Tag Archives: California

California “snafu” releases personal information of nearly 4,000 gun safety instructors

clerical-error

From Fox News: The private information of thousands of California firearms instructors was accidentally released by the state late last year in response to a journalist’s Freedom of Information request.

The data request was made in August, when a reporter for Southern California Public Radio (KPCC), an NPR affiliate, sought all information on Firearms Safety Certifications available from the California Department of Justice.

The information was released in October, and a clerical error gave the reporter wide access to the personal information of 3,424 firearms instructors — whose dates of birth, driver’s license numbers and California identification numbers were handed over, according to NRA-ILA, the legislative arm of the National Rifle Association.

The error was caught two months later, and the California DOJ sent out a letter to all of the Golden State’s instructors letting them know their personal information had been compromised.

“The Department discovered the data breach on October 17, 2016, and notified the requestor of the error and asked that the information be destroyed and that no further dissemination of it occur,” said the letter, sent by the Office of the Attorney General Kamala Harris. Harris is now a U.S. senator.

The letter also recommended the firearm instructors place a fraud alert on their credit. Since driver’s license numbers are appealing to identity thieves, a fraud alert could prevent criminals from misusing someone’s personal data.

NRA officials blasted the California DOJ for its data breach and questioned why it took the department so long to alert the thousands who were affected. “This privacy breach is just another example of the California Department of Justice’s disregard for the rights of gun owners,” Jennifer Baker, director of public affairs for the NRA, said to FoxNews.com.  “There’s no reason why the private information of firearms instructors should have been released – the DOJ redacts information all the time.”

Baker also questioned the length of time it took the state to inform victims of the breach.  “It’s time the California government start awarding gun owners the same respect as it does non-gun owners.”

Some security experts said that while it wasn’t a significant data breach, there is still cause for concern. “The main concern, if any, would be identity theft, simply because it is so prevalent,” police consultant and retired Los Angeles Police Lt. Raymond Foster said to FoxNews.com. “I don’t think anyone would threaten these instructors, but one concern is that many of them are retired police officers and that could put them at an additional risk. Most of them when they are off-duty like to lie low and blend in. But I’d imagine that NPR would never publish this info and would likely just rip it up.”

The reporter, who the NRA-ILA identifies as Aaron Mendelson, acknowledged in his FOIA request that part of his request would be redacted. “…Please inform me of the redaction and the legal justification for it,” said the request, which was obtained by FoxNews.com.

Since receiving the data, it appears that none of the information has been published in any recent stories. In its letter to firearm instructors, the California DOJ said that it had asked the reporter to destroy the information he received and if he did not do so he would face legal action.

Neither Mendelson nor officials for Southern California Public Radio immediately returned calls for comment.

Gun instructors in California took the news of their information being released in stride. Dennis Santiago, an independent gun safety instructor in the Los Angeles area, who received the DOJ letter, told FoxNews.com he at first thought it was a hacking incident. “I was speaking with other instructors at a gun shop about it and they didn’t seem too concerned,” Santiago said. “They took it as being the cost of being in America.”

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Officer was wrong to arrest preacher for reading Bible at DMV, court rules

In April 2011, I told you about Mark Mackey, a member of the Calvary Chapel (Hemet, California), who was arrested outside of a DMV. He had showed up to read the Bible and introduce those waiting in line to the “gospel of Jesus Christ.” For about 15 minutes he was successful. That is until a California Highway Patrolman took the Bible from his hands, arrested him, and told him he was guilty of preaching to a “captive audience.”

Last Wednesday Mark was vindicated.

From Fox News: A police officer lacked probable cause to arrest a preacher for reading the Bible aloud at a California Department of Motor Vehicles office, a federal appeals court says. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling Wednesday rejected a lower court opinion that found in favor of California Highway Patrol Officer Darren Meyer.

Calvary Church pastor Mark Mackey had sued Meyer, saying his Fourth Amendment rights were violated when Meyer arrested him for preaching without a permit outside the Hemet DMV in 2011.

Meyer asserted that Mackey’s preaching led to a verbal altercation with people standing in line to get into the office. But the court said that assertion was “completely belied” by video. “You can preach on your own property,” Meyer is heard saying in the video.

