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Edward Ring

Appreciating Police Officers, Challenging Police Unions

In the wake of tragic and deadly attacks on police officers, those of us who have never wavered in our support for the members of law enforcement, but have questioned the role of police unions and have debated issues of policy surrounding law enforcement have an obligation to restate our position. Civil libertarians and fiscal conservatives have disagreements with police unions which were summed up quite well recently byguest columnist Steve Greenhut, writing in the Orange County Register. Here are some of the principal concerns:

Police unionization protects bad officers and stifles reform. Lack of transparency into investigations of police misconductaids and abets the worst actors. Police unions often support laws designed to extract increased revenue from citizens in the form of excessive fines. The “war on drugs” andmilitarization of law enforcement can further increase the tension between police and the populations they serve. And, of course, police unions fight relentlessly for increases to compensation and benefits, especially straining the budgets ofRead More

Katy Grimes

Gov. Brown Bans Plastic Bags, Taxes Paper, and Encourages Bacteria

The back room deal between the California Grocers Association andUnited Food and Commercial Workers labor union paid off; Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill to ban and tax plastic and paper grocery bags… despite that all types of plastic shopping bags can be recycled into new bags.

SB 270by Senators Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles Alex Padilla, D- Pacoima, and Ricardo Lara, D-Los Angeles, “prohibits stores from distributing lightweight, single-use plastic bags.” Padilla is running for Secretary of State.

Immediately after the bill signing, the American Progressive Bag Alliance announced it was preparing to gather signatures for a November 2016 ballot initiative to repeal SB 270.

Governor Jerry Brown has repeatedly said, “There will be no new taxes for the foreseeable future.” But the plastic bag ban is also a tax increase on reusable bags, and paper bags — minimum 10 cents per bag — which grocers will pocket.

I remember when plastic bags were… Read More

Katy Grimes

Environmentalists sue to halt Kern County mining over snail

Another Earth Day has come and gone, and with it, a great deal more environmental hypocrisy. Most of the practicing Earth Day disciplesare largely hypocritical, and are just as likely to be as significant consumers of the Earth’s resources as anyone else.

But hell hath no fury like a righteous environmentalist with a big budget and a bevy of… Read More

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