FREE (Taxpayer Financed) Postage to Vote by Mail—AB 216

It is soon to be law when Jerry Brown signs the bill.  The legislature is going to finance your vote.  You do know that in the June primary five counties sent absentee ballots to all voters.  In the future expect to find voting facilities in the history books.  The idea is to use the mail to promote voter turnout.  As we found out in June, it is taking weeks to count the ballots—with for honest reason for it.  As of Wednesday there were still 750,000 votes to be counted—as if the machines slow down once the election is over.

It will also make it easier for ballots to be stolen from mailboxes in areas some interest groups would not like seeing.  Seriously, if you voted by absentee did you check to see if the County Registrar got it?  This is just another example of the potential of corruption of the process—and the taxpayers get to finance it.

post office

 

AB 216 Introduced by Assembly Members Gonzalez Fletcher and Low
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Gray)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Bonta, Cervantes, Chiu, Chu, Cooper, Eduardo Garcia, Holden, Jones-Sawyer, Kalra, McCarty, Mullin, Quirk-Silva, Reyes, and Rubio)
(Coauthor: Senator Anderson)
Introduced January 24, 2017

Assemblymembers Fletcher and Low, 6.21.18

An act to amend Section 3010 of the Elections Code, relating to elections.
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

 

AB 216, as amended, Gonzalez Fletcher. Vote by mail ballots: identification envelopes: prepaid postage.

Existing law provides for the procedures by which a voter may apply for and receive a vote by mail ballot. Existing law requires the elections official to deliver to each qualified applicant the ballot for the precinct in which the applicant resides and all supplies necessary for the use and return of the ballot. Existing law prescribes the contents of an identification envelope and requires a voter to return his or her vote by mail ballot in the identification envelope, as specified.

This bill would clarify that the elections official is required to deliver to each qualified applicant an identification envelope for the return of the vote by mail ballot and would require the identification envelope to have prepaid postage.

By imposing additional duties on local elections officials, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.

Digest Key

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES

Plurality of Americans pleased with the direction of their country

We were told that if Trump elected President the stock market would tank, he would get us into war, even a nuclear war.  Instead we have historically low unemployment, companies are moving to the U.S., unlike Obama who pushed companies from our nation.  ISIS is barely existent, North Korea is ending its belligerence.  The FBI and Justice Department has been exposed as corrupt and abusive of the election process.  The American people, unlike the Fake Media, appreciate what Trump has done.

“Thirty-eight percent of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the United States today, similar to last month’s 37 percent satisfaction rate but marking the numerical high since a 39 percent reading in September 2005.

The satisfaction rate, which Gallup has measured at least monthly since 2001, has now topped 35 percent three times this year — a level reached only three times in the previous 12 years (once each in 2006, 2009 and 2016).

Satisfaction with the nation is now back to the historical average of 37 percent for this trend,”

This is a sign that November should not be feared by supporters of limited, honest government.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters as he takes the stage for a campaign event in Dallas, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Plurality of Americans pleased with the direction of their country

 

Central Valley Business Times,  6/18/18

 

  • Satisfaction ticks up to a 12-year high
  • Republicans and independents pleased, but not Democrats

Republicans and, to a lesser degree, independents, are pleased as punch about the direction the country’s going, according to a new survey by Gallup Inc.

But there are few Democrats aboard that happy train.

Thirty-eight percent of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the United States today, similar to last month’s 37 percent satisfaction rate but marking the numerical high since a 39 percent reading in September 2005.

The satisfaction rate, which Gallup has measured at least monthly since 2001, has now topped 35 percent three times this year — a level reached only three times in the previous 12 years (once each in 2006, 2009 and 2016).

Satisfaction with the nation is now back to the historical average of 37 percent for this trend, which was first measured in 1979, but is far below the majority levels reached in the economic boom times of the mid-1980s and late 1990s.

In its first four years (1979 and 1981-1983), satisfaction failed to reach 37 percent in any poll, but then routinely reached or exceeded that level in 1984 through 2005 polling, with the exception of 1992-1995 (excluding one 36 percent reading in 1994), Gallup says.

After a January 2006 reading of 36 percent, satisfaction failed to surpass 35 percent the rest of that year, and with the economic calamities that followed over the next few years as the Great Recession gripped the nation, it descended into single digits in two 2008 polls and has subsequently stayed mostly below 30 percent, the Gallup surveys found.

The rise in satisfaction over the past two months comes amid a spate of positive economic news — including the shrinking of the unemployment rate to levels last seen in 2000 and the continuation of an economic expansion that is now the second longest on record, says Gallup.

Other prominent national news stories have included independent counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion; President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal; and Mr. Trump’s negotiations with North Korea that culminated in his meeting last week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Rise in Republican, Independent Satisfaction Pushes Rate Up Over Past Two Month

U.S. satisfaction has averaged 38 percent in May and June after averaging 29 percent in March and April, according to Gallup.

The nine-point bump between the two periods is entirely owing to increased satisfaction among Republicans and independents, pushing Republicans’ satisfaction to 68 percent and independents’ to 36 percent. Meanwhile, Democrats’ satisfaction is unchanged at 13 percent, Gallup says.

Differences by place of residence, age, gender and education are mostly not as large as by party identification, and the amount of change from March-April to May-June was fairly uniform within the former groups. Democrats were the only major demographic group to show no increase in satisfaction.

Those in groups that tend to have more Democrats than Republicans — those younger than 35, city dwellers, women and those with postgraduate work — are least likely to be satisfied, but satisfaction levels rose for all of these groups in the May-June aggregate.

