New Plan Would Stop the Undocumented from Getting Driver’s Licenses

DMVAn initiative that would reverse a law that allows immigrants residing in California illegally to obtain driver’s licenses has been cleared to begin gathering signatures for the 2020 ballot.

The proposal also seeks to eliminate the current “sanctuary state” law and end automatic voter registration practices in California. Don Rosenberg, the main proponent of the proposal and a staunch opponent of illegal immigration, said he believes the plan will increase public safety, reduce voter fraud and prevent traffic fatalities.

More than 1 million illegal immigrants in California have been issued driver’s licenses since Assembly Bill 60 took effect in 2015.

“The line that AB 60 will make the roads safer was totally bull,” Rosenberg said. “It is not safer. It was a complete lie.”

Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 60, introduced by former Assemblyman Luis Alejo, in 2013. …

Click here to read the full article from the Sacramento Bee

Legislative Democrats Gift Awards to Family, Friends

Photo courtesy Franco Folini, flickr

Photo courtesy Franco Folini, flickr

At a time when voters are increasingly believing that the system is rigged, some state legislators are making that perception worse by giving district-wide awards to their family members, critics say.

While it’s not uncommon for legislators to participate in award ceremonies recognizing constituents for their accomplishments, it’s becoming more common for those constituents to be friends and family members of the legislators.

In March, members of the Legislature honored women from their districts to be Woman of the Year: Assemblyman Luis Alejo picked his mother. In May, Assemblywoman Nora Campos selected as Small Business of the Year a brand new political strategy firm both her brother and her longtime political consultant work for, which had also held fundraisers for her. And just a few weeks ago, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez picked her boyfriend, Nathan Fletcher, a former state legislator, to be Veteran of the Year.

“These ‘awards’ are a generally cost-free technique for buying some goodwill in the community,” said John J. Pitney, Jr., a Roy P. Crocker professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College. “Generally, they are harmless, but when lawmakers give them to their relatives, friends and squeezes, they just contribute to the sense that the political system is rigged.”

“We already have a surplus of cynicism, and this nonsense makes it worse,” Pitney said.

Hurts the association

This was the first year Campos, a San Jose Democrat, chose to participate in the Small Business of the Year award, selecting Voler Strategic Advisors, which had been in business less than one year and does not have a working website.

The same month the award was given, Voler held a fundraiser for Campos’ Senate campaign — Campos is challenging Sen. Jim Beall, a fellow San Jose Democrat.

“This is absolutely not the spirit of the award,” said Samantha Toccoli, legislative coordinator for the California Small Business Association, one of the groups in charge of the program.

California Small Business Day was created by an Assembly resolution in 2000. Toccoli said she was unaware of any familial relationship between Campos and Voler and added that the organization is run by volunteers who have no way of efficiently vetting every honoree.

“I would hope that this reflects on the legislator and not the integrity or intention of our organization and the 25 other organizations that host the event,” Toccoli said.

A Campos spokesperson countered that the award was technically given to Voler’s owner, not Campos’ brother, Xavier, who is a senior vice president, or her longtime political consultant and former communications director, Rolando Bonilla, who is Voler’s chief strategy officer.

Look no further

For Alejo, a Watsonville Democrat, it’s his last year in the Legislature, having been termed out and elected to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors — he said he “could not think of anyone better” for the award than his mother, Maria Luisa Alejo Covarrubias.

“I wanted to honor my mother during my last year in the state Assembly,” Alejo said in a statement at the time. “Our mothers are our first teachers and made us who we are today. My mother has done so much for my family and for our local communities, and I could not think of anyone better for this year’s Woman of the Year for Assembly District 30.”

Alejo did not respond to requests for comment.

Cronyism?

Because Gonzalez’s boyfriend is a former legislator, her awarding Fletcher was more conspicuous than the two prior examples. On Instagram, Fletcher said: “Honored to be chosen as Veteran of the Year by my Assemblywoman:)”

San Diego Republicans blasted Gonzalez, a San Diego Democrat, for choosing her boyfriend, which she defended on Facebook by highlighting Fletcher’s work with veterans, by denouncing the attacks as partisan and by blaming the media. She pointed out that others, including Republicans, had done the same.

