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Archive for May, 2013

Sacramento Taxaholics Need Treatment for Cigarette Tax Addiction

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 in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Project + Recording = Controversy

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 in Cypress, Los Alamitos, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Does the First Amendment apply to bloggers?

Posted by Thomas Gordon on May 28, 2013

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Senator Dick Durbin recently asked “What is Freedom of the Press?”

Seriously??

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.

Pathetic

Do you still believe in the First Amendment and that it applies to all?

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments »

States Where You Cannot Make A Safe Run

Posted by Former Blogger Chris Emami on May 28, 2013

By no means am I any less busy than I was before my post stating that I was taking a bit of a break from the blog, but I am trying to crank out a few posts over the next couple of weeks. Many have asked why I was taking the break and I pointed out that a lot of real estate investors have been calling me about potentially flipping houses (Yes, I am a Realtor. Please forgive my shameless plug).

Today, a friend sent me an interesting e-mail about many states having a law stating that you must resign from your current office that you hold in order to run for another one. This type of law would require a candidate to commit to a race and not have the option of making a safe run.

The article did come from Wikipedia and I will openly disclose that now, but I did go through and verify the information on the different websites needed to do so for each state:

Arizona

Section 38-296 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, entitled “Limitation upon filing for election by incumbent of elective office” states:

  1. Except during the final year of the term being served, no incumbent of a salaried elective office, whether holding by-election or appointment, may offer himself for nomination or election to any salaried local, state or federal office.
  2. An incumbent of a salaried elected office shall be deemed to have offered himself for nomination or election to a salaried local, state or federal office upon the filing of a nomination paper pursuant to section 16-311, subsection A or formal public declaration of candidacy for such office whichever occurs first.”

There is no definition of what constitutes a “formal public declaration,” thereby creating an ambiguity that is currently a matter of controversy in Arizona.

Florida

Section 99.012 of the Florida Statutes states: “No officer may qualify as a candidate for another public office, whether state, district, county or municipal, if the terms or any part thereof run concurrently with each other, without resigning from the office he or she presently holds.”

Georgia

Article II, Section 2, Paragraph V of the 1983 Constitution of Georgia reads: “The office of any state, county, or municipal elected official shall be declared vacant upon such elected official qualifying, in a general primary or general election, or special primary or special election, for another state, county, or municipal elective office or qualifying for the House of Representatives or the Senate of the United States if the term of the office for which such official is qualifying for begins more than 30 days prior to the expiration of such official’s present term of office.”

Hawaii

In 1978, Article II, Section 7 was added to the Constitution of Hawaii to include resign-to-run: “Any elected public officer shall resign from that office before being eligible as a candidate for another public office, if the term of the office sought begins before the end of the term of the office held.”

Texas

Article 16, Section 65(b) of the Constitution of Texas states: “If any of the officers named herein shall announce their candidacy, or shall in fact become a candidate, in any General, Special or Primary Election, for any office of profit or trust under the laws of this State or the United States other than the office then held, at any time when the unexpired term of the office then held shall exceed one year and 30 days, such announcement or such candidacy shall constitute an automatic resignation of the office then held, and the vacancy thereby created shall be filled pursuant to law in the same manner as other vacancies for such office are filled.”

The “officers named herein” are listed in Article 16, Section 65(a):

  • District Clerks
  • County Clerks
  • County Judges
  • Judges of the County Courts at Law
  • Judges of the County Criminal Courts
  • Judges of the County Probate Courts
  • Judges of the County Domestic Relations Courts
  • County Treasurers
  • Criminal District Attorneys
  • County Surveyors
  • County Commissioners
  • Justices of the Peace
  • Sheriffs
  • Assessors and Collectors of Taxes
  • District Attorneys
  • County Attorneys
  • Public Weighers
  • Constables

I would love to hear what our readers think about California implementing a law like this. What are your thoughts?

