SF Restaurant Apologizes for Denying Service to Armed, On-Duty Police Officers

The owners of a restaurant in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood apologized Sunday for asking police officers to leave their eatery because the officers’ guns made employees uncomfortable.

In a statement posted Sunday on social media, Hilda and Jesse owners Rachel Sillcocks and Kristina Liedags Compton said “these are stressful times and we handled this badly.”

Three officers were asked to leave the brunch spot on Friday and the restaurant posted an explanation on its Instagram channel Saturday that read: “The restaurant is a safe space. The presence of the officers’ weapons in the restaurant made us feel uncomfortable. We respect the San Francisco Police Department and are grateful for the work they do. We welcome them into the restaurant when they are off duty, out of uniform and without their weapons.”

Outcry soon followed on social media, including a response from San Francisco police chief William Scott, who said his department “stands for safety with respect, even when it means respecting wishes that our officers and I find discouraging and personally disappointing.”

The restaurant owners backtracked on Sunday with the apology on Instagram.

“We made a mistake and apologize for the unfortunate incident on Friday when we asked members of the San Francisco Police Department to leave our restaurant,” said Sillcocks and Liedags Compton. “We are grateful to all members of the force who work hard to keep us safe, especially during these challenging times.”

The incident drew comments supporting both sides. Some commenters were clearly upset at the incident, calling it discriminatory and pointing out that if there were to be an emergency the officers would be there to help.

“How disrespectful and entitled of the business to treat people who risk their lives to protect us,” wrote one poster. “It’s a bit heartbreaking actually.”

Local resident John Perri agreed.

Click here to read the full article at CBS SF Bay Area

Eastman Takes the Fifth With Jan. 6 Committee

The attorney, who helped former President Donald Trump contest the 2020 election, asserted his right against self-incrimination in a Dec. 1 letter to the Capitol riot panel.

John Eastman, the attorney who helped former President Donald Trump pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 election, has asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, according to a letter he delivered to the Jan. 6 committee explaining his decision not to testify.

“Dr. Eastman hereby asserts his Fifth Amendment right not to be a witness against himself in response to your subpoena,” his attorney, Charles Burnham, wrote in a letter to Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) dated Dec. 1.

“Members of this very Committee have openly spoken of making criminal referrals to the Department of Justice and described the Committee’s work in terms of determining “guilt or innocence,” Burnham continues. “Dr. Eastman has a more than reasonable fear that any statements he makes pursuant to this subpoena will be used in an attempt to mount a criminal investigation against him.”

Eastman’s decision is an extraordinary assertion by someone who worked closely with Trump to attempt to overturn the 2020 election results. He met with Trump and pushed state legislative leaders to reject Biden’s victory in a handful of swing states and appoint alternate electors to the Electoral College, effectively denying Biden’s victory.

The former Chapman University law professor also pressured Pence, who is constitutionally required to preside over the Electoral College certification on Jan. 6, to unilterally refuse to count some of Biden’s electors and send the election to the full House for a vote — or delay long enough to give states a chance to submit new electors.

Eastman also spoke at Trump’s Jan. 6 rally alongside Rudy Giuliani.

Most of Burnham’s letter makes procedural objections to the structure of the Jan. 6 committee, focused on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to reject Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s appointees to the panel.

“The lack of a ranking minority member makes it impossible for this Committee to comply with clearly applicable House rules on subpoenas and depositions,” he writes.

Burnham also complains that the Capitol riot committee conducts its depositions in secret.

Click here to read the full article at Politico.com

California Redistricting: Four Key Questions

California’s independent redistricting commission reaches a key milestone by releasing its preliminary congressional and legislative maps for public comment. But many changes are likely before final districts are adopted in late December for the 2022 election.

It took weeks of long, late-night meetings full of wonky debate and digital line drawing — as well as a haiku and at least two songs as public comment. 

But on Nov. 10, California’s independent redistricting commission reached a key milestone: Its first official maps are out. 

The citizen panel voted unanimously to release preliminary congressionalstate Senate and state Assembly districts for public comment. 

