Monday Morning Memo for Monday, December 4, 2017
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PROSECUTION / PROSECUTORS
Prosecutor irks judge in Durst murder hearing
Testy exchanges Tuesday between attorneys and at one point, the judge, punctuated the cross-examination of the New York detective who investigated the disappearance of Robert Durst’s wife 35 years ago, and conceded that he failed to follow up on leads that could have implicated the eccentric real estate heir.
‘Death threats’ follow report into Indio and Coachella prosecutors, who billed residents high ‘prosecution fees’
A law firm contracted as city prosecutors in Indio and Coachella claims it has received “harassing emails” and “death threats” because of a Desert Sun report that revealed they were taking residents to criminal court for small crimes then charging them thousands in “prosecution fees.” Silver & Wright issued a statement on Thanksgiving calling the article “inaccurate” and “misleading,” but identifying no actual inaccuracies.
Asa Khalif arrested outside Pa. Attorney General’s office
Black Lives Matter Pennsylvania activist Asa Khalif was arrested Monday after he broke a window during a protest at the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office in Philadelphia. Khalif, 47, and another protester showed up at the office on S. 12th Street unannounced Monday morning and demanded answers regarding Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s open investigation of the deadly police shooting of David Jones, Shapiro’s spokesperson Joe Grace told NBC10.
Ex-NYPD detective admits having sex with witness during inquiry into Robert Durst’s missing wife
Retired New York police Det. Michael Struk testified Wednesday that during his investigation into the disappearance of Robert Durst’s wife three decades ago he had sex with a witness. Would you agree, a prosecutor asked, that your actions were “about as unprofessional as you could get?” “Yes,” Struk responded.
Car theft may not be a felony
A California judge has ruled stealing a car may now just result in a ticket. Michele Hanisee, President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys, says that’s also true with any big ticket item thanks to Prop 47. “You can walk into Best Buy or Sears or any big package store. Walk out with a big flat screen TV, as long as it’s under $950 and you can do that every day of the week. And every day of the week it’s still going to be a misdemeanor, no matter how many times you do it, and at most you’re just going to get a citation to appear.”
Proposition 47 makes stealing a car worth $950 or less a misdemeanor offense, court rules
A person convicted of a felony for stealing a car may have that conviction reduced to a misdemeanor if the vehicle was worth no more than $950, the California Supreme Court decided unanimously Thursday. The decision came in a case interpreting Proposition 47, a 2014 ballot measure that reduced felonies for certain drug and theft crimes to misdemeanors.
Teen charged with murder of 8-year-old Maddy Middleton appears in court
The teen accused of brutally killing 8-year-old Maddy Middleton appeared in a Santa Cruz County court for the first time as an adult Tuesday. Adrian Gonzalez, who turned 18 in October, was charged with the murder and sexual assault of Middleton, who disappeared from her Santa Cruz home on July 26, 2015.
COURTS / RULINGS
California court: ‘No reasonable suspicion’ to detain police officer trainee
The First District Court of Appeal in California on Nov. 16 affirmed a trial court decision that awarded more than $575,000 in damages plus attorney fees to a police cadet trainee after he was arrested by officers from his own department. It turned out Bret Cornell was only out for a jog. Cornell sued the city of San Francisco and although the defendants argued that the trial jury had erred, the First District Appellate Court disagreed.
Fight over fowl livers continues in California
Rich, buttery, and cruel? Foie gras, the fattened liver of a duck or goose, can leavedifferent tastes in your mouth depending on your preferences. The dish’s notoriety outside of the culinary context stems from its arguably inhumane production: A bird raised for foie gras is traditionally force-fed through a tube inserted into its esophagus until its liver expands up to ten times its normal size.
This computer game comes thanks to 2 Supreme Court justices
The Supreme Court’s first female justice, Sandra Day O’Connor, has helped teach millions of students civics through computer games created by an organization she founded. Now, with a push from the Supreme Court’s first Hispanic justice, Sonia Sotomayor, the group has translated one of its games into Spanish.
California appellate court affirms judgment in case involving potential discipline of physical therapist
California 4th Appellate District Court of Appeal, Division One on Oct. 16 upheld a Superior Court decision that an Orange County woman who practiced as a physical therapist could be disciplined by the Physical Therapy Board of California for misdemeanor property damage after she had allegedly misused alcohol.
