Los Angeles Approves New Proof-of-Vaccine Law To Enter Indoor Businesses

‘We’re going to see an even worse employee shortage in the restaurant industry this month because of this ordinance’

A new COVID-19 proof-of-vaccination law in Los Angeles that requires those ages 12 and up to be fully vaccinated or have a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter most indoor businesses and public areas went into effect on Monday.

The new ordinance had a remarkably quick turnaround time from draft to law. Originally proposed in late September, a final vote on the ordinance came only weeks later, with the Los Angeles City Council voting 11-2 to put the new ordinance into effect. According to the ordinance, full proof of vaccination is now needed to enter most indoor places of business including restaurants, bars, movie theaters, arenas, convention centers, gyms, salons, and other public areas.

An exemption for medical or religious grounds will be accepted, but only with a valid negative COVID-19 test taken within the last 72 hours. The non-vaccinated will also be allowed to briefly enter to use the restroom or pick up orders inside while at the establishment, but can only do so while masked. The new mandate also affects outdoor events with those larger than 5,000 people requiring either proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test, making it more restrictive than all other city, county, and state vaccination laws currently in effect.

However, Los Angeles city officials have said that enforcement of the law will not be coming until later this month on the 29th to allow businesses time to get used to checking for proof and give employees ample time on working out systems of checking and verification. After the 29th, the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety will issue fines and punishments to those in violation. While the 1st infraction will only warrant a warning, the 2nd infraction will bring a fine of $1,000, with a 3rd infraction costing $2,000. All others afterwards will amount to $5,000 each time. All fines and warnings will be given to the establishment, not the individual for breaking the mandate.

City officials said that the new mandate will encourage more residents to get vaccinated, to help make businesses safer, and to protect those that cannot get the vaccine, such as younger children and those with autoimmune conditions.

“Vaccinating more Angelenos is our only way out of this pandemic, and we must do everything in our power to keep pushing those numbers up,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti last week while in Scotland for the United Nations climate change conference.

City Council President Nury Martinez also laid out the reasoning behind the ordinance on Monday, noting that “The intention of this isn’t to penalize businesses. Our businesses can’t afford another shutdown. It’s to limit the transmission of the virus and save lives.”

However, local business groups and others have said that the ordinance will only prove to be confusing to many and that requiring a vaccination proof check will only add to the additional burdens of staff members, who may now also may face increased harassment by customers over it.

“There’s a tremendous lack of clarity,” said Los Angeles County Business Federation policy manager Sarah Wiltfong, in a statement on Monday. “Most retail shops are exempt, but shopping malls and shopping centers are included, which of course includes retail shops. This puts employees in a potential position of conflict, when they’re not necessarily trained to handle situations like that.”

Many now under the new ordinance are especially worried about the increased harassment.

“We’ve had arguments, fights, yelling, you name it over masks alone,” explained Los Angeles waiter Josh Doerr, who has been part of a social media campaign to alert the public about some customers’ negative reaction to the masking laws. “And with masks, you don’t know who has been vaccinated or not. Vaccination proof is much more personal, and we’ve seen a lot more harassment come from it in places like San Francisco which already have some of these types of laws around. And right now businesses are desperate for employees.”

“With masks, a lot of us have either left mid-shift because of a belligerent customer or know those who have in the last several months since the reopenings began in earnest. Turnover is now only going to be worse. You’d wish that people either go or don’t, but a lot of people either don’t know or hope to be made an exception or are doing it just to challenge the system. And guess who gets the bunt of it? Us.”

“The actors and stand up comics and writers among us have developed a thick skin already, but even we have our limits. We’re going to see an even worse employee shortage in the restaurant industry this month because of this ordinance. It will not be great to say the least.”

Enforcement of the new ordinance is expected to begin at the end of November.

Click here to read the full article at the California Globe

$1.4 Million in Bogus Workers’ Comp Insurance Premiums Collected by Unlicensed OC Agent, Prosecutors Say

Workers’ Compensation form with pen and glasses

A former Costa Mesa resident, who was arrested in October on suspicion of collecting over $1.4 million from companies paying for bogus workers’ compensation insurance coverage, made her first court appearance in Orange County last week to face multiple felonies.

Karyl Lynn Reed, 57, was taken into custody in Seabrook, Texas and then brought before a judge in Santa Ana during an arraignment hearing on Oct. 27, California Department of Insurance officials said in a news release. She was accused of multiple felony counts of grand theft, embezzlement and forgery, according to court records.

Reed worked as an unlicensed insurance agent and ran two companies called Envoy Business Partners and Allenn Specialty Group, CDI officials said. Prosecutors accuse her of using those companies to produce fraudulent certificates of insurance to fool her victims and collect premiums for non-existent coverage from them.