Posted in California | 3 Comments »

We shall never forget

Posted by Thomas Gordon on May 27, 2013

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It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived. — George S. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Assembly Candidate announces campaign in Neighboring District

Posted by Allen Wilson on May 25, 2013

On May 2nd, OC Political posted an article by asking the question:  “Ling-Ling Chang runs for council re-election AND Assembly?”

In today’s edition of the Diamond Bar-Walnut Patch answers the question with confirmation that Councilwoman Chang is indeed running for both offices, which means running dual campaigns is a tough one with considerable political risks.

Though, Councilwoman Chang made her announcement at a press conference at Pacific Palms Resort in the City of Industry, which is located in the 57th Assembly District represented by Assemblyman Ian Calderon (D-Whittier).

However, an Assembly Candidate should make such announcement in the district he/she running for and not a neighboring district.

Suffice to say…pulling up an Assembly District is very simple by going to Google. 

Whoever advised Councilwoman Chang to hold a press conference in a neighboring district has committed a huge political blunder for the candidate.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

Big Labor’s Power Grab In Orange County Does Not Equal Worker Protection

Posted by Dave Everett on May 25, 2013

Big Labor’s power grab in California is more aggressive than ever. It is even creeping into Orange County. In just the past year, we have seen unions try and pass several discriminatory Project Labor Agreements (or PLAs) that virtually guarantee that all of the work will be limited to the 16% of the California construction market that is union. This week, the Coast Community College District rejected a PLA, but the unfair special interest deals are still pending at Rancho Santiago Community College (thanks to Jose Solorio) and at the Naval Weapons Station in Seal Beach (thanks to Obama.) We even saw unions fighting against local control in Newport Beach and the Orange County Fairgrounds (Thanks Jerry Brown for appointing union boss Nick Berardino. The Fair policy now even discriminates against non-union veterans certified in the military.) And of course unions dumped nearly a half million dollars of their special interest money from out of town to defeat the Costa Mesa 2012 City Charter.

In every public comment debate on these Orange County issues, the unions always claim that they are pushing for their virtual monopoly on the work so that they can protect workers and make sure they are not exploited by evil capitalists trying to skirt labor laws. But as you can see from the number of violations that were discovered and reported to LAUSD’s labor compliance program and the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, union work does not equal regulatory compliance. In fact, after months of inactivity by both entities, CCCG took dramatic action and requested revocation of LAUSD’s labor compliance program since they would not do anything about the 70 cheated construction workers owed over $91,000 in back wages.

It seems the unions don’t monitor their union “brothers” too well. Shocking, I know. Maybe more shocking is that unions are now pushing a bill in the State Senate to allow ONLY UNION PROGRAMS TO MONITOR LABOR LAWS! Earlier this month, on May 9, 2013, SB 776 passed 24-10 off Senate Floor with bipartisan opposition – including OC Democrat State Senator Lou Correa who voted against it. Hopefully more moderate Democrats will realize that letting the fox guard the henhouse isn’t good for quality building or for worker protection. Here is the full press release on the violations:

cccg

70 Cheated Construction Workers Win Over $91,000 in Back Wages, CA Senate Still Votes to End Program

Sacramento – On May 9, 2013, SB 776 passed 24-10 off Senate Floor with bipartisan opposition. It now moves to the California State Assembly. SB 776 would change the current law, so that only union-controlled worker protection programs exist – eliminating the California Construction Compliance Group (CCCG.)

Ironically, as a result of an CCCG labor compliance audit, the Los Angeles Unified School District recently collected over $91,000 in unpaid wages owed to The Masonry Group California, Inc. employee’s who perform work on the Valley Region High School Number 5 project. The beneficiaries of the settlement include over 70 workers of the now defunct The Masonry Group, a company that is currently in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

In 2010, ABC-CCC dba CCCG performed an audit of construction contractor compliance the LAUSD’s Valley Region High School Number 5 project. A number of violations were discovered and reported to LAUSD’s labor compliance program and the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. After months of inactivity by both entities, CCCG took dramatic action and requested revocation of LAUSD’s labor compliance program. The revocation request got LAUSD’s labor compliance program moving and CCCG’s complaints and audits were properly investigated. After investigation of The Masonry Group’s practices and years of litigation, LAUSD was able to recover $91,688.98 in back wages, $2,181.27 in training fees and $28,950.00 in penalties. Because The Masonry Group seemingly disappeared, Turner Construction, the general on the project, was the party that ultimately made things right for the underpaid employees.