The commission’s work is far from done, however. It acknowledges that these preliminary maps are far from perfect, and that it will need the six weeks before its Dec. 27 court-ordered deadline to fix them before adopting final districts for the next decade, starting with the 2022 elections. On its schedule: At least four public input meetings starting Nov. 17, then 14 line-drawing sessions between Nov. 30 and Dec. 19.

“It’s messy. It’s very slow,” commissioner Linda Akutagawa said just before the Nov. 10 vote. “But I do believe that it is a process that has enabled as many people who seek to be engaged in this process to be engaged.”

The commission is working toward “final maps that will best reflect everybody,” added Akutagawa, a no party preference voter from Huntington Beach who is president and CEO of Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics. 

Some key questions as the 14 commissioners start their next phase: 

How much could the maps change?

A lot, commissioners concede. 

While they’re required to follow a specific set of criteria, with equal population numbers being the highest priority, there are different ways to achieve those goals. 

The draft maps that were approved Wednesday night are generally along the lines of the final round of “visualizations” that the commission worked on this week. They include reworked congressional districts in Northern California, the Central Valley and San Diego in response to public feedback. 

For example, the progressive city of Davis was moved from a U.S. House district with politically conservative, rural areas in Northern California in earlier maps into a more urban, liberal district that includes parts of Yolo, Solano and Contra Costa counties

To meet its self-imposed deadline so it could avoid meetings around Thanksgiving, the commission also put a pin in several areas that need further work, including congressional and legislative districts in Los Angeles. 

Who are some early winners and losers?

The commission responded to concerns about earlier maps that combined two congressional districts represented by longtime African American representatives into one, and kept them separate in the latest maps. Commissioners were also able to keep the Hmong community united in congressional maps, and kept Native American tribes mostly united in Congressional and state Assembly maps. 

The commission also addressed concerns from community members in Orange County’s Little Saigon by ensuring they were in the same state Senate district. San Joaquin County community leaders who wanted less divided districts are also likely happy with the draft maps.

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Meanwhile, voters in and near Tracy who were disappointed with being grouped into a congressional district with the Bay Area were relieved to see their city placed back with the Central Valley. 

But other areas and advocacy groups are on the losing end so far.

Inyo and Mono counties, where officials asked to be kept together, were split in congressional and Senate districts, as was the city of Santa Clarita in Senate maps. 

Advocates say that proposed state Assembly districts divide Asian Americans and Pacific Islander communities in San Francisco.

“Losers” also include voters in Sacramento County, which hasn’t been as vocal in the process and is in danger of being sliced into several congressional districts, according to Jeff Burdick, a political blogger and 2020 congressional candidate.

And the uncertainty surrounding the districts is making it difficult for candidates and campaigns to get going for the June primary, some political professionals told Politico.

Click here click to read the full article on CalMatters.org

Public Records Request Exposes CA Redistricting Commission Secret Meetings

Citizens Redistricting Commission lawyers disclosed that they and spouses contributed more than $2000 each to Democratic candidates only

A recent California Public Records Act request by Attorneys Harmeet Dhillon, Michael Columbo and Mark Meuser (on behalf of California Globe editor Katy Grimes), produced evidence that members of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission (CRC) have been holding secret meetings. The public records request was based on concerns raised in a letter from Charles T. Munger to the California Redistricting Commission dated May 7, 2021, as well as an op-ed authored by two former CRC commissioners, Cynthia Dai and Jodie P. Filkins, dated July 14, 2021.

Attorney Columbo told the Globe the CPRA request yielded significant information not made public by the California Redistricting Commission – pages of handwritten notes and discussions, which were not part of regular, noticed redistricting commission meetings.

The redistricting commission provided the documents to the attorneys starting on October 22 and continuing through November 22, producing numerous pages of hand-written redistricting commissioners’ notes regarding redistricting meetings and communications with outside parties that were held in secret, and not during the noticed public CRC meetings documented on the CRC’s website.

Approximately one year ago, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission had a committee meeting on the Voting Rights Act (VRA) compliance. But some were concerned that the committee was keeping statistical analyses on voting patterns by race confidential to use in decisions on district voting lines.

