Category: California

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Chipotle HQ leaving Denver, plans move to Newport Beach

After nearly 25 years in Denver, Chipotle Mexican Grill is saying so long to its hometown, announcing Wednesday that it will move its headquarters to Southern California where its new CEO has lived.

The fast-casual restaurant chain, which has financially had a rough few years, will settle in Newport Beach, near fast-food neighbors Taco Bell, Del Taco and the iconic In-N-Out Burger.

In a statement, the company said it will spend the next six months moving corporate staff — from finance, HR and other corporate functions — to Newport Beach. But not all of its 375 corporate employees in Denver will be offered relocation or retention packages. Restaurant employees and field operations workers are not impacted by the move.

“The consolidation of offices and the move to California will help us drive sustainable growth while continuing to position us well in the competition for top talent,” said Brian Niccol, who became Chipotle’s CEO in February. Niccol previously served as CEO of Taco Bell, based in Irvine, California.

In the press release, Chipotle said the Denver and New York offices will be consolidated into existing offices in Columbus, Ohio, or Newport Beach. The company declined further comment.

Chipotle founder Steve Ells opened the first restaurant near the University of Denver in 1993. The location, at 1644 E. Evans Ave., was recently renovated and reopened just as fall classes began last September. Today, there are more than 2,300 Chipotles around the globe.

Just a few years ago, Chipotle’s growth streak seemed untouchable. Its stock price hit a record of nearly $750 a share in July 2015. But an outbreak of E. coli in late 2015 caused shares to tank, and sales shrank. Ells apologized to customers but the restaurant chain found it difficult to regain its growth trajectory.

The company missed earnings, even after introducing new menu items like queso. Criticism from activist shareholders like Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Holdings culminated in Ells’ decision to step down as CEO to become executive chairman.

Changes continued. Last December, the company signed a 15-year lease for five floors of the brand new downtown skyscraper at 1144 15th St. At the time, the company said it would move its corporate headquarters there by the end of 2018 in order to consolidate its 450 corporate employees under one roof.

The company declined to explain what will happen to the lease. The Denver Post is waiting to hear back from the building’s real estate team.

J.J. Ament, CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., said he found out about Chipotle’s decision to move Wednesday after landing in San Francisco on a trip to check up on companies in the Bay Area that have expanded in Colorado.

“We didn’t have any notice that this announcement was coming,” Ament said.

Whenever a company brings in a new CEO who lives in another community, as Chipotle did, a relocation is always a possibility, he said. As of February, Niccol lived in Newport Beach, where Chipotle will make its new base.

Colorado lost one of its largest companies, First Data Corp. in 2009, when long-time CEO Charlie Fote, who brought the headquarters to metro Denver, left. The new CEO Michael Capellas moved the company to Atlanta despite a full push by economic development officials to get him to stay. State officials, however, were able to convince Frontier Airlines to stay here.

The move comes as Colorado makes a push to attract a second headquarters for online retailing giant Amazon. Metro Denver is among 20 finalists the Seattle-based company amed earlier this year.

Ament said that while he is disappointed, and that Colorado is grabbing more jobs from California than it is losing. There are plenty of companies interested in locating operations, even headquarters, to the state, and  Denver will always be part of Chipotle’s DNA.

“The current CEO can move the company to California, but he can’t take away its birthplace,” he said.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/05/23/chipotle-leaving-denver-for-california/

Attorney general files emergency request with court of appeals to reverse a Riverside judge’s ruling to end California’s right-to-die law

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed an emergency request with the state court of appeals Monday, May 21 to reverse a Riverside County Superior Court judge’s ruling last week that invalidated the state’s End of Life Option Act.

On Tuesday, May 15, Judge Daniel A. Ottolia said the legislature violated the state’s constitution by passing the right-to-die law during a special session that was limited to healthcare issues. The judge had given the attorney general five days to appeal his decision before it took effect.

Compassion & Choices, the national organization, which lobbied for the California law, praised Becerra’s move Monday.

The End of Life Option Act passed in 2016 after gaining public support based on the advocacy of UC Irvine graduate Brittany Maynard.

Two years earlier Maynard, 29, who had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, publicized videos of her final weeks after she moved to Oregon to avail herself of the state’s Death With Dignity Act. Videos of her decision to take her own life, on Nov. 1, 2014 — and to urge passage of an assisted-death law in California — were viewed by millions.

The attorney general’s appeal filed Monday said legislators had acted “within the scope of the special session,” which was called to consider measures that would “improve the efficiency and efficacy of the healthcare system…and improve the health of Californians.”

