Archive for the ‘Politics & Elections’ Category

Sen. Glazer touts latest legislative accomplishments, including placing $1 billion tax increase on November ballot

Thursday, July 9th, 2020

State Senator Steve Glazer. (D-7-Orinda)

SACRAMENTO – Sen. Steve Glazer’s legislative agenda – including a three-bill package to help residents survive power outages – cleared the Senate this spring and moved to the Assembly despite challenging conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to the power outage bills, Glazer carried measures to deter unsafe house parties in short-term rentals – prompted by an Orinda tragedy in which five people were killed – and another to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, which have been used to lure kids into the nicotine habit.

Behind the scenes, the senator also played a key role in passing a constitutional amendment (ACA 11) that could make it easier for seniors to sell their house and buy another without incurring huge increases in their property tax bills. That measure would increase taxes in the state by $1 billion per  year, raising money for fire protection by closing a loophole that has allowed out of state investors and absentee landlords to take advantage of a law meant to help people pass on their family home to their children.

The power outage package was intended to address issues with cell phone service, medical devices and hospitals during shutdowns triggered by utilities trying to avoid sparking a fire during high-wind events.

The bills were:

SB 431– (co-authored with Sen. Mike McGuire) to require a 72-hour backup power for cell towers to ensure people have access to cellphone communications during a wildfire power shutdown;

SB 801 – to require utilities to provide backup power sources to protect residents who rely on electricity to power life-saving medical devices;

SB 1099 (co-authored with Sen. Bill Dodd) – to allow hospitals to use backup power without facing local penalties.

“Senator Glazer has truly been a champion of persons with disabilities, older adults and wildfire victims and we commend his work in carrying legislation to ensure that power companies are required to provide backup power to many of them during Public Safety Power Shutoff events,” said Curtis Child, legislative director for Disability Rights California, referring to SB 1099. “This legislation will save lives.”

The Senate also approved Senator Glazer’s bill, SB 1049, increasing penalties for short-term rentals that allow disruptive and dangerous events. Last Halloween in Orinda a mass shooting left five people dead at a party hosted at an AirBnB property.

“In a few short months amidst a deadly crisis, lawmakers were asked to scale back their legislative agendas,” Senator Glazer said. “So, I am thrilled with how much important work we were able to get done, and am especially glad I could address some critical issues for residents in my district.”

The Senate also approved SB 793, which Glazer co-authored with Sen. Jerry Hill, to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products. This bill is similar to previous legislation Glazer has co-authored with Hill banning tobacco and e-cigarette companies from marketing flavored products to children.

The Senate also approved Senator Glazer’s bill, SB 1232, to help student parents pay for books and college supplies with a Cal-WORKS grant. It would also exempt these students from having to meet work requirements.

Assembly Constitutional Amendment 11, which Glazer helped push through the Senate, allow seniors and disabled people to sell their home and buy another one without having to pay the substantially higher property taxes that would typically be assessed on the new purchase. This will allow more empty-nesters to move out of larger homes that have more space than they need while freeing up homes for young families who have been squeezed out by the housing shortage. It appears on the November ballot as Proposition 19.

The constitutional amendment, if approved by voters in November, would also close a loophole that gives people a property tax break when they inherit a home from their parents. People who live in the home they inherit would still get the benefit but it would no longer be available to landlords.

According to the California Board of Equalization, “Proposition 58, effective November 6, 1986, is a constitutional amendment approved by the voters of California which excludes from reassessment transfers of real property between parents and children.

Proposition 193, effective March 27, 1996, is a constitutional amendment approved by the voters of California which excludes from reassessment transfers of real property from grandparents to grandchildren, providing that all the parents of the grandchildren who qualify as children of the grandparents are deceased as of the date of transfer.”

According to Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association in his latest California Commentary, “the Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that the repeal of the ‘intergenerational transfer protections’ guaranteed by Props. 58 and 193 will result in 40,000 to 60,000 families getting hit with higher property taxes every year.”

The two changes could eventually raise $1 billion a year in new revenue that would be dedicated to fire protection.

“Senator Glazer’s efforts to create a dedicated fund to support underfunded fire districts in California show how effective a resourceful and persistent lawmaker can be in delivering much needed funds to his fire districts,” said Brian K. Rice President, California Professional Firefighters. “We are grateful for the support Senator Glazer has provided us and should ACA 11 (Proposition 19) be passed by the voters, we look forward to working with him to secure funds for his district.”

Glazer worked with the authors of the measure to ensure that a portion of the revenue would be available to the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, which has been forced to reduce services and close a number of stations because state funding formulas gave it far less property tax revenue than a typical fire district.

“This fire district has never had the revenue it needs to serve the fast-growing East County,” Glazer said. “ACA 11 is a smart, fair tax reform that will help seniors while generating more resources for fighting fires. If it passes, I will work with my fellow legislators to make sure that the East County district gets its fair share.”

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Secretary of State Padilla assigns numbers to November ballot measures, invites ballot arguments

Monday, July 6th, 2020

Two tax increases included in Props 15 and 19; Prop 18 lowers voting age to 17

SACRAMENTO, CA – Secretary of State Alex Padilla on Wednesday, July 1, assigned proposition numbers to the legislative, initiative, and referendum measures set to appear on the November 3, 2020 General Election ballot. Secretary Padilla also invited interested Californians to submit arguments to be considered for inclusion in the Official Voter Information Guide. The guide is mailed to every voting household in California and posted on the Secretary of State’s website.