According to the John Locke Foundation, “The Voting Rights Act is not a scheme for racial proportional representation.” They explain:

  • The Voting Rights Act prohibits redistricting in a way that limits citizens’ ability to “elect representatives of their choice” on account of their race;
  • Using racial data in redistricting would make legislators vulnerable to charges that race played a predominant role in drawing districts, something that has caused courts to overturn districts in the past;
  • Redistricting criteria such as compactness will result in Voting Rights Act–compliant districts without using racial data.

Based on the notes and CPRA documents, this shows a deliberate strategy of keeping that analysis from the public.

The Dhillon Law Firm filed an Emergency Petition with the California Supreme Court Tuesday.

They are petitioning the court to:

  1. Order the commission to stop having non-public meetings, and to disclose all meetings and discussions;
  2. Disclose any and all analyses and information not shared with the public;
  3. and they are asking the court to order the commission hire a new unbiased law firm. The current law firm represents the Legislature, politicians and candidates, but only Democrats.

The California Public Records Act request

Attorney Columbo shared details of some of the handwritten CRC notes (document below):

  • Undated notes, seemingly from 2020, refer to a meeting with an association of elected and appointed Latino officials.
  • Undated notes indicate “G/D” (Gibson Dunn, a law firm that served as counsel to the 2010 CRC) “recommended Matt (Barretto),” a consultant to the 2010 CRC, perform the RPV analysis for the 2020 CRC, along with a recommendation to “treat confidential” the RPV analysis.
  • Notes dated November 10, 2020, reflect the following points of discussion with Justin Levitt, a Loyola law school professor who became a Biden administration Senior Policy Advisor on Voting rights in April 2021:

“Present VA as example – leg drew distr with 50% afr am w/o checking RPV Was a way to covertly pack afr ams under cover of VRA”

“Matt B[arretto] 2010 RPV analysis kept confidential to deprive opposition of targets to criticize.  It remains confidential as long as we want it to be.  Work product vs. Bagley-Keene FOIA.”

  • Notes from a November 12, 2020, meeting (“RPV Session”) record determinations that some regional level data should be public to suggest that the “CRC considered such facts” but then candidly admits that the CRC should “keep private” the “scenario analysis for specific districts (hot spots) Keep public things that others can easily replicate.”
  • Notes reflect a secret December 4, 2020, meeting discussing the costs of an RPV analysis and how it would be performed.
  • An undated memorandum from the VRA subcommittee summarized their work, including meeting and conversing with “VRA experts to help inform our process.”  The memo included recommendations on contracting for outside counsel, hiring an Racially Polarized Voting (RPV) statistician and VRA analyst, noting that local RPV analysis from the 2010 CRC remains confidential, and developing a larger Legal Subcommittee that would meet publicly.
  • Notes of a January 21, 2021 meeting with the Black Census and Redistricting Hub, a project of a self-described progressive organization called California Calls, in which commissioner notes record: “probably not any areas to have dense enough pop to build a majority black district;” “look for small isolated black community”; “Dist 37 – on tract . . . try not to isolate in a dissimilar district”; “Happy to present any of BH findings to CRC”; “Data at hand getting analyzed by early April.”
  • A March 3, 2021, meeting with two representatives of the Public Policy Institute of California for which the notes refer to “maps” and changes in the overall population as compared to the voting age population, a reference to “decline” and specific geographic areas, a reference to Asian Americans, and that “non-hispanic” is “declining overall.”
  • An April 29, 2021, email between several commissioners and Karin MacDonald, the Director of Statewide Database, an organization that maintains information for redistricting within the University of California’s Institute of Government studies, advises how line drawing may work, suggesting a voting age population analysis to identify where minority voters may constitute a majority and then suggests the CRC direct a racially polarized voting (RPV) analysis at those areas. Although the CRC produced Ms. MacDonald’s email, it redacted the email from Commissioner Sadhwani to which Ms. McDonald’s email was responding.  The documents included another email from Ms. Macdonald to Commissioner Yee on the same date that discussed the use of voter age data for redistricting, but Commissioner Yee’s questions, to which this email responds, are not included.
  • Notes of a July 8, 2021, CRC VRA Committee meeting discusses Voting Rights Act compliance and a racially polarized voting analysis. For example, it notes that racially polarized voting increases “downballot” with the exception of an election in 1984.  It states: “can use crossover vote to shave down and not pack a district.”
  • Notes of a CRC VRA Committee “pre-meeting” on August 30, 2021, reflect another discussion of conducting a forthcoming racially polarized voting (RPV) analysis, and that “SW” (Strumwasser and Woocher, the 2020 CRC outside counsel) “advice is to keep RPV confidential.”
  • Notes of an October 17 meeting refer to an RPV analysis and Matt Baretto, a political scientist who provided the RPV analysis to the 2010 CRC, suggesting that the law firm retained by the 2010 CRC had treated him as an expert witness and, therefore, claimed privilege over his work.

