Tag Archives: Sacramento

Sacramento plans to pay gang members $1.5M for “Advance Peace” program

liberal nonsense

Crime does pay.

From Fox News: How bad has gun violence gotten in Sacramento, Calif.? City leaders now plan to pay gang members $1.5 million for a cease-fire.

Following a fatal shooting last weekend in a city park, the Sacramento city council unanimously approved a controversial program called Advance Peace in an effort to address a recent spike in violence.

The program offers gang members cash stipends for graduating from school and generally staying out of trouble.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg requested that the vote be moved up in response to the park shooting, which left one person dead and four injured, Fox 40 reported. The vote was supposed to take place in two weeks.  “Let’s get going on doing everything we can to save innocent lives,” Steinberg told Fox 40.

The $1.5 million in cash stipends to gang members will come from the city’s general fund. A similar program is being used in Richmond, Calif., and Stockton is considering it.

In Sacramento, the city council voted 9-0 in favor of the program, but the language of the contract has not been finalized.

However, critics remain skeptical that the plan will be effective.

“How’s the vote going to change anything? It’s up to the community to change. You know what I mean? It’s just senseless,” Allen Brown, a friend of Ernie Cadena, 49, who was killed in the park shooting Sunday, told Fox 40.

h/t Weasel Zippers

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California proposes taxing drinking water

taxedtodeath

Next up: a tax on the air you breathe.

From Mercury News: For the first time Californians would pay a tax on drinking water — 95 cents per month — under legislation aimed at fixing hundreds of public water systems with unsafe tap water.

Senate Bill 623, backed by a strange-bedfellows coalition of the agricultural lobby and environmental groups but opposed by water districts, would generate $2 billion over the next 15 years to clean up contaminated groundwater and improve faulty water systems and wells. The problem is most pervasive in rural areas with agricultural runoff.

“My message is short and direct: We are not Flint, Michigan,” co-author Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, said at a Wednesday rally outside the Capitol, where demonstrators held signs reading “Clean water is not a luxury” and “Water is a human right.”

Ironically, many Californians are more aware of the crisis in Flint — where state and local officials in 2015 told residents about lead contamination in the drinking water, after claiming it was safe to drink — than about the water problems in their home state, said the measure’s main author, Sen. Bill Monning, D-Monterey. He called this “a pivotal time in our state’s history to do the right thing.”

SB 623 has been moving through the Legislature for months, but was amended Monday to include the tax on water for both homes and businesses. It also imposes fees on farms and dairies, roughly $30 million annually, to address some of the contamination caused by fertilizers and other chemicals. Because it includes new taxes, the proposal will need a two-thirds vote in each house to pass, which supporters concede will be a battle.

Still, Monning has been able to forge the unusual alliance of farmers and environmental groups, which rarely agree on public policy. He also has the support of at least one Republican lawmaker: Sen. Andy Vidak, a cherry farmer who said his Central Valley district — which includes Hanford and parts of Fresno and Bakersfield — is the epicenter of the drinking-water problem.

“This is very, very important to my constituents,” he said after the rally, as some of them began chanting on the Capitol steps. “This is one of the most important things in my district.”

But water agencies say taxing drinking water sets a dangerous precedent and that the bill would turn them into state tax collectors. “Water is essential to life. Should we tax drinking water? We don’t think so,” said Cindy Tuck, a spokeswoman for the Association of California Water Agencies.

Sue Stephenson, a spokeswoman for the Dublin San Ramon Services District, said she supported the intent of the proposal — potable drinking water for all — but argued that lawmakers should use the money in existing coffers. “The whole purpose of the general fund is to help take care of disadvantaged communities,” she said. “There’s no reason that they could not also fund communities that need access to drinking water.”

Marie Barajas, of San Jose, had a similar reaction. “That’s not fair. We’re not responsible for that,” she said. “That’s why we pay taxes.”

Monning, however, argues that the general fund isn’t a reliable funding source and that the proposed tax on households, amounting to roughly $11.40 per year, is negligible. “You’re not going to notice it on your water bill,” he said.

The bill is now relegated with hundreds of others in the “suspense file” of the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The panel must decide by Sept. 1 to move it to the Assembly floor for a vote.

