‘Back to the Future’ California Recap and 2022 Political Predictions

‘Dr. Seuss prepared us for this year’

While political pundits predict a red wave across the country in the 2022 midterm elections, many even anticipate a wave of change in the Golden State. How big the California wave is, and what form it will take, will be anyone’s best educated guess.

California’s 2021 Year in Review is more of a scene from “Back to the Future” or “Groundhog Day.” We started a 2021 recap and felt it was exactly like last year’s, but with a failed Recall Election of the Governor.

Case in point: The state ramped up testing again with the COVID Omicron variant making its way to the United States, and is breathlessly screeching about “cases,” while hospitalizations remain low at only 4,747 total in the state of nearly 40 million residents, and 2 deaths on Dec. 29th. Doctors report most “cases” are merely cold symptoms, or are asymptomatic.

CDPH hospitalizations. (Photo: CDPH.ca.gov)
CDPH COVID Dashboard. (Photo: CDPH.ca.gov)

Regardless, the state just issued strict new isolation guidance for those with COVID, despite the most recent CDC recommendations reducing isolation and quarantine to 5 days, down from 10.

The state of California again decided to ignore that new guidance and impose stricter rules – for what purpose, we can only surmise.

California schools and universities have announced school children and college students will need to test for COVID before returning to school following the holiday and New Year break, but still must wear masks indoors.

Colleges and universities are demanding booster shots of the returning students. UCLA and sixother University of California undergraduate campuses announced Tuesday that classes will begin remotely at the start of the new term.

All UC students and UC staff will be required to show proof they received a COVID-19 booster shot.

Los Angeles schools are threatening to impose outdoor mask rules.

Is this 2020, 2021 or 2022?

Ugh. Recap over. Let’s move on to the future.

Democrats have clearly lost their grip on education as a party platform. As the Globe reported in October, only hours after California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement of a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for all schoolchildren in California, homeschooling and tutoring inquiries shot up dramatically, with some homeschooling sites even going down to the sheer volume of users searching for help.

California voters will get the chance to vote on two ballot initiatives in 2022 proposing Education Savings Accounts for California students, which follow the students’ choice of schools: private school or homeschool.

We asked some of California’s political junkies, the politically well-connected, legislative staffers, lobbyists, attorneys, candidates and others to weigh in with their political predictions for 2022. What a wide range of predictions and observations we received!

Not everyone was in a position to self-identify, so when you see “Anonymous,” know that we know the identity of the contributor to our 2022 predictions.

Anthony Watts of Chico, CA predictions for CA 2022:

1. The legislature will pass and Newsom will sign an “exit tax” to be levied on people leaving the state for a better life. They’ll do this by levying a tax on U-Haul, Ryder, moving companies like Bekins and United Van Lines, along with other independent moving companies for any out-of-state move. This will create a black market for clandestine movers, and drive the price of trailers sky-high. It will also create a reverse “Grapes of Wrath” effect with people simply loading up their vehicles and leaving the state to escape the “great depression” of California.2. State sanctioned theft of electricity becomes the new normal. On January 27th 2022, The CPUC will approve the new NEM3 system that will create the highest solar tax in the country and hugely reduce the bill credit solar customers get for selling electricity back to the grid. It will also impose new fees for the “privilege” of connecting to the grid. NEM3 will pay 25 cents on the dollar per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated by home and small business solar owners, where under NEM2 it was 95 cents on the dollar. The result will be a huge drop in installed solar on existing homes, as well as creating a new market for electricians to remove solar panels from the grid and create schemes to drive the home electricity directly from the panels during the day. It will also create a rash of fires as some new homeowners, who are mandated to have solar on new homes, angry at this turn of events, will try to rewire their homes themselves.

3. Climate change will be blamed for items 1 and 2. Newsom and/or some idiot lawmaker will say “climate change” is the real reason people are leaving the state, and that “climate change” is the reason we have to steal electricity from your solar panels without fairly compensating homeowners.Mark Meuser, California Constitutional Attorney and U.S. Senate Candidate:

California will pick up 9 Republican Congressional seats minimum. If 2010 was the year of the Tea Party, 2022 is the year of the Parent Party. We saw this in 1993, when then-First Lady Hillary Clinton pushed social medicine. New Jersey and Virginia voted in Republican Governors, and House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Republicans took majority control of the House of Representatives for the first time in forty years after the 1994 elections. Then again in 2009 when President Barack Obama pushed Obamacare, and the Tea Party was formed to fight it. 2021 was an absolute attack on everything decent and normal. We saw Virginia flip to a Republican Governor, and even New Jersey had a huge Republican swing. 2022 is going to be a major swing.