“It is well known that Nathan and I are in a committed relationship, but there is a long line of assemblymembers who have picked husbands, wives, fathers, mothers and other relatives for recognition,” Gonzalez wrote. “Never once has it been questioned.”

Not who it is but how it looks

But the question isn’t so much whether Fletcher or any of the others are deserving of the awards, it’s a question of what message these actions send to the public, which is already weary from the perception of widespread double standards and cronyism.

“These examples reflect poorly on the Legislature,” said David Wolfe, legislative director for the right-leaning Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. “We need to ask if the awards program as a whole is in the best interest of California taxpayers.”

“If the Legislature truly desires to honor [taxpayers] it should rededicate the hours that they currently spend on pomp and circumstance shows like these and instead focus on fixing real problems, like our state’s $500 billion unfunded pension liability,” Wolfe said.

Lax leadership?

So far, the three incidents are isolated to Assembly Democrats and it’s unclear if Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood — who waited more than two months to take action against a committee chairman accused of domestic violence and under a temporary and then three-year restraining order — will ask fellow legislators to abstain from taking actions that give the appearance of cronyism.

Rendon did not respond to requests for comment.

This piece was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

California Refuses to Honor John Wayne

John WayneWas John Wayne a racist? If he was, would it negate his monumental contributions to the movies, his role in establishing Hollywood as Southern California’s still-essential industry, and his stature as an icon of the cinematic American West?

For the Democrats who dominate the California State Assembly, the answers to these questions are You Betcha and Hell Yes. Last month, lawmakers in Sacramento voted 35-20 against a resolution to declare May 26 John Wayne Day in the Golden State. The resolution’s opponents pointed to a 1971 interview the actor gave to Playboy in which he said that he believed in “white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility.” In the same interview, Wayne argued that the popular perception that white American settlers had stolen land from Native American tribes left out valuable context: “There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.” It was surely not the actor’s finest hour.

Republican assemblyman Matthew Harper of Huntington Beach in Orange County—where the airport is already named for the Stagecoach actor—introduced the resolution to honor Wayne. “John Wayne was an important part of California’s history and is especially important for Orange County,” Harper said. Born Marion Robert Morrison on May 26, 1907 in Winterset, Iowa, the man who would become “the Duke” moved with his family to Glendale, a suburb of Los Angeles, when he was six. He went on to attend the University of Southern California and appear in more than 175 movies, many of them American classics. He won the 1970 Best Actor Oscar for his role as Rooster Cogburn in True Gritand was inducted into the California Hall of Fame, located at the California Museum in Sacramento. After his death in 1979, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, and in 1980, President Jimmy Carter honored him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

For Assemblyman Luis Alejo of Salinas, however, Wayne’s remarkable life and his contributions to the California film industry matter little. The resolution honoring Wayne, Alejo said during a floor debate, had been “pretty well sanitized” and presented a “revisionist history of who this man was.” He went on to list Wayne’s support for the Communist-hunting House Un-American Activities Committee and his membership in the right-wing John Birch Society. But the main problem, said Alejo, was Wayne’s “disturbing views toward race.”

It’s certainly true that people don’t talk the way Wayne did about race anymore. Crude racial generalizations are no longer acceptable in public speech—nor should they be. Racist sentiments still exist in some quarters, but they have for the most part been driven underground. We are better off as a nation for that.

Still, the sudden reluctance among California’s Democratic lawmakers to honor luminaries with disturbing views is out of character. In recent years, the state has paid tribute to many individuals with troubling ideas. Unlike Wayne, however, those individuals were left-wingers. Their misstatements and missteps have been brushed aside or ignored by the people who hand out official proclamations.

For example, in 1988, the California legislature voted unanimously to declare April 21 John Muir Day. The Sierra Club founder, according to current governor Jerry Brown, was “a giant of a man” whose “scientific discoveries, engineering innovations and writings still inspire us today.” Presumably, Brown hasn’t read Muir’s reflections on “negroes” as “easy-going and merry, making a great deal of noise and doing little work.” It’s shocking to the modern ear to hear the celebrated naturalist declare that “one energetic white man, working with a will, would easily pick as much cotton as half a dozen Sambos and Sallies.”

