Legal marijuana PUSHING Higher Sales of Illegal Marijuana

As a consumer would you pay 40-50 MORE for a product, just because government approves of it?  The same quality product—one approved by government, the other government makes illegal.  Can the cops tell the difference between legal and illegal marijuana—do they really care?

“Ajax said those who have a license and submitted to regulation are going to eventually ask, “Now that I have followed all the rules, what are we going to do about all those who are not licensed” to cultivate, distribute and sell cannabis.

So far, the state has been spending time educating, sending letters to those who are operating without licenses, including those advertising on the internet. “About 22 percent of the companies we notified pulled their ads and applied for licenses,” she said.

Eventually tougher tactics will be needed. “The state needs to be protective of the licensing process and to say, ‘Get a license, or we put them out of business,’” Ajax said.

Reality is starting to set in.  The market of legal marijuana is creating an expansion of the illegal market.  Why?  Because the cost of brick and mortar, permit fees, insurance, etc., along with State and local taxes, adds 40-50% to the cost of a joint.  Even potheads are smarter than that.  Drug dealers love the legalization—more sales and profits for them, less law enforcement involvement.

Marijuana

California’s top cannabis regulator says crackdown needed on unlicensed businesses

NORTH BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL,  5/10/18

Cannabis has been recreationally legal in California since January 2017, but a conference Wednesday in the burgeoning commercial hub of the industry highlighted how in key areas — licensing, compliance, insurance and banking — there are still some issues.

The Business Journal’s second annual Cannabis Industry Conference drew more than 200 regulators, insurance experts, key industry executives and other professionals to the Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country hotel in Santa Rosa.

LICENSING

“Was I wrong!” said Lori Ajax, chief of the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation. She is heading California’s efforts to license the cultivation, distribution and sale of cannabis, a process set into motion when the state’s voters approved adult-use cannabis starting in 2017. The regulations require local approval for license holders as well as the state.

She told the audience she thought going in implementation would be easier. Instead, “it’s no fun being a pioneer.”

While she said the objective is to get as many people licensed by the state as possible, the bureau still has many more “temporary” licenses issued than annual or permanent ones — about 1,800 versus 560 annual license applications received. Two other state agencies also issue temporary licenses: 3,621 for the Department of Food and Agriculture and 751 for Department of Public Health.

Regulations outlining requirements for a permanent license are expected this summer. Meanwhile, there is a movement to extend the life of the temporary licenses.

“We still have work to do,” she said.

Still on the horizon, too, is how to make everyone in the industry play by the rules with many more growers and others who were part of the once-illegal business not coming forward to be regulated.

Ajax said those who have a license and submitted to regulation are going to eventually ask, “Now that I have followed all the rules, what are we going to do about all those who are not licensed” to cultivate, distribute and sell cannabis.

So far, the state has been spending time educating, sending letters to those who are operating without licenses, including those advertising on the internet. “About 22 percent of the companies we notified pulled their ads and applied for licenses,” she said.

Eventually tougher tactics will be needed. “The state needs to be protective of the licensing process and to say, ‘Get a license, or we put them out of business,’” Ajax said.

BANKING

The federal government considers cannabis an illegal drug. As a result, the banking industry mostly takes a hands-off approach to establishing relationships with the industry. Todd Kleperis is CEO of HardCar, which provides armored car services to the industry, and chairman of the National Cannabis Industry Association Legal and Banking Committee.

He said he believes one answer are credit unions. They could face scrutiny from the federal government, which requires significant tracking of large amounts of cash, like those in the cannabis industry. But in states like Colorado, where has been legalized cannabis since 2014, the industry has thus far used a credit union to do banking, without problems.

“Banking is coming for the industry,” Kleperis said, adding he’s working with credit unions in California in the hopes of establishing banking opportunities for its industry.

INSURANCE

Any business faces the challenge of buying insurance. It is challenging enough to get product-liability or general-liability insurance — even harder with crop insurance — but the cannabis industry has further to go, said two people in the industry, Al Fine, head of risk for Emergent Risk Insurance Services, and Michael Rosenthal, CEO of Rydel Insurance.

 

Ring: How Local Elected Officials Can Work With Local Activists

Grassroot activist still have a place in politics.  We can move issues, get signatures and force local government to act responsibly or be defeated.  While big money appears to control policy, it is the people that vote.

“What works in the state works in the cities and the counties. When a local tax reform initiative is on the ballot, it can often become the dominant local issue. Candidates and incumbents are forced to choose sides. Those candidates and incumbents who choose to support tax reform initiatives can make that message their message, and leverage the preexisting publicity surrounding the issue as well as the strength of whatever grassroots organizations are promoting the tax reform.

Alternatively, an embattled local official whose attempts to rein in spending and reduce taxes are resisted by a majority on their city council or county board of supervisors can themselves decide to spearhead an initiative. Again the state provides an example – in 2005, after a year of fruitless efforts to introduce reforms to the state legislature, California governor Schwarzenegger sponsored four citizens initiatives: Prop. 74 – Public School Teachers Tenure, Prop. 75 – Union Dues Political Contributions, Prop. 76 – State Spending Limits, and Prop. 77 – Redistricting. Public sector unions were forced to spend roughly $250 million to defeat these four initiatives.”

We have the ideas—and many good, well intentioned elected officials.  All they need is coordinated and the officials need the courage to stand for what is right.  As activists, we can give a spine to those who are weak kneed—are you with me?

vote-buttons

How Local Elected Officials Can Work With Local Activists

Sample Reforms /by Ed Ring, California Local Elected Officials,  5/2/18

Whenever a high-profile citizens initiative appears on the statewide California ballot, voter turnout increases. An immediate example is the gas tax repeal, likely to appear on the November 2018 ballot across California, and likely to increase voter turnout. Another impact from these initiatives is the opportunity it represents for candidates. A classic example of this is the historic Jarvis-Gann property tax reform, an initiative that was passed by California’s voters in 1978. That high-profile initiative became a dominant theme during the 1978 election season, benefiting Republican candidates for the state legislature who made lowering taxes – and supporting the Jarvis-Gann initiative – the centerpiece of their campaign. It worked. In 1978 the Republicans gained two seats in the Senate and seven seats in the Assembly, in what was already a very blue state legislature.

What works in the state works in the cities and the counties. When a local tax reform initiative is on the ballot, it can often become the dominant local issue. Candidates and incumbents are forced to choose sides. Those candidates and incumbents who choose to support tax reform initiatives can make that message their message, and leverage the preexisting publicity surrounding the issue as well as the strength of whatever grassroots organizations are promoting the tax reform.

