Tag Archives: Jerry Brown

California tax board leader urged quick hirings to get state workers better pensions

jerome horton

Jerome Horton: Working hard for the taxpayer…

From Wikipedia: The State Board of Equalization (BOE) is a public agency charged with tax administration and fee collection in the state of California in the United States. The authorities of the Board fell into four broad areas: sales and use taxes, property taxes, special taxes, and acting as an appellate body for franchise and income tax appeals. The BOE is the only publicly elected tax commission in the United States. In June 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation stripping the Board of most of its powers.

Why did Brown do this? Again, from Wikipedia:

Each year, the Board spends at least $3 million on education events where elected member appear before their constituents. In 2016, it was revealed that Board Chairman Jerome Horton had spent $130,000 on designer office furniture, prompting criticism. Horton had been previously criticized over $731,835 in donations his wife’s organizations had accepted from companies with matters before the Board.

In March 2017, an audit by the California Department of Finance revealed missing funds and signs of nepotism, leading to calls for the governor to put the Board under a public trustee. In June 2017, the California Department of Justice began a criminal investigation into the members of the Board.

On June 27, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law legislation stripping the Board of its powers.  The legislation created two new departments controlled by the governor responsible for the Board’s statutory duties, the California Department of Tax Fee Administration and the California Office of Tax Appeals.

The Board still has its constitutional powers to review property tax assessments, insurer tax assessment, alcohol excise tax, and pipeline taxes. The Board will retain 400 employees, with the rest of its 4,800 workers being shifted to the new departments.

Jerome Horton has worked at the BOE for for over 20 years. Guess he has quite the shady background. Read about it here from this 2011 article about him illegally funneling money to a friend.

Par for the course for demorat politicians in California.

From Sacramento Bee (by Adam Ashton): The elected leader of a California tax agency urged its executives to speed hiring for a project in late 2012 so new employees would benefit from more generous pension plans, according to documents obtained by The Bee.

Emails show that Board of Equalization member Jerome Horton wanted the agency to quickly fill positions for a new customer service call center in Culver City during the fall of 2012 before less lucrative pension rules kicked in Jan. 1, 2013.

The documents show that the agency did not have office space for new employees. Horton, who was chairman of the board at the time, nonetheless wanted to bring on new employees for the call center and train them at other sites around Southern California. The agency ultimately hired 25 workers the last week of the year, with some of them assigned to the call center.

During the week of September 2012 that Gov. Jerry Brown signed a pension reform law, Horton wrote an email that read, “I would recommend that we do everything possible to excellerate (sic) our hiring process and assist our team members with retirement plans.”

That email and others were uncovered by auditors at the Department of Finance, who released a report earlier this year describing how elected leaders at the Board Of Equalization intervened in daily decision-making at the tax agency. The audit prompted lawmakers in June to strip the agency of most of its power and almost all of its 4,200 employees.

Until the Legislature gutted it this year, the Board of Equalization managed dozens of tax programs, collected about $60 billion a year in revenue and settled disputes between taxpayers and tax collectors.

The call center in Horton’s district stood out to auditors because they found that the five-member board that managed the agency never voted to open the site. Auditors wrote that Horton was “involved” in its creation and cited the call center as an example of an elected board member overstepping boundaries.

“The practice of individual board members intervening in the daily BOE operating activities creates inconsistencies in operations, breakdowns in centralized processes, and in certain instances result in activities contrary to state law,” the audit said.

Next week, the call center is scheduled to close. The department that the Legislature created to replace the Board of Equalization chose to consolidate the call center’s responsibilities with a larger customer service center in Sacramento.

The last two employees who worked at the Culver City call center will be reassigned to other offices by Monday, Department of Tax and Fee Administration spokesman Paul Cambra said. At some point, the new department plans to add staff at its primary Sacramento call center.

