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Gregory Flap Cole › Comments

Gregory Flap Cole
More California sex offenders go missing under new law - http://www.sfgate.com/news...
The number of paroled sex offenders who are fugitives in California is 15 percent higher today than before Gov. Jerry Brown's sweeping law enforcement realignment law took effect 17 months ago, according to figures released Wednesday by the state corrections department. The increase amounts to 360 more sex offenders whose whereabouts were unknown and who were not reporting to their parole officers last year. An Associated Press analysis of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation data shows that 2,706 paroled sex offenders dropped out of sight in the 15 months since the new law took effect in October 2011, compared to 2,346 in the 15 months before realignment. The numbers were obtained by the AP before their public release. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Blue Civil War: The Battle for California - http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm...
Via Meadia readers know that the most important political battle in America today isn’t the much-ballyhooed battle for the soul of the GOP. It is the blue civil war, pitting key elements of the Democratic coalition against one another as the old social model fails and the growth curve of rising blue model costs runs up against fiscal limits. Blue model policies, whatever their merits, don’t generate the revenue that can support blue model institutions and methods, and when those shortfalls appear, the coalition divides. It’s happened in Wisconsin, it’s happened in Indiana; it’s happened in Michigan and it is happening in California. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Decades later, 1972 Supreme Court decision overturning the California death penalty has lasting impact - http://abclocal.go.com/kgo...
It's a shocking case: a convicted double-murderer is released from prison, and later calls police to tell them he had killed again. Vallejo's Dennis Stanworth is one of dozens of California inmates released from death row in the years after a 1972 Supreme Court decision overturning the death penalty. In 1966 Stanworth was sentenced to death for the brutal kidnapping, rape and murder of two 15-year-old Pinole teens, Caree Collison and Susan Box. Their family members are still haunted by the crime. "He had them strip and Caree ran and he yelled at her if you don't come back, I'm going to kill your friend. She came back and he shot her in the head," a family member said. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
More California pension alarms sounding - CalSTRS - http://www.ocregister.com/opinion...
The pension-crisis clock keeps ticking. Two developments, one applicable to the state of California and the other from Orange County, show that reform is imperative now, not later. Although last year's statewide pension reform law passed by the Legislature was inadequate, it did require a better accounting of the actual unfunded pension liability borne by taxpayers. Late last month, the California State Teachers' Retirement System released its "long-term funding needs" report. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Moderate Ex-Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado “seriously” considers run against Jerry Brown - http://blog.sfgate.com/nov05el...
Former California Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado — who was the highest ranking GOP Latino statewide official in generations — said Sunday he is seriously considering a 2014 run for governor against Democratic incumbent Jerry Brown. Saying he could “bring a different face” and a new Republican message to California, Maldonado told the Chronicle in an interview that he is strongly mulling the run against three term Democrat not only to strengthen the party, but also to encourage the kind of vibrant two-party political debate that makes for “a better state.” “I’ve been encouraged publicly, and privately,” he said, to offer a challenge to Brown as the California Republican Party is in such dire straits that it appears the Democrat could easily sail to a fourth term without serious opposition. “At this point in time, I’m seriously thinking about it,” Maldonado said. “I think I need to decide sooner rather than later.” - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
The Reverse-Joads of California - http://m.wsj.com/article...
During the Great Depression, some 1.3 million Americans—epitomized by the Joad family in John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath"—flocked to California from the heartland. To keep out the so-called Okies, the state enacted a law barring indigent migrants (the law was later declared unconstitutional). Los Angeles even set up a border patrol on the city limits. Soon the state may need to build a fence to keep latter-day Joads from leaving. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Cancer stole her voice, but TV ad sent loud anti-smoking message - http://www.sacbee.com/2013...