Alternatively, an embattled local official whose attempts to rein in spending and reduce taxes are resisted by a majority on their city council or county board of supervisors can themselves decide to spearhead an initiative. Again the state provides an example – in 2005, after a year of fruitless efforts to introduce reforms to the state legislature, California governor Schwarzenegger sponsored four citizens initiatives: Prop. 74 – Public School Teachers Tenure, Prop. 75 – Union Dues Political Contributions, Prop. 76 – State Spending Limits, and Prop. 77 – Redistricting. Public sector unions were forced to spend roughly $250 million to defeat these four initiatives. And if California’s republican had legislators provided unified support for those measures, instead of fearing union wrath and keeping their heads down, and if Schwarzenegger had remained committed to these reforms, instead of pivoting to the center-left after he was abandoned by his party, it might have heightened public awareness of the problems he was trying to solve.

The moral of that story: If you are a local elected official, you may emulate Schwarzenegger’s decision to go to the people with an initiative, but first make sure your supposed allies won’t run for cover instead of supporting you.

Whether you decide as a local elected official to embrace an independent citizens initiative, or launch one yourself, here’s how to get it done:

BACKGROUND

California Elections Code
Division 9: Measures Submitted to Voters, Chapter 3: Municipal Elections
Article 1: Initiative, Sections 9200 – 9226
https://codes.findlaw.com/ca/elections-code/elec-sect-9200.html

TIMELINE

Note: It is imperative to seek expert legal advice to verify the details of each step in this process.

1 – Draft ballot measure.

2 – Submit notice of intent to circulate for signatures and wording of measure to City Attorney for Title & Summary and approval to circulate for signatures (15 business days – this may vary).

3 – Have a petition for signatures created which meets all state legal requirements.

4 – Check city’s election code to see if there are any additional requirements or restrictions on petitions for local measures.

5 – Publish legal ad within 10 days (this may vary) of receiving Title and Summary which includes notice of intent and wording of measure in a newspaper adjudicated in the city.

6 – Begin gathering signatures either the same day or one day after receiving Title and Summary.

7 – Once the city attorney grants Title & Summary, the council may conduct a fiscal impact report and present the findings at an upcoming council meeting. Typically, the council is by law prohibited from taking a position on the measure.

8 – Proponents have 180 days (this may vary) starting the day after receiving Title & Summary to gather and submit required valid signatures.

9 – For a local tax repeal, the number of valid signatures required is 5% of the number of people who voted in the last gubernatorial election in that city. It is advisable to get 30-50% additional signatures since the registrar throws out so many signatures as invalid. The closer you can get to 50% the better, but anything less than an additional 30% is very risky.

10 – The city has 30 business days (this may vary) to then verify the signatures.

11 – If the signatures fail to qualify the measure, the city notifies the proponents and returns the petitions for them to check the validation results.

12 – Proponents have a very short period of time where they can challenge any of the signature results.

13 – If the signatures qualify the measure, the city notifies the proponents and schedules the measure as an agenda item for the next city council meeting.

14 – At the next city council meeting the council has the option to either enact the measure immediately, or schedule the measure for an upcoming election.

SAMPLE REFORMS – THREE EXAMPLES

Local Tax Repeals

The local tax repeals that have been attempted in Sierra Madre, Glendale, and Arcadia were all utility tax repeals. But there is no reason that a citizens initiative could not attempt to repeal other taxes – sales tax, business license tax, gross receipts tax, hotel tax, marijuana tax, parcel tax, soda tax, etc.

For that matter, there is no reason why citizens initiatives have to be restricted to lowering taxes. Citizens initiatives can address some of the primary sources of spending as well. As documented in a California Policy Center analysis published earlier this year, “California Government Pension Contributions Required to Double by 2024 – Best Case,” the financial strain caused by pension payments has just begun to be felt by local governments.

Pension Reform

For this reason, pension reform is destined to become an even bigger issue in the coming years. Citizens initiatives to reform pensions can be initiated by local activists, or by elected officials working with local activists. They can also be championed by local candidates and incumbents and constitute the primary theme of their campaign. These citizens initiatives can define the issues in a local election, forcing candidates and incumbents to address them – whether it is a tax repeal or a spending reform.

Another crucial reason why citizens initiatives should be a well understood tool for local reformers and local elected officials is because the legal feasibility of pension reform may soon change. As reported in the California Policy Center analysis published in March 2018, “Will the California Supreme Court Reform the ‘California Rule?’ – Latest Update,” the so-called California Rule may be modified. This is the contention, successfully defended so far by government union attorneys, that prohibits reducing pension benefits, even for future work. By this time next year, depending on how the court rules, the California Rule may no longer exist.

But creating the legal ability to reform pensions does not pension reform make. Government unions will resist changing pension benefits with all their power. This is where citizens initiatives, championed by courageous local elected officials, will turn potential for reform into actual reform.

Government Union Reform

Another critical case, this one before the U.S. Supreme Court, may be ruled on within the next few months. It is “Janus vs AFSCME” and depending on the nature of the court’s decision, may have a profound impact on the ability of government unions to collect dues. It is possible, if not likely, that the U.S. Supreme Court will rule that unions will have to not only ask permission to collect dues for political activity, but also to collect dues for so-called “agency fees,” which is where most of the dues go. These “agency fees” may be ruled to be “inherently political,” since union negotiated work rules, along with compensation and benefit demands, have an inherently political impact on how public agencies are managed. But government unions are preparing for a Janus ruling that goes against their interests.

For this reason, it may be necessary for local activists, supported or even guided by courageous local elected officials, to place local initiatives on the ballot that enforce the spirit of the Janus ruling. For example, it may be necessary for a local initiative to require unions to collect agency fees from their members via an annual “opt-in” process, since left to their own preferences these unions would make their members engage in a laborious “opt-out” process. There is a profound difference between opting in, where the unions have to come to the members and actively solicit their consent to continue to collect fees, vs. opting out, where the member has to come to the union and request – adhering to a deliberately difficult bureaucratic maze of paperwork and deadlines – to no longer pay their dues, year after year.

Another post-Janus reform that may be helpful might be to prohibit unions from collecting dues via payroll withholding. Why should a local government payroll department be the collection agent for these unions?

There are many possible ways that the Janus ruling may require help from local governments to avoid its intent being entirely circumvented by the government unions. When the Janus ruling is made, and that is imminent, there will be more clarity on what sort of help may be necessary.

Meanwhile, the local citizens initiative is a tool that has not been wielded enough in California.

Government Caught LYING Again: : Does the First CCA in San Diego County Use Any Taxpayer Money?

We all know that government lies and is corrupt.  Here is another example of fraud committed by a government—in this case claiming tax dollars not used to destroy private utility companies and eventually having government control the cost of use of energy.

“The Solana Energy Alliance says unequivocally on its website that it “will be self-funded and does not use any tax dollars.”

That makes it hard to understand why, at Wednesday night’s Solana Beach City Council meeting, the Council approved a $117,000 “loan” to the Alliance. It’s also hard to understand why the city says in the future it may help finance energy projects for the Alliance.

