Tag Archives: Dean Florez

Breaking: CA Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez To PG&E: I Want Names Of San Bruno Pipeline Workers

It is good to see that someone in Sacramento is taking the investigation into the horrible PG&E pipeline explosion and loss of life and property seriously. Does not appear that anyone will get away with sweeping the “facts” that lead to the incident (and I really am at a loss of words to adequately describe the explosion and aftermath) get swept “under the rug.” That “someone” in this case is California State Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez.

In an effort to determine the causes of the San Bruno gas line explosion and prevent future such trajedies, Senator Florez is asking Pacific Gas & Electric and the California Public Utilities Commission to turn over hundreds of pages of internal documents to the state Senate.

Arguing that PG&E failed to fix what it knew to be a potentially dangerous problem, the Senate Majority leader is also asking the utility to provide the names of PG&E personnel who worked in the vicinity of the San Bruno pipeline in the days prior to the blast.

In separate letters today to PG&E and the CPUC, Sen. Florez, D-Shafter, cites a pattern of concealment on the part of the utility and a pattern of lax oversight by the public watchdog.

“More than two weeks after the tragedy, we are left with an inescapable question: Did PG&E’s neglect and deferred maintenance, a pattern of nonfeasance, cause the tragedy?” Florez said.

Florez is seeking a wide range of documents that he believes will help to uncover a practice of launching new technologies and yet at the same time, the utility giant has given short shrift to upgrading decaying gas lines that run up and down the state, beneath homes and businesses.

“I believe if these documents are released, they will reveal that PG&E was literally asleep at the switch when it came to identifying and fixing dangerous gas lines such as Line 132 beneath San Bruno.”

“I think we need to know if PG&E received millions of dollars in rate hikes to improve decrepit gas lines but yet, for inexplicable reasons, failed to do the work.”

“Without the documents that I am requesting, I would argue that this is what happened with Line 132,” Florez said. “PG&E had money allocated to do the upgrade. But the repairs were never done. How come? Where did those millions of dollars go?”

In the wake of the San Bruno tragedy, Florez said, PG&E has done its best to confuse the public, issuing a series of inconsistent statements.

In early news accounts, PG&E officials conceded that the utility had received millions of dollars in capital expenditures to repair Line 132 because of its “likelihood of failure” and “unacceptably high” risk.

Then, in later press accounts, PG&E insisted that Line 132 was not a high risk and did not even rank on the most recent list of the Top 100 “high-risk” lines.

Why was Line 132 removed from the most recent “high risk” list? Did PG&E make repairs to Line 132 that lessened the risk? Or was the accounting of these high-risk lines so arbitrary that decaying lines were moved on and off the list–without rhyme or reason?

Then there is PG&E’s insistence that it knew nothing about gas odors emanating from the San Bruno pipeline in the days prior to the explosion. The utility also denies that its records show that PG&E crews were dispatched to the neighborhood in the days prior to the blast.

Florez is seeking the names of PG&E personnel who recently worked in the area.

“Our office wants to question those PG&E workers. Do we believe PG&E higher ups? Or do we believe resident after resident quoted in prominent newspapers about gas odors and PG&E trucks sent to the San Bruno neighborhood in the days prior?

“Frankly, after butting heads with PG&E over the past year on rate hikes and SmartMeters, I don’t trust their corporate culture.”

Florez says his office has much experience digging into PG&E and would act as a state clearinghouse for the information.

“PG&E is a morass to dig through, but we know the questions to ask and the documents to seek. My plan is to share those documents with my fellow legislators who will be holding hearings on the matter. The public deserves to know the truth.”

Stay Tuned! I will post updates on FreeFlightNewMedia.TypePad.Com and a summary as warranted here on Calitics.com.