“As the Governor indicated, the Act deals with the pain, suffering and the comfort of having the health care options afforded by the Act,” the filing stated.

The lawsuit’s plaintiffs, opponents of the law, said it should be overturned because it was improperly rushed through a special session of the legislature. Stephen G. Larson, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, said last week he hoped the attorney general would not get involved, which would send the issue back to the legislature for a proper discussion.

But supporters of the law said the attorney general’s appeal offers comfort to terminally ill Californians. The important message here is that the law will remain in effect until further notice, said Kevin Diaz, national director of legal advocacy for Compassion & Choices.

“We know this legal battle is far from over, but ultimately justice in the California court system will prevail,” he said.

In July, the California Department of Public Health released a report showing that in the second half of 2016 the law was used by 191 terminally ill Californians, who obtained lethal drug prescriptions from 173 doctors. The report said 111 people actually used the drug to end their lives.

California is one of seven states, including Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Hawaii and the District of Columbia, to have a right-to-die law in place.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/05/21/attorney-general-files-emergency-request-with-court-of-appeals-to-reverse-a-riverside-judges-ruling-to-end-californias-right-to-die-law/

Attorney general files emergency request with court of appeals to reverse a Riverside judge’s ruling to end California’s right-to-die law

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed an emergency request with the state court of appeals Monday, May 21 to reverse a Riverside County Superior Court judge’s ruling last week that invalidated the state’s End of Life Option Act.

On Tuesday, May 15, Judge Daniel A. Ottolia said the legislature violated the state’s constitution by passing the right-to-die law during a special session that was limited to healthcare issues. The judge had given the attorney general five days to appeal his decision before it took effect.

Compassion & Choices, the national organization, which lobbied for the California law, praised Becerra’s move Monday.

The End of Life Option Act passed in 2016 after gaining public support based on the advocacy of UC Irvine graduate Brittany Maynard.

Two years earlier Maynard, 29, who had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, publicized videos of her final weeks after she moved to Oregon to avail herself of the state’s Death With Dignity Act. Videos of her decision to take her own life, on Nov. 1, 2014 — and to urge passage of an assisted-death law in California — were viewed by millions.

The attorney general’s appeal filed Monday said legislators had acted “within the scope of the special session,” which was called to consider measures that would “improve the efficiency and efficacy of the healthcare system…and improve the health of Californians.”

“As the Governor indicated, the Act deals with the pain, suffering and the comfort of having the health care options afforded by the Act,” the filing stated.

The lawsuit’s plaintiffs, opponents of the law, said it should be overturned because it was improperly rushed through a special session of the legislature. Stephen G. Larson, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, said last week he hoped the attorney general would not get involved, which would send the issue back to the legislature for a proper discussion.

But supporters of the law said the attorney general’s appeal offers comfort to terminally ill Californians. The important message here is that the law will remain in effect until further notice, said Kevin Diaz, national director of legal advocacy for Compassion & Choices.

“We know this legal battle is far from over, but ultimately justice in the California court system will prevail,” he said.

In July, the California Department of Public Health released a report showing that in the second half of 2016 the law was used by 191 terminally ill Californians, who obtained lethal drug prescriptions from 173 doctors. The report said 111 people actually used the drug to end their lives.

California is one of seven states, including Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Hawaii and the District of Columbia, to have a right-to-die law in place.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/05/21/attorney-general-files-emergency-request-with-court-of-appeals-to-reverse-a-riverside-judges-ruling-to-end-californias-right-to-die-law/

A look at former Gov. George Deukmejian’s life

California’s 35th governor, George Deukmejian, died Tuesday, May 8, at his home in Long Beach. Deukmejian served two terms, from 1983 to 1990.

A look back at his life:

Related stories:

Deukmejian loved Long Beach — and the city loved him right back

Here’s how the courthouse in Long Beach got named for Deukmejian

Deukmejian Courthouse in Long Beach opens for business

Tim Grobaty: The Duke had a real sense of humor – and here’s proof

From the archive: Deukmejian didn’t let a fall keep him down

A special moment: How Deukmejian-style encouragement changed a life


Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/05/08/a-look-at-former-gov-george-deukmejians-life/

Report: Trump deporting more; CA and other states resisting harder

Immigration enforcement is changing dramatically under President Donald Trump, though California and other sanctuary areas are pushing back and making the overall deportation numbers under Trump lower than in previous administrations, according to a new report released Tuesday.

