investments as Yemen—no that is not a small town in the foothills—it is a socialist dictatorship in the Middle East.  Texas, of course is number one.  California loves high taxes and regulations that kill jobs—like AB 32 and the new AB 350.  Government creates wages rates and employee conditions, no longer a matter between companies and workers.

“Although California ranks third in the United States in crude oil production, it’s one of the worst places in the world to make oil or natural gas investments, according to a report released Tuesday by the Fraser Institute, which describes itself as an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization.

The report lumps the state of California into a group of ten nations as worst for oil and gas investments. The other bottom-dwellers are Yemen, France, Cambodia, ,Indonesia, Ecuador, Iraq, Libya, Bolivia and, lastly, Venezuela.

Wow, California is with Cambodia and Venezuela.  That tells you how well Sacramento is doing..ready to elect responsible officials?  If not, what investments we do have will go away.

fracking oil gas

Report: California one of worst places in the world for oil and gas investments

Central Valley Business Times,  11/28/17

  • Canadian think tank ranks Texas as Number 1
  • California jumbled in with the likes of Yemen

“California continues to be plagued by concerns regarding regulations, taxation, and fiscal terms,” the report says.

The report’s co-author, Kenneth Green, adds that California Gov. Edmund Gerald Brown Jr.’s comments decrying a reliance on petroleum do not encourage investor confidence in the state, and that its “regulartory environment is extremely challenging.

Who’s tops? The researchers give that honor to Texas as the most attractive jurisdiction in the world for oil and gas investment, reclaiming the top spot from Oklahoma.

After Texas, Oklahoma ranks second worldwide.

“Texas and Oklahoma have, for years, been seen as the most attractive jurisdictions in the world for oil and gas investors — proof that sound regulatory policies and stable environmental protections help attract scarce investment dollars even when commodity prices are down,” says Kenneth Green, the Fraser Institute’s senior director of natural resource studies and co-author of the 2017 Global Petroleum Survey.

The 2017 survey ranks 97 jurisdictions worldwide based on their barriers to investment such as taxation, costly regulatory obligations and uncertainty over environmental regulations and on the size of oil and gas reserves.

In this year’s report, U.S. states comprise six of the top 10 jurisdictions around the world: Texas (1st), Oklahoma (2nd), North Dakota (3rd), West Virginia (5th), Kansas (6th) and Wyoming (9th).

Among the 15 jurisdictions with the largest petroleum reserves worldwide, Texas is number one, followed by United Arab Emirates, Alberta (Canada), Kuwait and Egypt.

Among regions, Europe finished second to the United States, followed by Canada and Australia. Globally, every region except Africa, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean experienced declines in investment attractiveness, according to the survey.

About the survey

The Global Petroleum Survey is administered each year to petroleum industry executives to help measure and rank barriers to investment of oil- and gas-producing regions. A total of 333 individuals completed the survey this year, providing sufficient data to evaluate 97 jurisdictions.

The Fraser Institute says its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect its independence. The institute says it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research

 

San Jose Sales Tax Scam–$$ Goes to CalPERS—NOT Roads

The people of San Jose were warned last November that the politicians were lying—the sales tax money would not go to roads and infrastructure, instead would go to CalPERS.  This happened to the people of Hayward and other cities.  Government lies.

“San Jose approved two tax hikes last year to fund core city services, such as repaving dilapidated roads and building up a depleted police force. But the $52 million-a-year in revenue collected from Measure B’s quarter-cent sales tax and Measure G’s business tax is being eaten up by the city’s soaring pension costs, according to an analysis by Stanford University’s Institute for Economic Policy Research.

The City Council on Tuesday will discuss the Stanford report, which Mayor Sam Liccardo ordered earlier this year to review an internal audit of San Jose’s retirement plans.

This is why you always vote NO on new taxes and bonds—government lies about how the money is really being spent.

Photo courtesy of 401(K) 2013, Flickr

Stanford Study: Rising Cost of Public Employee Pensions Eat Up San Jose’s New Tax Revenue

By Jennifer Wadsworth, San Jose Inside,  11/27/17

The cost of San Jose’s public employee pensions have surpassed the revenue brought in by tax measures passed by voters in 2016.

