Calif. Legislative Analyst ‘Calls Bull’ on Newsom Budget Projections

Gov. Newsom got a reality check from the Legislative Analyst on Friday

Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom presented a $297 billion 2023-2024 budget plan on Tuesday, with a projected deficit of $22.5 billion. He shaved $3 billion off his last budget, in the face of a recession, and the $22.5 billion deficit.

In November, the Legislative Analyst’s Office reported California revenue is $41 billion below expectations, likely resulting in a massive $25 billion shortfall in the upcoming 2023-2024 state budget – on the heels of reveling in a $31 billion surplus? How?

“Gavin Newsom (D-Fantasyland) got a reality check from the Legislative Analyst on Friday, when the nonpartisan office called for greater spending cuts and disputed the Governor’s contention that the state won’t face a recession in the coming years,” reads a press statement from the California Assembly Republican Caucus. “Legislative Analyst Calls Bull on Newsom Budget Projections,” the title says.

This is Priceless.

But they are right. The Legislative Analyst’s Office did indeed present a report to the governor recommending other cuts, and offering their solutions to the Legislature if the governor won’t budge.

The LAO identifies these problematic areas with Gov. .Newsom’s budget projections:

  • $14 Billion in Higher Revenues
  • $3 Billion in Higher School and Community College Spending
  • A $4 Billion Set‑Aside in the SFEU. The Governor proposes the Legislature enact a year‑end balance in the Special Fund for Economic Uncertainties.
  • $2 Billion in Discretionary Spending
  • $800 Million in Other Differences

Specifically, the Legislative Analyst’s Office is concerned that Gov. Newsom is planning for spending more despite lower revenues. They say it a little differently: “Our estimates suggest that there is a good chance that revenues will be lower than the administration’s projections for the budget window, particularly 2022‑23 and 2023‑24. Nonetheless, the Governor’s budget trigger restoration proposals implicitly place more emphasis on revenue upside—suggesting the administration anticipates that revenues are more likely to be higher, not lower, than their current projections.”

Could Gov. Newsom have a serious case of recession budget denial?

The Legislative Analyst says:

“Recent budgets have allocated or planned tens of billions of dollars for one‑time and temporary spending purposes in 2021‑22, 2022‑23, and 2023‑24. The Governor’s budget identifies one set of recent augmentations to reduce or delay in order to address the budget problem. The Legislature can select entirely different spending solutions. To assist the Legislature in this effort, we have provided a list of large augmentations provided in recent budgets in Appendix 4 and a set of criteria for evaluating them for reduction or delay in “Chapter 2” of this report. The Legislature could apply these criteria through its budget oversight hearings throughout the next few months.”
 
The LAO’s report describes a “heightened risk of recession” and urges the Legislature to “plan for a larger budget problem by identifying more spending reductions,” the caucus said.

The LAO said:

“As the Legislature works to address the budget problem, we suggest policymakers consider the unique impacts of inflation on each of the state’s major spending programs in conjunction with possible budget solutions. (See our report, The 2023‑24 Budget: Considering Inflation’s Effect on State Programs, for more information.) 
 
“Meanwhile, economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal say there’s a 61% chance of the economy tipping into recession within the next year,” the caucus said.  
 
“If the governor and legislative Democrats don’t accept the reality that the economy is in trouble, middle-class Californians will pay the price for their fiscal recklessness,” Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher (Yuba City) said.

Here’s one area the LAO lays out as a problem – “new discretionary spending”: “The Governor’s budget also includes $2 billion in discretionary spending proposals that are not currently reflected under current law or policy,” the LAO reports.

“In addition to addressing a budget problem, the Governor’s budget proposes $2 billion in new discretionary spending mainly in capital outlay financing, resources and environment, and other miscellaneous program areas. Because of revenue shortfalls, these new spending amounts contribute to a larger budget problem and necessitate additional budget solutions. That is, for each dollar of new proposals, another dollar of solutions would be required. While the Legislature might share some of these priorities, it need not adopt all, or even any, of the associated proposals. Rejecting them would reduce the budget problem and the number of solutions necessary.”

Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher is right, and it is likely to be worse based on the Wall Street Journal survey of economists:

  • Economists expect GDP to stagnate this year, posting growth of just 0.2% in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared with the fourth quarter of 2022.
  • Employers are expected to cut jobs starting in the second quarter through the end of the year.
  • Economists view high inflation, and the Fed’s efforts to tame it, as a top risk to the economy this year.
  • When asked which category of inflation will be the hardest to tame in 2023, a quarter of economists picked housing. A further 18% said healthcare and another 18% picked personal services.
  • Economists in the survey expect the Fed will need to raise the benchmark federal-funds rate target to 5% this year, in line with central-bank officials’ own projections.

The perfect storm for a recession may be upon us with high inflation, high taxes, high energy costs, high food costs, a sizable budget deficit, and now tens of thousands of big tech layoffs, which is the other issue California lawmakers and governor need to address. Meta, Twitter, Salesforce and now Amazon are all cutting thousands of staff. The potential for, or early economic ramifications to the cities and counties in which they reside, as well as the state, and the ripple effect these could have on startups and investment banks, looks to be immense.

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

San Diego Already Has Plans to Get Rid of Gas Stoves

The mention of a hypothetical nationwide ban on gas-powered stoves sparked swift backlash from Republicans and a wave of media coverage. Locally, San Diego has already committed to retiring gas-powered everything – stoves included.

Congress feuded over a mere suggestion last week that gas-powered stovetops could be banned in the United States, but the city of San Diego has already committed itself to gutting almost all buildings of gas-powered everything — stoves included. 

The dispute in the capital erupted after a new study linked  the methane-powered devices to 13 percent of childhood asthma cases nationwide. The Biden Administration isn’t actually proposing a ban, as Politico reported, but the mention of a hypothetical one by a member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission sparked swift backlash from Republicans and a wave of media coverage over whether it was time to retire the natural gas-powered stovetops of America. 

San Diego, by way of Mayor Todd Gloria’s update to the city’s Climate Action Plan, passed in 2022, is already committed to retiring them. That plan’s goal is to eliminate almost all natural gas use from buildings in the city by 2035. It includes not only buildings that have yet to be built, but calls for retrofitting apartments, restaurants and skyscrapers to run solely on electricity. 

Such retrofits are costly, and the city’s plan sets a dramatic target: phase-out gas from 45 percent of existing buildings by 2030 and then 90 percent by 2035. Once achieved, that’s equivalent to cutting 1.9 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses generated in the city per year. San Diego’s director of sustainability and mobility said in November 2021 the city plans to make this huge electrification jump by approving new building codes.

This so-called decarbonizing of buildings is a key component of the city’s wider goal of cutting nearly half of all its emissions by 2035.

Cutting fossil fuels out of homes means replacing gas stoves with electric-powered induction stovetops and swapping out gas-powered water heaters for electric heat pumps to do both heating and cooling. But the city has yet to pass specific policies directing private homes and businesses on how to achieve such retrofits. First, San Diego is looking at how it will retrofit public buildings under a Municipal Energy Strategy.

Click here to read the full article in the Voice of San Diego

24 Hours and Hundreds of Feet Apart, 2 Killings in Downtown Turlock. ‘We Will Not Tolerate’

Less than 24 hours after, and just around the corner from, a fatal shooting early Saturday, another deadly shooting took place early Sunday in downtown Turlock. It’s the city’s second homicide of the year, police say. The Turlock Police Department got a 911 at 1:38 a.m. Sunday reporting a shooting behind the Udder Place and Grand Cru in downtown. Arriving officers found found 31-year-old Robert Morgan, who worked security at Grand Cru, on the ground and suffering multiple gunshot wounds. “Uninvolved persons” were administering CPR, according to a police news release. Officers assisted with lifesaving efforts until an ambulance crew arrived and took Morgan to a local hospital, where at 2:16 a.m. he died.