The propositions are listed below, along with the Legislative Counsel’s digest or the Attorney General’s official circulating title and summary.

Proposition 14

AUTHORIZES BONDS TO CONTINUE FUNDING STEM CELL AND OTHER MEDICAL RESEARCH. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Authorizes $5.5 billion in state general obligation bonds to fund grants from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine to educational, non-profit, and private entities for: (1) stem cell and other medical research, therapy development, and therapy delivery; (2) medical training; and (3) construction of research facilities. Dedicates $1.5 billion to fund research and therapy for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, epilepsy, and other brain and central nervous system diseases and conditions. Limits bond issuance to $540 million annually. Appropriates money from General Fund to repay bond debt, but postpones repayment for first five years. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: State costs of $7.8 billion to pay off principal ($5.5 billion) and interest ($2.3 billion) on the bonds. Associated average annual debt payments of about $310 million for 25 years. The costs could be higher or lower than these estimates depending on factors such as the interest rate and the period of time over which the bonds are repaid. The state General Fund would pay most of the costs, with a relatively small amount of interest repaid by bond proceeds. (19-0022A1.)

Proposition 15

INCREASES FUNDING FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS, COMMUNITY COLLEGES, AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT SERVICES BY CHANGING TAX ASSESSMENT OF COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Increases funding for K-12 public schools, community colleges, and local governments by requiring that commercial and industrial real property be taxed based on current market value. Exempts from this change: residential properties; agricultural properties; and owners of commercial and industrial properties with combined value of $3 million or less. Increased education funding will supplement existing school funding guarantees. Exempts small businesses from personal property tax; for other businesses, exempts $500,000 worth of personal property. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Net increase in annual property tax revenues of $7.5 billion to $12 billion in most years, depending on the strength of real estate markets. After backfilling state income tax losses related to the measure and paying for county administrative costs, the remaining $6.5 billion to $11.5 billion would be allocated to schools (40 percent) and other local governments (60 percent). (19-0008.)

Proposition 16

ACA 5 (Resolution Chapter 23), Weber. Government preferences.

The California Constitution, pursuant to provisions enacted by the initiative Proposition 209 in 1996, prohibits the state from discriminating against, or granting preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting. The California Constitution defines the state for these purposes to include the state, any city, county, public university system, community college district, school district, special district, or any other political subdivision or governmental instrumentality of, or within, the state.

This measure would repeal these provisions. The measure would also make a statement of legislative findings in this regard.

WHEREAS, Equal opportunity is deeply rooted in the American ideals of fairness, justice, and equality. Programs to meet the goals of equal opportunity seek to realize these basic values. Equal opportunity not only helps individuals, but also helps communities in need and benefits our larger society. California’s equal opportunity program was upended by the passage of Proposition 209 in 1996; and

WHEREAS, Proposition 209, entitled the California Civil Rights Initiative, amended Article I of the California Constitution to prohibit race- and gender-conscious remedies to rectify the underutilization of women and people of color in public employment, as well as public contracting and education; and

WHEREAS, Proposition 209 invalidated a series of laws that had been enacted by the California Legislature over the 20 years prior to it that required state agencies to eliminate traditional patterns of segregation and exclusion in the workforce, to increase the representation of women and minorities in the state service by identifying jobs for which their employment was underrepresented due to discrimination, and to develop action plans to remedy such underrepresentation without effectuating quota systems; and

WHEREAS, Proposition 209 also overshadowed other landmark civil rights and antidiscrimination laws. In 1959, after a 37-year campaign by labor and civil rights groups, the Unruh Civil Rights Act was passed, which was the forerunner of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; and

WHEREAS, As a result of the passage of Proposition 209, women and people of color continue to face discrimination and disparity in opportunities to participate in numerous forms of association and work that are crucial to the development of talents and capabilities that enable people to contribute meaningfully to, and benefit from, the collective possibilities of national life; and

WHEREAS, The State of California has provided employment opportunities for people of color and women of all races. However, lingering, and even increasing, disparity still exists, particularly for Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Black Americans, Latino Americans, Native Americans, and women, and should be rectified; and

WHEREAS, Proposition 209 has impeded California’s continuing interest in supporting the equal participation of women in the workforce and in public works projects, in addressing the historical and present manifestations of gender bias, and in promulgating policies to enforce antidiscrimination in the workplace and on public projects; and

WHEREAS, In the wake of Proposition 209, California saw stark workforce diversity reductions for people of color and women in public contracting and in public education. Studies show that more diverse workforces perform better financially and are significantly more productive and focused; and

WHEREAS, Since the passage of Proposition 209, the state’s minority-owned and women-owned business enterprise programs have been decimated. A 2016 study conservatively estimates that the implementation of Proposition 209 cost women and people of color over $1,000,000,000 annually in lost contract awards. Most procurement and subcontracting processes remain effectively closed to these groups due to the changes brought on by Proposition 209; and

WHEREAS, Women are vastly underrepresented among firms receiving public contracts and the dollars awarded to certified women-owned business enterprises fell by roughly 40 percent, compared to levels before Proposition 209. In addition, only one-third of certified minority business enterprises in California’s transportation construction industry are still in operation today, compared to 20 years ago; and