Click here to read full article on ocregister.com

Here Are the Arguments That Persuaded the 5th Circuit To Block OSHA’s Vaccine Mandate for Private Employers

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit yesterday stayed the Biden administration’s brand-new COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private employers, which took effect on Friday, when it was published in the Federal Register. The appeals court said the arguments made by the petitioners—a Louisiana supermarket chain and six employees of a Texas company that makes kitchen ventilation systems—”give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate.”

The vaccine rule, which was announced in early September but was not unveiled until last Thursday, gives businesses with 100 or more employees two options: They can adopt a “mandatory vaccination policy” with limited exceptions, or they can require unvaccinated employees to wear face masks and undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. The White House described the mandate as part of a broader effort to boost the nationwide vaccination rate. The aim, it said, is to “reduce the number of unvaccinated Americans by using regulatory powers and other actions to substantially increase the number of Americans covered by vaccination requirements.”

But the federal government has no general authority to protect public health, control communicable diseases, or require vaccination, all of which are primarily state responsibilities. The administration therefore presented the vaccine mandate as an “emergency temporary standard” (ETS) issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is charged specifically with protecting employees from workplace hazards. As the 5th Circuit indicated, that legal strategy leaves the mandate open to challenge on both statutory and constitutional grounds.

The plaintiffs in BST Holdings v. OSHA, who are represented by the Chicago-based Liberty Justice Center and Louisiana’s Pelican Institute for Public Policy, argue that the ETS exceeds the agency’s authority under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Even if it didn’t, they say, empowering OSHA to issue such a sweeping order would exceed the federal government’s power to regulate interstate commerce and violate the nondelegation doctrine, which constrains lawmaking by executive agencies.

Click here to read the full article at Reason.com

California Needs Details on Hydrocarbon-Free Future

Well, that was awkward.

Gov. Gavin Newsom stalled for weeks on attending last week’s global conference on climate change in Glasgow, then announced at the last moment that he would, only to just as suddenly announce that he wouldn’t “due to family circumstances” which were never explained.

Instead, Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis led a couple of dozen administration officials and legislators to the conference, and they were largely confined to the sidelines.

Newsom’s last-minute decisions stymied California reporters who had planned to cover his performance on the international stage, because they came too late to apply for press credentials.

Journalists could only monitor from afar, which rendered California’s tertiary participation to almost a non-event, from a news standpoint.

Kounalakis told CalMatters reporter Emily Hoeven, who had planned to accompany Newsom to Glasgow: “The overall message is the strength of California’s subnational leadership and the power of our innovation economy to help the world scale up on climate solutions.”

Kounalakis took that message to one of the panel discussions in which she participated, saying that “California has been the tail that has wagged the dog on environmental protection.” She cited Newsom’s order to ban the sale of gasoline-powered cars by 2035, contending that “We are the largest consumer market in the United States, and this standard is most certainly already shaping the future.”

Having the lieutenant governor travel all that way, by hydrocarbon-powered transport at no small expense, to merely echo what Newsom has been saying for the past three years was pretty lame.

That said, it’s high time that Newsom put some meat on the bones of his sweeping promises that California will lead humankind into a brave new hydrocarbon-free future.

If California is to ban sales of gasoline-powered cars in the next 14 years, how will it be done? While California leads the nation in the sale of battery-powered vehicles, they still are only a tiny percentage of overall auto purchases.

Will California have an adequate infrastructure of charging stations? Will it even have enough electrical power available for charging, given that it sometimes cannot meet current demand during hot summer days?

Simultaneously, Newsom wants to eliminate all power generation from natural gas and other hydrocarbon sources, so what’s the plan for that conversion? Can we develop enough solar and wind power to meet all demands for juice?

What will we do when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow? We would need immense banks of batteries or other storage facilities to take up the slack. Will there be enough lithium to construct those batteries without depending on other nations?

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Newsom also wants to stop oil and gas production in the state by 2045? Where are the details and how will the impacts on the petroleum industry’s thousands of workers — in the fields, in the refineries and in the gas stations — be mitigated?

If California is to be hydrocarbon-free in just a few decades, will that mean banning diesel-powered ships from California’s ports and jet planes from the state’s airports? Will we even have airports anymore?

If we can no longer buy gasoline-powered lawnmowers and other tools, how will we do the work they now perform? Will homes, hospitals, schools and other vital buildings be left without backup power from standby generators when the grid goes down? Will firefighters no longer have chain saws and bulldozers to battle wildfires?

These are serious questions and issuing sweeping decrees without telling us how hydrocarbons will be eliminated and what the effects will be on our lives is political malpractice.

This article originally appeared on CalMatters.org

The High Cost Of Driving In California Is No Accident

How about some gas facts?

In late October, the highest price for gasoline in the country was a “mind-numbing $7.59 a gallon” for regular, $8.50 for premium in Gorda, on California’s central coast.