Debi Austin spoke loudest after surgeons removed her cancerous vocal cords. Austin was the woman with the hole in her throat who stars in perhaps the most compelling anti-tobacco ad ever made. You don't forget it once you've seen it. You probably forced your kids to watch it, though when it first aired in 1997, a squeamish television station manager placed a warning on the screen against allowing children to see it. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
At state convention, Republicans try to chart a new way forward - http://www.latimes.com/news...
As California Republicans gathered here for their weekend convention, it was difficult to recall when the group that produced Ronald Reagan had slumped so low. The party hasn't elected a statewide candidate in seven years. It is awash in debt. GOP voter registration in the state is at less than 30% — a historic dip. GOP strategist Karl Rove had some blunt advice as the group debated how to claw its way back to political relevance. "My message is this: Get off your ass," Rove told nearly 500 delegates and guests at a sold-out convention luncheon in a hotel ballroom Saturday. "Get back in the game and fight." Rove was among several speakers who said a key to a comeback in California was recruiting candidates for office who are representative of their communities. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
California GOP seeks answers for turning party around - http://www.mercurynews.com/breakin...
California Republicans gathered in the state capital Saturday to assess the state of their party and consider how to recapture voters amid deep losses last November and a widening disconnect with nearly all segments of the state's electorate. To be successful in the long run, Republicans will need to reach a large segment of California voters who have largely turned away from the GOP. That includes younger voters and Latinos, who are the fastest-growing segment of the electorate and are expected to surpass whites in California next year. A spinoff group called GROW Elect that aims to recruit and help Latino Republicans get elected to local office drew an overflow crowd of more than 100 to its convention gathering. Ruben Barrales, a former White House staffer who was named head of the group last month, said his advisers pointed out the need for the GOP to reach Latinos when Barrales ran for state controller in 1998. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
CA GOP Convention delegates urge retired congressmen to help party’s finances - http://www.calwatchdog.com/2013...
Four former Republican members of Congress — Wally Herger, Elton Gallegly, David Dreier and Jerry Lewis — retain more than $2.2 million in combined cash on hand in federal campaign accounts. Federal campaign finance rules allow retired members of Congress to make unlimited transfers to state party committees. Pegging the party’s debt at a half-million dollars, the party could resolve its financial problems with as little as 22 percent of the retired members’ reported cash on hand, still leaving them with more than $1 million to spend as they see fit. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Divergent views on illegal immigration emerge in California state GOP - http://www.latimes.com/news...
California's elected Republicans have long had a simple approach to illegal immigration: Those who broke the law coming here should leave. But the confluence of politics and personal threat have now put many Republican legislators in Washington and Sacramento in a very different place: eager to embrace an overhaul of immigration laws and willing to consider legal status for some of the country's nearly 12 million illegal immigrants, 3 million of whom live in California. In Sacramento and Washington, party orthodoxy is being defied. At least six GOP legislators in Sacramento have aligned themselves with Democrats to support a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally. Several congressional Republicans from California have said they would consider granting legal status to some illegal immigrants as part of a comprehensive immigration overhaul. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
California In Crisis: California's expensive education failure - http://washingtonexaminer.com/article...
"Nothing is more determinative of our future than how we teach our children," California Gov. Jerry Brown said in his January State of the State address. "If we fail at this, we will sow growing social chaos and inequality that no law can rectify." Bad news, governor: California is already failing its children. And it wasn't always this way. According to RAND Corp., as late as the 1970s California's public schools still had an "excellent" reputation. Then, in 1975, Brown (in his first stint as California's governor) signed the Rodda Act, giving government unions the power to take money directly out of government employees' paychecks. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
California Girds for Electricity Woes - Reliance on Wind and Solar Power - http://online.wsj.com/article...
California is weighing how to avoid a looming electricity crisis that could be brought on by its growing reliance on wind and solar power. Regulators and energy companies met Tuesday, hoping to hash out a solution to the peculiar stresses placed on the state's network by sharp increases in wind and solar energy. Power production from renewable sources fluctuates wildly, depending on wind speeds and weather. California has encouraged growth in solar and wind power to help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. At the same time, the state is running low on conventional plants, such as those fueled by natural gas, ... - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
‘Everyone is moving out of California’ - http://www.calwatchdog.com/2013...