“Folks, this is what the United States is coming to,” Mackey is heard saying. “You can talk about anything you want, but you can’t talk about the Bible.”

The video, which was featured on Fox News, went viral online, the Riverside Press Enterprise reported Thursday.

Mackey’s reaction to the ruling was “justice still prevails,” while Meyer declined comment, the paper reported.

Mackey was eventually cleared of the misdemeanor criminal charges brought against him.

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Illegal immigrant suspected of sexually assaulting 5-year-old in California

cubia-illegal-fullteron-pd-photo

Illegal alien Rigoberto Arevalo Cubias/Fullerton PD photo

#BuildTheWall

From Fox News: Authorities in Southern California were searching for an illegal immigrant from El Salvador on Wednesday who is accused of sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl.

Fullerton police said Rigoberto Arevalo Cubias, 30, is suspected of engaging in sexual intercourse of sodomy with a child under the age of 10 years old after an investigation, which started in late December. Authorities believe Cubias might have a fraudulent California driver’s license, according to CBS Los Angeles.

Cubias also has an outstanding $50,000 arrest warrant from a 2014 DUI. Police say he goes under many different aliases, including Jose Cubias, Jose Cubias Arevalo, Jose Riberto Cubias and Jose Alfonso Cubias Arevalo. Investigators Cubias may have ditched his car and cellphone in an attempt to throw off police.

“Detectives believe that Cubias now knows he is wanted by police and he is on the run from law enforcement. He has discarded his previously owned vehicle and cellular phone in what Detectives believe is an attempt to elude capture,” police said in a news release.

He’s described as a Hispanic male, about 5-feet 7-inches tall, weighing 185 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information about Cubias is asked to call Fullerton police Det. Carin Wright at 714-738-6754.

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Jerry Brown says state faces first budget deficit since 2012 – a $2 billion deficit

government spending

Why is it always a revenue shortfall and never a spending problem? That’s a rhetorical question, of course.

From SFGate: Lagging revenues have put the state’s financial outlook on shaky ground, and Gov. Jerry Brown warned Tuesday that California could face a $2 billion deficit if spending is not tempered.

In unveiling a $122.5 billion general fund budget proposal for the 2017-18 fiscal year, Brown said the projected deficit can be eliminated and he proposed moves that might make the Democrat-controlled Legislature cringe.

Among them are:

  • Spending $2 billion more on public schools and community colleges in 2017-18 instead of $3.8 billion more by adjusting the Proposition 98 formula that guarantees funding. K-14 would receive $73.5 billion in the next fiscal year under the proposed budget.
  • Eliminating last year’s one-time allocation of $400 million for affordable housing that was never spent.
  • Eliminating last year’s one-time allocation of $300 million for state building modernization that was never spent
  • Pausing rate increases for child care and freezing Middle Class scholarships so that no new students receive them. Also freezing state spending, including money that implements new legislation.

“We are in very uncertain times,” Brown said. “We are subject to a lot of unpredictability … I think it is time for precaution.”

Budget negotiations in recent years have been characterized by Brown’s insistence that the state be cautious in its spending, with his January proposal providing a starting point for six months of negotiations with Democrats who have in previous years urged more spending on social programs.

This is the first time since 2012-2013 that the governor’s budget projected a deficit. The governor cited lower than expected revenue, which fell short of estimates in five of the past seven months. Despite that, revenues are up 3 percent overall.

Last year, Brown and legislative leaders reached a budget deal days before the June 15 deadline for the state Legislature to pass the annual spending plan. With that deal in place, Brown uncharacteristically did not use his authority to change the budget passed by the Legislature

The current budget totals $122 billion and bolsters the $6.7 billion rainy day fund. The current budget also sends $71.9 billion to K-12 schools and community colleges, the highest amount sent to schools under the state’s minimum funding guarantee. That brought the per student spending in K-12 schools to $10,643, which is up $3,600 since 2011-12.

Under the budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins July 1, Brown wants to expand the rainy day fund by another $1 billion.

State lawmakers have emphasized the need to address the state’s woefully dated roads and bridges. In his budget, the governor pushed the same transportation package he introduced in 2015, which provides $4.2 billion each year to address the state’s highway system, much of which was built between the 1950s and early 1970s.

Brown’s transportation plan includes a new $65 highway user fee paid by California drivers plus higher taxes at the gas pump.