The documents that describe the Culver City call center’s creation shed light on a late 2012 hiring spree at the Board of Equalization, when 25 new employees started their jobs in between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Ten of the hires reported for their first day of work on Dec. 31, 2012, securing the more generous pension plans that were phased out for new state employees a day later. A Board of Equalization spokesman previously told The Bee that several of the New Year’s Eve hires went to work at the Culver City call center.

Hiring spiked throughout California government in the holiday week of 2012, with people beginning public-sector jobs at triple the normal rate for the last week of the year, according to a Bee analysis of records from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. The trend was especially pronounced at the Board of Equalization and at CalPERS.

Brown’s pension reform law rolled back some of the generous incentives lawmakers granted to public workers during the dot-com boom. As a result, public employees who started their jobs after Jan. 1, 2013 have to work seven years longer to retire with a pension that gives them 2 percent of their salary for each year service. Previously, most public employees could get that rate at age 55.

Although the Board of Equalization did not cast a vote on opening the Culver City center, documents show that Horton and the agency advanced it publicly. In November 2012, the agency published a press release announcing a job fair for the customer service center.

“What better gift to receive than a job for the holidays?” his 2012 press release read.

Horton’s messages to Board of Equalization executives in late 2012 show that he knew the agency did not have real estate for the new office. He pitched a proposal to place new workers in other offices for temporary assignments where they could learn from the agency staff members who worked for elected members.

A 2014 Board of Equalization report on the Culver City center said it opened and began taking calls on April 2, 2013.

Horton, who worked for the Board of Equalization for more than 20 years before going into politics, said the agency’s executive team approved the project and discussed its development with board members at different times in 2012.

“Although I have no authority over the hiring, training, or construction process, according to the administration, the agency followed proper protocol and obtained approval from (the state human resources department) to commence the hiring process and authorization to actually hire the employees in question,” he wrote in an email to The Bee.

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New California law allows sex offenders to be removed from registry

scott wiener

Bill author State Senator Scott Wiener

What could possible go wrong?

From SF Gate: Ninety percent of California sex offenders will no longer be required to register with law enforcement for life under a bill that Gov. Jerry Brown signed Friday. The change is one of several sweeping alterations to the state’s 70-year-old registry contained in SB384 by Sen. Scott Wiener (read about his background here), D-San Francisco.

The bill allows most sex offenders to petition beginning in 2021 to be removed from both the public and the police registries 10 to 20 years after they are released from prison, as long as they have not committed another serious or violent felony or sex crime.

Brown had previously indicated he would sign the reform, which for years stalled amid pushback from reluctant lawmakers who did not want to be seen as soft on crime. The bill was pushed by law enforcement agencies, that argued that California’s sex offender registry is so large that officers and the public can’t determine who is at high risk for reoffending. The registry has 100,000 sex offenders — meaning 1 in 400 Californians is on it.

California is one of four states to require lifetime registration.

“With this reform, our law enforcement agencies will be able to better protect people from violent sex offenders rather than wasting resources tracking low-level offenders who pose little or no risk of repeat offense,” Wiener said in a statement. “Our sex offender registry is a tool used to prevent and investigate crimes, and these changes will make it a better and more effective tool for keeping our communities safe.”

The state’s registry will have now have three tiers, with the first tier allowing people convicted of crimes like misdemeanor sexual battery, misdemeanor possession of child pornography and indecent exposure to petition to be removed from the registry after 10 years. Tier one has the largest number of sex offenders, with up to 65,000 people potentially falling into that category.

Those offenders would not all come off the registry at once since a portion of those people would not have finished waiting the mandatory minimum of 10 years on the registry after their release from prison.

The next tier includes people convicted of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, oral copulation with a minor under 14 years old and non-forced sodomy with a minor under 14 years old. The second tier, which requires sex offenders to register for a minimum of 20 years, has potentially 24,000 people.

Crimes like rape, sex crimes against children 10 and younger, repeated sex crimes and sex trafficking minors, put a sex offender in a third tier that requires them to be on registry for life. That tier has an estimated 8,200 people.