City Manager Greg Wade said it took some staff time and city money to help set up the Alliance, which has a legal structure similar to the city of San Diego’s water department – a part of city government, but also a bit apart from it. The “loan” is a legal mechanism for the Alliance to repay Solana Beach for those expenses once the agency begins selling power and customers begin paying their power bills.”

Watch as the government steals from the public, then kills private industry.  Solana Beach city council is at least honest about their intentions.

Fact Check: Does the First CCA in San Diego County Use Any Taxpayer Money?

Solana Beach is the first local government in San Diego County to form its own agency to buy and sell electricity. That agency, the Solana Energy Alliance, says unequivocally on its website that it “will be self-funded and does not use any tax dollars.”

 

Ry Rivard, Voice of San Diego,  5/10/18

 

Statement: The first government-run power agency in San Diego County “will be self-funded and does not use any tax dollars,” according to the agency, the Solana Energy Alliance.

Determination: A Stretch

Analysis: Solana Beach is the first local government in San Diego County to form its own agency to buy and sell electricity.

These agencies, known as community choice aggregators, or CCAs, are sprouting up all over California. Solana Beach’s agency, known as Solana Energy Alliance, is set to start delivering power on June 1.

Within the next decade, city-run agencies like Solana Beach’s could be responsible for most of the power sold in California. The city of San Diego is also thinking about forming one, despite powerful opposition from San Diego Gas & Electric’s parent company, Sempra Energy.

Supporters say community choice is a way for local governments to take control of their energy future, instead of relying on shareholder-owned monopolies, like SDG&E.

Opponents argue that cities may be getting in over their heads and could put taxpayers at risk if something goes wrong.

So far, no community choice agency has gone belly-up, though the oldest of them has been around less than a decade. Still, because Solana Beach is offering a new government service and its experience could be a test case for how it works out in San Diego, it’s important for taxpayers to understand the risks, if any.

The Solana Energy Alliance says unequivocally on its website that it “will be self-funded and does not use any tax dollars.”

That makes it hard to understand why, at Wednesday night’s Solana Beach City Council meeting, the Council approved a $117,000 “loan” to the Alliance. It’s also hard to understand why the city says in the future it may help finance energy projects for the Alliance.

City Manager Greg Wade said it took some staff time and city money to help set up the Alliance, which has a legal structure similar to the city of San Diego’s water department – a part of city government, but also a bit apart from it. The “loan” is a legal mechanism for the Alliance to repay Solana Beach for those expenses once the agency begins selling power and customers begin paying their power bills.

In Wade’s view, the city has been open about expenses and has discussed them in City Council meetings.

“We were always up front about all of this,” he said.

In Wade’s view, because any expenses will be paid back, there’s no tax money at risk. In the future, revenue from electric sales will pay a portion of his salary because of the time he’ll spend working on energy issues.

Even though the Alliance is a nonprofit, it will still “make money” because it will sell power for more than it costs to buy it. That will help pay consultants and overhead.

In the budget for its first full year of operations, the city expects the Alliance to bring in about $5.3 million. The Alliance will spend about $4.5 million of that.

The biggest single expense is buying power. That’ll cost $3.6 million. The city expects its power will be about 3 percent cheaper than SDG&E’s power.

The second biggest expense is setting up an $850,000 safety net in case something goes wrong. Even if all hell breaks loose, Wade said that is the only money that is at risk. All of that money will come from customers paying their bills; none of it is taxpayer money.

The third biggest expense is $613,000 to pay the consultants who will do most of the work. City staff won’t actually be running the Alliance on a daily basis, though they will oversee the agency. For now, the power-buying decisions will be made by The Energy Authority, a Florida-based nonprofit. Calpine Energy Solutions, a subsidiary of a Houston-based energy giant, will provide customer support and other backend functions. Again, all of this money will also come from selling power.

CCA supporters have praised the way Solana Beach has been working with The Energy Authority. The city deferred any consultants’ fees until after the Alliance started selling power so that The Energy Authority’s payments would come from power sales rather than the city’s general fund. This had the effect of insulating taxpayers from risk. That seems smart, and is evidence that the city is truly taking pains to avoid leaving taxpayers on the hook for anything.

That said, the city still invested time and some money into setting up the Alliance. Even if it gets all that money back, it doesn’t change that taxpayers were on the hook, if only temporarily.

The city has a good explanation for this loan – including the argument that it isn’t really a “loan” in the way we think of a bank loan – but none of that changes that the city is putting taxpayer resources into the agency.

Plus, in the future, the city could help the Alliance pay for other projects. According to a long-term plan for the Alliance, “Solana Beach may consider project financings for renewable resources, likely local wind and solar projects,” though that financing would only occur if the Alliance has operated successfully for “a sustained period.”

Presumably, the Alliance would then cover the city’s costs through customer bills. But, again, this leaves open the possibility that taxpayers are on the hook for something.

Though some people are philosophically opposed to the idea of government running utilities, there’s nothing inherently wrong with it or even new about it – the city of Los Angeles has run its own electric utility for a century. But, by its very nature, when the government is involved in something, taxpayers can be at risk. In this case, Solana Beach seems to have, by and large, insulated taxpayers from risk.

The $117,000 “loan” is a small part of the city’s $17 million budget. But, it’s still “tax money.”

When there is an element of truth in a statement but critical context is absent that may significantly alter the impression the statement leaves, we call a statement “A Stretch.”

The Alliance’s categorical denial that it uses no tax money is a stretch.

Is Scott Baugh a Big Government Guy? He IS Using ObamaCare $$$ for a Client

(Disclosure:  I have been a friend of Congressman Dana Rohrabacher since 1966 and I support him for re-election).  I live in Simi Valley, Ventura County far from the Orange County District of Congressman Rohrabacher and the cast of characters trying to defeat him.  One, Scott Baugh, in a mail piece is upset that the Congressman collects a paycheck for being a member of Congress.  Yup over a thirty year period the Congressman was paid a lot of money—the SAME as every other member of Congress that gets paid.  Was Baugh suggesting if elected, he would NOT take a salary?  Otherwise, he wasted a lot of campaign money reminding voters that Members of Congress get paid.

Could it be that he is spending too much time speaking and getting advice from the Anti-Trump people like David Bahnsen and Tom Tucker?  Bahnsen just wrote a piece for Forbes—opposing the Presidents efforts to get Fair Trade and stop China and others from abusing our companies and workers with high tariffs keeping our products out of their country.  “Trump’s Terrible Tariff Tragedy” is found here.  Wonder if Mr. Baugh also opposes President Trump on trade?

congress

Is Scott Baugh a Big Government Guy?  He IS Using ObamaCare for a Client

Editorial by Stephen Frank, California Political News and Views  5/16/18

Raise your hand if you think illegal aliens should get tuition help to take seats in the UC or the State University?  Scott Baugh, as an Assemblyman voted for in state tuition for illegal aliens.  That means he wants an honest American student from Oregon or Iowa to pay MORE to enroll in UCLA or UC Irvine than an illegal alien that violates our immigration laws.  That is like giving a job to a criminal, because they are a criminal and not to an honest citizen—because they are honest.  Is that fair?  Should government give benefits to those that violate our laws?  Scott Baugh thinks so.  He supported it in the Assembly.