Click here to read the full article at the California Globe

It Is Forbidden

From ketchup to construction materials, California lawmakers’ impulse to ban is inexhaustible.

There is nothing so useful, so convenient, so inoffensive that it can’t be banned in California. Los Angeles, the largest city in a state that started the fast-food boom, has decided that condiment packets should be treated as a suspicious substance. They haven’t been banned outright, but customers can get ketchup, mustard, relish, and other spreads in their takeout orders only if they request them. The ordinance applies to restaurants with 26 or more employees (apparently a magic sum in the Golden State). It also forbids workers from handing out napkins and plastic utensils with takeout orders unless customers ask for them. By April 2022, all L.A. restaurants will have to comply.

Two months later, the entire state will come under the same limitations. The recently passed Assembly Bill 1276 prohibits “a food facility from providing any single-use foodware accessory or standard condiment, as defined, to a consumer unless requested by the consumer.” The law will apply to both dine-in and takeout orders.

Somehow, we are told, California’s inexhaustible urge to ban virtually any item humans have found worthwhile will help the world avoid the disaster of man-made global warming. “If we are to overcome the extreme climate challenges we face, we will have to alter or otherwise transform all our habits relating to fossil fuel products, including plastics, and our essential natural resources, like forests,” said L.A. councilman Paul Koretz, who coauthored the city’s ordinance. (Note: California produces only about 1 percent of global greenhouse emissions.) Or perhaps the ban will just help clean things up, since Californians are evidently careless and unrepentant litterbugs. “Plastic utensils and condiment packets create unnecessary trash, pollute waterways and harm marine life. CA is changing that!” tweeted assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo, co-author of AB1276, last month.

Condiments, napkins, and plastic utensils are joining a lengthy list of consumer products already banned or restricted, including single-use plastic bags, plastic straws, Styrofoam food containers, sales of new gasoline- and diesel-powered automobiles (to end by 2035), new gas stations (in Petaluma and Novato), natural gas connections in new homes (which began in Berkeley), and plastic shampoo bottles in hotels.

Just as rust never sleeps, neither does the political impulse to forbid. In Los Angeles, for instance, the city council’s Public Safety Committee has approved a plan to expand Fire District 1, a tract that includes many of the city’s high-density commercial zones. The move “would effectively ban timber and wood-frame construction in much of the city,” says Pacific Research Institute fellow Nolan Gray. The prohibition would include “many rapidly growing neighborhoods near transit,” forcing developers “to use concrete and steel, building materials that come with substantial added financial and environmental costs.” The stated intent is to improve fire safety, but the move will provide no clear benefits while raising construction costs, Gray says. A Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety review determined that expanding Fire District 1 would raise building material costs by at least 10.6 percent and possibly as much as 47.1 percent. The sharply rising home costs that are sure to follow will price even more people out of a housing market that’s already among the nation’s most expensive.

Unlike most California prohibitions, the building-material ban isn’t a vehicle for virtue-signaling. According to Gray, it’s “being advanced by and for business and labor interests in the concrete industry, which has aggressively promoted the measure as a way to ban competition.” This comes as no surprise, since California policymaking is often shaped by powerful union interests. But bans are bans, and those who must live with their consequences don’t much care what motivates them. For them, the hassle is the same.