An old friend I’ve known 46 years called and said, “I was just hearing from a lot of people that everyone is moving out of California. Are you OK?” She lives on the East Coast. I assured her that things weren’t quite that bad in California. And her statement reminded me of what Yogi Berra once said about a restaurant, “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” What’s important about my friend’s question is the perception California now has across America: as a place people are leaving. The state does have more out-migration to other states than in-migration; population still is increasing here, slightly, only because of immigration from other countries. But the real problem is that the perception of California as a failed state will mean fewer young, ambitious people will come here. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Conn Carroll: The California spending rush - http://m.washingtonexaminer.com/conn-ca...
So what exactly happened in the span of two months that added $2.9 billion to California's bottom line? Did the economy suddenly turn around? Was spending cut? Not at all. What happened is that Brown simply made up new numbers. Brown's budget not only assumes $1.1 billion in higher income and sales tax revenues than the November projections, but it also takes advantage of an additional $1 billion in revenues that will supposedly be created by the state's new cap-and-trade program and the elimination of certain development tax breaks. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Democrats lose Senate supermajority with resignation - http://www.ocregister.com/news...
Democrats lost supermajority control of the state Senate on Friday with the sudden resignation of Bakersfield Sen. Michael Rubio. But they almost certainly will regain their two-thirds advantage in May if not sooner. With Rubio's immediate departure, there are now 26 Democrats in the state Senate to 11 Republicans. Tax increases and certain other legislation requiring a supermajority need 27 votes for approval. However, two other Senate vacancies are already set to be filled in special elections later this year and both of those districts lean Democratic, as does Rubio's. The primaries for those seats are scheduled for March 12. If any candidate in either race receives more than 50 percent of the vote, that candidate would automatically win the seat. Otherwise, there would be a runoff on May 14. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Carl Washington, a former assemblyman, to plead guilty to fraud - http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow...
A top L.A. County Probation Department executive who once was a state assemblyman has agreed to plead guilty to federal bank fraud charges, admitting he bilked financial institutions out of nearly $200,000 by falsely claiming to be an identity theft victim. Carl Washington, a division chief of intergovernmental relations and legislative affairs, has agreed to plead guilty to three counts of bank fraud for causing losses of $193,661 to financial institutions, including Farmers and Merchants Bank, First City Credit Union and L.A. Financial Credit Union. Washington, 47, of Paramount, began in the summer of 2011 to run up large debts and file bogus police reports with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, blaming his debts on identity theft. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
LAO has ‘serious concerns’ with governor’s Prop. 98 calculation - http://www.edsource.org/today...
The State Legislative Analyst’s Office is calling into question the legality of Gov. Brown’s proposal to count new revenue from Proposition 39 toward funding for education. In a report released Thursday, the LAO warns that the governor’s plan for the initiative, the California Clean Energy Jobs Act, violates the intent of the law. Proposition 39, which won with 61 percent vote last November, is projected to raise up to half a billion dollars in revenue this fiscal year and as much as a billion per year starting next year for clean energy projects. It does this by changing the tax formula for multistate corporations doing business in California to one used by most other states. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Garcetti and Greuel have spent $6.6 million and it's pretty even - http://www.laobserved.com/archive...
Thursday's latest filing of campaign finance reports in the mayoral race shows the top two candidates essentially as matched in fundraising as they are in positions on the issues. There's no real news in the numbers, so to sum up: Total raised: Garcetti:$4,138,938 Greuel: $4,078,547 Total spent: Garcetti: $3,501,589 Greuel: $3,154,086 Cash left for final 12 days: Greuel: $1,668,319 Garcetti: $1,504,723 - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Field Poll: California voters want driver's licenses, other privileges for illegal immigrants - http://www.sacbee.com/2013...