WHEREAS, Women, particularly women of color, continue to face unequal pay for equal work. White women are paid 80 cents to every dollar paid to white men doing the same work. Black women are paid 60 cents for every dollar paid to white men doing the same work and would theoretically have to work an extra seven months every year to overcome that differential. This persistent gender wage gap continues to harm women, their families, and communities; and

WHEREAS, Despite a booming economy with almost full employment, a persistent racial wealth gap remains rooted in income inequality. Improving minority access to educational and labor market opportunity reduces the wealth gap and strengthens the economy; and

WHEREAS, Proposition 209 has had a devastating impact on minority equal opportunity and access to California’s publicly funded institutions of higher education. This violates the spirit of the California Master Plan for Higher Education by making it more difficult for many students to obtain an affordable and accessible high quality public education. While federal law allows schools to use race as a factor when making admissions decisions, California universities are prohibited by Proposition 209 from engaging in targeted outreach and extra efforts to matriculate high-performing minority students. This reduces .the graduation rates of students of color and, in turn, contributes to the diminution of the “pipeline” of candidates of color for faculty positions; and

WHEREAS, Since the passage of Proposition 209, diversity within public educational institutions has been stymied. Proposition 209 instigated a dramatic change in admissions policy at the University of California, with underrepresented group enrollment at the Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses of the University of California immediately falling by more than 60 percent and systemwide underrepresented group enrollment falling by at least 12 percent. Underrepresented group high school graduates faced substantial long-term declines in educational and employment outcomes as a result of these changes; and

WHEREAS, Among California high school graduates who apply to the University of California, passage of Proposition 209 has led to a decreased likelihood of earning a college degree within six years, a decreased likelihood of ever earning a graduate degree, and long-run declines in average wages and the likelihood of earning high wages measured by California standards. The University of California has never recovered the same level of diversity that it had before the loss of affirmative action nearly 20 years ago, a level that, at the time, was widely considered to be inadequate to meet the needs of the state and its young people because it did not achieve parity with the state’s ethnic demographics; and

WHEREAS, The importance of diversity in educational settings cannot be overstated. The Supreme Court of the United States outlined the benefits that arise from diversity, as follows, “the destruction of stereotypes, the promotion of cross-racial understanding, the preparation of a student body for an increasingly diverse workforce and society, and the cultivation of a set of leaders with legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry”; and

WHEREAS, Federal courts continue to reaffirm the value of diversity in favor of race conscious admissions, as exemplified by United States District Judge Allison D. Burroughs who stated, “race conscious admissions programs that survive strict scrutiny have an important place in society and help ensure that colleges and universities can offer a diverse atmosphere that fosters learning, improves scholarship, and encourages mutual respect and understanding. Further, Judge Burroughs recognized that there are no race-neutral alternatives that would allow a university to achieve an adequately diverse student body while still perpetuating its standards for academic and other forms of excellence; and

WHEREAS, It is the intent of the Legislature that California remedy discrimination against, and underrepresentation of, certain disadvantaged groups in a manner consistent with the United States Constitution and allow gender, racial, and ethnic diversity to be considered among the factors used to decide college admissions and hiring and contracting by government institutions; and

WHEREAS, It is further the intent of the Legislature that California transcend a legacy of unequal treatment of marginalized groups and promote fairness and equal citizenship by affording the members of marginalized groups a fair and full opportunity to be integrated into state public institutions that advance upward mobility, pay equity, and racial wealth gap reduction; now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Assembly, the Senate concurring, That the Legislature of the State of California at its 2019-20 Regular Session commencing on the third day of December 2018, two-thirds of the membership of each house concurring, hereby proposes to the people of the State of California, that the Constitution of the State be amended as follows:

That Section 31 of Article I thereof is repealed.

Proposition 17

ACA 6 (Resolution Chapter 24), McCarty. Elections: disqualification of electors.

The California Constitution requires the Legislature to provide for the disqualification of electors while mentally incompetent or imprisoned or on parole for the conviction of a felony. Existing statutory law, for purposes of determining who is entitled to register to vote, defines imprisoned as currently serving a state or federal prison sentence.

This measure would instead direct the Legislature to provide for the disqualification of electors who are serving a state or federal prison sentence for the conviction of a felony. This measure would also delete the requirement that the Legislature provide for the disqualification of electors while on parole for the conviction of a felony. The measure would provide for the restoration of voting rights upon completion of the prison term.

Resolved by the Assembly, the Senate concurring, That the Legislature of the State of California at its 2019-20 Regular Session commencing on the third day of December 2018, two-thirds of the membership of each house concurring, hereby proposes to the people of the State of California, that the Constitution of the State be amended as follows:

First-That Section 2 of Article II thereof is amended to read:

SEC. 2. (a) A United States citizen 18 years of age and resident in this State may vote.

(b) An elector disqualified from voting while serving a state or federal prison term, as described in Section 4, shall have their right to vote restored upon the completion of their prison term.

Second-That Section 4 of Article II thereof is amended to read:

SEC. 4. The Legislature shall prohibit improper practices that affect elections and shall provide for the disqualification of electors while mentally incompetent or serving a state or federal prison term for the conviction of a felony.

Proposition 18

ACA 4 (Resolution Chapter 30), Mullin. Elections: voting age.

The California Constitution authorizes any person who is a United States citizen, at least 18 years of age, and a resident of the state to vote.

This measure, in addition, would authorize a United States citizen who is 17 years of age, is a resident of the state, and will be at least 18 years of age at the time of the next general election to vote in any primary or special election that occurs before the next general election in which the citizen would be eligible to vote if at least 18 years of age.

