69 years ago today, 160,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy France.
We should never forget their bravery and sacrifice.
Posted by Thomas Gordon on June 6, 2013
69 years ago today, 160,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy France.
We should never forget their bravery and sacrifice.
Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 4, 2013
OC Political blogger Allen Wilson reported two hours ago that the FBI had raided the Capitol office of Senator Ron Calderon (D-Montebello). Matt Rexroad of Meridian Pacific notes ironically that Calderon represents the City of Bell in the State Senate.
In addition to raiding Calderon’s Capitol office, the FBI also raided the office
of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, located in the Legislative Office Building, which is across street from the Capitol. Calderon is a member of the Caucus, but the Chair is Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and the Vice Chair is Assemblyman V. Manuel Perez (D-Coachella). Lara told the LA Times he had “no idea” why the Caucus office was being raided. Calderon and his staff have not responded to requests for comment from various media sources. (Update – June 5, 8:20 PM: The Senate Chief Sergeant-at-Arms has issued a retraction of their statement from yesterday; the Caucus office was not raided – it was a second Calderon office. Scroll to the end of this post for the full update.)
The two raids were executed based on an investigation by the United States Attorney for the Central District of California. (The Central District of California consists of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties.)
Though the warrants are sealed, multiple media sources have reported this is part of a wider federal investigation into public corruption in Los Angeles County.
Calderon, who is termed out of the Senate in 2014, has committees open for the 58th Assembly District, currently represented by freshman Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), and for State Controller. When Treasurer Bill Lockyer announced he would retire after the 2014 election rather than run for Controller (as we noted this morning on OC Political), Calderon’s bid for Controller got a big boost; this FBI raid likely cripples Calderon’s bid for controller.
Ron Calderon’s brother, former Senator Charles Calderon (D-Whittier), told the Sacramento Bee: “I’m shocked. Right now we don’t know any facts, and without facts you speculate about the worst. But I know Ron and…I am very confident that he’ll be able to work through this and that when the facts do come out they will show him to have not been involved in anything.”
The office of Assemblyman Ian Calderon (D-Whittier), Charles Calderon’s son and Ron Calderon’s nephew, was not part of today’s raids.
Today’s pair of raids are the first FBI raids in the State Capitol since the 1980s when the Shrimpscam investigation resulted in the conviction and imprisonment of Board of Equalization Member Paul Carpenter (D-Los Angeles), Senator Joseph Montoya (D-La Puente), Assemblyman Pat Nolan (R-Glendale), and Assemblyman Frank Hill (R-Whittier).
Update – June 5, 8:20 PM: It turns out the office of the Latino Caucus was not raided. It was a second office of Senator Ron Calderon. KQED-FM published this statement from State Senate Chief Sergeant-at-Arms Tony Beard:
Yesterday afternoon, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation served sealed warrants to search an office in the State Capitol and the Legislative Office Building.
One of those offices was erroneously identified as an office of the Legislative Latino Caucus, based on an outdated roster of room numbers. The Legislative Latino Caucus moved into new offices earlier this year.
Both offices that are subject to the sealed search warrants are the offices of Senator Calderon; one in the Capitol building and the other in the Legislative Office Building.
This correction illustrates the limited information available to the Legislature. We have and will continue to fully cooperate with the agents.
Posted in California | Tagged: Bell, Bill Lockyer, California Latino Legislative Caucus, Charles Calderon, Cristina Garcia, FBI, Frank Hill, Ian Calderon, Joseph Montoya, Pat Nolan, Paul Carpenter, Ricardo Lara, Ron Calderon, Shrimpscam, V. Manuel Perez | 3 Comments »
Posted by Allen Wilson on June 4, 2013
OC Political learn from Scott Lay of “The Nooner” that State Senator Ron Calderon (D-Whittier) Capitol office was raided by the FBI:
I am hearing from multiple Capitol sources that the FBI has raided the Capitol office of Senator Ron Calderon’s (D-Montebello) . Senate sergeants are currently stationed outside of Calderon’s office. Visitors are simply being told that the office “is closed.”