Selerina Chavez took a day off from work to drive from the Kern County city of Arvin for the rally. She said she hoped lawmakers would try to fix the problem posing health risks to her family and her neighbors, many of whom are farm workers or living on fixed incomes.

When she moved from Ventura County more than 20 years ago, she said, it never occurred to her that the water would be unsafe for her family to drink. They drank it for years, she said, before she learned a few years ago that it contained unsafe levels of arsenic.

“I thought about my children,” she said in Spanish. “How many years have we been drinking this water?”

In addition to her regular water bill, she spends $40 per week buying drinking water. She also buys water for cooking. Now, she said, “I have three water bills.”

DCG

California is No. 1 for hate groups, report says

california

Even though this report was issued by one of the liberals’ favorite organizations, the Southern Poverty Law Center, don’t expect the MSM to run with this story. Doesn’t fit their current narrative.

From Fox News: The states with the highest number of hate groups may not be the areas of the country that many people would assume.

California ranks highest among the 50 states, with nearly 80 different hate groups calling the Golden State home, says a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center. Most of the groups are concentrated in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay area and the Sacramento region, the report says.

Data show the western half of the U.S. has significantly fewer hate groups than the East Coast, the report says, but California — the nation’s most populous state — easily has the highest number of hate groups operating within its borders.

The “Hate Map” report shows 917 hate groups operating across the country. It includes data not only on white supremacists, but Black Separatist organizations and anti-LGBT groups as well.

The report also cites numbers from 2016 that show 130 Ku Klux Klan groups and 193 Black Separatist groups active across the county. The SPLC also notes there has been a nearly 200  percent increase in anti-Muslim groups since 2015.

In 2011, the total number hit its peak with over 1,000 groups operating. That number dropped to 784 just three years later, but there has been a steady increase since then. The SPLC also says in its report that the country has seen an unprecedented rise in hate groups since the turn of the century. In 1999 when there were only 457 documented groups in the country.

Florida ranks No. 2 with 63 hate groups, and is No. 1 on the East Coast.

Ranking third is New York state, home to 47 hate groups. Pennsylvania is not far behind, with 40 groups.

States with the lowest numbers of hate groups lie mostly in the Midwest and West. Iowa has only four groups in operation, while Wyoming and New Mexico have two apiece and North Dakota and Vermont have one each.

Data for the “Hate Map” list was compiled using hate group publications and websites, citizen and law-enforcement reports, sources from the field and news reports, the SPLC says.

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Judge blocks California’s high-capacity magazine ban

second amendment3

Score one for the Second Amendment.

From ABC News: A federal judge on Thursday blocked a California law set to take effect Saturday that would have barred gun owners from possessing high-capacity ammunition magazines.

The judge ruled that the ban approved by the Legislature and voters last year takes away gun owners’ Second Amendment rights and amounts to the government taking people’s private property without compensation.

California law has prohibited buying or selling the magazines since 2000, but until now allowed those who had them to keep them.

“Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of otherwise law-abiding citizens will have an untenable choice: become an outlaw or dispossess one’s self of lawfully acquired property,” San Diego-based U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez wrote. (Judge Benitez was appointed by George W. Bush.)

He issued a preliminary injunction blocking the law from taking effect while he considers the underlying lawsuit filed by the National Rifle Association-affiliated California Rifle & Pistol Association.

Meanwhile, a Sacramento-based judge on Thursday rejected a similar challenge by several other gun owners’ rights organizations, creating what Ari Freilich, staff attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, called “dueling opinions” that may be sorted out on appeal. “Unfortunately this law will be delayed but we are confident it will go into effect, and soon,” he said.

He called the San Diego lawsuit and ruling part of an effort by the NRA “to delay and dismantle California’s law brick by brick.”

Had the ban taken effect, owners would have been required to get rid of their magazines by sending them out of state, altering them to hold no more than 10 bullets, destroying them or turning them into law enforcement agencies. Possession could have been punished by $100 fines or up to a year in jail.

Owners can now keep the magazines until a final ruling by Benitez or if an appeals court overturns his injunction, said Chuck Michel, attorney for the NRA and the California Rifle & Pistol Association.

“This court recognized that the Second Amendment is not a second-class right and that law-abiding gun owners have the right to own these magazines to defend themselves and their families,” Michel said.