San Jose approved two tax hikes last year to fund core city services, such as repaving dilapidated roads and building up a depleted police force. But the $52 million-a-year in revenue collected from Measure B’s quarter-cent sales tax and Measure G’s business tax is being eaten up by the city’s soaring pension costs, according to an analysis by Stanford University’s Institute for Economic Policy Research.

The City Council on Tuesday will discuss the Stanford report, which Mayor Sam Liccardo ordered earlier this year to review an internal audit of San Jose’s retirement plans.

Unlike a special tax measure, which needs super-majority approval and restricts revenue to a specific purpose, the two passed by voters in 2016 were general tax initiatives requiring only a simple majority to raise money for the general fund. With budget shortfalls projected over the next several years and pension liabilities continuing to increase, there’s growing concern that the city is failing to deliver what it promised.

Since San Jose voters OK’d measures B and G, the city’s projected pension and retiree healthcare costs rose by $29 million more than anticipated in 2018 and $57 million more by 2021. By paying the difference from the general fund, the city will basically offset the additional tax revenues.

Unlike private 401(k) accounts or defined-benefit plans that depend on investment returns, public-sector employees are guaranteed an annual benefit based on set formulas. Thus, even if the stock market performs poorly and liabilities rise, the pension payments remains the same, forcing cities to scale back other services to cover the cost.

As pension costs more than tripled over a decade in San Jose, the city tried to rein in liabilities by enacting a controversial voter-approved reform measure, which ignited a years-long legal battle between City Hall and its public employee unions. In 2016, the city finally reached a compromise measure, which promised to save taxpayers money even as San Jose reached about $3.8 billion in unfunded liabilities this past fiscal year.

Stanford researchers Joe Nation, Olympia Nguyen Tulloch and Clive Lipshitz spent the past several months evaluating San Jose’s federated and public safety pension plans against those in other major cities in the Bay Area and beyond. They found that San Jose is especially prone to weaker investment performance because of the shortfall of contributions compared to benefit payments. San Jose—like most U.S. public plans, but to a greater extent than peer cities—saw the highest increase in retirees and the largest decrease in the number of new members actively paying into the system.

Though San Jose is hardly unique in this regard, the funded status of the city’s public pensions has deteriorated over the past several years to 72 percent for the police and fire plan and 50 percent for federated employees.

Researchers suggest that portfolio management can be an important tool to address that funding shortfall. However, compared to other cities in the study, San Jose already pays more to manage its pair of pension plans. While most other plans have an investment staff of one or two people, San Jose has 10.

“Over the last 10 years, reforms to the city’s retirement plan structures has populated the boards with members possessing greater professionalism and expertise,” Liccardo wrote in a memo requesting the Stanford analysis earlier this year. “I thank the members of both boards for their service to the city and to our retirees. Still, the poor performance of the plans’ investment over the last three years, by any measure—whether compared to peer public pension plans, to policy benchmarks, or most importantly, to the board’s own actuarial assumptions for rates of return—have substantially added to both plans’ unfunded liabilities and the general fund’s burdens.”

 

California’s emissions dip—but climate policies get less credit than the weather

AB 32, Arnold and Jerry combined to kill tens of thousands of California jobs, forced firms to leave the State or close down—so we can “save the planet”.  Now we know it wasn’t the scams of Arnold and Jerry that cut the emissions—it was the weather—yup, the weather.

“Its report showed greenhouse gas emissions reduced by almost 5 percent in 2016, propelling the state toward meeting its ambitious goals. And for that we can thank Mother Nature.

According to analyses from the air board and independent experts, last year’s emissions drops came about not because of technological breakthroughs or drastic pollution reductions from oil refineries or other industries, nor did the lauded cap-and-trade program make a significant difference.

It was the rain.

Record winter precipitation, especially in the northern part of the state, brought hydroelectric dams back into play and allowed utilities to rely less on gas-fired power. And the air board’s report credits electricity generation for the biggest cuts: Emissions from in-state electricity generation decreased more than 19 percent last year, and emissions from imported electricity dropped nearly 23 percent.

