Saturday, September 29, 2012

Perverting Justice

The teachers’ union kills a Democratic bill to remove criminals from California’s classrooms.

By Larry Sand

Early this year, Los Angeles police arrested Mark Berndt, a longtime teacher at Miramonte Elementary School, on 23 counts of committing lewd acts on children between the ages of seven and ten. The sickening details of the crimes Berndt is charged with committing horrified the community and the state. More stories about California teachers accused of sexual misconduct with children have now surfaced. The Berndt case casts new light on the tortuous legal process that makes it nearly impossible for schools to rid themselves of even these depraved teachers. Perversely, the case also shows the extent to which teachers’ unions will go to protect their prerogatives.

As a result of Berndt’s indictment, the Los Angeles Unified School District asked the state legislature to change existing law to speed up the process of removing such teachers. State senator Alex Padilla, a Los Angeles Democrat and former L.A. city councilman, wrote Senate Bill 1530, which would streamline the labyrinthine “dismissal statutes” that require districts to navigate a seemingly endless maze of hearings and appeals. Padilla’s bill was actually quite narrow in scope, dealing only with credible claims that a teacher has abused a child with sex, drugs, or violence. Existing law lets local school boards immediately suspend a teacher under “specified conditions, including immoral conduct.” Padilla’s bill simply would add language allowing a school board to suspend an employee for “serious or egregious unprofessional conduct.” Garnering strong bipartisan support, Padilla’s bill sailed through the state senate in late May on a vote of 33 to 4.

The state assembly, however, is a stronghold for the California Teachers Association, which strongly opposes SB 1530. Before and during the hearings on Padilla’s legislation in the assembly education committee, union leaders and their confederates launched a propaganda effort against the bill, deploying all their standard talking points. The union maintained that SB 1530 was nothing more than a “teacher-bashing bill.” It was too cumbersome, too expensive, and would kill due-process rights. It was demoralizing and even “un-American.” Though these attacks were transparently unfair, legislators got the message. The bill needed six “yeas” from the 11-member committee to pass; it received only five, with two “nays” and four abstentions.

Apparently none of the committee Democrats had the sense to ask how protecting children from pedophiles amounts to “teacher-bashing.” The union’s charge that the bill is “cumbersome” was equally bewildering. In fact, Padilla’s legislation would curtail the number of steps required to fire a criminal teacher. The current system is so unwieldy that it discourages administrators from taking action against all but the most egregious miscreants. The claim that Padilla’s bill would cost districts more money is even loopier. “In the past decade,” reported Beth Barrett at the L.A. Weekly in 2010, “LAUSD officials spent $3.5 million trying to fire just seven of the district’s 33,000 teachers for poor classroom performance—and only four were fired, during legal struggles that wore on, on average, for five years each. Two of the three others were paid large settlements, and one was reinstated. The average cost of each battle is $500,000.”

The high cost of firing teachers helps explain why the Los Angeles Unified School District simply paid Berndt a $40,000 severance rather than undertake the formal dismissal process, even though he’s accused of the most despicable crimes against children. If the indicted ex-teacher had decided to pursue his legal options under current state law, odds are that the district would have paid a great deal more than the five-figure sum that bought Berndt’s resignation. That’s what makes the union’s claim that SB 1530 would “kill due process” so outrageous—what California has now is effectively “undue process.” But when LAUSD school board president Monica Garcia testified before the assembly education committee last month, she assured legislators that Padilla’s bill protects due process “by allowing a teacher to present his/her defense, to be represented by counsel, to require disclosure and to present witnesses. The teacher would also be able to request a hearing by an independent arbiter.” Even in the event of a false claim, no teacher would lose his job simply by being accused. What more protection could they want?

The CTA’s real objection to SB 1530 concerned significant changes to the Commission on Professional Competence, which is perhaps the most egregious aspect of the current dismissal process. The three-member panel consists of an administrative law judge and two union-sponsored teachers, and it has the final say on whether a teacher stays or goes. A CPC review can consume a year or more, all while the teacher under scrutiny remains on the payroll and adds to his pension fund. SB 1530 would have eliminated the two teachers from the panel and made the administrative law judge’s role advisory. The judge would still hear testimony, but he would deliver his opinion to the school board, which would then render the decision. (Incidentally, the bill would also deny pension benefits to any public employee convicted of sex abuse involving a minor.)

Teachers’ unions are nothing if not predictable. Their mandate is to represent all teachers, even lousy ones—and even a few criminals. After all, the union collects, on average, more than $1,000 per year from every teacher in the state—good or bad, upstanding or felonious. Any threat to the union’s hegemony, even one as narrowly tailored as Padilla’s, will be met with maximum resistance.

But what is the assembly Democrats’ excuse? In a state where pedophiles aren’t allowed to live near a school, these legislators don’t seem to have a problem with them teaching in one. While claiming to be sympathetic to the problem, several members said SB 1530 was not quite the right bill, and they also objected to the CPC reforms.