How Many Votes Did Meg Whitman Trash Talk Away In Describing Fresno? Sen. Dean Florez Fires Back


SACRAMENTO – Senator Dean Florez, D-Shafter, responding to gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman’s recent description of Fresno as looking like Detroit and calling it “awful,” Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez who represents portions of Fresno made the following statement:

“Billionaire Meg Whitman gave us a quick peek as to just how out of touch she is with the realities of working Californians by describing the city of Fresno as “awful.”  While we may not travel by private jet, have the biggest homes or live by designer labels as Ms. Whitman, we in the Valley have great pride in our city and in our ability to feed the world.  I don’t think Ms. Whitman recognizes how her comments stigmatize Fresno and the folks who live here.  Whether it was purposeful or not, it just shows how unprepared she is to lead this state by making such off-hand and ignorant statements about an important part of California.”

As the saying goes, from a political perspective, apparently “Not the brightest light in the Chandelier” kind of statement.  Rookie candidate mistake?

Trash Talking Any City In California, while running for Statewide office, especially Governor, makes one wonder if she is actually spotting Jerry Brown five points! Wonder how many folks in Fresno will vote and wouldn’t it be interesting if the race for Governor was lost by Whitman by the number of registered voters in Fresno? Something for Meg’s team to chew on for awhile…..

Cross Post: FreeFlightNewMedia.typepad.com

Allred, Majority Leader Florez fight to protect young crime victims from cyber harassment

Now This Is What Good Legislation Is All About. California Taking The Lead Once Again To Address A National Problem; Nation To Follow?

Child Victim of Anand Jon Inspires Bill to Extend Protective Orders to Internet Contact

SACRAMENTO – Victims’ rights attorney Gloria Allred and her client, a child victim of fashion designer Anand Jon, will join Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez (D-Shafter) on Tuesday to testify on behalf of legislation to stop the on-line harassment of child crime victims by the perpetrators and their associates.  They will hold media availability in Florez’s office at 10 a.m. after the vote.

Jon, once a rising young fashion designer known for appearances on programs such as “America’s Next Top Model,” was convicted last year of sex crimes against a number of young, aspiring models.  Jon was also convicted of two counts of committing a lewd and lascivious act on a child.

Autumn Albin, an aspiring model who was Jon’s child victim and is now a young adult, alleges that after his conviction she was harassed by a person who appeared to be acting on behalf of Mr. Jon.  That individual allegedly sent messages to her on-line friends and acquaintances insinuating that she had sent Jon to prison with false testimony, revealing her name and other personal information to many who knew nothing of the fact that Autumn was a victim of crimes committed by Anand Jon.

Albin publicly revealed her identity in November upon introduction of SB 834 to prevent other young crime victims from being put through the harassment she has experienced.  

Senate Bill 834 seeks to protect the privacy and safety of victims who are minors and testify in a criminal matter.  The measure clarifies that a protective order prohibiting contact extends to harassing a victim through his or her on-line friends.  The bill is an attempt to bring the law up to speed with advances in technology.

“No child who has been a crime victim should be unfairly targeted and harassed after she has found the courage to testify in a criminal case,” said Allred.  “This bill will provide new and important protections for crime victims who are under eighteen.”

“We need to be responsible for ensuring the law matches the reality our children face today, and do what is within our power to keep young crime victims from being revictimized,” said Florez.

Senate Bill 834 will be heard by Senate Public Safety at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in Capitol Room 4203.


WHO:             Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez (D-Shafter)

                      Attorney Gloria Allred

                      Autumn Albin, alleged victim of cyber harassment over her testimony in the Anand Jon case

WHAT:           News conference following Senate Public Safety vote on SB 834

WHEN:           Tuesday, April 6, 2010; 10:00 a.m.

                      (Bill hearing at 9:30 a.m. in Senate Public Safety, Room 4203)

WHERE:         Office of Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, D-Shafter

                   State Capitol, Room 313; Sacramento, California

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: PG&E “SmartMeters” To Have CPUC Ordered INDEPENDENT “IQ” Test For Accuracy

SACRAMENTO – California State Senator and Majority Leader Dean Florez (D-Shafter) indicates he is pleased with this development but won’t be satisfied without real answers for California consumers.

Florez reacted with a wait-and-see attitude to today’s announcement that the California Public Utilities Commission has at long last selected an independent evaluator – a company called Structure — to investigate the accuracy of PG&E’s so-called Smart Meters.