LGBTQ groups like Equality California supported the bill, saying the changes will help gay and lesbian people who were targeted by police for crimes like consensual sex among adults in a park.

Read the rest of the story here.

FYI: Bill author Scott Wiener is a homosexual who has TDS.

DCG

Claro que si: Brown signs bill making California a sanctuary state

mexifornia

The death of Kate Steinle meant NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING to the demorats running California.

From Yahoo: California Gov. Jerry Brown signed sanctuary state legislation Thursday that extends protections for immigrants living in the United States illegally — a move that gives the nation’s most populous state another tool to fight President Donald Trump.

Brown’s signature means that police will be barred from asking people about their immigration status or participating in federal immigration enforcement activities starting Jan. 1. Jail officials only will be allowed to transfer inmates to federal immigration authorities if they have been convicted of certain crimes.

“These are uncertain times for undocumented illegal Californians and their families, and this bill strikes a balance that will protect public safety, while bringing a measure of comfort to those families who are now living in fear every day,” Brown said in statement.

It was one of several immigration-focused bills that Brown signed Thursday, which was also the final day for young immigrants to renew their permits under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protects them from deportation. Trump intends to end the program if Congress doesn’t act on it.

California is home to an estimated 2.3 million immigrants without legal authorization.

The Trump administration said the sanctuary state bill will make California more dangerous. The state “has now codified a commitment to returning criminal aliens back onto our streets, which undermines public safety, national security, and law enforcement,” Devin O’Malley, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice, said in a statement.

The measure came in response to widespread fear in immigrant communities following Trump’s election. He railed against immigrants in his campaign and promised to sharply ramp up the deportation of people living in the U.S. illegally.

Democrats hope blocking police from cooperating will limit the reach of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.

The bill “will put a large kink in Trump’s perverse and inhumane deportation machine,” Democratic Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon said at a press conference in Los Angeles celebrating the signing.

De Leon’s bill cleared the Legislature with support only from Democrats. Republicans said it will protect criminals and make it harder for law enforcement to keep people safe.

The bill, SB54, originally would have severely restricted the authority of police officers to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. At Brown’s insistence, it was scaled back to allow cooperation in jails.

Police and sheriff’s officials, including jail officers, will still be able to work with federal immigration authorities if a person has been convicted of one of about 800 crimes, mostly felonies and misdemeanors that can be charged as felonies. But they will be barred from transferring immigrants to federal authorities if their rap sheet includes only minor offenses.

The changes convinced the California police chiefs association to drop its opposition, while sheriffs — elected officials who run jails — remained opposed. ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan has condemned the measure, saying California is prioritizing politics over public safety.

California’s Democratic political leaders have enthusiastically battled Trump and his administration with lawsuits, legislation and fiery public rhetoric, particularly about immigration and the environment.

Among other things, the other bills signed Thursday by Brown will limit federal immigration authorities from entering schools and workplaces without warrants; prohibit landlords from reporting tenants to ICE; and stop local governments from contracting with for-profit companies and ICE to hold immigrants.

Some law enforcement officials say the impact of the sanctuary measure likely will be minimal because it bans immigration enforcement activities that few agencies participate in.

Immigrant rights advocates say it’s important to codify restrictions with the force of law while adding new ones. For them, it’s a rare victory during Trump’s presidency.

The measure was dubbed a sanctuary state bill because it sought to expand so-called sanctuary city policies that have long been in place in some of California’s biggest cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Brown, though, has resisted the label. In his signing statement, he noted the bill does not prohibit ICE from operating in California. “They are free to use their own considerable resources to enforce federal immigration law in California,” Brown wrote.

De Leon put it somewhat differently. “It won’t stop ICE from trolling our streets,” he said.

DCG

Playing politics in exchange for American lives: California “lawmakers” approve sanctuary state bill

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Kate Steinle: Murdered by an illegal alien in sanctuary San Francisco

The death of Kate Steinle meant nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, to demorats in California.

I cannot express here, within our guidelines, how outraged I am with the so-called lawmakers of that state. 