Population increases in recent decades along with more trucks on the roadways due to increased international trade moving goods from the state’s ports has placed additional pressure on the aging highways. At the same time, fuel-efficient cars have become more popular, leading to a decrease in the amount of the taxes collected at the pump to pay for the transportation infrastructure.

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California Agrees to Fund the Country’s First Inmate Sex-Reassignment Surgery

shiloh-heavenly-quine

The murderer can finally feel complete. Don’t think I can say the same for his victim and the family members.

From Yahoo: A 57-year-old convicted killer serving a life sentence in California became the first U.S. inmate to receive state-funded sex-reassignment surgery, the prisoner’s attorneys confirmed Friday to The Associated Press.

California prison officials agreed in August 2015 to pay for the surgery for Shiloh Heavenly Quine, who was convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery for ransom and has no possibility of parole.

Quine’s case led the state to become the first to set standards that will allow other transgender to inmates apply to receive state-funded sex-reassignment surgery. It also prompted a federal magistrate to require California to provide transgender female inmates housed in men’s facilities with more female-oriented items such as nightgowns, scarves and necklaces.

“For too long, institutions have ignored doctors and casually dismissed medically necessary and life-saving care for transgender people just because of who we are,” said Kris Hayashi, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, which represents Quine and other transgender inmates. Completion of the surgery not only fulfills a landmark legal settlement but marks a victory “for all transgender people who have ever been denied the medical care we need,” Hayashi said.

Quine will be moved to a women’s prison after the operation, which was performed at a hospital in San Francisco, her attorneys said. Quine told a prison psychologist who recommended her him for the operation that it would bring a “drastic, internal completeness.”

She He expects it will end a dysfunction and depression so deep that she he tried to cut and hang herself himself in prison five times, most recently in 2014 when she he was initially told she he could not have the operation. Quine said she he tried unsuccessfully to amputate her his genitalia when she was about 19, three years before she he went to prison and roughly the same time she he tried self-medicating with illegally purchased female hormones.

She He and an accomplice are serving life terms for kidnapping and fatally shooting 33-year-old Shahid Ali Baig in downtown Los Angeles in February 1980, stealing $80 and his car during a drug- and alcohol-fueled rampage. Baig left behind two young daughters and a son.

Joyce Hayhoe, a spokeswoman for the federal court-appointed official who controls California’s prison medical care, said the cost of sex-reassignment surgeries could approach $100,000, including procedures and medications before and after the operation. Attorneys at the Oakland-based Transgender Law Center said that figure is exaggerated.

A portion of the state’s expense will generally be reimbursed by the federal government, Hayhoe said. The percentage varies depending on individual circumstances, but it can cover up to 95 percent of allowable charges.

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California SEIU contract includes 9 to 19 percent raises for many workers

California Gov. Jerry Brown is surrounded by unidentified SEIU workers after signing a bill creating the highest statewide minimum wage at $15 an hour by 2022 at the Ronald Reagan building in Los Angeles, Monday, April 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

California Gov. Jerry Brown is surrounded by unidentified SEIU workers after signing a bill creating the highest statewide minimum wage at $15 an hour by 2022 at the Ronald Reagan building in Los Angeles, Monday, April 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

From Sacramento Bee: A proposed contract for state government’s largest union includes dozens of special pay raises for certain workers that could increase their salaries by as much as 19 percent next year, according to new details released this week by the bargaining units.

The biggest gains would go to financial experts working for departments like CalPERS, as well as workers with specialized training in competitive career fields.

Most actuaries next year would receive a 15 percent salary bump on top of the standard 4 percent raise that all workers represented by SEIU Local 1000 would gain. In general, they’re financial planners working for CalPERS who earn between $7,300 and $10,000 a month.

In total, the proposed SEIU contract would raise their salaries by 19 percent next year. Many vocational nurses would receive an 11.25 percent wage hike on top of the union’s 4 percent general salary increase.

Other job classifications, from tax auditors to environmental planners, would receive a 5 percent special salary hike next in addition to the general SEIU raise. Custodians, too, would gain 3 percent on top of the standard raise.

The state and its unions regularly conduct salary surveys, and special salary adjustments are intended to keep certain careers competitive with the private sector. A 2014 state salary survey showed that many SEIU workers had fallen behind their peers outside of state government.