I’ve been speaking to parent groups across the socio-economic spectrum in California, which literally grew out of nothing since September.

Lastly, the Hispanic swing: The Recall Election of Gov. Gavin Newsom showed 54% Hispanic support in that wanted the recall. We are seeing this in Texas, Florida and other parts of the U.S., where it’s clear, Hispanics want change over the same issues: crime, schools, and the madness of essential/non-essential businesses… they were hurt the most.

The demographic which votes the least is the 25-45 age group. But they are parents, they work, and they will vote now. This is the Parent Party.

Lance Christensen:

Dr. Seuss prepared us for this year — unfortunately, Sneetches will be a how-to guide for aspiring autocrats, rather than a warning. Everyone who thought 2021 was going to be an improvement upon 2020 will be really perplexed about 2022. Pick the issue, no matter what it is, 2022 will be the year of reactionary politics and dizzying, brazen political gamesmanship.

The midterm elections will bring divisive legislative races, less-than-stellar campaigns for statewide office and a number of high-profile ballot initiatives. Yet, the most consequential candidates in the state will not be applying for the diminished number of seats in the House of Representatives as a result of people fleeing to other states, or running for Governor against a special interest pawn; it will be thousands of mama bears taking school board races by storm. Education busybodies beware, school district boardrooms, gymnasiums and cafeterias are ground zero for parents as they wake up to the wokeness and forcefully reject the ever-present intimidation, indoctrination and inadequacies plaguing our public schools. And if parents are successful at reclaiming a majority of school boards, asserting rights over their children and refuse to comply with the Governor’s never-ending emergency orders, we’ll see the state legislature exert extraordinary financial pressure over these districts to assuage the teachers unions’ apoplectic rage. The effects will be compounded by a successful school choice initiative and recalls galore.

However, expect established, centralized media platforms to protect the status quo at all costs and accelerate memory-holing the propaganda of fear they’ve been echoing since March 2020. It will be independent thought leaders on a growing array of decentralized social media platforms who drive the debate for California to emerge from our government-induced-COVID-coma, inasmuch as they can avoid being canceled. If there is to be a saving grace in 2022, it will be every courageous red-pilled Californian who comes to a full realization that they are citizens, not subjects; that they don’t need stars upon thars to be happy and prosperous.

Anonymous in Los Angeles (snark alert):

Ironic: A bumbling and not-very-bright state henchman will be put in charge of the Dominion vote-counting machines for the 2022 California gubernatorial election and will accidentally switch the intended vote-rigging outcome, resulting in a landslide victory for Ric Grenell as California’s next Governor.

Anonymous in Sacramento:

I predict another year of grappling with the unhoused issue. No “solving,” just “grappling.”

Anonymous in Sacramento (snark alert):

Knowing what’s on the political horizon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will give Gov. Newsom a congressional Medal of Honor for women’s right’s  – ensuring the highest number of minority abortions (men and women per the official stats) in the country at tax payer expense.But it is Destined to be a failed attempt “to cut ‘em off at the pass.”  The governor cannot read the writing on the wall. Literally.Although he should win an Emmy for his performance in faking his need to cancel his climate summit trip due to family Halloween commitments, and NOT that his wife learned he was taking an assistant he has been allegedly involved with.So while he announces his exploratory committee for President, the tides turn.Because it is not his turn. It is still hillbilly Hillary’s turn to be president. No one makes Baby Hillary sit on the corner.So, six sexual harassment victims, all from Arkansas, will appear to claim the Joker grabbed their non-binary privates at the French Laundry, and the left will eat Gavin in public.Newsom will be Cuomo’d in ‘22.It will be Epoch Times.

Thus ends the predictions.

Meanwhile, lining streets throughout the state are ever-expanding and growing homeless encampments of ratty tents and corrugated boxes, battered old RVs, campers and trailers, vans, and passenger vehicles, which have become homes for the state’s vagrants, drug addicts and homeless street population.

2022 is indeed shaping up to be epoch times in California. Could this be the tipping point?

This article originally appeared on the California Globe

Defend Proposition 13 And Single-Family Zoned Neighborhoods

If you spent your life savings and your life’s earnings to buy a home on a quiet street in a single-family neighborhood in California, you’ve been robbed.

