California’s cap-and-trade faces tough questions

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

California’s marquee climate-change program faced tough scrutiny on Tuesday from a state appeals court judge who seemed skeptical that the $4.4 billion raised from the state’s cap-and-trade program complied with laws regulating taxes and fees.

“Where does this end?” Associate Justice Harry Hull asked state lawyers at a hearing in a long-running lawsuit that challenges the state’s ability to collect revenue from the cap-and-trade auctions it has sponsored since 2012.

Despite Hull’s questioning, two of three justices at the 3rd District Court of Appeal appeared to be leaning toward upholding the California Air Resources Board’s greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program. It aims to gradually reduce greenhouse-gas emissions over time by compelling industries to change the way they do business under the authority of the landmark 2006 law, Assembly Bill 32.

A decision from the court is expected within 90 days, but the losing side likely will appeal the case to the state Supreme Court.

San Diego spends millions on retired workers who get paycheck on top of pensions

Reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Over the past seven years, the City of San Diego has paid more than $14.7 million to bring retirees back to work part-time while they still collect a pension.

According to data from the city Comptroller’s Office, 331 pensioners worked more than 436,600 hours between December 2009 and December 2016.

Three out of every four retirees were brought back more than once, data show, with more than a dozen serving continuously in rolls such as deputy city attorney, investigator, lifeguard chief or program manager over the past seven years.

Rehiring pensioners as provisional employees is a decades-old practice, but the use of them spiked in 2009. They continued to take up more than 100 city positions per year since then. …

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Will California Tax Man Let You Move States?

As reported by

California’s Proposition 55 extended–through 2030–the “temporary” 13.3% tax rate on California’s high-income earners. It applies to 1.5% of Californians, singles with an income of $263,000, or joint filers with incomes of $526,000. It is the highest marginal tax rate in the nation. And with anticipated cuts in federal taxes in 2017, California’s tax rates may look even higher. And for some people tax-free Nevada, Texas, Washington, and Florida will hold considerable allure.

But fear of being chased by California’s Franchise Tax Board can be real. Fortunately, there is a safe harbor for certain individuals leaving California under employment-related contracts. The safe harbor says that an individual domiciled in California, who is outside California under an employment-related contract for an uninterrupted period of at least 546 consecutive days, will be considered a nonresident unless either:

  1. The individual has intangible income exceeding $200,000 in any tax year during which the employment-related contract is in effect.
  2. The principal purpose of the absence from California is to avoid personal income tax.

The spouse of an individual covered by the safe harbor can qualify too. Return visits to California that do not exceed a total of 45 days during any tax year covered by the employment contract are considered temporary. …

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Becerra Trashes Trump at State A.G. Confirmation Hearing

SACRAMENTO—A state Assembly committee voted along party lines Tuesday to recommend that Democratic U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra be confirmed as California’s 33rd attorney general.

The 6-3 vote followed a friendly, two-hour hearing in which the 12-term congressman from Los Angeles took measured jabs at President-elect Donald Trump and his proposals on immigration, health care and the environment.

“California must continue to be a forward leaning-state,” Becerra told the Committee on the Attorney General. “We want to stop and deter criminal behavior, not stop and frisk our young brothers based on preconceived notions. And we want to build schools, not walls and unconstitutional religious tests, for our people.”

Becerra arrived at Tuesday’s hearing with the endorsements of five former attorneys general, including Republican Dan Lungren, who served with Becerra in Congress until 2013. Becerra was accompanied by Gov. Jerry Brown, who called the nominee a “battle-tested” candidate seasoned by the polarized political atmosphere in Washington, D.C.

“There are big battles ahead but probably the biggest battle of all is serving the people of California in a way that earns their respect,” Brown said. “You have before you an outstanding candidate who can certainly champion the causes that we believe in but will do it in a way that will earn the respect and confidence of the people of California.”

Committee members did not ask Becerra whether he would run for attorney general in 2018; he has refused to rule out a campaign for governor or perhaps an open U.S. Senate seat if Dianne Feinstein retires. State lawmakers also did not mention the Legislature’s recent hire of ex-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., a move that Republicans have criticized as unnecessary given the ranks of state lawyers who work at the state Department of Justice.

Becerra was pressed on whether the state will defend so-called sanctuary cities, such as San Francisco, that minimize their cooperation with federal immigration enforcement agencies. Trump campaigned on a plan to “cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities” within his first 100 days in office.

“It’s important to have someone in the Oval Office who understands the Constitution and recognizes the limits of what the federal government can do,” Becerra said. “Sanctuary is simply saying that we’re not going to go out there and do the bidding of an aggressive immigration enforcement agency.” He added: “Locally and at the state level we will do what we need to protect the residents of the state of California.”

