Dems Incoherent on Sacramento Shooting

The mass shooting in Sacramento last weekend that took six lives occurred one block from the Capitol offices of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. The following morning, I speculated on social media that it was probably gang members with criminal records. It didn’t take a Kreskin to make that sort of prediction which, of course, turned out to be accurate.

Nor does it take extraordinary clairvoyance to predict that progressives would, once again, blame “gun violence” rather than criminally inclined perpetrators. (I’ve often wondered why, when there is a murder committed with a knife, progressives never talk about “knife violence.”) True to form, both Gov. Gavin Newsom and Sacramento’s mayor, Darrell Steinberg, immediately blamed “gun violence” and called for more gun control laws notwithstanding the fact that California already has some of the strictest gun control laws in America and is currently considering more.

The issue of gun control aside, the progressive answer to any one of California’s many problems is to advance “solutions” that are ineffective at best and counterproductive at worst. Here, their answer to civil unrest, increased crime and perceived excessive incarceration is to “defund” the police and grant early release to violent felons. Even when, as last week’s carnage reveals, these policies don’t work, the response is frequently doubling down with more of the same.

Click here to read the full article at San Gabriel Tribune

Second Suspect Arrested in Sacramento Mass Shooting Is Brother of Man Arrested Monday

Sacramento police have arrested a second suspect related to Sunday’s mass shooting downtown, announcing early Tuesday that the brother of the man arrested Monday is now in custody for possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of a machine gun.

Smiley Martin, 27, is the brother of Dandrae Martin, who was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail Monday on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, police said.

The mass shooting killed six and wounded 12, and police said Smiley Martin was one of the wounded who was found at the scene near 10th and K streets with “serious injuries” and taken to a hospital for treatment.

“Smiley Martin was quickly identified as a person of interest and has remained under the supervision of an officer at the hospital while his treatment continues,” police said in an announcement early Tuesday. “Based on information developed during this investigation, Smiley Martin was taken into custody by Sacramento Police Department detectives on April 5, 2022.

“Once Smiley Martin’s medical care has been completed and he is determined to be fit for incarceration, he will be booked at the Sacramento County Main Jail for possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of a machine gun.”

Online Sacramento Superior Court filings show criminal cases dating back years for individuals named Smiley Martin, but there appear to be different individuals with variations of that name and online records no longer provide personal identifying information online in Sacramento’s courts.

Smiley Martin posted a 15-minute Facebook Live video Saturday night, hours before the shooting, in which he appeared to be brandishing a semiautomatic handgun toward the camera at times. The authenticity of the video, which has since been removed, was confirmed by a law enforcement source.

Dandrae Martin also has a criminal background in Riverside County and the Phoenix area, records show.

He appeared in a cage in a jailhouse courtroom and spoke only once to confirm his name to Superior Court Commissioner Ken Brody.

“Yeah,” Martin said, when asked if that was his name.

The Public Defender’s Office declared an overload, and the case was assigned for now to lawyer Linda Parisi, who said there would be a decision later on which defense attorney would represent Martin and other defendants.

After court, Parisi described her client as “very somber, very somber.”

“You saw in court, this is very serious,” she said.

Dandrae Martin will appear in court again April 26.

Smiley Martin, 27, posted a 15-minute Facebook Live video hours before the shooting in which he appeared to be brandishing a semiautomatic handgun toward the camera at times. The authenticity of the video, which has since been removed, was confirmed by a law enforcement source.

Click here to read the full article at the Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Police Seek Multiple Gunmen In mass Shooting That Killed 6, Wounded 12

Sacramento police are searching for multiple suspects in a mass shooting in the city’s downtown early Sunday that killed six people and wounded 12 others.

Police Chief Katherine Lester said the shooting occurred around 2 a.m. after a large fight broke out in a popular entertainment district. She said officers heard gunfire and arrived at the scene at 10th and K streets, roughly two blocks northwest of the state Capitol, where they found multiple shooting victims.

Authorities offered few details as to what happened except to say that just after 2 a.m. an unidentified person in a car drove up 10th Street and unleashed a sustained barrage of bullets into a crowd of people before fleeing.

