Sacramento Bee: Groping allegation against Asm. Cristina Garcia not substantiated as harassment investigation ends
An Assembly investigation did not corroborate allegations that Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia drunkenly groped a former legislative staff member.
The Bell Gardens Democrat took an unpaid leave from the Assembly in February after Daniel Fierro, who now operates a political communications firm in Cerritos, said she cornered him at a legislative softball game in 2014, squeezed his butt and attempted to grab his crotch.
"I look forward to returning to work and getting back to the business of representing my constituents," Garcia said in a statement Thursday declaring that she had been "exonerated." Her spokeswoman said she has not yet decided on a return date to the Capitol.
Though cleared of the most serious charge against her, Garcia will be removed from her committee memberships and required to attend sensitivity training after the investigation found that she violated the Assembly's sexual harassment policy by using vulgar language, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced.
The Hill: House rejects farm bill as conservatives revolt
House conservatives tanked a GOP farm bill on Friday over an intra-party feud over immigration, delivering a stunning blow to Republican leaders as they try to find a path forward on immigration.
In a 198-213 vote, GOP conservatives essentially joined Democrats in rejecting the measure, which would have introduced tougher work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP] that were a priority for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
The whip count remained in question in the hours leading up to the dramatic vote, despite GOP leaders expressing confidence just minutes before hand that they would have enough support to pass the bill.
Ryan and other GOP leaders frantically tried to flip members of the House Freedom Caucus from no to yes during the amendment vote series leading up to final passage.
At one point, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), a chief deputy whip, was seen working Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) while Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was locked in an intense conversation with Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.)
Ryan, McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) huddled with House Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Scott Perry (R-Pa.) earlier as lawmakers voted on amendments to the bill.
Sacramento Bee: Baby boomers could get a huge property tax break under November initiative
Older California residents who move could save thousands of dollars in property taxes under an initiative that has qualified for the statewide November ballot.
The initiative – backed by the California Association of Realtors – would change a key provision of Proposition 13, the state’s 40-year-old property tax law that ties a home’s assessed value to its sales price and caps the property tax rate at 1 percent of that value.
Under the initiative, people over the age of 55 moving within the state could pay property taxes based on the sales price of the home they are leaving. The new tax structure would be determined by a complicated formula that takes into account the values of the home someone is selling and the home they are buying.
For example, a resident lives in a home with an assessed value of $200,000 and sells that home for $400,000. They then buy a different home for $1 million somewhere else in California.
Sacramento Bee: Democrats ramp up effort to avoid California catastrophe
The political arm of House Democrats is undertaking a late push to drive up voter turnout in a handful of marquee California congressional districts where the party now faces the possibility of not even having a Democrat make it onto the November ballot.
The operation from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee includes mailers and digital ads, aimed at registering and turning out the party’s voters in four battleground districts ahead of the June 5 primary.
Each district — all suburbs around Orange County, California — is among the party’s best pickup opportunities this year, and failing to have a general election candidate in any of them would be a significant blow to Democrats’ hopes of winning the 23 seats necessary for a House majority.
“After more than a year of organizing in communities across the state, California Democrats deserve to have a Democrat advance to the general election who they can vote for a Democrat in November,” said Drew Godinich, DCCC spokesperson. “Washington Republicans have attacked California’s environment, health care, and raised taxes on millions of families. California Democrats need to vote in June if they want to be heard in November and finish the task by flipping these California districts blue.”
Next 10: California Migration: A Comparative Analysis
A trio of new studies suggest deepening divisions in California's economy, depending on residents' income and where they live. Some familiar trends continue.
Over the decade ending in 2016, more people moved out of California than moved in, and the state still has the highest housing costs in the nation. Job growth is up across low-, mid- and high-income earners, but while wages have increased across all categories, low-income earners haven’t seen their paychecks increase at a comparable pace in recent years. Well-educated, high-income earners continue to move to California, even as growth in high-wage employment has slowed. And as housing prices near an all-time high, Californians with low-paying jobs are leaving the state in search of more affordable lives, despite a growing number of available low-paying jobs.
