A post was made on Calitics on February 28th concerning Lt. Governor Candidate Janice Hanh’s proposal to “lay off private contractors rather than lay off city workers.” A case was made then that it was a mistake to throw private contractors under the bus without regard to the fiscal impact to the City of Los Angeles. Now the CEO of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, in an article published recently in CityWatch with the heading Being Attacked Under Another Name, roundly criticizes Candidate Hahn and attempts to teach her a thing or two about the impact of her suggestion.
From the article…
In Los Angeles, some members of the L.A. City Council are also taking advantage of the “name” ruse. During last month’s debate over the city’s unsustainable budget, Councilmember Janice Hahn told a packed room that “It’s time for us to lay off private contractors and keep our city workers!” Councilmember Paul Koretz also wants the city’s independent contractors to take a 10 percent across-the-board cut before any layoffs of city workers.
That call to action may generate a brief standing ovation from city employees in Council Chambers, but it sends a message to hundreds of small businesses and their employees throughout Los Angeles that they are second-class citizens. Those independent contractors employ tens of thousands of Angelenos and are part of the private sector workplace in Los Angeles County that has already been forced to lay off nearly one-half million workers since the great recession started.
If “small business” had been substituted for “independent contractor,” these proposals would likely go nowhere and the rhetorical flourishes would have fallen flat. At the end of the day, this is about small businesses and jobs in Los Angeles and throughout the state.
So, when you hear elected officials piling onto “independent contractors” remind them that they are really talking about small businesses – perhaps even yours.
Gary Toebben is the President and CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce … www.lachamber.com
One can only wonder the impact of Candidate Hahn’s proposal will have on voters who are small business owners and/or members of the Los Angeles Chamber, not to mention, an endorsement.
HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR SENATOR DEAN FLOREZ BILL (AB1277) ESTABLISHING ANIMAL ABUSE REGISTRY IN CA
“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).
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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.
There has been an awful lot of rumors and speculation and much press coverage for the past week or so that San Francisco Gavin Newsom was about to enter the CA Lt. Governor race. The SF Appeal Online Newspaper reports Mayor Newsom pulled the plug on the rumors at a press conference in San Francisco Tuesday. He did, however, keep the plug, ….just in case.
From The Appeal:
“I don’t know who said what to who (Monday), but there is no pending announcement. There never was,” the mayor told a pack of online, print, radio and television media in Room 200 at City Hall. “I haven’t made up my mind. There is no pending decision.”
The deadline to file paperwork to run for the office is 5 p.m. March 12.
“I’ll let you know,” his honor promised. “Don’t believe the rumors until then.”
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.”
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.”
“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.
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.”
In a letter sent today, Dean Florez, the Senate Majority Leader and candidate for Lieutenant Governor, reported having raised more than three times as much as the next candidate, in addition to gaining some important endorsements statewide.
Florez, a Democrat from California’s Central Valley known for taking on irresponsible industry and lax government oversight, literally saving millions in taxpayer dollars, has already raised approximately $1.5 million in campaign contributions, with nearly $1 million dollars of cash still on hand.
Another candidate, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn just reported she has raised some $420,691 for the race and has less than $341,000 cash on hand for the upcoming June primary.
Florez recently added to his growing list of supporters the Fresno-Madera-Tulare-Kings Building & Construction Trades Council, Kern-Inyo-Mono Building & Construction Trades Council and key endorsements from San Francisco Supervisor David Campos and other elected officials throughout the state.
In addition, Florez just appeared on Nightline for his work to end the cruel dairy industry practice of taildocking. He was honored as the Humane Society of the United States’ legislator of the year for his legislative efforts to end animal cruelty and his ardent support of Proposition 2, which passed by the largest margin of votes of any proposition in California history.
California State Senator Dean Florez, living up to his Lt. Governor Campaign Theme: “Hard Work Matters,” has called for independent review of PG&E devices amid widespread billing anomalies.