A second person also fired a gun, although it was not yet clear whether that person was also in the car or in the crowd. Authorities said cameras in the downtown area captured footage of a portion of the shooting.

“This is a really complex and complicated scene,” Lester said. “And there is a process and what we want to do is make sure that this investigation is completed thoroughly and accurately. because we do want to see the perpetrators of this crime brought to justice.”

Police confirmed a stolen handgun was recovered from the scene. However, authorities suspect at least two different weapons were fired, according to a law enforcement source.

Click here to read the full article at the LA Times

Burglars Hit At Least A Dozen Sacramento Lobbyists And Nonprofits In Downtown Break-In

Lobbying firms, nonprofits and a union were among the tenants affected by a burglary at the Forum Building on Thursday.

The 10-story building, located a block from the Capitol at the intersection of 9th and K Streets, houses a swath of government relations firms and other organizations that do business with the state. On the morning of Dec. 23, tenants were informed that the building had been broken into the night before.

Rubicon Property Management, which manages the Forum Building, declined to comment on the robbery. In an email to tenants obtained by The Sacramento Bee, management said more than a dozen offices had been compromised by forced entry.

The affected tenants included the California Federation of Teachers, California Strategic Advisors, Reeb, EdVoice, California Association for Adult Day Services, the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association, the California Association of Councils of Governments, the California Solar and Storage Association, Hispanic League of Colleges and Universities, Corbin & Kaiser, the Planning and Conservation League and Houston Magnani and Associates.

Sacramento Police told The Bee that officers responded about 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning, where they saw signs of forced entry and discovered multiple businesses within the building had been burglarized. The investigation is ongoing, police said.

Rubicon on Monday told tenants in an email that law enforcement was able to collect finger prints from the offices. Management will also install additional cameras in elevator lobbies and install security guards 24/7, the email said.

Samantha Corbin, CEO of the firm Corbin & Kaiser, said thieves entered office suits by breaking door handles, locks and door frames. She speculated they might have had a key card.

Corbin said the burglars took brand new computer equipment, banking and routing information, and employee payroll information like Social Security numbers from the filing cabinets in her office suite.

Corbin said she and other tenants have become increasingly wary of working downtown, and say the empty storefronts and rundown streets contribute to crime and theft.

“It’s been so bad on K Street in general,” Corbin said. “I don’t think this is a building owner issue. This is a Sacramento city government issue.”

Ron Kingston, a lobbyist and president of California Strategic Advisors, said things were “strewn everywhere” in his office. His door was busted open and documents from like invoices and billing statements with bank account and routing information, were taken. Kingston said he’s concerned the area isn’t safe.

Click here to read the full article at the Sacramento Bee

Beware of California’s Obscene Budget Surplus

Here’s a cautionary tale for California politicians who think voters will forever tolerate rising taxes as Sacramento swims in budget surpluses.

In 1978, virtually every political institution in California opposed Proposition 13, including big business, labor, local governments, and education advocates. Then voters stunned the elite political class by enacting the iconic tax-cutting initiative, a constitutional amendment that legislators couldn’t touch, by nearly a two-thirds vote.

The passage of Proposition 13 was driven by both fear and anger. The fear that motivated voters to the polls is easy to understand. Although unthinkable today — thanks to the security provided by Prop. 13 — in the mid-70s homeowners were literally being driven out of their homes by high property taxes. Howard Jarvis himself witnessed a despondent widow plead her case at the public counter in the L.A. County Assessor’s office where, regrettably, she collapsed and died of a heart attack.

The terrible fear of losing one’s home, even if the mortgage had been fully paid, was matched only by anger. If citizens believe today’s political environment is divisive, it was more so leading up to the election in June of 1978. Even those who cared little for politics rose up in rage after opening their annual property tax bills.

Part of that anger was driven by Governor Jerry Brown’s admission that California was sitting on a massive surplus. It was so large that California’s treasurer at the time, Jesse Unruh, labeled it as “obscene.” To Californians, the sight of government sitting on wads of cash while homeowners were losing their homes due to excessive taxation was just more gasoline on the fire.