Survey methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 1-13, 2018, with a random sample of 1,520 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70 percent cellphone respondents and 30 percent landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

 

Colman: OPPRESSED LATINOS NEED A LEADER AND A HOMELAND

Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton and the whacky Maxine Waters are leaders of the black community.  Radical groups like La Raza, LuLac, Universion, Xavier Becerra, Luis Gutierrez, Acosta of CNN and other Hispanics have led the Hispanic community into crime, poverty and segregation.  What would happen if a true leader that had values, led the Hispanic community?

America has a strong tradition of allowing immigrants to become citizens.  Perhaps America’s most famous immigrant was Albert Einstein, who, as a Jew, was forced to leave his native Germany and come to America and become a citizen. 

But immigration into America must be rational and legal. 

Immigrants must meet certain criteria, which include: 

  • the ability to speak English fluently.
  • the absence of any convictions for a felony.
  • evidence of full-time employment.

For those Latinos who would like to enter America — but for whom America has no room — must establish a homeland, preferably in Latin America.  The United States could help establish such a homeland.  American financial aid might be needed. 

That is an interesting concept.  In reality what it will take is cleaning up El Salvador, Guatemala or another country.  Costa Rica is a great example of an honest, well run, successful country—when was the last time you heard about someone from Costa Rica coming to the U.S. for “political asylum”?   Maybe Costa Rica could become the homeland for those fleeing Latin American nations?  Why not?

American Flag 1

OPPRESSED LATINOS NEED A LEADER AND A HOMELAND

By Richard Colman, California Political News and Views  6/21/18

The millions of Latinos who want to live in the United States need a Theodor Herzl. 

Who was Theodor Herzl?  

Herzl (1860-1904) was a Jew from Austria-Hungary,  Trained as a lawyer, Herzl also worked as a journalist in various parts of Europe. 

Concerned about European anti-Semitism, Herzl proposed that the Jews should have a homeland.  The homeland, he thought, should be in nineteenth century Palestine. 

Nineteenth century Palestine, which today encompasses much of modern Israel, was the ancient home of the Jews until the Romans in 70 A.D. (C.E.) conquered the Jewish homeland.  In the wake of that destruction, Jews emigrated from ancient Israel to northern Africa, Spain, Greece, Italy, Germany, Poland, Russia, and other parts of the world. 

From 1880 to 1920, many European Jews immigrated to America, which today has a Jewish population of 5.3 million.  (By contrast, Israel has 6.5 million Jews.) 

On May 14, 1948, modern Israel became an independent, democratic Jewish state.  Jews anywhere in the world could come to Israel and become Israeli citizens. 

Latinos need a Theodor Herzl. 

No one knows if Latinos have the social cohesion to form their own country or where that country should be.  But given the oppression that some Latinos in Latin America have faced, these individuals need a homeland and a leader to help create that homeland.

In America, there are an estimated 55 million Latinos living in the 50 states and Washington, D.C.  That number is about 18 percent of the American population. 

No one is certain how many Latinos — legally and illegally — really are living in America.  What is certain is that there is a limit on how many new residents — Latino or otherwise — America can accommodate. 

The time has come to say that America has done as much as it can to accommodate Latino immigrants and other immigrants.  The nation must protect itself from an invasion of unwanted foreigners.  The borders of America can no longer be open to any person who wants to reside in America. 

America has a strong tradition of allowing immigrants to become citizens.  Perhaps America’s most famous immigrant was Albert Einstein, who, as a Jew, was forced to leave his native Germany and come to America and become a citizen. 

But immigration into America must be rational and legal. 

Immigrants must meet certain criteria, which include: 

  • the ability to speak English fluently.
  • the absence of any convictions for a felony.
  • evidence of full-time employment.

For those Latinos who would like to enter America — but for whom America has no room — must establish a homeland, preferably in Latin America.  The United States could help establish such a homeland.  American financial aid might be needed. 

But providing that American aid should be financially less burdensome that letting in millions of Latinos, who, upon entering America, lack the knowledge and skills to contribute to American society. 

Perhaps a Latino version of Theodor Herzl will emerge and help lead oppressed Latinos to a homeland inside Latin America.

 

Many California High-Schoolers Felt Unprepared for College Process: Study

California government schools are teaching peer counseling, ethnic and gender studies, use Common Core to assure the least among the students get to graduate.  LAUSD in 2015 has 45% of its graduates given diploma’s for a “D” average.  The District has used tens of millions in tax dollars, not for the purpose of education but to create credits so they failed students can pretend they are graduates.  Now those going to college realize they were short changed by LAUSD.

California schools aren’t making the grade, according to some high-schoolers in that state. A new study released on June 11 by YouthTruth, a student survey nonprofit, finds that less than half (37 percent) of the high-schoolers surveyed in California rate their schools positively.

Despite that, 59 percent of students surveyed declared feeling engaged in school, and 52 percent reported they enjoy going to school most of the time. However, just 52 percent of high-schoolers participating in the study reported feeling like their school truly helped them understand the steps they needed to take to apply to college.

Half the students feel used by the system—making them unprepared for college, hence unprepared to graduate from college—our schools meet the needs of only HALF the students.  That is a monster sized failure.

classroom

Many California High-Schoolers Felt Unprepared for College Process: Study

The majority of students in a recent survey didn’t feel they were equipped to apply to college.

By Zoe Chevalier, U.S. News and World Report,  6/18/18

California schools aren’t making the grade, according to some high-schoolers in that state. A new study released on June 11 by YouthTruth, a student survey nonprofit, finds that less than half (37 percent) of the high-schoolers surveyed in California rate their schools positively.

Despite that, 59 percent of students surveyed declared feeling engaged in school, and 52 percent reported they enjoy going to school most of the time. However, just 52 percent of high-schoolers participating in the study reported feeling like their school truly helped them understand the steps they needed to take to apply to college.