Californians in record numbers want to grant driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants, not charge them extra for college, and offer a path to citizenship, a new Field Poll shows. Attitudes are changing fast: This marks the first time a majority of voters have turned thumbs-up on driver's licenses since the Field Poll began asking the question in 2005. But voters indicated the welcome mat should extend only to immigrants already living in the state. "Voters are in favor of liberalizing some of the laws toward undocumented immigrants, but at the same time, they don't want to diminish border control," said Mark DiCamillo, Field Poll director. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Brown may forge alliance with GOP governors on health plan - http://www.latimes.com/health...
When Gov. Jerry Brown meets with the nation's other governors this weekend in Washington, D.C., he will find common ground with some unlikely counterparts on an unlikely issue: President Obama's healthcare plan. Among the governors now moving nearly as aggressively as Brown to implement the federal healthcare law are conservatives who have long fought to unravel it. They are finding that they cannot afford to pass up Obama's offer of billions of dollars in federal aid to cover expansion of their Medicaid programs for the poor. Arizona's Jan Brewer, New Mexico's Susana Martinez and Nevada's Brian Sandoval — all Republicans — have bucked the GOP trend on the Obama law by opting to accept the new federal money. In Florida, where 20% of residents do not have health insurance, Gov. Rick Scott announced Wednesday that he is joining the renegade group. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Freer home sales market draws Californians to Texas - http://www.calwatchdog.com/2013...
What draws working and middle class Californians to states like Texas is mostly a freer home sales market, which brings lower prices.  A zero state income tax rate and lower business tax rates that provide incentives for job creation also matter, but to a lesser extent. The Texas advantage occurs even though its property base tax rates are double or triple those in California. However, although the tax rates are higher, because home prices are lower, the rates are applied to the lower values. That is the conclusion of Jed Kolko, the chief economist for Trulia, an online home sales listing company.  Kolko found that net California out-migration (those leaving minus those coming in) is higher for the working and middle class than it is for the wealthy.  Kolko’s statistical analysis actually found that high-income households making $200,000 per year or more were holding steady in California. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
California faces rising bill for retiree healthcare - http://www.latimes.com/news...
First the good news: The state controller says the cost of providing healthcare to retired public employees did not rise as fast as expected. Now the bad news: Over the next three decades, the bill is expected to be $63.84 billion more than Sacramento has set aside to pay for it, and state officials don't have a clear plan to cover those costs. The updated figures were released Thursday by state Controller John Chiang. "The current pay-as-we-go model of funding retiree health benefits is shortsighted and a recipe for undermining the fiscal health of future generations of Californians," Chiang said in a statement. "However, today's challenge won’t necessarily become tomorrow’s crisis if policymakers can muster the fiscal discipline to invest now so that we can pay tens of billions of dollars less later." The unfunded liability for retiree healthcare, considered one of the most troublesome threats to California's financial health, was previously pegged at $62.1 billion. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
Kristin Olsen to move to smaller office after failed GOP move - http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitol...
Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen was ordered to move immediately into a much smaller office in the wake of a failed effort within the Assembly Republican Caucus to oust its leader, Connie Conway. The move was widely regarded as punishment for Olsen, R-Modesto, who had been touted by some Assembly Republicans as a potential successor to Conway. The caucus decided nearly unanimously Thursday to retain Conway, with only one person voting no, members said. "I don't know the exact circumstances of the reason for the move, but I do know that Assembly member Olsen was not the vote to vacate the chair," said Kim Nickols, Olsen's spokeswoman. Nickols declined substantive comment about the caucus leadership turmoil, saying only that "I know that the only thing that's important to her is that the party unifies, refines its message and implements winning strategies." - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
572 San Francisco city workers paid more than governor - http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea...
No fewer than 572 San Francisco city workers and executives made more than Gov. Jerry Brown last year. More than 1,500 city workers made more than state Attorney General Kamala Harris. And that's without overtime. "That's pretty staggering," said Tom Dalzell, head of the California Citizens Compensation Commission, which sets pay for state lawmakers. With a salary of $173,987, Brown makes about as much as a senior police sergeant in San Francisco, once premium pay for the cop's years of service, special training and the like are included. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
California laws banning 'one-stop' optician shops withstands challenge - http://www.sacbee.com/2013...