An FBI raid does not imply guilt, and there is no indication what the investigation is about. The Capitol is abuzz right now that the investigation includes other members, although the subject is unclear.
Investigative Reporter Page St. John of the Los Angeles Times tweets:
FBI confirms it has agents executing a search warrant at the California Capitol, “taking evidence respective to an ongoing investigation
FBI says California Capitol search warrant remains under seal. US Attorney confirms search of office of Sen. Ron Calderon D-Montebello.
Stay tuned for continuing updates here on OC Political with regards to latest rumbling from Sacramento.
Posted by Chris Emami on June 4, 2013
I have to give all the credit to Chris Nguyen for coming up with the headline for this post. He and I were discussing business yesterday and the topic of elected officials retiring came up. Until he mentioned it, I had no clue that California Treasurer Bill Lockyer had announced his retirement.
I did confirm that Lockyer announced his retirement yesterday through an article on Capitol Alert.
Lockyer, 72, a longtime fixture in Democratic politics in California, will leave the Capitol having never lost an election – from a school board contest in San Leandro in 1968 to the Assembly and Senate and then 16 years in statewide office.
Republicans may be thinking to themselves that this is amazingly great news because it frees up a statewide seat for us to contend for. However, they are not taking into account that Bill Lockyer has over $2,000,000 just lying around with nowhere to spend it. He likely won’t spend this on the race for treasurer as it is widely expected that John Chiang who currently holds the office of California Controller is the definite front-runner for the seat.
I expect to see this money end up in a Super PAC and end up getting spent on some different races throughout California (Congress, Ballot Measure, etc…).
Posted by Chris Emami on June 3, 2013
I have a sneaking suspicion that some Democrats were secretly hoping for Irvine to become slightly less safe (on paper), more economically unstable, or have some other kind of issues in order to help put their side back in the majority this next election. Irvine is still extremely safe, which is good news for everyone!
The Irvine Police Department issued a press release that announced that they have for the 9th year in a row, had the lowest per capita violent crime rate. Here is the press release:
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||PRESS RELEASE #6/03/2013|
|Subject :||Irvine – Ninth Year With Lowest Per Capita Violent Crime Rate|
|IRVINE, CA (June 3, 2013): Today, the Federal Bureau of Investigation published its Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report for Part 1 crime reported January through December 2012. Part 1 crimes include, murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, auto theft and arson.
For the ninth consecutive year, the City of Irvine has reported the lowest per capita violent crime rate (murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) for cities of greater than 100,000 in population. In addition to this National distinction, 2012 was also the City’s record low for the per capita violent crime rate.
“Public safety is the City’s most important strategic priority,” Mayor Steven S. Choi said. “So, each year, this very high mark is important to us. Because in the commitment of a City to its citizens, everything flows from public safety. I am proud of our Police Department, our other staff and a community that helps each other. I am very happy that 2012 marked the lowest per capita violent crime rate in Irvine’s history.”
“I remain proud of the men and women of our Department”, Chief Maggard commented. “I am grateful for the efforts they make every day to keep our community safe.”
To view the Uniform Crime Report:
To view the FBI Press Release:
IRVINE POLICE DEPARTMENT One Civic Center Plaza, Irvine, CA 92606 (949) 724-7000 www.irvinepd.org “Working In Partnership with the Community”
Posted by Chris Emami on June 3, 2013
As I still slowly work my way back into blogging I thought I would write a quick piece asking for reader input on the Orange County budget. Now that we are in June most government agencies are in the budgeting phase for the year as of right now and will need to make sure that everything balances.
One interesting story that we did not ever blog here at OC Political was the County of Orange losing the vehicle license fee (VLF) lawsuit recently. Without going into painstaking detail the County withheld money from the State of California and the State of California decides that it wants it back. The State of California sues County of Orange, a trial takes place and a judge rules that the County of Orange is now expected to pay $147,000,000 which I am confident that they do not have lying around.