Eighty-four percent of the high-schoolers surveyed said they were planning on going to college, a number that Jen Wilka, executive director of YouthTruth, finds encouraging: “When I look at the data I think that the college-going aspirations of students is really encouraging. In terms of student engagement, we are seeing that the majority are feeling engaged – 59 percent – but there is room for improvement there. And then, of course, only 40 percent of students are rating their school culture positively, so that stands out as the area where there is quite a lot of room for attention.”

YouthTruth is a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization that focuses on surveying students of participating schools, in order to influence the direction and leadership of schools across the country.

“We believe that students are the experts about their (local) school experiences,” Wilka says. “We believe that in order to lead schools that are truly responsive and inclusive, the decision-makers must ask and really be open to listening to what students have to say about their learning experiences.”

This study was conducted between November 2010 and February 2018 and surveyed 63,000 students in grades 5 through 12 from 146 participating schools in California. Similar surveys were conducted over the same period in 37 other states and yielded similar results, Wilka says.

In California, 30 percent of the schools were located in large cities, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego; 13 percent were in small cities; 35 percent in suburban areas and 8 percent in rural areas. Forty percent of the schools included in the analysis are classified by the National Center for Education Statistics as high-poverty schools, with at least 70 percent of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches.

Similar trends were found when looking at the middle-schoolers’ survey results. Forty-nine percent of middle-schoolers say that what they learned in class helped them outside of school, where only 42 percent of high-school students had a positive response to this question. And 49 percent of middle-schoolers thought discipline at their school was fair, compared to 42 percent of high-school students.

YouthTruth advises the participating schools to use these results to see what could be improved in their systems, and praised their effort for voluntarily putting themselves to the test: “There is a lot of great effort being done across the state but (there) will continue to be a need to listen to the voices of the people who are truly at the center of our education system,” Wilka says.

 

How California Lawmakers Goosed Jackpots To Create Record-Setting Lottery Sales

Good news for lottery players in California, the vendors, promoters, sellers of the tickets.  Not such good news for education—the excuse used for government to run gambling in California.

“When California voters approved the lottery in 1984, they required 34 cents of every dollar go towards education. That remained the law until state legislators eliminated the requirement eight years ago. The new mandate for school funding? To “maximize” the dollar amount.

Lawmakers made the change to free up the lottery to sweeten jackpots and pump up sales, which had lagged during the Great Recession. The thinking went like this: the percentage of lottery dollars going towards schools would dip, but the extra ticket sales would push the dollar amount higher.

These days, just 23 cents of every dollar go towards schools. So despite all the additional revenue, the money for schools has crept up more slowly.

The changes have meant that, in the current fiscal year, it took an additional $2.3 billion in ticket sales to reach the same level of support for schools, $1.6 billion, that the lottery provided in FY 2006, adjusting for inflation.”

The California Lottery is just another scam for the special interests to make money—using children.  Shame on us for allowing this.

CA lottery

How California Lawmakers Goosed Jackpots To Create Record-Setting Lottery Sales

by Aaron Mendelson, LA 1st, 6/19/18

TO SEE COMPLETE STORY CLICK ON HEADLINE

The California Lottery is minting money. This year, revenues will soar to $6.9 billion.

That not only breaks a record, it more than doubles the amount from just a few years before. The California Lottery’s revenues now top those at Fortune 500 companies like Clorox, Yum Brands and Harley Davidson.

The recent boom has been fueled by a wave of gigantic jackpots. Newer games like Powerball and a $30 scratch ticket offer huge prizes, and California’s lottery players have responded by gambling more and more.

That should be good news for the state’s schools, the lottery’s only beneficiary. Yet even as ticket sales have skyrocketed, California schools aren’t seeing much of a return on that investment. A KPCC/LAist investigation found contributions to education by the lottery are essentially unchanged from 12 years ago, even though revenues are up by billions.

Why? Lawmakers changed the rules governing the lottery in 2010.

Lottery revenue shot up after law changed, money for schools didn’t

When California voters approved the lottery in 1984, they required 34 cents of every dollar go towards education. That remained the law until state legislators eliminated the requirement eight years ago. The new mandate for school funding? To “maximize” the dollar amount.

Lawmakers made the change to free up the lottery to sweeten jackpots and pump up sales, which had lagged during the Great Recession. The thinking went like this: the percentage of lottery dollars going towards schools would dip, but the extra ticket sales would push the dollar amount higher.

These days, just 23 cents of every dollar go towards schools. So despite all the additional revenue, the money for schools has crept up more slowly.

The changes have meant that, in the current fiscal year, it took an additional $2.3 billion in ticket sales to reach the same level of support for schools, $1.6 billion, that the lottery provided in FY 2006, adjusting for inflation.

Is that increased churn benefitting Californians?

“It doesn’t surprise me that, as the state has jacked up prizes that purchasing has gone up,” said Zahava Stadler of the non-profit EdBuild, which studies education funding. “But the fact that education dollars have remained pretty flat tells you that more and more what the state is doing here is running a casino, rather than funding public schools.”

The lottery declined our request to interview an official for this story. But in an email, California Lottery spokesman Russ Lopez expressed a different viewpoint.

“This strategy has worked,” Lopez wrote, referring to tickets with increased jackpots. Lifting the cap on how much the lottery pays out in prizes “has resulted in increased net revenues available to supplement funding for public education.”

The strategy relies on selling more and more tickets that are, on the whole, money losers for Californians. (Your odds are better in a casino.) And those losses are felt more acutely in certain neighborhoods: KPCC/LAist reviewed store-by-store sales data from the lottery, revealing that those booming sales happen disproportionately in census tracts that are low-income and non-white.

“MY MAIN THING”

Customers stream through the door at LaunderLand on a sunny Monday morning.

The shop serves Orange County’s Little Saigon, and sells a little of everything: SIM cards, Vietnamese newspapers, soda, water, alterations and more — but the biggest draw is gambling.

The California Lottery is a cash business, and customers sling ones, tens and even the occasional hundred across the counter at LaunderLand.