Justices to ponder need for warrant for cellphone tower data
Like almost everyone else in America, thieves tend to carry their cellphones with them to work. When they use their phones on the job, police find it easier to do their jobs. They can get cellphone tower records that help place suspects in the vicinity of crimes, and they do so thousands of times a year.
U.S. Supreme Court hearing case that could affect how police get cell phone records
The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Wednesday in the case of Timothy Ivory Carpenter v. United States. It’s a Fourth Amendment case that will affect how law enforcement can obtain specific cell phone records. South Carolina is one of 19 states that have filed paperwork with the court supporting this case.
Padilla properly blocked establishment of ‘Independent Party’
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla was justified in rejecting a notice of intent to form the “Independent Party” on the ground that it could be confused with the existing American Independent Party, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held. Its decision Friday, announced in a memorandum opinion, affirms the granting of judgment on the pleadings to Padilla.
California High Court upholds State-mandated mediation for farmworkers
The California Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to the nation’s most recognizable agricultural labor unions, unanimously overturning an appellate ruling that state-mandated contract mediation with farmers was unconstitutional. “We conclude that the MMC (mandatory mediation and conciliation) statute neither violates equal protection nor unconstitutionally delegates legislative power,” Justice Goodwin Liu wrote for the California high court.
LAPD calls for victims to report Hollywood sex crimes
The chief of the Los Angeles Police Department said that he expects an influx of even more reports of high-profile sex crimes as the department investigates more than two dozen allegations of sexual misconduct by Hollywood types.
Did you know police can hack your phone without a warrant?
New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Las Vegas are among scores of police departments across the country quietly using a highly secretive technology developed for the military that can track the whereabouts of suspects by using the signals constantly emitted by their cellphones.
Program helps police get private surveillance footage to solve crimes
Nearly 80 surveillance cameras belonging to private citizens and businesses in Ventura County have been instrumental in helping law enforcement solve crimes. These cameras are in Ventura and Simi Valley where the cities’ police have started programs that let them know the specific areas where surveillance footage exists.
Sheriff’s sergeant whose son was killed by drunk driver offers forgiveness, while pleading for more highway safety measures
A Los Angeles County sheriff’s sergeant whose son was recently killed by a drunk driver who also died in the crash spoke of forgiveness Saturday, saying both families were suffering. “There’s not enough words to say to bring my son back,” said Ottawa Cureton-Dunkentell, who raised her only child as a single mother.
LAPD launches paid training program for high school grads who want to be cops
Eric Estrada is eagerly awaiting the day that he’ll be old enough to apply to become a Los Angeles police officer. In the meantime, the 20-year-old Pacoima resident is one of more than two dozen high school graduates who will be working part-time for the Los Angeles Police Department and getting paid as part of a new program that aims to recruit and train the next generation of police officers.
Before the body-worn cameras start rolling: How open records laws impact police policy
At the end of 2014, the White House launched a $263 million program to equip 50,000 officers with body-worn cameras (BWCs). In 2016, 95 percent of large police departments surveyed said they’d implemented BWCs or were committed to. In the rush for funding, some police departments did not pay adequate attention to the legal issues that accompany BWCs, and their associated costs.
FAA research finds drone collisions more damaging than bird strikes to airplanes
New research commissioned by the FAA finds a high-speed collision between a drone and an airliner would be worse than a bird strike. Newly-released animation shows how a drone could cause significant damage to a plane’s engine or tail area. This year, the FAA has received an average of 250 reports of drones near airports every month, up from 159 for most of last year.
Amid gentrification fears, a gang crackdown strikes in South L.A.
The City Attorney’s Office is cracking down on a South L.A. apartment building it describes as a hotbed for a notorious gang in the area, the Black P-Stones. But concern has been expressed over the timing: Los Angeles is in the midst of a dire housing crisis, and some folks in communities like this one, known locally as the Jungles, fear that such actions are a symptom of the kind of gentrification that is pushing minorities out of homes via increasing rents and evictions.