Florez has held numerous hearings into Valley residents’ concerns about the new digital meters, which many feel are responsible for dramatic spikes in utility bills.  Some of those who testified indicated their bills tripled – or worse – even after installing energy-saving appliances or while their homes were vacant.

In recent weeks, legislators, concerned residents and the media have been sharply critical of delays of testing, even as PG&E attempted to speed up installation of the questionable meters.  Florez is pleased a company has been selected to begin this important work, but will not be satisfied until he sees real results and answers for consumers.

Florez, who was recently named chairman of the newly formed Select Committee on the Smart Grid and announced additional planned hearings, today issued the following statement on the latest development:

“I believe that transparency throughout the entire evaluation process will be one of the key components to consumer confidence in PG&E’s smart meter program, and not to mention the PUC’s commitment to ensuring that the system works.  Any hint that information was concealed, or if customers’ complaints are overlooked during this evaluation, then I would argue that the PUC’s efforts were wasted.


“Structure officials should know that the public will be watching and that a public hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Smart Grid will be forthcoming.  I’ve said it from day one, simply interviewing customers will not be enough.  Structure officials will need to conduct a forensic analysis of individual homes to show what really happened at these locations that resulted in bills doubling and tripling.”

In my opinion one of the primary roles of Government is oversight of public services (including quality and costs). The public hearing to be held by the CA Senate SmartGrid Committee when the selected company (STRUCTURE) reports their findings will be most interesting.


Time Magazine Features Lt. Gov Candidate Dean Florez Animal Abuse Registry Legislation

Once More California Senator and Lt. Governor Candidate Dean Florez Proposed Legislation gains high profile national attention; California is often viewed as leading the Nation. This time the bill that proposes an Animal Abuse Registry is featured in the latest issue of Time Magazine. I have written before about this bill and Time Magazine captures one of the more important arguments for passage of this legislation right up front.

Should There Be an Animal-Abuser Registry?

Cruelty to animals, it is said, is often a precursor to graver crimes. So would there not be some usefulness to a registry of individuals convicted of felony animal abuse? Legislators in California want the Golden State to be the first to establish such a record – just as California was the first in the nation to create a registry of sex offenders.

The popularity of such legislation can be measured in many ways. I noted while reading the Time coverage, even though the story was just released over 2000 Facebook users have noted the legislation and took some type of action.

“We think California is primed for this kind of a bill,” says state senate majority leader Dean Florez, who introduced the bill in late February. “We’ve progressed to the point where we as a legislature are moving in a direction of this bill, which is ultimately, How do we in essence prevent repeat offenses when it comes to cruelty to animals in the state of California?” It is an issue that, Florez says, Californians care for deeply. About 60% of California residents own pets, he says; add in farm animals, and 80% of the population has some kind of ownership of animals.

One issue that must be resolved is the funding of the measure, be it by pet owners who purchase food, those convicted must pay a fine, or some other equitable measure.

If I were a betting person I would put my money on the Legislature finding equitable funding of this bill that would  be added to the legislation before it becomes law. Given the apparent popularity (and I know the Facebook measure is not scientific), I think the Governor would sign it. That is if a sticking point will be getting the votes to pass, which will require some Republican votes.

Time quotes Florez “In this case,” he says, “the issue is simple. Do Republican members … really want to be seen on the side of animal abuse? I don’t think they do.”

Find this full article at:


Strangled Puppy “COCO” Dies, Owner/Killer (alleged) Arrested and Case Made For AB1277


“He told us that he pinned the dog down by the neck and throat for 20 seconds while the puppy defecated and urinated on itself in panic or because it started to lose consciousness, we don’t know,” said Lt. Dan DeSousa with SD County Animal Service.

Coco died Friday, one week after CA Senator Dean Florez introduced AB 1277, which would establish an Animal Abuse Registry in California and “make those guilty of Animal Abuse famous for their crimes” and hopefully prevent horrors that Coco suffered.

Coco’s owner and alleged puppy killer, David Hale Warner, 50, is currently in the San Diego Detention Center and has been booked on felony animal cruelty charges.  The Department of Animal Services has 72 hours to prepare a case for the District Attorney.  If convicted, Warner may be punished with up to three years in a state prison, one year in a county prison or fined $20,000.