Some players buy in a steady rhythm, shuttling back and forth between the clerks and the counter as they scratch off tickets. Another group of older men sits outside, keeping an eye on a TV with the latest Hot Spot numbers. That game’s draws flash on-screen every four minutes.

Other players snap up scratchers from the vending machine in back. One man even roots through a garbage can where players toss out tickets, hoping to find an overlooked jackpot.

“The lottery is my main thing,” said LaunderLand owner Randy Chung, who keeps an eye on the action from across the store’s glass counter. When Chung bought the store 18 years ago, it was a laundromat — you can still wash and dry clothes in the back. He’s gradually expanded, but the biggest change came when he got the go-ahead to sell lottery tickets in 2010.

Chung has watched sales rise ever since. Initially, LaunderLand sold around $40,000 in lottery tickets each month. These days, the store beats that in a week. Retailers like Chung keep around 6 percent of each sale, plus bonuses connected to winning lottery tickets.

Monthly lottery sales have soared at LaunderLand
“This was a much easier thing to sell,” said Connie Chung, who helps her father run the store. “I actually sold the very first ticket. And I just remember it was a day of celebration for us.” She framed the first dollar spent on the lottery, which remains right behind a display case boasting dozens of varieties of scratchers.

“I just didn’t know how big of an impact it would have in our lives,” Connie Chung said. LaunderLand has grown into one of the state’s biggest lottery retailers, with sales of more than $6 million over the past two years.

It’s not just LaunderLand. Sales at lottery retailers from San Diego to Crescent City are on an upswing. And they will continue climbing if the California Lottery achieves its goal of becoming the largest lottery in the country.

MODERNIZE AND MAXIMIZE

The outlook was bleak at the California Lottery in 2010.

The agency was underperforming, with per-capita sales lagging far behind states in the Midwest and on the East Coast.

Still, voters in 2009 soundly rejected a ballot proposition to “modernize” the lottery by emphasizing jackpots and advertising. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was governor at the time, was even floating the idea of privatizing the lottery.

Then AB 142 arrived. The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward), promised to goose lottery sales by loosening rules around jackpots. Her measure proposed allowing more than 50 percent of revenues to go towards prizes for the first time.

To free up a bigger share of the pie for jackpots, the bill eliminated the requirement that 34 percent of revenues flow to public education. Instead, the lottery simply had to balance revenues and prize payouts at a level “that maximizes the total net revenues allocated to the benefit of public education.”

One supporter of the changes was GTECH, the gambling conglomerate that contracts with the California Lottery, providing the equipment and infrastructure that allows the lottery to run smoothly. GTECH spent half a million dollars lobbying around AB 142 in 2010. The company had a backup plan in case legislators sat on the proposal: it dumped another $2.8 million into an effort to create a ballot proposition with similar language to AB 142.

That wasn’t necessary. With the support of GTECH, the grocers association and education groups, AB 142 sailed through the statehouse. Only one legislator voted against the bill, which was signed into law by Schwarzenegger in April 2010.

The impact was immediate. GTECH’s parent company noted in its annual report that “our efforts to reform prize payouts in California supported sales in the last few months of 2010.”

Tschools.”

Santa Ana Upside-Down By $10 Million in New Fiscal Year; Council Seeks Sales Tax Increase

Santa Ana is a sanctuary city.  It is using tax dollars to defend illegal aliens.  It is spending tax dollars to protect citizens from MS-13 gangsters and assorted other illegal alien criminals.  The schools are crowded with kids that do not speak English and parents that have broken the law.  Now the Santa is crying it is broke—it has a $10 million deficit.  Maybe if they fixed their policies it would be a surplus—and the community would be safer?

“Santa Ana City Council members, facing exploding labor costs that far exceed new revenues from the growing economy, approved a budget Tuesday that draws $10.2 million in one-time money to make ends meet in the new fiscal year.

That is on top of a $2 million budget gap last year and $6.1 million in one-time general fund money the city plans to draw to make ends meet in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. The gaps are projected to grow to $32 million in the 2020 fiscal year, and $38 million the following fiscal year.

Now they want one of the poorest communities in the State to be even poorer.  Instead of fixing the reasons for the deficit, they want to raise sales tax and add to the high cost of living.  The good news is that illegal aliens get food stamps, housing vouchers, free health care, protection from the police and a free education—higher costs mean nothing to them.

Maria Ortiz, at left, a Mexican immigrant has been living in the United States for 23 years. "I am single. I work so hard to stay. I never needed support from the government," Ortiz said. She is not a citizen and works as a janitor, she said during an immigration protest outside Rep. Ed Royce's office in Brea. ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:   – MINDY SCHAUER, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER – Shot 111713 – immig.fast.11.19 Advocates for immigration reform will camp our near the office of Rep. Ed Royce for five days, where they will stage a fast.  They are asking OC's Republican leaders in Congress to publicly support an overhaul to the nation's immigration laws, including the so-called pathway to citizenship that would create a process for some 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally the right to become citizens.

Santa Ana Upside-Down By $10 Million in New Fiscal Year; Council Seeks Sales Tax Increase

By Nick Gerda, Voice of OC,  6/20/18

Santa Ana City Council members, facing exploding labor costs that far exceed new revenues from the growing economy, approved a budget Tuesday that draws $10.2 million in one-time money to make ends meet in the new fiscal year.

That is on top of a $2 million budget gap last year and $6.1 million in one-time general fund money the city plans to draw to make ends meet in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. The gaps are projected to grow to $32 million in the 2020 fiscal year, and $38 million the following fiscal year.

Citing the ever-worsening budget projections, most of the council moved Tuesday toward placing a sales tax increase on the November ballot.

“No one really likes taxes…But sometimes you have to do things that are necessary. And right now we have reduced services,” said Councilman Juan Villegas.