Click here to read the full article on the San Gabriel Tribune

Reform CA Files Ethics Complaint Against Lorena Gonzalez Over ‘Employment Negotiations’ as Next Labor Leader

Watchdog group demands immediate resignation of Assemblywoman Gonzalez

The California Labor Federation, one of the largest and most influential union groups in California, voted to recommend Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) as their next leader on Tuesday in a non-binding vote, the Globe just reported Wednesday.

Politico ran a story late Tuesday night confirming “employment negotiations” have been occurring between Gonzalez and the powerful California Labor Federation.

However, many saw the articles and asked how a sitting elected Legislator can legally negotiate a future job with a labor group that regularly lobbies her on labor legislation?

Reform California announced Wednesday it has filed an ethics complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) demanding an immediate investigation, as well as enforcement actions, against Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez after news reports confirmed “employment negotiations” have been occurring between Gonzalez and the California Labor Federation.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

“I am filing this complaint and requesting an immediate investigation be initiated by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) into possible violations of the California Political Reform Act (CPRA) by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez,” Carl DeMaio, Chairman of Reform California, said in the complaint.

“Late last night, the news outlet Politico confirmed ’employment negotiations’ have been occurring between Gonzalez and the powerful California Labor Federation.”

“Gonzalez quickly took to Twitter after the story broke to claim she has not yet accepted the job – but provisions in the California Political Reform Act (CPRA) make that immaterial to whether she has run afoul of state ethics laws,” Reform California noted.

Reform California explains the legalities:

“In fact, a state official who simply negotiates employment with a potential employer is covered under the law. Under subdivision (c) of Regulation 18747 of the CPRA, ‘a public official is ‘negotiating’ employment when he or she interviews or discusses an offer of employment with an employer or his or her agent.’”“Once it is established that a state official has engaged in conduct that triggers subdivision (c), Section 87407 of the CPRA applies: ‘No public official, shall make, participate in making, or use his or her official position to influence, any governmental decision directly relating to any person with whom he or she is negotiating, or has any arrangement concerning, prospective employment.’”

It is no secret to anyone involved in state politics that Gonzalez, who was CEO and Secretary-Treasurer of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO for five years prior to being elected to the Assembly in 2013, has been one of the most reliable legislative advocates for the California Labor Federation. She is on record sponsoring and voting for their legislation and utilizing her office to influence state agency activities, DeMaio said.

Click here to read the full article at the California Globe

Threat of Sacramento Teacher Strike Spurs Criticism


Charter schoolTeachers in the Sacramento City Unified School District have authorized a strike, hoping to follow in the footsteps of teachers in Los Angeles Unified and Oakland Unified and secure substantial raises after a brief walkout.

But in key ways, the dynamics appear different. In Los Angeles and Oakland, the public and the local media were clearly sympathetic. Teachers had not had significant raises in years, and with the cost of housing going up arguably have lost purchasing power in recent years.

In Sacramento, however, the argument that the local school district simply can’t afford raises because of the huge long-term increase in pension costs and loss in state funding because of declining enrollment has resonated far more than similar warnings did in Los Angeles and Oakland. Coverage in regular and social media has repeatedly emphasized three points:

  • The Sacramento City Teachers Association secured an 11 percent raise for most members in September 2017 after threatening a strike. The Sacramento County Office of Education warned at the time that without significant cuts, the district faced fiscal disaster. But the local teachers union has rejected calls to reduce the cost of health benefits that the state Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) says are the most generous in the Sacramento region.
  • The warning from school officials that even without having to provide new raises, the district faces a $35 million hole in a nearly $400 million annual budget and is on track to run out of money in November. At that point, under state law, the district could seek an emergency loan from the state Legislature, but on the condition that it accept an appointed administrator to make key financial decisions going forward, taking away most of the school board’s and Superintendent Jorge Aguilar’s powers. The primary goal of hose decisions would be ensuring the district pays back the state loan.
  • The fact that the four other employee unions in Sacramento City Unified have sided with Aguilar’s warning that a raise could seal state control of the school district for a decade or more, as has happened in other California districts that have been unable to pay their bills. They don’t buy the teachers union claim that the district has failed to honor the contract it signed in 2017, thus making a strike necessary even though state law says such a strike would be illegal since the teachers are still under contract.

