San Diego County supervisors vote to support Trump lawsuit against California sanctuary laws

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 Tuesday to support the Trump administration’s lawsuit against California over so-called sanctuary laws that the state passed last year to limit its role in immigration enforcement.

The county will file an amicus brief at the first available opportunity, likely if and when the case moves to a higher court on appeal, said Supervisor Kristin Gaspar, chairwoman of the board.

The board voted in closed session after 45 minutes of public comment in which most speakers in the packed chambers urged the supervisors to vote against supporting the lawsuit.

Margaret Baker, who lives near the border, told the board that backing the lawsuit will discourage immigrants from reporting crime.

“We see this lawsuit as an attack on our safety and the well-being of our community,” she said. …

Click here to read the full article from the San Diego Union-Tribune

Still Rising: Rasmussen Poll Shows Donald Trump Approval Ratings Now at 51 Percent

donald-trump-3President Donald Trump’s approval ratings keep rising, according to the latest Rasmussen poll.

On Wednesday, Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll showed that 51 percent of likely U.S. voters approved of President Trump’s job performance. Forty-eight percent disapproved.

This is the best rating for Trump since April of the first year of his presidency.

The new milestone occurs just two days after Trump’s popularity jumped to 50 percent in Monday’s daily tracking poll.

According to Rasmussen, Obama was at 46 percent on April 4 of 2010, the second year of his presidency.

Rasmussen’s daily tracking results are collected via telephone surveys of 500 likely voters per night and an online survey tool of random participants. It is reported on a three-day rolling average basis. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 1,500 Likely Voters is +/- 2.5 percentage points.

This article was originally published by Breitbart.com

EPA Could Limit California’s Unique Role in Shaping Air Pollution Rules

Air pollutionThe Trump administration is on the brink of what could prove its most consequential legal battle with the state of California, with EPA chief Scott Pruitt expected this week to take aim at the autonomy that state leaders were given in the 1970 Clean Air Act to establish pollution standards for vehicles that are more far-reaching than the federal government’s. This autonomy is widely credited with the Golden State’s emergence as a world leader in environmental regulation.

Last week saw confirmation of months of White House and EPA leaks that President Donald Trump would throw out a 2012 Obama administration edict that required average miles per gallon to nearly double to 54.5 for automakers’ fleets of new cars and trucks by 2025. Trump’s skepticism about climate change made him particularly open to the argument from General Motors, Ford and Chrysler that out-of-touch regulators under the previous president were trying to force them to sell vehicles that U.S. consumers didn’t want to buy.

But as The New York Times reported over the weekend, Trump and Pruitt went further than automakers wanted both by rolling back mileage standards more than expected and by signalling their readiness for a court fight over the deference that federal regulators have traditionally shown to the California Air Resources Board.

The Golden State’s problems with smog in the Los Angeles Basin – visible in the 1973 EPA photo shown above – led to the first state law in the U.S. targeting air pollution being adopted in 1947, among many other precedent-setting regulations. The air board continued California’s role as a pioneer in setting vehicle emission standards after it was launched in 1968 under then-Gov. Ronald Reagan. Its vehicle emission and safety rules often end up being copied by Congress and federal regulators and by nations around the world. The state’s present rules are followed by 12 other states, including New York and Pennsylvania – meaning the Golden State dictates what automakers must provide in about one-third of all new cars sold in the U.S. each year.

California’s special status may be only state carve-out in federal law

But with California’s pollution problems beginning to look more like the rest of the nation’s in recent decades, Republicans have increasingly chafed at the idea that CARB and not the EPA should have the dominant policy-making role on vehicle fuel and emissions standards.

An analysis in The Atlantic laid out how unusual the state’s status is:

“California is written into the Clean Air Act by name: At any time, it can ask the EPA administrator for a waiver to restrict tailpipe pollution more stringently than the federal government. If its proposed rules are ‘at least as protective of public health and welfare’ as the EPA’s, then the administrator must grant the waiver.

“This power is reserved alone for California, and it only covers pollution from cars. No other state can ask for a waiver. (In all of federal law, this might be the only time that a specific state is given special authority under such a major statute.)”