SACRAMENTO – The California Public Utilities Commission, on Friday, November 20, 2009, declared “extraordinary circumstances” to allow them to quickly move forward with hiring an independent consultant to test PG&E’s “Smart” Meters, amid widespread reports of billing anomalies with the new digital meters, including bill spikes of double and triple normal utility payments – even in vacant homes.
Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez (D-Shafter) has held hearings in Bakersfield and Fresno on residents’ concerns that Smart Meters are not accurately reading their energy usage. Many of those residents reported spikes in usage while they were at work or on vacation.
In October, Florez hand delivered a list of demands to CPUC president Michael Peevey, including a call for independent testing of meters and a moratorium on new installations until such testing was completed. Peevey did not call for a moratorium, but quickly agreed to independent testing, a position made formal by today’s unanimous vote of the CPUC.
By declaring extraordinary circumstances, the agency can avoid some of the delays in the contracting process and get answers for consumers – some of whom have seen their utility bills eclipse their rent or mortgage – more quickly.
“While I would have liked to see a halt to Smart Meter installations until we can assure consumers they work, I am happy the PUC took this action to get to those answers as quickly as possible,” said Florez. “No one should be making the decision between keeping the lights on or putting food on the table while these doubts persist.”
“I also believe the public needs assurance that this testing will look at how these meters work in real life, in real homes, with comparisons to historical figures using traditional meters,” Florez continued. “Clearly the off-the-line factory testing that has occurred has not been sufficient.”
Smart Meters are ultimately supposed to give consumers real-time information on their energy usage, so they can make adjustments to save on their bills, but the technology to allow the sort of communication needed to achieve that will not be in place for years. So far, only the utility itself seems to be saving — eliminating the labor costs of manually reading older meters — as many consumers say their bills have increased dramatically despite cutting back on energy consumption.
PG&E has blamed the spike on summer heat, but much of the increase has come from multiple rate hikes approved readily by the Public Utilities Commission, much of that to pay for the new meters.
Editor Note: Senator Florez, as he has frequently done so in the past, listened to the concerns of his constituents and worked tirelessly to require PG&E address the huge billing spikes in meetings and hearings over the last sixty or so days. In this writers opinion, while he is doing the work you would expect of YOUR legislator, he clearly is living up to his campaign theme, “Hard Work Matters” and is exactly what California needs in the next Lt. Governor.
During the University of California Board of Regents meeting today in Riverside, I explained to the Board why I think it’s time all of us — students, community leaders, bloggers, and education advocates — reject further student fee increases. Simply put, I don’t think it’s appropriate to consistently shift the tax burden, year after year, to one of the segments of our society that are least capable of affording the costs.
Adjusted for inflation, student fees have more than doubled at the UC and CSU systems and more than tripled at the community colleges since 1990. When the state dissuades students from pursuing a higher education, we only rob ourselves of potential tax revenues in later years and increase the number of today’s youths who will be tomorrow’s prisoners or recipients of aid. To address our budget woes, we need to turn away from the easy fix of taxing students and begin the process to repeal the two-thirds legislative majority requirement to pass budgets and adjust taxes.
A transcript of my remarks to the board is below the fold, and you can also listen to audio here.
My statement at the UC Board of Regents meeting:
“The proposed budget that was signed basically requires that this group of regents approve a 9.3 percent increase in the fees, which amounts to something slightly less than $700. It’s interesting to note that the legislature decided to not increase other fees by some amount or another but instead decided to impose upon the students what could arguably – and I’ll make that argument – be called a tax of $700 additional tax on every student in the University of California system, and about half that amount in an additional tax increase for every student in the CSU system. That is a particularly stupid tax policy when there are further options available. I’ll just point out that the one percent increase in the sales tax of somebody who chooses to buy a $50,000 Mercedes would amount to some $500 increase in their tax burden. There are options out there, and what I would hope that this body would consider is to stand up and fight. And to push back. To push back really hard, because you are powerful, and the university is powerful. It has a voice, and it really ought to use its voice to stand up and fight and say, “Enough.” Enough already. Enough of stupid taxes on students. Enough of the starvation of the education system. We are starving this system, and in doing so, we are destroying the economic potential for the future. And I think we really have to stand up and fight. You got to push back. We just can’t say, “Well, there’s nothing we can do. We’re just going to have to accept it.” I’m all for a fight, and that’s a fight about the future, at least in my opinion.”