I do not know of too many Republicans that support Obamacare, do you?  Even Democrats understand this is an expensive program, sometimes used to provide winners and losers.  Would you promote a company that bases its financing on ObamaCare money?  Scott Baugh does.  He lobbied  for a so-called sober living home that based its financing on money taken from taxpayers.  As a Member of Congress would Baugh vote to support President Trump to repeal ObamaCare?

We just got through defeating SB 827, by Senator Weiner.  One aspect of this housing bill was for the State to take over zoning and permitting for housing from your city.  The goal was to increase density, make California feel more like Manhattan.  On a local level Baugh supported the concept of higher density.  Imagine Costa Mesa being told by Sacramento they have to have five story apartment buildings?

On a personal level I like Scott.  But policy becomes personal when as a community leader, a political leader, or a business person or as a member of the Assembly you promote ideas that harm the values of the community.  It is tough sometimes to turn down clients—but if what they are doing means higher taxes, bigger government, a take over of health care or changing the texture of a community, you need to think twice before doing that.

Ideas have consequences.  Policy is the consequence of those ideas.  I understand that no office holder or candidate is 100% in my camp.  You have to take the big issues and the totality of the efforts.  When I see major Orange County No Trumpers as a supporter of a candidate I take notice.  When I see that candidate in support of in state tuition, higher density and more, in combination, it becomes a red flag.

We need direct answers about this.  Why would No Trumpers give him such support?  Why would he have a client needing ObamaCare money to make a profit?  Does he really believe in higher density and why does he think this would help our community?

He needs to answer these questions by responding to all constituents.  No, not by sloganeering in a mail piece with 100 words or less.  He needs, or any candidate that does this needs to hold a townhall forum and respond to these and the myriad of other questions about his views and policies’.  His opponent, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher has been responding to questions for thirty years as a member of Congress—and you have his voting record to prove he believes in what he says.  Mr. Baugh has a series of mail pieces—many with just a few words, not explaining WHY he believes something and what he would do about it.

For me, in this race and every other race it comes down to this:

RESULTS AND VOTES VS. SLICK MAIL PIECES WITH IMPLICATIONS, NOT POLICY

Santa Ana Budget Shortfall May Mean Cut in Services, Tax Hike

The Leftist city of Santa Ana, home to tens of thousands of illegal aliens, bankrupting the city and making portions of it look like a classic Third World city, is now so broke, they must cut services.  When they do, conditions in the city will become worse—and more dangerous.

““The current situation is not sustainable,” said Deputy City Manager Robert Cortez during a budget update Tuesday at the City Council’s regular meeting.

“This is alarming,” said Councilman Vicente Sarmiento, calling the situation “dire.” He suggested the city consider selling naming rights for the city-owned stadium, Eddie West Field, to companies like AT&T or Verizon.

City executives said during the public discussion the city faces shortfalls of $8.1 million this fiscal year, $17.1 million next fiscal year, which starts July 1, and $31.9 million the following fiscal year.”

Maybe if this was a law abiding city, I would have some sympathy.  But as long as they prefer criminals from foreign countries instead of honest residents and citizens, they need to figure it out on their own.  Maybe George Soros, instead of buying up District Attorneys would finance the city, since his policies are the cause of the disaster.

Pension money

Santa Ana Budget Shortfall May Mean Cut in Services, Tax Hike

 

Santa Ana is considering closing its main library on Sundays in connection with its ongoing budget shortfalls.

By Nick Gerda,  Voice of OC,  5/4/18

 

 

Santa Ana is facing a major, ongoing financial shortfall that could drive the city to the brink of bankruptcy again if it’s not addressed through cutting costs and raising new revenues, according to city officials.

Among the options being considered are closing the city’s main library on Sundays, issuing more parking tickets, and asking voters to hike the city’s sales tax rate.

“The current situation is not sustainable,” said Deputy City Manager Robert Cortez during a budget update Tuesday at the City Council’s regular meeting.

“This is alarming,” said Councilman Vicente Sarmiento, calling the situation “dire.” He suggested the city consider selling naming rights for the city-owned stadium, Eddie West Field, to companies like AT&T or Verizon.

City executives said during the public discussion the city faces shortfalls of $8.1 million this fiscal year, $17.1 million next fiscal year, which starts July 1, and $31.9 million the following fiscal year.

If the city makes no changes and relies solely on its operating reserves to fill the budget gap, the city would be pushed to the brink of bankruptcy in about two years, Sarmiento said.

Among the measures being considered to deal with the crisis: closing the city’s main library on Sundays ($50,000 savings each year), cutting four staff positions for summer sports programs ($50,000 savings each year), getting the Santa Ana Unified School District to pay half of school crossing guard costs ($424,000), and generating nearly $200,000 in new parking enforcement revenue.

Council members previously said they were interested in asking voters in November to raise the current 7.75 percent sales tax to 8.25 percent or 8.75 percent.

Cortez said the city needs to overhaul its way of doing business.

“Maintaining the same level of service, the way that you capture revenue – it just needs to change,” Cortez said. “Santa Ana needs to transform itself into a new organization that is more nimble, more effective, more efficient, more productive.”

Two of the main drivers of this year’s shortfall are skyrocketing pension costs, mostly for police officers, and City Council-approved raises for city employees, about two-thirds for police, according to city officials.

If the shortfalls are not addressed, the city would burn through its $42.4 million in operating reserves over the next couple of years, Sarmiento said.

“What’s really troubling is, I remember the years [when] we were going through our recession period, I think…our fund balance – our general fund balance got as low as $3 million. And so I think we would probably be in a worse place in a couple years than we were during that global recession that forced us [close to] a Chapter 9 bankruptcy,” Sarmiento said.

After the 2008-09 Great Recession, Santa Ana was pushed nearly to bankruptcy, forcing it to outsource its fire department to the Orange County Fire Authority. The city had to cut its full time staffing levels by 40 percent during that crisis, city staff said Tuesday.

Currently, the city’s general fund reserves and unappropriated general fund money total $62.4 million, according to city staff. The projected shortfalls, if not addressed, total $57 million between now and June 30, 2020.

City staff presented a plan Tuesday to get the finances back in order over the next two years, through using one-time money, cutting ongoing costs, and increasing ongoing revenues.

To plug the current and future budget holes, city officials plan to draw at least $21 million in one-time money from the general fund. The plan calls for using $6.1 million to $8.1 million in one-time general fund money to plug this year’s shortfall, at least $7 million next fiscal year, and $7.8 million the following year from general fund reserves.

