SACRAMENTO, CA - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced two bills in the fight against human trafficking passed out of legislative committees today. The vote comes during National Crime Victims' Rights Week, an opportunity to remember victims and advocate for victims' rights.

One bill will aid in recovering money for victims of human trafficking and the second bill will require that predators convicted of even one instance of sex trafficking of a minor forfeit any profits earned from their crimes.

This legislative package continues Attorney General Harris' commitment to fighting human trafficking. As District Attorney of San Francisco, she co-sponsored the California Human Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2005, which first made human trafficking a felony. Since taking office, she has convened meetings across the state with law enforcement agencies, NGOs and victim advocates to assess the status of human trafficking efforts in California and determine next steps. Attorney General Harris has also launched a website to connect various anti-trafficking groups across the state and provide tools to help Californians identify and report human trafficking in their communities. The website also has help for victims available in 18 languages.

"Human trafficking is a criminal industry that is expanding rapidly across the globe, including here in California," Attorney General Harris said. "I am proud to sponsor these bills against human trafficking and am committed to this fight. The same transnational gangs that traffic drugs and guns across our border also traffic human beings and we must counter their threat."

The first bill, Senate CONTINUED »

 


 

Sacramento, CA – Senate Joint Resolution 19, authored by Sen. Tony Strickland (R-Moorpark) passed unanimously in the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

SJR 19 encourages the California Congressional delegation to help keep California military bases open if the U.S. Department of Defense goes forward with a new round of base closures. In the 2013 Budget, U.S. Department of Defense plans to ask Congress to approve two rounds of military base closures, the first in 2013 and another in 2015, through the Federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission program.

“Military bases across the state benefit all people in California, so we need to send a message to Congress to let them know just how important our military bases are,” Sen. Strickland said. “California’s diverse military bases are vital to national security, as well as California’s continued safety.”

“California’s military bases also provide a great economic benefit to their surrounding communities. They provide jobs to hundreds of thousands of service-members and civilians alike and help boost local small businesses,” Sen. Strickland added. “In my district alone, Naval Base Ventura County is the one of the largest employers and provides an estimated 19,000 jobs.”

“With the passage of SJR 19, it’s my hope Congress sees the importance of our military bases and does not move forward with President Obama’s proposal to cut funding for national security,” Sen. Strickland added.

Sen. Strickland has also sent a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, asking him to authorize the creation of an unpaid, volunteer task force for the strategic purpose of preserving California’s military bases. Similar task forces were authorized in 1993 by Gov. Pete Wilson and in 2004 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, but both have since expired.

SJR 19 now heads to the Senate Floor for a vote.

Sen. Strickland is available to the media for an interview or comments.

Tony Strickland represents California Senate District 19, which includes portions of Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties.

 

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Votes this week will determine future of rural development and beginning farmer programs

Lyons, NE - Today the Center for Rural Affairs called upon Senate Agriculture Committee members to adopt crucial amendments to the Farm Bill proposal currently before the committee. They are expected to begin debate on amendments today, Wednesday, April 25th.

“Unfortunately, the farm bill proposal before the Senate Ag Committee slashes investment in rural small business development and value-added agriculture while increasing crop insurance subsidies for some of the nation’s largest farms and wealthiest landowners. There are opportunities to fix some of these issues right now, while the Committee debates amendments to the bill,” said Traci Bruckner of the Center for Rural Affairs.

According to Bruckner, the amendment* offered by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) is an important first step. It would deny farm subsidies to individuals with taxable income over $500,000 and married couples making over $1 million. The money saved would be invested in revitalizing rural communities through small business development, beginning farmer programs, value added agriculture and assistance for small towns in updating water and sewer systems.

Likewise, Bruckner stated that the amendment offered by Senator John Thune (R-SD), Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) helps reverse the perverse incentive in current farm policy to break up marginal, erosion prone grasslands.

“Their amendment limits crop insurance benefits and premium subsidies for crops grown on native sod or land that a producer cannot verify has ever been tilled,” Bruckner continued.

As the Senate Agriculture Committee begins debating the next farm bill, they will undertake consideration of over 100 amendments offered by members of the committee. According to Bruckner, this is a time when much of the direction of the Senate Farm Bill will be determined.