Global warming, climate change is as corrupt as a Bernie Madoff scheme—it has made tens of millions for Al Gore, elected Democrats scaring people the world is ending.  It is time to repeal the newest version of AB 32 and end junk science as policy.

Rain

California’s emissions dip—but climate policies get less credit than the weather

By Julie Cart. CalMatters,  11/29/17

As Gov. Jerry Brown was making his way through Europe last month, striking an evangelical tone about the global peril represented by climate change, California’s Air Resources Board released good news about emissions reported by companies covered under the state’s cap-and-trade system.

Its report showed greenhouse gas emissions reduced by almost 5 percent in 2016, propelling the state toward meeting its ambitious goals. And for that we can thank Mother Nature.

According to analyses from the air board and independent experts, last year’s emissions drops came about not because of technological breakthroughs or drastic pollution reductions from oil refineries or other industries, nor did the lauded cap-and-trade program make a significant difference.

It was the rain.

Record winter precipitation, especially in the northern part of the state, brought hydroelectric dams back into play and allowed utilities to rely less on gas-fired power. And the air board’s report credits electricity generation for the biggest cuts: Emissions from in-state electricity generation decreased more than 19 percent last year, and emissions from imported electricity dropped nearly 23 percent.

And California’s policy continues to add green power to the grid: Large-scale solar generation increased by 32 percent and wind generation increased by 11 percent.

That trend is in keeping with a report issued last month by the California Public Utilities Commission that found that the state’s major utilities have met or will soon exceed the target of 33 percent clean electric energy by 2020.

On the other hand, emissions from oil refineries, transportation fuels and cement plants increased slightly. In the case of the cement manufacturing, the air board attributed the increase to ramped up production.

The report does not take into account all the state’s greenhouse gas emissions in any given year; only those from entities covered under cap and trade are required to report. Much of the highly polluting transportation sector, for example, is not regulated.

The air board report did not attribute the emissions decrease to any one of the state’s myriad programs intended to reduce energy consumption and industrial pollution. But the world heard a different story from Brown’s during his trip to attend the U.N Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany.

The governor was an enthusiastic salesman of the cap-and-trade program, in which certain industries are required to limit their emissions. If they operate under their caps, the companies may sell any carbon “credits” in an auction or on the private market.

When laying out the California environmental success story to the world last month, Brown most often mentioned cap and trade as the cornerstone of the the state’s policies. At one point, the governor met with Chinese officials in Bonn, and suggested the nation, as the planet’s largest polluter, join California’s carbon trading market, which already includes the Canadian province of Quebec.

The most recent auction results indicate why cap and trade is popular with some legislators, having raised nearly $5 billion since its inception. The end of November’s permit auction achieved record-high sales of $800 million, with every permit sold.

But it is not a prime mover of greenhouse gas reductions, and the air board considers it an adjunct program supporting California’s other policies. Brown, however, has made cap and trade a signature policy, and he’s its fiercest defender.

The governor expended enormous political capital pushing through legislation to extend cap and trade until 2030. At one point during this summer’s debate, he addressed a state Senate committee and told legislators, “This is the most important vote of your life.”

Given the emphasis he’s placed on the program, it seems to under-deliver on real carbon-cutting results. But in an interview with CALmatters, Brown denied he gives cap and trade primacy over other of the state’s carbon-cutting programs.

“That’s not true. I don’t talk only about it,” he said during the interview in Bonn. “I talk about solar, about electric cars. Energy efficiency. You want to say cap and trade is not that important (for greenhouse gas reduction). I know that. I’m Mr. ‘It Ain’t That Much.’ It isn’t that much. Everybody here is hype, hype to the skies.”

Researchers have reached the same conclusion. Analysts at Near Zero, a think tank affiliated with the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University, presented an analysis of state climate policy at an Energy Seminar in October and found that the last economic recession is responsible for about half of observed greenhouse gas reductions since the passage of the law that instituted cap and trade.

This finding is consistent with a Legislative Analyst’s Office report from earlier this year.

For Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia of Bell Gardens, it’s time to recognize the other programs that are helping the state meet its emission-reduction goals.