“We’re not making this decision” about raising taxes, he added, in comments other council members echoed. “We’re asking the public to make this decision.”

On a 5-1 vote, council members directed staff to prepare research and documents for their next meeting, on July 3, where they could place the increase measure on the ballot.

Santa Ana’s sales tax currently is 7.75 percent. Options under consideration by council members include a full-percent increase to 8.75 percent, which is estimated to raise an additional $40 million for city coffers each year.

Another option is a percent-and-a-half increase, to 9.25 percent, which would be the highest sales tax of all 34 cities in Orange County and would bring an extra estimated $63 million per year into the city.

Supporting the preparation of research for the sales tax measure were Mayor Miguel Pulido and councilmen David Benavides, Vicente Sarmiento, Sal Tinajero, and Juan Villegas.

Councilwoman Michele Martinez was absent and Councilman Jose Solorio voted no, though Solorio suggested he would support the measure if proper outreach was done to council members and the public.

Last month, as council members showed interest in a sales tax measure, city staff hired opinion research consultants to conduct a poll and help craft public messages about the proposed tax increase to help it pass in November.

The research is being provided to the City Attorney’s Office, which is in charge of writing the ballot language that would describe the sales tax measure to voters, which state law calls the “impartial analysis.”

Council members laid out their support Tuesday for putting the sales tax increase before voters.

But at the end of the Council’s 25-minute discussion of the tax increase, Solorio noted the council hadn’t discussed how the tens of millions of dollars would be spent.

“If we do generate this kind of revenue…how might we spend it? You know, we haven’t done that,” Solorio said.

“An excellent point,” replied Pulido.

“We’re saying we want to raise approximately $40 million, but we haven’t really had [the] discussion about how to spend it,” Solorio said, calling the proposed tax increase “a regressive sales tax on working class [people].”

“We’re asking folks for a ton of dough, and we ought to have a thoughtful conversation about how [the money would be] spent,” Solorio added.

Pulido asked city staff to bring back options at the July 3 meeting for how the money could be spent. The council is scheduled to vote at that meeting on putting the tax increase on the ballot.

Santa Ana’s fiscal crisis comes even as city revenues grow by millions of dollars per year in an expanding economy. City officials have attributed the fiscal crisis to sharply growing costs for employee salaries and benefits.

Pensions for current and retired employees, mostly for police officers and other Police Department staff, have been the single largest driver of the ever-worsening budget holes, according to city finance officials.

Total city spending on pensions is projected to rise 80 percent over the next five years, from $45 million this fiscal year to $81 million.

Another major factor in the worsening budget shortfalls was the cancellation of the city’s jail contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), while leaving many of the jail staff in place without another revenue source to fully replace the ICE contract.

The shortfall projections – which show the city on a pathway to bankruptcy if unaddressed – do not take into account any future economic downturns or any future raises to city staff.

Economists have been projecting an economic downturn in the next two or three years, and police union officials have been seeking a raise this year and have the most well-funded campaign finance committee in Santa Ana for the next City Council elections in November.

The budget approved by council members Tuesday does not have as severe cuts as were originally proposed last month. The approved spending plan does not cut library hours or youth sports staff members, but does include plans to issue an extra $200,000 in parking tickets to raise new revenues.

But the approved budget does redirect millions of dollars in retail marijuana money that had been slated for expanded services, to instead go toward helping fill the existing budget gap for existing services.

When they were preparing last year to allow retail marijuana sales in January, the City Council directed that the money to be divided in thirds between new youth programs, expanded police enforcement, and administrative costs.

“Part of the interest of council is that if we are going to enter this…area of business, that there would be direct benefit to community,” Benavides said last month.

But given the fiscal crisis, council members are instead putting the new marijuana money toward plugging this year’s budget hole.

The full $2 million in projected retail marijuana money this fiscal year is slated to fill the budget hole, and for next year, the council plans on using one-third of marijuana projected revenues, or $2.6 million of the roughly $7.8 million total, to partially reduce the budget shortfall.

As part of the new budget, council members also increased the city’s legal defense spending for unauthorized immigrants who face deportation proceedings, which was requested by pro-immigrant activists organized under the group Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities.

In the current fiscal year, Santa Ana’s budget included $65,000 in city money for immigrant legal defense, plus a $100,000 one-time grant from the nonprofit Vera Institute of Justice.

Santa Ana’s payments increase in the new budget to $80,000, with no funds from the nonprofit grant.

Sarmiento, pointing to the separation of more than 2,000 migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, said, “It’s a very graphic and ugly time that we’re living in.”

Ten members of the public spoke about the budget during public comments Tuesday, all of whom spoke in favor of the expanded city spending on legal defense.

“We’ve been able to serve ten families, which means that we have ten more families from right here in Santa Ana who are able to stay together. We have people that have been able to stay in their homes, continue contributing to the economy here,” said Lindsay Toczylowski, executive director of the Immigrant Defenders Law Center.

“The families would have gone without these services if it weren’t for the support of the city of Santa Ana.”

The shortfalls this year, according to city staff, are mainly driven by increased pension costs ($5.9 million) and raises the council approved for police officers and other city staff ($3.1 million).

The City Council approved the employee raises as staff projected shortfalls of millions of dollars. About two thirds of the raises went to police officers, who are about one third of the city’s overall staff.

Before the new labor contract, the median total compensation for a Santa Ana officer was about $213,000 per year, including $111,000 in pay before overtime and $88,000 in benefits, according to city data published by Transparent California.

The police union was the city’s largest campaign spender in the most recent election, in 2016. And it started this election year with about three quarters of all Santa Ana campaign money that was in the bank.

If the union continues to fundraise at the rate it did last year, it will have over $675,000 to spend on the November 2018 City Council election.

During the last City Council election, the police officers’ union spent $400,000 to support council candidates they endorsed – more than any other Santa Ana election spender, by far. The general employees’ union spent less than $2,000, according to campaign finance reports.