At booking, it was discovered that Warner had an existing arrest warrant for spousal abuse.

Future animal cruelty cases (and other abuses) may well be prevented if California State Senator Dean Florez, also a candidate for California Lt. Governor, is successful in gaining passage of Senate Bill 1277.

California state Sen. Dean Florez hopes a love of animals will bring the parties together. Florez is the chair of the state Senate’s Food and Agriculture Committee and an animal welfare advocate.

Details of Bill

Sen. Florez has offered a bill, S.B. 1277, to establish an online registry of people convicted of felony animal abuse.  The registry would help warn shelters and rescues as well as pet owners of abusers in the area to avoid. It would be a deterrent to animal abuse. It would also serve as an early warning indicator of those likely to commit domestic abuse or other violent crimes.

There is a well-established link between animal abuse and domestic violence and other violent crimes.

Animal abuse is often an indicator of future violence to humans

In one study 71% of women in a battered women’s shelter reported their abuser either abused a household pet or threatened to abuse a pet. (Ascione, 1998)  

In another study 88% of child abusers also abused the animals in the home. (Ascione)

In a study by Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell, Public Health Department, the Johns Hopkins University from 1994 to 2000 in eleven USA metropolitan cities, pet abuse was one of the four significant predictors for determining who was at highest risk for becoming a batterer. Many abused spouses delay leaving out of fear for their pets’ safety and because they have nowhere to take them.

70% of animal abusers were found in one 20 year study to have then committed other crimes, and 44% went on to harm people. (Arluke, A. & Luke, C. 1997).

In another study 99% of animal abusers had convictions for other crimes. (Clarke, J. P. 2002). In that same study it was found 100% of people who committed sexual homicide had abused animals. (Clarke, J. P. 2002). That study also revealed 61.5% of animal abusers had assaulted a human as well. (Clarke, J. P. 2002).

63.3% of inmates in a prison study who were in for violent crimes admitted to abusing animals. This doesn’t include the ones who didn’t admit it. (Schiff Louw Ascione, 1999)

Police have found animal abuse is a better predictor of whether someone will commit sexual assault than previous convictions for murder or arson. (Clarke, J. P. 2002).


Find your California state senators and representatives at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/your… and urge them to vote yes to S.B. 1277 and help identify persons convicted of felony animal abuse for the protection of both animals and people.

Read more: http://www.sdnn.com/sandiego/2… and http://www.animallawcoalition…. which were used in preparing this news item.

WEBCAST: Florez Bill Seeks End To Preventable Animal Abuse

Announcement of historic legislation scheduled to be webcast live Monday

SACRAMENTO – Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez (D-Shafter) will hold a news conference – also scheduled to be webcast LIVE Monday morning – announcing legislation to prevent cruelty and abuse toward animals in California.

Florez, who co-chairs the Animal Protection Caucus and was a staunch advocate for passage of Proposition 2, will be joined in making his announcement by Stephen Wells of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, strong supporters of the new bill.

If you are unable to attend in person, Monday’s news conference will be streamed live at http://dist16.casen.govoffice….

WHO:             Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, D-Shafter

                        Stephen Wells, Executive Director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund

WHAT:           Announcement of historic animal abuse prevention bill

WHEN:             Monday, February 22, 2010 at 10:30 a.m.

WHERE:         State Capitol Building, Room 313; Sacramento, CA — or — http://dist16.casen.govoffice.com

Florez Has Harsh Words for Governor on Maldonado Nomination

Senate Majority Leader urges Schwarzenegger to move on with Maldonado’s fate “dicey at best”

SACRAMENTO – With the Assembly’s reconsideration vote of Senator Abel Maldonado’s confirmation as Lieutenant Governor pending, Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez (D-Shafter) issued the following statement:

“As the Assembly waits to take up the confirmation of Senator Abel Maldonado for reconsideration, I think it’s time for the Governor to begin working on Plan B on the Lieutenant Governor nomination.  No matter how much the Governor stomps his foot, crosses his arms, threatens legal action, cries partisanship or commands the legislature to ‘obey,’ Maldonando’s nomination looks dicey at best.”  