Former state senator Gloria Romero isn’t buying the assembly committee’s excuses. Romero, now California director of Democrats for Education Reform, had especially harsh words for the four abstainers—South Bay Democrat Betsy Butler, Rialto Democrat Wilmer Amina Carter, Monterey Park Democrat Mike Eng, and Santa Barbara Democrat Das Williams. “This is how bills die,” Romero told me. “Death by silence.” She added that the abstainers are “cowering in fear” and remaining silent because they’re afraid to run afoul of the “moneyed political interests”—the teachers’ unions. No wonder CTA considers the state assembly “their house.”

Though disappointed, Alex Padilla remains undeterred and vows to get some version of the bill passed. But first he must convince his fellow legislators to develop a conscience, stand up to the special interests, and remember who they’re supposed to represent: taxpayers, parents, and children.

Paycheck Protection Redux

By Larry Sand

Unions line up against an initiative that would end payroll deductions for politics.

For the third time since 1998, California voters face a ballot initiative that would rein in special-interest political spending in the state. Proposition 32, which will appear on the November general-election ballot, would ban unions and most corporations from making direct contributions to state and local candidates. The measure would also bar government contractors from contributing to political campaigns. The most significant provision, though—the one giving public-employee unions, especially the California Teachers Association, fits—would prohibit corporations, unions, and government employers from deducting money from workers’ paychecks to use for political purposes.

Corporations, which have other means of acquiring political money, don’t deduct nearly as much money for politics as unions do. Only about 800 companies in the United States use voluntary deductions to fund corporate PACs; most political donations come from company executives. By contrast, payroll deductions are the unions’ bread and butter. Every public-employee union in the state deducts money from members’ paychecks alongside the withholding for federal and state income taxes. Right now, the only way an employee can recoup the political portion of these dues is to “resign” from the union and ask for a rebate—an onerous process. Prop. 32 would turn the tables on union political fundraising, and so the unions have invested heavily in defeating it.
So far, Prop. 32 opponents have outraised supporters by roughly five-to-one. As of September 24, the Prop. 32 campaign had raised about $9 million, while the opposition collected $41.3 million. Nearly $17 million of that total came directly from the CTA.

Earlier ballot measures similar to Prop. 32 have failed. In 1998, Prop. 226, the first “paycheck-protection” initiative, would have required all employers and labor organizations to obtain a member’s permission on a yearly basis before withholding wages or using union dues or fees for political activities. Correctly perceiving the initiative as a threat to their hegemony, the unions spent more than $24.8 million opposing it. The “Yes on 226” side could only muster $6.4 million, and the measure lost, 53.2 percent to 46.8 percent. Paycheck protection made a comeback in 2005 with Prop. 75, which sought to ban “the use by public employee labor organizations of public employee dues or fees for political contributions except with the prior consent of individual public employees each year on a specified written form.” Once again, opposition forces overwhelmed proponents, with the CTA contributing $12.1 million to the “No on Prop. 75” campaign’s $54.1 million war chest, while the “Yes” campaign barely raised $5.8 million. The initiative lost by the nearly identical margin of 53.5 percent to 46.5 percent.

Seven years later, we’re at it again. Prop. 32 goes further than its predecessors in simply banning paycheck deductions for political purposes, period—no fuss over employees’ consent this time. Of course, employees could give to a candidate or political-action committee via a direct deduction from their own bank accounts if they so choose. But public-employee unions know well what happens when employees are given a choice. In 2001, Utah’s state legislature passed the Voluntary Contributions Act, which “banned public agencies from diverting employee wages to political entities” and requiring “public sector unions to collect funds through voluntary member contributions.” Within a year, the Utah Education Association saw the rate of contributing members to the union’s PAC plunge from 68 percent to 6.8 percent. In 1997, Idaho passed legislation requiring public-employee union PACs to get written consent from members every year before making automatic payroll deductions. The proportion of contributing members dropped 75 percent soon after the law took effect.

How do teachers’ unions justify automatic deductions? Bob Chanin, then-general counsel of the National Education Association, explained it in 1978: “It is well-recognized that if you take away the mechanism of payroll deduction you won’t collect a penny from these people, and it has nothing to do with voluntary or involuntary. I think it has a lot to do with the nature of the beast, and the beasts who are our teachers. . . [They] simply don’t come up with the money regardless of the purpose.” What Chanin seemed to be saying is that teachers are too greedy, lazy, or unenlightened to know what’s good for them, so the union leadership should take members’ money and spend it as they see fit.

