Disneyland character and parade performers in California vote to join labor union

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Disneyland performers who help bring Mickey Mouse, Cinderella and other beloved characters to life at the Southern California resort chose to unionize following a three-day vote culminating on Saturday.

The Actors’ Equity Association labor union said in a statement Saturday that cast members for the parades and characters departments at Disney’s theme parks near Los Angeles voted by a wide margin for the union to become the bargaining agent for the group of roughly 1,700 workers. 

An association website tracking the balloting among cast members indicated passage by 78.7% (953 votes) in favor and 21.3% (258 votes) opposed. 

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“They say that Disneyland is ‘the place where dreams come true,’ and for the Disney Cast Members who have worked to organize a union, their dream came true today,” Actors’ Equity Association President Kate Shindle said in a statement Saturday night.

Shindle called the workers the “front lines” of the Disneyland guest experience. The association and cast members will discuss improvements to health and safey, wages, benefits, working conditions and job security before meeting with Walt Disney Company representatives about negotiating the staff priorities into a contract, she said.

The union already represents theatrical performers at Disney’s Florida parks. 

Barring any election challenges, the regional director of The National Labor Relations Board will certify the results within a week, the association said. 

The NLRB did not immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking confirmation or additional information about the vote.

The election took place on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday in Anaheim, California, after workers earlier this year filed cards to form the unit called “Magic United.”

Parade and character workers who promoted unionizing said they love helping to create a magical experience at Disneyland but grew concerned when they were asked to resume hugging visitors after returning to work during the coronavirus pandemic. They said they also suffer injuries from complex costumes and erratic schedules.

Most of the more than 35,000 workers at the Disneyland Resort, including cleaning crews, pyrotechnic specialists and security staff, are already in labor unions. The resort includes Disneyland, which is the Walt Disney Co.’s oldest theme park, as well as Disney California Adventure and the shopping and entertainment district Downtown Disney in Anaheim.

In recent years, Disney has faced allegations of not paying its Southern California workers, who face exorbitant housing costs and often commute long distances or cram into small homes, a livable wage. Parade performers and character actors earn a base pay of $24.15 an hour, up from $20 before January, with premiums for different roles.

Union membership has been on a decades-long decline in the United States, but organizations have seen growing public support in recent years during high-profilecontract negotiations involving Hollywood studios and Las Vegas hotels. The NLRB, which protects workers’ right to organize, reported more than 2,500 filings for union representation during the 2023 fiscal year, which was the highest number in eight years.

Click here to read the full article in AP News

What drives California’s budget decisions? A lot of politics, not as much data

Frustration came through loud and clear as legislators hurled question after question at the head of the state’s homelessness interagency council: Why, after years of planning and billions of dollars invested, is there so little to show for the effort

“You come into a budget committee and there’s no numbers,” Assemblymember Phil Ting, a San Francisco Democrat, said at the May 6 Assembly committee hearing. “Why is it taking so long?”

Assemblymember Vince Fong, a Bakersfield Republican, took issue with the council saying it needed more money to compile the data. And Chris Ward, a Democrat from San Diego, said he’d been asking the same questions since 2022: “The fact that we’re still now, three years later here as a state is incredibly frustrating because that guides our decision making here as a budget.” 

But even without a full picture of how well the homelessness spending is working, Gov. Gavin Newsom is proposing cuts to cover the state’s budget deficit

That’s just one example of how the state budget gets put together, often without fully knowing if a program is paying off. Revenue dictates decisions, and voter-passed initiatives direct some spending. After that, legislators use any data that’s available, but they also negotiate with other officials and listen to their constituents.

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They’re also lobbied by advocates and interest groups. (More than 650 organizations spent money lobbying on the budget, as well as other issues.) 

For the 2024-25 budget now before the Legislature, Newsom released a revised plan earlier this month that calls for dipping into reserves, canceling some new spending and cutting existing programs to cover a remaining shortfall of $27.6 billion. The independent Legislative Analyst’s Office, which assesses the budget picture through different calculations, cites the deficit as $55 billion, though it generally agrees with Newsom’s overall view of the state’s finances. 

Today and through this week, the Assembly and Senate will conduct hearings on Newsom’s proposals. The Legislature faces a June 15 deadline to approve its version.