[Click here to read city staff’s May 1 presentation about the fiscal crisis.]

The reserves are known as operating reserves and economic uncertainty reserves. While government reserves are typically saved for keeping services running during economic downturns, Santa Ana is facing its fiscal crisis at a time when the economy is growing and revenues are increasing.

The fundamental issue, city staff have said, is the city’s labor costs are growing much faster than the city’s revenues.

City staff’s new plan calls for balancing the budget by the start of the 2020-21 fiscal year in July 1, 2020. All city departments have been asked to make cuts, staff said. No cuts have been proposed for police officer positions, which city staff said is already understaffed at 0.9 officers per 1,000 residents.

Councilman Sal Tinajero said it recently took 45 minutes for Santa Ana police to respond to a domestic violence call.

Councilman Jose Solorio pointed to 55 vacant positions in the Police Department and suggested the city had funding for them. But staff said the department has already been spending its full budget this year, even with the vacant positions.

Millions of dollars in new pot shop money is expected to come into the city beginning this year due to the legalization of retail marijuana.

When they were preparing last year to allow retail marijuana sales in January, the City Council directed that the money to go toward 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 Tuesday.

But given the fiscal crisis, staff recommended Tuesday the new marijuana money instead go toward plugging this year’s budget hole. For next year, staff recommended using one-third of marijuana projected revenues, or $2.6 million of the roughly $7.8 million total, to partially reduce the budget shortfall.

Council members have expressed interest, including on Tuesday, in asking voters in November to tax themselves more by raising the sales tax rate, as Westminster and Fountain Valley did in 2016.

“Be bold. Be innovative. And go get me some money,” Tinajero told city staff, expressing frustration staff didn’t suggest the tax increase. Solorio also expressed interest Tuesday in asking voters to raise the sales tax.

During a discussion of the shortfalls in February, the idea of asking voters to approve some type of increased city revenue was supported by a majority of the seven council members: Sarmiento, Solorio, Juan Villegas, and David Benavides.

During that discussion, the increase level they discussed would boost the sales tax revenue to the city by either 50 percent or double. That equates to roughly $25 million to $50 million per year extra to the city, if the current level of sales in the city continues.

The shortfalls this year, according to city staff, are mainly driven by increased pension costs ($5.9 million), raises the council approved for police officers and other city staff ($3.1 million), increases to Fire Authority and CARE Ambulance contracts ($2.0 million).

And the city’s expanded jail contract with the U.S. Marshals Service is coming up short, generating roughly $1 million to $2 million less in revenues than the $10.2 million the police department had projected for this fiscal year, according to staff. They said there’s also been fewer staffing costs, which reduces the financial impact of the lessened revenue, but staff didn’t say by how much.

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.

Santa Ana’s budget problems are structural, meaning they’re on track to get worse every year, staff said. And the shortfall projections do not take into account any future raises for police officers and other city staff.

The City Council will decide in the coming weeks whether to approve raises that go into effect July 1, just after the two largest existing union contracts end. Any new raises would increase the budget shortfall.

Santa Ana has been ranked as having one of the youngest populations in the United States among similar-sized cities. The 2010 U.S. Census found 31 percent of its population was under age 18.

The city’s small library system – one main library in the Civic Center and one branch library – already is one of the most underfunded of all 482 cities in California based on funding per resident, according to state data.

Santa Ana’s libraries operated on about $12 per resident in fiscal year 2015-16, compared to a statewide average of $51, according to the most recent available data from the California State Library.

The county government’s library system – which serves 24 of the county’s 34 cities and doesn’t include Santa Ana – operated on $29 per resident the same year, according to the state data.

During community outreach meetings about the budget, city staff said the most common theme was residents wanted more youth programs and more diverse options for youth programs.

Other major themes, staff said, were the need to shift funding from police to youth programs, a need for additional parks, and a need for affordable housing.

Councilwoman Michele Martinez noted the city’s two largest revenue sources are sales and property taxes, and that the city is short-changed in its property tax percentages because the formula is based on 1970s levels before Proposition 13 passed.

Martinez expressed frustration at the city’s inability to update its antiquated general plan and zoning code, which she said could have spurred economic development that would boost the city’s tax revenues.

The land use and economic development sections of Santa Ana’s general plan were last updated 20 years ago, in 1998.

Most of the city “is constrained due to the fact that we have outdated general plan and…zoning code,” Martinez said. “We must – if we’re going to want to generate the amount of revenue that is needed to sustain this city moving forward, we need…[to] realize that our best bang for our buck is property tax [revenue].”

Martinez said she’s been trying to get the general plan updated since she first got on the council 12 years ago, and wondered what happened to the $4 million the council allocated years ago for updating the plan.

“I’m very disappointed, because four years ago we allocated $2.5 million to update the entire [general] plan. And I’m not sure what happened to the money, where that…policy decision was made, those allocations of those funds.”

“Land use and economic development go hand in hand,” she said.

City staff explained at Tuesday’s meeting that over the course of this fiscal year, the projected shortfall narrowed from $9.3 million to $8.1 million.

“So really, we’re in the positive, you know, a million and change,” Solorio responded.

“I wouldn’t necessarily view it as a positive,” replied Cortez, the deputy city manager. “I would view it as, you’re using less of your [one-time money] to bridge a gap.”

Solorio disagreed, saying of the change from $9.3 million shortfall to $8.1 million: “I think that’s – that’s pretty positive.”

The council next plans to publicly discuss the budget at their May 15 regular meeting, before public budget approvals on June 5 and June 19.

 

Analysis: California Solar Panel Mandate Lowers Emissions by 0.32%

If the cost to a homeowner to add solar panels, mandated by the Confederate State of California, only costs $12,000, that really means, due to financing a cost of $24,000 added to the cost of a home.  Peanuts in California these days.  But it also takes away the right of homeowners to determine the type of energy to use.  Government is making a loser of wind turbines, biomass, oil and other alternative forms of energy.  Worse, it does nothing to save the Earth—or even a little farm in the Central Valley.

“Rooftop solar panels are a “much more expensive way of increasing renewables on the grid,” costing between 12.9 and 16.7 cents per kilowatt-hour, more than twice the cost of utility-scale solar systems, according to the report.

“By demonstrating a very expensive way to reduce greenhouse gases, I think this could very likely be used in other states and countries as an argument against moving towards renewable energy,” Borenstein said.

The California Energy Commission claims the added costs to homes will be more than made up for in energy savings. If they save on electricity bills, however, it will be because customers who do not have solar panels are subsidizing them.

Yup, the cost of energy is more expensive—and those without solar will be paying LOTS more to subsidize your new home with solar.  In the real world that is called theft—demanded by government.  Another example of why California is so expensive—Sacramento wants the middle class out of California—and policies will push us out.