And how do the unions spend their members’ dues? According to the California Fair Practices Commission, from 2000 through 2009 the CTA doled out $211.8 million on candidates, ballot measures, and a fearsome lobbying operation in Sacramento. Another public-employee union, the California State Council of Service Employees, laid out $107.5 million in political expenditures during the same period. Of the $286.6 million lobbying groups spent in 2011 trying to influence legislation, the CTA spent the most ($6.5 million). And it’s no secret which direction teachers’ union money flows. According to Follow the Money, between 2003 and 2012, the CTA contributed more than $15 million to Democrats and just $92,700 to Republicans. That works out to 99.4 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively. No polling data exists on how California’s teachers break down politically, but it’s safe to assume that it’s nowhere near as one-sided as their union’s spending suggests. (Nationally, the political breakdown for teachers is 40 percent Democrat, 30 percent Republican, and 30 percent unaffiliated.)

How is a system fair in which union members’ dues flow, without their consent, to candidates and campaigns whose views they and other taxpayers may not share? And why should a worker have to take the initiative to avoid contributing to political causes deemed worthy by his union bosses? “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves,” Thomas Jefferson once declared, “is sinful and tyrannical.” Public-employee unions are the living embodiment of this practice.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Are you ready for BrownTaxMaggeddon?

 Posted By CotoBlogzz

In response to businesses fleeing California, LG Newsone quipped that businesses need to be more responsive.  Now today I got this notice informing me that the “legislature passed and the Governor signed legislation to require some property owners to pay a fee for state fire prevention in their areas..”

Makes sense doesn’t it?  Particularly if there is symmetry.

For example, I have been paying property taxes for over 20 years, but have not had my children attend public schools in that period – does that mean I get a refund?

What about parents who send their children to private schools, or better yet home-school their children?  Do they get a tax break.  Of course note.  Worse.  The California Teachers Association as tried to criminalize home-school teachers!

Now, if you think ObamTax is bad, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.  Forget the special fire prevention tax  or any other special tax, or even the 63%  voter-approved local tax  measures on the June 5, 2012 California primary ballot. 

California residents face BrownTaxMaggeddon if they approve California Proposition 30, despite what Brian Jones Long Beach teacher might say.  

In a piece titled California education needs Proposition 30 published Septemebr 25, 2012 by the, Jonews writes “ I have been in education since 2007. When I first began teaching, there was funding for school field trips, small class size, and teacher aides. My first classroom had 24 students in a 4/5 combination. In this small class I was able to address each individual need through teacher led small groups that I could split between myself and my aide. My inner-city class also got to go on a week-long science camp expedition to gain firsthand experiences as to how mountains shift and geologic layers form.

This is in stark contrast to the last year of teaching. I was teaching a third grade class composed of 36 students. When you would try to make a copy, a sign covered the copier stating, “We are over our copy limit,” this was November! The teachers at the school had to go 7 months scrounging copies from a malfunctioning Duplo machine. If action is not taken, there will be another $6 billion in cuts to California education; this means over $50 million in mid-year cuts to Long Beach Unified School District alone.”

The issue is not about money.  The issue is not about class size.  The issue is about making sure that the taxpayer money is used responsibly.  The issue is that the Teachers Union, the one bankrolling proposition 30, in conjunction with the SEIU spent over $500,000,000 to buy lawmakers in Sacramento, over a ten year period.

Yesterday, Governor Brown signed SB 1200, which according to State Board of Education Executive Director will result in discouraging students from taking Algebra I in eight grade.

Now consider the old adage:  If you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it.  The California Teachers Union has been adamant about establishing performance measurement criteria.  Worse.  Rather than focusing on improving education, the  California Teachers Union was instrumental in  defeating  Senate Bill 1530, a bill to protect schoolchildren from teachers who are sexual predators. After the recent arrest of Mark Berndt for feeding his students cookies laced with his own semen, State Senator Alex Padilla, a Democrat, submitted a bill to make it easier to fire such teachers. It passed the Senate in Sacramento, but when it went to the Assembly, the California Teachers Association put pressure on the Democrats and only one Democrat on the committee voted for it.

So if you think that California proposition 30 will actually help improve public education in California, you qualify for a free iPhone.  If you call now, you are also eligible for a self-sterilization kit  worth $999 that can be used to clean you gene pool.  Call now and be ready to face BrownTaxMaggeddon


Rancho Santa Margarita, CA – The California Teachers (CTA) Union is pulling a Gloria Allred – a scare tactic claming that Meg Whitman is not good for California – let’s be clear.  Whitman is what California needs, but certainly not good for the CTA.  Just ask New Jersey teachers’ union

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA  - If you thought MoonBeam Redux is bad enough, the California propositions clearly reflect that the California Teachers Union and SEIU own Sacramento legislators

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA – Today, KNX1070’s Frank Mottek interviewed California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsome starting off with the bad job numbers in general.  The Lt. Governor was not surprised saying that surprising would be for anyone to be surprised. And added that something bold needed to be done, as proposed in Governor’s Brown’s latest plan, which is in essence, a plan for a terrible plan, as follows

1)       Creating a job’s Czar
2)       Create a commission to study the issue
3)       Create a workforce commission.