Jesse Gabriel, who leads the Assembly budget committee, noted that only a handful of legislators have dealt with a deep deficit before. The state had a record budget surplus as recently as two years ago, thanks to federal pandemic aid and a roaring stock market; the last lengthy recession ended in 2009.

“This is a new experience for a lot of people,” the Democrat from Encino told CalMatters. “I think we’re going to have to work really hard together to get on the same page and do the best we can in a really difficult situation.” 

State bases money needs on prior year 

Addressing California’s deficit is a two-part equation, where increasing revenue could help. But Newsom has ruled out increasing taxes and instead emphasized “right-sizing expenditures,” telling legislators they shouldn’t expect bills with high price tags to pass.  

For Gabriel, the May 6 hearing by the revamped accountability and oversight committee hints at an appetite for culture change in the Legislature — though one that could take time. 

“We want to be doing a lot more data-driven decision making about which programs and services are really delivering results for Californians,” he told CalMatters. “For us, that metric is not did the money go out the door? But was it impactful? Did it make a difference in results for the people it was intended to serve?” 

California currently uses “incremental budgeting:” Each department’s or program’s funding request starts with what they spent last year, updated with best estimates of what they need in the coming year. Also known as “baseline budgeting,” it’s the most common approach states take, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

Some public analysis of how programs are working comes from the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office and state agencies, sometimes at the request of lawmakers.

But a CalMatters analysis published in February found that 70% of the 1,118 state agency reports on how laws were working due in the past year had not been submitted to the Office of Legislative Counsel, which keeps reports. And about half of those that were filed were late.

California’s budgeting approach is in contrast to two other systems: performance-based budgeting and zero-based budgeting. 

Performance-based budgeting ties funding to how well programs meet their goals, and allows departments more flexibility to use any savings. The data-driven approach can create more transparency, according to research commissioned by the Assembly’s Budget Committee in 2012. But it’s difficult to implement and can be inequitable, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures — for example by linking school funding to test scores. 

Under zero-based budgeting, agency budgets start each year from $0. But no state uses the system in its true form, the conference notes. 

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters

Gov. Kristi Noem, denounced for shooting her dog, describes making ‘hard decisions’ at California GOP gathering

BURLINGAME  —  South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, once considered a potential 2024 running mate for former President Trump, received a warm reception at a gathering of California Republicans on Saturday just weeks after facing a harsh public backlash after she admitted killing her “untrainable” hunting dog.

(Loren Elliott / For The Times)

Noem, a champion of gun rights, warned of the perils facing the nation and her conservative leadership in the rural state, including her refusal to impose government shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have an election year coming up here in 2024 where I don’t think it’s about Republicans and Democrats anymore. I don’t think it’s about political parties,” Noem told more than 200 people at a luncheon at the California Republican Party convention in Burlingame, just south of San Francisco. “I think it is about people who love America and people who are trying to destroy it.”

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She did not directly mention the incident with her dog that she wrote about in her book, “No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong With Politics and How We Move America Forward,” which came out this month.

But Noem alluded to the controversy over her decision to kill a 14-month-old wire-haired pointer named Cricket in a gravel pit because it was a poor hunting dog and killed some farm chickens.

“Listen, I have a book that has come out. You may have heard a little bit about it,” Noem said to laughter. “I guarantee you if you listen to the media, you have not heard the truth. So I would recommend you read it.”

Lunch attendees received a copy of the book as part of their ticket purchase; Noem signed copies and posed for selfies after her remarks. Tickets ranged from $300 to $575 with the top price including an invitation to a reception with Noem.

The tale of Cricket was the talk of many convention attendees.

“We find out Gov. Kristi Noem’s coming to keynote our convention and everybody’s very excited. She’s dynamic, engaging, probably on the VP shortlist,” said a delegate from Contra Costa County, who requested anonymity because of potential scorn if he publicly discussed the incident. “And four days later, we find out the dog-killing story. And everybody’s like, ‘Uhhh?’ And even Trump’s not a dog guy, but even he was like, ‘She had a rough week.’”

He added that the upheaval was indicative of the hard luck of California Republicans.