That dynamic – sanctuary areas pitted against the Trump administration’s expanded effort to pick up undocumented people living in the United States – also has led to disparities from state to state in how and why people are deported, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute, a non-profit think tank in Washington D.C. that studies migration and refugee issues.

“The fortunes of an unauthorized immigrant in Georgia, Tennessee and Texas, where the mere act of driving can result in arrest and deportation, are entirely different than in California, Chicago and New York, where immigrants can be arrested for a variety of crimes and not be taken into ICE custody,” said the report’s co-author Randy Capps.

Laws in California and other states and cities that limit local police cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have affected immigration arrest trends, and they also have potential implications on public safety, according to the 132-page report on changing immigration enforcement in the U.S. interior under the Trump administration.

In California, for example, the state accounted for about 23 percent of ICE arrests in 2013, the year before the first in a series of sanctuary laws was passed. By last year the state accounted for just 14 percent of ICE arrests.

The report’s authors suggested that the differences between state and federal laws creates potential chaos, writing: “(The) unevenness in the enforcement landscape threatens a core principle of the U.S. constitutional system—federal pre-eminence in immigration—with severe implications for effective law enforcement relationships and public safety.”

The federal government’s lead role on immigration is one of the issues that has been brought up repeatedly as cities and counties in California pass so-called “anti-sanctuary” laws. Over the past two months more than 30 cities and three counties, including Orange and San Diego counties, have joined an effort that started in Los Alamitos.

“Immigration is fundamentally a federal policy. States don’t get to make federal policy,” said Muzaffar Chishti, one of the report’s authors.  “California is saying it’s not changing immigration policy. That will be decided by litigation (from the Trump administration against California.)”

“At some level, we are arguing these states and localities are indirectly making immigration policy,” Chishti said in a phone interview following a press event in Washington D.C. to present the report, titled “Revving Up the Deportation Machinery; Enforcement and Pushback Under Trump.”

The year-long study includes data from Southern California, comparing the region with the rest of the nation. It also took MPI researchers to 15 specific locations, including Los Angeles and Orange County, for interviews with 120 ICE officials, community leaders, law enforcement and immigrant advocates, among others.

In the first eight months following President Trump’s inauguration, arrests and deportations of people residing illegally in the interior of the United States increased by about 40 percent, to about 110,000 individuals, when compared with the first eight months of 2016.

The Trump administration has cast a wider net in their arrests and narrowed the discretion of officials to to release detainees or to postpone their deportation. Instead, the administration wants to ramp up deportation hearings and is pressuring judges to process cases faster, calling for a quota system – a move decried by many immigration judges.

But those recent numbers are part of a longer deportation story.

Even with its stepped-up effort, the Trump administration is deporting fewer people, overall, than the number of people deported by ICE agents in the last years of the George W. Bush administration or the first years of the Barack Obama administration. During that era, deportations in the U.S. interior ran between 200,000 and 300,000 people a year and Obama was given the nickname “Deporter-in-Chief.” The center’s report predicts it is unlikely that the Trump administration will hit those numbers.

Obama’s second term, by contrast, was marked by ew enforcement priorities targeting serious and violent criminals and a prosecutorial discretion policy that led to steep declines in arrests and deportations. Combined, the immigration rules of the second Obama term effectively protected about 87 percent of the 11-plus million people living in the country illegally, according to the report’s authors.

Obama also introduced the DACA program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which offered a temporary, renewable reprieve from deportations for younger people illegally brought to the country as children. Nearly 690,000 people – about 200,000 in California – are recipients of that program. Trump is pushing to dismantle DACA.

When Trump became president, he moved to do away with Obama’s deportation priorities and executive orders on immigration. Everyone became deportable; not only those who had committed serious and violent crimes.

The report suggests the new era was best illustrated by a public statement from ICE Director Thomas Homan, who last June sent this message to undocumented people: “‘You should be uncomfortable. You should look over your shoulder.”

Chishti, director of the Migration Policy Center office at the New York University, called Trump’s presidency “a huge sea change” that ignited resistance in many jurisdictions.

Legislators passed protective laws. Civil rights groups assisted with legal help. Non-profits teamed up to offer training, including know-your-right lessons that, among other things, taught undocumented people to not open the door to immigration agents unless they have a valid warrant.

“California is obviously seen as a big leader in this area,” Chishti said.

Among California’s newest laws that aim to protect some some 2.5 million unauthorized immigrants in the state is the California Values Act, or SB-54, which limits how police can cooperate with ICE. That law is being met with opposition via city and county resolutions, a local ordinance or legal action.