Informal economies operating in the world today are usually viewed as an artifact of globalization.  Often referred to as  “under the table,” “underground,” “shadow,” and  “invisible,”  economies, many have developed around the economic survival activities of workers who have been excluded from the formal economy for a number of reasons and  include widely divergent groups, such as undocumented workers, professionals who do unreported jobs on the side, craft workers who exchange work in kind,  and marginalized native workers who, because of cutbacks in welfare programs, must accept any work they can find

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA - Larry Sand, the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a self-described non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues—information teachers will often not get from their school districts or unions, recently made the argument that the Los Angeles Times may have started a revolution in teacher accountability by measuring  teacher performance and posting it in its Los Angeles Teacher Ratings web page using a technique called value add, where value add is the difference between a student’s expected growth and actual performance.

Joseph Wolfe , Former Fullerton PD arraigned for participation in beating-death of Kelly Thomas.

Posted by CotoBlogzz

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA - Joseph Wolfe , Former Fullerton PD arraigned yesterday for his criminal participation in the July 2011 beating-death of 37-year-old homeless man Kelly Thomas.   Wolfe  is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing Nov. 2, 2012.

Since that time, former Officer Manuel Ramos and  former Corporal Jay Cicinelli were charged Sept. 21, 2011, according to   the Orange County District Attorney’s office (OCDA,) the OCDA  has actively continued its investigation and legal review and decided to seek an indictment against Wolfe.

The Orange County Grand Jury heard testimony from 10 witnesses and examined 113 exhibits of evidence over three days beginning Sept. 19, 2012, before returning an indictment on Sept. 24, 2012.   Since the law requires that grand jury transcripts, including any evidence or testimony, to be sealed until 10 calendar days have passed from the date of receipt of those transcripts by the defense, the OCDA is legally prohibited from discussing any information related to the grand jury proceedings at this time.

According to the OCDA:

 Ramos is charged with one felony count of second degree murder and one felony count of involuntary manslaughter. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison if convicted. Ramos is out of custody on $1 million bail.

Cicinelli is charged with one felony count of involuntary manslaughter and one felony count of the use of excessive force. He faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison if convicted. Cicinelli is out of custody on $25,000 bail.

Ramos and Cicinelli are scheduled for a pre-trial trial setting conference Nov. 30, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. 

Due to a lack of evidence, as described below, criminal charges have not been filed against the remaining three officers involved in the incident including Officer Kenton Hampton, Sergeant Kevin Craig, and Corporal James Blatney.

The decision regarding seeking criminal charges against all three defendants was made by District Attorney Rackauckas.  


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Costa Mesa Patrulescu brothers to be arraigned for cowardly attack on 83-year old woman

Posted by CotoBlogzz

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA -  Paul and Ciprian Patrulescu are scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow for attacking an 83-year-old woman.

Paul Grigore Patrulescu, 30, and Ciprian Patrulescu, 31, both of Costa Mesa, are each charged with one felony count of inflicting injury on an elder adult.  Both brothers are out of custody on $50,000 bail. They are scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 28, 2012

According to the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) office on the night of Aug. 18, 2012, the Patrulescu brothers are accused of approaching Jane Doe at a bus bench on Harbor Boulevard in Costa Mesa and asking her to go eat at a restaurant with them. The victim refused their offer and began to scream for help. The defendants are accused of then punching her twice in the face and fleeing the scene on foot.

A witness driving by saw the attack and called the Costa Mesa Police Department (CMPD). CMPD officers, who investigated this case, found the victim lying on the bus bench, bleeding above her left eye with cuts to her nose and face. CMPD officers found the defendants nearby and arrested them.

Deputy District Attorney Heidi Garrel of the Family Protection Unit is prosecuting this case.    

San Clemente LAPD Officer Dale Ziesmer Charged with criminal threats

Posted by CotoBlogzz

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA  - A Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer was charged today with making a violent criminal threat against a woman, with whom he had a domestic relationship. Dale Wayne Ziesmer, 48, San Clemente, is charged with one felony count of criminal threats and faces a maximum sentence of three years in state prison if convicted.

According to the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) office, the DA will be requesting Ziesmer “ held without bail based on the nature of the criminal threat and the defendant's possible access to firearms” . He is expected to be arraigned today,

According to the OCDA’s office, early in the morning on Sept. 25, 2012, th Ziesmer is accused of making a violent criminal threat to Jane Doe, a woman with whom he had a relationship, causing the victim to fear for her safety. Jane Doe told a friend, another LAPD officer, about the threat, and it was subsequently reported by that officer to LAPD. Ziesmer was disarmed by LAPD upon arriving at work that morning. 

As Ziesmer is accused of making the threat in his San Clemente home, the case was referred for investigation to the Orange County Sheriff's Department. 