“Moreover, in today’s economy it is more important than ever that the Senate make wise choices,” said Bruckner.

She further explained that under current and proposed farm policy, if one corporation farmed an entire state - her home state of Nebraska, for example - then the federal government would pay 60 percent of its crop insurance premiums on every acre, every year, even in times of record profits.

“This does not reflect rural America’s priorities or our values. We face a simple choice, either lavish subsidies on mega-farms, or, invest in rural America’s future. The best choice is obvious,” Bruckner added. “And there will never be a more important time for rural Americans to let their Senators know how they come down on that choice than right now.”

* The Sherrod Brown/Ben Nelson Amendment to the farm bill would deny farm payments to individuals with adjusted gross income of over $500,000. The savings would be used for the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program ($25 million over 5 years), Value Added Producer Grant Program ($100 million over five years), beginning farmer programs ($45 million over 5 years), Water and Sewer replacement backlog ($150 million) and RBEG/RBOG business development programs ($10 million over 5 years).

Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.

 


 
Public invited to debate for new 26th district seat

THOUSAND OAKS, CA - Acorn Newspapers and California Lutheran University are hosting a 26th Congressional District Candidates Forum at 7 p.m. Monday, May 7, in CLU’s Lundring Events Center.

In this closely watched election for the newly drawn congressional district, the top two vote-getters from the June 5 primary will advance to the general election in November. This year is the first time California voters will choose congressional candidates from a single primary ballot rather than selecting nominees for each party.

Six candidates are vying for the chance to represent the district that includes most of Ventura County in the U.S. House of Representatives. The contenders are: Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Oak Park; Ventura real estate agent Albert Maxwell Goldberg, a Democrat; Oxnard Harbor District commissioner Jess Herrera, a Democrat; Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks, an independent; Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark; and Westlake Village businessman David Cruz Thayne, a Democrat. All candidates have been invited and are expected to attend.

John Loesing, managing editor of the Acorn Newspapers, and Herb Gooch, director of CLU’s Masters in Public Policy and Administration Program, will serve as co-moderators. Questions, which will be generated by the Acorn and CLU’s political science department, will focus on key issues of national importance as they relate to the localcommunity, such as job creation, education, immigration and transportation. Questions will also be collected from the audience, and at least one will be asked of the candidates.

Time Warner Cable will record the debate and make it available throughout the region by way of its Video on Demand service.

The forum is free and open to the public. Lundring Events Center is in the Gilbert Sports and Fitness Center,which is north of Olsen Road near Mountclef Boulevard on the Thousand Oaks campus. For more information, contact Gooch at gooch@callutheran.edu or 805-493-3348 or Thousand Oaks Acorn Editor Kyle Jorrey at tonewstip@theacorn.com.

 


 
City of Fillmore
City of Fillmore

CITY OF FILLMORE CITY COUNCIL AND FILLMORE SENIOR CENTER INC. JOINT MEETING
TUESDAY, APRIL 24, 2012, 6:30 P.M.
FILLMORE CITY HALL, CENTRAL PARK PLAZA, 250 CENTRAL AVENUE, FILLMORE, CALIFORNIA 93015-1907

