"California voters' decision to reduce penalties for drug and property crimes in 2014 contributed to a jump in car burglaries, shoplifting and other theft, researchers reported.
Larcenies increased about 9 percent by 2016, or about 135 more thefts per 100,000 residents than if tougher penalties had remained, according to results of a study by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California released Tuesday.
Thefts from motor vehicles accounted for about three-quarters of the increase. San Francisco alone recorded more than 30,000 auto burglaries last year, which authorities largely blamed on gangs. Shoplifting may be leveling off, researchers found, but there is no sign of a decline in thefts from vehicles."
"California’s 168-year run as a single entity, hugging the continent’s edge for hundreds of miles and sprawling east across mountains and desert, could come to an end next year — as a controversial plan to split the Golden State into three new jurisdictions qualified Tuesday for the Nov. 6 ballot.
If a majority of voters who cast ballots agree, a long and contentious process would begin for three separate states to take the place of California, with one primarily centered around Los Angeles and the other two divvying up the counties to the north and south. Completion of the radical plan — far from certain, given its many hurdles at judicial, state and federal levels — would make history.
It would be the first division of an existing U.S. state since the creation of West Virginia in 1863."
"California suffers from droughts, but the state’s government is an endless well of bad ideas. The latest absurd legislation, which Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, signed into law, places onerous restrictions on water usage. California citizens will be limited to using 55 gallons of water a day now and just 50 per day by 2030.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, the new laws will “require cities, water districts and large agricultural water districts to set strict annual water budgets, face fines of $1,000 per day if they don’t meet them, and $10,000 a day during drought emergencies.”
As some have noted, the restriction could make it difficult for some California citizens to do laundry and take a shower on the same day without going over the limit. A Snopes fact check said that this fine is placed on the water provider, not the consumer as some have claimed. This misses the fact that the cost of the fines likely will be passed on to the customer, either directly for violations, indirectly through increased cost of water, or worse, by threatening to shut off household water consumption to avoid fines.
Even some left-leaning outlets admitted the impact on consumers is unknown and the 55-gallon limit is much lower than the average summer usage for the typical Californian. Taking a shower and doing laundry could exceed that amount for some."
"State tax policy can be a contentious topic, but in recent years there has been a remarkable level of agreement on the gasoline tax. Increasingly, state lawmakers are deciding that outdated gas taxes need to be raised and reformed to fund infrastructure projects that are vital to their economies. [Read ITEP’s latest brief How Long Has It Been Since Your State Raised Its Gas Tax?] In total, 27 states have raised or reformed their gas taxes since 2013. That number could soon rise to 28, depending on the outcome of a 10-cent increase Missouri residents will vote on in November.
These actions are helping reverse losses in gas tax purchasing power caused by rising construction costs and improvements in vehicle fuel-efficiency. And a growing group of states has decided not just to fix past problems, but to plan for the future as well. These states are abandoning fixed-rate gas taxes (stagnant, cents-per-gallon taxes) and opting for smarter, variable-rate gas tax structures that will allow them to raise sustainable gas tax revenues for the long haul.
A summary of gas tax increases and reforms enacted since 2013 is provided below...."
"In Barack Obama’s adopted hometown, of all places, his $375 million Obama Presidential Center is running into growing headwinds from a few gutsy souls.
Ironically, the winds aren’t gusting from the usual direction—Republicans and others the left often labels racist Obama-haters. Rather, it’s blowing from the very people who have long lionized Obama: white Chicago lakefront progressives, University of Chicago professors, environmentalists, African-American activists, and a community organization of the kind that once employed Obama as an organizer.
On May 14, a preservationist group called Protect Our Parks filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Chicago, seeking a court order that would bar local government agencies from building Obama’s center in the revered and beautiful Jackson Park, which served as the site of the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The group also wants to bar the city from giving control of the center’s site to the Obama Foundation. They are opposed by a phalanx of avid Obama supporters headed by Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and including local labor unions, businesses, newspaper editorial boards, and a range of do-gooders who have uncritically embraced Obama’s library plans.
Imagine if Republicans had concocted a scheme to sell public land for a song to build a Donald Trump presidential library. Protect Our Parks argues that this is what the city of Chicago has done with Obama’s library, asserting that the Chicago Park District and the City of Chicago don’t have the authority to transfer public parkland to a nongovernmental entity such as the Obama Foundation, especially for a nominal amount of money and in violation of state law that bars the “illegal taking of public park land.” The suit claims the sale is “a short con shell game, a corrupt scheme to deceive and seemingly legitimize an illegal land grab.”
In a letter to the Michigan Public Service Commission today, State Rep. Shane Hernandez (R-Port Huron) demanded the commission act in response to what he calls “absurd bills” sent by Michigan energy suppliers to some customers.
“I would prefer to continue forward in a constructive manner with the energy suppliers at the table,” Hernandez said, “but I have never shied away from doing what is right for my constituents simply because it may not win me any friends in Lansing. I am willing to take more forceful action if necessary.”
The letter sent by Hernandez (attached) included an example of one citizen’s bill for over $1.9 million which Hernandez feels is just a symbol of the problems Michigan consumers face when state law guarantees a virtual monopoly for a select few energy suppliers.
"To the jailers of California, the Mexican Mafia is known as the gang of gangs.
Any member of a Latino street gang sent to prison or jail in California likely has to abide by the rules and dictates of the gang while in prison.
Even to the point of making peace with their long-time hated rivals.
“They have the ability to turn gangs that are historically sworn enemies that fight on the streets into allies when they come inside our jail system,” said Commander Joseph Dempsey of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Author and former Los Angeles Times reporter Sam Quinones has chronicled the Mexican Mafia and associated Latino street gangs of California for two decades. Quinones says the gang’s power extended as its 30-year reputation for viciousness in the jail system won the allegiance of Latino street gangs throughout Southern California.
“The Mexican Mafia’s influence and importance to Southern California goes far far beyond the prisons now,” Quinones told The Daily Beast."
"California law enforcement and local officials gathered at the White House on Wednesday to make it clear that Sacramento doesn’t speak for them on illegal immigration.
The Democrat-controlled state Legislature passed and Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, signed a “sanctuary state” law that prohibits state and local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities on matters such as detaining illegal immigrants in local jails or reporting them.
California state Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, a Republican, praised President Donald Trump for holding the White House meeting, noting that Brown has not met with Republican officials.
“This is your Republican resistance right here,” Melendez told the president during the Cabinet Room meeting, obliquely referencing the “resist” movement among some Democrats and liberals dedicated to opposing Trump’s policies."
"Michigan voters can now see where their lawmakers have stood on state business subsidies from 2001 and into the current legislative session. A new scorecard from the Mackinac Center and MichiganVotes.org shows where every lawmaker came down on votes for corporate handouts that pit regular taxpayers against select business interests and developers.
Michigan lawmakers have authorized the state to spend a lot of money to subsidize businesses since 2001: $16 billion, in fact. That is more that the value of the Lions, Tigers, Pistons and Red Wings with plenty leftover. Or in state budget terms, it could pay off state employee pension debt or resurface nearly all of the state’s highways.
These amounts have been pledged in the name of creating or retaining jobs in the state. But by taking tax dollars from everyone and delivering them to a favored few, the lawmakers have cost the state jobs rather than added them."