Since then, the union and the state have studied how to offer better incentives for those high-demand workers.

SEIU Local 1000 Vice President Margarita Maldonado

SEIU Local 1000 Vice President Margarita Maldonado

“A lot of this came out of the state’s inability to recruit or retain” for competitive career fields, said SEIU Local 1000 Vice President Margarita Maldonado. “The work they do is really good quality work. As soon as (other employers) find out, (the workers) are getting a lot more money” and job offers.

SEIU Local 1000 members will vote on the contract between Jan. 4 and Jan. 17. It published the tentative agreement this week, and it has been hosting meetings for its members to learn more about it. The union’s advisory commission endorsed it last weekend.

SEIU Local 1000 was on the brink of a strike over the contract two weeks ago, arguing that its members deserved better than Gov. Jerry Brown’s initial contract offer. Brown had proposed a series of four annual raises of about 3 percent each, offset by rising employee contributions for retiree health care.

In broad terms, SEIU’s tentative contract looks similar to Brown’s proposal, although it delays and reduces the retiree health care contributions. It provides a $2,500 bonus this year, a 4 percent raise in 2017, a 4 percent raise in 2018 and a 3.5 percent raise in 2019.

Some of its members were angered when they saw that outline. One state worker even created a contract calculator online where SEIU members could compare Brown’s offer to the one SEIU negotiated.

But the new details reveal that thousands of SEIU members across a broad range of careers stand to gain significantly more money than the initial outline suggested. Maldonado characterized the base wage increase of 11.5 percent over four years as the floor of the agreement, with some workers gaining as much as 27 percent through 2019.

The California Department of Human Resources and the Legislative Analyst’s Office have not yet released an estimate regarding the contract’s total cost.

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California bill creates deportation ‘safe zones’ for undocumented immigrants

No “wall of justice” for these folks in California: Kate Steinle, those who were killed by an illegal in the LA fire deaths in June, Jonathan Montez, the two-year-old beaten and paralyzed by an illegal alien, the 64-year-old woman who was raped and and fatally bludgeoned in 2015 by illegal alien on probation, or the two deputies killed during a shooting rampage  in 2014 by twice-deported illegal aliens. How humane…

Kate Steinle, murdered by an illegal alien in California

Kate Steinle, murdered by an illegal alien in California

From Sacramento Bee: Ahead of an expected hardline approach on illegal immigration under President-elect Donald Trump, California officials are proposing to further restrict the ability of federal authorities to detain and deport the approximately 2.3 million undocumented immigrants illegal aliens living in the state.

Illegal alien sympathizer Kevin de Leon

Illegal alien sympathizer and enabler Kevin de Leon

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, on Wednesday announced a bill that would prohibit state and local law enforcement, including school police and security departments, from using their resources for immigration enforcement.

Senate Bill 54 would also create “safe zones” at public schools, hospitals and courthouses where immigrant enforcement would be banned, and require state agencies to update their confidentiality policies so that information on individuals’ immigration status is not shared for enforcement purposes.

“To the millions of undocumented residents illegal aliens pursuing and contributing to the California dream, the state of California will be your wall of justice should the incoming administration adopt an inhumane and overreaching mass-deportation policy,” de León said in a statement. “We will not stand by and let the federal government use our state and local agencies to separate mothers from their children.”

Trump has raised the alarm of California’s large Latino population and Democratic political leaders by promising to deport or jail perhaps as many as 3 million undocumented immigrants who are criminals.

They have already vowed to resist his policies, including by introducing measures this week to provide legal assistance for immigrants facing deportation proceedings, though de León’s statement also made clear that SB 54 would not prevent law enforcement from complying with warrants to transfer violent offenders into federal custody.

liar-liar

LIAR. The illegal alien killer of Kate Steinle  had a rap sheet of seven felonies, was deported five times, and in March of 2015 was released from San Francisco Jail despite immigration authorities asking that he be held.

Deportations previously reached record levels under President Barack Obama – more than 2.5 million by 2015. California officials responded with the “Trust Act,” a 2013 law limiting the state’s cooperation with federal enforcement, including forbidding state and local agencies from holding undocumented immigrants at the request of federal authorities.

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