CVIndependent

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Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Politics

11 Sep 2017
Shortly after last year’s presidential election, Democrats in the California Legislature drew headlines by introducing a flurry of bills attacking “fake news.” They called for more resources to teach media literacy, so public school students could better discern facts from the kind of bogus stories that proliferated online during the campaign. Yet in the months since, all three of those bills have quietly met their demise—victims of the Legislature’s appropriations committees. Officially, the committees—one in each house—are supposed to pull the Legislature’s purse strings, weighing how much a proposal is expected to cost, and comparing bills against one another to establish priorities for state tax dollars. Unofficially, the Appropriations Committee is where bills go to die—especially the ones the ruling party wants to bury with…
02 Sep 2017
Days after losing his position as leader of Assembly Republicans, Chad Mayes was entertaining lobbyists and lawmakers at a bar near the state Capitol, raising money for his re-election with a live video message from Arnold Schwarzenegger. “I think you are the future of the Republican Party,” Schwarzenegger said to Mayes from the big screen, as guests sipped cocktails and nibbled on ahi tuna hors d’oeuvres. The Republican former governor went on to praise Mayes—a Yucca Valley resident whose 42nd District includes much of the Coachella Valley, from La Quinta going west—for negotiating a bipartisan deal to extend California’s cap-and-trade program, an environmental policy Schwarzenegger helped create to curb global warming by forcing companies to pay for emitting greenhouse gases. Schwarzenegger called the deal “a…
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…

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