Your camera-enabled doorbell and security system likely failed to record the evidence, because the robbery happened in Sacramento. Worse, it’s not against the law. It is the law.

Single-family zoning has been abolished. The people who profit from that include developers who want to buy the land and put up high-density housing on small parcels, building industry and real estate interests who will see a nice payday from the new construction, and various nonprofit groups run by moist-eyed executives drawing six-figure salaries for “managing” low-income or homeless housing projects.

Against these special interests stand homeowners and local government officials who have battled for years against laws proposed in the state capitol to force cities to accept state-imposed zoning changes.

The special interests won a battle in 2021. The Legislature passed Senate Bills 9 and 10, ending single-family zoning in California, and Gov. Gavin Newsom signed them into law just as soon as he was past the risk of being recalled. The war isn’t over, however, as a bipartisan coalition of local leaders filed an initiative that would prevent those laws from having any effect and would ban any similar state laws in the future.

The local leaders call their initiative “Our Neighborhood Voices,” and the attorney general has given it a circulating title – the title that appears on the official petitions – of “Provides That Local Land-Use and Zoning Laws Override Conflicting State Laws.” It needs nearly 1 million valid signatures of registered voters by mid-April to qualify for the November 2022 ballot. If it passes, cities will once again be empowered to control local zoning and make the decisions about where higher density housing may be built, along with decisions about any requirements for developers to provide off-street parking or traffic mitigation measures.

Does it have a chance?

Some people clearly think so. Another initiative has been introduced that contains a poison pill to kill it.

Initiative 21-0032A1 was filed on November 10 by attorney Stanley R. Apps. The attorney general has given it a circulating title of, “Increases Homeowners’ Property Tax Exemption and Renters’ Tax Credit. Increases Taxes on High-Value Properties. Limits Local Restrictions on Housing Development.”

The Apps initiative is another attack on Proposition 13, cracking the 1% tax rate on property that the 1978 initiative wrote into the state constitution. If this new measure qualifies for the ballot and is approved by voters, properties valued above $4 million would see an increase in their tax rate. This would affect commercial, residential, industrial, mixed-use or vacant land. The measure also changes the law to require cities to approve certain low-income housing projects “ministerially without discretionary review or a hearing.”

The poison pill is in Section 9 of the initiative. It declares that the Our Neighborhood Voices initiative is “deemed to be in conflict with this Act,” and states that if the Apps initiative gets a greater number of votes than the ONV measure, “the provisions of this Act [the Apps measure] shall prevail in their entirety” and “all provisions of the other measure or measures [Our Neighborhood Voices] shall be null and void.”

Now, you may be asking yourself, why would more California voters choose an initiative that both attacks Proposition 13 and cements the abolition of single-family zoning so developers can more easily construct high-density housing in more neighborhoods?

Click here to read the full article at OC Register

Gun Violence Hits 15-Year High In L.A., Taking Lives And Erasing Hard-Fought Gains

Sean Reynolds almost lost his life over a PlayStation.

The 17-year-old high school senior had arranged to sell his gaming console through the app OfferUp, and agreed to meet the buyer — another teenager — near a public housing complex in Watts. He intended to save the cash he earned for college expenses that fall.

Instead, one of two teens who met Reynolds at his car that hot day in May pulled out a gun and shot him, the bullet ricocheting off his hip and fragmenting through his abdomen. As he lay on the ground bleeding, he said, the second teen urged the first to fire again.

“Finish him off,” he heard the boy say

“I was in shock,” Reynolds, now 18, recalled in a recent interview with The Times. “It was a lot to process.”

Reynolds, who was badly wounded, is among more than 1,400 people who survived shootings in L.A. in 2021 — the second year in a row in which gun violence has increased in the city.

Had things gone differently — and they easily could have, given his extreme injuries — Reynolds would have been among the nearly 400 people killed in L.A. this year, whose deaths mark a more than 50% increase in homicides since 2019.

“We’ve seen all different types of surgeons,” said Qiuana Williams, Reynolds’ mother. “After reading his medical documents, they all look at him like he is a walking miracle.”

Amid a pandemic that has ravaged people’s financial and emotional reserves and undermined long-standing initiatives to stem violence, families like Reynolds’ are persevering through surgeries, physical therapy and the emotional labor of trying to pull their lives back together after being blindsided by bullets.