Regional differences add another layer of complication. For example, in the Bay Area, the number of high-wage jobs continues to grow, and high-wage workers continue to move in. But in Southern California, shares of high- and middle-wage employment have declined. And Southern California and rural areas are losing more residents, on average, than other parts of the state.
The report's main findings include:
- From 2006 to 2016, 1,090,600 more people moved out of California to other states than moved from other states to California.
- Migration and income trends vary by region. The Bay Area, which had the highest percentage gains in high-wage jobs, has experienced overall net migration growth since 2014. By contrast, Los Angeles and the Inland Empire have seen declines in high- and middle-wage jobs, an increase in low-wage employment, and more people moving out of state than moving in.
- The main driver for net out-migration appears to be high housing costs, since migration rates are highest for those at lower-wage levels. The vast majority of people who moved out of California were concentrated in lower-skilled, lower-paying fields — namely sales, transportation, and food preparation — which together accounted for a net outflow of more than 180,200 people from 2006 to 2016.
- Migration trends suggest that the middle class is also being priced out of the state. Net migration of those earning between $30,000 and $49,999 accounted for 93,500 residents leaving California from 2006 to 2016, or 18 percent of net out-migration. On the other hand, net domestic migration for households earning from $50,000 to $99,999 has been positive since 2010, representing 52 percent of net in-migration.
- The annual rate of net out-migration has fluctuated, and is recently on the rise, with 113,300 net residents leaving in 2016. That is, more people than left each year from 2009 to 2014, but not as many as the nearly 225,800 who moved out in 2006, when housing prices were sky-high ahead of the housing crash.
- International migrants who move to California tend to be more educated and have higher household incomes compared to domestic migrants. Between 2006 and 2016, immigrant households with incomes of at least $100,000 grew 170.5 percent, while immigrant households with incomes of less than $10,000 decreased 56.3 percent.
The Atlantic: Why Tech Philanthropy Doesn't Help the Poor
The San Francisco Bay Area has rapidly become the richest region in the country—the Census Bureau said last year that median household income was $96,777. It’s a place where $100,000 Teslas are commonplace, “raw water” goes for $37 a jug, and injecting clients with the plasma of youth —a gag on the television show Silicon Valley—is being tried by real companies for just $8,000 a pop.
Yet Sacred Heart Community Service, a San Jose nonprofit that helps low-income families with food, clothing, heating bills, and other services, actually received less in individual donations from the community in 2017 than it did the previous year. “We’re still not sure what it could be attributed to,” Jill Mitsch, the funds development manager at Sacred Heart, told me. It’s not the only nonprofit trying to keep donations up—the United Way of Silicon Valley folded in 2016 amidst stagnant contributions.
That’s not to say that Silicon Valley’s wealthy aren’t donating their money to charity. Many, including Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and Larry Page, have signed the Giving Pledge, committing to dedicating the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes. But much of that money is not making its way out into the community.
There are many reasons for this, but one of them is likely the increasing popularity of a certain type of charitable account called a donor-advised fund. These funds allow donors to receive big tax breaks for giving money or stock, but have little transparency and no requirement that money put into them is actually spent. Fidelity Charitable and Schwab Charitable, two of the biggest charities with donor-advised fund programs, held $2.2 billion in donor-advised funds from clients located in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties in 2014. That’s a 946 percent increase from 2005, according to The Giving Code, a 2016 report about philanthropy in Silicon Valley.
Washington Post: 'A Rogue State:' California's defiance of federal immigration policy
For nearly two decades, Alameda County sheriff’s Sgt. Don Laventure has kept inmate records at what was once one of the nation’s largest jails, a campus of low cement buildings set among seasonally green hills. He knows his work.