TPD Detective Sgt. Victor Barcelos has indicated Morgan’s shooting and one the night before are unrelated, the news release says. Officers learned that Morgan, though it was his day off, was at Grand Cru with friends. “Inside the bar, Grand Cru’s security was involved in an altercation with several male patrons of Hispanic descent. Security was able to move the involved parties outside, but the fight continued, and Morgan stepped in while off duty to assist his co-workers,” says the release. While Morgan reportedly was in a physical altercation with a man near the rear of The Udder Place, the as-yet unidentified occupant of a dark sedan stopped, got out and fired multiple gunshots at Morgan. The shooter then got back into the car and fled the scene. Detectives are examining evidence including video surveillance and interviewing “relevant parties.” Additional resources including the Major Accident Investigation Team and the Special Investigations Unit are supporting detectives in the investigation and using specialized equipment to process the crime scene. Jerry Powell, owner of Grand Cru, has voluntarily closed for two weeks to review internal processes and procedures related to evaluating and improving safety measures at his establishment, the TPD release says. “I had a discussion with Mr. Powell regarding this tragedy at Grand Cru, and he let me know he is heartbroken at the loss of a valued staff member and friend,” Turlock Chief of Police Jason Hedden says in the release. “He also informed me that he is closing his business immediately to conduct a review and ensure that Grand Cru is a safe place for both patrons and employees.” The chief adds, “I am employing new, state-of-the-art technologies and resources to combat violent crime in our city to keep our residents and businesses safe and secure. We will not tolerate this kind of activity and want our residents to know we are working hard and will continue to update the public as information can be shared during these investigations.” The Turlock Police Department asks that anyone with information about the investigation to call Detective Raul Garcia at 209-664-7314, or the department’s Tip Line at 209-668-5550, ext. 6780, or email tpdtipline@turlock.ca.us.

The gunshot fatality was the second of the weekend. Early Saturday, just after 2 a.m. in the area of Market Street and South Broadway in downtown, a shooting took the life of a 21-year-old man and wounded a 20-year-old. The man who died is Romeo Portillo, according to a Turlock Police Department news release. The release did not identify the 20-year-old. The two were passengers in a car being driven by 22-year-old Gary Jackson. Both were taken to the hospital, but Portillo later died. The release said all three men are Patterson residents.

Click here to read the full article in the Sacramento Bee

Biden to Visit Devastated Areas of California on Thursday

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will travel to California’s central coast Thursday to visit areas that have been devastated by extreme weather.

The White House said in a statement Monday that the president would visit with first responders and state and local officials, survey recovery efforts and assess what additional federal support is needed.

The president’s trip was announced as the ninth atmospheric river in a three-week series of major winter storms was churning through California.

The storms have dumped rain and snow on California since late December, cutting power to thousands, swamping roads, toppling trees, unleashing debris flows and triggering landslides.

Click here to read the full article in AP News

$5 Million for Each Longtime Black Resident? S.F. Has a Bold Reparations Plan to Consider

A century after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and lamented how “the Negro still is not free.”

“One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity,” he said during his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech from the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

King could have been describing today’s San Francisco, a 47-square-mile city that’s home to more than 60 billionaires and at least 7,000 homeless people, around 40% of whom are Black, despite Black people representing only 5% of the population.

Right up until he was assassinated in 1968, King argued that economic justice was integral to racial justice. The idea is at the core of a draft proposal the San Francisco African American Reparations Advisory Committee presented to city leaders last month.

The Board of Supervisors created the committee, also called AARAC, in December 2020, amid a national racial reckoning. The board’s legislation, while innovative, was also narrow, allowing city leaders to reject or outright ignore the committee’s work.

What happens next will show whether San Francisco politicians are serious about confronting the city’s checkered past, or are simply pretending to be.

While California was never officially a slave state, slaveholders were protected here, and the committee’s research reveals that segregation, systemic oppression and racial prejudice born from the institution of slavery had a profound impact on the city’s evolution.

In the 20th century alone, San Francisco was a Ku Klux Klan stronghold, barred Black people from settling in certain areas, kept them out of city jobs and demolished the Fillmore, a Black neighborhood and commercial district, leaving it vacant for decades.

“Centuries of harm and destruction of Black lives, Black bodies and Black communities should be met with centuries of repair,” AARAC chair Eric McDonnell told me. “If you look at San Francisco, it’s very much a tale of two cities.”

AARAC’s draft proposal includes a number of financial recommendations. There’s one that will especially get folks talking.

AARAC calls for one-time, lump-sum reparations payments of $5 million to each eligible recipient. The amount could cover the “the economic and opportunity losses that Black San Franciscans have endured, collectively, as the result of both intentional decisions and unintended harms perpetuated by City policy,” the draft states.

To qualify for the payments, residents must be 18 at the time the committee’s proposal is enacted, and have identified as Black or African American on public documents for at least 10 years. They may also have to prove they were born in the city between 1940 and 1996, have resided in San Francisco for at least 13 years, and be someone, or the direct descendant of someone, incarcerated during the war on drugs.