Noem focused her remarks on her leadership of South Dakota, particularly during the pandemic, as well as her decision to send the state’s National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas to stem the influx of immigrants entering the country without authorization. She repeated warnings about drug cartels using Native American tribal lands in her state to commit crimes, remarks that have led some tribes to ban Noem from their reservations.

“The cartels have moved into the middle of our country. They have set up on my tribal reservations and they were proliferating their drug trafficking, their human trafficking, they’re raping our children and our women right in South Dakota, and they’re doing it protected by the federal government because the federal government refuses to bring law and order to those communities and keep people safe,” Noem said.

She said she has no jurisdiction since the tribal lands are a sovereign government and blamed President Biden for failing to intervene.

Noem, who had reportedly been on Trump’s shortlist of potential running mates but dropped off before the book controversy, also praised the former president as a genuine American, unlike most politicians.

“What did Donald Trump do when he announced that he was going to run for president? The guy comes down a golden escalator,” she said. “I was shocked by it. I was like, ‘This is gonna be the worst campaign plan I’ve ever seen in my entire life.’”

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

California promised a higher minimum wage for health care workers. Will Newsom delay it?

Gov. Gavin Newsom is cutting it close. He signed a law last fall that phases in a $25 minimum wage for California’s lowest-paid health care workers beginning June 1. Then, he said he wanted to delay it because of its potential to exacerbate the severe state budget shortfall. 

Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP Photo

But two weeks before the deadline for employers to start paying more to their employees, many health workers are still waiting to hear whether they will in fact see a raise.

Some health workers remain hopeful. Others have already been notified by their employers of their upcoming raise or have already started to see increased pay.

When Newsom presented his latest budget proposal last week, the governor said negotiations around potential changes to the health worker minimum wage law, Senate Bill 525, are still taking place. He promised a deal between his administration, the Legislature and proponents of the law would be hashed out in the upcoming weeks. 

“This budget will not be signed without that deal that we committed to being addressed,” Newsom said. He usually signs a budget for the next fiscal year in late June.  

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Meanwhile the union that advocated for the health care pay increase has launched an advertising campaign that aims to hold Newsom to the law he signed. 

One ad by Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West on the social media site X shows a dialysis worker named Alice and it reads, “The dialysis care Alice provides is lifesaving. Yet, with caregivers at her facility starting out at only $18/hr, it’s no wonder there’s a short staffing crisis.

A $25/hr minimum wage for healthcare workers will help ensure patients get the care they need.”

Nathan Selzer, communications director for SEIU-UHW, said his union posted the messages because, “Our workers were concerned and remain concerned. What we saw in conversations earlier this year was folks really focusing only on money and only on dollars and cents, and not on what those dollars and cents are used for.”

SEIU-UHW is an affiliate of SEIU California, which sponsored the law.

“We made a decision that we’ve got to make sure we’re reminding people why this was made into law to begin with,” he said.

Selzer said he is not directly involved in conversations with the governor’s office and legislators, but that confusion among many workers rings true. “We’ve heard June 1, we’ve heard July 1. It remains to be seen what actually happens here,” he said.

Deadline to postpone minimum wage hike

What exactly is holding up the negotiations is unclear. Lawmakers and Newsom would have to pass and sign legislation that would push back the start date within two weeks to delay it effectively. 

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters

Teachers criticize Newsom’s budget proposal, say it would ‘wreak havoc on funding for our schools’

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s largest teachers union on Friday turned up the pressure on Gov. Gavin Newsom, announcing a public campaign aimed at blocking part of his plan to balance the budget because they say it “would wreak havoc on funding for our schools.”

Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

Newsom says his plan — a complex accounting maneuver — would shield public schools from $8.8 billion in immediate cuts. But California Teachers Association President David Goldberg said it would end up costing districts nearly $12 billion in the future.

Goldberg said the union, which represents 310,000 educators across the state, would launch advertisements on Monday to “raise awareness about this unconstitutional maneuver.” If that doesn’t work, he said a lawsuit could be next.

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“We will not stand by and let this happen,” he said during a news conference. “When you have clear violations of the Constitution, often you go to legal remedies. So that is definitely one of the tools in our toolbox.”

The public opposition from teachers signals a turning point for Newsom, who until now had mostly avoided major fights with core constituencies during the state’s recent budget troubles. Newsom addressed last year’s shortfall by borrowing while deferring and delaying spending that preserved most major programs. But the deficit has only gotten bigger, squeezing Newsom — who is widely seen as a potential presidential candidate.