Proposition 19

ACA 11 (Resolution Chapter 31), Mullin. The Home Protection for Seniors, Severely Disabled, Families, and Victims of Wildfire or Natural Disasters Act.

The California Constitution limits the amount of ad valorem taxes on real property to 1% of the full cash value of that property, defined as the county assessor’s valuation of real property as shown on the 1975–76 tax bill and, thereafter, the appraised value of the property when purchased, newly constructed, or a change in ownership occurs after the 1975 assessment, subject to an annual inflation adjustment not to exceed 2%. The California Constitution authorizes the Legislature to authorize a person over 55 years of age or any severely and permanently disabled person residing in property eligible for the homeowner’s exemption to transfer the base year value of that property to a replacement dwelling of equal or lesser value located in the same county, or another county that has adopted an ordinance allowing base years value transfers from other counties, as provided. The California Constitution also provides that the purchase or transfer of the principal residence, and the first $1,000,000 of other real property, of a transferor in the case of a transfer between parents and their children, or between grandparents and their grandchildren if all the parents of those grandchildren are deceased, is not a “purchase” or “change in ownership” for purposes of determining the “full cash value” of property for taxation.

This measure, beginning on and after April 1, 2021, would authorize an owner of a primary residence who is over 55 years of age, severely disabled, or a victim of a wildfire or natural disaster, as defined, to transfer the taxable value, defined as the base year value plus inflation adjustments, of their primary residence to a replacement primary residence located anywhere in the state, regardless of the location or value of the replacement primary residence, that is purchased or newly constructed as that person’s principal residence within 2 years of the sale of the original primary residence. The measure would limit a person who is over 55 years of age or severely disabled to 3 transfers under these provisions.

The measure, beginning on and after February 16, 2021, would exclude from the terms “purchase” and “change in ownership” for purposes of determining the “full cash value” of property the purchase or transfer of a family home or family farm, as those terms are defined, of the transferor in the case of a transfer between parents and their children, or between grandparents and their grandchildren if all the parents of those grandchildren are deceased. In the case of a transfer of a family home, the measure would require that the property continue as the family home of the transferee. The measure would require that the taxable value of the property be determined as provided. In the case of property tax benefits provided to a family home under these provisions, the bill would require the transferee to claim the homeowner’s or disabled veteran’s exemption within one year of the transfer. The measure would specify that the above-described provisions relating to transfers between parents or grandparents and children or grandchildren would apply to transfers occurring on or before February 15, 2021.

The measure would establish the California Fire Response Fund in the State Treasury. The measure would require the Controller to annually transfer a specified amount, based on calculations by the Director of Finance, of the additional revenues and savings that accrued to the state from the implementation of this measure’s provisions from the General Fund to that fund. However, the measure would provide that, if the amount required to be transferred to the California Fire Response Fund exceeds the amount transferred for the previous fiscal year by more than 10%, that excess amount would not be transferred to the California Fire Response Fund. The measure would require the Legislature to appropriate moneys in the fund solely for the purpose of funding fire suppression staffing by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and underfunded special districts that provide fire protection services, as provided.

The measure would also establish the County Revenue Protection Fund and continuously appropriate moneys in that fund for the purpose of reimbursing eligible local agencies, as provided. The measure would require the Controller to annually transfer a specified amount, based on the above-described calculations by the Director of Finance, from the General Fund to that fund. The measure would require each county to annually determine the gain of the county and any local agency within the county resulting from the implementation of this measure and, if that amount of gain is negative, provide that specified eligible local agencies may receive a reimbursement from the County Revenue Protection Fund. The measure would require the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration to provide a reimbursement to each eligible local agency that has a negative gain, determined every 3 years based on the aggregate gain of the eligible local agency, as provided, and require the Controller to transfer any remaining balance in the County Revenue Protection Fund to the General Fund at the end of each 3-year period, to be available for appropriation for any purpose.

Proposition 20

RESTRICTS PAROLE FOR NON-VIOLENT OFFENDERS. AUTHORIZES FELONY SENTENCES FOR CERTAIN OFFENSES CURRENTLY TREATED ONLY AS MISDEMEANORS. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Imposes restrictions on parole program for non-violent offenders who have completed the full term for their primary offense. Expands list of offenses that disqualify an inmate from this parole program. Changes standards and requirements governing parole decisions under this program. Authorizes felony charges for specified theft crimes currently chargeable only as misdemeanors, including some theft crimes where the value is between $250 and $950. Requires persons convicted of specified misdemeanors to submit to collection of DNA samples for state database. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased state and local correctional costs likely in the tens of millions of dollars annually, primarily related to increases in penalties for certain theft-related crimes and the changes to the nonviolent offender release consideration process. Increased state and local court-related costs of around a few million dollars annually related to processing probation revocations and additional felony theft filings. Increased state and local law enforcement costs not likely to exceed a couple million dollars annually related to collecting and processing DNA samples from additional offenders. (17-0044.)

Proposition 21

EXPANDS LOCAL GOVERNMENTS’ AUTHORITY TO ENACT RENT CONTROL ON RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Amends state law to allow local governments to establish rent control on residential properties over 15 years old. Allows rent increases on rent-controlled properties of up to 15 percent over three years from previous tenant’s rent above any increase allowed by local ordinance. Exempts individuals who own no more than two homes from new rent-control policies. In accordance with California law, provides that rent-control policies may not violate landlords’ right to a fair financial return on their property. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Potential reduction in state and local revenues of tens of millions of dollars per year in the long term. Depending on actions by local communities, revenue losses could be less or more. (19-0001.)

