Gov. Brown to host fundraiser for senator facing possible recall to show ‘he’s got his back’ after tax vote, aide says
|| LA Times
“Gov. Jerry Brown is taking the unusual step of hosting a political fundraiser for state Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) because he thinks it is unfair that some activists are trying to recall Newman for his vote favoring an increase in gas taxes to pay for road repairs, Brown’s top aide said Monday.
The Brown camp also is skeptical that opponents of the gas tax bill will be able to carry out their threat of qualifying an initiative to repeal Senate Bill 1 but are prepared to do battle if it makes the ballot.
The governor was a leading proponent of the legislation, which passed the Legislature with no votes to spare and will raise $5.2 billion annually for road repairs and mass transit through an increase in gas taxes and vehicle fees.
“It is unusual for him to do an individual legislator’s fundraiser because if he did one he would have do to lots, but Josh is under unfair attack and so the governor wants to make sure he knows that he’s got his back — that’s why he is stepping out and doing this for him,” said Nancy McFadden, the governor’s top aide.
Brown is headlining a fundraiser on May 23 at de Vere’s Irish Pub in Sacramento, billed as an event to support Newman’s reelection campaign. Donors are asked to give up to $4,400 to Newman’s 2020 Senate campaign committee, although the money can be shifted to fighting a recall measure if one qualifies.
Recall papers were filed last month by Elvira Moreno and 59 others, with the aid of conservative radio talk-show host Carl DeMaio. They must collect 63,592 signatures of registered voters in 160 days to qualify the measure for the ballot.
Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) and others have also proposed an initiative drive to put a measure on the 2018 ballot to repeal the gas tax.
McFadden was skeptical the measure would make the ballot.
“We have done a number of initiatives over the past six years so we know how hard it is to qualify,” she said.
If it does qualify?
“We are going to defend the work we did. Absolutely,” McFadden said.”
Senate confirms Gorsuch to Supreme Court, giving Trump big win
| The Hill
“The Senate on Friday confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, giving President Trump the biggest victory of his first 100 days in office.
The 54-45 vote caps a bitter political battle that began with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia more than a year ago and resulted in the Senate triggering the “nuclear option,” breaking Democrats’ blockade and ending filibusters for Supreme Court nominees.
Three Democrats facing reelection next year in strongly pro-Trump states voted for Gorsuch: Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), and Joe Donnelly (Ind.).
Chief Justice John Roberts is set to administer the Constitutional Oath in a private ceremony at 9 a.m., and Justice Anthony Kennedy will administer the oath at a public ceremony at the White House later in the morning.
Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) said the fight will leave a scorch mark on the Senate because Republicans employed the nuclear option.
“It will make this body a more partisan place. It will make the cooling saucer of the Senate considerably hotter, and I believe it will make the Supreme Court more of a partisan place,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Friday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), however, argued that the change to the filibuster, which Republicans made with a party-line vote Thursday, would restore the Senate to its tradition of not filibustering judicial nominees.
Four Killed By Truck Driven Into Crowd In Swedish Capital
“STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – A truck plowed into a crowd on a shopping street and crashed into a department store in central Stockholm on Friday, killing four people and wounding 15 in what the prime minister said appeared to be a terrorist attack.
Swedish police said they had arrested one person after earlier circulating a picture of a man wearing a grey hoodie. They did not rule out the possibility other attackers were involved.
“We have a person who is arrested who may have connections to the event in Stockholm earlier today,” police spokesperson Towe Hagg said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
“I turned around and saw a big truck coming toward me. It swerved from side to side. It didn’t look out of control, it was trying to hit people,” Glen Foran, an Australian tourist in his 40s, told Reuters.
“It hit people, it was terrible. It hit a pram with a kid in it, demolished it,” he said.
“It took a long time for police to get here. I suppose from their view it was quick, but it felt like forever.”
Part of central Stockholm was cordoned off and the area was evacuated, including the main train station. All subway traffic was halted on police orders. Government offices were closed.
“Sweden has been attacked. Everything points to the fact that this is a terrorist attack,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told reporters during a visit to western Sweden. He was immediately returning to the capital.
Several attacks in which trucks or cars have driven into crowds have taken place in Europe in the past year. Al Qaeda in 2010 urged its followers to use trucks as a weapon.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack in Nice, France, last July, when a truck killed 86 people celebrating Bastille Day, and one in Berlin in December, when a truck smashed through a Christmas market, killing 12 people.”
….Continue reading more @ OANN
Gov Moonbeam & California Prepare To Enact The Highest Gas Tax In The Country
| Daily Caller
“The California Senate Democrats has approved a multi-billion-dollar increase in the state’s gas tax to pay for road and infrastructure projects.
