CA’s Democratic Members of Congress Plead for Obama to Pardon “Dreamers”

As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

Led by members of the California delegation, dozens of House Democrats are again pleading with President Obama to pardon hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children to whom he granted temporary deportation deferrals.

Last month, several members of Congress asked Obama to use his pardon authority to forgive the past and future civil immigration offenses of the nearly 750,000 people granted deportation deferrals under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.

The lawmakers say that even though the so-called Dreamers would be left in legal limbo without work permits or visas, they could more easily apply for legal status from within the U.S. without immigration offenses on their records.

A White House official immediately batted down the idea, saying a pardon wouldn’t give them legal status. …

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More Bay Area residents struggling than poverty statistics indicate

As reported by the San Jose Mercury News:

Close to 30 percent of the Bay Area’s residents aren’t able to make ends meet as they contend with high housing costs, suggesting poverty is more widespread in the region than official reports indicate, according to a study published Wednesday.

The report by JobTrain, a Menlo Park-based nonprofit organization, estimated that 29.2 percent of Bay Area residents, or roughly 1.45 million people, are not self-sufficient. Self-sufficiency, the study’s authors said, is defined as having a stable place to live and being able to cover the basics for survival.

JobTrain hopes its report, “The Broken Pathway: Uncovering the Economic Inequality in the Bay Area,” will highlight the challenges facing many residents of the nine-county region.

“The problem is much larger than the number of people who are living in poverty in the Bay Area,” said Nora Sobolov, president of JobTrain. “The poverty rate and the unemployment rate don’t tell the full story.”

Stephen Levy, director of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy, agrees that the challenges are …

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Oakland Fire Death Toll Rises

As reported by Fox News:

A grim search for victims of a devastating fire that ripped through a converted warehouse in Oakland, California during a dance party entered a third day on Monday, with the list of 33 known deaths expected to grow.

The blaze, which erupted about 11:30 p.m. on Friday (0730 GMT on Saturday), ranks as the deadliest in the United States since 100 people perished in a 2003 Rhode Island nightclub fire.

As criminal investigators joined recovery efforts at the charred ruin, just east of San Francisco, firefighters found the remains of nearly three dozen victims at the weekend as they searched the debris-filled shell of the two-story converted warehouse being used by an artists’ collective. …

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Jerry Brown picks Rep. Xavier Becerra as California attorney general

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

Gov. Jerry Brown has tabbed Rep. Xavier Becerra to serve as California’s interim attorney general, selecting the Los Angeles Democrat to fill a vacancy opened by the imminent departure of outgoing Attorney General Kamala Harris to the U.S. Senate.

Assuming he wins confirmation by the Legislature – a strong possibility, given the 12-term Democrat’s role as a mainstay of Democratic and Los Angeles politics – Becerra would serve as California’s top law enforcement official through 2018, with an opportunity to serve for another eight years if he runs for the office.

At a time when the election of President Donald Trump has alarmed California Democrats and thrown into question the state’s liberal stances on issues like climate change and immigration, Brown’s choice of a liberal stalwart like Becerra reaffirmed the state’s future role as a pocket of resistance.

“Xavier has been an outstanding public servant – in the State Legislature, the U.S. Congress and as a deputy attorney general,” Brown said in an emailed statement. “I’m confident he will be a champion for all Californians and help our state aggressively combat climate change.”

Referring to himself as a “the son of immigrants” who is motivated to “fight for working families like the one I grew up in,” Becerra said in a statement that had accepted Brown’s offer and summarized his liberal bona fides. …

California Democrats capture legislative supermajorities

As reported by the San Jose Mercury News:

SACRAMENTO — Democrats will have a two-thirds supermajority in both chambers of the California Legislature next year after Republican Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang lost her bid to advance to the state Senate.

Election results released Monday showed Democrat Josh Newman narrowly defeated Chang for a Senate seat concentrated in northeastern Orange County.

Newman’s victory gives Democrats control of two-thirds of the 40 seats in the Senate — enough for them to approve tax increases, suspend legislative rules, pass emergency legislation or overturn the governor’s vetoes without any support from Republicans.

Newman is a U.S. Army veteran from Fullerton who founded a nonprofit to help veterans pursue civilian jobs following work in the entertainment and technology industries. He will replace Sen. Bob Huff, R-San Dimas, who was barred by term limits from seeking another term. …

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California secessionists unveil independence measure

As reported by the Mercury News:

It still doesn’t have much of a ring – or chance of ever happening – but Calexit isn’t going away just yet.

As President-elect Donald Trump continued interviewing prospective appointees on Monday, the left-leaning leaders of a movement to make California a sovereign nation filed paperwork to take their case to voters in two years.

Inspired by this year’s Brexit vote that withdrew the United Kingdom from the European Union, the organization Yes California wants voters in November 2018 to repeal a section of the state constitution affirming that California is “an inseparable part” of the United States and determine whether they wanted to secede.

A “yes” vote would trigger a special election the following March in which residents would decide if “California should become a free, sovereign and independent country.”

Another “yes” vote would require the governor of the newly minted “Republic of California” to apply to the United Nations for membership. …

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Trump’s Popularity Rises Dramatically: Morning Consult Poll

Donald Trump’s popularity is rising in the days since his election, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll of registered voters.

Forty-six percent of voters now have a very favorable or somewhat favorable opinion of the president-elect. Twelve percent have a somewhat unfavorable opinion and 34 percent have a very unfavorable opinion of him.

It’s a dramatic uptick since the election. Trump’s favorability has grown 9 points, 37 percent to 46 percent, compared to a Morning Consult poll right before the election — while his unfavorability has dropped 15 points, from 61 percent to 46 percent.
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)

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)

Border Patrol union welcomes Trump’s wall as ‘vital tool’

As reported by the San Diego Union Tribune:

The National Border Patrol Council has high hopes for President-elect Trump’s border security policies.

The union’s president, Brandon Judd, has been advising the Trump transition team. The union has encouraged the building of a border wall and changing enforcement policies put in place in the past four years.

San Diego-based Shawn Moran, vice president of the union, said a wall on the border would be a “vital tool,” and it’s difficult to say exactly where along the border a wall is needed.

“The problem arises when you secure one area, you push traffic to another,” Moran said, citing a Border Patrol program called Operation Gatekeeper that blocked entry to much of the San Diego area. …

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CalPERS says town defaulted on pension debt

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

CalPERS on Wednesday declared that the Sierra County town of Loyalton has defaulted on its debt to the giant pension fund, a move that means the state is poised to scale back retirees’ pension benefits.

The CalPERS board said Loyalton has failed to make the nearly $1.7 million “termination liability” it owes to the pension fund – the result of a City Council decision in March 2013 to pull out of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.

The default means the CalPERS board can move to reduce retirees’ benefits in Loyalton by about 60 percent, according to a formula that takes into account the dollars the city has already paid into the pension system. That would mark the first time in state history that CalPERS has reduced retirees’ benefits because of a municipality’s failure to pay its pension bills. …

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California’s largest public employee union authorizes strike

As reported by the San Jose Mercury News:

Members of California’s largest public employee union have voted 92 percent in favor of a strike vote as its members seek new labor contracts with the state, the union announced Tuesday.

The Service Employees International Union Local 1000 represents about 95,000 state employees, many of whom are office and administrative workers, librarians, engineers and nurses.

Both sides have been bargaining since April, and they were scheduled to resume Tuesday, the union said.

The state has offered the union a nearly 12 percent salary increase over four years, but SEIU officials say the 3 percent annual raises would be offset by a 3.5 percent employee contribution to retirees’ health care. …

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