Proposition 22

CHANGES EMPLOYMENT CLASSIFICATION RULES FOR APP-BASED TRANSPORTATION AND DELIVERY DRIVERS. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Establishes different criteria for determining whether app-based transportation (rideshare) and delivery drivers are “employees” or “independent contractors.” Independent contractors are not entitled to certain state-law protections afforded employees—including minimum wage, overtime, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation. Instead, companies with independent contractor drivers will be required to provide specified alternative benefits, including: minimum compensation and healthcare subsidies based on engaged driving time, vehicle insurance, safety training, and sexual harassment policies. Restricts local regulation of app-based drivers; criminalizes impersonation of such drivers; requires background checks. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Increase in state personal income tax revenue of an unknown amount. (19-0026A1)

Proposition 23

AUTHORIZES STATE REGULATION OF KIDNEY DIALYSIS CLINICS. ESTABLISHES MINIMUM STAFFING AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Requires at least one licensed physician on site during treatment at outpatientkidney dialysis clinics; authorizes Department of Public Health to exempt clinics from thisrequirement due to shortages of qualified licensed physicians if at least one nurse practitioner orphysician assistant is on site. Requires clinics to report dialysis-related infection data to state andfederal governments. Requires state approval for clinics to close or reduce services. Prohibitsclinics from discriminating against patients based on the source of payment for care. Summaryof estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Increased state and local health care costs, likely in the low tens of millions of dollars annually, resulting from increased dialysis treatment costs. (19-0025A1.)

Proposition 24

AMENDS CONSUMER PRIVACY LAWS. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Permits consumers to: (1) prevent businesses from sharing personal information; (2) correct inaccurate personal information; and (3) limit businesses’ use of “sensitive personal information”—such as precise geolocation; race; ethnicity; religion; genetic data; union membership; private communications; and certain sexual orientation, health, and biometric information. Changes criteria for which businesses must comply with these laws. Prohibits businesses’ retention of personal information for longer than reasonably necessary. Triples maximum penalties for violations concerning consumers under age 16. Establishes California Privacy Protection Agency to enforce and implement consumer privacy laws, and impose administrative fines. Requires adoption of substantive regulations. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Increased annual state costs of roughly $10 million for a new state agency to monitor compliance and enforcement of consumer privacy laws. Increased state costs, potentially reaching the low millions of dollars annually, from increased workload to DOJ and the state courts, some or all of which would be offset by penalty revenues. Unknown impact on state and local tax revenues due to economic effects resulting from new requirements on businesses to protect consumer information. (19-0021A1.)

Proposition 25

REFERENDUM TO OVERTURN A 2018 LAW THAT REPLACED MONEY BAIL SYSTEM WITH A SYSTEM BASED ON PUBLIC SAFETY RISK. If this petition is signed by the required number of registered voters and timely filed, a referendum will be placed on the next statewide ballot requiring a majority of voters to approve a 2018 state law before it can take effect. The 2018 law replaces the money bail system with a system for pretrial release from jail based on a determination of public safety or flight risk, and limits pretrial detention for most misdemeanors. (18-0009.)

Ballot Arguments

Arguments may be submitted for or against the measures. Arguments selected for the Official Voter Information Guide will be on public display between July 21 and August 10. If multiple arguments are submitted for a proposition, state law gives first priority to arguments written by legislators in the case of legislative measures and to proponents of an initiative or referendum; subsequent priority goes to bona fide citizen associations and then to individuals. No more than three signers are allowed to appear on an argument or rebuttal to an argument.

Ballot arguments cannot exceed 500 words and rebuttals to ballot arguments cannot exceed 250 words. All submissions should be typed and double-spaced.  Arguments may be hand-delivered to the Secretary of State’s Elections Division at 1500 11th Street, 5th Floor, Sacramento, California 95814; faxed to (916) 653-3214; or emailed to VIGarguments@sos.ca.gov. If faxed or emailed, the original documents must be received within 72 hours.  The deadline to submit ballot arguments is July 7 by 5:00 p.m. The deadline to submit rebuttals to the ballot arguments is July 16 by 5:00 p.m.

Candidate Statements in the County Voter Information Guide

Candidates for the United States House of Representatives, California State Senate, and California State Assembly have until August 7 to submit candidate statements to their county elections official for the local sample ballot in the county or counties in which the district lies.

For more information on ballot measures, candidate filing requirements, and election deadlines, please visit: https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/upcoming-elections/general-election-november-3-2020/

 

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Antioch Police Crime Prevention Commission Chair Sandra White announces run against incumbent Councilwoman Wilson

Thursday, June 25th, 2020

Courtesy of Sandra White for Antioch City Council 2020.

Citizens of Antioch,

Over the past four years, I have been fortunate to be able to work in the community as the Police Crime Prevention Commission Chair. Now I am ready to take the next steps to serve our community . So, today I announce my candidacy for Antioch City Council to represent District 4 in the upcoming election.

I commit to continue to conduct myself with the same manner of respect I have used being a Police Commissioner. This has helped bridge some of the gaps that our divisive party lines have created. I will run my campaign with the same integrity and honesty I live my life by so I can prove that I am the best Candidate for the task at hand.