State lawmakers approved the ban last year as part of a package of bills adding to what already were some of the nation’s strictest gun laws. Voters agreed in November when they approved Proposition 63, a measure that toughened the penalties by allowing violators to be fined or jailed.

Benitez said he was mindful of voters’ approval and government’s legitimate interest in protecting the public but added that the “Constitution is a shield from the tyranny of the majority.”

Gun owner’s constitutional rights “are not eliminated simply because they possess ‘unpopular’ magazines holding more than 10 rounds,” he wrote in a 66-page decision.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra criticized the decision but did not say what he will do next. “Proposition 63 was overwhelmingly approved by voters to increase public safety and enhance security in a sensible and constitutional way,” Becerra said in a statement. “I will defend the will of California voters because we cannot continue to lose innocent lives due to gun violence.”

Supporters say that magazines often holding 30 or 100 bullets are typically used in mass shootings and aren’t needed by hunters or civilian owners. “Clearly it escalates the lethality in any mass shooting when high-capacity magazines are involved,” said Amanda Wilcox, a spokeswoman for the California chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence whose daughter was fatally shot.

Forcing assailants to change magazines more frequently gives victims time to flee or subdue the shooter, Becerra argued in court filings.

He listed as examples the shooting in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49 people and injured 53; the terrorist assault that killed 14 and injured 22 in San Bernardino; the massacre of children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut; and the Arizona attack that killed six and wounded 13 including former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Moreover, the government wouldn’t own the magazines in the way it would property seized for a new highway or public building, he argued, since the magazines would be destroyed by law enforcement agencies.

Becerra said opponents’ Second Amendment challenge has repeatedly been rejected by other courts, allowing at least seven other states and 11 local governments to already restrict the possession or sale of large-capacity ammunition magazines.

DCG

Sacramento is about to crack down on unlicensed pets, and the new fines are no joke

happy dog

Just tell them your pet is an illegal alien. Or dead. (And of course, get them their shots.)

From Sacramento Bee: Have you neglected to renew Fido’s or Fifi’s pet license? The city of Sacramento is about to take you to task.

As of July 1, the city will begin tracking down pet owners and aggressively enforcing a longtime code requiring that dogs and cats be licensed and vaccinated against rabies, said Front Street Shelter manager Gina Knepp.

The shelter will mail notices to pet owners who have failed to renew their dog’s or cat’s license, which for one year costs $20 for a neutered or spayed animal and requires proof of rabies vaccination. Those who fail to obtain a renewal within 30 days will receive a second notice. After that, failure to comply will result in a “correctable” $300 citation, which can be waived if a license is obtained within 30 days. If not, the citation will be permanent. Further citations will cost scofflaw pet owners $500.

Only 13 percent of pets in Sacramento are properly licensed, the city estimates. That compares to a national average of about 30 percent. In some parts of Canada, aggressive enforcement has resulted in compliance rates of as high as 60 percent, authorities have reported.

Unlicensed pets reside in neighborhoods across the city, from wealthier areas like Curtis Park to more modest ones in south Sacramento, Knepp said. “It doesn’t seem to matter where you live or whether you’re wealthy,” she said. “The compliance rate is low everywhere.”

Most pet owners in the capital city “probably have no clue” that licenses are required for dogs and cats, Knepp acknowledged. The city code has been in place for “years and years,” she said, but never has been fully enforced. Animal control officers issue citations for unlicensed animals when they encounter them, she said, but those represent a small fraction of the estimated 250,000 pet dogs and cats in the community.

“We have the ability to do automatic citations, but we weren’t doing it,” Knepp said. “We tried other ways of getting people to pay attention to licensing their animals, but nothing worked.

“Licensing is just not on the top of most people’s list of things to get done,” she said. “Some people have a ‘Catch me if you can’ mentality about it. Well, now I am going to catch you.”

David Dickinson, director of Sacramento County’s animal shelter on Bradshaw Road, said people outside the city limits are no better at licensing compliance. “We’re probably at about 14 percent to 17 percent,” he said.

Dickinson said the county will be monitoring the outcome of the city’s efforts to boost those numbers. “If it works, we’d certainly consider it,” he said. But he wonders whether the administrative hassles will exceed the benefits.