Other families — more than in any other year in L.A. since 2007 — were forced to plan funerals and process their first holiday season without sons, daughters, brothers and parents, whose lives were snatched away, mostly by gunmen.

Click here click to read the full article at the LA Times

Governor Newsom Declares State of Emergency Over Winter Storms In 20 Counties

Record precipitation levels, road closures spur action by Governor

Governor Gavin Newsom issued a State of Emergency in 20 counties on Thursday due to winter storms that brought unprecedented rain and snowfall across the state over the past week.

In Northern California, many cities saw massive amounts of rain, with higher elevation areas seeing snow levels that have not been seen for decades. A 51-year-old snowfall record in Lake Tahoe was shattered earlier this week, turning what was considered by many to be another underwhelming ski season to one where the amount of needed snow is now around 160%. Power was also knocked out in many areas.

Meanwhile, Central and Southern California have also seen unprecedented precipitation amounts, with Los Angeles’ famed Union Station even seeing flooding on Thursday due to unexpended rainfall. So much has fallen across the state this month that drought conditions, once seen as dire for 2022, have now been significantly mitigated with new snowpack in the mountains and many reservoirs regaining water lost from the last several years.

“While the storms have brought positives, the rain and snow fall have conversely knocked out power, shut down roads, closed freeways, and brought flood, landslide, and blizzard emergencies in different parts of the state, necessitating the Governor’s Thursday order. The main focus of the order is around recovery and response efforts, including receiving funds and support to reopen freeways and roads as soon as possible to get other forms of assistance out,” noted the order.

20 counties are covered in the order, including Alameda, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Humboldt, Lake, Los Angeles, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Placer, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Sierra and Yuba Counties.

A new State of Emergency Order by Governor Newsom

On Wednesday, shortly before releasing his emergency proclamation, Newsom hinted at an upcoming order and said that “At my direction, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services has activated the State Operations Center to monitor storm conditions and coordinate all necessary assistance. I want to thank all our emergency responders for working diligently through trying weather conditions to keep our communities safe. I strongly encourage all Californians to avoid making the situation worse and refrain from traveling on mountain roads until conditions improve.”

The governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) added on Thursday that some regulations will be skipped and a closer coordination of state services will occur to speed up the state response to the storms and their effects.

“For the last week, the team here at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services has been coordinating the response to these storms on behalf of the state,” explained Cal OES director Mark Ghilarducci in a statement. “We are also closely coordinating with and supporting the work of state partners like Caltrans, the California Highway Patrol, Cal Fire and others to rapidly respond to issues as they arise.”

Rescuers and first responders , who have been fielding calls across the state for several weeks, also noted the increasing urgency on Friday.

“You know, this is post-Christmas with New Years on the way and all sorts of other thins going on, like people travelling home into or out of California,” said David Lyons, a Los Angeles County rescue workers who has been working during the floods, to the Globe on Friday. “A lot of drivers here don’t do so well in the rain, so as you can imagine we’ve been busy. Luckily the weather has now been clearing up for us.

“If this emergency order makes our jobs easier and it saves lives, then it’s good. You won’t hear any arguments from any of us. We’re here to save lives.”

Despite improved weather conditions, the emergency order is expected to stay in place into January.

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) called on Governor Gavin Newsom Thursday to take all possible measures to help Northern Californians without power, including deployment of the National Guard to provide generators to families until power is restored.

This article originally appeared in the California Globe

Kamala Harris Struggles Through Question On Inflation During CBS Interview

Vice President Kamala Harris struggled to give a coherent answer when asked about the economy and inflation during a Sunday interview on CBS.

Harris appeared on “Face the Nation” when host Margaret Brennan asked her on the issues of inflation going into the “third year” of a pandemic.

The question referred to a previous statement pushed by White House press secretary Jen Psaki that insisted inflation was only “transitory” and should go down within the next year.

Since then economists have admitted inflation has only gotten worse as the year ends with many predicting the increased spending proposals from President Biden could make the problem worse. 

Harris did not provide a clear answer to the question of combating inflation. She appeared to stumble on describing the process before pivoting to support for Biden’s Build Back Better plan, which has been delayed because Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced his opposition to the legislation. 