AGENDA
1. Call to Order: 6:30 P.M.
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Roll Call: Councilmembers Steve Conaway, A. Eduardo Gonzalez, Brian Sipes, Mayor Pro Tem Jamey Brooks and Mayor Gayle Washburn.
Board Members: Vivian Johnson, Neva Picketts, Alternate Scott Painter, Treasurer Iris Martin, Secretary Gloria Hansen, Vice President Don Murphy, and President Donna Voelker.
4. Approval of Agenda
5. Public Comments
6. Joint City Council/Fillmore Senior Center Inc. Business Items
A. Review Prior Year Items/Activities.
B. Discuss Current Activities.
C. Discuss Funding for Fiscal Year 2012.
D. Status of Agreement between the City of Fillmore and Fillmore Senior Center Inc.
7. Senior Center Inc. Adjournment – Fillmore Senior Center Board adjourns to its next regular meeting scheduled for Monday, May 21, 2012, at 1:00 p.m. at the Fillmore Senior Center, 533 Santa Clara Street.
8. Presentations and Announcements
9. City Council Consent Calendar
Recommendation for Items A. through F. is to Approve.
A. Warrant List for APRIL 24, 2012.
B. Appointment to Area Housing Authority Resident Commissioner Position.
C. Approval of the Refinance and Subordination Agreement for 208 Blaine Avenue; and Authorize the City Manager, or her designee, to take all necessary actions relating to the execution and recordation of the Subordination Agreement.
D. Approval of the Refinance and Subordination Agreement for 949 Santa Fe; and Authorize the City Manager, or her designee, to take all necessary actions relating to the execution and recordation of the Subordination Agreement.
E. Acceptance of Field Inventory of Properties Requiring Weed Abatement and instruction for Fire Chief to notify property owners, and adoption of
Fillmore City Council and Fillmore Senior Center Inc. Meeting Agenda – April 24, 2012
City Council Resolution No. 12-3333 setting a public hearing for the abatement of weeds for May 8, 2012.
F. Authorization for the Mayor to sign the proposed letter to the California Public Utilities Commission Encouraging the Adoption of a No-Cost Opt-Out Provision for Smart Meters.
10. Public Hearing
A. Public Hearing to Set Aside City Council Resolution No. 10-3274; Reconsider Vesting Tentative Tract Map 5844 (Subdivision of El Dorado Mobilehome Park into 302 Condominium Lots and One Common Area Lot) in Light of Ventura County Superior Court Order dated October 20, 2011, and Stipulated Order to hold a hearing on the Vesting Tentative Tract Map 5844 by April 24, 2012.
Recommendation: 1) Open public hearing and receive public testimony; and, 2) Continue public hearing to May 8 in light of ongoing settlement discussion between the litigants and applicant trust account deficiencies.
11. Committee, Commission, and Board Reports
12. City Council Reports, Recommendations, and Comments
A. City Councilmember Travel Requests/Brief Reports
B. Any Councilmember May Propose Items for Placement on Future Agenda
C. Council Referrals/Brief Comments
13. City Manager
A. Follow-Up on Requests from the Public/City Council
14. Closed Session
A. Conference with Legal Counsel - Existing Litigation (subdivision (a) of Section 54956.9). El Dorado Estates v. City of Fillmore, Case No. CV11-07562 SJO, United States District Court for the Central District; and El Dorado Estates v. City of Fillmore, Case No. 56-2009-00358555-CU-WM-VTA, Ventura Superior Court.
15. Adjournment: City Council adjourns. The next City Council meeting is a joint meeting with the Film Commission scheduled for Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 250 Central Avenue.
Agenda Posted: April 19, 2012, 5:00 p.m.

 

After returning from his military deployment to Afghanistan, Assemblyman Jeff Gorell will be resuming his series of “Sidewalk Office Hours” where he looks forward to meeting with constituents and discussing their concerns.

The next public event will be on Friday, April 27th in Moorpark in front of the Grinder Restaurant on West Los Angeles Avenue from 9:00 am until 11:00 am. Please come by and share your opinions and ideas with Assembly Member Jeff Gorell in person on Friday, April 27th in front of:

Grinder Restaurant
1 West Los Angeles Avenue
Moorpark, CA 91321

Grinder Restaurant is located near the corner of West Los Angeles Avenue and Moorpark Avenue in the city of Moorpark. For complete directions you can visit GoogleMaps at: http://g.co/maps/u73cq

Jeff has already held sidewalk office hours in Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Camarillo and Simi Valley prior to his military deployment, and his office continued these meetings throughout the 37th assembly district during his absence. This will be the first sidewalk office hours since his return from Afghanistan.

For additional information, please call Jeff's district office at (805) 230-9167.

 

George Runner today announced that Senator Bob Dutton will soon introduce Runner’s proposal to cap the gas tax.

“Senator Dutton is stepping forward to fight for California consumers who are sick of high gas prices,” said Runner. “Lawmakers like to complain about high gas prices. Now they have a chance to do something to help.”

The legislation would cap the state excise tax on gasoline at 35.7 cents and limit sales tax to the first $4.00 per gallon of gasoline. It would also cap diesel taxes at their current levels.