Solar panels

 

Analysis: California Solar Panel Mandate Lowers Emissions by 0.32%

Adds $12,000 to cost of every home

 

BY: Elizabeth Harrington, Washington Free Beacon,  5/10/18

California will mandate solar panels on new homes out of concern for climate change, a policy that will raise prices in the most expensive home market in the country and does little to decrease the state’s carbon footprint.

The five-member board of the California Energy Commission unanimously issued an edict Wednesday requiring all new homes to either be installed with solar panels or share solar power in a group system. The rules go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

The New York Times called California a “trendsetter” for the move, but expressed surprise that such a costly rule would be approved outside the legislative process by the commission with “little debate.”

“It will add thousands of dollars to the cost of home when a shortage of affordable housing is one of California’s most pressing issues,” the Times reported. “That made the relative ease of its approval—in a unanimous vote by the five-member California Energy Commission before a standing-room crowd, with little debate—all the more remarkable.”

“The requirement is expected to add $8,000 to $12,000 to the cost of a home,” the Times added.

The costs come to consumers already in a market where the median price of a single-family home is $565,000, one of the highest in the nation, the Wall Street Journal reported.

MIT Technology Review reported requiring every new home to have solar panels is a “feel-good change” that is both expensive and does little to reduce carbon emissions.

“A solar panel on every house might sound good, but it isn’t smart climate policy,” said James Temple, writing for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology magazine.

The “big problem” is cost, Temple said, citing Severin Borenstein, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Rooftop solar panels are a “much more expensive way of increasing renewables on the grid,” costing between 12.9 and 16.7 cents per kilowatt-hour, more than twice the cost of utility-scale solar systems, according to the report.

“By demonstrating a very expensive way to reduce greenhouse gases, I think this could very likely be used in other states and countries as an argument against moving towards renewable energy,” Borenstein said.

The California Energy Commission claims the added costs to homes will be more than made up for in energy savings. If they save on electricity bills, however, it will be because customers who do not have solar panels are subsidizing them.

The savings are “effectively subsidized by other ratepayers without solar panels, net metering and solar tax credits,” according to Borenstein.

Furthermore, MIT reported emissions reduced by the government mandate would not make much of a difference for the state’s carbon footprint.

“California estimates that the new rule will cut emissions by 1.4 million metric tons over three years, which is a small fraction of the 440 million tons the state generated in 2015,” the report said.

Emissions would be reduced by 0.32 percent.

Where Are Big GOP Donors Giving in Governor’s Race? To Democrats

Why is the Republican Party not going to have a candidate on the ballot in November?  Because the donors of the Party have determined to donate to Tony V.  At the end of the day, in the future it will b easier for them to donate to Democrats in future elections—just as it will be easier for registered Republicans in the future vote for Democrats.  In the 2016 Senate race, I was called by Republican office holders asked to help Loretta Sanchez.  When Steve Glazer ran in the special election for the State Senate in the Contra Costa area, several Republican leaders asked me to come on Board.  In the last election Democrat Glazer did several supportive joint appearances with Republican Catherine baker—as if there are no political parties

Any wonder in five years the GOP has lost its one million registrant edge to Decline to State?

“A KQED News analysis of donors to the last two Republicans to advance in a gubernatorial general election — Meg Whitman and Neel Kashkari — shows that those contributors are sending more money to leading Democrats this time around.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has received at least $1.1 million from Whitman and Kashkari donors, while former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has taken home more than $1 million.

Cox and Allen both received less than $100,000 from these individuals and businesses.

Of course Kashkari lost to Brown in 2014—then Obama had him appointed to be the President of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve.  Was he really a Republican?  Or was that a scam by Republican money people to stop a real Republican, Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, from getting the nomination for Governor?

newsom

 

Where Are Big GOP Donors Giving in Governor’s Race? To Democrats

Guy Marzorati, KQED,  510/18

With less than a month to go until California’s top-two primary sends two gubernatorial candidates to the general election, Republicans face an imminent challenge: coalesce behind one candidate or risk a split vote that could allow two Democrats to advance to November’s ballot.

“We need to unite as a party,” said gubernatorial hopeful John Cox at last weekend’s state Republican Convention. “We need to make sure that we get a good candidate in the top two.”

Neither Cox, a San Diego businessman, nor his leading Republican opponent, Assemblyman Travis Allen, were able to leave the convention with a party endorsement.

But their difficulty in consolidating traditional Republican support has extended beyond a delegate count.

A KQED News analysis of donors to the last two Republicans to advance in a gubernatorial general election — Meg Whitman and Neel Kashkari — shows that those contributors are sending more money to leading Democrats this time around.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has received at least $1.1 million from Whitman and Kashkari donors, while former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has taken home more than $1 million.

Cox and Allen both received less than $100,000 from these individuals and businesses.

KQED News matched donations to Whitman and Kashkari reported to the Secretary of State’s Office with donations reported in the current gubernatorial campaign, from the beginning of 2015 through the end of the latest campaign filing period, on April 21.

The analysis does not include donations made to independent expenditure committees operating separately from the campaigns.

Like Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, and Kashkari, a former U.S. Treasury official, Cox has largely bankrolled his own campaign.

But he and Allen have struggled to gain support from major donors who backed Whitman’s campaign in 2010. Before losing to Jerry Brown, Whitman raised tens of millions of dollars on top of the roughly $140 million of her own fortune that she poured into her run.

“[Whitman] had a very large Rolodex,” said Hector Barajas, a Republican strategist who worked as Whitman’s campaign spokesman in 2010. “She had a personal connection to a lot of these folks within the tech, the banking, the financial institutions that she had built throughout her entire career.”

The absence of a Republican candidate with those wide business ties seems to have splintered traditional big GOP donors, and pushed them toward Newsom and Villaraigosa.

In Silicon Valley, Newsom has recruited the maximum allowed contributions from major Whitman backers, including $56,400 each from Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang and venture capitalist Peter Thiel.

Closer to his home turf, Villaraigosa has raised over $100,000 from Southern California philanthropists Eli Broad and Henry Samueli, who both gave heavily to Whitman. Villaraigosa also received nearly $30,000 from businessmen Harry Sloan and Robert Day, big players on the national GOP fundraising scene.

Unlike the leading Democrats, Cox and Allen have also been unable to tap into historically bipartisan givers like telecom giants, Indian tribes and health care providers, which typically spread their contributions among both parties.

The cash these donors gave to Whitman couldn’t get her within 10 points of Jerry Brown in the 2010 election.

Now, those same donors may be concluding that any money spent on a Republican candidate is a lost cause in a state where the party’s registration sits at just 25 percent of registered voters.

“Most of the Republican donors really aren’t contributing to Republican candidates anymore,” said Mike Madrid, a GOP consultant who is advising Villaraigosa in this race. “Because they, like most of the voters, recognize a Republican is not going to win the governorship in California.”

Madrid’s presence in Villaraigosa’s campaign has been one signal that the former mayor is trying to attract traditional Republican voters and donors.