“We have to address the fact that we have got to deal with the fact that folks are paying for gas, paying for groceries, and are — need solutions to it. So let’s talk about that,” Harris said. “Short-term solution includes what we need to do around the supply chain, right? So, we went to the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Savannah, Georgia, and said, ‘hey, guys, no more five days a week, eight hours a day; 24/7, let’s move the products because people need their product – they need what they need.’ We’re dealing with it in terms of the long term. And that’s about what we need to do to pass Build Back Better. It strengthens our economy.”

Click here to read the full article at FoxNews

How Will California’s New Laws Affect You?

SACRAMENTO — The COVID-19 pandemic continued to slow the pace of governing California in 2021 as it did the year before, with the second fewest number of bills approved by the Legislature of any year since 1967, trailing only the record low number ratified in 2020.

In all, Gov. Gavin Newsom considered 836 bills covering a range of topics, a mix of proposals prompted by the current COVID crisis as well as items that have been hotly debated for years. Newsom vetoed only 66 of the bills that made it to his desk.

The Times’ list highlights 43 noteworthy new laws for 2022, including several that were approved years earlier but are only taking effect now. Most of those listed take effect on New Year’s Day. As in years past, the list mostly reflects the interests of the Democrats who hold a supermajority of seats in both the state Senate and Assembly.

Some of the most notable new laws make significant changes in criminal justice, law enforcement oversight and healthcare.

  • Anyone who protests at a vaccination clinic must keep a distance from any patients who are within 100 feet of its entrance. Failure to do so could result in a fine of $1,000 and up to six months in jail.
  • A broad array of services provided by Medi-Cal, California’s healthcare program for low-income residents, will be available to all income-eligible adults age 50 and over, regardless of immigration status, beginning on May 1, 2022.
  • Protesters can’t videotape, photograph or otherwise record patients or providers within 100 feet of reproductive clinics. The new law also bans sharing those images online.
  • Electronic cigarettes will be subject to a new tax as of July 1, 2022 to be paid by purchasers, equal to 12.5% of the sales price. The proceeds will go to public health and education programs.

Click here to read the full article at the LA Times

Joy And Unease As Rose Parade Returns

The bloom is back,’ event organizers say, but surging cases are cause for concern.

New Year’s Day 2021 started with a pang of sadness for Aida Bueno.

Her beloved Rose Parade had been canceled for the first time since World War II. And for the first time in more than a decade, she didn’t get to spend a few joyous days decorating floats with volunteers from across the country, her “family from everywhere.”

“I didn’t know what to do with myself,” said Bueno, a nurse from Pico Rivera.

The Rose Parade will return Saturday. And this week, Bueno was back in her element: flitting around a Pasadena warehouse with other decorators, slicing leaves,gluing dried fruit and seeds, blasting Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You” from her phone and belting out the chorus.

“Coming back here every year is [about] trying to make people happy,” Bueno said. “To give people something to smile about. Especially nowadays, when there’s not a lot to smile about.”

For many, the return of the Rose Parade will be seen as a cheerful respite from two painful pandemic years. But the parade — and its enormous crowd from across the country — is coming at a fraught time. Coronavirus infections and hospitalizations are soaring again because of the highly contagious Omicron variant. Disruptions abound.

Photo courtesy of Dave Proffer, flickr

Hundreds of flights have been canceled this week because of airline staffing shortages tied to the virus. The Holiday Bowl in San Diego was canceled five hours before kickoff on Tuesday because of COVID-19 issues with the UCLA Bruins. A performance of “Hamilton”at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre was scrapped on Christmas Eve — with the audience already seated — because of breakthrough infections backstage.

The famed New Year’s Eve celebration in New York City’s Times Square has been scaled back, with fewer revelers allowed. The New Year’s Eve event in Los Angeles’ Grand Park will be streamed, with no live audience.

But the Rose Parade will go on, with organizers expecting hundreds of thousands of spectators along Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard.

“All the planning that we have done has positioned us well to be able to host the Rose Parade in a safe and healthy way,” said David Eads, executive director of the Tournament of Roses.

“The overall sense of renewal and rebirth of the Rose Parade is forefront with everybody. We’ve come up with a couple of terms for it: ‘One parade, two years in the making,’ and ‘The bloom is back.’ ”

The Tournament of Roses is requiring the 6,000-plus parade participants, including people on floats, marching bands and equestrians, to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event.

As of Monday, just over 90% had given proof of vaccination, Eads said.

Parade spectators ages 12 and up in ticketed areas, like grandstands, will also have to provide proof of vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours. Ticket holders ages 18 and up will have to provide photo identification, and all attendees ages 2 and up in those areas will be required to wear a mask.