“I’m excited to carry this piece of legislation developed by Senator Runner,” said Senator Dutton. “It will allow government to get its fair share of the gas taxes, while ensuring taxpayers aren’t gouged by additional taxes when gas prices rise above $4 a gallon, as motorists have experienced the last several months.”

Dutton added, “I believe California’s economy is best served when the residents have the ability to hold on to more of their hard-earned paychecks. We all feel the financial burden of increased gas prices and those high prices should not result in a windfall for government.”

Both elected officials warned that should the average annual fuel price rises just one dollar—from $4 to $5 per gallon—the typical California consumer would be forced to pay 8 cents more in taxes per gallon. For most consumers this would translate into a $1 or more in additional tax for each tank of gas.

As a whole, California consumers would be burdened $1.4 billion more in gas taxes each year – on top of the nearly $7 billion in taxes they are already paying.

“Most Californians don’t realize they’re already paying about $10 in tax each time they fill up their gas tank,” said Runner. “Without a cap, that number could get even worse.”

According to the American Petroleum Institute, California's gasoline taxes and fees, averaging 69 cents per gallon, are the second highest in the nation. California’s diesel taxes, averaging 79.5 cents per gallon, are the highest in the nation.

Among these taxes and fees are a federal excise tax of 18.4 cents per gallon, a state excise tax of 35.7 cents per gallon and a sales tax that averages 3.12%. Notably, the sales tax is calculated on the total price of the fuel sale including excise taxes, resulting in double taxation—California consumers pay a tax on a tax.

The measure would not worsen the state’s budget, as Governor Jerry Brown’s budget proposal projected average quarterly fuel prices of no greater than $3.82 during the 2012-13 fiscal year.

The proposal, which has received early support from the National Tax Limitation Committee, will be amended into SB 1396 with an urgency clause, ensuring that it will take effect immediately once signed by the Governor.

 

CAMARILLO, CA - Senator Tony Strickland, a candidate for Congress in California’s open 26th Congressional District announced today that he raised $770,000 in the first campaign reporting period and will report $720,000 cash on hand.

“I’m very humbled by the tremendous support our campaign has received in just 11 weeks,” said Strickland. “Our fast start will allow us to deliver our message of job creation and uniting our community around economic policies that provide hope for families struggling to make ends meet.”

Although California’s 26th Congressional district is rated by the respected Cook Political Report and Larry Sabato’s “Crystal Ball” as a true “toss-up” race, Strickland begins the campaign with a large advantage having already represented every part of the Congressional District during his service in the State Assembly and State Senate.

Running in California’s new top-two primary system means that Strickland, as the only candidate with significant name identification, will be able to save a significant amount of resources for the general election in November.

“Strickland’s first quarter total is more than two and a half times what the top Democrat front-runner reported and is among the top first quarters for any candidate in an open seat in recent U.S. history,” said respected California fundraiser Jeff Miller.

State Senator Tony Strickland was elected to the California State Senate representing parts of Ventura, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara Counties in 2008. He previously served the area as a member of the State Assembly from 1998 to 2004. He is married to his wife of 14 years, Audra. Together they have two small children: Ruby Ruth and Anthony Paul.

 
City of Fillmore
City of Fillmore

CITY OF FILLMORE CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING
TUESDAY, APRIL 10, 2012
6:30 P.M.
FILLMORE CITY HALL
CENTRAL PARK PLAZA
250 CENTRAL AVENUE
FILLMORE, CALIFORNIA 93015-1907