The investigation is ongoing.

Deputy District Attorney Heidi Garrel of the Family Protection Unit is prosecuting this case.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The ten rules of curmudgery....Fighting against all the asinine, ridiculous absurdities in the world

By William Kirkendale

 RULE 1. Gather up all the good things you've ever done in your life and file them away in your consciensness. This will become the power and bedrock of your curmudgeousness. With this kind of strength you can turn any absurdity on its ear with no trouble.

 2.Pick your fights... Step back and carefully analyze what the problem you are dealing with is doing to you or a loved one. Is it a ten on a scale from one to ten or is it merely a mild annoyance you'd like to get rid of. You have to pick your  curmudgeon fights very carefully.

 3. Once you've picked your fight do your research and due diligence. Once you've decided to tackle one of the great absurdities in your life you have to become an expert on that particular absurdity. By that I mean you can't fight anything in this world without superior knowledge. What makes you a superior curmudgeon is your depth of knowledge of what you are fighting. Here's an example.

 4. Sandbag your opponent. Set him up and Bring him down to size. Put him on the defensive right away. Go on the attack immediately once you have him where you want him.

 5. Become an "old yeller". In your own old yeller style  Slice him and dice him all day long. Attack him unmercifully. Use all the developed knowledge you have on your opponent to absolutely crush him....and once you have him on the ground in a curmudgeon headlock never let him up until he cries uncle.

 6. Start your letter writing campaign. As Abe Lincoln once kill a skunk make sure you quickly put out all the bad publicity he creates for himself. Arrogant smelly people need to be publicly humiliated and hung out to dry.

 7. Squeeze every last drop and ounce of blood out of your opponent. Why? Because the more he bleeds the more he weakens himself to your unrelenting onslaught. Bleeders can never defend their stupid positions in life. They are too weak to do so.

 8. Apologize to your opponent only when he admits how stupid and arrogant he behaved toward you and/or your loved one. This is your ultimate prize that you want to savor and enjoy for as long as possible. The capitulation of an arrogant human being who before you got a hold of him thought he was God 's gift to the world is your ultimate victory.

 9. If there is no apology forthcoming rub what you've done to him in his face forever. Give him a mask of stupidity he can never wash away.

 10. Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Add one more notch to your belt and fantasize how you're going to nail your next victim. The list of arrogant stupid victims out there is endless so there is really very little time for you to rest on your laurels. There is always some more very serious and important curmudgery work out there for you to tackle. You have to remember that if you are going to be a successful curmudgeon your work is never ending. The line of stupid arrogant people out there stretches for miles and miles on end.

To read more you can go to Mr. Kirkendale's website 


Atwater is the next California Municipal Bankruptcy

 by Chriss Street

Atwater, California just admitted they do not have the cash flow to make a $2 million municipal bond payment due in November and may become the 4th local California government file for Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy this year

. The 28,000 resident community farming community has been strangled for over the battle with environmentalists more interested in protecting the lifestyle of a three inch fish called the Delta Smelt than family farms. With the city burdened with crippling unionized public employee wage and pension costs, while private sector wages and property values drop, Atwater is the latest in a soon to be tidal wave of local government failures.

Beginning in 2007, Federal Judge Oliver Wanger imposed limits on the amount of water pumped from the San Joachin-Sacramento River delta to farms in California's Central Valley in order to protect a two-inch endangered fish called the Delta Smelt. As a result, hundreds of thousand acres of farmland lie fallow, and tens of thousands of jobs were lost. Over 200,000 farmers, migrant workers and their family members were financially devastated. Homeless shelters and bread lines were overwhelmed as crops withered and banks foreclosed on family farms. Local public schools continue to report rising malnutrition as many proud families are too embarrassed to take government welfare.

When the U.S. House of Representatives Congress passed San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act (H.R. 1837) to try to restore the water flow, but California’s two U.S. Senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, fought off the legislation in July by convincing President Obama’s senior advisors to recommend a Presidential veto. A disgusted Speaker of the House John Boehner said on the House floor that using the Endangered Species Act to protect a fish at the expense of food production and economic growth is “a perfect example of the overreach of government”.

The median home price in Atwater has plunged from $336,000 in June of 2007 to just $140,000 today and unemployment has surged to 21%. The 2010 Atwater median household income was $42,226, 19% below the national average of $51,914. Almost a fourth of the population is now considered below the poverty line, compared with 13.7 percent statewide, according to U.S. Census figures.

Even with all this pain and suffering, Atwater’s city tax revenue fell by only 20% since its peak in 2007. Atwater did reduce its bloated union payroll from 120 to 80 since 2008, but mostly through attrition and laying-off low paid younger workers. To keep the lights on the city depleted its cash reserves, while union wages continued to rise and the cityagreed to pay all general employees’ portion of mandatory pension contribution and all but 2% mandatory contribution for highly paid police and firefighters. The city’s also continued to pick up most of the cost of health-care premiums that rose by 15% this year and are scheduled to rise 10% next year.