Last week, Newsom announced a budget deficit that, when including previous actions agreed to by his administration and the Legislature, is at least $45 billion. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office says the deficit is actually $55 billion — mostly because of the cuts to public education spending that Newsom has not counted as part of the deficit.

Newsom defended his proposal last week, saying it was the best option for public schools because it would protect them from immediate spending cuts.

“I don’t want to see thousands and thousands of pink slips go out. I don’t want to see disruption in the system,” he said.

The issue is the voter-approved formula for how California pays for public schools, known as Proposition 98. The formula says schools will get a certain amount of money each year. California gave public schools $76 billion in the 2022-23 fiscal year because that’s what they thought the formula required. However, state tax collections that year ended up being 25% less than what the state had predicted.

The Newsom administration says that retroactively impacted the formula for public school funding. Now, they say the state was only required to give schools roughly $67 billion that year. It’s an $8.8 billion difference.

Newsom could ask for schools to give this money back. But they’ve already spent it. Returning $8.8 billion would likely lead to massive layoffs and other difficult cost-cutting measures throughout the state’s 1,019 school districts. Instead, Newsom wants to let the schools keep the money. But he wants the state to pretend the schools gave it back.

The state’s accountants would not immediately count that $8.8 billion in spending. Instead, they would spread this cost out over future budgets, starting in 2025-26. It’s the equivalent of the state giving itself a zero-interest loan.

Click here to read the full article in AP News

Waste Not, Want Not: The Costs of California’s Environmental Ambitions

All too often it seems that California’s elected officials come up with a new environmental proposal to the detriment of everyday people in the state. 

Efforts to curb the use of controlled burns and other wildfire prevention measures in the name of promoting air quality, for example, has allowed forest underbrush to build up and worsened the severity of wildfires in recent years, causing immense damage to communities. Similarly, California’s extensive environmental review process and ease of filing lawsuits against new development has been blamed for slowing down construction of new homes and for driving up costs in a state already facing a housing crisis, making it even harder for many residents to find affordable places to live.

It now appears that the next target in the name of environmental progress may be one of the most basic and important of municipal services: waste management. 

An ongoing incident at the Chiquita Canyon landfill just outside of Los Angeles has spurred conversations regarding the future of waste management in the Golden State. Despite managing the property according to all state and federal guidelines, a rare chemical reaction in an inactive part of the landfill has caused temperatures underground to exceed 200 degrees. This in turn has generated odors and fumes that have adversely impacted surrounding communities. There is no doubt that a whole of government response will be necessary in responding, but any measures should be targeted and practical.

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Unfortunately, some of the policy proposals floated to date have been anything but. Several community activists and elected officials have called for the closure of the landfill and lawsuits have been filed to cease its operations. This comes despite the fact such actions would do nothing to help resolve the underlying issues happening deep within the long-decommissioned part of Chiquita Canyon and would require a major overhaul to how America’s most populous county handles waste. 

County officials would be presented with a series of alternative options for the disposal of the 6,000 tons of waste that flow into the landfill daily that I can attest, as someone who used to manage municipal services myself, would each come with their own series of drawbacks and strain the region’s system of waste collection. Pushing the waste to other county landfills would likely face pushback from the communities surrounding the five other major landfills in the region. It would also require the waste to travel longer distances, as would a long-sidelined plan to use trains to haul garbage to a desert landfill 100 miles east of San Diego, resulting in more transportation-related pollution and higher collection fees in both scenarios.

The Los Angeles Times has taken the conversation a step further, arguing that Californians should stop using landfills altogether – in effect advocating for the closure of facilities across the state, such as the Recology Auburn Placer landfill in my home county – in response to this incident. They also contend that elected officials should require more aggressive adoption of alternative waste management solutions to accomplish this goal. But such pie in the sky proposals ignore the reality that the state has historically fallen short of its waste reduction goals. 

One need only look at mandates passed by the state legislature in 2016 that required Californians to divert 75% of organic waste from landfills by 2025. Since the law was enacted, there has only been a 10% reductionin such waste and some communities have yet to even deploy the bins that are supposed to be used for its collection. Based on such evidence, it would appear that the state is simply not prepared for any new mandates or rash bans on trash disposal.