AGENDA
1.
Call to Order: 6:30 P.M.
2.
Pledge of Allegiance
3.
Roll Call: Councilmembers Conaway, Gonzalez, Sipes, Mayor Pro Tem Brooks and Mayor Washburn
4.
Approval of Agenda
5.
Presentations and Announcements
6.
Public Comments
7.
Consent Calendar
Recommendation for Items A. through E. is to Approve.
A. Warrant List for APRIL 10, 2012.
B. Minutes of MARCH 13, 2012, Regular Meeting
C. Minutes of MARCH 27, 2012, Special Meeting.
D. Adopt Resolution No. 12-3332, Supporting William L. Morris Dealership in Maintaining Its Current Design Character Which is Consistent With the Adopted Ventura Street Design Guidelines.
E. Authorization and Approval to Release Warrant Payments to Vendors during Council Dark Periods.
8.
Public Hearings
A.
Request for Modification #3 to Tentative Tract map 5784 – Item continued to a date to be determined.
B.
Request for Modification #6 to Tentative Tract Map 5785 – Item continued to a date to be determined.
C.
Requests for Modifications: 1) #4 to TTR 5785, DP 07-01; 2) #2 to 5784, DP 07-02; 3) #2 to TTR 5803, and 4) #3 to DP 07-03, CUP 08-03, LLA 08-02 – Item continued to a date to be determined.
9.
Department Reports
Community Development
9A.Request City Council to Review and Provide an Interpretation of the Zoning Ordinance Regarding Chickens.
Fillmore City Council Meeting Agenda – April 10, 2012
Recommendation: 1).Recognize that the Zoning Ordinance does no allow chickens or any agricultural animal in Residential medium designation; and
2) Direct the Code Enforcement Department that roosters are not permitted in any residential designation due to incompatibility with residential uses;
and
3) Direct the Code Enforcement Department that chicken are allowed in Residential Low designation but chickens are to be limited to three per yard like domestic animals and chickens must be confined to the yards.
City Manager
9B.Consideration of and Direction to Staff Concerning the Volunteer Coordinator Position.
Recommendation: 1) Provide direction concerning the Volunteer Coordinator position.
10.
Committee, Commission, and Board Reports
11.
City Council Reports, Recommendations, and Comments
A.
City Councilmember Travel Requests/Brief Reports
B.
Any Councilmember May Propose Items for Placement on Future Agenda
C.
Council Referrals/Brief Comments
12.
City Manager
A.
Follow-Up on Requests from the Public/City Council
13.
Closed Session
A. Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation [subdivision (a) of Section 54956.9]: City of Industry and City of Livermore v. City of Fillmore, et. al. Case No. BC411865, Los Angeles County Superior Court.
B.
Conference with Legal Counsel - Existing Litigation (subdivision (a) of Section 54956.9). El Dorado Estates v. City of Fillmore, Case No. CV11-07562 SJO, United States District Court for the Central District; and El Dorado Estates v. City of Fillmore, Case No. 56-2009-00358555-CU-WM-VTA, Ventura Superior Court.
Fillmore City Council Meeting Agenda – April 10, 2012
14. Adjournment: City Council adjourns. The next City Council meeting is a Joint Meeting with the Senior Center scheduled for Tuesday, April 24, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 250 Central Avenue.
Agenda Posted: April 6, 2012, 5:00 p.m.

 
City of Fillmore
City of Fillmore

CITY OF FILLMORE SUCCESSOR AGENCY REGULAR MEETING
TUESDAY, APRIL 10, 2012
6:30 P.M.
FILLMORE CITY HALL
CENTRAL PARK PLAZA
250 CENTRAL AVENUE
FILLMORE, CALIFORNIA 93015-1907

AGENDA
1.
Call to Order: 6:30 P.M.
2.
Pledge of Allegiance
3.
Roll Call: Successor Agency Member Steve Conaway, Successor Agency Member A. Eduardo Gonzalez, Successor Agency Member Brian Sipes, Vice Chair Jamey Brooks and Chair Gayle Washburn.
4.
Public Comments
5.
Successor Agency Consent Calendar
Recommendation for Items A. through D. is to Approve.
A. Warrant List for APRIL 10, 2012.
B. Minutes of MARCH 27, 2012, Regular Meeting.
C. Authorization and Approval to Release Warrant Payments to Vendors During Agency Dark Periods.
D. Adopt the First Amended Draft Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule (ROPS) dated April 10, 2012, in Accordance With Health and Safety Code Section 34177, and Authorize the Executive Director, or Her Designee to Take All Necessary Actions to Submit the ROPS to the Appropriate Parties and Take Any Other Necessary Actions With Respect Thereto on Behalf of the Successor Agency.
6.
Committee, Commission, and Board Reports
7.
Agency Member Reports, Recommendations, and Comments
A.
Agency Member Travel Requests/Brief Reports
B.
Agency Member May Propose Items for Placement on Future Agenda
C Agency Referrals/Brief Comments
8.
Executive Director
A.
Follow-Up on Requests from the Public/Agency
9.
Adjournment: Successor Agency adjourns. The next Successor Agency Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, APRIL 24, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 250 Central Avenue.