The administration of President George W. Bush became the first to challenge California’s special status when it rejected the state’s request to expand its definition of what substances in the atmosphere it could regulate to include non-polluting greenhouse gases. That prompted the filing of a lawsuit in January 2008 by then-Attorney General Jerry Brown that was backed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. But it became moot after Barack Obama succeeded Bush in the White House and the EPA resumed treating California’s proposals with deference.

Over the past 14 months, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed 28 lawsuits against the Trump administration, according to a tally kept by the Washington Post. But even before Becerra began his litigation, Gov. Brown anticipated the upcoming CARB-EPA fight and emphasized its importance. In comments made in December 2016 – a month after Trump’s election – Brown framed the dispute as having consequences for the “survivability of our world” because of the threat posed by global warming.

At an American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco, according to a Sacramento Bee account, the governor said, “We’ve got the scientists, we’ve got the lawyers and we’re ready to fight. We’re ready to defend. …. And, if Trump turns off the satellites, California will launch its own damn satellite. We’re going to collect that data.”

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Trump’s Justice Dept. Sues California Again

For the second time in as many months, the U.S. Department of Justice has sued the state of California.

The DOJ filed a lawsuit against California officials Monday, claiming a state law that gives California the power to veto sales of federal land to private landholders is unconstitutional. California Senate Bill 50, which passed last year, gives the state the right to purchase any federal land the U.S. government attempts to sell to private landowners.

The DOJ complaint claims “the law discriminates against the United States and delays and otherwise obstructs conveyances of real property owned by the United States, including by creating a potential cloud on marketable title.”

Click here to read the full article from 

Trump Blasts Gov. Brown’s Immigrant Pardons

President Donald Trump blasted California Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday for his pardon of five ex-convicts facing deportation, including two who fled the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia with their families four decades ago.

In a tweet , Trump referred to Brown as “Moonbeam,” referencing a nickname a newspaper columnist coined for him in the 1970s. Trump then listed the ex-convicts’ crimes before they were pardoned Friday. They include misdemeanor domestic violence, drug possession, and kidnapping and robbery.

Trump wrote: “Is this really what the great people of California want?”

A spokesman for Brown responded to a request for comment with more information about the five men but did not directly address Trump’s criticism. …

Click here to read the full article from the Associated Press

AMANDA LEE MYERS and PAUL ELIAS

Beijing Targets California Agriculture as Trade Dispute Escalates

Farm workers farmingCalifornia’s massive agriculture industry is China’s top initial target as Beijing responds to the Trump administration’s vow earlier this month to slap tariffs on some $50 billion of Chinese steel and aluminium imports.

In an announcement over the weekend, Chinese trade officials said California’s nuts, fruit and wine were among 128 U.S. imports that would face a new 15 percent tariff upon reaching Chinese shores. The total annual value of the imports is about $3 billion, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report, suggesting that for now Beijing is not eager to escalate its trade dispute with Washington over alleged Chinese steel and aluminum dumping on the international market and theft of U.S. intellectual property.

After Canada and the European Union, China is the third biggest international customer for Golden State agriculture, importing more than $2 billion worth in 2016, according to an official state report. That’s around 10 percent of California’s total of $21 billion in international agricultural exports in 2016. Pistachios, plums, oranges and almonds were the state’s most popular products with Chinese consumers.

Even before the formal Chinese announcement of retaliatory tariffs, many observers were wary of how California could be buffeted by a U.S-China trade war.

“We could be in a really nasty trade spat, and we’ve seen that agriculture is usually a big target. … We are greatly concerned,” a California Farm Bureau Federation official told the Los Angeles Times in a March 2 story. A UC Davis economist interviewed by the Times voiced similar concerns, noting California agriculture is more dependent on international sales than other large agricultural states.

Some farmers welcome fight, cite unfair practices

But in Kern County, according to a Bakersfield Californian report, anxiety was tempered by a sense among some farmers that it was time someone stood up to the unfair trade practices they said they dealt with in the Chinese and South Korean markets.

Dennis Johnston, a partner in Edison-based Johnston Farms, said powerful farming lobbies in the Asian nations had established barriers to California imports that didn’t involve tariffs, such as additional fumigation requirements that cut into California growers’ profits.

