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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

CA still worst run state in nation; Sacramento not far behind

For the third year in a row, California has been named the worst-run state in America, by 24/7 Wall Street. Is it any wonder? With at least10 Californiacitieson the verge of municipal bankruptcy, a $24 billion budget shortfall in 2012, including a mid-year shortfall of $930 million and $8.2 billion carried over from the year before, California is a mess.

“California carries an A credit rating from Standard & Poor’s, and an A1 from Moody’s — both worse than any other state except for Illinois. Explaining its rating, Moody’s pointed to the state’s history of one-time solutions to resolve its budgetary gaps,” 24/7 Wall Street reported inThe Best andRead More

Katy Grimes

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia bucks the ‘inside the beltway’ mentality

Legislators in Sacramento typically fall in line behind party leadership, but freshman Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, appears to have a pronounced independent streak.

I had a chance to talk with Garcia about her experiences as a political reformer, and her recent call for a fellow Democrat, state Sen. Ron Calderon of Montebello, to resign amidFBI allegations of corruption.

Garcia has a solid record fighting political decay. She took on the corruption in Bell, volunteering her time with the city’s recall campaign, which ended with every Bell council member being voted out of office.

Garcia said her co-volunteers then wanted her to run for office.

Running as a government reformer, Garcia beat Democrat Tom Calderon, a former Assemblymanand Sen. Ron Calderon’s brother, in the June 2012 primary. She then went on to win the… Read More

Katy Grimes

Do union activists work for Gov. Brown, farm board?

SACRAMENTO — The revolving door among political consultants, community organizers and state government revolves right into the governor’s office and the Agriculture Labor Relations Board.

In 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Martha Guzman-Aceves deputy legislative secretary for agriculture, environment and natural resources. Before that, she was a founding partner of Cultivo Consulting, which says it engages in lobbying, political campaigning and community organizing in California. It’s a lobbying and outreach firm specializing in social, economic and environmental justice.

She also was listed on 2011 tax returns (pictured nearby) as… Read More

Katy Grimes

Anti-UFW farm workers seek help from Gov. Jerry Brown

Roll over, Cesar Chavez, here comes Silvia Lopez.

Silvia Lopez is a quiet, thoughtful 15-year Gerawan Farming employee, and the de facto leader of thousands of Central Valley farm workers who have been protesting for nearly a year to oust the United Farm Workers union from the farming company.

Seven hundred Gerawan farm workers took a day off without pay and descended on Sacramento Wednesday to attend a meeting at the Agricultural Labor Relations Board. Then they walked to the State Capitol to meet Gov. Jerry Brown.

Six of the farm workers tried to ask Brown to intervene with the ALRB to allow them to vote on whether to keep or oust the UFW from Gerawan Farming. “Jerry Brown, we want an election at Gerawan Farming,” Lopez said, as she approached the governor’s office.

While waiting in the Capitol hallway outside, one of Brown’s employees poked her head out and asked, “Are you guys with… Read More

Katy Grimes

Sacto arena bill signed, but it’s not over yet

I hate “I told ya so” moments.

Gov. Jerry Brown just signed SB 743, “easing environmental regulations for developments in California cities, including a new basketball arena in downtown Sacramento,” the Los Angeles Times said.

In March I predicted Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento would jam legislation through exempting the Sacramento Kings new arena plan from the restrictions of the California Environmental Quality Act, in order to meet a dubious deadline imposed by the NBA.

March 30, after Steinberg’s office told me he did not plan on authoring legislation to streamline or bypass the required environmental process for the proposed Sacramento NBA arena, I predicted they weren’t being straight with me.

Steinberg’s office denied any plan to do this. But the reason I wrote the story and asked about this was I knew this was the next step in scamming the public with the publicly subsidized arena.

The need to bypass California’s absurdly strict environmental guidelines and restrictions prevent most large scale projects from ever taking place without legislative intervention. And Sacramento officials shoved the… Read More

Katy Grimes

FPPC imposes regulation on political bloggers

The California Fair Political Practices Commission just ruled this week to require campaign committees to report to the State who they pay to post “favorable or unfavorable” content on blogs, social media or online videos, on their campaign finance statements.

The committees will also have to report the name of the website where the content appears.

The long arm of the government has found a chilling new way to intimidate new-media.

Political bloggers writing online will be subjected to new disclosure rules under state regulations the Fair Political Practices Commission approved Thursday.

Here’s how the State, under California Code Section 82013, defines a “committee”:

“Committee” means any person or combination of persons who directly or indirectly does any, of the following: (a) Receives contributions totaling one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more in a calendar year. (b) Makes independent expenditures totaling one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more in a calendar year; or (c) Makes contributions totaling ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more in a calendar year to or at the behest of candidates or committees. A person or… Read More

Katy Grimes

CA’s 14 anti-gun bills target legal gun owners

Criminals don’t register their guns with authorities. Despite this indisputable fact, the California Legislature recently passed 14 gun control bills, taking aim at citizens who legally own guns.

California lawmakers are ignoring the historic recall last week of two Colorado state legislators who backed new gun restrictions. And they are ignoring the Bill of Rights. Second Amendment

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” says the Second Amendment within the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution.

The gun control debate waged during the last eight months in the California Legislature has been an attack on the Second Amendment. Democratic lawmakers claim the legislation is… Read More

Katy Grimes

Steinberg’s “enviro reform” hidden under Sacto basketball stadium

The California Legislature ended the 2013 legislative session Thursday by passing hundreds of new bills. Most of the controversial bills were passed along party lines. However a bill from Sen. Pres. Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, granting a Sacramento arena development an exemption from the state’s strict environmental laws, had plenty of help from state Republicans.

Reform or worsen?

Steinberg insists he’s only trying to reform the California Environmental Quality Act. SB 743, is a gut-and-amend bill by Steinberg is titled, “Environmental quality: transit oriented infill projects, judicial review streamlining for environmental leadership development projects, and entertainment and sports center in the City of Sacramento.”

That’s the long way of saying this is not really a CEQA reform bill. It’s a face-saving way out for Steinberg who has been awkwardly intertwined for more than 13 years with the haphazard development of a new sports arena in downtown Sacramento.

On its way to the Gov

This isn’t a one-off bill. Exemptions from the California Environmental Quality Act were granted… Read More

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