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Katy Grimes

CEQA needs an overhaul, but don’t count on it

In the wee hours of the night, at the end of the last legislative session, language was added into a bill to push forward reforms to California’s 40-year old environmental policy, the California Environmental Quality Act.

The reforms were sponsored by the CEQA Working Group, a business-labor-government coalition. Intended to reduce frivolous environmental litigation and duplicative government oversight, the reforms ended up being part of a smoggy deal.

Before anyone could stop them, the Democratic leadership swooped in on the bill and changed it.

SB 317

Because of California’s stringent environmental laws and project-killing local planning requirements, nearly all public and private projects in the state are legally challenged under CEQA, even when a project meets all other environmental standards of state law.

SB 317, co-authored by Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Shafter, a gut-and-amend bill, would not have actually changed CEQA, but instead would have introduced a companion law to dictate how CEQA is enforced. The new legislation would have restricted certain types of lawsuits, and would have exempted some projects from CEQA… Read More

Katy Grimes

Legislative fractured fairy tale

The swearing-in of new legislators is usually a party atmosphere. Lawmakers feel celebratory after long campaigns. Yesterday’s swearing-in was not a disappointment however, along with the celebratory mood, there was an air of fantasy and fairy tale.

This is the largest freshman class, with 39 newly elected lawmakers, since 1966.

Perhaps the party mood was because of the new Democratic supermajority. While Democratic Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg insists that Democrats will not go hog wild with their unobstructed power, not everyone believes that. “I just don’t think we should come hurtling out of the gates talking about a bunch of new taxes,” Steinberg told media Monday.

“It’s in their DNA,” one Capitol staffer told me, but asked to remain anonymous. “It would go completely against everything they stand for. They can’t help themselves.”

Fractured fairy tales

When it came time to nominate the Assembly Speaker, the Capitol sergeants should have handed out airsick bags.

Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, D-Humbolt, nominated current Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles. Chesbro said Perez… Read More

Katy Grimes

Will the real Republicans please stand up?

As I drove home from the airport upon returning from a recent trip to Florida, I nearly cracked my wheel in a huge pothole on the freeway. Adding insult to injury, as I exited the freeway, I barely dodged another pothole.

The roads and highways in Florida were smooth, well maintained and safe. Florida obviously uses its transportation funds and taxes for its roads. Who knows where California’s transportation funds go. And for that matter, who knows where most of the taxpayers’ money goes in this new California.

The new California is like New Math — a failed experiment. We’ve become a state of potholes, pervasive unions, professional politicians and police.

Politics

The California Republican Party really started to fall apart after electing Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor in the historic 2003 recall of Gov. Gray Davis.

Many citizens go into politics with… Read More

Katy Grimes

How many tax increases will ‘fix’ California?

There are 230 bond, tax and fee increase proposals on the 2012 ballot in California. Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30 tax increase measure is the least of voters’ problems this election.

There are 100 school bond measures on the ballot throughout California. There are more than 30 sales tax increase initiatives, business tax increases, parcel taxes, utility taxes, and hotel taxes. There are even tax increase measures for sodas and abandoned-cars.

How many tax increases will “fix” California?

The answer is easy. None.

What’s really wrong California?

Local governments would have everyone in the state believe that they are struggling to make ends meet. But they grossly misuse the word “struggle.” The only downsizing done in local government has been to cut the lower paid employees who probably weren’t eligible for pensions anyway.

In Sacramento, the City Council is pushing hard to pass several ballot initiatives:

* Measure Q: Sacramento City Unified School District;

* Measure R: Sacramento City Unified School District;

* Measure T: Sacramento (City of) Mandates on Garden and Yard Refuse… Read More

Katy Grimes

Reform for California only a vote away

Anyone who still has the hope of reforming California knows that it must begin with the political system. Far too many politicians in California are so heavily influenced by big money that constituents seem to be nothing more than an afterthought and a group to pander to for political advertisements.

For many years politicians have sought political contributions from corporations and unions, then voted the way those special interests ordered.

And, unfortunately, too many politically ambitious Republicans have gone along with the big-government party plan instead of thwarting the political dominance from unions and big corporations.

The only way to begin real reform in the Golden State is to neuter the money influences. Proposition 32, the “Paycheck Protection” ballot initiative, could begin the reform process.

Big bucksRead More

Katy Grimes

New small biz survey supposedly supports tax increases

A new survey of 500 small businesses claims that a majority of small business owners want high income earners to be taxed more. This is difficult to believe, and amazing timing with the election less than two weeks away.

I participated in an early morning conference call on Thursday with Small Business Majority. They just published the survey titled, “Scientific Opinion Poll Finds Majority of Small Businesses Support Letting Tax Cuts for High Income Earners Expire.”

But during the conference call, when I heard the CEO claim that the majority of entrepreneurs “see a productive role for government in helping small businesses achieve success,” I nearly flipped.

John Arensmeyer, the founder and CEO of Small Business Majority, also claimed nearly six in 10 small business owners “agree that government can play an effective role in helping small businesses thrive.”

The Small Business Majority is a liberal Democratic group based in San Francisco. They… Read More

Katy Grimes

Cal State teachers ‘bulldogging’ for Prop 30

Even after California State University instructors received a mild rebuke for campaigning for Proposition 30 during class time, Gov. Jerry Brown is now making rounds to the state’s colleges and universities trying to convince students to vote for his tax increase ballot measure.

Despite the rebuke, state college instructors and professors continue to promote Prop. 30 during class time, according to Daniel Harrison, a student at California State University Fresno, and president of the Fresno State College Republicans. “From talking about Prop. 30 during irrelevant class time, to student fees funding campaign materials, to giving an essay exam question mandating students explain the rationale and virtues of Governor Brown’s tax initiative, Fresno State is using taxpayer dollars for illegal political advocacy,” Harrison said.

In a press release this week, Harrison said, “The use of college campuses around California to promote Proposition 30, a current ballot initiative that people in California will vote on next month, has crossed the line of legality.”

Harrison said during a CalWatchDog.com interview that he became concerned about the college… Read More

Katy Grimes

Global warming is baaaack

First there was “global warming.” Then it became “climate change” when warm temperatures cooled.

But in California, the California Environmental Protection Agency is promoting global warming again.

“State releases plan to deal with extreme heat caused by global warming,” the CalEPA press release stated. “In the wake of the hottest July ever recorded in the United States, California state agencies today released a plan to deal with extreme heat caused by global warming,” the CalEPA warned.

The hottest July ever recorded in the U.S.? What about California? It wasn’t that hot in our state in July.

“Every year people in California succumb to extreme heat,” said California Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Matt Rodriquez, who chairs the state’s Climate Action Team, the press release reported.

Demonstrative of an agency looking for a problem to solve, the CalEPA’s proposed plan states:

“Some of the proposed recommendations in this draft document… Read More

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