 
Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement, The Department of Homeland Security’s New Immigration Detention Standards

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today our hearing focuses on the detention of illegal and criminal immigrants. From the onset, I would like to be clear that no member is against the humane treatment of detainees. However, I am concerned with ICE’s new Performance Based Detention Standards because they unreasonably put the interests of removable aliens ahead of the interest of the nation.

Full implementation of the new detention standards is likely to be extremely costly. Nevertheless, cost estimates are not addressed at any point in the 400-plus pages of standards. Has ICE considered the impact of this new policy on the American taxpayers?

To make matters worse, the impetus for the new standards have little to do with a need for detention reform. Rather, they are part of an extensive public relations effort aimed at pro-amnesty advocates.

Shortly after the CONTINUED »

 

SACRAMENTO, CA. – The office of Assembly Member Jeff Gorell today honored Jacqui Irwin as the 2012 Woman of the Year for the 37th Assembly District during a special Assembly ceremony at the State Capitol. Jacqui Irwin is currently serving her second term as mayor of Thousand Oaks, where she has been a city Councilmember since 2004. Mayor Irwin’s tireless involvement with community groups, non-profits, schools, and PTAs have made her a highly successful role model for women in Ventura County and throughout California.

“I am delighted that we were able to honor Mayor Jacqui Irwin as our Woman of the Year for 2012,” said Ernie Villegas, District Director for Assemblyman Gorell. “In choosing a candidate for this honor, we look to find the person who has given generously of their personal time to public service. The person must be outstanding in their dedication to the community.”

“It was a privilege to be in the company of the outstanding California women that were chosen to represent their communities,” stated Mayor Irwin. “I’m also very happy that Assemblyman Gorell is on his way home from Afghanistan, and I look forward to working with him on the many challenging issues that are facing our county.”

Held annually, the Woman of the Year ceremony celebrates California’s extraordinary women. Started in 1987 to help commemorate Women’s History Month, the event has become an annual Capitol tradition to salute community service. Honorees are presented with a framed certificate from the State Assembly recognizing their outstanding contributions during a special ceremony in the Assembly chambers.

A third generation naval officer, Assembly Member Jeff Gorell was called back to active duty by the U.S. Navy a year ago for deployment to Afghanistan. He currently holds the rank of Lt. Commander with the Navy (Reserve) as an intelligence officer and has previously served a tour of duty in Afghanistan shortly after the events of 9/11.

Mayor Irwin has an impressive list of public service and community involvements that include serving as President of the Thousand Oaks Titans Football Association, and Chair of the American Diabetes Association Bike Ride. She has also worked with the Conejo Schools Foundation. She is on the executive board for the Ventura County Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Ventura County Boy Scouts, the CSUCI Arts and Sciences Leadership Council, fundraising committee for the Girl Scouts of the Central Coast, and named 2011 Girl Scout Woman of Distinction. She has been chair of the American Cancer Society’s Bugatti Ball in 2011, and 2012 Gala event.

 

As the office of Assemblyman Jeff Gorell prepares for his return home after serving overseas in Afghanistan for the past year, Assembly Republicans stood together today to present legislation designed to help veterans return to a productive civilian life.

“From Pearl Harbor and Vietnam to Afghanistan and Iraq, our veterans were there when our country needed them,” said Assembly Member Paul Cook, (R-Yucca Valley), the chair of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee and a retired Marine Corps Colonel. “Now it’s our responsibility as legislators and grateful Americans to be there for them when they return home. That is why we are introducing proposals to ensure that veterans receive the services and benefits they deserve.”