As a resident of Antioch for the past decade, I’ve seen the assets and trials of our community. I guarantee to do my best to celebrate these assets while at the same time digging into the trials our community faces. My background, as a professional businesswoman with experience working for both for profit and nonprofit organizations in technology, mental health, and social services, coupled with my masters degree in Counseling Psychology, has given me the experience to be successful as the next city council member for District 4. In this role, I will be able to dive into the City budget and have comprehensive discussions with City staff regarding initiatives that are important to all of us.

Those are: Safety, Infrastructure, Community Services, Business Development and Allocation of City funds.

I am looking forward to earning the right to represent you in District 4 on the Antioch City Council. Most importantly, I want to be that person you count on to have your voice heard as your representative to the City.

Respectfully Submitted,

Sandra White

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Who wants to run for office? Candidate filing for November elections begins July 13th

Monday, June 22nd, 2020

For school, community college and special districts in Contra Costa County

By Scott O. Konopasek, Assistant Registrar of Voters, Contra Costa County Elections Division

The candidate filing period for offices in school, community college and special districts is from July 13 to August 7, 2020 in order to appear on the November 2020 ballot. If an incumbent does not file by the August 7 nomination deadline, the seat is extended five calendar days until August 12, to non-incumbents only. The same dates apply to candidates for city offices who will file in their respective city, as usual.

In the past, filing for office has been conducted in the Elections Division office. This election however, as a result of COVID and social distancing requirements, filing for office will be conducted at the County Administration Building at 651 Pine Street in the Chambers of the Board of Supervisors.

Elections staff will issue documents and accept filings from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm daily. Appointments for filing the Declaration of Candidacy will be made at the time papers are issued.

“This is a safety measure to protect our staff and the public as the November election gets into gear. It is an example of the types of common sense protective measures we will employ throughout this election cycle.” said Debi Cooper, County Clerk-Recorder and Registrar.

To ensure the safety of all, candidates will wear face coverings and abide by social distancing protocols. Entourages will not be permitted into the Board Chambers, but may congregate outside or in the lobby of the Admin Building as long as public health rules are respected.

Download and view the Candidate’s Guide which gives you vital information on running for office, filing requirements, qualifications, deadlines, and more. The guide is for general information only and does not have the force and effect of law, regulation or rule.

To see the list of all offices up for election in November, including mayors, council members, city clerks and city treasurers, click here. Lists of candidates filing for office will be published twice daily at www.cocovote.us, at noon and at the end of each day. For more details on the November election schedule click, here.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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DA charges former Contra Costa County Clerk Canciamilla with 34 felonies for perjury & grand theft related to campaign accounts

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020

By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa District Attorney

Joe Canciamilla.

Martinez, Calif. — Today, Wednesday, June 17, 2020, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint of 34 felonies against defendant Joseph Canciamilla of Pittsburg. Canciamilla is the former Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder and a former county supervisor and assemblymember. He also created a campaign account for Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge. Canciamilla is also a licensed member of the California State Bar. Canciamilla’s first court appearance will be on July 27 at 8:30 a.m. in Department 31.

Canciamilla is accused of 30 felony counts of perjury for his alleged misstatements on 30 separate campaign disclosure statements (Form 460s). Canciamilla signed these campaign finance statements under the penalty of perjury. The additional four felony counts relate to personal grand theft of campaign funds for his personal use, totaling $261,800.68. The allegations span conduct from 2010 to 2016.

The personal expenditures made by Canciamilla’s campaign committees for the defendant’s own use were for various purposes, such as:

  • Personal vacation to Asia
  • Restaurants
  • Airfare via Southwest Airlines and American Airlines
  • Repayment of a Personal Loan
  • Transfers from his Campaign Bank Accounts to his Personal Accounts

All of these campaign statements started initially in 2010 with Canciamilla not reporting investment gains in a campaign bank account. While this practice is permissible, using the proceeds of any stock gains for personal use is prohibited. Canciamilla concealed from his Form 460s the gains and losses associated with this investment account. Ultimately, Canciamilla spent more on personal expenses than the unreported investment gains. He therefore had to then transfer personal funds into this campaign bank account to make up the difference.

“In total, the false statements signed by Canciamilla omitted critical information from the campaign finance disclosures. The information left off these forms left the public in the dark about how a candidate and then county-wide elected official spent campaign funds. Given the recent history of misconduct by various elected officials in Contra Costa County, Canciamilla’s behavior is troubling and he must be held accountable,” stated Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton.

The DA’s Office was notified of possible criminal activity associated with Canciamilla’s campaign accounts in early 2017 by the Franchise Tax Board. The criminal investigation by the DA’s Office included hundreds of hours examining seven different bank accounts held by the defendant. The two primary financial institutions Canciamilla used were Contra Costa Federal Credit Union and Charles Schwab.

Ultimately, Canciamilla was fined $150,000 by the California Fair Political Practices Commission in a civil stipulation for the multiple errors in his campaign finance statements, which concealed the personal use of campaign funds for his own benefit.

The statements signed by Canciamilla included various campaign accounts, such as his campaign account for judge (“Friends of Joe Canciamilla for Judge 2012” and campaign account for clerk-recorder (“Joe Canciamilla Canciamilla for Contra Costa County Clerk/Recorder”).

See related articles on this matter, here and here.

