Newman recall organizers have enough valid signatures

Associated Press | Three counties have received enough valid signatures to trigger a recall election that could remove a Southern California senator from office and end a Democratic supermajority in the California Legislature, according to counts released Friday.

The attempt to recall Democratic Sen. Josh Newman of Fullerton is backed by the California Republican Party, anti-tax advocates and talk-radio hosts who are critical of Newman’s vote this year to raise the gasoline tax.

Reports filed by Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties show the organizers submitted more than the 63,593 valid signatures required to recall Newman, with more still to count.

Democratic Secretary of State Alex Padilla has 10 days certify the signatures results, after which Gov. Jerry Brown must schedule an election within 60 to 80 days.

Read the entire story at the Sacramento Bee . . .

Also see the Los Angeles Times . . .

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California can’t fix its housing problems

Once again, unions become the main obstacle to statewide reform.

By Steven Greenhut | Even California’s liberal Democrats are starting to understand that the state’s housing crisis is fundamentally a supply-and-demand problem. Home prices have soared to astronomical levels, with a median price above $750,000 in the nine-county Bay Area and nearly $700,000 in Orange County. Years of growth controls and local regulations have restricted housing supply and added as much as 40 percent to the price of every new home that’s built.

Steven GreenhutHousing is the key reason California has a 24 percent poverty rate (using the U.S. Census Bureau’s new cost-of-living-adjusted index), the highest in the nation. Even a six-figure salary can’t buy a median-priced home in most of the state’s big metro areas, so you can only imagine what exorbitant home and rent prices mean for those people on the lower end of the earnings scale.

As legislators head back to Sacramento after summer recess, a housing package tops the agenda. That’s a troubling idea in and of itself. The same leftist legislators who have created this crisis are offering to fix it. It’s the equivalent of what Ronald Reagan called the nine most terrifying words: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” It might be best to run for the hills, or at least contact U-Haul about the price of moving to Nevada.

Still, those of us who long have pushed for an easier permit process are heartened to find such an idea gaining traction in the Legislature, as well as the support of Gov. Jerry Brown. Brown wants to loosen local zoning restrictions, even though his battle against climate change has made it far more difficult for localities to permit construction of new subdivisions.

The main, encouraging piece of legislation is Senate Bill 35, by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco. The bill “creates a streamlined, ministerial approval process for development proponents of multi-family housing if the development meets specified requirements and the local government in which the development is located has not produced enough housing units to meet its regional housing needs assessment,” according to the bill analysis.

Read the entire column at The American Spectator . . .

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Newman gets a rule change from the FPPC

As expected, the state’s campaign finance watchdog — the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) — voted today to change its longstanding position on contribution limits and allow legislators and other candidates to give unlimited sums of money to help Democratic Sen. Josh Newman fight the recall campaign that has been launched against him.

Read the news story in the Sacramento Bee . . .

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Court action puts focus on today’s FPPC recall election funding decision

By Joel Fox | The Fair Political Practices Commission decision today about whether elected officials can exceed limits to help in a recall campaign became more urgent for Sen. Josh Newman when a Court of Appeal froze the new law that would have delayed the recall.

Joel FoxThe lawsuit, brought by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, challenged recent changes in the recall rules. Justice Vance W. Raye ordered the law be put aside until a full hearing can resolve the issue.

Newman was targeted by anti-tax advocates because of his vote on the gas tax increase and Republicans quickly jumped aboard the effort seeing an opportunity to reduce the Democratic Senate majority to below the two-thirds mark that allows all kinds of mischief in the eyes of Republicans.

The Democratic majority came to the aid of Sen. Newman by passing a law to stall the expected recall election. Democrats craftily made the recall rule changes retroactive and effective immediately on the frivolous grounds that the changes had consequences to the state budget.

The retroactive aspect of the law is grounds for a full hearing before the court.

If the court action causes the recall election to occur this year instead of next June during the state primary as was expected under the rules change, lower voter turnouts in a special election prove a greater risk for Newman.

His campaign will want big dollars to stave off the recall. There are piles of cash sitting with some of his Democratic colleagues. That is why an attempt is being made to change long-held Fair Political Practice Commission rules that limit contributions from elected officials to $4,400.

Originally, the counsel for the FPPC recommended against any change. However, by a 3-1 vote, the Commission overrode the opinion from counsel and asked that a new regulation be drawn up allowing a free flow of money.

When it was revealed by the Sacramento Bee that an attorney for the Senate Democratic caucus had met privately with one of the commissioners, Brian Hatch, a former union lobbyist, ethics experts cringed and objections to the Commission playing in partisan politics rained down.