Other states, meanwhile, did the opposite. Many conservative states passed laws that strengthened cooperation with ICE. In Texas, for example, SB-4 prohibits any city from limiting an officer’s ability to ask people in custody about their immigration status and share that information with federal agents.

While the report noted that some 300 jurisdictions around the country have policies that either limit cooperation with ICE or “symbolically” provide sanctuary, “a large majority of more than 3,000 law enforcement jurisdictions across the country fully cooperate with ICE.”

Those differences between communities have made the impact of arrests and deportations uneven across the country, according to the report.

Sarah Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for ICE, said her agency disagrees with the assessment that expanded immigration enforcement has led to unpredictability for would-be deportees and broader immigrant communities.  

“There is more predictability in ICE’s actions now that there is no category of alien exempt from removal,” she said.

Spokesmen for both the Riverside and Orange County Sheriff’s departments said their departments do not engage in immigration enforcement. But both also said fuller cooperation between their agencies and ICE would benefit public safety.

Some immigrant activists, and others, suggest the public is less safe because of the new rules.

Javier Hernandez, director of the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice, noted that the report shows immigrants in some communities are reporting crimes at lower rates because they fear arrest for themselves or their relatives. Among Latinos in Los Angeles, for example, reports of sexual assault and domestic violence fell 25 percent and 10 percent respectively from 2016 to 2017, according to the report.

“The increase in collaboration between local law enforcement and ICE damages (law enforcement’s) relationship with the community,” Hernandez said.

But Gary Mead, former executive associate director for enforcement and removal operations at ICE, said his former organization now has a “clarity of focus.”

“If they encounter someone here illegally, deport them,” Mead said.

And it’s not important, Mead added, how many years the unauthorized immigrants have been in the country or whether they have family or a good job, or if they’ve committed a crime that’s only a misdemeanor – all arguments that are often cited by immigrant rights advocates.

“It doesn’t matter,” Mead said.

“Being here unlawfully is grounds for removal. Period.”

RELATED STORIES

California sanctuary law is on the books, and hot topic on campaign trail

Sanctuary opponents travel from town to town, screaming an agenda

U.S. starts processing asylum seekers slammed by Trump

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/05/08/report-trump-deporting-more-ca-and-other-states-resisting-harder/

George Deukmejian, California governor in a different era, dies at 89 in Long Beach

George Deukmejian, the tight-fisted, tough-on-crime governor who had a calming influence on California politics in the 1980s, died Tuesday at his home in Long Beach, his family announced. He was 89.

Deukmejian was remembered by fellow Republicans and by Democrats for blending traditional conservative positions on fiscal and social issues with stands like his advocacy for the state divesting from South Africa during apartheid.

  • Gov. George Deukmejian, with his wife, Gloria, at his side, is administered his oath of office by Supreme Court Justice Malcom Lucas during a ceremony in front of the Capitol in Sacramento. in 1987. (Photo by the Associated Press)

    Gov. George Deukmejian, with his wife, Gloria, at his side, is administered his oath of office by Supreme Court Justice Malcom Lucas during a ceremony in front of the Capitol in Sacramento. in 1987. (Photo by the Associated Press)

  • California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, center, poses with former governors, from left, George Deukmejian, Gray Davis, Jerry Brown, and Pete Wilson, prior to the taping of “California Connected,” Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2004, in Los Angeles. The show featured a panel discussion on “Can California Be Governed,” with the four former governors and a one-on-one interview with the new governor. (AP Photo/Rene Macura)

    California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, center, poses with former governors, from left, George Deukmejian, Gray Davis, Jerry Brown, and Pete Wilson, prior to the taping of “California Connected,” Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2004, in Los Angeles. The show featured a panel discussion on “Can California Be Governed,” with the four former governors and a one-on-one interview with the new governor. (AP Photo/Rene Macura)

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  • 7/2/11 – Former governor George Deukmejian, 83, is spending his retirement years at his longtime home in Long Beach. Photo by Brittany Murray / Staff Photographer

    7/2/11 – Former governor George Deukmejian, 83, is spending his retirement years at his longtime home in Long Beach. Photo by Brittany Murray / Staff Photographer

  • George Deukmejian talks at the dedication ceremony for the new Long Beach court house named after the former governor in Long Beach, CA. Thursday November 21, 2013.   (Thomas R. Cordova/Press-Telegram/Daily Breeze)

    George Deukmejian talks at the dedication ceremony for the new Long Beach court house named after the former governor in Long Beach, CA. Thursday November 21, 2013. (Thomas R. Cordova/Press-Telegram/Daily Breeze)