Villaraigosa has tried to establish a consistent campaign presence in the traditionally Republican Central Valley, and he’s situated himself to the right of Newsom on issues like health care.

State Treasurer John Chiang, who is hoping to leapfrog into second place in the waning weeks of the campaign, has taken aim at Villaraigosa for receiving donations from Republicans.

“Antonio Villaraigosa has shown he doesn’t care whose name is on the check as long as it clears its way into his bank account,” said Fabien Levy, Chiang’s deputy campaign manager, in a press release this week.

Chiang has received at least $277,735 from Whitman and Kashkari donors.

“It’s a politician doing political things as their numbers get stalled in the low single digits,” Madrid said of Chiang’s attack.

Newsom and Villaraigosa entered the race months (in Newsom’s case, years) before Allen and Cox, building up war chests that leave the Republicans in a financial paradox.

Allen and Cox could both use an influx of cash for a final boost leading up to election day, but that financial infusion may not happen unless either shows an increased level of viability.

“People oftentimes wait to see who makes it through the primary,” said Barajas. “Then you start seeing some of these traditional Republican donors.”

Methodology

Donations to Whitman and Kashkari reported to the Secretary of State’s Office were matched with donations reported in the current gubernatorial campaign, from Jan. 1, 2015, through the end of the latest campaign filing period on April 21, 2018. Each match was then individually reviewed to ensure that it was coming from the same donor. Some entries under different names were consolidated if they came from the same organization, but contributions from employees of a business were left separate from the businesses’ own donations.

Kamala Harris Cancels as Cal Graduation Speaker–Supports Unions/Not Students

Senator Harris knows that young people vote in lower numbers than the rest of society.  Also, students and those just graduated do not have the money to donate to Presidential campaigns.  But, unions have lots of money—and all they had to do is steal it from the workers—supported in the theft by kamala Harris.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) announced Monday she will boycott the UC Berkeley graduation ceremony, where she was scheduled to deliver the keynote speech, due to a massive union-backed labor strike that forced the rescheduling of over 12,000 surgeries, cancer treatments, and appointments.

Harris tweeted, “If we are going to live up to our ideals as a nation, it’s critical we focus on economic equality and economic justice. One key is making sure everyone has access to a good job, with fair wages, and safe working conditions.”

She is teaching the students a valuable lesson—when in office sell out to the highest bidder—the special interests.  Harris knows how to raise money—by not meeting her commitments.  A Democrat of course.

800px-Kamala_Harris

Kamala Harris Cancels as Cal Graduation Speaker over Union Protests

 

by Adelle Nazarian, Breitbart CA,  5/9/18

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) announced Monday she will boycott the UC Berkeley graduation ceremony, where she was scheduled to deliver the keynote speech, due to a massive union-backed labor strike that forced the rescheduling of over 12,000 surgeries, cancer treatments, and appointments.

Harris tweeted, “If we are going to live up to our ideals as a nation, it’s critical we focus on economic equality and economic justice. One key is making sure everyone has access to a good job, with fair wages, and safe working conditions.”

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, campus chancellor Carol Christ will address the nearly 6,000-strong graduating study body in Harris’s place at Cal’s Memorial Stadium Saturday morning.

UC Berkeley announced Monday: “We regretfully share the news that, after much consideration, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris has decided not to speak at Saturday’s commencement ceremony at UC Berkeley due to a UC-wide speaker boycott called by AFSCME Local 3299.”

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “thousands of service workers with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFSCME, walked off the job at all 10 UC campuses Monday in protest of what they said was the University of California’s practice of hiring contractors and displacing longtime employees.”

The unions are reportedly demanding a multiyear contract with annual pay raises of 6%, no increase in healthcare premiums and continued full pension benefits at the retirement age of 60.

The Los Angeles Times noted that the walkout will likely expand on Tuesday with two other unions joining in on the strikes. “About 14,000 members of the California Nurses Assn., who work at UC’s medical centers and student health clinics, are set to walk off their jobs, along with 15,000 members of the University Professional & Technical Employees, who include pharmacists, clinical social workers, physical therapists, physician assistants and researchers,” wrote the Times.

Adelle Nazarian is a politics and national security reporter for Breitbart News. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Santa Barbara Voters will be asked to approve cannabis taxes in June primary

Santa Barbara turned down one billion to allow oil drilling in the County.  It would have created hundreds of well paying jobs and tens of millions in revenues from the oil.  Instead, they prefer to tax pot and hope they make enough money to pay the bills.

“Voters in the June 5 primary will be asked to approve a tax on cannabis operations that could shore up Santa Barbara County’s sagging budget, helping to retain a variety of community services, as well as provide funds needed to pay for enforcement action against illegal marijuana operations.

County staff has estimated tax authorized by Measure T will pump between $5 million and $25 million into county coffers every year.

That is a big difference–$5 million or $25 million.  Looks like a prayer, not an educated prediction.  Government loves to lie—this appears to be another whopper.

Tax

Voters will be asked to approve cannabis taxes in June primary

Mike Hodgson, Santa Maria Times,  5/7/18

Will cannabis fill Santa Barbara County’s coffers with tax revenues? That will depend on a number of factors, starting with whether voters approve Measure T in the June 5 primary.

Voters in the June 5 primary will be asked to approve a tax on cannabis operations that could shore up Santa Barbara County’s sagging budget, helping to retain a variety of community services, as well as provide funds needed to pay for enforcement action against illegal marijuana operations.

County staff has estimated tax authorized by Measure T will pump between $5 million and $25 million into county coffers every year.

Proponents say the tax should be approved to ensure compliance with the county cannabis regulations and eliminate the black market that will try to operate outside those laws. As a general tax, it only requires a majority vote to pass, or 50 percent plus one vote.

“Santa Barbara County needs to tax cannabis growers and businesses to enforce our ordinance and fund other priorities, such as the Sheriff’s Department, District Attorney’s Office, mental health services, public health and other general services,” says the Board of Supervisors’ argument in favor of Measure T2018 signed by Board Chairman and 1st District Supervisor Das Williams.

“Whether you agree with the legalization of cannabis or not, it is imperative that we tax the industry to ensure compliance and eradicate the black market.”

Opponents say the tax should be rejected because it is a general tax, and the revenues will go into the General Fund where it can be spent on anything with no guarantee it will be used for enforcement. They say it should be a special tax, which would require approval by two-thirds of the qualified voters in the county.

“Measure T is another new tax supposedly to be used mitigating public safety impacts from commercial pot-growers in our county,” says the argument opposing the measure, signed by 4th District Supervisor Peter Adam, Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association Executive Director Joe Armendariz, retired sheriff’s Sgt. Susan Brown and Montecito resident Tobe Plough.

“In fact, it’s another blank check to be spent on general county services. … Another blank check will result in more wasteful spending without the critical protections we taxpayers deserve.”

