Category Archives: California

Between 500K and 1M Non-Citizens May Get Voting Rights in New York City

Up to one million non-citizens living in New York City may obtain voting rights for local elections if a plan by Democrat city councilmembers is approved.

San Francisco D.A. Announces End to Cash Bail

Chesa Boudin

Chesa Boudin, San Francisco’s notoriously progressive district attorney, announced Wednesday that his office will no longer support cash bail, becoming the latest law enforcement figure to come out against the practice.

Instead of asking judges to set cash bail as a condition of a defendant’s release before trial, Boudin’s office will instead proffer a “risk assessment” as to whether or not a defendant is likely to abscond or pose a threat to public safety. The abolition of bail was one of Boudin’s main promises during his campaign for D.A. last year, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

“For years I’ve been fighting to end this discriminatory and unsafe approach to pretrial detention,” Boudin said. “From this point forward, pretrial detention will be based on public safety, not on wealth.”

The move further marks Boudin—the son of jailed left-wing terrorists who campaigned on refusing to prosecute quality-of-life offenses—as at the forefront of the “progressive prosecutor” movement. It is also another milestone in the push for abolishing cash bail, a practice opponents call unfair and socioeconomically discriminatory. California criminal justice experts the Washington Free Beacon spoke to, however, cautioned that Boudin’s decision was both outside of his discretion and will likely further embroil his city in a petty crime crisis.

Boudin’s decision extends the work of his predecessor, George Gascón, who helped organize a pilot program to use a risk assessment algorithm to help judges make bail decisions. Boudin’s office on Wednesday praised the tool, which was designed by the left-leaning Laura and John Arnold Foundation, a major player in the bail reform movement. Six percent of individuals released by the algorithm reoffended, KQED reports, while 20 percent failed to appear for subsequent hearings.

Boudin’s announcement adopts a familiar argument from opponents of cash bail—imposing a monetary barrier to release discriminates on the basis of wealth, meaning that poor people are routinely locked up without even having been convicted. As Boudin’s campaign put it on its website, “Money bail is the system where innocent people can be kept in jail because they’re poor, while wealthy people who are guilty and dangerous go free.”

At the same time, the end of bail may mean higher rates of release, particularly for petty criminals, i.e., those not judged dangerous by the algorithm, but are a nuisance to society. That could be a major issue for a city already struggling with quality-of-life offenses.

As the Free Beacon recently reported, San Francisco has faced a surge of transit crime, which a grand jury report linked to pervasive disorder and fare evasion. Such disorder extends to San Francisco’s streets, which are increasingly strewn with “trash, needles, and human feces.” Drug overdose is also on the rise, as preliminary data from the San Francisco Chronicle indicate that deaths involving the opioids fentanyl and heroin more than doubled between 2018 and 2019.

Amid this chaos, Boudin said during his campaign that he would not prosecute quality-of-life offenses like “public camping, offering or soliciting sex, public urination, and blocking a sidewalk,” but would instead focus on police misconduct and corporate crime.

Kerry Jackson, a fellow at the Pacific Research Institute who has written on public safety issues, told the Free Beacon that Boudin’s choice to end cash bail is part-and-parcel with his unwillingness to address San Francisco’s crime problems.

“It fits with his decision to look the other way at the quality-of-life crimes that are driving the city downward,” Jackson said. “I think people are going to say he’s making the best effort possible to increase crime in San Francisco. That might not be his intention, but that’s likely to be the outcome.”

There’s another concern about Boudin’s decision: whether he has the discretion to unilaterally abolish cash bail. Although San Franciscans elected Boudin knowing his plans for money bail, a larger controversy around bail reform is still brewing in the Golden State. In 2018, then-governor Jerry Brown (D.) signed legislation, S.B. 10, to abolish cash bail statewide. But a coalition organized to get a veto referendum on the 2020 ballot, putting S.B. 10 on hold until Californians decide if cash bail should be enshrined in their state constitution.

Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Sacramento-based Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, told the Free Beacon that Boudin’s move risks usurping this democratic process.

“California’s Constitution and laws include cash bail in appropriate cases, and it is not for the district attorney to repeal these provisions by not requesting bail,” Scheidegger said. “Judges should continue the present practice until the people vote on it in November, no matter what the DA says.”

Both Boudin’s decision and the California referendum play into the national drama of the ongoing “bail reform” debate. A number of states have implemented various alternatives to cash bail. Early evidence suggests that there have been successes, but some jurisdictions have also faced backlash. Alaska rolled back its bail reforms after violent crime rates soared (although whether the changes caused the increase is up for debate). New York state is facing its own crisis as its bail reform law, in effect since the start of the year, has been blamed for exacerbating the rash of anti-Semitic violence in New York City and outlying suburbs.

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There’s a Massive Difference in Min. Wage Across the Country — It’s $16 Some Places

Minimum wage hikes! Are you against them? Why do you hate poor people so much? If there’s one throughline to the minimum wage debate, it’s that it’s essentially free money for the impoverished and the young. On the other hand is what Greta Thunberg might call “fairy tales of eternal economic growth” — the idea…

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FBI Tells Family of Kristin Smart, Missing for 23 Years, To ‘Be Ready’ for News – Report

After 23 years of questions, Kristin Smart’s family might finally be receiving answers about her disappearance from her college campus in 1996. Kristin’s mother, Denise Smart, told The Stockton Record in California that she was recently approached by the FBI and was told to “be ready” for a development in the case. Smart said authorities…

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Poll: Bernie Sanders Holds Solid Lead over Joe Biden in California

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is holding a four-point lead over Joe Biden (D) in California, a University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education/PACE poll released this week revealed.

Kanye Faces Backlash Over Announcement He Is Moving Operations to Solid-Red Wyoming

Millionaire musician and businessman Kanye West has taken no shortage of news and social media abuse over the last decade for everything from feuding with fellow celebrities to supporting President Donald Trump to even his new-found Christian faith. Yet at the outset of a new decade, West has somehow managed to emerge once again as…

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Illegal Alien Sentenced to Less than Two Years for Helping Ron Singh’s Accused Killer Avoid Arrest

An illegal alien was sentenced to less than two years in prison for helping another illegal alien evade arrest after he had allegedly murdered 33-year-old Newman, California, Police Officer Ronil Singh.

Mom Allegedly Beaten Outside High School by Girl She Came To Accuse of Bullying Her Daughter

A California mom claims she was attacked by teens after going to her daughter’s high school to report the same teens for bullying her daughter. Police in Union City, south of Oakland in the Bay Area, responded to James Logan High School after they received reports of a “fight in progress,” according to People. “We…

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Appeals Court Deals a Blow to Teens Trying To Sue Trump Administration Over Climate Change

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled Friday that children do not have standing to sue the Trump administration and the federal government for not adequately addressing climate change. Climate policy comes under the purview of Congress and the president, not the court system, the federal appeals court in California ruled in…

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Michael Avenatti Arrested by Federal Agents During a Separate Hearing

During a break in a bar association disciplinary hearing Tuesday in California, celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti was arrested by federal agents on suspicion of violating conditions of his bail in a separate, criminal case. Avenatti, who formerly represented such high-profiles clients as adult-film Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford), was in Los Angeles to appear…

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Californians Literally Swimming in Fecal Material Thanks in Part to Left’s Homelessness Crisis

If you’re in California, your waterways are literally teeming with human waste. You could be swimming in it, in fact. And the homelessness crisis is to blame. Yes, even though California bristled at the fact that President Donald Trump called out the state — specifically San Francisco — for “hazardous waste and homeless sites” that…

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On Family Issues, Californians Talk Left, Live Right

Smiling mother and father sharing breakfast with young family at table in backyard

A new report, released Tuesday by the Institute for Family Studies, explores why left-leaning Californians live surprisingly conservative family lives.