To put that in perspective, the state reparations task force, which will issue its own proposal is June, believes that Black Californians may be due $569 billion for housing discrimination alone between 1933 and 1977.

The wealth disparity is not the result of bad fortune. The period of urban renewal that began in the 1950s remains one of the most damning examples of how local government stole wealth from Black communities by razing them, and then ensured they never recovered. As AARAC’s report highlights, most of San Francisco’s formerly redlined neighborhoods — where residents were deemed ineligible for federal housing loans between 1933 and 1954 — are low-income neighborhoods undergoing gentrification now.

While San Francisco isn’t unique in having systematically distributed its riches along racial lines, the city’s status as a liberal bastion makes it a powerful testing ground for undoing these damages, AARAC vice chair Tinisch Hollins told me.

“This reparations process gives us a chance to look at the many ways, not just economically, that harm can and should be repaired,” Hollins said. “And even though San Francisco has passed policies that touch on the legacy of slavery, we have needed something that goes toward quantifying that harm.”

As for next steps, the committee will submit its final proposal to city leaders in June. Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin told me he hopes his colleagues will approve AARAC’s recommendations.

“There are so many efforts that result in incredible reports that just end up gathering dust on a shelf,” Peskin said. “We cannot let this be one of them.”

As King described in his “I Have a Dream” speech, America was founded by white men who wrote a fraudulent “check” that promised that all men would enjoy the “unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Click here to read the full article in the SF Chronicle

Newsom’s Hollow Ring of Freedom

Following decades of progressive mismanagement, pretty much all California has left is the tattered myth of a once-great state.

On Friday, January 6, under a sky swept blue by days of wind and rain, California governor Gavin Newsom marched with family and supporters to his second inaugural.

Newsom called it “the People’s March.” His press office called it “a celebration of freedom and democracy.” Recalling the iconic 1965 civil-rights march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., the marchers linked arms and walked just shy of one mile across Sacramento’s Tower Bridge and toward the state capitol.

From march to oath of office and inaugural address, the event was painstakingly choreographed to distinguish this great Democratic idealist from Republican governors, or, as Newsom called them, “small men in big offices.” To better control that message, Newsom’s team handpicked the marchers and barred reporters, under the threat, according to one, “that our press passes could be revoked for future events if we disobeyed.”

But — and here’s your metaphor — several blocks short of the marchers’ destination, Newsom clambered into the backseat of an up-armored SUV, which conveyed him the rest of the way to Capitol Park. There, he was ushered onto a beflagged stage from which to celebrate the arrival of the parade he created for himself. When the crowd settled, he took his oath of office and delivered what he likely meant to be a soaring second inaugural.

In that speech, the governor laid out his family’s history in California — 150 years from Cork County, Ireland, to the governor’s office. In California they found that “anything was possible.”

“I hear the echoes of my own family’s story in those who are still coming to California to pursue their dreams, drawn by the myth and magic of this place,” he said.

Myth and magic are about all the state has left. Following decades of progressive mismanagement, people and companies are leaving the state in epic numbers. Just weeks before Newsom’s inauguration, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that the state had lost population for the third year in a row. The once-unfathomable exodus has cost the Golden State a congressional seat.

In his speech, Newsom declared that “what makes California special” — what makes it unlike red states — is that “we’re a state of dreamers and doers bound by our live-and-let-live embrace of personal freedom.”

“Red state politicians and the media empire behind them [are] selling regression as progress, oppression as freedom,” Newsom said, delivering what sounded remarkably like Donald Trump’s “American Carnage” speech. “All across the nation, anxiety about social change has awakened long-dormant authoritarian impulses . . . calling into question what America is to become, freer and fairer . . . or reverting to a darker past.”

But “freedom” sounds strange coming from the lips of a governor who still rules under a Covid-era emergency authorization that he promises he’ll surrender before March 1. He used that authority to shut down churches, close beaches, and let local teachers’ unions keep schools locked down longer than anywhere else in America.

As he embarks on his second term, he has unleashed a pack of new laws that expand government power and limit freedom. One Newsom law would punish doctors who spread “false information that is contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus contrary to the standard of care.” His new reparations commission contemplates making $223,000 payments to the descendants of slaves, but Newsom offers nothing to fix a public-education system that his own reparations commission says has failed black kids so badly that it serves as a “school to prison pipeline.” He ratchets up environmental regulations on gasoline; when fuel prices spike, he calls for an investigation into “price-gouging” by the oil industry. He commands us to buy electric cars and then begs us not to charge them for fear we’ll take down the state’s electric grid. He blames water shortages on climate change in a state that, in order to appease environmentalists, hasn’t built a dam, reservoir, or aqueduct in 40 years. Another new law will force hundreds of thousands of fast-food workers into a government-controlled union they didn’t ask for — and will likely lead to job-killing automation and the concentration of fast-food restaurants into fewer and fewer hands.