The police union’s contract expired the same day as the general employees’, June 30, 2017. Council members approved the police union contract five days later, on July 5, and the general employees waited five months for their contract to be approved.

“We’ve heard the city leadership say for months how we have a shortfall when it comes to money…But even before we knew we’re gonna fill some of the budget shortfalls, you found a way to give one of our bargaining units a nice raise,” said Kim McPeck, a city employee and member of the general employees’ union bargaining committee, in public comments to the council in August while negotiations were still ongoing.

“They say at least…a third of those [police union] members got at least an 8-percent raise. Why are you willing to find money for them, and nobody else?” he asked, saying he was reading comments prepared by another union member.

“We are not naive. We see behind the curtains. Is this council sending a message to us that we have to support one of your campaigns to get more money and a fair contract?”

Council members didn’t directly respond to his comments, but said they hoped to find the money to provide raises for the general employees. They approved raises for the general employees in December.

Council members are scheduled to decide July 3 whether to place the sales tax and district elections items on the ballot.

“We are anticipating having everything ready on our end for the City Council to make a determination on July 3,” Garcia said.

At that meeting, the council also is scheduled to make its second and final vote to approve the new 2018-19 budget, which covers the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019.

 

SDUSD Votes to Tear Down Charter School, Lease Land to Developer

San Diego Unified has made it clear—they will do whatever it takes to make it difficult for parents and children to get a quality education.  The school district has decided that special interest housing and developer profits are more important than a Charter School.

“Monarch plans to fit 264 units in the complex with resort-style amenities. Twenty-two units are designated as subsidized units.

The state’s second-largest school district is cash-strapped. 

In 2017, SDUSD tried to cut $124 million from their $1.4 billion operating budget. Most of the money came from cuts to employees. The district issued more than 1,500 layoff notices and offered early retirement options that attracted 1,100 people.

In December, SDUSD trustees approved $47 million in broad cuts.”

They sold out the children—where is Rachel Maddow to cry about them?  Why hasn’t the Union-Tribune demanded answers and stood up to the special interests and for the children?  Want a quality education?  San Diego Unified does not have that as a priority.

Housing

SDUSD Votes to Tear Down Charter School, Lease Land to Developer

The project calls for a $2.5 million, 264-unit complex with 22 subsidized units.

By NBC 7 Staff, 6/19/18

The San Diego Unified School District Board voted Tuesday in favor of closing and relocating a charter school and leasing the property to a development company that plans to build a luxury apartment complex.

The district decided, with a 4 to 1 supporting vote, to tear down Innovations Academy on Scripps Poway Parkway and lease the land for a return of more than $40 million over the next 66 years.

“Win-win for the school district that provides ongoing revenue for our schools that also will build workforce housing and affordable housing for San Diego residents,” Laura Fink of the Monarch Group said. Monarch is developing the nearly 7-acre parcel.

District spokesperson Samer Naji said the project hits “multiple checkboxes,” and said it will generate revenue that will keep supplies in the classroom and money in the pockets of teachers.

SDUSD School May Close for Luxury Apartments

“That’s the fund that pays for teachers, it pays for items in the classroom and it pays for the services that students and families love,” Naji said.

According to Naji, the district has already set aside $20 million for a new Innovations Academy campus, it just has to find a new location for it. Naji said the students deserve permanent facilities, for which the current site was never intended.

Many opponents of the deal showed up following the vote to express their frustrations.

“Why would you proceed with a venture that is completely opposed by a community?” one opponent asked.

“I am very offended that they didn’t really take into consideration what was going on. Clearly, they had all made up their minds before we even stepped into the room,” Lori Moore said.

Nearby resident Gaurang Parikh said he thinks the land is worth plenty more than the district will get for it.

“I think the San Diego Unified School District is getting a raw deal out of it,” Parikh said. “We should leave it alone.”

Other residents are worried about the development’s impact on parking and traffic in the neighborhood, and some think it will bring a rash of crime.

Monarch plans to fit 264 units in the complex with resort-style amenities. Twenty-two units are designated as subsidized units.

The state’s second-largest school district is cash-strapped. 

In 2017, SDUSD tried to cut $124 million from their $1.4 billion operating budget. Most of the money came from cuts to employees. The district issued more than 1,500 layoff notices and offered early retirement options that attracted 1,100 people.

In December, SDUSD trustees approved $47 million in broad cuts.

 

Construction contract to raise height of Shasta Dam expected next year

California has a water shortage.  Mostly caused by policies of the Brown Administration.  President Trump is willing to spend Federal dollars to raise the height of the Shasta Dam, so we can have more water in reserve.  Now we find some in California prefer to go thirsty and raise the cost of food than to provide water for the people.

“The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation plans to advertise for bids on a construction contract in September 2019 and award a bid by December 2019, said Todd Plain, a spokesman for the agency.

So far, Congress has only allocated $20 million for the project, well short of the total $1.4 billion projected cost. Building the concrete, 18½-foot tall structure on top of the dam is expected to cost $350 million, Plain said.

With a higher dam, the lake level could rise as much as 20 feet higher when the lake is full, forcing the bureau to move numerous roads, bridges, campgrounds, buildings and resorts.”

The alternative is government holding back water, fewer jobs, more businesses and families moving to Free States—like Texas that has water at half the price.  A dam or a resort?  Unless you want to depopulate California, it is an easy decision.

Oroville Dam 2

Construction contract to raise height of Shasta Dam expected next year

Damon Arthur, Redding Record Searchlight, 6/20/18

After years of environmental studies, feasibility reports and stalled plans, federal officials are once again moving forward with plans to raise the height of Shasta Dam and intend to award the first construction contract next year.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation plans to advertise for bids on a construction contract in September 2019 and award a bid by December 2019, said Todd Plain, a spokesman for the agency.