While it is understandable to want to act in response to the ongoing issues at Chiquita Canyon, policymakers must consider the broader implications of any such proposals. Rather than hastily imposing prohibitions on landfills and other measure that will raise cost for California families, this incident should be viewed as opportunity to create more effective approaches for the responsible operation of waste disposal sites in the state. Through a thorough analysis of the event’s circumstances, underlying causes, and subsequent responses, we can craft a well-considered and pragmatic solution that strikes the right balance between environmental stewardship and feasibility.

Bruce Kranz is a former Placer County Supervisor and City Manager of Colfax, CA.

In Arizona fake elector case, attorney Eastman pleads not guilty

PHOENIX — Attorney John Eastman pleaded not guilty Friday to conspiracy, fraud and forgery charges for his role in the effort to overturn Donald Trump’s loss in Arizona to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

Eastman, who devised a strategy to persuade Congress not to certify the election, is the first person charged in Arizona’s fake elector case to be arraigned.

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The former Orange County law school dean made a brief statement outside the courthouse, saying the charges against him should have never been filed.

“I had zero communications with the electors in Arizona [and] zero involvement in any of the election litigation in Arizona or legislative hearings. And I am confident that with the laws faithfully applied, I will be fully exonerated at the end of this process,” Eastman said. He declined to make further comment.

Arraignments are scheduled Tuesday for 12 other people charged in the case, including nine of the 11 Republicans who submitted a document to Congress falsely declaring that Trump had won Arizona.

The Arizona indictment said Eastman encouraged the GOP electors to cast their votes in December 2020, unsuccessfully pressured state lawmakers to change the election’s outcome in Arizona and told then-Vice President Mike Pence that he could reject Democratic electors in the counting of electoral votes in Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.

Trump was not charged in the Arizona case but was referred to as an unindicted co-conspirator.

Eastman served as dean of Chapman University’s law school from 2007 to 2010. He was a professor at the Orange County school until 2021, when he resigned amid outrage over his address at Trump’s Jan. 6 rally before the Capitol insurrection.

Charges have not yet been made public against Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor and Trump-aligned attorney, but he was readily identifiable based on descriptions of the defendants in the indictment. No arraignment date has been scheduled for Giuliani.

Arizona authorities say they have been unable to serve Giuliani with the notice of the charges. In-person attempts have been made to serve Giuliani, but a doorman at his New York City apartment wouldn’t accept the document, according to Richie Taylor, a spokesperson for Democratic Arizona Atty. Gen. Kris Mayes, whose office is prosecuting the case. Taylor said efforts to reach Giuliani by phone also were unsuccessful.

Former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is scheduled to be arraigned June 7.

Last year, Eastman was indicted on racketeering, conspiracy and other charges in a scheme to overturn the 2020 president election in Georgia. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges. Eastman also is named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the sprawling federal indictment filed in Washington against Trump for working to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the run-up to the violent riot by his supporters at the U.S. Capitol.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

California’s water tunnel to cost $20 billion. State officials say the benefits are worth it

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration said Thursday it will now cost more than $20 billion to build a giant tunnel aimed at catching more water when it rains and storing it to better prepare for longer droughts caused by climate change.

State regulators have been trying to build some version of a water tunnel system for decades. The latest form championed by the Democratic governor is a single giant tunnel, down from two tunnels proposed by his predecessor, Jerry Brown. Newsom’s administration says the state can capture more water from the Sacramento River during major storms and send it south for storage.

The last cost estimate, which came in 2020, put the price tag for a single tunnel project at $16 billion. The new analysis says the tunnel will cost $20.1 billion, an increase they attribute almost entirely to inflation, which soared after the pandemic.

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The project would be paid for by 29 local public water agencies, who get their money from customers.

The analysis, conducted by the Berkeley Research Group but paid for by the state, said the tunnel would yield $38 billion in benefits, mostly because of an increased water supply that would be better protected from natural disasters like earthquakes.

“The benefits clearly justify the costs,” said David Sunding, emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley who led the analysis.

Despite that rosy outlook, the tunnel remains one of the most controversial projects in recent memory. Environmental groups say its construction would have devastating impacts on the already vanishing ecosystem of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast that is home to endangered species of salmon and other fish.