“We definitely have a responsibility when we are out here on the world stage and saying to people, learn from us. One is making it clear that we have a portfolio of initiatives,” said Garcia, who was also attending the U.N conference in Bonn. As example, she cited the state’s requirement to procure power from renewable resources, its clean air policy, and its push to electrify the transportation fleet. “Cap and trade is a piece of it,” she said, “but it’s not all of what we do.”

 

For California attorney general, suing Trump again and again is a team sport

Xavier Becerra is trying hard to get elected to the position he was appointed—Attorney General of California.  A former back bench Congressional and Assembly Democrat, he has no record to run on.  Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones is taking him on, based on a record.  So Xavier is using Donald Trump as a pin cushion, filing 21 lawsuits against him—while San Fran protects an illegal alien that killed Kate Steinle and gets a weapons charge as his crime.  The AG needs to understand his illegal alien buddies are making California unsafe—and the sanctuary cities he supports prove he has no respect for the law.

“Now, almost a year into his Sacramento gig as the state’s top lawyer, Becerra’s office has put its name on 21 lawsuits against the Trump administration. By volume, that represents a rate of litigiousness unmatched by any of his counterparts in other states. But whereas the attorneys general of Washington, Hawaii, Maryland, and New York have been the first to file some of the year’s most headline grabbing cases—the travel ban, the DACA case, and the Emoluments Clause suit, to name a few—Becerra has been more likely to spearhead lower-profile challenges or sit back and provide support while others take the lead.”

Maybe the AG should pay attention the Chief of Police of LA that lied about the crime rate in Los Angeles, or the segregation of the L.A., San Fran, Madera and Santa Ana schools.  The Schumer and Pelosi cry about Trump and resist—the job of the AG is to protect Californians.

xavier-becerra

For California attorney general, suing Trump again and again is a team sport

By Ben Christopher, CalMatters,  11/30/17

For a man who has alternatively been called the face, the leader, and the speartip of the progressive “resistance” to the Trump administration, Xavier Becerra seems comfortable working outside the spotlight.

When Gov. Jerry Brown tapped Becerra to replace U.S. Senate-bound Kamala Harris as California’s attorney general, the 59-year-old congressman came with more than two decades of experience cutting deals and building coalitions as a high-ranking, but (outside certain political circles) little-known representative.

“Public service is a team sport,” he told CALmatters of his efforts working with attorneys general in other states. “You can’t get things done—whether it’s as a member of Congress or as an attorney general—without relying on a team.”

The approach is consistent with the public persona that Becerra—who was raised in Sacramento, represented part of Los Angeles in the House of Representatives, and was tasked with keeping his colleagues unified as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus—has cultivated for himself as a careful, dispassionate and capable public servant.

“We’re not looking to pick a fight, but we’re ready for one,” he said during his state confirmation hearing, and many times since—including during an interview this week. Before hitting the “nuclear option” of a lawsuit, he said, “we’d like to resolve things if possible. That’s what I had to do when I was in Congress.”

But by his definition, Becerra isn’t afraid to go nuclear. Beyond the 21 lawsuits, he has filed nearly 20 friend-of-the-court briefs, an avalanche of sternly worded letters, and a handful of cases in which the state has intervened on the same side as federal agencies sued by conservative groups or businesses, anticipating a half-hearted defense from the Trump administration.

Still, if California is the Democratic state leading “the resistance” against an aggressive Republican administration, it appears to be leading from behind at times.

When President Trump issued his first two travel bans, which barred citizens from more than half a dozen Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, it was the attorneys general of Washington and Hawaii who led the charge, with California only joining later.

When the president announced that he was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program, which allowed those who entered the United States illegally as minors to remain on a temporary basis, 15 states and the District of Columbia sued within 24 hours. California’s suit came a week later.

When the top law enforcement officers from Maryland and D.C. filed a suit claiming that the president had violated the anti-corruption Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, there was silence from Sacramento.

And when liberal comedy show host Samantha Bee interviewed New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, characterizing him as a literal comic book superhero battling to save progressive America from the Trump regime, Becerra went unmentioned.