 

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Antioch Council approves new way to choose mayor pro tem, makes it a one-year term

Monday, June 15th, 2020

By Allen Payton

During their meeting on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 the Antioch City Council voted unanimously to change the way the mayor pro tem is selected, in response to the new district elections that will go into effect in November, and limit it to just a one year term. In other cities the position has the title of vice mayor and the holder acts in place of the mayor, represents the city and chairs the council meetings when the mayor is absent or unavailable.

Currently the highest vote-getter in the most recent council election has served as mayor pro tem for the following two years.

But, now, according to the language in the new ordinance, “the Mayor Pro Tempore shall serve a one-year term at the pleasure of the Council and until his or her successor qualifies for office. No Council member shall serve consecutive terms as Mayor Pro Tempore unless no other Council member eligible in accordance with section 2-1.401 is willing to serve as Mayor Pro Tempore.”

In addition the new ordinance reads, “If all Council members have previously served as mayor pro tempore, or if the Council members eligible…decline, the City Council shall select the Council member who received the highest percentage of votes in his or her district in the most recent general municipal election at which the Council member was elected.”

So, the position will still be given to the highest vote getter for the year following the most recent election. But, during the second year the position will be decided by a vote of the city council.

The change is “to conform with the by-district election process commencing at the November 2020 general municipal election so Council members from all districts have the opportunity to serve as Mayor Pro Tempore.”

Antioch’s current mayor pro tem is Joy Motts who has held the position since being elected in 2018 but, ends this year along with her council term. The next mayor pro tem will take their position most likely during the council reorganization meeting on the second Tuesday of December.

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Council places “flawed” Sand Creek “Let Antioch Voters Decide” initiative on November ballot

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

Will cost city $100,000; could face pre- and post-election legal challenges due to new legislation possibly making the initiative moot and costing city even more.

By Allen Payton

In response to the direction given by a judge in a court case over two initiatives affecting new home development in the Sand Creek Focus Area that the council adopted in 2018, the Antioch City Council voted 5-0 to place the one initiative sponsored by the environmental community on the November 2020 ballot.

That court case resulted in the judge tossing out the council’s adoption of the environmentalist-backed Let Antioch Voters Decide (LAVD) initiative. It also invalidated both the initiative sponsored by Richland Communities, the developer of the 1,100-home project known as The Ranch, as well as their development agreement. In his ruling, the judge also ordered the city council place the LAVD initiative on the ballot. However, the decisions in the lawsuits by adjacent property owners The Zeka Group owners of Zeka Ranch, and the Oak Hill Park Company are still being appealed by the backers of the LAVD initiative. (See related articles here, and here)

According to a previous Herald news report, following a 30-day study by city staff, their report found the initiative limited the total number of housing units to 2,100 in the entire Sand Creek Area. Since the past and current councils had already approved more than 2,300 homes, then no more homes could be built, including the proposed 301-unit, gated senior home community east of Deer Valley Road, known as The Olive Groves on the Albers Ranch property. However, both Seth Adams of Save Mount Diablo and the attorney for Richland said that the intent of each initiative was to only affect property on the west side of Deer Valley Road.

The LAVD initiative will directly impact the proposed Zeka Ranch project (see related article), west of The Ranch project, on the west side of Empire Mine Road, as well as three other properties directly south of Richland property, including Oak Hill’s. Zeka’s proposed number of homes would be reduced from 300 to 400, down to just one home per 80 acres, resulting in just a total of eight homes.

In addition, since the judge’s decisions, new legislation, SB330, was passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Gov. Newsom, last year which prevents cities from downzoning land already zoned residential, either by council action or through the initiative process.

Yet, according to Derek Cole, the city’s contract attorney working on matters dealing with the Sand Creek initiative, “cities have mandatory duties whenever proposed ballot measures receive the signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot.  In this case, because the ‘9212’ report and approval of the initiative are no longer options, the City can only take action to call an election as to the initiative.  City staff is aware of the SB 330 legislation that took effect this year, but as the Staff Report explains, the City Council cannot assume the role of the courts in deciding any legal issues associated with the measure.  The State Supreme Court made very clear in a 2017 decision that the duty to call an election on an initiative is mandatory, even when an initiative’s legality is questioned.”

“The council could adopt an argument against the initiative,” added City Attorney Thomas Smith.

During public comments Joanna Garaventa, with the East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, spoke in favor of the initiative. She submitted a letter to the council, but when speaking it was difficult to understand her for the purpose of adding her comments to this report.

Andrew Bassak, an attorney with Hanson Bridgett, representing The Zeka Group, opposed the placement of the initiative on the ballot as “it would negatively affect the development that’s been planned for the past 30 years.”

He referred to SB330, the new residential development law.

“The city lacks authority to place the initiative on the ballot…under the California Elections Code. That passed years ago,” Bassak explained. “There is no authority under the stayed Superior Court ruling. That judgement is currently subject to appeal, by one of the proponents of the initiative. Save Mt. Diablo wants to have its cake and eat it, too.”

“The cost of putting it on the ballot will be over $100,000,” he stated. “Placing it on the ballot will result in more litigation” both before…and after the November election. Those litigations could easily double the $100,000 amount. This is just squandering resources that could be spent elsewhere. The city should wait until the court of appeals decision is over.”

Bassak submitted a letter to the mayor and council before the meeting. In it he wrote, “the Initiative is fundamentally flawed and, if placed on the ballot, will be subject to avoidable costly pre-election litigation.” 06-09-20 Zeka Group Attorney Letter to Antioch re LAVD Initiative

Seth Adams, the Land Conservation Director for Save Mt. Diablo, which sponsored the LAVD initiative said, “Please move forward with placing our initiative on the ballot and please formally endorse the initiative.”