Along the rest of the 5.5-mile route, where people can just walk up and watch, vaccination and negative test results will not be checked.

“What we’re asking is they take personal responsibility,” staying in family pods, social distancing as much as possible, wearing masks and being vaccinated and boosted, Eads said.

There is some comfort, Eads said, in both the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl game between the Utah Utes and Ohio State Buckeyes — which also will require vaccination or a negative test from attendees — being outdoor events, which health officials say are safer than indoor gatherings.

The parade comes as California is battling a significant new spike in infections and hospitalizations. California recorded 4,378 coronavirus-positive patients in hospitals Monday. The number of Californians hospitalized with COVID-19 has swelled by nearly 25% since Dec. 20, according to data compiled by The Times.

About 67% of all Californians are fully vaccinated. In Pasadena, which has its own health department, 89% of residents ages 5 and up are fully vaccinated.

Eads said the Tournament of Roses partnered with public health specialists at USC Keck School of Medicine this year and last year to conduct reports on the feasibility of hosting the parade.

This year, the report concluded that vaccinations would be “a game changer,” Eads said, but that planning should be flexible in case new variants emerged.

Last year, before vaccines were available, the parade was called off in July and replaced with a television special.

Click here to read the full article at LA Times

Burglars Hit At Least A Dozen Sacramento Lobbyists And Nonprofits In Downtown Break-In

Lobbying firms, nonprofits and a union were among the tenants affected by a burglary at the Forum Building on Thursday.

The 10-story building, located a block from the Capitol at the intersection of 9th and K Streets, houses a swath of government relations firms and other organizations that do business with the state. On the morning of Dec. 23, tenants were informed that the building had been broken into the night before.

Rubicon Property Management, which manages the Forum Building, declined to comment on the robbery. In an email to tenants obtained by The Sacramento Bee, management said more than a dozen offices had been compromised by forced entry.

The affected tenants included the California Federation of Teachers, California Strategic Advisors, Reeb, EdVoice, California Association for Adult Day Services, the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association, the California Association of Councils of Governments, the California Solar and Storage Association, Hispanic League of Colleges and Universities, Corbin & Kaiser, the Planning and Conservation League and Houston Magnani and Associates.

Sacramento Police told The Bee that officers responded about 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning, where they saw signs of forced entry and discovered multiple businesses within the building had been burglarized. The investigation is ongoing, police said.

Rubicon on Monday told tenants in an email that law enforcement was able to collect finger prints from the offices. Management will also install additional cameras in elevator lobbies and install security guards 24/7, the email said.

Samantha Corbin, CEO of the firm Corbin & Kaiser, said thieves entered office suits by breaking door handles, locks and door frames. She speculated they might have had a key card.

Corbin said the burglars took brand new computer equipment, banking and routing information, and employee payroll information like Social Security numbers from the filing cabinets in her office suite.

Corbin said she and other tenants have become increasingly wary of working downtown, and say the empty storefronts and rundown streets contribute to crime and theft.

“It’s been so bad on K Street in general,” Corbin said. “I don’t think this is a building owner issue. This is a Sacramento city government issue.”

Ron Kingston, a lobbyist and president of California Strategic Advisors, said things were “strewn everywhere” in his office. His door was busted open and documents from like invoices and billing statements with bank account and routing information, were taken. Kingston said he’s concerned the area isn’t safe.

Click here to read the full article at the Sacramento Bee

Lack Of Money Isn’t California’s Problem

California’s rate of education spending continues its rapid escalation but expected increases in performance remain lagging. While taxpayers are doing their job, politicians, education bureaucrats, and teacher unions aren’t doing theirs.

The 40-year-old myth that Proposition 13 gutted education spending was never true to begin with, despite the progressive narrative, but now it has been exposed as utter fantasy. According to the federal government’s National Center for Education Statistics, in inflation-adjusted constant dollars, per-pupil spending in California for public elementary and secondary schools rose from $5,675 in 1969-70, to $7,377 in 1979-80, to $9,121 in 1989-90. For 2017-18, the most recent year for which statistics are available, per-pupil spending for K-12 public schools was $13,129, the highest ever.

As Reason Foundation’s Christian Barnard highlighted recently in these pages, “inflation-adjusted education spending in California grew by a massive 44.03% between 2013 and 2019 — the fastest growth among any state in the nation including the District of Columbia during that period.” That’s made us 17th in the nation in per-pupil K-12 spending.