It’s nothing new for California agricultural interests to be early targets in trade disputes, including with nominal U.S. trade allies like Canada and Mexico. Because food has a limited shelf life, tariffs can take a relatively quick toll on a targeted nation. Tariffs on familiar consumer products like wine or grapes can also grab headlines in ways that tariffs on machine parts probably can’t. Analysts say that’s why the next target of China after California – at least if Beijing’s trade dispute with the Trump administration escalates – is likely to be pork products from Midwestern states. There would also be a political factor in such a move – these states often swing from party to party and Donald Trump is likely to need some or most to gain re-election in 2020.

But there’s a third view evident in Golden State reaction to China’s tariffs beyond alarm and the belief that some attempt to confront Beijing over its trade practices is necessary. That’s the view that this fight might fizzle out.

In an analysis posted by the Times over the weekend, Richard Matoian, executive director of the California-heavy American Pistachio Growers, said, “From what we’ve seen, the Trump administration can be very unpredictable. … There’s still a month yet before any tariff would take effect, so there’s going to be a lot of political posturing.”

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Trump applauds Orange County on fight against sanctuary laws

President Trump on Wednesday cheered a decision by officials in Orange County, Calif., to join a federal lawsuit seeking to block California’s so-called sanctuary laws.

“My Administration stands in solidarity with the brave citizens in Orange County defending their rights against California’s illegal and unconstitutional Sanctuary policies,” Trump tweeted.

“California’s Sanctuary laws release known dangerous criminals into communities across the State. All citizens have the right to be protected by Federal law and strong borders,” he added.

The president’s tweets came a day after the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted to join a Justice Department lawsuit that seeks to block California state laws that Trump administration officials say prevents local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration agents. …

Click here to read the full article from The Hill

California Sues Trump Administration Over Census Citizenship Question

California quickly filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration after the Commerce Department announced that the 2020 census would ask people whether they were U.S. citizens.

The citizenship question, announced Monday night, will discourage people from responding to the census and will violate the Constitution’s mandate for “actual enumeration,” the state’s lawsuit argues, according to The Washington Post.

“The Census numbers provide the backbone for planning how our communities can grow and thrive in the coming decade,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “What the Trump administration is requesting is not just alarming, it is an unconstitutional attempt to discourage an accurate Census count.”

The census hasn’t included a question about citizenship since 1950. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the question would allow better enforcement of voting laws. …

Click here to read the full article from the Huffington Post

Trump Steps Up Attacks On FBI

President Trump on Saturday celebrated the abrupt firing of Andrew McCabe from the FBI as a “great day for Democracy” and a victory in his battle with the special counsel leading the Russia investigation that has overshadowed the White House.

But Trump’s problems with McCabe may be just beginning.

Unleashed by his Friday night dismissal, the former FBI deputy director issued a furious rebuttal — and made clear he kept contemporaneous memos that support former FBI Director James B. Comey’s claims that Trump pressed him to call off at least part of the Russia probe — accounts Trump has denied.

Brusque firings and sudden resignations have become a blood sport in the Trump era, with the president stoking the chaos with scornful tweets. Trump unceremoniously fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with a Twitter post Tuesday, and White House officials last week warned that national security advisor H.R. McMaster is on his way out. …

Click here to read the full article from the L.A. Times

Trump receives mixed welcome in visit to California-Mexico border

A mix of protesters and supporters greeted President Donald Trump on Tuesday during his first visit to the California-Mexico border since taking office.

There he inspected prototypes for his promised “big, beautiful border wall.”

Hundreds of people, on both sides of the border participated in rallies – cheering, booing and waving Mexican and American flags as rows of police acted as barriers while Trump’s motorcade sped down the road.

U.S. Army veteran and Trump voter Mark Prieto, 48, shook his head as he walked past protesters.

“People are so narrow-minded,” the firefighter told AP. “Finally we have someone who is putting America first.”

Despite the Trump administration’s near-constant battles with California state officials, and the recent Department of Justice lawsuit against the state over its immigration policies, the president’s visit was, for the most part, peaceful. …

Click here to read the full article from Fox News