The report, authored by IFS scholars Wendy Wang and W. Bradford Wilcox, builds on a survey of Californians’ opinions about marriage and family structure. It finds that many California couples profess progressive views, in line with their state’s bright-blue image but contrary to their own commitment to the institution of marriage.

The findings suggest that while Californians may believe progressive “family values” work fine for everyone else, they still choose to live in more traditional arrangements when their children’s wellbeing is on the line.

California is one of the nation’s bluest states, giving over 60 percent of its presidential vote to Hillary Clinton in 2016. It’s also home to powerhouse left-leaning industries, including Silicon Valley and Hollywood. And, at least since it became the first state in the union to implement no-fault divorce in 1969, California has often led the nation in pushing for more liberalized family norms.

That liberal attitude is reflected in the views many Californians express. Significant majorities support “family diversity,” i.e., family structures beyond the traditional two-parent arrangement. Only a minority believe out-of-wedlock childrearing is wrong, while two-thirds agree with the statement, “Living together is just as good as being married.”

At the same time, the new report finds, Californians are actually slightly more likely to be in stable family arrangements than the nation as a whole. Sixty-seven percent of California parents ages 18 to 50 are in intact marriages, compared with 63 percent nationwide. Seven percent of California parents are remarried, while 9 percent are divorced; the national figures are 11 and 10 percent, respectively. California adults as a whole are also marginally less likely to be cohabiting, 9 percent compared with 10 percent.

In other words, Californians tend to “talk left, but live right,” on average advocating for more progressive social values while living more conservatively than the country as a whole. What explains this paradox? The report identifies three factors: Asians, immigrants, and the educated.

California’s population contains substantially more foreign-born people—roughly 27 percent, compared with 14 percent nationwide. It also has twice as many Asians, percentage-wise—15 percent compared with 7 percent. Both of these groups are more likely to be married and to profess conservative family values, the new IFS report finds.

“Our analysis finds that the share of intact families among parents ages 18 to 50 in California would drop 2.6 percentage points if California had the same share of foreign-born parents as the U.S.,” Wilcox and Wang write. “Similarly, if California had the same ethnic/racial makeup of parents as the U.S., California’s proportion of intact families would drop about 1 percentage point.”

The authors intimate that immigrants and Asians having more traditional family values may be driving their stable marriages. Their analysis of the data, however, indicates that income and education actually play a bigger role overall—having an education or being well-off are stronger predictors of a California couple being intact than being Asian or foreign-born.

Educational differences also get at the heart of the “think left, live right” paradox. As in the nation as a whole, more-educated Californians are more likely to be married: Eighty percent of California parents with a bachelor’s degree were in intact families, compared with 61 percent of those without. At the same time, conservative family values are actually negatively correlated with educational attainment, meaning, for example, that those without a college degree were 21 percentage points less likely to say that “family diversity” should be celebrated than those with one.

Wilcox and Wang emphasize that California’s advantage in stable families is not explained by having more educated people than the nation as a whole. But this seeming contradiction—that the most educated are simultaneously the most stably married and the most publicly blasé about stable marriage—helps explain who is making California press the same values publicly.

“In their own ways, these three groups—Asians, immigrants, and more educated Californians—probably realize that the pathway to educational attainment, financial success, and the American Dream is much more likely to run through stable, married families than the alternatives,” the report concludes. “And so they live accordingly, even if—in their roles as movie producers, Silicon Valley executives, educators, and doctors—they often lend public voice to the cause of progressive family values.”

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Exclusive — Mike Rowe: ‘We Have to Make Work Cool Again’

Known as the “dirtiest man on television,” Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs and Deadliest Catch fame joined Breitbart News Sunday this weekend on SiriusXM Patriot Channel 125 to discuss his new show Returning the Favor and combating stigmas around blue collar work.

California Forced to Withdraw Outdated Pollution Plans to Clear EPA Backlog

California smog

The Environmental Protection Agency has reduced a backlog of proposed air quality regulations after California withdrew dozens of outdated plans under pressure.