This leaves an interesting debate as to what will likely get cut out of the budget during this next few weeks. My guess is that as with most agencies, “creative accounting” will deal with some of the losses (although, they are appealing the case). With that being said any readers want to take a guess at what gets cut first?
Posted by The Master Cylinder on May 31, 2013
If “the power to Tax is the Power to Destroy,” then liberal Democrats in the California legislature are the political version of the Death Star.
State legislators last week were rebuffed in their attempts to raise taxes on gas, soda, property, tobacco, strip clubs, shopping bags, mattresses and likely other items that Californian’s choose to use or must use in addition to the $7 billion/year in tax increases they approved in 2012. But lest you feared that the emboldened supermajority had given up the fight, Senator Kevin DeLeon has vowed to get his multi-billion dollar tax increase back on the Senate Floor.
Deleon’s legislation, SB 768, increases taxes on cigarettes by billions – but the tax increase is not the only thing that should concern voters. As currently written, SB 768 would circumvent California’s constitutional protections for school funding approved by voters, shortchanging our schools billions, puts additional burdens on struggling businesses with new bureaucratic reporting requirements at time when they can least afford it and takes billions more from taxpayers, while doing absolutely nothing to help balance our state budget, fund schools, keep criminals in jail or fix our state’s roads. . And that doesn’t even include the increase in criminal activity and enforcement costs associated with a likely increase in cigarette smuggling that accompanies the relentless hiking of sin taxes.
Locally, termed out Senator Correa, running for a seat on the state Board of Equalizaton (BOE), has seen first-hand the power to destroy, and intervened on behalf of his constituents and worked across the aisle with others who are interested in reform of taxing agencies.
Correa should look at Deleon’s legislation closely given Correa’s interest in reform if only because by its own admission the BOE suggests that “large scale bulk smuggling can be a problem” after a significant increase in Cig tax (See CDPH and BOE cites). This isn’t a new problem and but it’s one that’s likely to get much worse if this legislation were to be enacted into law.
According to a recent OC Register article, “Organized criminals are producing cigarettes that mimic American-brand cigarettes and selling them in predominantly ethnic Orange County neighborhoods at drastically reduced prices. It’s quick cash and smugglers face light penalties if caught.”
Hopefully the entire Orange County delegation will stand firm against any measure that increases taxes and promotes smuggling and criminal activity.
Now is not the time for higher taxes – they destroy jobs and hamper economic recovery. Nor should government be in the business of promoting smuggling and criminal activity. Do Sacramento politicians really need more of our money to waste with no accountability?
Posted by Allen Wilson on May 30, 2013
The cities of Cypress and Los Alamitos are in a cat fight over a 33-acre Prologis Project to construct 725,000 square foot warehousing and light manufacturing center.
Earlier this month a meeting was held at a venue between Cypress Councilman Doug Bailey, Los Alamitos Mayor Warren Kusumoto, Assemblyman Travis Allen and Allen’s Chief of Staff.
The initial purpose was to hammer out differences with regards to the Prologis Project between the two cities, but those differences took a ugly turn of allegations by Councilman Bailey that Mayor Kusumoto illegally recorded a conversation.
The Event News reports of much detailed accounts of the allegations made by Councilman Bailey.
The Controversy does not end there as a glossy flyer was disseminated through out the City of Los Alamitos with an Anti-Kusumoto hit piece from an anonymous group that calls themselves “Concerned Los Alamitos Residents”.
Los Alamitos Mayor Kusumoto disputes the claim of an illegal recording.
The Cypress City Council has sent a letter to the Los Alamitos City Council registering their concerns as they have no confidence in Mayor Kusumoto, which is a serious matter as Kusumoto’s integrity is being questioned by many inside and outside of Los Alamitos.