As you read this, Newsom’s Assembly Bill 5 is destroying 70,000 nonunion trucking firms. Another law will grant sanctuary to transgender kids from other states, even over the objections of their parents. Another new law bans “disruptive” speech in public meetings — a law aimed at frustrated parents who begged the governor to reopen their schools. In order to produce gender equity, there’s a new law that sets prices on consumer goods designed for women. Another requires corporations with at least 15 employees to publish their pay scales. And while taxpayer-funded abortions for everyone might sound like freedom to some, nobody asked the unborn — and if those babies want a voice and a choice, let them get a union.

Everything this state government does comes with the promise to produce social justice and the certainty that life will in fact become more difficult for everyday Californians. We now know, for instance, that a law authored by the United Farm Workers to boost overtime pay for farmworkers has in fact — wait for it — reduced their incomes.

After the oath and before his formal remarks, Newsom seemed to ad-lib about an exchange he’d just had on the Tower Bridge with Dolores Huerta, a co-founder of the United Farm Workers. “Dolores Huerta leaned over and said, ‘Look, I’ve marched with a lot of people, but Martin Luther King Jr. never walked as fast as you are right now,’” he said with a laugh. “Now I don’t know if that was brag or I don’t know what it was exactly, but it was a hell of a thing to hear from Dolores Huerta when you’re walking across the bridge.”

Click here to read the full article in the National Review

Jonathan Turley Slams Chuck Todd Over ‘Angry’ Hunter Biden Interview with Sen. Ron Johnson

Chuck Todd and Sen. Ron Johnson got into a heated conversation on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” over whether Hunter Biden committed any crimes through his overseas business dealings — sparking a fierce rebuttal from legal scholar Jonathan Turley eviscerating the NBC News anchor.

The fiery exchange started after Johnson, who with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), led a Senate investigation into Hunter Biden’s business relationships in Ukraine and China, was pressed by Todd on what actual laws President Biden’s son may have violated.

“Senator, do you have a crime that you think Hunter Biden committed because I’ve yet to see anybody explain? It is not a crime to make money off of your last name,” Todd said to the Wisconsin Republican.

Turley, a professor at George Washington University, provided his own answer to Todd’s question in a lengthy Twitter thread — while also pointing out an apparent double standard on the part of the anchor.

“While Todd just heaps insults upon those who have called for investigations, he previously gave entirely non-confrontational and supportive interviews for investigating the possible ‘compromising’ of Trump or his family through foreign deals,” Turley said.

“There are of course a host of crimes, including some which may be charged. However, on the influence peddling scandal, there are foreign transfers, gifts, and other matters that could prove criminal,” he wrote. “The point is not that there are proven crimes but the need to have a special counsel to look into these offenses, including some that involve emails referencing the President.”

Johnson, in his response on the Sunday morning program, referenced allegations made in a report released last month by Garrett Ziegler, 26, a former Trump White House adviser who founded the conservative nonprofit group “Marco Polo.”

“Chuck, you ought to read the Marco Polo report, where they detail all kinds of potential crimes. You know, Senator Grassley has certainly covered …” Johnson said as Todd interrupted. 

“Hold on, let me stop you there. Potential. This is potential. Potential is innuendo,” Todd said. 

Johnson raised accusations in his Senate report, released in September 2020, that Hunter Biden paid about $30,000 to prostitutes caught up in European sex trafficking operations.

“Is that a crime?” Johnson asked Todd. “It sounds sleazy as you know what.”

‘ll take you at your word that you’re ethically bothered by Hunter Biden. I’m curious though, you seem to have a pattern,” Todd said.

“Are you not? Are you not?,” Johnson broke in. 

Todd replied that he deals in “facts” and is skeptical of claims made by both political parties. 

“I’m curious, were you at all concerned? Your Senate Democrats want to investigate Jared Kushner’s loan from the Qatari government when he was working in the government negotiating many things in the Middle East. Are you not as concerned about that? Are you not concerned about that? And I say that because it seems to me if you’re concerned about what Hunter Biden did, you should be equally outraged about what Jared Kushner did,” Todd said to Johnson. 

