Tag Archives: homeless dumping

Weekend Odds And Ends

Here are a few tidbits on this GOTV weekend!

• Obviously everyone is going to be working hard for their causes and candidates, so it may be a little quiet around here.  I’ll be out walking all day tomorrow.  Oh, and don’t vote for the racist guy, Bill Johnson, as a Judge of the Superior Court (Office number 125) in LA County.

• Yesterday was the deadline for bills to get passed out of their chamber of origin, and the Assembly passed major subprime mortgage legislation, without help from Republicans (6 of them abstained despite being seated right in the chamber).  This bill has some good homeowner assistance elements that will allow people to restructure their financing before foreclosure.  A mortgage bill has also passed the State Senate, so some form of legislation will hopefully get to the governor post haste.

• One of the biggest problems with the housing crisis is that, as home sale prices lower, homeowners are reassessing their value and getting their property tax lowered, decreasing state revenue yet more.

• Sticking in the shiv before riding off into the sunset, Fabian Nuñez writes a puzzling op-ed in the Sacramento Bee approving of the Governor’s horrible idea to borrow against future lottery revenue.  Considering that the only sustainable solution to the permanent crisis mode that we have in our budget is to reorganize the tax structure instead of constantly borrowing, I have no idea why any Democrat would veer so far off message and undermine the new Speaker’s ability to move forward.  What’s more, lotteries are regressive taxes on the poor.

• One spot where there will be a lot of action on Tuesday is in Ventura County, where Democrats now outnumber Republicans and which could have contested elections in the Assembly, Senate and US Congress.  However, the LA Times shows its political acumen by writing:

One of the more closely watched contests on Tuesday will be the Democratic primary in the 24th Congressional District. Insurance agent Mary Pallant of Oak Park; Marta Jorgensen, a Solvang educator; and Oxnard businesswoman Jill Martinez are running.

Marta Jorgensen quit the race over a month ago and endorsed Martinez.  Way to go, LAT.

• Excellent news out of Los Angeles: there’s been a $1 million dollar settlement with Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center for their dumping homeless patients on Skid Row.  They will also be monitored by a US Attorney for five years.  This unethical practice has reached a reasonable conclusion.  Hollywood Presbyterian deserved punishment.

• Trying to get rid of marijuana grow houses in Arcata is like trying to get rid of the Pacific Ocean on the California coast.


Is The Term Limit Initiative Destroying This Legislative Session?

I don’t think it’s any secret that there’s been a growing disquiet from progressives with how the California Legislature is doing business.  We won’t know the final tallies until the end of the session in September, of course, but just in the past couple months, Democratic leaders have given the Governor the ability to build 53,000 new beds for prisons without addressing rehabilitation programs that are the only way to cut costs and reduce recidivism.  They approved a shockingly anti-worker set of tribal gaming compacts, with only token protections in the side deals, and then tried to make the dishonest claim that they didn’t negotitate the deals in the first place so they can’t be blamed for them (um, then don’t approve them and force the Governor to start over, you have the power to do that, you know).  They combined their healthcare bills to negotiate with the governor without them even including guaranteed issue, meaning that insurance companies can continue to deny coverage to patients for pre-existing conditions (a separate state-run system would be set up to provide for these ill patients, which would make insurers even more loath to spend money on care, given the crutch afforded them by the parallel system for sick people).  And they allowed hostile amendments on patient-dumping to pass the Assembly Health Committee.  We don’t yet have a state budget, as it passed its deadline, and progressives are crossing their fingers that this trend won’t continue and some of the worst cuts for the needy preferred by the Governor won’t be allowed to remain.

So what is going on here?  Why is a Legislature with wide majorities in both houses, sufficient to pass pretty much everything but the budget and tax measures, seemingly caving in on all sides?  One article in the SF Chronicle offers a compelling explanation:

Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez’s decision this week to end an impasse with Indian gaming tribes and ratify new gambling compacts is designed to help pass a proposed ballot initiative that would allow him and other lawmakers to keep their jobs longer, his critics and political observers said Thursday.

