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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

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

BOE Member George Runner

I Applaud the Howard Jarvis Fire Tax Lawsuit

Today, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed a class action lawsuit against Jerry Brown and the Legislature to overturn the unconstitutional Fire Tax.

As one of California’s elected tax officials, it’s my responsibility to use my elected office to ensure that taxpayers are treated fairly.

Accordingly, I commend the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association for bringing together Californians from every walk of life and region of our state to right the wrong that is the fire tax.

The Governor and Legislature’s willingness to impose such an unfair and regressive tax in direct violation of the Constitution should serve as a wake-up call for all freedom-loving Californians.

I am pleased to lend my full support to this lawsuit, and I look forward to seeing it prevail.… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Serving My Constituents: A Duty and an Honor

According to a recent AP news article (“Calif. tax collector criticized for opposing fee”), several Democratic leaders, including a few of my colleagues, want me to stop my “high profile campaign” against the new “Fire Prevention Fee.” They argue that my role is to simply to collect taxes—not to speak out against them.

They’re right about one thing. I do have a responsibility to administer taxes. I’m doing everything in my power to ensure that this tax, and others, are administered effectively, efficiently and fairly. I’m also encouraging taxpayers to pay their taxes, so they don’t get caught up with penalties and interest.

There’s a reason California has elected tax officials, rather than bureaucrats, in charge of tax administration and appeals. We are elected to represent the taxpayers in our districts. Doing so involves speaking on their behalf.

Accordingly, I respect the right of my Democratic colleagues to speak on behalf of their constituents—even when they disagree with me.

The new “fire fee” is an… Read More

Katy Grimes

Calif. business leakage is a bummer

The word ‘leakage’ is the new politically correct term used by legislators, the Governor, bureaucrats and the California Air Resources Board to describe what happens when California businesses leave the state because of tax increases and stupendous regulations… as if any of them know what it means for a business to make the difficult decision to close a location, terminate hundreds of employees, and move a business.

As The Dude in the Big… Read More

Katy Grimes

Beware Prop. 31: a wolf in sheep’s clothing

With all of the focus on the November ballot initiatives to raise taxes, Proposition 31 seems to have quietly avoided heavy scrutiny in the main stream media thus far. But this initiative is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, pretending to be much-needed reform.

There is growing confusion about ballot title and summaries on California’s ballot initiatives. It’s almost impossible to know how to vote on something. A “no” vote may mean “yes,” and visa versa, given the way the California Attorney General’s office plays fast and loose with writing the titles and summaries of ballot measures.

This is the case with Proposition 31 –what’s up is down, and what appears to be reform, is not. Equally disturbing is how so many of the state’s newspapers are jumping on board this phony “reform” measure. Even the California Republican Party officially endorsed Prop. 31.

However, most voters have grown suspicious of anything… Read More

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