The so-called Road Repair and Accountability Act would ratchet up the state’s gas tax by 12 cents a gallon, and raise the tax on diesel fuel by 20 cents a gallon. It also etches out an additional charge to annual vehicle license fees ranging from $25 to $175 depending on the car’s value.
The Senate passed the bill, 27-11 on Thursday. Republicans did not support the measure.
Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, supports the measure and says it will raise $52 billion for transportation projects, including repairs to roads and bridges.”
Gas-tax increase to pay for road repair clears California Legislature
Actually only 60% of the proposed funding goes to repair roads
“The state Legislature on Thursday passed a sweeping $52 billion transportation plan that will raise California gas taxes after leaders struck deals with wavering lawmakers to fund road projects in their districts.
The state Senate voted 27-11 and the state Assembly voted 54-26 – the bare minimum two-thirds margins required for a tax increase. The votes took place shortly after Gov. Jerry Brown met with Senate Democrats behind closed doors during a recess from the floor session.
The legislation will raise the money to pay for the plan over 10 years. It raises the base gasoline excise tax by 12 cents, creates a transportation improvement fee based on the value of a vehicle and raises diesel excise and sales taxes.
Republican lawmakers criticized the deal for putting a burden on ordinary Californians to pick up the bill for the Legislature’s failure to prioritize spending on roads without raising taxes.
“This institution is sick,” said Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City. “You have to be drunk to support this measure tonight – drunk on the power that is ruining this institution, and that is making it harder and harder to live in this state.”
Brown and Democratic legislative leaders estimate that SB 1’s higher fuel taxes and fees would increase costs for the average motorist by about $10 a month.
But by afternoon, it remained uncertain whether Democrats would be able to rally votes to pass the bill. They were having particular difficulty with members representing districts that can shift parties depending on the election because the measure contains a gas tax increase.
Lawmakers began crafting a separate measure outlining spending for individual legislative districts, Senate Bill 132. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León said the projects would have been funded anyway, but the bill moves them up in the “queue.”
“The projects are transportation-worthy, no question about that, in an area that is highly congested with bad air quality and badly needed infrastructure repair,” he said.
Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Modesto, was the only Republican to vote for the deal. The measure provides $500 million in funding to Cannella’s district. It allocates $400 million for an extension of a Bay Area commuter rail line, the Altamont Corridor Express, to Ceres and Merced and a $100 million parkway project between the University of California, Merced campus and Highway 99.
“For over two years, I have fought for real solutions to California’s transportation problems,” Cannella said in a statement. “This state cannot continue to just put asphalt band aids on potholes when what we really need is major road and rail surgery to keep Californians and their economy moving. In addition, this will be transformative for commerce and commuter travel throughout the Central Valley.”
The bill also earmarks $427 million for the Riverside County Transportation Efficiency Corridor in Democratic Sen. Richard Roth’s Riverside County district. The corridor overlaps with the Assembly District represented by Sabrina Cervantes, a Democrat who also lives in Riverside.
All three members represent swing districts.
Cervantes’ office would not comment on whether the appropriation was part of a deal with the assemblywoman.
Several Republicans repeated complaints that Democrats have squandered transportation funding over the years, deferring necessary maintenance and leading to the decline of the state’s infrastructure.”
Video surfaces of off-duty LAPD officer firing gun during altercation with juveniles
– OC Register
“YouTube videos surfaced Wednesday that purport to show a Tuesday altercation in Anaheim with several juveniles and an off-duty Los Angeles police officer who discharged a firearm during the scuffle.
The Anaheim Police Department in a Facebook post said that it is aware of numerous videos concerning the officer-involved shooting that occurred around 2:45 p.m. in the vicinity of Euclid Street and West Palais Road.
Sgt. Daron Wyatt, a spokesman for Anaheim police, declined to confirm the authenticity of the videos. However, the sergeant did say “they appear to depict portions of the incident.”
The confrontation began over ongoing issues with juveniles walking across the officer’s property, Wyatt said.
In the Tuesday confrontation, a 13-year-old boy is accused of threatening to shoot the off-duty officer, at which time the officer attempted to detain the boy until Anaheim police arrived, Wyatt said.
That led to a physical confrontation between the officer and several other juveniles, Wyatt said. At that time, the officer, who hasn’t been identified, discharged his gun once.
The 13-year-old was booked at Orange County Juvenile Hall for criminal threats and battery. A 15-year-old boy was arrested for assault and battery and released to his parents.
The altercation may have started because of a misunderstanding between the 13-year-old boy and the officer, said Gregory Perez, 16, who witnessed the incident.
“The little kid said, ‘I’m going to sue you,’ and then the guy thought he said, ‘I’m going to shoot you.’ That’s when he started grabbing the little kid.”