From Fox News: Lawmakers in California on Saturday passed “sanctuary state” legislation even as President Trump and his administration have vowed to crack down on jurisdictions that do not cooperate with federal immigration agents.

The bill approved early Saturday limits police cooperation with federal immigration authorities and is intended to bolster protections for illegal immigrants in the state.

But the acting director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Saturday warned of “tragic consequences,” saying the policy “will make California communities less safe.”

“By passing this bill, California politicians have chosen to prioritize politics over public safety,” Thomas Homan, the acting director of ICE, said in a statement. “Disturbingly, the legislation serves to codify a dangerous policy that deliberately obstructs our country’s immigration laws and shelters serious criminal alien offenders.”

Homan said ICE wants to work with local law enforcement to prevent “dangerous criminal aliens” from being released back onto the streets.

The legislation will now be considered by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who announced his support after the top state Senate leader agreed to water down the bill and preserve authority for jail and prison officials to cooperate with immigration officers in many cases.

The bill that passed Saturday prohibits law enforcement officials from asking about a person’s immigration status or participating in immigration enforcement efforts. It also prohibits law enforcement officials from being deputized as immigration agents or arresting people on civil immigration warrants.

The legislation follows Trump’s vow to crack down on sanctuary cities. Such policies limit just how much local law enforcement officials cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

The debate about sanctuary cities intensified in July 2015 when Katie Steinle, 32, was killed as she strolled along the San Francisco waterfront with her father. Steinle was fatally shot by a illegal alien with a criminal record who had slipped into the U.S. multiple times illegally.

On Friday, a federal judge in Chicago has ruled Attorney General Jeff Sessions can’t withhold public grant money from so-called sanctuary cities for refusing to follow federal immigration policies.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber made the ruling Friday, in which he granted Chicago’s request for a temporary “nationwide” injunction.

The ruling means the Justice Department cannot deny grant money requests until Chicago’s lawsuit against the agency is concluded. Leinenweber wrote that Chicago has shown a “likelihood of success” in its arguments that Sessions overstepped his authority with the requirements.

The city of Chicago sued the Trump administration in August after it threatened to withhold funds from sanctuary cities, and refused to comply with the Justice Department’s demand that it allow immigration agents access to local jails and notify agents when someone in the U.S. is about to be released from custody.

At least seven cities and counties, including Seattle and San Francisco, have refused to cooperate with new federal rules regarding sanctuary cities.

DCG

LA police launch probe into death of gay male prostitute at prominent democrat donor’s Hollywood home

ed buck and hillary clinton

Hillary Clinton and Ed Buck. The victim Gemmel Moore (r)

From Daily Mail: A probe has been launched into the death of man at a prominent Democratic donor’s home after it was previously ruled an accidental meth overdose.

The circumstances surrounding the death of 26-year-old Gemmel Moore are being questioned after people came forward with ‘incriminating information’ about Ed Buck, whose West Hollywood home Moore was found dead in on July 27.

Buck, 62, who has given money to names such as Hillary Clinton and Jerry Brown, has been accused by other escorts of instructing them to ingest dangerous amounts of drugs for pay. Buck’s attorney has repeatedly denied the accusations.

The LA County Sheriff’s Office, at a city council meeting on Monday, said it was investigating the death but needed the cooperation of other alleged victims.

‘Ed Buck has been soliciting young, gay black men,’ Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, told reporters outside the city council meeting.

‘He has them wear these long white under-johns. He takes pictures of them. He hits them up with meth. The more meth that they smoke and inject, the more money that he gives them.’

During the meeting, Nixon asked the council to put pressure on agencies handing the investigation – even suggesting immunity to other potential victims if they come forward with information about Buck

‘I just want you guys to please put pressure on whoever needs pressure, so that these people can get immunity and I can get justice for my son,’ she told the council.

‘I’m asking for justice for my son – regardless to the fact of whatever he did. He still was my son. He still was a person.’