With the threat of bankruptcy, wages may now be slashed. According to Atwater Mayor Joan Faul, “We just started negotiating with our unions and they are going to have to take a major cut," Mayor Joan Faul said. "We hope that once we declare a fiscal emergency that they will realize that we are definitely in an emergency. If they want to save all the jobs, everyone is going to have to take a cut."

Standard and Poor’s seems to have been shocked to learn that city is broke and hacked Atwater’s Public Financing Authority’s wastewater revenue bonds solvency rating on September 24th from a strong credit-worthy A rating to a BBB- junk-bond rating.

Under a state law passed by California’s ultra-liberal legislature and signed by Governor Jerry Brown last year, cities seeking bankruptcy protection are forced to first declare a fiscal emergency or hold talks for 90 days with creditors through a mediator or wait for 60 days if they run out of money. With Atwater and many other local government cities and agencies about to bounce payroll checks, California bankruptcy courts are going to need to go on a hiring binge to handle the coming long lines of municipal failures.

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Final Components of California Homeowner Bill of Rights Signed into Law

Posted by Cotozblogzz

Rancho Santa Margarita CA- The final parts of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights have been signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, according to Attorney General Kamala Harris

“California has been the epicenter of the foreclosure and mortgage crisis,” said Attorney General Harris. “The Homeowner Bill of Rights will provide basic fairness and transparency for homeowners, and improve the mortgage process for everyone.”

The Governor signed: Senate Bill 1474 by Senator Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, which gives the Attorney General’s office the ability to use a statewide grand jury to investigate and indict the perpetrators of financial crimes involving victims in multiple counties.

 Assembly Bill 1950, by Assemblymember Mike Davis, D-Los Angeles, which extends the statute of limitations for prosecuting mortgage related crimes from one year to three years, giving the Department of Justice and local District Attorneys the time needed to investigate and prosecute complex mortgage fraud crimes.

 Assembly Bill 2610 by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, which requires purchasers of foreclosed homes to give tenants at least 90 days before starting eviction proceedings. If the tenant has a fixed-term lease, the new owner must honor the lease unless the owner demonstrates that certain exceptions intended to prevent fraudulent leases apply.

Previously signed into law were three other components of the Homeowner Bill of Rights. Assembly Bill 2314, by Assemblymember Wilmer Carter, D-Rialto, provides additional tools to local governments and receivers to fight blight caused by multiple vacant homes in neighborhoods.

Two additional bills, which came out of a two-house conference committee, provide protections for borrowers and struggling homeowners, including a restriction on dual-track foreclosures, where a lender forecloses on a borrower despite being in discussions over a loan modification to save the home. The bills also guarantee struggling homeowners a single point of contact at their lender with knowledge of their loan and direct access to decision makers.

All aspects of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights will take effect on January 1, 2013.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Challenges associated with implementing gay history mandates

Posted by CotoBlogzz

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA - On July 14, 2011 Gov. Jerry Brown signed the first-of-its-kind bill to include gay history in the California social studies curriculum.  California Sen. Mark Leno (D) sponsored a bill requiring public schools to teach the historical contributions of gay Americans. The bill passed the Assembly on a 49-25, party-line vote on July 5, and was signed into law July 14, 2011

Now California schools are trying to figure out how to implement these new gay history mandates.

Critics of the new law, SB 48, including  the Pacific Justice Institute, are concerned that October, which has been designated as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month, is already being used to distort and politicize history.  Attorneys at the Pacific Justice Institute argue that most of the 31 selections for this year’s list of gay “icons” are inappropriate for K-12 audiences.

This year’s list, which can be found at, includes a drag queen, the first person believed to have had a sex-change surgery, several political and same-sex marriage activists, and a baseball player with 2 career home runs. One of the better-known individuals on the list is Katharine Lee Bates, who wrote “America the Beautiful.” Bates never claimed to be lesbian, but she is deemed an LGBT icon because she never married and had a close relationship with a female colleague who she lived with for many years.

Last year’s LGBT History Month drew fire for highlighting controversial entertainer Lady Gaga. The event also ignited controversy in New Jersey, where officials called for the firing of a teacher who dared to criticize it on her personal Facebook page.

Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, commented, “What we are already seeing in advance of LGBT History Month underscores why we fought SB 48 and why we continue to fight for sanity in social studies. Young children learning patriotic songs like ‘America the Beautiful’ don’t need to hear about the author’s alleged sexuality. Nor should our kids be learning that drag queens, activists and politicians are important because of their behavior in the bedroom.”

PJI is encouraging parents to talk to their kids’ teachers and principals to find out whether they will be promoting LGBT History Month in October.