President Trump’s legal tangles with Schneiderman pre-date his presidency—he has called the New York AG a “lightweight” and a “hack” out to get him. But the White House has refrained from striking back against Becerra in a direct way, instead insisting that lawsuit challenges are wrong-headed and expressing confidence that the administration will ultimately prevail in the courts.

Whether the California attorney general’s relatively low profile exemplifies political deftness and pragmatism, or merely a lack of gusto, depends on whom you ask.

Former Maine Attorney General James Tierney, for one, says Becerra has demonstrated national leadership “even in cases where his name is not in the headlines.” The skills that he developed in the House, building consensus and holding a caucus together, seem to have served Becerra in building ties with attorneys general in other states, said Tierney, a lecturer at Harvard Law School who teaches a class on the role of attorneys general. “He knew from his congressional experience that everybody counts.”

Since before President Trump’s inauguration, staff from the 21 Democratic state attorneys general offices have been holding weekly conference calls to share notes, anticipate the president’s next move, and build a nationwide strategy of litigative resistance.

“California, to its credit, has really stepped up under Becerra,” said George Jepsen, the attorney general of Connecticut, who has filed or signed onto eight lawsuits against the administration, six of them alongside California.

But while some see a team player, others call for a team captain. In that camp is Dave Jones, California’s Democratic state’s insurance commissioner, who hopes to unseat Becerra in next year’s election.

“We have a lot at stake in California and so we ought to be leading,” Jones said. “Much of what the attorney general has done is to join others’ lawsuits and I think you lose control—you’re not able to bring to bear the expertise of the California Department of Justice.”

Jones attributes what he characterizes as Becerra’s chief failure to a lack of legal experience.

“Mr. Becerra has been in Congress for 23 years. He hasn’t been practicing law,” he said. “What I bring to this is direct experience as a practicing lawyer, as a litigator who has been practicing law and preparing himself for the office of attorney general for my entire career. This is not something that just fell into my lap.”

Becerra’s qualifications for the job notwithstanding—prior to his legislative career, he served as deputy state attorney general—his appointment by Gov. Brown last December couldn’t have come at a better time. A late 2015 profile in Politico described the congressman as a perennial “up-and-comer,” whose rising political star was tethered by the shortage of available positions at the top of the party and a lack of broader name recognition. Maybe he could run for the U.S. Senate, the profile noted, but “his name ID outside Los Angeles (is) in the low single digits.”

That may be changing. If January 2017 represents a political nadir for the Democratic party nationwide, it was just about the best time to be a Democratic attorney general. In a state where voters turned against the current president by a two-to-one margin and when late night comedy hosts are treating litigants against the president as superheros, what left-of-center politician wouldn’t jump at the chance to be chief thorn in the president’s side?

On the right, not surprisingly, the California GOP has slammed the attorney general for a perceived fixation on the Trump administration. In an online political ad, Steven Bailey, one of two Republicans registered to run for the seat, bemoans the fact that the state’s top law enforcement officer “seems more occupied with fighting with the federal government in Washington than doing his job here in California“ over a video clip of Becerra speaking at the U.S.-Mexico border. He and other Republicans have argued that the attorney general’s office should instead focus on curbing the recent increase in the statewide violent crime rate.

But given the blue hue of California’s electorate, the question of who is best suited to take on the Trump administration is likely to dominate next year’s race.

“That’s a really fundamental shift in the nature of the job,” said Paul Nolette, a political science assistant professor at Marquette University. “One of the things that attorneys general are supposed to do is represent the state’s interest in court, but they have increasingly defined those state interests through a partisan lens.”

That shift began in the last few years of the Obama administration, when red state attorneys general such as Greg Abbott of Texas (now the state’s governor) and Oklahoma’s Scott Pruitt (now leading President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency) led a conservative “rapid response team” against the Obama White House. Thus the famous quote from Abbott describing his job as the Lone Star state’s top lawyer: “I go into the office in the morning, I sue Barack Obama, and then I go home.”

Becerra may insist that he’s not looking to pick a fight, but that Texas approach has continued under Trump, stronger than ever.

“If you compare Becerra to AGs even 10 years ago, he’s very aggressive in terms of how rapidly he’s responding,” said Nolette. “I guess it’s all relative.”