(From our Lt. Governor… – promoted by Brian Leubitz)
In early January I proposed an accelerated medical education program at the University of California Merced designed to prepare high quality doctors and nurses for rewarding careers in the Central Valley. Yesterday at the UC Regents’ meeting, UC President Mark Yudof committed to establishing a first class undergraduate medical education program at UC Merced, and he promised to continue the planning process for post-graduate medical education at the campus. The President’s important commitment could be the important first step toward the accelerated medical school program I envision.
A medical program in the region will help address the serious health care problems of the San Joaquin Valley, home to the state’s highest rates of childhood asthma and premature birth. A serious shortage of medical services exists in the Valley; there are 31 percent fewer primary care doctors, 51 percent fewer specialists, and fewer nurses than California as a whole. An estimated $845 million dollars is lost annually in the region when Central Valley patients drive out of the area to receive medical care.
UC Merced’s priority should be educating and preparing new doctors and nurses to fill the needs of the Valley. Entering freshmen recruited from San Joaquin Valley high schools would be prepared in Merced’s world class undergraduate medical education program and immediately begin their medical training.
The program would run year round with no summer vacations. Lower division course work could be identical for students intending to become nurses or doctors. Upper division classes could begin to differentiate and specialize, so that students could pursue nursing or MD tracks. The program would be fully integrated with the regional community colleges.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree, students on the MD track could take all the course work necessary to enter clinical rotations in the surrounding hospitals and clinics. The goal would be to put them significantly ahead of the traditional path.
Following the clinical rotations, students would be directed to the excellent hospitals and clinics in the area for their residency work. Since students in the program would still be required to pass all the same tests and licensing board requirements as a physician from a more traditional school, the program improves the value of pursuing an MD degree without sacrificing quality.
UC Merced already has many of the courses it will need for the first two years of a world class medical education program, and I believe its program could expand economically by partnering with community colleges in the region. Fine labs and other facilities are already at UC Merced, at the UC San Francisco medical complex in Fresno, and in many of the surrounding community colleges.
There is a great need in the San Joaquin Valley for specialized research on community health, public health, and diseases more often found in the Valley. This type of research is not necessarily expensive and would be a valuable and unique contribution of UC Merced. As the UCM campus grows and matures, the medical and nursing programs can follow the path of other UC medical schools and develop into world-class research institutions.
While I am proud to have helped spearhead this effort, it could not have been done without the hard work and dedication of a broad coalition of individuals interested in improving health care access for the Central Valley. Rep. Jim Costa, Rep. Dennis Cordoza, Assemblymember Cathleen Galgiani, UC Merced Chancellor Henry Kang, Bill Lyons, UC Merced Natural Sciences Dean Maria Pallavicini, Dr. Frederick Meyers, and hundreds of staff and community members have been ardent supporters of the school since its conception, forming the Valley Coalition for UC Merced Medical School to advocate on its behalf. I would also like to thank the Central Valley Health Network for their tireless support.
UC Merced is a young campus in need of expanding its reputation. A quality and cost-effective medical program will help improve the appeal of the entire campus, helping to retain and bring in new talent to the Valley from across professions.
Businesses are reluctant to move to regions with poor health services. The increased burden on business-subsidized insurance drives up costs, and the increased need for sick days decreases business efficiency and profitability. Improving health access in the Central Valley will improve the region’s overall economy and increase tax revenues for state and local government.
Let’s empower UC Merced to become a magnate school offering the most cost-effective high quality medical education in the nation, while at the same time offering homegrown solutions to the Valley’s health care crisis. It’s time for the Valley to heal itself.