Muir—the “great man”—evidently also had little regard for Native Americans. As The New Yorker’s Jedidiah Purdy surmised last year, Muir and other early environmentalists viewed communing with the American wilderness as “a way for a certain kind of white person to become symbolically native to the continent.” Yet, John Muir Day endures in California, celebrated with an official proclamation from the governor’s office every April 21, presumably because Muir’s status as the granddaddy of the environmental movement trumps his racist views.

On March 31 of every year since 2000, California formally celebrates Cesar Chavez Day, in honor of the founder of the United Farm Workers. “I ask all Californians to join me in continuing to build on his dream of a world where all workers are treated with dignity and respect,” Brown says in his annual proclamation. Countless California schools, parks, monuments, and public buildings bear Chavez’s name. And in 2014, President Obama declared March 31 a federal commemorative holiday in Chavez’s honor. All this for a man who, in a 1972 interview, called strikebreakers from Mexico “wetbacks,” a term widelyconsidered racist and unmentionable today.

Muir, Chavez, and Wayne all spoke in ways that are now off-limits. So why are the first two beatified and the third denounced? You can probably do the math.

The list of less-than-stellar individuals honored by California is lengthy. The late Apple CEO Steve Jobs brought thousands of high-paying jobs to California while building the biggest company in the world. In his October 16, 2011 proclamation of Steve Jobs Day, Brown called Jobs a uniquely Californian visionary. By many accounts, however, the inventor and businessman was an abrasive, abusive, and arrogant man. More than that, Apple’s Chinese suppliers used child labor to assemble the iPhone. Apple even admitted it. But Steve Jobs gets a pass, one imagines, because he’s awesome—the guy who gave every bearded Millennial from San Francisco to Santa Monica the gadgets that make life in 2016 worth living. Apple is cool, ergo, Steve Jobs Day is A-Okay.

California would never issue a proclamation in honor of someone who loosened sanctions on Apartheid-era South Africa, right? In October 2012, Brown declared Mervyn M. Dymally Day to honor posthumously the man who served as California’s first black lieutenant governor. The Associated Press’s obituarynoted that, while Dymally had indeed been a political trailblazer, he was also “never far from the whiff of scandal.” Allegations of “fraud, bribery and pay-for-play campaign contributions” followed the Los Angeles politician from Sacramento to Congress in the 1980s. In January 1990, just a month before Nelson Mandela was released from jail, Dymally was forced to explain why he’d amended sanctions legislation after a 1988 meeting with Maurice Tempelsman, chairman of diamond manufacturer and distributor Lazare Kaplan International. Tempelsman later gave more than $34,000 to a scholarship fund in Dymally’s name.

The city of Berkeley celebrates Malcolm X Day every May 20. Everyone knows that the militant Nation of Islam spokesman eventually moderated his views—and was probably killed for doing so—but it’s a stubborn fact that Malcolm X was a virulent racist for the bulk of his public life. He promoted undiluted hatred of white people; his preferred term was “white devil.”

The idea for John Wayne Day died, then, not because the actor espoused some ugly ideas. California is happy to bestow official laurels on other individuals expressing loathsome racial attitudes or exhibiting dubious behavior. John Wayne’s mistake was coupling his odious views with the kind of muscular, unabashed conservatism that offends the modern progressive mind. If he’d only had the good sense to adhere to approved lefty ideas, 2016 version—like most actors do—then he could have said just about anything and gotten away with it.

New Year Brings Country’s Highest Minimum Wage to CA

Minimum WageCalifornia will start the new year with a record-setting wage floor.

“On Jan. 1 California will have the highest minimum wage in the country,” as Capital Public Radio noted. “California workers earning minimum wage will get an extra dollar an hour at the beginning of the year. The state raised the rate from $8 to $9 in July 2014. Soon it will be $10 an hour.” Legislation hiking the wage was sponsored by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Salinas. According to Alejo, the increase would result in about $2,000 more net dollars over a year’s time working 40 hours a week at the new minimum wage.