Gorell’s office has worked to prepare five bills addressing veterans’ issues that have been raised in his absence. All five bills have been introduced by Assemblyman Cook to meet legislative deadlines, but will be advanced through the legislature by Assemblyman Gorell upon his return in just a few weeks. These bills are:

• Making it easier for our troops to vote (AB 1929)

• Helping veterans obtain state employment (AB 1930)

• Creating a “one-stop shop” for veterans to access services and benefits (AB 1931)

• Making sure military training counts for licensure of health care jobs (AB 1932)

• Allowing former military police officers to more easily qualify as local police officers (AB 2130)

A third generation naval officer, Assembly Member Jeff Gorell was called back to active duty by the U.S. Navy a year ago for deployment to Afghanistan. He currently holds the rank of Lt. Commander with the Navy (Reserve) as an intelligence officer and has previously served a tour of duty in Afghanistan shortly after the events of 9/11.

 
"Maybe the copy key got stuck on the presidential speechwriter's keyboard."

Written By DANIEL HALPER

Thomas Buch-Andersen, host of the Danish TV show Detektor, mocked President Obama's political rhetoric in a recent episode. "Obama used a metaphor from boxing to explain Denmark's role in the world," says Buch-Andersen, introducing the segment.

He then rolls the tape. "That's fairly typical of the way that Danes have punched above their weight in international affairs," President Obama says at a press availability in the Oval Office with Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark.

"It's nice to be praised," Buch-Andersen remarks. "We punch harder than our weight class would suggest. But how much should we read into his words? According to Obama, are we doing any better than, say, the Norwegians?"

The TV host... http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/danish-tv-host-mocks-obama-his-rheto...

 

George Runner today called upon state lawmakers to limit fuel taxes Californians pay at the pump to the first $4.00 per gallon.

“While taxes aren’t the only reason for rising fuel prices, they are part of the problem,” said Runner. “As fuel prices rise, California consumers are paying more tax for less gas.”

According to the latest Energy Information Administration numbers, California consumers are paying $4.38 per gallon of regular unleaded fuel, the highest price anywhere in the continental United States. Only residents of Hawaii pay more.

“These sky-high fuel prices contain hidden taxes that drive up the price we pay at the pump. Each and every time fuel prices rise, our taxes go up too,” said Runner. “It’s time we draw the line on any further increases.”

According to the American Petroleum Institute, California's gasoline taxes and fees, averaging 67 cents per gallon, are tied with Connecticut’s as the second highest in the nation. California’s diesel taxes, averaging 75.9 cents per gallon, are the highest in the nation.

Among these taxes and fees are a federal excise tax of 18.4 cents per gallon, a state excise tax of 35.7 cents per gallon and a sales tax of 2.25% plus applicable local taxes. Notably, the sales tax is calculated on the total price of the fuel sale including excise taxes, resulting in double taxation—California consumers pay a tax on a tax.

For diesel, the federal excise tax is 24.4 cents per gallon, the state excise tax is 13 cents per gallon and the sales tax is 9.12% plus applicable local taxes.

According to Runner, since the sales tax is calculated per dollar spent rather than per gallon of fuel, government coffers receive an unanticipated windfall when fuel prices rise.

The latest official numbers support Runner’s case. Even with lower levels of consumption, rising fuel prices have spurred fuel tax revenues to record levels. For instance, due to rising fuel prices the state collected $61 million more in fuel tax revenues during second quarter of 2011 than during the second quarter of 2010 even though fuel consumption fell by 127 million gallons.

In 2010 the Legislature enacted a law requiring the State Board of Equalization to lower the sales tax on fuel and raise the excise tax by a corresponding amount. As a result the excise tax for motor vehicle fuel is currently 35.7 cents per gallon, but the BOE must readjust it annually to ensure “revenue neutrality.” The rate is currently set to increase to 36 cents effective July 1.

Runner’s proposal would cap the excise tax on motor vehicle fuel at 35.7 cents and limit sales tax to the first $4.00 per gallon of gasoline. It would also cap diesel taxes at current levels.

Lew Uhler, founder and president of the National Tax Limitation Committee, endorsed Runner’s proposal, saying, “Without limits, government always tries to take more and more of our money. It’s time we said ‘Enough is enough.’ The double tax on gasoline – geared to price changes – creates a perverse windfall for the government big spenders precisely when rising gas prices hurt consumers most. Capping the gas tax will help California taxpayers keep more of their hard-earned dollars where they belong—in their own pockets.”