So no, California’s schools aren’t hurting for cash as the foes of Prop. 13 would like you to believe. What California’s schools are hurting for is accountability. And as two recent news items show, it starts at the top.

One example is a story reported by POLITICO about the questionable hiring of Daniel Lee, California’s first superintendent of equity. The state job, which pays a salary of up to $179,832, originated as a foundation-funded position paid for by a $700,000 grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. In July 2020, following the protests over the death of George Floyd, Lee went on the state payroll as a deputy superintendent for the California Department of Education. The purpose of the hire was to ensure the success of children of color in California.

The only problem was that Lee lives and works in Pennsylvania. Politico reported that he “owns a Pennsylvania-based psychology firm and is president of the New Jersey Psychological Association’s executive board,” but his resume shows “no prior experience in California or relationships with school districts in the state.”

Click here to read the full article

What New California Laws Mean For The Workplace In 2022, From Warehouses To Pay Disputes

A first-in-the-nation law to regulate quotas in warehouses. A ban on nondisclosure agreements in workplace harassment and discrimination lawsuits. An easier pathway to becoming barbers and hairstylists.

California workers and businesses will have those laws and more to abide by as the new year rolls around.

Last year was “kind of a down year” when it comes to the number of significant labor laws getting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature, said Ben Ebbink, a Sacramento-baed partner at a law firm Fisher Phillips representing employers.

Still, Ebbink noted several significant bills will affect employers and employees alike starting Jan. 1. Here’s what to know about the new laws:

WAGE THEFT

The government will be able to issue a felony charge against employers who intentionally steal workers’ wages of more than $950 for one employee or $2,350 for two or more employees. Such a charge could lead to up to three years in jail.

“We’re not talking about an inadvertent, clerical mistake but situations where employers know what they’re doing and are not intending to pay workers by the law,” Ebbink said. “I don’t see a lot of risk for the prosecutors running around hitting mom-and-pop stores for inadvertent violations.”

WORKPLACE SAFETY

California will also spike the amount of fines it could levy on the employers who don’t provide safe workplaces. Under Senate Bill 606, Cal-OSHA can impose a penalty for each employee affected by the violation of the state’s health and safety regulations if it is willful and “egregious.”

Cal-OSHA will also be able to issue an “enterprise-wide” citation, hitting all of the employer’s worksites, if the agency has evidence of a pattern of the same violation involving more than one of the facilities.

NONDISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS

Meanwhile, the state will ban the use of nondisclosure settlement agreements on workplace harassment and discrimination cases. The law also prevents, with few exceptions, employers from offering severance agreements that block the displaced workers from talking about unlawful acts in the workplace.

MINIMUM WAGE

Under Senate Bill 639, no new employers may be permitted to pay workers with disabilities less than the state’s minimum wage, a practice that had been allowed in some circumstances to encourage employment. Existing employers paying subminimum wages have until Jan. 1, 2025, to increase the pay for their workers.

Speaking of the minimum wage, employers with 26 or more employees soon must pay their workers at least $15 an hour. Smaller employers will be required to pay their workers at least $14 an hour. Some cities and counties may have an even higher minimum wage.

WAREHOUSE, GARMENT, COSMETIC AND FOOD INDUSTRIES

Some laws will target specific industries.

Under Assembly Bill 701, companies must tell their warehouse workers of their quotas. Companies can’t use quotas to prevent workers from taking legally required meal, rest or bathroom breaks.

Companies must notify workers of their quota within 30 days of hiring, as well as of any discipline they may face from failing to meet the target. Workers who believe their quotas are unsafe can request 90 days of their work speed metrics and can sue employers to stop them from imposing the requirement.

Garment workers in the state must also now be paid hourly, instead of per piece produced, except in worksites covered by a collective bargaining agreement. Fashion brands would be held liable for labor law violations of their contractors.

Meanwhile, two new laws will affect the agriculture and food industry. Farmworkers are now designated as “essential workers,” giving them access to the state’s stockpile of N95 masks and other personal protective equipment. Food delivery platforms can’t retain any part of the tips given to their drivers.

Another new law will ease the requirement for Californians to be barbers or cosmetologists. Barbers and cosmetologists will only have to get 1,000 hours of training to get their license, compared to up to 1,600 hours beforehand.

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