One alleged victim, who remained anonymous, told KTLA on Friday that Buck has instructed escorts to ingest drugs so he can watch their reactions.

‘He gets his thrills just based off you getting high,’ he said. ‘He wants to see your reaction. He wants to see how can you take it – if you can handle it or not.’

A one-time registered Republican, Buck began getting involved in Southern California politics in the early 1990s. Buck became a successful businessman, pioneering in computer technology, specifically in electronic information services, in Arizona before moving to Los Angeles.

DCG

Senate panel votes to raise California gas tax 12 cents a gallon

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Because 42.35 cents per gallon just isn’t enough for greedy lawmakers.

From Mercury News: State lawmakers on Wednesday took the first steps toward raising taxes and fees on motorists and further restricting Californians’ tobacco use as the Legislature convened special sessions aimed at solving the state’s transportation and health care funding crises.

Members of a Senate committee tackling a huge backlog of roadway maintenance endorsed legislation that would generate $4 billion annually for repairs by increasing the gas tax 12 cents a gallon and boosting annual vehicle registration fees $35 for most cars. Fees for all-electric vehicles would go up $100.

Another panel approved bills to hike the legal smoking age to 21, regulate e-cigarettes and allow counties to place local tobacco taxes on the ballot.

While significant, the party-line votes taken by the committees were merely an opening salvo in a battle between Democrats and Republicans that will play out over the next few weeks about the fairness of fixing California’s crumbling roads and improving health care for the poor by imposing new taxes.

“We don’t want to dump the cost of our horribly maintained infrastructure on the next generation — it will be too late to solve the problem if we delay,” said Sen. Jim Beall, D-Campbell, whose transportation tax bill passed the committee 9-2, with all the yes votes coming from Democrats. The two no votes came from Republicans; two other Republicans abstained.

Because tax and fee increases require the support of two-thirds of lawmakers in both houses of the Legislature, Democrats seeking to raise taxes will need help from their GOP colleagues, some of whom have indicated they’re open to hiking the gas tax for the first time in more than two decades — as long as the money is restricted to transportation improvements.

Speaking Wednesday at a news conference at the seaport in Oakland, Gov. Jerry Brown urged bipartisan cooperation in repairing the state’s roads, bridges, ports and other infrastructure — yet studiously avoided saying how he wants to do it.

He wouldn’t say whether he supports Democratic moves to raise gas taxes or vehicle registration fees. And he wouldn’t say whether he supports Republican moves to cut jobs from Caltrans or to siphon money from the state’s high-speed rail and cap-and-trade greenhouse gas reduction programs.

“My approach to bringing people together is not to prematurely close the door,” Brown said. “I’m not going to put all my cards on the table this morning. This is a big challenge. How we’re going to get to the end of it isn’t exactly clear this morning.

But he said he didn’t know how things would work out years ago when he delved into California’s water infrastructure bond or closing the state’s yawning budget deficit. Yet both ended up getting done with bipartisan support, he noted. “I’m staying above the fray here,” he said. “What you’re getting here is the opening chapter in a longer novel.”

Current revenue from California’s 42.35-cent gas tax covers only a fraction of the state’s annual highway repair needs.

Last week, business organizations such as the California Chamber of Commerce and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group said any deal should seek to raise at least $6 billion annually by raising gas and diesel taxes and increasing vehicle registration and license fees.

Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council, said the world envies this region’s thriving economy, but “we can’t take it for granted” because the momentum is being threatened by inadequate infrastructure and housing. Taxes are unpopular, he agreed, but the major companies that are his organization’s members support whatever measures are needed to play catch-up after years of deferred maintenance.

Wunderman’s group on Wednesday proposed indefinitely extending the quarter-cent sales tax portion of Proposition 30, the 2012 measure that Brown championed to pay for the state’s once-cash-strapped schools, and dedicating all the revenue to transportation needs. Reauthorizing the tax hike, now scheduled to expire in 2016, would provide about $1.5 billion a year for road repair.

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG

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.

DCG