  • 12/1/6/11 – Former Governor George Deukmejian signs his name on the first steel column to be erected in the Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse, now under construction in Long Beach. Other dignitaries signed the column before watching it be lifted and placed in the ground. Photo by Brittany Murray / Staff Photographer

    12/1/6/11 – Former Governor George Deukmejian signs his name on the first steel column to be erected in the Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse, now under construction in Long Beach. Other dignitaries signed the column before watching it be lifted and placed in the ground. Photo by Brittany Murray / Staff Photographer

  • 12/1/6/11 – Former Governor George Deukmejian signs his name on the first steel column to be erected in the Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse, now under construction in Long Beach. Other dignitaries signed the column before watching it be lifted and placed in the ground. (Photo by Brittany Murray / Staff Photographer)

    12/1/6/11 – Former Governor George Deukmejian signs his name on the first steel column to be erected in the Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse, now under construction in Long Beach. Other dignitaries signed the column before watching it be lifted and placed in the ground. (Photo by Brittany Murray / Staff Photographer)

  • Former Californian Governor George Deukmejian attended the Press Telegram Amazing Women 2013 banquet in Lakewood, CA. on Wednesday, November 13, 2013. (Staff File Photo)

    Former Californian Governor George Deukmejian attended the Press Telegram Amazing Women 2013 banquet in Lakewood, CA. on Wednesday, November 13, 2013. (Staff File Photo)

  • George Deukmejian looks at the plaque after the Deukmejian family reviled it at the dedication ceremony for the new Long Beach court house named after the former governor in Long Beach, CA. Thursday November 21, 2013.   (Thomas R. Cordova/Press-Telegram/Daily Breeze)

    George Deukmejian looks at the plaque after the Deukmejian family reviled it at the dedication ceremony for the new Long Beach court house named after the former governor in Long Beach, CA. Thursday November 21, 2013. (Thomas R. Cordova/Press-Telegram/Daily Breeze)

  • George Deukmejian circa 1990 at the California State University Office of the Chancellor in Long Beach. Photo By Charles Bennett

    George Deukmejian circa 1990 at the California State University Office of the Chancellor in Long Beach. Photo By Charles Bennett

  • 04-07-11 – From left to right, Chief Justice of California Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, former California Governor George Deukmejian, L.A. County Supervisor, 4th district, Don Knabe and State Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal share a laugh during the groundbreaking ceremony for the George Deukmejian Courthouse in Long Beach Thursday April, 7,2011.  Foster and Knabe hang onto tent poles to help keep the tent from blowing over during high wind gusts.  The $490 million, 31-courtroom courthouse is expected to be finished by late 2013. (Staff File Photo)

    04-07-11 – From left to right, Chief Justice of California Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, former California Governor George Deukmejian, L.A. County Supervisor, 4th district, Don Knabe and State Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal share a laugh during the groundbreaking ceremony for the George Deukmejian Courthouse in Long Beach Thursday April, 7,2011. Foster and Knabe hang onto tent poles to help keep the tent from blowing over during high wind gusts. The $490 million, 31-courtroom courthouse is expected to be finished by late 2013. (Staff File Photo)

  • LOS ANGELES – OCTOBER 02:  Former California Governor George Deukmejian speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony for the California Science Center’s World of Ecology October 2, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. Deukmejian serves as chair of the board of directors of the California Science Center. The World of Ecology, scheduled for completion in the fall of 2009, will include walk-through aquariums, botanical gardens, and various interactive exhibits.  (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES – OCTOBER 02: Former California Governor George Deukmejian speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony for the California Science Center’s World of Ecology October 2, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. Deukmejian serves as chair of the board of directors of the California Science Center. The World of Ecology, scheduled for completion in the fall of 2009, will include walk-through aquariums, botanical gardens, and various interactive exhibits. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • 01/08/04:  George Deukmejian

    01/08/04: George Deukmejian

  • FILE – In this May 20, 1987 file photo Democratic presidential, Michael Dukakis, the Massachusetts governor, left, and Republican California Governor George Deukmejian, chat at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. A former chief of staff says two-term California governor Deukmejian, whose anti-spending credo earned him the nickname “The Iron Duke,” has died at age 89. Steve Merksamer says Deukmejian died Tuesday, May 8, 2018, of natural causes.  (AP Photo/Walt Zeboski, File)