But Becerra also told committee Republicans he had no plans “to be a thorn just to be a thorn” in the side of the Trump administration.


The full Assembly is scheduled to take up Becerra’s nomination Friday. The Senate Rules Committee will interview Becerra Jan. 18.


Above is excerpted from the original story at The Recorder, available here

Ethics officer calling to delay Trump Cabinet gave $500 to Obama, was appointed by him

Walter Schaub, Jr., the Office of Government Ethics official who has sent a letter urging Senate Democrats to delay the confirmation of Donald Trump’s cabinet, which has been picked up extensively by the main stream media, was appointed to his office by President Barack Obama and gave Obama $500 for his Presidential 2012 re-election campaign.  The fact that Schuab was appointed by Obama and that he actually gave funds to Obama’s campaign has not been widely reported in the media.  Schuab, who was appointed to his five year term as Director of OGC in 2012, will leave office this year.



House GOP leader asks Jerry Brown: How would you replace Obamacare?

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has written to Gov. Jerry Brown and the leaders of other states soliciting their input for replacing Obamacare.

Dismantling President Barack Obama’s signature health care legislation has been central to debate in Washington since voters in November handed Republicans control of the White House and Congress.

“As Obamacare continues to saddle patients with less choice, higher costs, and mountains of mandates, it is clear that major health care reforms must be made to strengthen and improve health care for all Americans,” McCarthy wrote in the letter last month, which was signed by five other House Republicans, including Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas.

“Lawmakers, governors, and state insurance commissioners have a tremendous opportunity to achieve our shared goal of enacting health care reforms that lower costs, improve quality, empower states and individuals, and bring our health care system into the 21st century,” they added. …

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Eric Holder Hired as CA State Special Counsel to Thwart Trump Administration

Former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder has been hired by the very liberal Democrats who dominate the California State Legislature as a “special counsel” to deal with “extraordinary challenges for California in the uncertain times ahead” according to the Democratic State Senate leader.  Liberals like to say California is the 6th largest economy in the world.  But said another way, by Census Bureau cost of living statistics, California would also have the highest poverty rate in the world among the top six economies.  So, it looks like Eric Holder has been hired, at taxpayer expense, to preserve California’s globally highest poverty rate during the Trump Administration.

Read more about the appointment here:


When city retirement pays better than the job

One in four El Monte residents lives in poverty. Yet taxpayers pay a steep price to fund bonus pensions and other perks for city workers.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

James Mussenden doesn’t bring up his pension in casual conversation. No point getting his golf partners’ blood boiling.

The retired city manager of El Monte collects more than $216,000 a year, plus cost-of-living increases and fully paid health insurance.

“It’s giving me an opportunity to do a number of things I didn’t get to do when I was younger, like travel to Europe, take some things off my bucket list,” Mussenden, 66, said recently. He even flew to Scotland to play the famed Old Course at St. Andrews, a mecca for golf enthusiasts.

Mussenden recognizes that few Americans have pensions anymore — least of all the El Monte taxpayers who are funding his retirement. So while he enjoys his monthly retirement check, he’s discreet about it. …

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San Francisco grapples with growing crime, blight after years of liberal policies

As reported by Fox News:

San Francisco is earning a growing reputation for more than just its unmatched tech sector – for critics, the city stands as a profound example of the damage ultra-liberal policies can do.

After 20 years of envelope-pushing changes to grow government and ease law enforcement, the once-shining City by the Bay has turned into a place where:

“There’s a very tolerant attitude, you can very much do anything on the streets you want,” said Marc Joffe, director of research at the California Policy Center think tank. “As members of a civilized society, there are things you should not accept. But we have ignored that … and there is nobody on the other side setting limits.”

San Francisco’s lax attitude is nothing new and has served as a beacon for the American counter-culture dating back to the Beat Generation. But the city’s embrace decades ago of free love and drugs has morphed into something else. …

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Uber pulls self-driving cars from California roads

As reported by the Chicago Tribune:

Uber pulled its self-driving cars from California roads after state regulators moved to revoke their registrations, officials said.

The move comes after a week of talks between the ride-hailing company and state regulators failed.

Hours after Uber launched the service in its hometown of San Francisco last Wednesday, the Department of Motor Vehicles threatened legal action if the company did not stop. The cars need the same special permit as the 20 other companies testing self-driving technology in California, regulators argued.

Uber maintains it does not need a permit because the cars are not sophisticated enough to continuously drive themselves, although the company promotes them as “self-driving.”

The DMV said the registrations …

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