The senator said he wanted to get to the “truth,” adding, “I don’t target individuals.”

Todd said Johnson was “targeting” Hunter Biden. 

“Chuck, you know, part of the problem, and this is pretty obvious to anybody watching this, is you don’t invite me on to interview me. You invite me on to argue with me. You know, I’m just trying to lay out the facts that certainly Senator Grassley and I uncovered,” he said. 

“They were suppressed. They were censored. They interfered in the 2020 election. Conservatives understand that. Unfortunately, liberals and the media don’t. And part of the reason our politics are inflamed is we do not have an unbiased media. We don’t. It’s unfortunate. I’m all for a free press,” Johnson said. 

After some back-and-forth and talking over each other, Todd told Johnson: “Look, you can go back on your partisan cable cocoon and talk about media bias all you want. I understand it’s part of your identity” before switching topics. 

Click here to read the full article in the NY Post

More Classified Documents Found at Biden’s Home by Lawyers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawyers for President Joe Biden found more classified documents at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, than previously known, the White House acknowledged Saturday.

White House lawyer Richard Sauber said in a statement that a total of six pages of classified documents were found during a search of Biden’s private library. The White House had said previously that only a single page was found there.

The latest disclosure is in addition to the discovery of documents found in December in Biden’s garage and in November at his former offices at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, from his time as vice president. The apparent mishandling of classified documents and official records from the Obama administration is under investigation by a former U.S. attorney, Robert Hur, who was appointed as a special counsel on Thursday by Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Sauber said in a statement Saturday that Biden’s personal lawyers, who did not have security clearances, stopped their search after finding the first page on Wednesday evening. Sauber found the remaining material Thursday, as he was facilitating their retrieval by the Department of Justice.

“While I was transferring it to the DOJ officials who accompanied me, five additional pages with classification markings were discovered among the material with it, for a total of six pages,” Sauber said. “The DOJ officials with me immediately took possession of them.”

Sauber has previously said that the White House was “confident that a thorough review will show that these documents were inadvertently misplaced, and the president and his lawyers acted promptly upon discovery of this mistake.”

Sauber’s statement did not explain why the White House waited two days to provide an updated accounting of the number of classified records. The White House is already facing scrutiny for waiting more than two months to acknowledge the discovery of the initial group of documents at the Biden office.

On Thursday, asked whether Biden could guarantee that additional classified documents would not turn up in a further search, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters, “You should assume that it’s been completed, yes.”

Sauber reiterated Saturday that the White House would cooperate with Hur’s investigation.

Bob Bauer, the president’s personal lawyer, said his legal team has “attempted to balance the importance of public transparency where appropriate with the established norms and limitations necessary to protect the investigation’s integrity.”

The Justice Department historically imposes a high legal bar before bringing criminal charges in cases involving the mishandling of classified information, with a requirement that someone intended to break the law as opposed to being merely careless or negligent in doing so. The primary statute governing the illegal removal and retention of classified documents makes it a crime to “knowingly” remove classified documents and store them in an unauthorized way.

The circumstances involving Biden, at least as so far known, differ from a separate investigation into the mishandling of classified documents at former President Donald Trump’s private club and residence in Florida.

Click here to read the full article in the AP News

California Deputy Fatally Shot, Suspect Critically Wounded

LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed Friday, just two weeks after another deputy in the department was slain in the line of duty.

The deaths of deputies Darnell Calhoun on Friday and Isaiah Cordero on Dec. 29 were the first since 2003 where a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy was killed in the line of duty, Sheriff Chad Bianco said.

The suspect in Calhoun’s death is in custody and was listed in critical condition after a gunbattle with a second deputy, Bianco said Friday during a news conference.

Calhoun was fatally shot in the city of Lake Elsinore, the sheriff said. He died after being taken to the hospital in serious condition.

“I shouldn’t be here tonight having to do this again,” Bianco said Friday outside the hospital. “I’m devastated to tell of the loss of another of our deputy sheriffs who was killed in the line of duty today.”

Calhoun is survived by his pregnant wife, Bianco said. He had previously worked for the San Diego Police Department — the agency said on Twitter it was “devastated” to learn of his death — before transferring to Riverside last year.