    FILE – In this May 20, 1987 file photo Democratic presidential, Michael Dukakis, the Massachusetts governor, left, and Republican California Governor George Deukmejian, chat at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. A former chief of staff says two-term California governor Deukmejian, whose anti-spending credo earned him the nickname “The Iron Duke,” has died at age 89. Steve Merksamer says Deukmejian died Tuesday, May 8, 2018, of natural causes. (AP Photo/Walt Zeboski, File)

  • Former California governor George Deukmejian welcomes the audience before Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster delivers an annual state of the city address Monday night at the Center Theater..20120109.Photo by Steve McCrank / Staff Photographer

    Former California governor George Deukmejian welcomes the audience before Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster delivers an annual state of the city address Monday night at the Center Theater..20120109.Photo by Steve McCrank / Staff Photographer

  • 7/26/12 – Michelle Patterson is CEO of EventComplete, the company putting together this year’s California Women’s Conference at the LB Convention Center. The Women’s Conference was started 29 years ago when George Deukmejian was governor. At that time, in 1982, he was interviewed by Michelle Patterson, then an eighth grader working on a story for her school paper. Michelle was inspired by the governor and she now is putting on the Women’s Conference he started. Photo by Brittany Murray / Staff Photographer

    7/26/12 – Michelle Patterson is CEO of EventComplete, the company putting together this year’s California Women’s Conference at the LB Convention Center. The Women’s Conference was started 29 years ago when George Deukmejian was governor. At that time, in 1982, he was interviewed by Michelle Patterson, then an eighth grader working on a story for her school paper. Michelle was inspired by the governor and she now is putting on the Women’s Conference he started. Photo by Brittany Murray / Staff Photographer

  • Former California Governor George Deukmejian speaks in support of Mayor Bob Foster’s Measure I, during the filming of a video spot at Marina Vista Park in 2008.  (File Photo)

    Former California Governor George Deukmejian speaks in support of Mayor Bob Foster’s Measure I, during the filming of a video spot at Marina Vista Park in 2008. (File Photo)

  • LONG BEACH, CALIF. USA —  Former California governor George Deukmejian arrives at long-time Press-Telegram editor Larry Allison’s memorial service at the Long Beach (Calif.) Convention Center on November 17, 2011. Allison, who had worked at the paper since 1957, died October 30 from complications after battling with pneumonia for two weeks.  (Photo by Jeff Gritchen / Long Beach Press-Telegram)

    LONG BEACH, CALIF. USA — Former California governor George Deukmejian arrives at long-time Press-Telegram editor Larry Allison’s memorial service at the Long Beach (Calif.) Convention Center on November 17, 2011. Allison, who had worked at the paper since 1957, died October 30 from complications after battling with pneumonia for two weeks. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen / Long Beach Press-Telegram)

  • 05-12-10 – Former California Governor George Deukmejian was on hand as  California Insurance Commissioner and candidate for Governor of California Steve Poizner spoke during the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce 2010 California Visionary Leaders Luncheon Series, held at the Hilton Hotel in Long Beach Thursday, May 14 2010. (Staff File Photo)

    05-12-10 – Former California Governor George Deukmejian was on hand as California Insurance Commissioner and candidate for Governor of California Steve Poizner spoke during the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce 2010 California Visionary Leaders Luncheon Series, held at the Hilton Hotel in Long Beach Thursday, May 14 2010. (Staff File Photo)

  • Long Beach Calif. –06-10-12 – Former California Gov. George Deukmejian and his wife Gloria during the Rancho Los Alamitos grand opening celebration Sunday afternoon. Visitors got a first look at the restored barns area, gardens and a look inside the new multi-purpose Rancho Center, that has a permanent exhibition that tells the story of the land and its inhabitants over time. (Staff File Photo)

    Long Beach Calif. –06-10-12 – Former California Gov. George Deukmejian and his wife Gloria during the Rancho Los Alamitos grand opening celebration Sunday afternoon. Visitors got a first look at the restored barns area, gardens and a look inside the new multi-purpose Rancho Center, that has a permanent exhibition that tells the story of the land and its inhabitants over time. (Staff File Photo)

  • California Attorney General Dan Lungren, center, is accompanied by Gov. Pete Wilson, right, and former governor George Deukmejian as he officially announces his candidacy for governor in Long Beach, California, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 1998. Lungren proposed trimming government and increasing its efficiency, but said his number one priority would be public safety. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

    California Attorney General Dan Lungren, center, is accompanied by Gov. Pete Wilson, right, and former governor George Deukmejian as he officially announces his candidacy for governor in Long Beach, California, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 1998. Lungren proposed trimming government and increasing its efficiency, but said his number one priority would be public safety. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

