4 signs California’s job market is cooling

As reported by the Orange County Register:

Have California bosses changed their hearts about hiring?

After six straight years of job gains, 2017 started with the slowest employment upswing since the first year of the recovery from the Great Recession.

Using data from the state Employment Development Department and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, here are four reasons behind the cooling.

No. 1: Fewer layoffs

California bosses have a low-risk way to keep payrolls up: skip the pink slips!

Just look at initial unemployment claims, seen as a snapshot of how many employees have recently lost their jobs. State employment counters report that in the year ended in February, 2.35 million unemployment claims were made.

That may sound like a like of layoffs but it’s actually historically small.

For starters, it’s the slowest annualized pace of Californians filing for jobless claims since December 2007. …

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California further delays lethal injection regulations

As reported by the Associated Press:

California corrections officials are delaying their new lethal injection regulations by four months, officials announced Monday, pushing back this week’s deadline until late August.

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation needs more time to update the proposed rules after an initial version was rejected by state regulators in December, spokeswoman Terry Thornton said.

The move drew immediate criticism from a legal foundation that sued to force the state to switch to a single drug to carry out the death penalty.

No inmates have been executed in California since 2006. The state now has nearly 750 condemned inmates, the nation’s largest death row by far.

Office of Administrative Law Director Debra Cornez granted the department’s request for a delay in a letter dated Friday but disclosed on Monday. …

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How the Trump administration can stop the bullet train

From the San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board

The only kind of news the troubled $64 billion California bullet train project seems to generate is bad news. In January, a Federal Railroad Administration analysis was leaked that projected the initial 118-mile, $6.4 billion segment of the project would run 50 percent over budget. Then last week, a Los Angeles Times report revealed that the project’s price tag may continue to be pushed higher and higher by “the complex engineering needed for passenger safety.” It also offered an alarming warning from rail safety consultant Steven Ditmeyer that corners were being cut already on safety issues for budgetary and political reasons.

The jarring questions these reports raise about the project’s finances and management couldn’t come at a worse time for the rail authority and Gov. Jerry Brown, the bullet train’s most vocal backer. That’s because U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is being urged by California House Republicans not only to audit the project but also to reverse Obama administration decisions that exempted it from normal standards relating to the state’s use of about $3 billion in federal funds.

One of those decisions was explicit and aboveboard, if dubious: a 2012 agreement that allowed the state to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding without matching state spending. Rep. Jeff Dunham, R-Turlock, and other bullet train critics have long argued that this waiver is directly in contradiction to decades of precedents under which the federal government requires matching state spending on big projects to lock in states’ commitments to finish what they start. …

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Assembly Democrat stripped of committee chairmanship after voting against gas tax increase

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

Nearly two weeks after breaking with fellow Democrats to vote against a bill raising California fuel taxes, Assemblyman Rudy Salas of Bakersfield has lost the chairmanship of a prime legislative committee.

On Monday, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced that he had removed Salas from his position heading the politically lucrative Assembly Business and Professions Committee, which handles consumer regulations, occupational licensing and product labeling bills.

Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, will take over as the committee chair, while Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, will get Salas’ vacancy. Salas was moved to the Assembly Rules Committee, which assigns bills to relevant policy committees and makes other decisions to administer the house. …

Trump border walls to be built in Otay Mesa

From The San Diego Union-Tribune:

President Donald Trump’s proposed wall with Mexico will kick off in the San Diego border community of Otay Mesa, U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed Monday.

The community is home to one of two border crossings in San Diego and will be the site where 20 chosen bidders will erect prototypes of the envisioned wall. Winners will be selected around June 1, the agency said.

(Read Full Article)wall-tanks

Trump Supreme Court Appointee Gorsuch Confirmed By Senate!

President Trump’s nominee Judge Neil M. Gorsuch was confirmed Friday by the U.S. Senate for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, filling a 14-month vacancy after a dramatic Senate showdown that risked long-lasting repercussions to both institutions.

Read full story here: http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-gorsuch-confirmed-20170407-story.html


Feinstein Opposed by 62% of Californians, Considered Too Old for Senate

In a new poll of Californians by U.C. Berkeley, an overwhelming majority of 62% oppose U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein running for re-election to the Senate next year, feeling it would be a bad thing for the state, when informed that she will be 84 years old next year.  If she is re-elected, by the end of her sixth term she would be 90 years old.

Democrat Feinstein is the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Her colleague, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, also from San Francisco, turned 77 years of age last month.

If Feinstein does not run, the U.C. Berkeley poll showed that Governor Jerry Brown has the most support to succeed her in the Senate.  Brown turns 80 next year.

A link to the press release announcing the poll results, with polling details, is here: https://gallery.mailchimp.com/d77c7ab2fffb03c109d588f05/files/361f90fc-e305-460e-9f8b-a773cb16431e/2017_04_Feinstein_US_Senate_.pdf

Dianne Feinstein in Outer Space

U.S. Attorney General, Sec. of Homeland Security, admonish CA Supreme Court Chief in Letter

In a a strong,  joint letter to State Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, U.S. Attorney General Sessions and Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly strongly admonish her for a public complaint that ICE officers were “stalking” criminal illegal aliens at state courthouses.

Sessions and Kelly state that ICE agents do not “stalk,” which is a completely unrelated crime, and remind the Chief Justice that arresting a person on probable cause, such as violation of immigration laws, in a public place is well established in law.  They state such activity may be justified where local agencies have closed their doors to ICE agents and decided to not cooperate with Federal officials in enforcing our nation’s immigration laws, and they further point out that the risk of injury to the public and for the arresting officers are substantially decreased when done so in an area that has already been screened for weapons, such as a courthouse lobby.

A copy of the letter can be downloaded here: http://www.politico.com/f/?id=0000015b-23c8-d874-addf-33e83a8c0001


Will Democrats EVER Stop Raising Taxes?

Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders announced a $5.2 billion road-funding package Wednesday that would raise gas taxes and user fees on motorists, setting off a major political struggle to pass it in the Legislature.

Officials have set an April 6 deadline to approve the 10-year package, which would increase fuel taxes and contains a new sliding charge linked to a vehicle’s value. The agreement also includes a constitutional amendment meant to keep lawmakers from shifting transportation revenue to other uses, something that happened frequently in the past.

Full story here: http://digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODN/SacBee/Default.aspx#emlnl=eEdition6

Jerry Brown

NFL Owners Approve Oakland Raiders’ Move To Las Vegas

As reported by KPBS:

Any hopes that the Raiders would turn their eyes to San Diego in wake of the Chargers’ departure all but evaporated Monday when National Football League owners conditionally approved the Oakland franchise’s move to Las Vegas.

The Raiders will play in Oakland for two more seasons before heading to Nevada, the team announced. It is the third franchise relocation green-lighted by the NFL in a little more than a year, including the Chargers and Rams to Los Angeles.

“The Raiders were born in Oakland and Oakland will always be part of our DNA,” owner Mark Davis said. “We know that some fans will be disappointed and even angry, but we hope that they do not direct that frustration to the players, coaches and staff.”

Very slim hopes were raised that San Diego could provide an alternative destination for the Raiders when development of his Las Vegas plans hit some snags. Such a result would have been ironic given local fans’ antipathy toward their Northern California rival. …

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