Dramatic video shows LA County deputies repeatedly firing non-lethal rounds at defiant armed suspect
A barricade involving an armed man in a liquor store came to a dramatic end when Los Angeles County deputies fired multiple non-lethal rounds at the defiant suspect Wednesday. The incident began when a deputy Tasered the suspect, who was reportedly armed. The man then ran into a Windsor Hills liquor store at Slauson and Keniston avenues.
LAPD captain on paid leave after being tied to Valley warehouse where illegal marijuana grow was found
A veteran Los Angeles Police Department captain has been “assigned to home” pending an investigation to determine whether he was involved in an illegal marijuana grow inside a Sun Valley warehouse, authorities said Thursday. Police identified the employee as being “affiliated with the location” in the 8800 block of Bradley Avenue, where the illegal cultivation was found in late October, but they did not say in what capacity.
40 years later, Roman Polanski still doesn’t deserve special treatment
In Los Angeles, some old crimes never fade away. The Black Dahlia slaying. The Manson murders. O.J. Simpson. And Roman Polanski. “I’m Mr. Polanski’s attorney,” began an email that arrived Monday morning from L.A. super lawyer Harland Braun. He was writing about an Oct. 29 column I wrote.
Los Angeles mayor defies skeptics, says he may run for the White House
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says he’s considering a run for the White House, a move that would be unprecedented in national politics. Garcetti confirmed in a New York Times interview this week that he is testing the waters for a presidential run, having completed a tour of several states this year while touting some of his accomplishments as the mayor of the second-largest city in the US.
How do we deal with allegedly misbehaving legislators like Raul Bocanegra?
Should three state lawmakers under a cloud of sexual misconduct allegations – Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, Assemblyman Devon Mathis and state Sen. Tony Mendoza – resign from the Legislature? Some people are calling for just that, saying that the accusations of sexual misconduct and harassment lodged against the three are so serious they can’t effectively do their job.
Sexual harassment takes spotlight in California’s capital
It’s been five weeks since nearly 150 women – lobbyists, lawmakers, Republicans, Democrats – signed a letter calling out a pervasive culture of sexual harassment in California’s capital. One lawmaker has ended his re-election campaign, and a second is the target of multiple allegations. The Senate and the Assembly have pledged action to root out problems, but critics say cultural change requires far more.
Why 2020 will be the year of the woman
One year after a Republican accused of sexual misconduct was elected president, and Democrats are the ones in turmoil about misogynistic behavior in their ranks. Renewed media attention on sexual harassment and assault led to the twin New York Times and New Yorker exposés on Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood mogul and Democratic donor.
Raul Bocanegra says he’ll resign Assembly seat immediately amid sexual-harassment accusations
San Fernando Valley-area state Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra has become the first California politician to be toppled by the wave of sexual harassment allegations against powerful men. Bocanegra, a Democrat whose district office was in Arleta, announced Monday he is resigning from office immediately, bowing to pressure that began after a report last month that he groped a woman at a Sacramento nightclub in 2009 when both were legislative staffers.
2018’s new laws: California businesses brace for changes
A slew of new laws that address unpaid parental leave, new hiring restrictions and other workplace issues will have an impact on California businesses in the coming year. The California Chamber of Commerce has released a list of the laws that are scheduled to take effect in 2018 or beyond.
LAPD captain investigated for possible ties to pot warehouse
A Los Angeles Police Department captain was being investigated for possibly providing security at an illegal marijuana-growing operation that was discovered in a warehouse in the Sun Valley area. The LAPD confirmed that a department employee under investigation and currently assigned to home duty due to possible involvement in the warehouse growing operation, which was discovered about 4 a.m. Oct. 31 by detectives investigating a burglary at the location in the 8800 block of Bradley Avenue.
Bail ‘disrupters’ have a plan to free thousands from U.S. jails
Last Labor Day weekend, Tommi Ziegler watched in horror as her pregnant daughter stood sobbing against a car, swollen belly straining against her white tank top, hands bound behind her back with handcuffs. A routine traffic stop had devolved into a crisis. “I was shaking,” Ziegler said. Police had pulled their car over for running a stoplight, shortly after leaving the parking lot of a shopping center, where the family had spent the day.
Cash bail doesn’t make California safer, it just crowds our jails
How much money someone has shouldn’t be the final determinant of whether or not he or she remains behind bars or gets released from jail after being arrested. Yet that’s all too often how California’s pretrial justice system works, with potentially tens of thousands of people on any given day deemed eligible for release but stuck in jail simply because they haven’t posted monetary bail and might not be able to.