Residents and their pets can be difficult to track, he noted. “People move; their pets die; they don’t have the pet any longer,” Dickinson said. “I think this will cause a lot of uproar among animal owners.”

All pets adopted from both the county and city shelters receive licenses, along with microchips and spaying and neutering surgeries. The agencies keep track of that information, and also get notification from private veterinarians who vaccinate animals against rabies.

Pet owners in the city’s data system will begin receiving notices beginning next month as their pet licenses expire. Residents who participate in programs for people with low incomes, including PG&E and SMUD utility assistance, can get their license for free if their pet is spayed or neutered.

“This is not meant to be punitive,” Knepp said of the licensing program. “It’s not about the government trying to get another $20 from you. It’s about the safety of our pets, and of the community.” Collecting licensing fees also will provide a financial boost to the overcrowded shelter, she added.

Rabies cases in humans are rare, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only a few cases are reported annually. But wildlife in California can carry the rabies virus and infect domestic animals. The CDC receives reports of hundreds of cases of rabies among dogs and cats each year.

“Animals are a community problem and a community responsibility,” Knepp said. This week, animal control officers responded to a report of a raccoon on a sidewalk near Fourth and T streets, near two roaming cats, in broad daylight. The raccoon’s behavior could suggest rabies infection.

The city estimates that it could have collected about $150,000 last year from residents who failed to renew their pet licenses. That money, Knepp said, could be used to fund more animal control officers to respond to emergency calls, vaccination clinics and spay and neuter programs, among other things.

“The ultimate goal is to reduce the number of animals in our shelter; to make sure that they don’t end up here in the first place,” Knepp said. “People don’t want to see pets dying at the pound. If they really do care about that, they should license their pets. Because an animal with a license and tag is going home.”

Spencer Breining-Aday, a college student who lives in Land Park, pondered the city’s plan as he walked his dog Lulu in the neighborhood this week. Lulu, a chow mix, is properly licensed, as are his two cats, Winnie and Sarah, Breining-Aday said.

“For me, spending $20 to get a license is not a big deal,” he said. “But I think it could be a bigger challenge for people in lower socioeconomic groups. Other than that, I think it’s a great way to make sure that our pets are healthy. I’m in favor of it.”

Dia Goode trotted through the park with her Labrador mix, Maurice. She supports the city’s new approach, she said, but would like to see it go further by cracking down on licensing of “backyard breeders” and the puppies they sell.   “I think licensing is really important, but it really hasn’t been on anyone’s radar,” Goode said. “It’s never been made an important issue.”

DCG

Sacramento neighborhood cops may be allowed to arrest undocumented immigrants

illegalHeadline should read “arrest illegal aliens.” Other than that, this works for me.

From Sacramento Bee: If you’re an undocumented immigrant illegal alien in the city of Sacramento, the local police are under orders not to inquire about your citizenship. The same goes in the unincorporated areas of Sacramento County patrolled by the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department.

Venture outside the region’s main urban centers, however, and police may be operating under different guidelines.

At least six law enforcement agencies in the Sacramento area operate under written policies allowing their officers to detain people suspected of entering the United States illegally, according to policy manuals obtained by The Bee.

For people arrested for certain drug offenses who “may not be a citizen of the United States,” the policies read, officers “shall notify” federal immigration agents if the suspect is not booked into county jail. Officers in the six jurisdictions, which include Folsom and unincorporated Yuba and Yolo counties, can also inform federal immigration agents of the immigration and citizenship status of anyone they encounter.

Some local departments with tough immigration policies on their books are now revising their guidelines as the Trump administration ramps up enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws and immigrant communities grow increasingly wary of law enforcement. Others insist they do not engage in any level of immigration enforcement, despite what their written policies permit.

The policy manuals in all six jurisdictions were written by Lexipol, an Irvine-based private firm that comes up with policies for most of California’s small and mid-size law enforcement agencies. In addition to immigration, Lexipol policies cover a wide range of topics, including departments’ use of force guidelines and advice on how officers should conduct themselves when off-duty.

Immigration enforcement is permitted by the Yolo and Yuba county sheriff’s departments, and the police departments in Galt, Citrus Heights, Folsom and Lincoln. Several local law enforcement agencies did not respond to Bee requests to see their policies. By contrast, Sacramento has repeatedly declared itself a so-called sanctuary city that does not cooperate with federal immigration authorities, a stance that has put the city at odds with the Trump administration.