So far, Congress has only allocated $20 million for the project, well short of the total $1.4 billion projected cost. Building the concrete, 18½-foot tall structure on top of the dam is expected to cost $350 million, Plain said.

With a higher dam, the lake level could rise as much as 20 feet higher when the lake is full, forcing the bureau to move numerous roads, bridges, campgrounds, buildings and resorts.

Construction to raise the height of the dam would begin sometime in late spring or summer 2020, Plain said. Construction would take about five years, according to an environmental impact report done on the project.

While the bureau has its construction timelines set, opposition to the project has also been well established for years and hasn’t gone away.

The state of California, environmental groups and the Winnemem Wintu Tribe remain opposed to the project.

State officials say raising the height of the dam would violate state law because it would inundate a portion of the McCloud River, a protected river under state law.

Plain said the federal government is trying to resolve that problem.

“We are currently working with the state regarding the path forward for the project,” Plain said.

But Lisa Lien-Mager, a spokeswoman for the California Natural Resources Agency, said state officials were unaware of any talks or agreements regarding the McCloud River.

John Laird, the state’s Secretary for Natural Resources, sent a letter to congressional leaders in March urging them not to include funding for the dam raise in the budget.

“As you may be aware, the Shasta Dam enlargement project would violate California law due to the adverse impacts that project may have on the McCloud River and its fishery,” the letter said.

Laird urged Congress to seek other ways to increase water storage in the state.

State and federal officials are pushing plans to build Sites Reservoir in Colusa County west of Maxwell. That project is eligible for a portion of the $2.7 billion set aside for water storage under Proposition 1 bond funds.

Under state law, California also could not dedicate funds toward efforts to raise the dam because of the McCloud River, Laird noted in his letter.

Steve Evans, a water policy consultant for Friends of the River, said the organization will go to court if necessary to prevent the bureau from raising the height of the dam.

“We intend to uphold state law, even if the Trump administration doesn’t,” Evans said, referring to restrictions on further inundating the McCloud River.

Evans said Friends of the River is against the dam raise for several other reasons as well. He said the dam would not provide the drought relief and benefits to the environment that bureau officials claim it would.

A higher dam would allow greater water reliability for drinking water and agriculture during drought years, especially as the water demand grows along with the state population, bureau officials have said.

Raising the dam’s height would increase the reservoir’s capacity by about 14 percent, the bureau said.

More water in the lake would also benefit Chinook salmon downstream of the dam in the Sacramento River because a deeper pool would provide more of the cold water the fish need for spawning in the river, the bureau said.

But Evans said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has said the higher dam would provide little benefit to salmon living downstream of the dam in the Sacramento River.

He also pointed out the effect raising the height of the dam would have on the Winnemen Wintu Tribe, which once lived along the McCloud River, but were forced to move when the dam was first built in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Caleen Sisk, chief and spiritual leader of the Winnemem, said there are numerous ceremonial and sacred sites along the McCloud River Arm of the lake that would be inundated if the dam were raised.

The bureau will work to “identify significant sites and measures to avoid, minimize or mitigate effects on those sites will be considered through the National Historic Preservation Act process,” Plain said.

Sisk said she doubts whether all of the Winnemem sites could be protected along the McCloud Arm of the lake.

“Even if that’s possible, it’s going to be expensive,” she said.

 

Speier Defends Hecklers Who Shouted at Nielsen in Restaurant, Blames It on Trump

One thing you can always count on—Democrats NEVER take responsibility for their acts.  California Congresswoman Jackie Speier,a Progressive before anyone heard of Bernie Sanders, believes it was the fault of President Trump that a Leftists yelled, screamed and forced the Homeland Secretary to leave a restaurant.  Jackie would not say the person should act like a goon—instead she opposes the policies approved by the American public and promoted by the President.

 

Imagine someone yelling at Janet Napolitano, the Homeland Secretary that OPENED our border to human sex traffickers, MS-13,, the drug cartel—and with the AG Eric Holder, sold weapons to the Mexican drug cartel.  At least we all know they broke the law—in a lawless Administration.

“CNN’s Erin Burnett asked Speier about the protesters, who were organized by the Metro D.C. Democratic Socialists of America to heckle Nielsen over the administration’s immigration policy. Speier said the protest was “probably spontaneous.”

“What happened there was probably spontaneous. Those weren’t progressives; those were just people who are disgusted by the way the administration has thought it was okay to separate parents and their children,” Speier said.

The heckling was not spontaneous, according to the New York Times, which reported that the socialist group came to the restaurant after finding out Nielsen was there.

After Burnett pressed Speier on whether heckling people at private restaurants was acceptable, the congresswoman blamed President Donald Trump.”

Maybe the drug filled air of the Bay Area and the hot air of D.C.. Fake Media caused her a temporary brain freeze.

Democrat Donkey

Speier Defends Hecklers Who Shouted at Nielsen in Restaurant, Blames It on Trump

BY: Paul Crookston, Washington Free Beacon, 6/21/18

Rep. Jackie Speier (D., Calif.) on Wednesday defended protesters who shouted at Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen until she was forced to leave a restaurant Tuesday night.

CNN’s Erin Burnett asked Speier about the protesters, who were organized by the Metro D.C. Democratic Socialists of America to heckle Nielsen over the administration’s immigration policy. Speier said the protest was “probably spontaneous.”

“What happened there was probably spontaneous. Those weren’t progressives; those were just people who are disgusted by the way the administration has thought it was okay to separate parents and their children,” Speier said.

The heckling was not spontaneous, according to the New York Times, which reported that the socialist group came to the restaurant after finding out Nielsen was there.

After Burnett pressed Speier on whether heckling people at private restaurants was acceptable, the congresswoman blamed President Donald Trump.