For many parolees, a new start begins with new skin
For people leaving prison and looking for work, a second chance depends on a good first impression. That’s not easy to do when you have a tattoo on your face, especially if it’s a gang-symbol or offensive word. In many big cities, nonprofits help formerly incarcerated people get problematic tattoos removed so they can be more employable.
LA convict recaptured after disappearing just months before release
A 24-year-old convict who walked away from a re-entry program in Los Angeles was back in custody Wednesday, authorities said. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officials were searching for Jessie Barraza after they were alerted about 8:10 p.m. Tuesday that his GPS device had been removed while out on an approved pass, authorities said.
Prison-produced podcast ‘Ear Hustle’ lets you listen to real stories of incarcerated life
Prisoners inside one of California’s prisons are getting the opportunity to be heard — behind bars and beyond. “Ear Hustle” is a podcast that offers listeners a rare look at inmate experiences, from race relations to sharing a tiny cell. Jeffrey Brown reports. The audio series “Ear Hustle,” the first podcast to be produced entirely inside a prison, has steadily grown in popularity by laying out in vivid detail the everyday experiences of inmates at San Quentin.
LA Sheriff’s antiquated computer system makes data collection a nightmare
It’s hard to ignore the security that surrounds the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s communications center. It sits atop a hill in Monterey Park behind a tall fence and inside a building with thick concrete walls and no windows. Inside, dispatchers don headsets and deploy deputies from the 10,000-strong force across the nearly 5,000 square miles that comprise L.A. County.
L.A. County DA focuses on marijuana DUIs through new progra
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office has already trained several hundred law enforcement personnel in handling marijuana DUI cases, via a program funded by an almost $900,000 grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The grant was approved this year to pay for the program which aims to prevent impaired driving and reduce alcohol and drug-related fatalities and injuries.
Elon Musk’s tunneling company wants to dig through L.A.
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has famously complained about the traffic he faces on his commute from his Bel-Air home to his office in Hawthorne, near Los Angeles International Airport. His solution? An alternate transportation system that could whisk commuters from the San Fernando Valley to the Westside in a matter of minutes through a tunnel parallel to the 405 Freeway.
Supervisors advocate for more female hiring in Metro construction projects
At Metro’s Construction Committee last week, board member and Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, 3rd District, co-authored a motion to create a report card system to grade the success of Metro contractors in meeting their female hiring goals.
Rabbi brings her vision to sheriff oversight panel
When Rabbi Heather Miller visited a jail for the first time in February, the conditions took her by surprise. “I saw grown men who society demonizes as villains, like in the movies, [holding] their arms inside of their shirts because they are cold,” she said. Refrigerator space was so scarce that incarcerated mothers who were pumping breast milk had to have relatives retrieve it every other day.
LA’s economic future linked to challenges with homelessness, housing and traffic, says Mayor Garcetti
During an annual luncheon of the San Fernando Valley business community Wednesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti pointed to poverty, a housing shortage and traffic congestion as three of the greatest threats to Los Angeles’ economic future, while also setting an ambitious tone for increasing prosperity in the city.
New bill proposes extending bar hours to 4 a.m. in 6 California cities
State. Sen Scott Wiener this week announced plans to reintroduce legislation that allow bar hours in California cities to be extended 4 a.m. While a similar bill backed by Wiener to give communities across the state the option of pushing back nightlife closing times failed in September, the new measure would only apply to six California cities: Los Angeles, Long Beach, West Hollywood, San Francisco, Oakland and Sacramento.
Feinstein’s bump stocks ban moves back into the spotlight
A week ahead of a long awaited Senate hearing on bump stocks, the district attorney from Las Vegas issued a powerful call to ban the firearm accessory, which enabled a gunman to kill 58 people in just minutes at an Oct. 1 concert along the city’s famed Strip. The renewed spotlight on the issue provides some much needed momentum for California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s legislation to ban the device, which has languished in the Senate as Washington’s attention drifted on to other matters.