Lexipol program director Kevin Piper said the policies are based on federal and state laws, as well as “best practices nationwide that have proven successful for law enforcement.” The final wording of an agency’s immigration policy is “completely a local jurisdiction decision,” he said. “We give them a policy that is adaptable whether they are a sanctuary city or completely the opposite,” he said. “We constantly tell our clients that one of the reasons they may want to customize is that their community may want something different.”

The American Civil Liberties Union has begun tracking which California law enforcement agencies use Lexipol immigration policies. Julia Harumi Mass, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU, said policies that allow even limited cooperation between local agencies and the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency “can still send the wrong message to the local community.”

“The Sacramento Police Department and other California police departments understand the harm that comes when local police and sheriffs engage in immigration enforcement,” she said.

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG

Sacramento may start paying for legal defense of illegal aliens

darrell steinberg

Mayor Steinberg: Robbing legal taxpayers to benefit illegal aliens

Just following in the footsteps of their fellow proggies in liberal King County. Suck it, taxpayers!

From Sacramento Bee: Sacramento leaders are poised to spend up to $300,000 to boost the city’s status as a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants, even as the federal government threatens to crack down on jurisdictions providing such immigrant protections.

The City Council will vote Thursday on a proposal to invest in an education and legal defense network for undocumented immigrants illegal aliens, with the money coming out of a general fund that supports most core city services. The plan under consideration would also strengthen Sacramento’s status as a sanctuary city by turning into law privacy policies that prohibit city employees – including police – from making inquiries into immigration status.

“It is a modest investment, but it is a very important investment,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “It says very clearly to our community, especially those who are affected by these unconstitutional orders, that ‘we are going to stand with you.’ We have to back up our values with real action to help people who feel at risk and who may be actually at risk.”

Both the sanctuary city ordinance and legal defense fund were proposed by a Safe Haven Task Force formed at City Hall in February. The task force was put in place in response to executive orders by President Donald Trump calling for increased enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Councilman Eric Guerra, who headed the task force, said turning the city’s sanctuary stance from policy into law would put “more teeth” in its position and “makes it relevant to the context we see today, the scapegoating of immigrants.”

About 49,000 Sacramento residents are not citizens, including roughly 4,100 children, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s about 10 percent of the city’s residents. Some of them are here legally, some are not – the census bureau does not ask about legal status.

The new money would help fund what is being called the Sacramento Family Unity, Educations and Legal Network for Immigrants, or FUEL, a collection of local immigration attorneys, nonprofits and law schools specializing in immigration law.

The group will hire up to two attorneys to provide legal assistance to an estimated 750 families each year and conduct “Know Your Rights” information sessions in schools, churches and other community gathering places for hundreds more. The network will likely seek grants from other nonprofit agencies to expand its financial capacity.

Attorneys will be tasked with representing immigrants facing deportation and helping undocumented parents “prepare for the worst” by creating guardianships for children and protections for homes and other assets should they be deported, said Guerra.

Guerra said Sacramento hasn’t yet seen federal immigration raids, but “the fear is intense” in immigrant communities and “what we don’t want is families to be separated because that leads to bigger social issues.”

Blake Nordahl, a supervising attorney in the immigration clinic at the McGeorge School of Law, said the network will expand the local roster of attorneys trained in immigration law by working with lawyers whose expertise is in other fields.

“We have a large immigrant population in Sacramento, so hopefully this is just the beginning of being able to work together,” said Nordahl, whose clinic is part of the city-funded network. “I think there’s a real commitment to showing respect to our neighbors and recognizing that Sacramento is based on a city of immigrants and we’re going to take care of our neighbors.”

Sacramento’s vote would follow other California governments that have spent public money to aid undocumented immigrants.

Santa Clara County in January voted to spend $1.5 million over two years to help defend undocumented immigrants illegal aliens facing deportation. San Francisco recently set aside $200,000 for legal aid, and Oakland has allocated $300,000 for a similar effort. A similar public-private fund that could hold up to $10 million has also been proposed for Los Angeles city and county.

Read the rest of the story here.

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