In a nearly 9-minute video, the officer then grabs hold of the 13-year-old boy’s hoodie and pulls him across the yard as at least a dozen teenagers crowd around. Then, several boys rush the officer and push him over a hedge.
It was unclear if the officer identified himself as a policeman, but at least one of the teenagers in a video seems to indicate that he had.
The officer, in plain clothes, reaches into his waistband, pulls out a handgun and fires a shot while continuing to hold onto the boy; it appears he shot toward the ground. No one was hit.
As the crowd scatters, the boy yells out, “He put a gun to my face!”
Anaheim police officers arrive. They put the boy in handcuffs, take the LAPD officer away from the others and interview the officer.
Those living in the neighborhood said a confrontation with teenagers who often gather along West Palais Road wasn’t unexpected, because there are often loitering teens, some disrespectful. However, they were surprised that an off-duty officer resorted to firing a gun to settle a dispute.
“He may have felt threatened,” said Richard Bjorklund, who has lived in the neighborhood for 25 years.
The neighborhood has had problems with teenagers crossing streets outside of crosswalks, blocking traffic, cutting through lawns and applying graffiti to homes, Bjorklund said.
On Wednesday afternoon, a marked Anaheim police cruiser patrolled the neighborhood and detectives went door-to-door.
The off-duty officer had not been arrested and a criminal investigation into the incident was under way.”
Woman, 3 Teens Arrested on Suspicion of Gang-Related Shooting Near High School in Anaheim
“A woman and three teens have been arrested in connection with a gang-related shooting near a high school in Anaheim that injured two people, police announced Thursday.
The incident occurred about 2:15 p.m. Tuesday in front of Gilbert High School, 1800 West Ball Rd. Responding officers found two teens with non-life threatening injuries. Witnesses said they saw a teen get out of a vehicle and fired a rifle several times at the victims as they walked in front of the school. The suspect then left the scene.
Neither of the victims were students at the school, officials said.
A 15-year-old boy was identified and arrested as the shooter and a 17-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl were arrested as accomplices Wednesday, Anaheim police said. Cassandra Rivera, 18, of Perris, was also arrested as an accomplice.
The rifle suspected of being used in the crime was recovered during the investigation, police said.
Authorities are trying to determine how the teen got ahold of the gun.
Officials did not elaborate on why the shooting was deemed gang-related.
All suspects were booked on suspicion of attempted murder, possessing a firearm within a school zone and gang charges.”
Police Chief Blames California Early Release Program for Cop’s Murder
“Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper has blamed Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial early prison release program for the murder of one of his officers on Monday.
Officer Keith Boyer, 53, was shot dead when he and his partner, Patrick Hazell, responded to a traffic accident in a tony suburb of Los Angeles known as Whittier’s Friendly Hills on Monday morning.
At an emotional news conference later that day, Piper laid the blame squarely on AB 109, which Gov. Brown signed into law in 2011.
“We need to wake up. Enough is enough,” Piper said. “This is a senseless, senseless tragedy that did not need to be.”
The Orange County Register reports that the suspect, known gang member Michael Christopher Mejia, 26, of Los Angeles — who had been serving time for grand theft auto—was released early from Pelican Bay State Prison in April 2016.
Mejia is believed to have murdered his 46-year-old cousin, Ray Torres, in his East Los Angeles apartment, just before stealing his car and fleeing the scene at a high rate of speed, resulting in the traffic accident, where he opened fire on the responding officers.
ABC 7 Los Angeles’ Carlos Grande reports that Mejia’s previous offenses include: “…Robbery, vandalism, grand theft auto, resisting arrest and attempted robbery.”
Rather than transfer prisoners to other states or allow private prison contractors to keep dangerous offenders behind bars, AB109 reclassified dozens of serious — and, in some cases, violent — criminal offenses as “non, non, non”—“non-violent”, “non-serious” and “non-sexual” offenses. That enabled the transfer of tens of thousands of criminals from state prison to county custody.
This prison reform plan, known as “realignment,” was met with considerable resistance by law enforcement officials across the state who worried that overcrowded county jails would be forced to dump dangerous criminals back on the streets.
That appears, in this case, to be exactly what happened.”
So, exactly where was the part time governor? Nowhere near the shooting in Whittier, he managed to make it to the Oroville Dam problem he’s managed to avoid for two weeks. /CJ
Jerry Brown makes surprise visit to Oroville Dam
“Nine days ago, with the Oroville Dam under stress and battered by more harsh weather, Gov. Jerry Brown said he had no immediate plans to visit the site, suggesting “I don’t think they need politicians fluttering around.”
“This is not law. It’s not politics. It’s not what I am used to,” Brown said.