As acknowledged in the June 27, 2011, Request for Approval of Forfeiture & Penalties from LAUSD Labor Compliance Officer Nancy Morada to the Susan Nakagama of the DLSE Bureau of Field Enforcement, it was CCCG’s complaint that prompted the investigation of The Masonry Group:

cccg2

In the words of John Loudon, Executive Director of the California Construction Compliance Group, “Without our efforts, these gross underpayments would have been undetected. This is a great day for these workers who did the work and were severely underpaid in violation of the law. We appreciate that LAUSD and Turner Construction were able to work out a reasonable settlement. Sadly, Turner is stuck holding the bag for the misdeeds of The Masonry Group. I hope that Turner is ultimately able to get justice through the system and make the guilty party pay”.

“In a strange irony, we received word of this victory the same day Senator Ellen Corbett, at the bidding of organized labor unions, passed SB 776 out of the California Senate. This bill is designed to bar us from monitoring and enforcing prevailing wage laws. I wonder whether these workers support the move the union bosses are pushing,” said Loudon.

For Immediate Release
Contact: John Loudon 619-575-2225

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Posted in 34th Senate District, Rancho Santiago Community College District, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

President Obama-Drone Ranger

Posted by Thomas Gordon on May 24, 2013

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Earlier this week President Barack Obama reaffirmed his intention to continue the use of Predator drones to seek and kill enemy combatants who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the USA.

But what about the 4 American citizens killed by drones without due process?

Should the USA kill American citizens abroad or even spy on American citizens here without first giving them a day in court?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

2nd Supervisorial Watch: Ed Royce and Dana Rohrabacher Endorses Michelle Steel

Posted by Dominus on May 23, 2013

Today the Michelle Steel for Supervisor campaign sent out this press release:

ORANGE COUNTY GOP CONGRESSMAN ENDORSE MICHELLE STEEL FOR SUPERVISOR

Huntington Beach, CA – Michelle Steel’s campaign for County Supervisor continued to gather momentum today, with the announcement that she has been endorsed by Republican Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher and Ed Royce.

Michelle Steel is the Vice Chair of the California State Board of Equalization, where she has represented Orange County for the past six years. She is running for Supervisor in the 2nd district.

“I have known Michelle all my life,” said Rep. Rohrabacher.  “She is honest, a hard worker and a patriot.”

“Michelle Steel is a champion for Orange County taxpayers on the BOE and I am confident she will continue her strong advocacy for taxpayers and small business owners as a County Supervisor,” said Rep. Royce.

Both Congressmen made a guest appearance at Michelle Steel’s fundraiser, hosted by OC Republican Party Chairman Scott Baugh, which brought her campaign for Supervisor to over $460,000 in the bank with another $40,000 in pledges.

“It is an honor to have the support of Representatives Rohrabacher and Royce and to know that they have faith in my ability to represent the taxpayers of the 2nd district,” said Steel.

While we will have to wait and see if Michelle Steel can raise a total of $500,000 by June 30, her current cash on hand is an impressive number in itself.  It is hard to get donors to write big checks these days when the economy is still sputtering.

Posted in 2nd Supervisorial District | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

OC settles Bill Hunt lawsuit

Posted by Thomas Gordon on May 23, 2013

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The County of Orange has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by former Sheriff candidate Lt Bill Hunt for almost $ 2 Million according to the OC Register.

Bill Hunt was demoted to patrol duty after he waged an unsuccessful campaign for Sheriff against Mike Corona who is currently serving a 66 month sentence in a Colorado Federal prison for witness tampering and conspiracy.

Bill Hunt announced during his runs for Sheriff that he would make Orange County California’s first “Shall Issue” county.

Mr Hunt currently owns and operates his own private investigation company .

Posted in Orange County | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

 
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