The analysis released Thursday notes the environmental impacts include lost agricultural land, reduced water quality in the Delta, and impacts on air quality, transportation and noise.

“Instead of foisting the costs of this boondoggle project onto Californians, the state should invest in sustainable water solutions that promise to restore the Delta ecosystem, not destroy it,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parilla, executive director of the environmental advocacy group Restore the Delta.

State officials note the project now includes $200 million for grants to fund local projects in areas impacted by construction.

Beyond environmental concerns, the project has become a political landmine throughout the Central Valley’s farming communities, where it is seen as yet another attempt by Southern California to steal their water. While most of California’s population lives in the southern part of the state, most of the state’s water comes from the north. In the state Legislature, lawmakers have blocked any effor t to benefit or speed up the tunnel’s construction.

“This new analysis acknowledges what we’ve known all along: the Delta Tunnel is meant to benefit Beverly Hills and leave Delta communities out to dry,” said U.S. Rep. Josh Harder, a Democrat whose district includes the Central Valley communities like Stockton, Lodi and Galt. “I’m sick and tired of politicians in Sacramento ignoring our Valley voices and I will do everything in my power to stop them from stealing our water.”

Click here to read the full article in AP News

L.A.’s accidental homelessness ‘czar’? U.S. District Judge David O. Carter

It’s an idea that always beguiles but never delivers.

Why can’t L.A. have a homelessness “czar,” a single person with the power to corral and direct the hodgepodge of agencies, as well as bridge the political divides that stymie government’s best intentions?

Mayor Karen Bass has her deputy for homelessness and housing. The county has its Homeless Initiative with its own executive director. Members of the Board of Supervisors and City Council each act as mini-czars, implementing diverse homelessness strategies in their districts. An independent housing authority decides who gets rental subsidies. The joint-powers Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority has its chief executive officer who reports to both the city and county.

Now a judge has slammed his gavel over all of them. He’s no young upstart but an 80-year-old who projects by word and deed his conviction that homelessness is a moral outrage. Leveraging the powers of federal court, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter has elevated himself, metaphorically speaking, to that position above governmental boundaries that no political leader or bureaucrat can reach.

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While overseeing two cases that challenge city, county and U.S. government practices on homelessness, Carter has summoned the mayor, several supervisors, council members and city and county department heads into his courtroom. He’s grilled officials in Washington on speakerphone. And, in moments rich in symbolism, he’s shown more deference in court to Skid Row residents he cultivates as confidants than to the lawyers and public officials appearing before him.

His rulings and, in some instances, merely his bluster have extracted commitments from city and county leaders to produce thousands more shelter beds, provide more treatment for mental health and substance abuse, and is pushing them to hash out an agreement on who pays — in other words to cooperate.

Carter has shaken up a homeless policy long marked by bureaucratic infighting, budgetary battles and competing strategies. But not everyone thinks Carter’s decisions are the best path, and some have chafed over his power to demand change from the perch of his bench.

In his most recent move, motivated by a deep-seated feeling that millions of dollars in homelessness funds aren’t trickling down to homeless people, Carter ordered the city to pay $2.2 million, or more if necessary, for an independent audit of its spending.

And up next, Carter has set an Aug. 6 date for a trial over veterans’ demands that the Department of Veterans Affairs swiftly provide housing for all homeless veterans with serious mental illness or traumatic brain injuries who live in Los Angeles County.

Alternately solicitous and overbearing to the parties before him, flagrantly sloppy with proper names and syntax, but somehow always crystal clear, Carter rebuffed the government’s petition for a dismissal in December backing his ruling with a string of passionate soliloquies.

“We’re the homeless veteran capital of the world right now,” he lectured a phalanx of government lawyers. “So I don’t want to hear excuses about we can’t afford it. It’s the opposite. We can’t afford what’s happening right now, folks. That’s what we can’t afford.”

Carter, a Marine veteran who survived life-threatening injuries in Vietnam, chided the lawyers for a lack of urgency.

“Unless you move, you’re going to lose a whole generation of Vietnam veterans,” he said. “If we stall this out, there’s a whole generation of people in their 70s and 80s who will just pass away without this issue being decided.”