This article was originally published on the City Journal

The SALT Fight Is Coming To a Head

In April, this column reported on the great SALT controversy and how it impacts California taxpayers. SALT stands for “state and local taxes,” and for many years prior to President Trump’s term in office, taxpayers could deduct those taxes from their federal tax returns without limitation. But in 2017, Congress enacted Trump’s tax reform, which limited the amount of state and local taxes that taxpayers could deduct up to $10,000. Whether limiting the SALT deduction is good or bad tax policy is not nearly as interesting as the politics behind it.

The adoption of the limitation by the Republican-led Congress was broadly perceived as a big middle finger to high-tax states such as California. Whether a pretext or not, states with modest income tax rates, or no income tax at all, complained that their residents were essentially subsidizing residents of profligate, big-spending states.

But moderate- to high-income taxpayers in California and other high tax states lost a valuable deduction on their federal returns. Suddenly they felt the full pain of high state income tax rates and property taxes. Frantic state politicians began plans to lessen that pain. For example, immediately after passage of the tax reform law, California floated the idea of a semi-voluntary “charitable deduction” scheme to give high-wealth Californians some relief. It would have created a “charitable” fund within the general fund so high-earning taxpayers could claim a deduction for “donating” the equivalent of what they owed in state taxes. But the IRS, in an opinion letter, quickly shot down that idea.

More successful was a method adopted by many states to provide relief for certain “qualified entities,” consisting mostly of small businesses organized as partnerships, LLCs or S corporations. While Gov. Gavin Newsom signed California’s workaround embodied in Assembly Bill 150, it provided little relief for citizen taxpayers.

Click here to read the full article at the Pasadena Star News

Drought Has Big Impacts on California Agriculture

IN SUMMARY: California’s serious and prolonged drought is having serious and prolonged impacts on California’s agricultural industry, the nation’s largest.

As California experiences a second year of drought, with no end in sight, the effects on California’s largest-in-the-nation agricultural industry are profound and perhaps permanent.

State and federal water agencies have cut deliveries to some farmers to zero while others, thanks to water rights dating back more than a century, still have access to water.

Farmers are reacting to shortages in three, often intertwined ways — suspending cultivation of some fields or ripping up orchards for lack of water, drilling new wells to tap into diminishing aquifers, and buying water from those who have it.

All three have major economic impacts. They are driving some farmers, particularly small family operations, out of business altogether, accelerating the shift to large-scale agribusiness corporations with the financial resources to cope, changing the kinds of crops that can be profitably grown, and supercharging the semi-secretive market for buying and selling water.

Get a veteran journalist’s take on what’s going on in California with a weekly round-up of Dan’s column every Friday.

By happenstance, all of these trends are occurring just as the state begins to implement a 2014 law aimed at limiting the amount of water that farmers can pump from underground aquifers.

A couple weeks ago, the state Department of Water Resources announced that it had rejected as inadequate the underground water management plans of four San Joaquin Valley agencies, including the huge Westlands Water District, indicating that the state will be aggressive in enforcing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

“We’re not going to accept a plan to do a plan,” Paul Gosselin, deputy director for the California Department of Water Resources, Sustainable Groundwater Management Office, told the Sacramento Bee. “We’re looking for very concrete, measurable changes to address these deficiencies.”

If anything, however, farmers are drilling more wells to cope with the current drought, the Bee also reported.

“I could work seven days a week if I wanted to,” Fresno County well driller Wesley Harmon told the Bee. “In my area, everybody’s pumping. You can’t blame the farmers. They’re trying to make a living, they’re trying to grow food for everybody.”

The drought is obviously one motive for drilling hundreds of new wells that must go ever-deeper as the water tables drop from overpumping, sometimes leading to the collapse of land above. But another is that farmers know a crackdown is coming and are doing what they can before it arrives.

The Public Policy Institute of California has estimated that full implementation of the groundwater sustainability act could force 750,000 acres of California farmland out of production, or “fallowed.”

