Police Face New Rules When Seizing Money From Drug Suspects

As reported by the Orange County Register:

Local police are scrambling to fill the financial hole left in their drug-fighting resources by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to stop allowing them to take cash and property from suspected dealers without warrants or convictions.

Holder’s decision is limited to federal asset forfeiture rules. And for regional task forces that include federal agents – such as the Orange County Regional Narcotics Suppression Program – there may be no change. Local police departments increasingly might use state forfeiture programs that offer more protection for defendants.

Holder said in his announcement last week he was attempting to safeguard civil liberties. …

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Regulation of Uber, Lyft Thrown Into Question by California DMV

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

California’s burgeoning efforts to regulate ride-for-hire companies like Uber and Lyft have reached a fork in the road after the Department of Motor Vehicles issued an advisory that, in mandating commercial registration, threatens to upend the companies’ business model.

Conceived as an alternative to taxicabs, firms like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar allow people to use their personal vehicles to transport customers who have hailed a ride using a smartphone app. They tout their flexibility and potential for non-professional drivers to make some extra cash.

But the DMV said earlier this month that any time a car is used to transport people in exchange for compensation, that car must have commercial plates – an order that contradicts previous state regulations, according to the industry. …

 

Drone Carrying Meth Falls Near Border

As reported by the U-T San Diego:

A small aerial drone crashed about two miles from the U.S. border in Mexico carrying several pounds of methamphetamine, Mexican police said Wednesday.

The discovery at a shopping mall parking lot in Tijuana, within walking distance of the U.S. border crossing, raises the prospect of a new, high-tech front in the struggle between drug gangs and law enforcement.

Tijuana’s metropolitan police department said an anonymous caller reported the crash of the remote control aircraft at about 10 p.m. Tuesday. Officials from the Mexican Attorney General’s Office were seen scouring …

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California Gold Miners Score Win Over State

As reported by Dan Walters at the Sacramento Bee:

California’s 21st century gold miners have scored a second major victory over state efforts to restrict – or ban – them from searching for the precious metal in rivers and streams on federally owned land, such as national forests.

On Monday, San Bernardino County Judge Gilbert Ochoa, building on a previous decision by a state appellate court, declared that the state’s moratorium on using suction dredges to sift through gravel had become a de facto ban and thus violated federal mining law, which encourages mining on federal lands.

His ruling was a victory for the Western Mining Alliance, which has battled the moratorium signed into law in 2009 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. While the law allowed …

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Possible Successors to California Sen. Barbara Boxer

The Sacramento Bee details a relatively long list of potential candidates to replace Sen. Barbara Boxer, who will retire when her term ends in 2016. The list includes such names as Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Kamala Harris and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa:

California Sen. Barbara Boxer’s announcement today not to seek a fifth term has unleashed a long-expected wave of speculation about who will challenge for the seat.

Democrats have a supremely deep bench of possible successors, along with some dark horses. The 2016 race also will be a test for whether Republicans can regain a Senate seat in the Golden State, which has eluded them since 1992.

Here’s a quick look at some of the possibilities. …

 

Gov. Brown, officials gather in Fresno to launch high-speed rail construction

As reported by the Fresno Bee:

With California Gov. Jerry Brown leading the way, a ceremony Tuesday in downtown Fresno marked the start of construction on the high-speed rail project, more than six years after voters approved a $9.9 billion bond act that will help fund the system.

Rather than donning hard hats and shovels, however, Brown and other dignitaries signed ceremonial pieces of steel rails to signal that the project is underway. The invitation-only ceremony took place at the future site of Fresno’s high-speed rail station on the northeast corner of Tulare and G streets, while a small but boisterous gathering of protesters punctuated the event with occasional shouts and chants.

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Jerry Brown Wants Greater Investment in CA Roads

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

With the bipartisan water bond accord in their rear-view, California Gov. Jerry Brown implored lawmakers Monday to come together and begin the costly task of repairing the state’s crumbling roads.

Brown said following passage of the $7.5 billion water bond that it’s equally important for the state to deal with its long-standing road and highway challenges. California faces $59 billion in deferred road maintenance, and the price tag to meet the state’s long-term transportation needs is significantly higher.

“Each year, we fall further and further behind and we must do something about it,” Brown said during a speech marking …

 

State to double down on AB32’s failure? Really?

From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision to double down on AB 32 — the state’s landmark 2006 anti-global warming law — is stark testament to the power of the green religion among California Democrats. It is also a rejection of basic economics and logic.

In 2006, the key rationale for AB 32 and related laws was to inspire the world to take aggressive action to cut the emissions believed to help cause global warning. Supporters acknowledged that one state going it alone against global warming wouldn’t even begin to solve the problem.

The laws required …

Continue reading at utsandiego.com

House Passes GOP California Drought Bill, But Senate Approval Unlikely

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

Legislation addressing California’s drought reached an inconclusive high-water mark Tuesday, passing the House on a largely party line vote before trickling off to a bleak fate in the Senate.

While the Republican-controlled House approved the California water bill by a 230-182 margin, California’s two Democratic senators oppose it with varying degrees of severity.

The Senate resistance and the bill authors’ inability to reconcile competing state interests effectively renders the stand-alone California Emergency Drought Relief Act a Capitol Hill orphan. Last-minute efforts to add similar language onto a separate spending bill continue. …

 

Editorial: As state superintendent race tightens, Tuck the best choice

In this editorial, the Orange County Register reaffirms it’s endorsement of Marshall Tuck for state superintendent of schools:

Let’s not bury the lede: California’s school superintendent race has drawn nearly three times the campaign spending as the race for governor. It has generated more than double the spending of the last three superintendent races combined. It has featured a clash of union interests, billionaires, charter schools and Hollywood stars.

And yet, according to an Oct. 30 Field Poll, challenger Marshall Tuck and incumbent Tom Torlakson are tied at 28 percent – with 44 percent of voters undecided.

The campaign resembles something of political trench warfare: Each side lobbing shells, but gaining little ground. Field Poll’s Late August/Early September results found a 3 point split in favor of Mr. Tuck, 31-28, with 41 percent undecided.

In other words, after $30 million dollars of combined campaign spending – a number compiled by Oakland-based education think tank EdSource, roughly 80 percent of it independent expenditures – California voters are in about the same place they were two months ago.

The Register has previously endorsed Mr. Tuck for the office, calling him a “mission-driven education reformer.” We reaffirm that endorsement, and the results of the recent Field Poll give us even more confidence in his candidacy.

Read the full editorial here