The average prices for regular, mid-grade, and premium are highest in California, $4.60, $4.78, and $4.90 a gallon, respectively, according to AAA. Prices are rising nationwide, but those numbers are still far in excess of the U.S. average of $3.40 a gallon.

The average gasoline price in Los Angeles had risen for 18 straight days through Oct. 29.

Late October was also when gasoline prices in San Francisco reached an all-time high, passing “the previous record of $4.743 per gallon, set over 3,300 days ago in 2012,” says Gas Buddy.

California shows up as an outlier far out of sync with the rest of the nation in the Gas Buddy price heat map.

Two days before Halloween, “parts of California,” most of them in the northern half, “recorded their highest average gas prices ever,” KTLA reported.

None of this is due to bad luck or unhappy coincidences. Nor can “profiteers” or speculators be blamed for the surge. The high prices are by design. The factors driving prices them are the products of deliberate policymaking:

  • California has the highest motor fuel taxes in the country – 67 cents a gallon, says the Tax Foundation, using American Petroleum Institute data. Second highest are in Illinois, 60 cents a gallon. The national median is about 30 cents a gallon.
  • Due to “big-government energy policies,” California drivers pay a 37% premium for gasoline compared to the national average. Backing off these mandates would have saved drivers $9.6 billion in 2020 over 2019.
  • Carbon cap-and-trade policy adds more than 14 cents a gallon to the cost of gasoline in California.
  • The state’s low carbon fuel standard increases prices 22 to 24 cents per gallon.
  • As requirements of cap-and-trade and the low carbon fuel standard become more demanding, their costs will continue to add up, reaching a range from 89 cents to $2.10 a gallon.

Let’s end with a quiz. Who said: “Somehow, we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe”?

No, it wasn’t a California official. It was Steven Chu, a Berkeley-trained, Nobel-winning physicist who taught at Stanford, and was serving as the Obama White House’s secretary of energy when he made the statement. The words just happen to sound a lot like those a Sacramento lawmaker would string together.

Kerry Jackson is a fellow with the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.

This article was originally published by the Pacific Research Institute.

We Obtained Never-Before-Seen Data on How Chesa Boudin is Prosecuting Cases. Here’s What It Shows

When Chesa Boudin ran for San Francisco District Attorney in 2019, he promised to approach crime differently than his predecessors, in part by no longer prosecuting lower-level offenses like recreational drug use. He also pledged to take more rape cases to trial, even if that meant he would lose those cases more frequently.

Less than two years after taking office, Boudin faces a likely recall election after critics of his administration garnered more than 83,000 signatures from residents who believe he has made the city less safe. To explore that claim, the Chronicle conducted a comprehensive review of how often his office decides to prosecute arrested individuals and how often it secures convictions in selected types of crime.

Boudin’s overall charging rate is 48%, slightly lower than predecessor George Gascón’s 54% in his last two years and on par with Gascón’s charging rates in 2016 and 2017. But overall charging rates can be misleading because the types of cases the D.A. receives from police can change significantly from year to year, especially during abnormal periods such as the current global pandemic.

A review of charging rates for specific crime types, which allows a more accurate assessment of what Boudin’s administration has done differently, shows that charging rates have increased for rape and drug cases under his watch, while they have decreased for theft and other lower-level offenses.

Click here to read the full article at the San Francisco Chronicle

Do Progressives Support Gentrification?

Support is growing for the idea that parents can help their families climb the economic ladder by building generational wealth through property ownership. Surprisingly, this support has even been spotted in the opinion pages of the Los Angeles Times.

It’s surprising because the Times has previously taken a highly negative view of families being able to pass along intergenerational wealth in the form of real property. In a lengthy 2018 article about the effect of a voter-approved measure that allowed parents to transfer property to their kids without reassessment and a tax increase, Times reporter Liam Dillon focused almost exclusively on how the measure had benefited some very wealthy families. In particular, he objected to actors Jeff Bridges and Beau Bridges renting the Malibu home they inherited from their father, actor Lloyd Bridges.

The article complained that “The inheritance tax break . . . has allowed hundreds of thousands – including celebrities, politicians and out-of-state professionals and some of California’s most prominent families – to avoid paying higher taxes.” The article paid scant attention to the vast majority of property owners, ordinary people who inherited the homes their parents worked for 30 years to pay off.

The L.A. Times editorial board called for the elimination of the parent-child transfer protection, asserting that “there is no compelling public purpose or societal good in passing tax breaks through generations.”

Given its hostility to the constitutional protections that helped to preserve intergenerational wealth, we were surprised that the L.A. Times recently ran an op-ed piece with a very different view from their own columnist, Erika D. Smith. She wrote, “Now, all of a sudden, Black people who grew up poor or working class and managed to buy a modest home in the ’60s and ’70s — and, in some cases, pay it off — are finding that they own property that’s extremely valuable. In many cases, it’s a first for their families, this prospect of passing along real wealth to the next generation. After all, it’s one thing to inherit a house worth $350,000 that needs $100,000 worth of work. It’s quite another to inherit the same house, but it’s now valued at $1 million. There are only a few cities in the country where that’s even possible for Black people.”