A decadelong legal fight that originated in Sacramento to scuttle California's prohibition on "one-stop-shops" offering both eye examinations and prescription lenses has finally hit the wall with the U.S. Supreme Court refusing to accept the issue for review. Three entities representing "dispensing opticians" – Lenscrafters Inc., Eye Care Centers of America Inc., and the National Association of Optometrists & Opticians – had asked the high court to consider a federal appellate court's rejection of their challenge to the laws. The plaintiffs went to Sacramento federal court in 2002 over California's statutes and regulations that reserve to optometrists and ophthalmologists the ability to offer both eye exams and glasses while denying it to optical companies, many of them national chains. Optometrists and ophthalmologists are classified as health care providers, as opposed to opticians, who fill prescriptions for eyewear. The California Optometric Association, which supported the s... - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
California Field Poll: Gov. Brown's approval rating up in poll - http://www.sfgate.com/default...
Gov. Jerry Brown's approval rating has surged to its highest level since he was elected and, despite still giving the Legislature low marks, a strong majority of voters view the Democrats' two-thirds supermajority as a positive, according to a Field Poll released Thursday. The survey also found the highest number of voters who think California is headed in the right direction since the summer of 2007. Brown's approval rating has jumped to 57 percent among those surveyed, with 31 percent disapproving and 12 percent having no opinion. It's the first time the poll has found that the governor has had a majority of voters approving of his performance since he took office in 2011. The previous Field Poll conducted last fall found 46 percent of voters approving his performance, and 37 percent disapproving. The uptick for the governor is due largely to his ability to erase the state's chronic budget deficit that voters had become accustomed to, said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Pol - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
In California, thousands of teachers missing needed credentials - http://californiawatch.org/k-12...
Every year in California, public school administrators assign thousands of teachers to classes for which they lack the credentials or legal authorization to teach. Untrained teachers have been assigned to a variety of difficult classes, including those filled with English-language learners and others with special intellectual and physical needs. Or, in Parker’s case, to teach social studies when they’re credentialed for biology. Nearly 1 in 10 teachers or certificated personnel – more than 32,000 school employees – did not have the credentials or authorization for their positions from 2007 through 2011, according to data compiled by the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing. The problem is greater at low-performing schools, where students are overwhelmingly low-income and Latino. The average rate of improperly assigned teachers at these schools was 16 percent over the same period. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
California Dept. of Transportation: ‘Be Sure to Black Out the ‘United States’ and [the] Motto’ - http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs...
For three years, a private citizen named Steve LeBard has led the effort to build a privately funded memorial in Orcutt, California—a tranquil small town located on the Golden State’s gorgeous Central Coast—to honor military veterans. And for the better part of those three years, he has run into a toxic blend of political correctness, anti-Americanism, and bureaucratic senselessness. Today, the memorial, which was to be built with private funds on a small piece of public land, remains unbuilt. - Gregory Flap Cole
Gregory Flap Cole
California Insurance commissioner touts new plan for CA health-care regions - http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitol...
Saying the Legislature's existing proposal could exacerbate rate shock, state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones unveiled his own proposal Tuesday for dividing California into geographic regions for implementing federal health-care reform. Jones vowed to appear Wednesday before Senate and Assembly health committees to push his 18-region plan instead of existing legislative proposals for six regions in 2014 and 13 regions in 2015. "I believe very strongly that we should draw regions in a way that minimizes rate increases," Jones said. Because costs of providing health care differ among communities, residents could find themselves paying higher or lower premiums based on the extent to which regions drawn by the state differ from those currently used by health insurance firms. - Gregory Flap Cole
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