On Wednesday afternoon, however, as management of the situation stabilized amid a break in the rain, Brown made a surprise visit to the incident command post at Oroville.
Brown was briefed, thanked officials, including Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea, and took the opportunity to get a first-hand look at the work around the dam, spokeswoman Deborah Hoffman said.
By air, the Democratic governor surveyed the regional flood control system, flying over Maxwell, and down the Sacramento River. Hoffman said Brown did not advise the unexpected trip because it was not intended as a media event.
The Governor’s Office documented the visit on its Twitter account.
Sen. Kamala Harris is set to take an aerial tour of Oroville on Thursday. The trip is closed to media, but Harris plans to post photos.”
Caltrans has 3,500 more architects and engineers than it needs. One California engineer spent 55 work days golfing at taxpayers’ expense.
“Gov. Jerry Brown says California has a $57 billion backlog in transportation-related repairs and, once again, he says the state needs to raise taxes to pay for them.
The governor is right in one way: California’s state-controlled roads are in abysmal shape. Reason Foundation’s most recent Annual Highway Report found California ranked 49th out of 50 states in urban pavement condition and 36th in rural pavement condition. But, it’s not at all clear how raising taxes would help. California already spends more than nearly every state in the country when evaluated per mile of state-controlled roadway. From road maintenance to state highway office administration costs, California spends more than most.
According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, as of May of 2014, Caltrans wastes millions of dollars planning for projects it cannot possibly build. The department fails to properly maintain its highway traffic management systems. Caltrans has 3,500 more architects and engineers than it needs. One California engineer spent 55 work days golfing at taxpayers’ expense. And a staggering 62 percent of transportation projects went over budget.
Then there is the problem of what Gov. Brown wants to spend transportation money on. He wants to spend $1.8 billion on the proposed high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco, a project that still lacks an accurate budget and has little chance of being completed. The governors budget chases the train dream but fails to fund the state’s greatest transportation needs. It spends significant funds on bridge repairs but often not on the bridges in the worst condition.
Albert Einstein once said, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.” Yet, Gov. Brown’s budget does exactly that by asking for more money for wasteful Caltrans while not fixing any of the underlying problems.
Frustrated by the state’s incompetence and inefficiency, 19 counties, including Orange County, have become so-called self-help counties, enacting local sales taxes to help fund transportation. Sales taxes are a poor method of funding transportation because there is no link between how much someone buys and how much transportation infrastructure they use. However, given the problems at the state level, the decision to try to address problems at the local level is at least understandable.
The state needs to take a number of steps to fix its problems. First, eliminate excess staff. This could be accomplished by not filling empty positions, early retirements and other means. There is no reason to employ 3,500 extra engineers and architects. Second, focus on statewide priorities. Many local governments see Caltrans getting involved in local projects as more a curse than a blessing. In most cases, state highways should be Caltrans’ most pressing priority. Third, eliminate unnecessary projects like the high-speed rail system. Fourth, copy how states like North Carolina and Virginia use metrics to select projects. Such processes help to limit political prioritization of projects and focus money on projects that reduce congestion and improve mobility. Fifth, fix the construction process. States like Texas build projects much more cost-effectively than California and its likely that our state can adopt some of their business practices. Finally, reform public unions. Yes, union reforms are a tough political lift but most politicians on both sides of the aisle agree that union costs are a big reason transportation projects in California are so costly.”
Last Boeing C-17 Leaves Long Beach Plant Killed by Union
– One more example of Gov Brown not lifting a finger to save Californian jobs. After Toyota, now this in Long Beach.
“Once responsible for 50,000 jobs, the C-17 program accounted for only about 14,000 jobs throughout California by 2010. With military aircraft orders starting to dry up and the Great Recession hammering Long Beach’s economy, Boeing made demands that workers accept benefit concessions.
Although the company was willing to offer a 3.4 percent raise in pay, Boeing wanted a lower company pension contribution and higher employee medical co-pays to remain competitive against Europe’s Airbus.
U.S. orders for the $240 million plane had ended four years earlier, but the company had started to sell C-17s to fleets in Britain, Australia, Canada and Qatar. The Long Beach plant had just received a six-plane, $1.5 billion order from the United Arab Emirates to be delivered in 2012, and more orders were expected to flow in.
But on May 12, 2010, 5,000 members of the United Auto Workers Local 148 answered the call with 80 percent of workers voting against the company offer and going out on strike against Boeing at midnight–the first strike in 25 years.
With 9.5 percent of Americans unemployed and 932,234 properties in foreclosure, industry analysts and the public were appalled that the UAW would walk out. The strike ended a month later, but the bitterness of the strike motivated Boeing to begin talks about terminating the C-17 program and shutting down the site.”