He added a barbed compliment for the secretary of Veterans Affairs, Denis McDonough, who came to L.A. to attend a housing dedication on the VA campus but didn’t accept Carter’s invitation to come to court:

“I thank him for coming out,” Carter said. “But if he came out to dedicate 53 units, maybe he ought to be out here involved in the settlement discussion … when we’re talking about 4,000 units. I’m looking for that leadership coming from … the secretary or from this administration.”

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

California’s War Against Donald Trump – Part II

‘If Trump wins, California’s top law officer is prepared’

In 2016, Donald Trump shocked Democrats when he beat Hillary Clinton in the Presidential Election. Simultaneously, California’s new Democrat supermajority Legislature used the usually congenial legislative swearing-in ceremonies to rush through Assembly and Senate resolutions insisting President-elect Donald Trump abandon his immigration deportation policies–at least in California, I reported at the time.

California is home to the largest illegal-alien population in the country, and is a Sanctuary State. President-elect Trump vowed at the time to build a border wall and deport immigrants that have a criminal record, which he estimated to be two-three million. Today that number is likely quadrupled.

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Ironically, less than four weeks after California voters passed a new transparency ballot initiative requiring advanced notice of legislation of at least 72 hours, these Democrat lawmakers rammed through the two resolutions hours after turning them in. Specifically, these resolutions demanded that President-Elect Donald Trump withdraw “a mass deportation strategy” of illegal immigrants. Except Trump never said he was going to employ a mass-deportation process; Trump said he would deport criminal illegal aliens.

Then-California Senate President Kevin De Leon ordered President-elect Trump to not deport illegal immigrants to their home countries, “under any circumstances”… But he was pressed by a reporter about Trump’s actual statements regarding the deportation of only criminal illegal aliens. “I’m not sure I heard it that way,” de Leon said. “I based it (the resolution) on the 60 minutes interview, and 3 million criminal immigrants. We don’t know if that’s a pretense to loosen up the criteria with mothers, nannies and dreamers,” he said. “If it’s felons, we’ve never had a problem with felons. There’s never been an issue with that.”

“I didn’t hear him make the comment,” he added. Apparently the California Senate was basing state policy on a 60 Minutes interview. Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Los Angeles, ratcheted up the rhetoric by threatening to “fight in the streets” anyone who tried to “dissolve the work we have done.”

Ricardo Lara is California’s Insurance Commissioner today, and Kevin De Leon is a Los Angeles City Councilman.

According to de Leon, and Sen. Lara, “Thousands of illegal aliens in California are (were) terrified.”

“However, De Leon and Lara failed to fairly report how their official media blasts are more likely terrifying immigrant groups,” I reported. “De Leon said that throughout the election, the President-elect made many disturbing comments. ‘I am guided by principles of justice. There is no greater policy area than immigration,’ he added at the press conference.”

Well, here’s our deja vu.

The Los Angeles Times reports a familiar scenario:

California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta said he and his staff have been reviewing former President Trump’s second-term agenda to prepare a potential onslaught of environmental, immigration and civil rights lawsuits in the event he defeats President Biden in November.

“We can’t be caught flat-footed,” Bonta said in an interview Thursday in Washington. “Fortunately and unfortunately, we have four years of Trump 1.0. We know some of the moves and priorities; we expect them to be different.”

Bonta, a Democrat who is considering a run for governor, said he has been reviewing the work of his predecessor, Xavier Becerra, who filed more than 100 suits against Trump policies before leaving the office to become Biden’s secretary of Health and Human Services. Bonta and his deputies are also looking at “Project 2025,” a document drafted by the Heritage Foundation, a Trump-aligned think tank, which offers a blueprint of his second-term policy goals.

Will Ricardo Lara again threaten to “fight in the streets” anyone who tried to “dissolve the work we have done?”

Not to be left out, then-Governor Jerry Brown also made threats against Trump policies. As James Lacy and I reported in our 2017 book, California’s War Against Donald Trump: Who Wins? Who Loses?  when President Trump announced he would refocus climate change research conducted by NASA as part of his fight against climate-alarmist policies, Gov. Brown launched into an epic monologue on the dangers of climate change, and he even threatened to launch California-funded satellites. Then California’s Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom threatened Trump’s plans for a wall on our southern border with environmental lawsuits.

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