CVIndependent

Sat08192017

Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Politics

10 Aug 2017
Tax reform may not be much more than a glimmer in the eye of Republicans in Washington D.C., but their promise of lower rates and closed loopholes appears to be already affecting state and local finances. Exhibit 1 comes in the form of a disappointing haul for California tax collectors this summer: In June, the most recent month for which figures were available, the state took in $361 million less than lawmakers planned for in the state budget. While there are plenty of reasons for revenues to miss their projected mark—an unexpected economic cold snap, perhaps, or a forecasting model miss—the fiscal sleuths at the Legislative Analyst's Office suggest that something else could be afoot. They wrote in a recent report that “high-income taxpayers may…
10 Jul 2017
After a man held a knife to her throat, forced her into her car and repeatedly raped her, Helena Lazaro underwent a painful and humiliating medical forensic examination. The 17-year-old wanted her attacker caught. She never imagined the evidence collected in what is known as a rape kit would sit untouched for years by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. By the time she finally discovered the identity of her attacker, prosecutors couldn’t charge him with the rape—because the statute of limitations had expired in California. “I think about that 17-year-old girl, the 25-year-old girl, the 30-year-old woman—all the versions of myself who have suffered,” Lazaro says. “That suffering could have ended much sooner.” Victims’ rights groups estimate that hundreds of thousands of rape kits…
07 Jul 2017
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In the early years of the Obama era, then-Sen. Jim DeMint embodied a series of contradictions in the American character. The hard-jawed and bitter-faced South Carolinian was simultaneously a theocrat, a cynic and a salesman. What he sold, as salvation, was hate and fear. He realized before the rest of us that it does not matter what politicians say or do, as long as they can demonize their enemies, turning them into villains that the American people can love to hate. DeMint came from the fundamentalist, mill-village town of Greenville, nestled in the piedmont at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, not far from the North Carolina border. BMW and Michelin have recently turned the town into a somewhat more cosmopolitan place. But 20…
13 Jun 2017
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Judy Deertrack and Robert Stone—both of whom have declared their intent to run for the Palm Springs City Council—recently disclosed that they were informants to the FBI regarding the Palm Springs City Hall corruption case. The case has resulted in bribery charges in connection with downtown development against former Mayor Steve Pougnet and developers John Wessman and Richard Meaney. In total, Deertrack, who is an urban lawyer, and Stone, a real estate broker and author, say they invested about 7,000 hours into collecting more than 10,000 pages of documentation. According to Stone, he called the U.S. Attorney on the morning of April 10, 2015. “That afternoon, I received a return phone call from Joseph Widman, U.S. attorney for Riverside County,” Stone said. “He informed me…
15 May 2017
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FBI Director James Comey was speaking to federal agents when news of his firing flashed across the television behind him. The regime blamed new Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and cited Comey’s treatment of the Clinton email investigation—as if daring us to pretend they are telling the truth. More than 200 people arrested en masse on Inauguration Day are now facing decades in jail. Authorities issued search warrants and slapped others, like Dylan Petrohilos, with conspiracy charges after the fact. “Prosecuting people based on participation in a public protest,” Petrohilos said, “seems like something that would happen in an authoritarian society.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from anything having to do with the investigation into Russian collusion with the Trump campaign after he was…
12 May 2017
Days after Tim Grayson won election to the Assembly, a Sacramento lobbyist greeted him at a reception with sheepish congratulations. Her client had supported his opponent during the campaign, the lobbyist explained, but now that he’d won, she told him she wanted to move past the election and forge a good working relationship. Oh and by the way, did he need any money to cover costs from the campaign? “Make-up money” is what it’s called in Sacramento—the contributions that flow to newly elected officials from interest groups that backed a losing candidate during the campaign. It’s a completely legal way of saying, in political terms, “Let’s kiss and make up.” Grayson has not taken advantage of the offer; campaign statements to date show no contributions…
07 Feb 2017
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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters)—The California Public Employees’ Retirement System should maintain its investments in the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline project in order to exert influence over the companies involved, staff for the largest U.S. public pension fund said on Monday, Feb. 6. Proposed state legislation would require CalPERS, a $300 billion fund, to divest from companies involved in the building and financing of the 1,168-mile-long underground pipeline project, which would affect an estimated $4 billion in CalPERS holdings, according to staff. CalPERS staff said that while divesting stocks of companies involved in the project may reduce stakeholder perception that the fund’s investments contribute to climate change, the move would limit CalPERS ability to change corporate behavior through engagement. “There is considerable evidence that divesting is…
28 Jan 2017
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The teams of President Trump’s temporary appointees who are laying the groundwork for taking over and remaking federal agencies refer to themselves as “beachheads” or “beachhead teams.” That’s a military term for the point of invasion. Politico reports there were approximately 520 members of such teams when Trump took the oath of office. In any presidential transition, there will be tensions between career civil servants and political appointees pushing a new president’s agenda—but according to experts on the matter, this administration’s use of the term may exacerbate those relations. The term was offhandedly used in 2000 by George W. Bush’s incoming press secretary, Ari Fleischer. It was central to the language of Mitt Romney’s 2012 transition plan, which was provided to the Trump team. But…

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