  • LOS ANGELES – OCTOBER 02:  (L-R)  California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former California Governors Grey Davis and George Deukmejian attend a groundbreaking ceremony for the California Science Center’s World of Ecology October 2, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. The World of Ecology, scheduled for completion in the fall of 2009, will include walk-through aquariums, botanical gardens, and various interactive exhibits.  (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES – OCTOBER 02: (L-R) California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former California Governors Grey Davis and George Deukmejian attend a groundbreaking ceremony for the California Science Center’s World of Ecology October 2, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. The World of Ecology, scheduled for completion in the fall of 2009, will include walk-through aquariums, botanical gardens, and various interactive exhibits. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES – OCTOBER 02:  (R-L)  California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former California Governors Grey Davis and George Deukmejian attend a groundbreaking ceremony for the California Science Center’s World of Ecology October 2, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. The World of Ecology, scheduled for completion in the fall of 2009, will include walk-through aquariums, botanical gardens, and various interactive exhibits.  (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES – OCTOBER 02: (R-L) California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former California Governors Grey Davis and George Deukmejian attend a groundbreaking ceremony for the California Science Center’s World of Ecology October 2, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. The World of Ecology, scheduled for completion in the fall of 2009, will include walk-through aquariums, botanical gardens, and various interactive exhibits. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • 7/2/11 – Former governor George Deukmejian, 83, is spending his retirement years at his longtime home in Long Beach. Photo by Brittany Murray / Staff Photographer

    7/2/11 – Former governor George Deukmejian, 83, is spending his retirement years at his longtime home in Long Beach. Photo by Brittany Murray / Staff Photographer

  • President George H. Bush receives a round of applause from California Governor George Deukmejian and his wife, Gloria, as Bush was introduced before the California Chamber of Commerce centennial dinner in Los Angeles on Thursday, March 1, 1990.    Bush told business leaders they should put their free enterprise talents to work in Eastern Europe and Panama. (AP Photo/Barry Thumma)

    President George H. Bush receives a round of applause from California Governor George Deukmejian and his wife, Gloria, as Bush was introduced before the California Chamber of Commerce centennial dinner in Los Angeles on Thursday, March 1, 1990. Bush told business leaders they should put their free enterprise talents to work in Eastern Europe and Panama. (AP Photo/Barry Thumma)

  • Republican U.S. Senator Pete Wilson, right, shakes hands with presidential candidate George Bush as California Gov. George Deukmejian looks on at a rally in Orange, California on Tuesday, June 8, 1988. Wilson is running for re-election while Deukmejian is being considered as a possible running mate with Bush. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

    Republican U.S. Senator Pete Wilson, right, shakes hands with presidential candidate George Bush as California Gov. George Deukmejian looks on at a rally in Orange, California on Tuesday, June 8, 1988. Wilson is running for re-election while Deukmejian is being considered as a possible running mate with Bush. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

  • Democratic presidential, Michael Dukakis, the Massachusetts governor, left, and Republican California Governor George Deukmejian, chat at the Capitol in Sacramento, California, May 20, 1987 during a brief meeting. Dukakis is on a campaign through the West and paid a courtesy call on Deukmejian on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Walt Zeboski)

    Democratic presidential, Michael Dukakis, the Massachusetts governor, left, and Republican California Governor George Deukmejian, chat at the Capitol in Sacramento, California, May 20, 1987 during a brief meeting. Dukakis is on a campaign through the West and paid a courtesy call on Deukmejian on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Walt Zeboski)

  • Remarks by Governor George Deukmejian, right, brings a laugh from San Francisco Giants great Willie Mays as he declared to be Willie Mays Day Monday, April 14, 1986, Sacramento, California. The event took place in the governor?s Capitol office in Sacramento. The former outfielder is now a special assistant to the team president. (AP Photo/Walt Zeboski)

    Remarks by Governor George Deukmejian, right, brings a laugh from San Francisco Giants great Willie Mays as he declared to be Willie Mays Day Monday, April 14, 1986, Sacramento, California. The event took place in the governor?s Capitol office in Sacramento. The former outfielder is now a special assistant to the team president. (AP Photo/Walt Zeboski)

  • Former California Govs. George Deukmejian, Jerry Brown, Gray Davis and Pete Wilson, from left, make a return appearance Friday, May 13, 2005, on”California Connected” a public television newsmagazine broadcast, before a roundtable discussion about the legislative changes they proposed on the program last season, at The Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

