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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

Redevelopment Monster Is Aliveeee!

Like the Creature of the Walking Dead, a diabolical scientist with an unquenchable thirst for blood, California redevelopment agencies are also back from the dead. Redevelopment was developed in the 1970’s to fight urban blight, but quickly transformed into a corrupt scheme to divert county and state taxes to cities. What could possibly be wrong with “urban-renewal agencies” which float massive debt and routinely misuse eminent domain to seize private property? Ahem. But I digress.

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Kevin Dayton

Legislator Tells County How It Must Bid a Project to Get Prop 1 Water Bond Funds

Apparently the $7.1 billion Proposition 1 water bond is going to win easily on November 4. Politicians already feel comfortable about using the money as leverage to help their political allies.

One California state legislator is already telling local elected officials in his district that they must favor unions in bidding for contracts on a water project. If they don’t follow the directive, Governor Brown won’t give them the $12.5 million (or even $15 million) allegedly reserved for them in Prop 1.

On October 14, Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) was scheduled on the meeting agenda of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors to make a presentation about his legislative accomplishments in 2014. Alejo and his staff had prepared a 25-minute presentation with handouts and PowerPoint slides. (Watch video of the presentation – Item #8 on October 14, 2014.)

Assemblyman Alejo received glowing praise from the Board of Supervisors for his work in the legislature. He told them that Governor Brown had signed 22 of his 23 bills that passed in the 2013-2014 legislative… Read More

Kevin Dayton

Will a Few Republican State Legislators Open Floodgates for Costly Union Control of California Water Projects?

Union lobbyists try to be discreet when they influence the California State Legislature to gain advantages in public contracting. That secrecy is now crumbling in the case of a new “urgency” bill that authorizes a Monterey County water agency to use an alternative bidding procedure to build a pipeline project.

Can unions whip this bill through the legislature before new revelations about backroom deals undermine local support for it? It depends on how many Republicans in the Assembly and Senate see construction union support as useful to their political futures.

A Mundane Objective: Awarding a Contract for a Water Storage Project

The Monterey County WaterResources Agency proposes a $25 million pipeline to improve water storage by transferring water between two reservoirs. It wants to use a construction procurement procedure called “design-build.” Instead of awarding separate design and construction contracts to the lowest responsible bidders, the agency would award one combined contract for the project based on subjective scoring criteria.

Since the early 1990s, the California legislature has passed… Read More

Katy Grimes

Illegal immigrant driver’s license bill races through Legislature

SACRAMENTO — Driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants is back on the table and making its way through the Capitol once again. But this latest bill asserts a licensed driver is a safer driver, based on a new California Department of Motor Vehicles study.

The study, “Fatal Crash Rates for Suspended/Revoked and Unlicensed Drivers,” found that, compared to licensed drivers, suspended or revoked and unlicensed drivers are nearly three times more likely to cause a fatal crash.

Supporters of issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants have jumped on this report as… Read More