“The Governor operated sloppily throughout the entire process and has created a governing mess.  Spending months on court battles is the last thing Californians want from their Governor.  Giving Maldonado a handshake and then quickly moving to Plan B is the Governor’s best option at this point.”

Breaking: Majority Leader Opposes Maldonado Confirmation

Senate votes to approve appointment of Central Coast Republican for Lieutenant Governor

SACRAMENTO — Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez (D-Shafter) broke with many in his party today in voting against the confirmation of Senator Abel Maldonado for Lieutenant Governor.  The motion passed in the Senate by a vote of 26-7.

In explaining his vote today, Florez issued the following statement:

“The question for me was whether I would have supported Senator Maldonado if he was on the ballot.  I would not be able to vote for him if he was on the ballot, so in my mind it made no sense to support him now.”

“I watched the confirmation hearings and I was surprised and disappointed to learn that Mr. Maldonado had admitted to a number of OSHA violations with respect to his farming operation, and I was disappointed that he wasn’t prepared or didn’t elaborate on the severity or nature of the violations.  I think this really needed to be cleared up.”

Florez continued:

“Senator Maldonado voted against liability for farm operators when, under the circumstances we know now, he should clearly have recused himself.  He has consistently voted against air quality for the Central Valley, against health care reform and against a modest raise to the minimum wage for all those who are struggling in this state.”

“I was also surprised at how Senator Maldonado characterized his role in addressing the state budget, his efforts to hold up the state budget, how he allowed people — many people in my district — to suffer, took our state to the brink of financial collapse and then characterized his holding out as somehow a principled move.”

“The fact that he can’t get his own ideas through the legislature or convince enough people to support his ideas, opposes real reforms to move California forward, and then uses the budget to extract concessions for his vote for something he wants is a practice that I don’t support, and I wouldn’t support someone who does such things.

I will report any information I learn about how any investigation into his OSHA violations turns out on Calitics.

Breaking News: UFW Endorses Senator Dean Florez in Lt. Governor Bid

Just minutes ago an endorsement that may well carry with it a huge advantage was made in the 2010 race for California Lt. Governor.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez (D-Shafter) was proud to receive today the endorsement of the United Farm workers AFL-CIO (UFW) in his race to be California’s next Lieutenant Governor.

The endorsement was announced by the UFW today at its complex at 40 Acres in Delano, California.  UFW President Arturo Rodriguez said,

Brave! That’s the word to describe Dean Florez. Farm workers have never had a braver, stronger, bolder friend than Dean Florez. We appreciate the support we get from progressives who get elected from progressive communities. But we admire people who support us when they represent areas where big agri-business calls all the shots. We admire Dean Florez. And if you care about farm workers, you will support him for Lt. Governor.”

Majority Leader has been long-time, staunch advocate for farm worker protections

In his decade in the California Legislature, Florez has successfully fought for many protections for those who toil in the California fields to provide the food we all rely on.

As an Assemblymember, Florez passed legislation requiring seatbelts and forward-facing seats in farm labor vehicles. This did away with the long-held but deadly practice of replacing manufacturers’ seating with parallel wooden benches that maximized capacity without regard for safety. The California Highway Patrol credited the change with a dramatic decrease in needless fatalities.

More recently, Senator Florez passed a measure to protect farm workers from pesticide drift, requiring counties to have emergency procedures in place and ensuring victims have access to proper medical care.

For several years now — since he held the eye-opening “Meeting in the Sun” — Florez has stayed on top of the Administration to ensure workplace heat regulations are in place and are enforced with regularity. The regulations call for basic measures such as access to shade and fresh water, to prevent the needless deaths seen each summer when Valley temperatures soar.

“Farm workers for too many years did not receive the same basic protections most of us take for granted. As a legislator with a personal understanding of this history, that status quo was unacceptable to me,” said Florez. “I am honored and humbled to be recognized for work which, to me, represents no more than the basic humanity we should all show toward each other.”