“Over 9,000 citizens signed the petition to place the initiative on the ballot,” he continued. “The courts said to place the initiative on the ballot. It did not invalidate the initiative.”

“Our attorneys have provided information to the city that explains why they can place the initiative on the ballot,” Adams added. Emails from Save Mt. Diablo’s attorney to City of Antioch re LAVD Initiative

All the other thirteen public comments were in favor of placing the initiative on the ballot.

Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock then asked about how SB 330 affected the initiative.

“SB330 is legislation…that became effective in January of this year and is retroactive two years,” Smith said. “Under the new regulation any affected city is precluded from adopting policy…of lesser standard. It is preventing the downzoning of land, from residential to something that would not allow development.”

“It is one of the factors that would have to be taken into consideration if the initiative passed,” he continued. “However, at this time, the council can move forward in a ministerial.

“There may be a pre-election challenge or a post-election challenge,” Smith added. “SB330 could affect it in determining if the initiative is valid.”

“Not only did 9,000 of our citizens sign petitions to place this on the ballot, but the courts directed the council to place it on the ballot,” said Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts.

I believe it’s an environmentally sensitive, efficient development. So, I am in favor of moving the initiative forward and placing it on the November ballot.”

Ogorchock then moved to place the initiative on the ballot. Councilwoman Monica Wilson seconded the motion.

Smith then asked if the two actions could be separated, with the council deciding if they want to include a ballot argument against the measure.

Ogorchock then shortened her motion to not include a ballot argument.

Thorpe then asked staff to come back with something at a future council meeting, for council to decide whether or not to endorse or oppose the initiative.

However, the council can only submit an argument against the initiative, Smith explained.

Ogorchock and Wilson withdrew their motion and Ogorchock made a new motion and Thorpe seconded it.

“Do we want to make an argument against the initiative?” she asked. Wilson, Thorpe and Motts all said “no”.

“I just need you to make a motion that you do not want to make an argument against the initiative,” Smith explained.

Ogorchock then made a friendly amendment to her own motion that the council will not include an argument against the initiative. Thorpe accepted the amendment to the motion.

That motion passed on a 5-0 vote that the council will not include a ballot argument against the initiative.

Then Ogorchock returned to her original motion to place the initiative on the November ballot. It was seconded by Wilson and the motion also passed 5-0.

Efforts to reach Seth Adams and city staff to obtain a copy of the letter sent to the City from Save Mt. Diablo’s attorney before the meeting, were unsuccessful prior to publication time. Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Council candidate says Antioch councilman’s police reform efforts grandstanding for political gain

Monday, June 8th, 2020

Claims Thorpe knew Antioch Police already implementing five of eight reforms before releasing his proposal

Mike Barbanica.

In a press release on Monday evening, Antioch City Council candidate Mike Barbanica slammed Antioch Council Member Lamar Thorpe, who is up for re-election in November, for his proposal to call for an ad hoc committee to deal with what he labels so-called reforms at the Antioch Police Department”. Thorpe listed eight reforms endorsed by the national 8 Can’t Wait Campaign and four actions the council can take promoted by the Obama Foundation on its website. (See related article)

“Antioch residents want change – real change – so we can honestly address racism in our community,” said Barbanica, candidate for city council in District 2. “We don’t need another Antioch bureaucracy led by politicians who claim to know what’s best for our community.”

Barbanica stated that the Antioch Police Department has already implemented five of the eight reforms advocated by 8 Can’t Wait and is in the process of reviewing the other three for possible implementation.

He added that Thorpe was advised of this information by the APD before he sent out his press release.

“Shame on Mr. Thorpe for grandstanding on this issue for his own political gain,” Barbanica said. “What we need is more ongoing thoughtful communication between our police officers, our community, Antioch’s faith leaders and business owners – not the establishment of some shill of a committee that exists for the purpose of promoting a politician’s own political agenda.”

Barbanica, a longtime Antioch resident, local business owner and retired police lieutenant from the neighboring City of Pittsburg, said he is proud of the hard work and dedication of Antioch’s police officers, noting that, under Police Chief Tammany Brooks, Antioch PD has been responsive to the needs of our community.

“Can we do better? We can always do better and we need to come together, as a community, to better understand the needs of our African American and Latino residents, he said. “But establishing a committee of politicians who will use it as a pedestal to pontificate about the causes of racism is not the answer.

Barbanica added that George Floyd’s murder, and the protests that have followed, have awakened all of us to the need for social justice reform that can only begin in earnest by us initiating honest dialogue, by our listening and communicating with one another, so we can re-create a society that is fair and just for all persons who live here.

6/9/20 UPDATE:  When reached for comment, Councilman Thorpe said “what I knew was that I asked the chief to get clarity on this, and he sent me an email response and he said ‘in spirit we do some of these. We have officially two on the books so far. But I can look into and we can do these things in spirit.’”

“He had some concerns about other ones,” he continued. “What I did was call on the chief to adopt all of them. The issue is not whether not I knew. The fact of the matter is they’re not written in our policies. There’s a difference between researching and considering adopting them.”

“I’m calling for the remaining six to be implemented,” Thorpe stated. “Let’s make it about policy. Five of them doesn’t complete the eight. I’m saying all of them.”

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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