Though, the question needs to be raised with regards to the controversial project that cause spat between two neighboring cities: Why is Assemblyman Allen in the midst of all of this?
Assemblyman Allen says, “We’re trying to get both sides to come together and talk. I think the two communities need to come together and work together for the betterment of both communities.”
Assemblyman Allen has voiced his support on a project that is NOT even in his district, though he is on a “create jobs” mission.
Ironically, the project is in Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva’s district, which she appears to be MIA.
The recording incident is one thing, but the matter reeks corruption as backroom deals diminishes public trust of their own local government, especially when you have a state legislator sitting at the table that only raises eyebrows.
It is with hope that the controversy to be resolved soon so that the residents of Cypress and Los Alamitos get the answers that they deserve.
Posted by nick kump on May 30, 2013
Last month OC Political brought you the emerging story of retroactive taxes on entrepreneurs in California. State Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) and Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo) together authored SB 209, which was supposed to eliminate the Franchise Tax Board’s retroactive tax on individuals who took the California qualified small business stock exemption between 2008 and 2012.
Between 1993 and 2012, the qualified small business stock exemption incentivized investments in California businesses. The exemption allowed individuals who sold their stock in certain California businesses to exclude 50 percent of the stock sale price from their gross income. The qualified small business had to have under $50 million in assets and a substantial amount of assets and payroll in California. When this policy was found to violate the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause by discriminating against out-of-state businesses, the Franchise Tax Board sent tax assessments WITH penalties and interest to all individuals who took the exemption between 2008 and 2012. SB 209 was supposed to eliminate that retroactive tax, but hit an enormous obstacle last week in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Instead of enacting the qualified small business stock exemption as it existed for 20 years and allowing individuals to exclude 50 percent of the stock price from their gross income, the Senate amended the bill to only allow the exclusion of 38 percent of the stock price.
This creates a precarious political situation for this important bill. Because the policy was unconstitutional, the status quo requires individuals to pay the tax on the full 50 percent – thus the need for SB 209 to maintain the exemption for taxpayers between 2008 and 2012 and prevent the retroactive tax. On the one hand, there are liberal democrats who see the qualified small business stock exemption as a tax break and would rather maximize revenue to the general fund.
On the other hand are the most conservative Republicans who steadfastly oppose all taxes in all circumstances. Instead of considering the big picture and the relief SB 209 will provide for individual taxpayers, Republican Senators are concerned about the mere appearance of voting for a tax by supporting the amended SB 209. Although it would be preferable to have the original bill that eliminated the tax altogether, the reality is Senate President Pro Tem Darrel Steinberg runs the Senate and amended the bill as he desired.
So liberal democrats may not support SB 209 because they do not want any exclusion at all and conservative Republicans may not support it because they do not want to support any retroactive tax. Meanwhile innocent taxpayers who made conscious business decisions in order to qualify for the exemption are left on the hook to the tune of over $120 million.
This is not a compromise because no one should ever have retroactive taxes imposed on them like this, but the choice is not between whether to impose retroactive taxes or not. That ship sailed for now with the Appropriations Committee’s amendments. The choice is between reducing the burden on small business owners or not. That should be an easy choice to make, but unfortunately many politicians continue to put politics over substance and we all suffer the consequences.
Find out more about SB 209 and the coalition of entrepreneurs leading the fight against retroactive taxes here: www.cabusinessdefense.org.
Posted by Thomas Gordon on May 28, 2013
Senator Dick Durbin recently asked “What is Freedom of the Press?”
Has this guy taken the time to read the US Constitution?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
What part of “press” doesn’t Democrat Senator Dick Durbin get?
Back when the Founding Fathers wrote the Declaration, they understood that press included pamphleteers, who were the tweeters, Facebooker’s and bloggers of the day.
Yet Dick Durbin, who’s been in office more than 15 years hasn’t quite figured it out yet.
Do you still believe in the First Amendment and that it applies to all?