Court Approves Lying to Voters to Pass Bonds

If ever voters needed a reason to vote no on every single bond measure that appears on the ballot, here it is: The Court of Appeal for Third Appellate District just ruled that, despite all the lies voters were told about California’s infamous High-Speed Rail project, taxpayers have no remedy, even though the project as it exists today bears no relation to what voters were told when they approved the $9.9 billion bond in 2008.

Californians were promised a super-fast train that would travel between Los Angeles and San Francisco in about two and a half hours; the ticket price would be about $50; the total cost of the high-speed rail would be about $40 billion; and there would be significant private-sector support –money from investors — to build the project.

Even before the 2008 vote, transportation experts were warning that the project would become a massive black hole into which California taxpayers would be committed to pouring hundreds of billions of dollars. In fact, a 2008 study sponsored by the Reason Foundation and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation predicted that the promised total cost of $45 billion would quickly turn into $100 billion or more, stating that “There are no genuine financial projections that indicate there will be sufficient funds.” The only error in the study now appears that the dollar amount was too low.

The HSR project has been the target of multiple lawsuits, including a few that challenged the legality of the entire enterprise. But it now appears that the last legal roadblock to this continued wasting of taxpayer dollars has been removed. In Tos v. State of California, the court ruled that even though nothing the voters were promised in 2008 could possibly become true, the bonds could now be sold to finance the project.

There is a disturbing message here for all California voters and taxpayers. When it comes to bond measures, nothing that is promised in the law authorizing the bond is worth the paper it is written on. If a bond act states that voter approval will authorize the construction of a high school, don’t be surprised if the revenue is later used for a prison. While that may be an extreme example, it is not beyond the realm of possibility.

Even more disappointing is the fact that whenever a state or local government spends bond funds for a project that deviates in substantive ways from what was described in the ballot material presented to the voters, there will be no legal remedy. The voters’ only option to prevent this bait-and-switch is to adopt a policy of blanket rejection of all bond measures.

Click here to read the full article at the OC Register

Violent LA Crime Wave, Jacqueline Avant Killing Result of Liberal Justice Reforms: Critics

A day after a career criminal was arrested in the fatal shooting of philanthropist Jacqueline Avant at the lavish Beverly Hills home she shared with her husband Clarence, a 90-year-old music producer inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year, her family issued a statement that read in part, “Now, let justice be served.”

But in Los Angeles, where left-wing lawmakers and activists have pushed a litany of progressive reforms that help violent criminals spend less-time behind bars, justice is not only fleeting — it’s twisted, critics say.

“It’s a s–t show over here,” said LAPD Det. Jamie McBride, a director of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, a police union. “Bad guys are released quicker than we can finish the paper work, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

The Avants — whose daughter Nicole is a former ambassador to the Bahamas and married to Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos, had been living a comfortable life in their sprawling 4,000 square foot , $7 million home in the ritzy Trousdale Estates neighborhood for decades, friends said.

But the elderly couple’s quiet lives were upended at around 2:23 a.m. Wednesday when cops say career criminal Aariel Maynor broke into their home and fatally shot Jacqueline Avant, 81. Clarence Avant was home but not hurt.

The couple also employed a security guard, who was shot at by the suspect but not hit or injured in any way, according to Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook.

The Avants hired the guard to protect them from a different type of L.A intruder — fans of the recent Netflix documentary about Avant called the “Black Godfather” who were dropping by the house uninvited, he said.

Avant’s alleged killer was arrested Thursday in Jacqueline Avant’s murder after being caught in another botched robbery in nearby Hollywood in which he shot himself in the foot.

Maynor, who is currently hospitalized under armed guard, was in violation of parole at the time of his arrest and “it didn’t sound as if he was reporting to his parole agent at all,” Stainbrook said. Police say he will be charged Monday.

Click here to read the full article at NYPost

Lavish gifts, Expensive Trips: Was California State Worker Union Leader’s Spending Justified?

Newly published credit card statements detail past spending by the longtime leader of California’s largest state employee union, showing she spent nearly $7,000 on gifts for top union officers and thousands of dollars on international travel for union purposes.

The documents show former SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker paid $4,500 to Disney Resorts in the largest gift to an outgoing officer, $5,700 for a flight to Tel Aviv for a labor event and $159 for a celebration at Sacramento’s Device Brewing Company, along with other expenditures.

The spending is identified in six years’ worth of credit card statements posted online two weeks ago by Richard Louis Brown, who defeated Walker and four other candidates in a May election for union president. Brown, who promised transparency during his campaign, posted his own statements along with those of the past officers.

All the spending potentially was justifiable, according to a nonprofit tax expert, but the details provided new fodder for both sides in a bitter standoff within the union, where a slim majority of the organization’s 65-member board of directors held a meeting and a vote to strip Brown of his leadership powers. Brown has called the meeting illegitimate, citing a union policy that meetings must be called by the president, and has retained his leadership powers.