“I suppose everyone has the right to have dinner wherever they want,” Speier said. “And I can’t speak to whether that was spontaneous from people that were in the restaurant or if people followed her there. I don’t know the facts and the situation.”

Speier argued that it was Trump’s fault that people would have such a “reaction” to his “hate.”

“If you foment hate as the president does on a daily basis, in his base, it also creates a reaction by others,” Speier said.

She went on to say that Americans look bad to those around the world because the administration is setting the tone.

“We need to recognize that if want to be known as something other than ugly Americans, we have got to act like beautiful Americans,” Speier said. “Right now, that’s not coming out of the the administration.”

Nielsen has been a vocal defender of Trump’s zero-tolerance policy of prosecuting border crossers. The separation of children from families became a contentious issue, leading Trump to sign an executive order calling for families to be detained together during the processing of immigration cases.

 

Out with soda, juice and chocolate milk—California could become first state to restrict kids’ meals

The Confederate State of California is about to mandate “ethnic studies” instead of another, math, science or computer class in order to graduate.  Build a house in 2020—you must ONLY use solar panels.  After 202 want to use more than 55 gallons of water a day?  Nope, Sacramento Nannies are controlling your water as well.  Now they are telling parents, via controlling restaurants, what your child can drink.  Government, not parents are in charge of your kids.

“This is what many legislators hope will be the new norm for more California families. Under a bill advancing in the Capitol, restaurants could offer only water or milk with meals marketed for children. Not soda. Not juice. Not chocolate milk.

Those sugary drinks would still be available, at no extra cost, but only upon request. They couldn’t be advertised alongside kids’ meals or offered as a default option. If the bill becomes law, cashiers would ask customers ordering a Happy Meal at McDonald’s, for instance, if they want water, milk or a non-dairy substitute like almond milk. California would become the first state in the nation with such a requirement.

The Confederate State of California is a Socialist State—even Bernie Sanders would be happy here.  Heck, Putin would love California—it protects criminals, just like him.

Soda tax

Out with soda, juice and chocolate milk—California could become first state to restrict kids’ meals

By Elizabeth Castillo, CalMatters,  6/19/18

As the food court at a Sacramento mall buzzed with families on a recent summer day, Emily Wickelgren and her daughter Thea were enjoying lunch at Subway. The 7-year-old opted for water with her sandwich instead of soda or juice.

“I do have unusual kids in that neither one of them likes soda and they don’t really like juice,” said Wickelgren, the mom of two daughters.

This is what many legislators hope will be the new norm for more California families. Under a bill advancing in the Capitol, restaurants could offer only water or milk with meals marketed for children. Not soda. Not juice. Not chocolate milk.

Those sugary drinks would still be available, at no extra cost, but only upon request. They couldn’t be advertised alongside kids’ meals or offered as a default option. If the bill becomes law, cashiers would ask customers ordering a Happy Meal at McDonald’s, for instance, if they want water, milk or a non-dairy substitute like almond milk. California would become the first state in the nation with such a requirement.

It’s the Legislature’s latest attempt to combat obesity and diabetes by limiting how much soda Californians drink. To illustrate the point at a Tuesday hearing,  Democratic Assemblyman Kevin McCarty of Sacramento held up a jar containing 9.5 teaspoons of sugar—the same amount found in a 12 ounce can of soda.

Research shows that kids often get extra calories in their diet from sugary drinks like soda. The extra sugar puts them at a higher risk for tooth decay, type two diabetes and obesity, according to Public Health Advocates, a sponsor of the bill. Some health experts think changing the drinks offered with kids meals will cause a long-term behavioral shift, leading other kids to become more like Thea and prefer water over pop.

“It’s a thoughtful approach to giving families choice, making sure the choice is a healthful one but not taking away the right if they want to order the sugar-sweetened beverage,” said Sen. Bill Monning, a Carmel Democrat who has been fighting the soda industry for years.

His past legislation—including bills to tax sugary drinks and slap warning labels on them—died under strong opposition from the beverage industry. But his latest bill to regulate the drinks offered with kids meals has faced surprisingly little push-back, other than criticism that it empowers the government to make decisions that should be made by parents. It passed the Senate with bipartisan support and cleared the Assembly Health Committee this week without opposition.

The California Restaurant Association has not taken a position on the bill, and the American Beverage Association is neutral, writing in a letter to Monning that it “is committed to increasing access to beverages with less sugar and smaller portions in stores and restaurants.”

The group has already embraced guidelines that say elementary schools should offer only water, milk and 100 percent juice, which may explain why it’s not fighting the proposal to get soda out of kids meals at restaurants.

Some fast food chains are voluntarily taking similar steps. McDonald’s stopped advertising Happy Meals with soda in 2013 and in February removed chocolate milk as a default option, though it’s still available upon request. The meals are now advertised with plain low-fat milk or an apple juice drink that has half the sugar of 100 percent apple juice.

At the local level, cities have started to tackle the issue too. Berkeley passed an ordinance last year with the same requirements as Monning’s bill. Other cities—including Stockton, Daly City and Long Beach—have passed similar ordinances.

Nonetheless, the bill still raises debate about how much government is too much.

“I trust parents and I thought parents can make those decisions,” said Sen. Joel Anderson, a Republican from Alpine who voted against the bill.

Jennifer Nevarez, a Sacramento mother of four, echoed the same sentiment when told about the proposal at the mall’s food court.

“That’s not going to work,” she said. “I feel like it should be the parents’ choice.”

Nevarez said she only buys water and apple juice for her children at home, so the soda is typically a treat when the family eats out.

Still, some experts worry that drinking sugary drinks at a young age can cause problems later on.

“What we know is that the eating habits we establish when we’re young, often carry with us as we get older,” said Flojaune Cofer, director of state policy and research for Public Health Advocates. “If we consume more sugar, we tend to crave more sugary things when we get older.”