“He was the most cheerful, the most positive, the most good, wholesome man you could imagine,” Bianco said.

Calhoun, 30, was the first deputy to arrive at the scene of an disturbance around 4:30 p.m. Friday following a call of “unknown trouble” where voices could be heard in the background, indicating a struggle, Bianco said.

“At this point, we are not completely sure of the circumstances surrounding the initial contact,” Bianco said.

The second deputy found Calhoun wounded in the street and confronted the suspect in a shootout. The suspect’s identity has not been released.

Lake Elsinore is about 55 miles (88 kilometers) southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

Friday’s shooting comes as the sheriff’s department is reeling from Cordero’s death. The 32-year-old was fatally shot last month during a traffic stop in the city of Jurupa Valley, east of Los Angeles.

Cordero had pulled over a pickup truck and the driver, 44-year-old William Shae McKay, shot the deputy as he approached the vehicle. Law enforcement pursued McKay in a manhunt that included a chase along freeways in two counties, authorities said.

McKay was killed during a shootout with deputies after the truck crashed.

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco and Cordero’s family have called for the resignation of a Southern California judge who allowed McKay’s release from custody on bail despite his lengthy criminal history.

Click here to read the full article at AP News

Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s Out of Compliance Charity Was Still Soliciting Donations

First Partner solicits state vendors and Governor’s campaign contributors

In August and September 2022, the Globe shared a report by Open the Books, which sued, and then had to file 442 California Public Record Act requests – one with each state agency – in order to obtain California’s line-by-line spending by state agencies. California’s Controller, Betty Yee, rejected their sunshine request for state spending, claiming she “couldn’t locate” any of the nearly 50 million bills she paid in 2019.

What Open the Books auditors found in California’s state spending was “979 state vendors who gave $10,561,828 in political donations to Gavin Newsom during his 2010, 2018, recall election, and 2022 election cycles. Meanwhile, these companies reaped $6,201,978,173 in state payments.”

That’s a $10.6 million investment for a $6.3 billion return.

Open The Books also found “pay to play” vendor contributions going to the first partner, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who they say solicited state vendors for donations to her charity, The Representation Project, which since 2011, has generated $17,489,680 in revenue.

Here’s what they found:

Major corporations with state contracts or business before the state gave the charity five and six figure gifts. The Sacramento Bee and Washington Post previously identified the companies and today we know just how much those corporations reaped in state agency payments. (23 and Me is the only donor that wasn’t on the state vendor list, however, they had an interest in 2021 state legislation regulating the use of consumer genetic data.)

IRS 990 informational returns for The Representation Project show that Siebel-Newsom took $1.5 million in salary from 2013-2021 and another $1.6 million in payments to her private company, Girls Club Entertainment since 2012.

Now Open the Books reports “Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s non-profit, The Representation Project, raises money from a who’s who of governor’s backers and state vendors – despite their charitable registration lapsing with the state.”

The Representation Project fights sexism and “advances gender justice.”

“The nonprofit is currently delinquent with its charitable solicitation registration in California. The annual RRF-1 form necessary to renew the organization’s status as a nonprofit was rejected early in 2022; The Representation Project should have filed a new form and paid a $200 fee in order to regain compliance with state regulations for last year.”

“According to California law, nonprofits cannot solicit funds while delinquent. Nevertheless, TRP solicited and accepted donations throughout the entirety of 2022.”

Notably, Open the Books reports today, “After our work earned national news coverage, The Representation Project quickly scrambled to file their registration paperwork. Their paperwork with the California Attorney General is signed, dated, and received January 12, 2023. A process that normally takes weeks was executed in just hours.”

What is it with so many elected political officials these days? Many not only enrich themselves while holding public office, far too many create fishy non-profit organizations (Clinton Global Initiative, The Bonta California Progress Foundation, The Steinberg Institute…) or NGOs which provide income above their public office paycheck.

In 2021, the Globe reported Governor Gavin Newsom released his 2019 tax returns, showing that he made $1.7 million during his first year as Governor. The First Partner made $151,000 through her non-profit organization The Representation Project, $50,000 through her Girls Club Entertainment production company, and around $1,000 in residuals from previous acting jobs.

However, most of their income was made through the couples numerous trusts and businesses. According to their 2019 returns, the couple made over $1.3 million in income from these passive sources, going up around $500,000 from their 2018 returns.

Click here to read the full article at California Globe