Is the rebuke against the way this FPPC business was conducted enough to change the board’s final vote on the matter? The court’s action will ratchet up pressure from Democrats to see that the rule is changed because an early election means Newman will need lots of money fast.

We’ll have to see what the FPPC does today.

Also worth watching is the Legislature when it returns from recess on Monday. Secretary of State Alex Padilla, the defendant in the lawsuit in his official capacity, has ten days to respond to the court writ once it is certified. Will the Legislature come up with another scheme in that time period to shield the beleaguered Senator Newman?

[Cross-posted from Fox & Hounds.]

Posted in 29th State Senate District, FPPC, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Joel Fox, Josh Newman, Recall | Leave a comment

Watch Tuesday night’s city council meeting

August 15, 2017 (8/15/17)

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The latest on the Josh Newman recall

Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, joined talk show hosts John and Ken yesterday on their radio show on KFI (9 minutes) . . .

Posted in 29th State Senate District, Jon and Ken Show / KFI Radio, Jon Coupal, Josh Newman, Recall | Leave a comment

California’s “ethics agency” considers a partisan plan to help protect Josh Newman

A story by Patrick McGreevey in today’s Los Angeles Times reports that the state’s campaign watchdog agency — the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) — is poised at its meeting tomorrow “to open the spigot for large political contributions that would help an embattled Democratic state senator fend off a recall campaign, a change that opponents say is tainted by secret talks between a commissioner and a Democratic attorney.”

Josh NewmanThe article explains: “The state Fair Political Practices Commission last month began the process of lifting the $4,400 limit on political contributions by elected officials to anti-recall campaigns. The change was requested by Democrats to help state Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), who is facing an effort to remove him from office after his vote in April for a $52-billion gas and vehicle tax package.”

Read the entire article in the Los Angeles Times . . .

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Tonight’s city council meeting agenda

To read or download tonight’s detailed council meeting agenda, please click here (pdf).

AgendaThe public participation portion of the meeting begins at 6:30 with presentations and awards. Actual city business normally doesn’t start until 7:00 or thereafter.

To watch it online, visit this page on the city’s website. And you can always watch it on cable Channel 3 (Spectrum — formerly Time Warner).

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Democrats rig an election in broad daylight

Revelations about state “ethics” commission undermines its credibility.

By Steven Greenhut | Republicans have been delving into allegations of Democratic voter fraud, but are having a tough time finding smoking guns given that “irregularities” occur in the form of thousands of individually cast votes. Having grown up in politically seedy Philadelphia, I have no doubt this is a real problem — but it takes massive sleuthing to get to the bottom of it.

But what happens when the vote-rigging takes place in full public view?

Steven GreenhutHere in California, the Democratic leadership is busy rigging rules in an election. The issue is covered on the front pages. But Democrats control every lever of power, so nothing can derail their efforts to save a vulnerable Democratic senator from a recall. Now the state’s ethics watchdog, the California Fair Political Practices Commission, is in on the action.

A former union lobbyist who serves as an FPPC commissioner “met privately, talked on the phone and exchanged text messages with a lawyer working for Senate Democrats while advocating for the agency to flip a longstanding legal interpretation of campaign finance law in favor of Sen. Josh Newman,” the Sacramento Bee reported last Tuesday.

Since 2002, the agency has enforced a regulation that applies campaign contribution limits (currently $4,400) to state candidates that want to contribute to another state candidate’s recall committee. That rule has been enforced on past recall elections, including the successful 2003 recall of Democratic Gov. Gray Davis and a failed 2008 recall against a Republican state senator, the Bee explained.

But Democrats are desperate to save Newman, a lackluster freshman senator who last November won a seat in Republican-heavy Orange County. After Newman cast a deciding vote to increase the state’s gasoline taxes by 12 cents a gallon and boost vehicle-license fees, Republican activists have targeted him for removal. They’ve turned in signatures and this week will get some initial reports from county registrars regarding validity rates.

Read the entire article on The American Spectator’s website . . .

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Newman recall could happen this fall after court freezes new rules

Newman campaigning in bear suitAccording to a news story in the Los Angeles Times by reporter John Myers, state Senator and Fullerton resident Josh Newman could face a recall election as soon as this fall after an appeals court on Monday delayed enforcement of a law crafted by Democrats to slow down the process. The new law, which would apply retroactively to the Newman recall, was written and passed with the hope of delaying the special election until next year.

Justice Vance W. Raye’s order issued Monday requires state elections officials to set aside the new law until the case is resolved in court. That delay will probably mean the recall election could be held in November.

Read the news story in the Los Angeles Times . . .

Posted in 29th State Senate District, Josh Newman, Recall | Leave a comment