Brown criticized the gifts in particular during a meeting Wednesday night that he livestreamed on Facebook.

“A lot of you are really upset about this, and you should be,” he said.

The trove of spending records opens a window on how Walker led the organization in the second half of her 13 years in office. Walker wielded political influence in the Capitol but also frustrated some state workers who wanted Local 1000 to limit its focus to members’ pay and benefits. The union represents nearly 100,000 state employees and has an annual budget of about $48 million.

Click here to read the full article at the Sacramento Bee

On Omicron, Pols Must Resist Overreacting

There’s a new COVID variant and the world is freaking out.

Omicron was first found in South Africa, prompting President Biden to restrict travel from eight African countries. Japan, Israel and Morocco closed their borders. The UK is considering tighter mask and travel rules. New York declared a state of emergency.

Though Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor, said omicron would “inevitably” appear in the United States, no cases have been detected yet.

Fauci also said it could take a few weeks for the global science community to learn just how serious omicron is, and urged caution. “We should not be freaking out,” Fauci said.

We agree.

It’s true that cases have been reported in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Australia, the UK, Austria and Italy, but scientists are not yet sure how contagious, how virulent and how vaccine-resistant omicron is. While variants of the coronavirus are cause for concern, the limited number of cases globally give little upon which to draw conclusions and even less reason for heavy-handed government responses.

On Twitter, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that California officials are “monitoring” what’s happening, and announced no new restrictions. Los Angeles County has consistently been more aggressive than Newsom in terms of COVID response, but has so far followed Newsom’s lead on omicron.

This measured, wait-and-see approach is wise.

We are much better off as a society now than during the early days of COVID-19. We enjoy high vaccination rates, broad access to boosters for high-risk populations, widespread natural immunity and the ongoing development and availability of new, effective treatments.

Individuals are also now well-experienced with adapting according to their level of risk without the government needing to tell them what to do.

Click here to read full article at OC Register

California Crime Crackdown Inevitable in 2022

Commentary

crime wave is stalking California. Some of the latest in a long line of incidents:

  • The Seasons 52 restaurant at South Coast Plaza was held up.
  • Thieves attacked Louis Vuitton and Sacks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills, smashing windows but unable to get inside.
  • In Walnut Creek, a flash mob of 80 thieves robbed a Nordstrom store and assaulted two employees.
  • Thieves hit the Louis Vuitton store in San Francisco’s Union Square, robbing and “ransacking” it, according to one account.

We’ve seen this before, during the “permissiveness” of the 1960s. The liberal Warren Court put a lot more limitations on police and prosecutors. It was named after Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, a former California attorney general and governor.

That crime wave was part of the reason Ronald Reagan was elected governor in 1966 to replace liberal Gov. Pat Brown. Amid violent protests on California university campuses, much like today’s Antifa riots, Reagan took action. During riots in 1969 at UC Berkeley, he ordered in the California National Guard and threatened, “If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with. No more appeasement.”

Voters later elected to the attorney general position such tough-on-crime candidates as Evelle Younger in 1970 and George Deukmejian in 1978, both Republicans. The latter became California’s governor in 1982, narrowly defeating Democratic Los Angeles Mayor Tom Brown. Deukmejian was a major proponent of the death penalty, a contrast to his anti-death penalty predecessor, Jerry Brown.

Click here to read the rest of the article at the Epoch Times

Hundreds of San Diego Police Officers Unvaccinated as City prepares To Impose Mandate

The city plans to send notices of termination to employees who are not in compliance

SAN DIEGO — Brandon Gibson knows just how serious COVID-19 is. He beat back the disease two months ago.

“It kicked my butt,” he said. Yet he quit the San Diego police force earlier this month after 10 years because he is not ready to get the vaccine, an imminent condition of employment for city workers.

“I am not an anti-vaxer,” Gibson, 45, said in a recent interview.

He appreciates science, he said, but he has concerns about serious side effects — which health officials say are rare — and doesn’t agree with the city’s mandate.

People rallied against a vaccine mandate for law enforcement officers and firefighters at San Diego’s Civic Center Plaza on Oct. 22.
(K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

“It’s really infringing on our freedoms,” he said. “It’s my body; it’s my choice.”

So he quit.

Whether Gibson will be an outlier among the San Diego Police Department’s 1,982 rank-and-file officers will soon be evident. Wednesday is the deadline for all city employees to show proof of vaccination or request a religious or medical exemption.

According to city figures, around 60 percent of officers were vaccinated as of Nov. 17.

Mayor Todd Gloria on Monday will ask the City Council to move forward with the mandate, which the city announced in late August, despite an impasse with the San Diego Police Officers Association over the requirements.