California DOJ pushes new “assault weapons” regulations
Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) has issued the following statement regarding the latest California Department of Justice (DOJ) proposed regulations on so-called “assault weapons”: Once again, the California DOJ and Attorney General Xavier Becerra have used 11th-hour tactics to push its anti-gun agenda, this time by releasing new proposed “assault weapons” regulations right before a major holiday.
Mother of Vegas survivor pleads with lawmaker to change gun laws
More than a month after 58 people died and more than 500 were wounded in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, the mother of one of the survivors of the Las Vegas massacre is reminding local lawmakers that part of the solution lies with them. In a gut-wrenching letter to her local representative, Illinois Rep. Ryan Spain (R-Peoria), Anne M. described the harrowing trauma her daughter Hannah suffered following the Las Vegas tragedy.
House panel to weigh bill expanding gun rights
House Republicans moved forward on legislation to expand gun owners’ rights, the first gun-related measure since mass shootings in Las Vegas and Texas killed more than 80 people. The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a National Rifle Association-supported bill that would allow a gun owner with a state-issued concealed carry permit to carry a handgun in any state that allows concealed weapons.
Toxic dolls and dangerous electrical goods are among fakes sold on Facebook as luxury replica business booms
Dolls with high levels of toxins and potentially lethal electrical goods are among the fakes being sold through Facebook, say Trading Standards. The market in replica luxury goods has been booming on the social media site, after Amazon and eBay cracked down on adverts for illegal copies. But Facebook has been accused of turning a blind eye to the counterfeiters – even after being asked to act.
Law enforcement and consumer advocates warn of holiday shopping scams
Skimming devices, fake websites and fraudulent advertisements are just some ways scammers try to steal your money during the holiday season. With holiday shopping season officially underway and Cyber Monday upon us, consumer advocates and law enforcement officials are issuing a reminder: ‘Tis the season of skimmers and scammers.
Madera County board censures district attorney for alleged harassment. He says he won’t resign
Madera County supervisors voted unanimously Monday to censure District Attorney David Linn for alleged “workplace harassment, discrimination and abuse.” During a rare censure hearing, Linn told supervisors he won’t resign, and denied the allegations made against him in a report prepared by a Fresno attorney hired to investigate complaints about him.
Sexual harassment claims by L.A. city workers are difficult to track
With more than 45,000 employees, the city of Los Angeles is one of the largest employers in Southern California. Despite its size, the city has no centralized method for tracking sexual harassment complaints lodged against its workers. Nor are managers required to report such claims to the city’s Personnel Department.
California Assembly setting up confidential hotline for sexual harassment complaints
As advocates and some lawmakers urge the California Legislature to overhaul its sexual harassment policies, the Assembly may soon establish a confidential hotline for reporting misconduct and begin tracking complaints.
LAPD chief expects more high-profile Hollywood sex crime allegations
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said he expects his department – which already is handling more than two dozen allegations of sexual misconduct by Hollywood figures – to investigate even more. “We anticipate the LAPD and other jurisdictions will receive even more high profile sex crime reports in the coming weeks and months,” Beck said in an email.
How California is leading the way on marijuana criminal justice reform
Eddy, a burly 65-year-old professional musician, walked into a free legal clinic in Los Angeles County one July morning hoping to clear his record. More than three decades ago, he served two years probation for attempting to sell a few gram bags of marijuana, a felony that put the immigrant, a legal United States resident with a green card, at greater risk of deportation.
Los Angeles considers amnesty program for pot shop owners with non-violent felonies
Virgil Grant is a marijuana business owner and felon. He spent six years in federal prison for owning and operating marijuana facilities in the city of Los Angeles, he said. He had six medical marijuana shops – legal by California standards, but not by the feds. And during his time in prison, he lost them.
The response to homelessness is criminal
2017 has been notable for its many crises. Hurricanes and mega fires have commanded massive mobilizations of public resources. While Los Angeles has mostly been spared from large scale disasters causing extensive harm to life and property, we cannot in good conscience say that we are not living amidst a crisis.
LA official looks to ban or regulate RV rentals for homeless
A Los Angeles City council member Wednesday proposed banning or regulating the practice of renting out vehicles for people to live in within city limits. Council member Mitch Englander’s motion cites KPCC reporting on the growing sub-economy of RV and van rentals for homeless people. “They’re not safe for the community, where you have sewage overspilling next to parks commercial zones and next to schools,” said Englander.