PJI is also offering to represent teachers who conscientiously object to requirements that they teach revisionist or politicized

Rancho Santa Margarita Mother & Son convicted of animal abuse

Posted By CotoBlogzz

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA - Flordeliza Aguillo Escano and her son were convicted and sentenced today for abusing and abandoning 30 dogs in a Laguna Hills park.

Flordeliza Aguillo Escano, 59, Rancho Santa Margarita, pleaded guilty today to one misdemeanor count each of animal abandonment, animal mistreatment, and animal neglect. Escano was sentenced to three years of informal probation, 180 days in jail stayed, restitution, ordered to undergo intensive mental health counseling for one year, and is not allowed to own, live with, or possess any animals.

James Francis Alambra, 26, Rancho Santa Margarita, pleaded guilty today to one misdemeanor count of animal abandonment and was sentenced to three years of informal probation, 60 days in jail stayed, restitution, ordered to undergo intensive mental health counseling for three months, and is not allowed to own, live with, or possess any animals. 

Photo from file

  According to the Orange County District Attorney’s (CDA) office,oOn the afternoon of May 20, 2012, Escano and her son, Alambra, drove a truck into the parking lot of San Remo Park in Laguna Hills. They unloaded two crates from the parked truck, one containing 14 dogs and another containing 16 dogs. Escano and Alambra crammed the crates so tightly that the dogs were stacked atop one another, without food or water.

Escano and Alambra then placed the crates next to trees near the road and abandoned them. Alambra's truck wouldn't start, so they left the scene after being picked up by a woman in another vehicle, who was unaware of the animal abandonment, leaving their truck behind. 

Park visitors found the abandoned crates and contacted the Orange County Sheriff's Department, who investigated this case. The recovered dogs showed signs of neglect which included matted fur and ingrown toenails.

Burning Money in Laguna Woods Like it is 2016 – as in the Movie

Burning Money in Laguna Woods Like it is 2016 – as in the Movie



Let’s take a look at exactly what the ramifications are for GRF to lose its non-profit 501 (C) 4 exempt status:

GRF 501(c) status is revoked retroactively with an effective date of ?, 2013 (the due date of the 2012 Form 990). There may be serious (and expensive!) consequences at the state level including, but not limited to, sales and property taxes, payroll and unemployment taxes and workers’ compensation, as well as thorny issues with the state Department of Charitable Solicitations. This list only scratches the surface of the problems facing GRF.

So, how does GRF go about restoring its 501(c) status?
For starters, it must file a new Form 1023 (or 1024) with the IRS, as well as pay the filing fee. The
process will be a lot like the first time the nonprofit went through it, though I expect there will be
additional scrutiny placed on these “do-overs”. I also expect enormous backlogs at the IRS.

Assuming the organization still qualifies (and some will not) and the application is prepared by someone who knows what they are doing (a shameless plug for us), the IRS will issue a new determination letter effective the date of the new Form 1023’s receipt at the IRS. The Shareholders demand documentation so they can reinstate a 501 ( c ) 3 Corporation that will benefit all the Laguna Woods Village residents.

A retroactive effective date is possible, but very tricky. First off, a letter requesting retroactivity back to the revocation date is required. In addition, all of the Form 990s that were not filed must be prepared and included with the Form 1023. Here’s where it gets even messier…

Why is retroactivity desirable? With a 501 (C) 3 We Can Save Millions on Our Assets
It seems easier to just forget about the past 990s and just accept IRS determination from the date of the application, right? Not so fast. While that may work for some, keep in mind that the nonprofit will have a period exceeding one year where it was operating as a for-profit organization. As such, GRF will likely be required to file a for-profit corporate tax return, Form 1120. That’s a big mess. Also, getting renewed status retroactively will help eliminate the many potential problems at the state level.

For overwhelming evidence, click here 

Paul Loughrey

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Mission Viejo Man Convicted of Assaulting an OCSD deputy

Posted By CotoBlogzz

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA  - Mission Viejo man was convicted and sentenced to four years in state prison today for assaulting an Orange County Sheriff's (OCSD)  deputy by trying to take her firearm and physically struggling when she attempted to arrest him. Thomas Andrew Spence, 28, Mission Viejo, pleaded guilty to one felony count each of assault with a firearm on a peace officer, removing a firearm from a peace officer, and battery on a peace officer with injury.

According to the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) office, at approximately 9:40 p.m. on Oct. 6, 2010, Spence was lying outside between two bushes near Armstrong Garden Center in Laguna Niguel with his hands down his pants, which were undone. Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Michelle Rodriguez observed the defendant and attempted to contact him. When Spence saw the deputy, he removed his hands from his pants and began to run away.  

When Deputy Rodriguez caught Spence, the defendant became aggressive. Deputy Rodriguez deployed her Taser at the defendant's chest, but the strike hit the defendant's tie and was ineffective. Spence continued to approach the deputy, who removed her baton and struck him one time in the knee. Spence was unfazed and grabbed the deputy's flashlight. 