Runner concluded, “Capping fuel taxes could keep hundreds of millions of dollars in the pockets of California consumers, help consumer confidence and bolster California’s economy. Even so, the state would still receive all of the fuel tax revenue the Governor was counting on in his January budget.”

Governor Jerry Brown’s budget projects average quarterly fuel prices of no greater than $3.82 during the 2012-13 fiscal year.

Runner indicated his office is preparing urgency legislation for possible consideration by the Legislature in the coming weeks.

Elected in November 2010, George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as a member of the State Board of Equalization. For more information, visit www.boe.ca.gov/Runner.

 

 
Ethics askew when dispatching babies seen as morally equivalent to abortion

Written By Rep. Christopher H. Smith

Late last month, two bioethicists - Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva - published an outrageous “paper” in the Journal of Medical Ethics justifying the deliberate, premeditated murder of newborn babies during the first days and weeks after birth.

Mr. Giubilini and Ms. Minerva wrote “when circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible.”

If a newly born child poses an economic burden on a family, is disabled or is unwanted, that child can be murdered in cold blood because the baby lacks intrinsic value and, according to the professors, is not a person.

Mr. Giubilini and Ms. Minerva wrote, “Actual people’s well-being could be threatened by the new (even if healthy) child requiring energy, money and care which the family might happen to be in short supply of.”

As any parents - especially moms - will tell you, children in general and newborns in particular require enormous energy, money and boatloads of love. If any of these are lacking or pose what the authors called a “threat,” does that justify a death sentence?

Are the lives of... http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/12/premeditated-murder-of-n...

 

Written By Liz Klimas

In the heart of Utah’s desert, the National Security Agency is well underway on a project that has been called the nation’s largest, most expensive cyber-security project. Naturally, almost all details about the building’s soon-to-be inner activities are highly classified and no one is talking — officials in Bluffdale where it is being built and the nearby Salt Lake City are kept in the dark. Still, Wired’s Threat Level has gotten some details on the building and provides analysis on some of its expected activity.

Wired describes that the building is ironically and “blandly” named the Utah Data Center. When completed in Sept. 2013 it will house four 25,000 square foot halls of servers, among other things. Wired states that the cost for the project is estimated at $2 billion.

Here‘s some of the data center’s purpose:

Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.”

Wired reports that... http://www.theblaze.com/stories/new-details-on-nsas-new-spy-center-and-s...

 
Pat Buchanan describes how offending PC culture 'gets you hauled before an inquisition'

Written By Patrick J. Buchanan

The original “Hollywood blacklist” dates back to 1947, when 10 members of the Communist Party, present or former, invoked the Fifth Amendment before the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

The party was then a wholly owned subsidiary of the Comintern of Josef Stalin, whose victims had surpassed in number those of Adolf Hitler.

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Epson.com/WorkforceIn a 346-17 vote, the Hollywood Ten (save one who recanted, Edward Dmytryk) were charged with contempt of Congress and suspended or fired.

The blacklist had... http://www.wnd.com/2012/03/rush-and-the-new-blacklist/

 
No one should write off the Golden State. But it will take massive reforms to reverse its economic decline...

Written By MICHAEL J. BOSKIN and JOHN F. COGAN

Long a harbinger of national trends and an incubator of innovation, cash-strapped California eagerly awaits a temporary revenue surge from Facebook IPO stock options and capital gains. Meanwhile, Stockton may soon become the state's largest city to go bust. Call it the agony and ecstasy of contemporary California.

California's rising standards of living and outstanding public schools and universities once attracted millions seeking upward economic mobility. But then something went radically wrong as California legislatures and governors built a welfare state on high tax rates, liberal entitlement benefits, and excessive regulation. The results, though predictable, are nonetheless striking. From the mid-1980s to 2005, California's population grew by 10 million, while Medicaid recipients soared by seven million; tax filers paying income taxes rose by just 150,000; and the prison population swelled by 115,000.

California's economy, which used to outperform the rest of the country, now substantially underperforms. The unemployment rate, at 10.9%, is higher than every other state except Nevada and Rhode Island. With 12% of America's population, California has one third of the nation's welfare recipients.

Partly due to... http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405270230453790457727724268236469...