Los Angeles County approves portable toilets, showers to halt hepatitis A spread among homeless
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors took action Tuesday to stop the spread of hepatitis A. Portable bathrooms are headed to homeless encampments in unincorporated parts of the county. “It’s relatively easy to spread in situations where people don’t have good access to sanitation facilities, so it’s what we call, spread by a fecal/oral route,” said Los Angeles County Public Health Department Director Barbara Ferrer.
Reaching inside the jails to break the cycle of homeless arrests
A door opened, and three men walked out of captivity into a sun-drenched waiting area. It’s a scene repeated hundreds of times a day at Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail. But instead of being greeted by family members and friends, these men were met by Victor Key, a case manager for Project 180, a downtown agency that is on the front line of a homeless strategy called jail in-reach.
LAPD’s ‘RESET’ program struggles to get the homeless off the streets
It’s known as ‘The Box’. Skid Row City Limits…a place just blocks from City Hall where more than 17,000 homeless people live on the streets in a square-shaped area just east of Main Street, south of third, west of Alameda and north of Seventh Street. A place where addicts openly use drugs and people with mental illness roam the streets.
Criminal convictions and immigration law
What makes a non-citizen deportable? An alien or non-citizen, including a lawful permanent resident (“green card” holder) is deportable for having a conviction relating to controlled substances. Title 8 U.S.C. Section 1227(a)(2)(B)(i) states: “Any alien who at any time after admission has been convicted of a violation of . . . any law or regulation of a State, the United States, or a foreign country relating to a controlled substance (as defined in section 802 of Title 21), other than a single offense involving possession for one’s own use of 30 grams or less of marijuana, is deportable.
Could DACA debate in Congress trigger threat of government shutdown?
A pitched battle is brewing in Congress over the fate of nearly 800,000 young immigrants in the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that expires in spring, a fight that could hold up the year-end spending bill to keep the federal government running. The DACA program grants work permits and protection from deportation to young, unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. About 200,000 DACA recipients live in California.
Washington Post reporter caught plotting liberal agenda with billionaire George Soros
Allegedly unbiased Washington Post reporter Janell Ross spoke at a top-secret meeting of liberal movers and shakers last week, where Democratic donors including billionaire George Soros outlined the future of their progressive agenda. A Post spokesperson told the Washington Free Beacon that Ross took part of the California event “without notifying her superiors that she would be attending.”
Pacific News Service RIP. NY Times profiles a Nazi. Good reads.
The San Francisco nonprofit Pacific News Service will close down for good on Thursday, “after growing too fast and accumulating too much debt,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports. “It will end nearly a half century of tenacious coverage, with a mission that started in Indochina but expanded to include unrest in Central America and immigration in California, and above all an increasing focus on producing youth media and news about underrepresented cultures.”
LA Weekly reveals its secret owners: mostly men with Orange County ties
After weeks of mystery, LA Weekly’s new owners were revealed Friday in a short online message from the publication’s new operations manager. The lineup is heavy with men who have strong Orange County ties. Brian Calle tried to make light of growing concern that Los Angeles’ most famous alternative publication had not disclosed its backers since the Oct. 18 announcement that Voice Media Group had sold LA Weekly to a fledgling company called Semanal Media.
Stop playing the pension blame game
When a city, school district or other local government agency gets into financial trouble and pulls out of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System because it can’t make its required contribution to the pension fund, that bodes ill for the benefits it has promised its retirees. At best, current employees will see their future retirement benefits frozen at what they’ve already accrued.
Jerry Brown, nearing end of term, defies unions on pensions
“Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose,” singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson philosophized in his classic blues song, “Me and Bobby McGee,” a half-century ago. Kristofferson’s tune would be an apt anthem for Gov. Jerry Brown as he winds down his own half-century career in politics – especially so because Kristofferson once campaigned for him.
Opinion: Use surplus to pay down California pension debt
California is about to get a welcome and unexpected windfall – enough new tax revenue to have $19 billion in reserve even after paying for the anticipated growth in all current programs and increases in the cost of living. This estimate of the reserves at the end of the 2018-19 fiscal year comes from the state Legislative Analyst’s Office. It raises the question: What to do with this money? How can we put it to its greatest use?