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

Black Friday ‘Flash Mob’ Robberies Put LAPD on Tactical Alert

Los Angeles police late Friday were on citywide tactical alert after a wave of smash-and-grab “flash mob” robberies at high-end stores.

And in Lakewood, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department detectives were investigating a possible smash-and-grab robbery at a Home Depot after people stormed into the store Friday night and fled with sledgehammers and bolt cutters, according to authorities and a store employee.

The Los Angeles Police Department declared the alert around 8:30 p.m. Friday and lifted it at 2 a.m. Saturday. The alert followed a string of robberies in the area early in the evening, including an incident at 5:30 p.m. in which at least 10 men robbed a store at 130 S. La Brea Ave., pushed employees onto the ground and fled, said LAPD Officer Mike Lopez.

Lopez said that another attempted robbery on La Brea Avenue around 5:30 p.m. ended with an employee being sprayed with some kind of chemical agent, and another robbery was carried out at gunpoint in the 7800 block of Melrose Avenue.

Los Angeles police also took three people into custody Friday afternoon in the area of Melrose Avenue and Gardner Street after pulling over a vehicle for a traffic violation and spotting clothing with security tags “in plain sight,” connected to another theft, Lopez said.

Friday’s tactical alert follows a series of robberies in which groups have swooped in on stores across Los Angeles — including a Nordstrom at the Grove shopping center and several stores at the Beverly Center in the Beverly Grove neighborhood — and fled with thousands of dollars in merchandise.

Three people have been arrested in connection with the incident at Nordstrom on Tuesday, where as many as 20 people stole $5,000 worth of merchandise after smashing a display window, police said.

Click here to read the full article at LA Times

Nordstrom at Westfield Topanga Mall Hit In Latest Rash of Flash Mob Robberies

A Canoga Park mall was the scene of a flash mob-style robbery Wednesday night, similar to one pulled off at the Grove earlier this week.

Around 7 p.m., three to five suspects entered a Nordstrom in the Westfield Topanga mall and stole nearly $25,000 worth of designer bags, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The suspects entered the store, which was open at the time, and sprayed a security guard with a chemical substance before fleeing the scene in a green Ford mustang.

The security guard was treated and released at the scene by the Los Angeles Fire Department, Deputy Police Chief Alan Hamilton said in an interview with RMG News.

It was unclear at the time if the suspects were armed with more than the chemical spray, Hamilton said.

Click here to read that the rest of the article at the Los Angeles Daily News

No Chicken Patties For Lunch? Southern California Schools Grapple With Supply-Chain Shortages

Supply chain issues are forcing Southern California school districts to reimagine their menus to compensate for current and expected shortages of popular food items.

Hamburgers. Chicken patties. These and other lunchtime staples have been increasingly difficult to come by lately.

With labor shortages worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, the food production and distribution industries are hurting, and bottlenecks at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are delaying the offloading of all sorts of cargo.

As one San Bernardino County district puts it, with longtime vendors burdened with requests from multiple school systems, demand for certain items is currently higher than supply.

But there are mouths to feed today, tomorrow and every day — for the rest of this school year.

Since the start of the 2021-22 academic calendar, nutrition services staffers across Southern California have worked to ensure hundreds of thousands of students get the nourishment they need, even if what has been planned and what ultimately ends up being delivered changes from one minute to the next.

“We’re working magic to make it happen,” Riverside Unified School District spokesperson Diana Meza said. “But all schools are doing that. There’s a lot more preparation involved.”

Schools get creative with menus

The Riverside district serves about 32,000 meals a day, Meza said, and while certain shortages have made securing student favorites like hamburgers and chicken patties more difficult than ever, officials have been buying more local fruits and vegetables.

Click here to read the full article at OC Register

‘It’s Extremely Alarming’: Sacramento-Area Police Prepare Against Theft as Black Friday Nears

A string of recent smash-and-grab thefts at luxury stores in the Bay Area and Southern California has Sacramento-area law enforcement preparing for Black Friday and forming strategies to thwart similar brazen crimes on one of the busiest weekends of the holiday shopping season.

Officers, some of them undercover, will flood retail areas like the Roseville Galleria from Friday through the year’s end amid the recent trend of organized retail crime. The Roseville Police Department and other agencies in the capital region are well aware of the brazen thefts that have played out over the past week.

“It’s extremely alarming,” said Roseville police spokesman Rob Baquera. “The frequency of these crimes shows an alarming trend.”

From Thanksgiving night through New Year’s Day, Roseville police will increase patrols and special operations to protect shoppers and businesses; not only at the mall but also locally-owned retail businesses throughout the city, Baquera said.

Shoppers should expect to see more marked patrol vehicles as well as officers walking through parking lots looking for thieves trying to break into vehicles. They also will be maintaining a highly visible presence around stores, like the Galleria, looking for anyone trying to launch a smash-and-grab attack.

Click here to read the full article at the Sacramento Bee