The opponents claim the county is facing a $50 million deficit because of misplaced spending priorities, and the cannabis tax revenues will be swallowed by the general fund and used to maintain the status quo.

The supervisors’ argument in favor of the tax rebuts that assertion: “Opponents will claim that the money will simply go into the General Fund. What they won’t tell you is that the General Fund is what funds the critical departments listed above.”

Death of taxes

One thing is certain: If the tax is not approved by voters in the June primary, the ordinances the Board of Supervisors have approved — or expect to approve — governing cannabis operations in Santa Barbara County will not go into effect.

That caveat was built into the ordinances when supervisors approved them, because without the tax, the county will lack money needed for enforcement.

Supervisors have not specified what steps they will take if the tax measure fails. But the board would only have until July 17 to authorize placing another tax measure on the Nov. 6 General Election ballot.

Another alternative would be to completely ban cannabis operations in the county, which would be difficult given the number already underway. It could also lead to liability claims and lawsuits.

Those in the cannabis industry say any failure to make the ordinances effective will push all existing operations into the black market, and without funding the county will be hard pressed to prevent the proliferation of illegal operations.

Many residents also say the inability of the county to provide adequate enforcement will likely leave them to endure the undesirable impacts of cannabis operations, ranging from traffic and environmental damage to noise and odor.

As proposed, the cannabis tax will apply to both adult, or recreational, cannabis operations and medical marijuana operations but only in the unincorporated areas of the county, not within the incorporated cities, and will be levied on operators’ gross receipts.

The tax rate selected by the Board of Supervisors will vary, depending upon the type of operation.

Nurseries and distributors — excluding those engaged in transport only — will pay 1 percent, while manufacturers will pay 3 percent, cultivators will pay 4 percent and retail and microbusinesses, which vertically integrate more than one type of operation, will pay 6 percent.

No one is sure how much revenue the taxes will generate. If cannabis operations remain stable at the anticipated level, the figure could easily be $25 million annually.

But there is also a strong possibility the market will become oversaturated with cannabis operations, creating a downward spiral in revenue.

In 2017, California’s total cannabis production was estimated at 13.5 million pounds per year, but total cannabis consumption was estimated at 1.6 million to 2.5 million pounds per year.

Analysts said that meant the state’s entire market could be supplied by just 200 medium-sized indoor growing operations, or less than the total potential production in Santa Barbara County alone.

Yet state officials estimated more than 14,000 cultivation licenses could be issued statewide.

With supply greatly exceeding demand, prices are expected to plummet, and smaller undercapitalized operations likely will go under.

If the county ends up levying its tax on fewer operations with lower gross revenues than initially estimated, the annual revenue might be closer to $5 million.

 

Colman: NEW THINKING ON IMMIGRATION IS NEEDED

If you hear the news about immigration, it is about a Wall, Sanctuary Cities, open borders, closed borders, welfare for illegal aliens, protection of those here illegally or deporting them on the spot.  The current debate and discussion is all about us—not about the root causes.  Yes, we need a Wall.  Yes, we need to deport the law breakers.  Yes, we need to stop using financial incentives as a magnet to bring more illegal aliens to our country.  We also need a plan to have these folks stay home.  Dr. Colman reminds us of the plan to do this, by President Kennedy—more than 55 years ago.

That approach was suggested in 1961 by President Kennedy.  It was called the Alliance for Progress. 

The Alliance had several main goals: 

  • increase income among Latin Americans.
  • create democratic governments.
  • advance literacy.
  • eliminate inflation and establish of price stability.
  • implement land reform.”

In todays world JFK would be read out of the Democrat Party—while Sanders could be a charter member of the Totalitarian Party—along with his friend Hillary.  Sometimes those in the past had great ideas for the future.  Thanks to Dr. Colman we are reminded of what Kennedy brought to the table.

Immigration

NEW THINKING ON IMMIGRATION IS NEEDED

By Richard Colman, California Political News and Views,  5/16/18

 

 

Hoards of unskilled, illiterate (or semi-literate) immigrants, mostly from Latin America, have been invading the United States in recent decades. 

The time has come for new thinking about immigration, thinking based on ideas from the era of President John Kennedy, who held office from Jan. 20, 1961, to Nov. 22, 1963. 

The United States no longer has the money, the will, or the tolerance to admit people who cannot make a constructive contribution to American society. 

Currently, the debate — inside the United States — on immigration has focused on two extreme positions.  One position is to welcome millions of Latin American immigrants who want live in the U.S.  The other position is to build a wall along the American-Mexican border — a wall that will keep out these hoards who want the benefits of life in the U.S. 

The time has come to try a new approach — an approach that should satisfy just about everyone. 

That approach was suggested in 1961 by President Kennedy.  It was called the Alliance for Progress. 

The Alliance had several main goals: 

  • increase income among Latin Americans.
  • create democratic governments.
  • advance literacy.
  • eliminate inflation and establish of price stability.
  • implement land reform.

Solving the problem of excessive immigration into the United States must involve a cooperative efforts among Latin American nations and the U.S. itself.  There will be a need for social cohesion among Latin Americans 

Instead of having millions of Latinos entering the U.S. illegally, Latin American nations, working with the United States, need to form a special zone inside Latin America — a zone that will emphasize social and economic change. 

In effect, there needs to be inside Latin America a sort of homeland for the poor, the uneducated, and the dispossessed.  In some ways, such a model exists in the state of Israel, which offers any Jew anywhere in the world a place to live.  

Until 70 A.D., the Jews had a homeland in and near present day Israel.  The Romans threw them out, leading to a dispersion (called the Diaspora) of the Jewish people to such places as North Africa, Europe, Asia, and America.  In May 1948, present-day Israel was born and is now celebrating its 70th anniversary as a democratic state. 

Moreover, Israel has become an economic and technological powerhouse, especially in such areas as artificial intelligence, the enhancement of industrial and agricultural productivity, and what is call Big Data.  (Big Data refers to the kind of work done in Silicon Valley by such firms as Google, Facebook, and Apple.) 

Creating a sort of Latino homeland inside Latin America will not be easy.  But with a strong commitment to democracy and free markets, the standard of living for Latinos should rise, eliminating the need for Latinos to bang on the doors of a largely unwelcoming America. 

Simultaneously, a wall along America’s southern border, something proposed by American President Donald Trump, should be constructed while establishing a homeland for Latin Americans somewhere inside the vast area of South America, Central America, and Mexico. 

With the creation of a free-market economy along with needed social reforms, a prosperous region should emerge inside Latin America, just as an economic and technological powerhouse emerged in Israel once taxes and government spending were cut. 

A few billion American dollars could help create this new Latino homeland.  While the cost of American help may seem bothersome, the cost of admitting into America unskilled, illiterate or semi-literate people — people who must be fed, clothed, educated, and housed, — would be even higher. 

The time for immigration reform is now.