Writing Monday, Sacramento Bee columnist Marcos Breton warned the teachers union that it risked disaster not just for the district and its 42,000 students but for a city that has built up civic momentum in recent years under Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

“Sacramento’s efforts to sell itself as a place for companies to invest would be damaged because a major selling point is good schools,” Breton wrote. “How many investment opportunities would be lost if Sacramento became known as the city whose schools were bankrupt?”

Aguilar arrived in 2017 at the district and is given good marks in most circles for his determination to avoid financial disaster. But a FCMAT audit released in December pointed out a vast array of problems in Sacramento City’s management that dated back many years. It cited incompetence and poor communications by the district’s business team and a failure to properly analyze budget data that indicated the headaches to come.

Union leaders say these management failings are not their responsibility and should not be held against their push for better pay.

The union’s hope that a strike authorization vote would lead to new concessions hasn’t happened so far. A union statement said the strike was coming “at a date likely in the next month.”

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Is it time for California’s taxpayers to go on strike?


Tax reformAround California, public school teachers are on strike seeking more pay, better benefits and less competition from charter schools. They are also demanding that the rest of us pay higher taxes. Indeed, as part of the agreement that ended the strike in Los Angeles, teachers forced a concession out of the school district to officially support the partial repeal of Proposition 13 as it applies to business properties. That would have the effect of raising California property taxes as much as $11 billion annually and would surely accelerate the well-documented business flight out of California.

It’s not as though Californians are currently under-taxed. With the highest income tax rate, the highest state sales tax rate and second highest gas tax in America, it’s tough to make that argument.

So, I’m curious as to what would happen if, in reaction to the teachers’ strikes in L.A., Oakland and Sacramento, taxpayers decided to go on strike? The media seems obsessed with large, public demonstrations of crowds wracked with angst and victimhood. School districts lose millions of dollars when teachers go on strike because it impacts the Average Daily Attendance figures that provide the basis for disbursing tax dollars. But if taxpayers went on strike, how much more would they lose?

The reaction to a taxpayer strike would surely invoke claims that taxpayers are greedy, anti-education heathens. But, in reality, the vast majority of taxpayers are very much pro-education. They just don’t like the product they’re forced to pay for.

Let’s first dispel the urban legend that Proposition 13 “starved” education in the Golden State.

To read the entire column, please click here.

Watchdog group identifies ‘financially sick’ California cities


Irvine_City_HallIrvine is the financially healthiest big city in America, while New York is the sickest, according to a new study by a nonprofit dedicated to financial transparency in the public sector.

California’s other big cities fall firmly in the middle, with Southern California burgs healthier than many of their Northern California counterparts, says Chicago-based watchdog group Truth in Accounting.

The group doesn’t report on any cities in Yolo County since they are too small in population size. However, Bay Area cities as well as Sacramento were looked at.

The “taxpayer burden” — what each resident would have to pay to eliminate a city’s debts — hit $7,200 per person in Anaheim, $6,000 in Los Angeles, $5,100 in Santa Ana, $5,000 in San Diego, $3,700 in Riverside and $1,300 in Long Beach. Meanwhile, Irvine boasts a “taxpayer surplus” of $4,400 per person. …

Click here to read the full article from the Daily Democrat 

Power company under pressure to explain actions before California wildfire


Power electricSome victims of California’s worst-ever wildfire are asking why the state’s largest utility didn’t shut off power in areas that were at high risk. The death toll from the Camp Fire is up to 77, and that number is likely to rise.

Nearly 1,000 other people are unaccounted for. In 11 days, the fire has destroyed more than 10,000 homes north of Sacramento, the state’s capital.

Pacific Gas & Electric said two of its power lines failed in areas where the fire broke out a short time before the first flames were reported. It highlighted one failure the day the fire began but then waited more than a week to report the second until more information was available.

PG&E said the fire forecast did not meet the criteria for a “public safety power shutoff.” The cause of the fire is still under investigation. …

Click here to read the full article from CBS News