Deputy Rodriguez drew her firearm and ordered the defendant to put down the flashlight, fearing that he may use it as a weapon against her.  As Spence put the flashlight down, he advanced toward the deputy and grabbed her firearm with both hands. 

The defendant struggled with the deputy to take her firearm. Deputy Rodriguez fired the weapon twice before it jammed. Spence was not hit. Spence finally let go of the firearm and attempted to flee the scene. Responding back-up deputies arrived and arrested the defendant with Deputy Rodriguez.

The deputy suffered scratches and abrasions to her temple, hands, elbow, knees, and hip.

Senior Deputy District Attorney John Christl of the Special Prosecutions Unit prosecuted this case.

Rancho Santa Margarita Women to be arraigned for abusing and abandoning 30 dogs

Posted By CotoBlogzz

Rancho Santa Margarita,  - Flordeliza Aguillo Escano, and her son will be arraigned tomorrow for abusing and abandoning 30 dogs in a Laguna Hills park. Flordeliza Aguillo Escano, 59, Rancho Santa Margarita, is charged with one misdemeanor count each of animal abandonment, animal mistreatment, and animal neglect.

According to the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) office,  James Francis Alambra, 26, Rancho Santa Margarita, is charged with one misdemeanor count each of animal abandonment and animal mistreatment. 

On the afternoon of May 20, 2012, Escano and her son, Alambra, are accused of driving a truck into the parking lot of San Remo Park in Laguna Hills,  unloading two crates from the parked truck, one containing 14 dogs and another containing 16 dogs and cramming the crates so tightly that the dogs were stacked atop one another, without food or water.

Escano and her son are accused of placing the crates next to trees near the road and abandoning them, but  because their  truck wouldn't start, they are accused of leaving the scene after being picked up by a woman in another vehicle, who was unaware of the animal abandonment, leaving their truck behind. 

Park visitors found the abandoned crates and contacted the Orange County Sheriff's Department, who investigated this case. The recovered dogs showed signs of neglect which included matted fur and ingrown toenails.

Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Malone of the Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit is prosecuting this case

Orange County CA Judicial Misconduct Tracker

Posted By CotoBlogzz 

We are looking into allegations of judicial misconduct in the Orange County California Small Claims Court system.

So far, we know that the California Commission on Judicial Performance, the independent state agency responsible for investigating complaints of judicial misconduct and judicial incapacity and for disciplining judges gets some 1,100 complaints per year with some 5% of judges being disciplined.

These figures seem to track the ones Published by the California Bar

When you consider that just the OCDA processes more than 100,000 case per year, with a 95% or so conviction rate, a logical conclusion may be that judicial misconduct is a non- issue.

However, the commission's approach is reactive- it waits until complaints are lodged. Often, those victimized by judges give up on the system - which is why we are looking at a more proactive approach

 We argue that a more proactive approach is required, sort of like a voting record tracker for legislators, particularly when we are starting to see a trend, where certain judges tend to side with HOAs much more often than with residents.  We already have a tool to compare and contrast the efficiency of various law enforcement agencies in Orange County, for example

We are in the process of acquiring the data to build a judicial performance tracker for the Orange County Small Claims Court, which can then be used as a model nationwide.

If you have had positive and negative experiences with the Orange County Small Claims Court system please let us know.


Back on December 12, 2011 my wife was hauled into small claims court by the Dove Canyon HOA via Seabreeze Mgmt. to answer their complaint that she owed them $5,000 in back dues and fees. 

When the case was called before the judge I handed him the law stating that a HOA could not file a lawsuit against anybody unless they first gave them an opportunity to try and resolve their dispute under what is called either an Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) or an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process with the Association

Alleged Judicial Misconduct: Is Small Claims the right venue to settle HOA disputes?

Alleged Judicial Misconduct: Is Small Claims the right venue to settle  HOA disputes? The jury is still out in Orange County, CA 

Coto de Caza, CA – The verdict  is in, in the Small Claims Court trial  30-2012-00570806-SC-SC-HLH,  held July 23, 2012,  against the Coto de Caza Homeowners Association, otherwise known as CZ Master Association. In the case, it was alleged that the association not only failed to comply with Civil Code § 1365 but that  it continues to claim it is beyond local, state and federal jurisdiction,   The Honorable John L. Flynn III ruled that the HOA board of directors  indeed is not under  the jurisdiction of state and  federal law. Sort of

Coto de Caza, CA – while most pundits speculated over what the Supreme Court would do about the individual mandate included in the ObamaCare legislation, most also warned not to read too much into the Justices’ line of questioning.  Most of the pundits were right on the latter, wrong on the fate of the individual mandate.

LETTERS Dear Supporters and Friends of PPV, Today we received a copy of a letter from a new owner in United sent t...