Yet since January, a flowchart drawn in green highlighter has hung over the window above his desk at Santa Rita Jail. It is a cheat sheet for how to follow the rules imposed by California’s “sanctuary state” law, which providesbroad legal protection from federal deportation to the state’s estimated 2.5 million undocumented immigrants.
The chart is a collection of arrows, some pointing sideways, some down, some toward U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — and even more pointing away from it.
“We need to let everyone who sits in here know how this works,” Laventure said, “because not everybody knows what’s going on.”
California’s new sanctuary-state law has made Laventure’s job more complex, but for many public-safety officials in the state, their frustration is about more than the cumbersome rules. The law, they say, is putting people at risk.
Growing opposition to the law is challenging California’s identity as the heart of liberal resistance to the Trump administration. Protestsfrom conservative residents and politicians are emerging in courthouses and council meetings from here in the Bay Area to San Diego County.
Known officially as the California Values Act, the law prohibits nearly all communication between local law enforcement officials and federal immigration agents.At Santa Rita Jail, which takes in between 400 and 500 people a day, 35 inmates have been met by ICE agents so far this year — a number that the jail’s commander believes should be far higher.
“We constantly have to second-guess ourselves,” said Capt. Derrick Hesselein, commander of the jail.
City Journal: Tom Wolfe's California
Tom Wolfe is most identified with New York City, for good reason. He has lived and worked in Manhattan since the early 1960s, and New York dominates his writing the way London looms for Dickens. But Wolfe has never been afraid to venture from his home turf—this fall’s Back to Blood, an exploration of Miami, is a case in point—and his true literary second home is California. Over the course of his career, Wolfe has devoted more pages to the Golden State than to any setting other than Gotham. In his early years, from the mid-1960s through the early 1970s, the ratio was almost one-to-one. More to the point, the core insights on which he built his career—the devolution of style to the masses, status as a replacement for social class, the “happiness explosion” in postwar America—all first came to him in California. Even books in which the state figures not at all are informed by Wolfe’s observations of the West. Without California, there would be no Wolfe as we know him—no Bonfire, no Right Stuff, no Radical Chic or Me Decade, none of the blockbuster titles or era-defining phrases that made him world-famous.
And without Wolfe, we would not understand California—or the California-ized modern world. At the time of his most frequent visits, the state was undergoing a profound change, one that affects it to this day and whose every aspect has been exported throughout the country and the globe. Both have become much more like California over the last 40 years, even as California has drifted away from its old self, and Wolfe has chronicled and explained it all.
It started by accident. Wolfe was working for the New York Herald Tribune, which, along with eight other local papers, shut down for 114 days during the 1962–63 newspaper strike. He had recently written about a custom car show—phoned it in, by his own admission—but he knew there was more to the story. Temporarily without an income, he pitched a story about the custom car scene to Esquire. “Really, I needed to make some money,” Wolfe tells me. “You could draw a per diem from the newspaper writers’ guild, but it was a pittance. I was in bad shape,” he chuckles. Esquire bit and sent the 32-year-old on his first visit to the West—to Southern California, epicenter of the subculture.
Wolfe saw plenty on that trip, from Santa Monica to North Hollywood to Maywood, from the gardens and suburbs of mid-’60s Southern California to its dung heaps. He saw so much that he didn’t know what to make of it all. Returning to New York in despair, he told Esquire that he couldn’t write the piece. Well, they said, we already have the art laid in, so we have to do something; type up your notes and send them over. “Can you imagine anything more humiliating than being told, ‘Type up your notes, we’ll have a real writer do the piece’?” Wolfe asks. He stayed up all night writing a 49-page memo—which Esquire printed nearly verbatim.
It’s a great tale, but, one fears, too cute to be strictly true. I ask him about it point-blank. “Oh, yes, that’s exactly what happened,” he says. “I wrote it like a letter, to an audience of literally one person”—Esquire managing editor Byron Dobell—“with all these block phrases and asides. But at some point in the middle of the night, I started to think it might actually be pretty good.”