Click here to read the full article at CalMatters.org

The U.S. Imposes Travel Restrictions in Response to New COVID-19 Variant. Again.

The U.S. is once again imposing travel restrictions to stem the spread of yet another COVID-19 variant. Today, travel restrictions snap into place for noncitizens traveling by air from South Africa and seven other African countries in response to the spread of the newly discovered omicron variant in that region.

This new variant was discovered by South African scientists last week. The World Health Organization (WHO) classified it as a “variant of concern” on Friday.

That same day, President Joe Biden announced his latest round of travel restrictions, which he described as a “precautionary measure” that would give his administration more time to learn about the new variant.

The White House hasn’t said when these travel restrictions might be lifted. Biden, in a statement issued Friday, said only that “we will continue to be guided by what the science and my medical team advises.”

He encouraged people to get vaccinated or, if already vaccinated, a booster shot. The president also urged other countries to lift intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines as a means of boosting the global vaccine supply.

Other countries affected by the travel restrictions include Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi.

The new restrictions are already producing chaos. The Washington Post reports on how canceled flights to and from the affected countries are leaving people stuck abroad or forcing them to cancel their plans to visit family.

The Post notes that the U.S. had lifted travel restrictions on 33 countries just a few weeks prior. Biden’s latest move is yet another blow for the travel industry and those who had hoped that pandemic-era border controls would be a fading policy.

Dozens of other countries are also imposing restrictions on travel in the face of this new, quickly spreading variant.

Cases of people infected with the omicron variant have been reported in a number of countries, including the Netherlands, Israel, and Australia. On Sunday, Canada reported its first two omicron cases.

There are still many open questions about omicron, including how severe its symptoms are, how transmissible it is, and how well existing vaccines or prior COVID-19 infections protect people against this new variant.

The South African doctor who first noticed the omicron variant has said that all the cases she’s seen have been pretty mild, reports CNBC. Disease experts who spoke to The New York Times say that omicron might be more transmissible than even the very infectious delta variant.

Pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and Moderna are currently testing whether their existing COVID-19 vaccines are effective against the omicron variant.

Thus far, the WHO has said that it’ll take several weeks before we have more clear answers to many of these questions.

Here we go again.

Click here to read the full article at Reason.com

Metro Riders Cite Rise in Crime

As ridership rebounds, reports of violence, including five killings, are up even from pre-pandemic levels.

As she waited for a Metro train in Hollywood, Maritza Mancilla shielded herself behind the escalator bringing passengers down into the fluorescent-lighted underground.

She wanted to see the newcomers before they could see her.

The 55-year-old, who relies on public transportation to get to her job as a housecleaner, has seen fights break out on the train. She’s seen a man attempt to open the car doors while they were in motion. At the Hollywood/Western Metro station earlier this year, a man exposed himself to her.

“If I could work from home, I would,” she said.

With the pandemic easing and lockdowns lifted, a return to normality has come with benefits: increased economic activity, more people going back to work and school, plus holiday gatherings and social interactions.

But on the Los Angeles public transit system — where ridership has rebounded to about 843,000 weekday daily riders from a pandemic low of about 363,800— normal has also brought with it a rise in crime.

In 2021, through September, reports of violent crimes were up 25% from the same time last year and 9% from 2019, according to L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority data.

Some crimes, such as aggravated assaults, are exceeding pre-pandemic levels even though bus and rail ridership hasn’t fully recovered.

Although still rare, homicides jumped from one in 2019 to three in 2020, the first full year of the pandemic. So far in 2021, five people have been killed in stations or on public transport, including a 28-year-old womanfatally shot on the train while on her way to work.

While most people ride public transit without incident, the issue of crime recently sparked a clash between L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Metro board members over the future of law enforcement on the system. At a news conference to argue for the extension of his department’s contract with Metro, the sheriff rattled off a list of eight violent crimes, dating back to 2019, including shootings, stabbings and sexual assaults. He referred to the incidents as “the level of carnage” happening on trains.

Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts, who sits on the Metro board of directors, said he saw Villanueva’s compilation of violent crimes “as a public acknowledgment that he failed to prevent these crimes.”

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