A few other added benefits passed into law were set to take effect at the same time. “Workers will also be able to use job-protected leave to address child-care or school emergencies as of New Year’s Day,” CBS reported. According to data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the channel noted, the new rules were expected to impact over 9 million California workers at or below the $7.25 federal minimum wage. (This year, legislators made one additional change to state labor law, the station noted, requiring “the cheerleaders and dance teams of professional sports organizations such as the Los Angeles Lakers to be classified as employees.”)

Faced with setbacks in Congress, Democrats nationwide increased pressure on state legislatures this year to hike their minimum wages. But in California, their push gained even more traction at the municipal level. “According to the UC Berkeley Labor Center, there are 29 cities and counties in the United States that have wage floors higher than their state’s minimum,” the Bakersfield Californian observed. “Fourteen of those local governments are in California.”

Local blowback

But some Golden State municipalities have balked. A new city leadership in Desert Hot Springs killed an ambitious minimum wage ordinance that “would have hiked the minimum wage for such employers to $10.20 per hour next year, with $1 increases in each of the following two years and jumps tied to the consumer price index after that,” as the Desert Sun reported. “Unions and franchisees would have been exempt,” it added — unlike Walmart, which signaled it would re-evaluate its long-time plans to add a franchise in town if the wage proposal went through.

The Southland’s economic situation has become a bone of political contention this election season, with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom taking heat for already pushing a $15 minimum wage statewide. “Labor markets in Imperial County, for example, already struggle to supply even more-experienced job-seekers with work,” wrote Michael Saltsman in a column for the Orange County Register. “The unemployment rate for all employees hovers around 22 percent. Across all occupations, the median hourly wage is $13.79. Even supporters of a higher minimum wage are uncomfortable with a wage floor that’s much higher than half of the median wage, which means $15 would be economic suicide for Imperial County.”

Replacing workers

Critics of dramatic increases in the state minimum have long contended that their impact includes cutbacks on hiring. “In an analysis of Los Angeles’ wage hike commissioned by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, Beacon Economics argued the wage ordinance could lead to businesses employing fewer low-wage workers, resulting in a higher unemployment rate among unskilled workers,” as the Californian observed. But now, concerns about the outright replacement of workers by machines have been added to the mix. “Employer groups opposed to raising the minimum wage say labor costs are already driving decisions to replace human labor with technology,” KPCC reported. “They say higher minimum wages will accelerate automation trends in the workplace.”

Richard LoGuercio, president of an event rentals company in Van Nuys, told KPCC he was “just screwed” with the fast hike, although he supported gradual increases in the minimum wage. “After the minimum wage ordinance was approved, LoGuercio invested in a $150,000 industrial dishwasher he had been eyeing to save on utility costs,” the station recounted. “The machine will also allow him to stop paying six to eight people who earn $10 to $11 an hour washing dishes. LoGuercio expects to recoup his costs in nine months, and save a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year going forward.”

Originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Jerry Brown signs new post-redevelopment bill

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

Four years after approving legislation that ended the anti-blight redevelopment program in California, Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed a bill giving local agencies a way to pay for similar projects.

Assembly Bill 2, by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, authorizes local governments in economically depressed areas to use certain tax revenue for public works and affordable housing improvements and to help businesses.

Alejo said in a prepared statement that the bill signing was a “major victory for our state’s most disadvantaged communities.”

Brown also signed Senate Bill 107, which supporters said …

Click here to read the full article

Bill would cap large payouts to school superintendents

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

SACRAMENTO — A California lawmaker wants to limit the generous — sometimes six-figure — payouts that school districts award school superintendents who leave their jobs.

Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, said the state needs to reduce the severance pay school districts — and ultimately taxpayers — give superintendents who are terminated or voluntarily leave before their contracts expire. School boards typically negotiate severance deals with superintendents that equal about 12 to 18 months worth of pay. The state already caps such cash settlements at 18 months.

But increasingly, school boards are approving 18 months of severance in superintendent and other high-level administrative contracts. One Bay Area school leader collected a $600,000 payout in 2013. …

Click to read the full story

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com