Unfortunately, the children inheriting those million-dollar homes will receive a new tax bill along with the sympathy cards. The Times got its wish last November when Proposition 19 was narrowly approved, following an ad campaign that sold it as helping wildfire victims, disabled people and seniors. Many voters didn’t realize that Prop. 19 also repealed the parent-child transfer exclusion from reassessment that had been in the state constitution since 1986. Now, with only a few exceptions, property is reassessed to current market value when inherited.

That’s why the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has put forward a ballot initiative, the Repeal the Death Tax Act, that would once again allow parents to transfer a home, and a limited amount of other property, to their children without triggering property tax reassessments.

Click here to read the entire article at the presstelegram.com

Child Vaccinations Begin in California with Toys and Gifts

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Scavenger hunts and blow-up animals greeted children at some of California’s vaccination sites Wednesday as children aged 5 to 11 got their first COVID-19 shots a day after the federal government approved kid-size doses of the vaccinations.

One enthusiastic 11-year-old summed up his experience in a word: “Amazing!” said 6th grader Raghab Vist. “I’ve been waiting a really long time to get vaccinated.”

Vist and his father, Hemant, who went to a vaccine clinic in San Jose, spoke of all the things they looked forward to doing again — eating in a restaurant, taking a train and traveling to family favorites like Disneyland. “It’s a very important milestone for us,” his father said.

As part of an ambitious plan to offer coronavirus vaccinations to California’s 3.5 million children in that age group, the state intends to offer the vaccines at locations including school clinics, pharmacies, pediatrician offices and county sites, many of which will launch in the coming days. Health officials said they are expecting 1.2 million initial doses of the pediatric vaccine.

Santa Clara County, the home of Silicon Valley where San Jose is located, starting doling out shots early Wednesday, and appointments quickly booked up. The county expects to receive about 55,000 doses this week and will open additional clinics at 80 school sites and send out mobile vaccine teams to low-income neighborhoods.

“We know that a lot of parents are anxious to get their children vaccinated with the holidays coming up,” said Dr. Jennifer Tong, who oversees the county’s mass vaccination program. “We received our shipment of vaccine yesterday, and we didn’t have any good reason to sit on it. So we said, let’s get this show on the road.”

Many of Santa Clara’s county sites were decorated with kid-friendly motifs like animals and included games like scavenger hunts, while others handed out coloring books, prizes and stickers to newly vaccinated young people.

Click here to read the full article at ap.com

GOP Leader Says Republicans Could Flip 60 Seats Next Year

Republicans took a victory lap Wednesday following Republican Glenn Youngkin’s stunning win in the Virginia governor’s race, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) predicting his party could flip more than 60 House seats in next year’s midterm elections.

“If you’re a Democrat and President Biden won your seat by 16 points, you’re in a competitive race next year. You are no longer safe,” McCarthy told reporters while flanked by his leadership team and Virginia Republicans.

“It’ll be more than 70 [Democratic seats] that will be competitive. There’s many that are going to lose their races based upon walking off a cliff from [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.] pushing them,” he continued. “She may not care if she lose. She lost 63 the last time she was Speaker moving policy that the country didn’t care for. 

“Many believe she won’t stay around” in Congress, McCarthy asserted. Speaking to Democrats, he added, “So she’s not going to be there to defend you.”

Pelosi and the Democrats did lose 63 seats — and the House majority — in the Tea Party wave of 2010, the midterms that came two years after former President Obama won the White House.

Click here to read the full article at thehill.com

Orange County Supervisors Narrow Down New District Maps

Orange County supervisors Tuesday narrowed down their choices for new district maps from eight to three.

One map is favored by Republicans, another by Democrats and the third is considered more neutral, some political observers say.

The five supervisorial districts are up to be redrawn based on the census, which is conducted every 10 years.

Nicole Walsh of the County Counsel’s Office told the supervisors all the districts need to have roughly equal population and must be “geographically contiguous.”

“We believe that while all of the proposed maps are likely defensible… maps 2, 4 and 5 are the most defensible overall,” Walsh said.

All the maps the board settled on create a Latino majority district and all contain at least one district with nearly more than 30% Asian residents, or what’s known as an “influence district,” Walsh said.

In three of the proposed maps the Latino community would be divided in a way that could lead to a Voting Rights Act challenge, Walsh said.

“Maps 2 and 5 certainly keep communities of interest together,” Walsh said.

For instance in maps 2 and 5 Little Arabia in Anaheim is kept together, Walsh said.

Click here to read the full article at mynewsla.com

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