The Obama-era EPA routinely failed to process plans to address air pollution submitted by states within the 18-month deadline, leaving more than 370 plans pending EPA approval in January 2019. The delay threatened the health of millions of Americans living in areas with poor air quality. Since then, the Trump administration has aggressively chipped away at this backlog, asking states to withdraw inadequate, unnecessary, or outdated plans that don’t meet EPA standards.

California submitted roughly a third of the plans stuck in bureaucratic limbo—the most of any state—prompting the agency to demand in September that it withdraw many of its “backlogged and unapprovable” plans. The agency threatened to cut off funding for federal highways along with a litany of other sanctions for any state that did not comply. The strategy has been effective. California has withdrawn 43 noncompliant air pollution plans, some dating back more than a decade.

The EPA has blamed California for the bureaucratic backlog—just 11 withdrawn plans originated in the other 49 states.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has faulted the agency for the backlog. CARB said in a response letter that the agency’s chronic “staff shortages, competing administrative priorities, and a lack of clear guidelines” led to delays. Despite the blame-shifting, the EPA and the state government had successfully negotiated the withdrawal of 43 noncompliant plans by end of 2019, according to the agency.

“The effort to resolve U.S. EPA’s backlog has been an ongoing process—a process that’s been ongoing even before U.S. EPA’s Sept. 24, 2019, letter—and is continuing,” CARB said in a statement. “It has always been the intent that we would continue to work collaboratively to address any U.S. EPA administrative backlog.”

Voluntary withdrawal allows the state to avoid federal sanctions that could come into effect if the agency rejects a plan.

The White House is also moving to streamline the environmental review process of other federal agencies. President Donald Trump announced a plan on Thursday to speed up infrastructure projects by setting a two-year time limit for federal agencies to complete environmental reviews, a process that now has the potential to drag on for more than a decade.

“America is a nation of builders. It took four years to build the Golden Gate Bridge, five years to build the Hoover Dam, and less than one year—can you believe that?—to build the Empire State Building,” Trump said. “Yet today, it can take more than 10 years just to get a permit to build a simple road.”

California’s environmental plans languished in the EPA backlog for eight years on average, according to the state. Two plans submitted by Lassen County, California, were originally written in 1987. The EPA acknowledged that it has not adequately supported rural county governments through the approval process in the past.

“The local agency has not had sufficient staffing to either withdraw or replace their permit rule submittals, and EPA has not had sufficient resources to provide the higher level of support needed for them to take that action,” agency adviser Michael Abboud said.

The EPA has successfully pushed other states to withdraw noncompliant plans as well. Despite receiving 369 plans in 2019, the agency was able to reduce the total backlog by roughly 10 percent to 333 unprocessed plans. Federal regulators are now working with state governments to replace withdrawn plans with proposals that can meet current requirements.

“The next step would be to develop replacement [plans] that protect human health and the environment,” Michael Stoker, a regional EPA administrator in charge of Californian air quality, said in a December letter to California.

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California Extending Taxpayer-Funded Health Coverage to Even More Illegals

“If you build it, they will come.” If the old adage holds any water, it is no wonder Pew Research Center reported in 2019 that the state of California is home to the largest population of illegal immigrants in the United States, accounting for approximately one in five of nation’s estimated illegal migrants. Liberal Gov.…

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California Law Protecting Car Thieves Leaves Tourists at Major Disadvantage

A loophole in a California state law that allows some car break-ins to go unpunished has created a car burglary crisis in the state. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, state law requires proof that a vehicle was locked for a break-in to count as felony burglary. “It’s ridiculous that under current law you…

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The Most Important Trump Adviser You’ve Never Heard Of Is California Lawyer Robert O’Brien

In a defining week for President Donald Trump on the world stage, national security adviser Robert O’Brien was a constant presence at the president’s side as the U.S. edged to the brink of war with Iran and back again. The contrasts with O’Brien’s predecessor along the way — in secret consultations at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort…

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