For Núñez, the compacts landed him between the state’s two major special interest forces — wealthy Indian tribes that want to greatly increase the number of slot machines on tribal lands and labor unions that pressed for provisions that would make it easier for workers to organize at casinos.

The standoff between the two groups had placed Núñez in a politically precarious position of having to choose between his political base in labor or mollify tribes that have not been shy about using their deep pockets to buoy or sink political campaigns […]

“I think what (Núñez) wants to do is to make sure there is no opposition to term limits, not necessarily building support for it,” said Bob Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies, a nonprofit research group in Los Angeles. “He may have just removed a major monied interest against the measure.”

If this is the motivating interest, then this term limits measure is killing the state, and the ability to make any progress for Californians.  And there’s even more evidence for this.

Schwarzenegger, however, is not alone in squeezing Núñez, et al. An even more blatant threat came from the Professional Peace Officers Association, an umbrella group for rank-and-file police who bitterly oppose a bill that would allow public access to police disciplinary proceedings.

The measure, Senate Bill 1019 by Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, cleared the Senate but was stalled in the Assembly after John R. Stites, president of the police association, sent messages to legislators that were the bill to be passed, the union would oppose the term limit modification and added ominously, “Ensure that it be understood that this will only be the beginning.” Thereafter, the Assembly Public Safety Committee held the bill without a vote — an action that had to have leadership blessing.

Legislative leaders doubtless cringe at the vision of having their term limit measure denounced in television commercials by uniform-wearing cops. The California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the union that represents prison guards, contributed to Núñez’s term limit drive, but he angered union leaders by helping Schwarzenegger enact a prison construction-reform program.

You can read more about how SB 1019 was bottled up in an Assembly Committee.

Obviously, Democratic leaders don’t want the Governor against them when the term limits measure comes up for a vote in February, and so the budget and the health-care debate may suffer in the process.  But they also appear to be determined to silence any potential interest group that may criticize the measure and fund its opposition.  Therefore you see these caves on sunshine for police disciplinary actions and the tribal compacts, and perhaps the homeless dumping bill as well.

This fits with a consistent pattern that is doing nothing but angering Democratic activists.  The vast majority of the public isn’t paying attention to such matters, due in no small part to the fact that media outlets are abandoning their Sacramento bureaus.  But progress in California has completely stalled in this legislative session, perhaps out of a small-minded desire to stay in power for an extra six years.  It calls into question why such “leaders” would want to remain in power in the first place.  But we can all surmise the answer to that one.

Homeless Dumping Issue Goes National

We’ve had a spirited discussion about recent events in the state Senate.  With everybody talking about winners and losers, I think it’s important to note who’s really being impacted.

Tomorrow night 60 Minutes will have a feature story on homeless dumping at Skid Row in Los Angeles.  You can watch a preview at the link, featuring an interview with a paraplegic named Gabino Olvera, who was dumped and left to pull himself across the street by his hands.

The CEO of Hollywood Presbyterian, whose hospital dumped this man downtown, blames the bus driver.  On tape.

When asked by Cooper whether the van driver was the only person who made a mistake, (Kaylor) Shemberger replies, “Well, she’s the person who made the decision to drop the patient off.” To which Cooper responds, “And to those who would say that you’re basically making a scapegoat of this low-paid van driver?”

“I don’t think anybody is making a scapegoat out of anybody,” Shemberger says.

The next time you want to rant and rave about who has a smaller office and who’s on what committee, get a mental picture in your head of Gabino Olvera pulling himself across the street, while people like Kaylor Shemberger sit in their plush office and look the other way.  Let’s not lose perspective.

(By the way, a special thanks to City Attorney and former Attorney General candidate Rocky Delgadillo, who reached a deal with Kaiser to stop the practice, which apparently Hollywood Presbyterian, in the wake of this 60 Minutes episode, will now sign on to.)