    Former California Govs. George Deukmejian, Jerry Brown, Gray Davis and Pete Wilson, from left, make a return appearance Friday, May 13, 2005, on”California Connected” a public television newsmagazine broadcast, before a roundtable discussion about the legislative changes they proposed on the program last season, at The Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

  • Former California Governors Pete Wilson, left, Jerry Brown, second left, George Deukmejian, second right, and Gray Davis, right, stand with host Lisa McRee, as they make a return appearance,  Friday, May 13, 2005, on ÒCalifornia Connected,Ó a public television newsmagazine during a roundtable discussion about the legislative changes they proposed on the program last season, held at The Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

    Former California Governors Pete Wilson, left, Jerry Brown, second left, George Deukmejian, second right, and Gray Davis, right, stand with host Lisa McRee, as they make a return appearance, Friday, May 13, 2005, on ÒCalifornia Connected,Ó a public television newsmagazine during a roundtable discussion about the legislative changes they proposed on the program last season, held at The Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

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  • Former California governors, from far right to left, Gray Davis, Jerry Brown, Pete Wilson and George Deukmejian pose for photos after the taping of their panel discussion show at the Huntington Library.  (Staff File Photo)

    Former California governors, from far right to left, Gray Davis, Jerry Brown, Pete Wilson and George Deukmejian pose for photos after the taping of their panel discussion show at the Huntington Library. (Staff File Photo)

  • Former California governors George Deukmejian, far left, Pete Wilson, second from left, Gray Davis, far right, listen to Jerry Brown, second from right, as they answer reporters questions after the taping of their panel discussion show to be aired on PBS.  The show was taped at the Huntington Library.  (Staff File Photo)

    Former California governors George Deukmejian, far left, Pete Wilson, second from left, Gray Davis, far right, listen to Jerry Brown, second from right, as they answer reporters questions after the taping of their panel discussion show to be aired on PBS. The show was taped at the Huntington Library. (Staff File Photo)

  • Long Beach, Calif., — 08-26-13-  The Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse in Long Beach.  The $490-million structure in downtown Long Beach is set to open on Magnolia Avenue in fall 2013,  and will replace the nearby Long Beach Courthouse, completed in 1959 and considered overcrowded and obsolete.  (Staff File Photo)

    Long Beach, Calif., — 08-26-13- The Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse in Long Beach. The $490-million structure in downtown Long Beach is set to open on Magnolia Avenue in fall 2013, and will replace the nearby Long Beach Courthouse, completed in 1959 and considered overcrowded and obsolete. (Staff File Photo)

  • Long Beach, Calif., — 08-26-13-  The Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse in Long Beach.  The $490-million structure in downtown Long Beach is set to open on Magnolia Avenue in fall 2013,  and will replace the nearby Long Beach Courthouse, completed in 1959 and considered overcrowded and obsolete.  (Staff File Photo)

    Long Beach, Calif., — 08-26-13- The Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse in Long Beach. The $490-million structure in downtown Long Beach is set to open on Magnolia Avenue in fall 2013, and will replace the nearby Long Beach Courthouse, completed in 1959 and considered overcrowded and obsolete. (Staff File Photo)

  • George Deukmejian talks at the dedication ceremony for the new Long Beach court house named after the former governor in Long Beach, CA. 0n Thursday November 21, 2013.   (Thomas R. Cordova/Press-Telegram/Daily Breeze)

    George Deukmejian talks at the dedication ceremony for the new Long Beach court house named after the former governor in Long Beach, CA. 0n Thursday November 21, 2013. (Thomas R. Cordova/Press-Telegram/Daily Breeze)

  • The $490-million Gov. George Deukmejian Courthouse in downtown Long Beach. Photo:  Stephen Carr/  Los Angeles Newspaper Group

    The $490-million Gov. George Deukmejian Courthouse in downtown Long Beach. Photo: Stephen Carr/ Los Angeles Newspaper Group

  • Dedication ceremony for the new Long Beach court house named after the former Governor George Deukmejian in Long Beach, CA. Thursday November 21, 2013.   (Thomas R. Cordova/Press-Telegram/Daily Breeze)

    Dedication ceremony for the new Long Beach court house named after the former Governor George Deukmejian in Long Beach, CA. Thursday November 21, 2013. (Thomas R. Cordova/Press-Telegram/Daily Breeze)

  • Dedication ceremony for the new Long Beach court house named after the former Governor George Deukmejian in Long Beach, CA. Thursday November 21, 2013.   (Thomas R. Cordova/Press-Telegram/Daily Breeze)

    Dedication ceremony for the new Long Beach court house named after the former Governor George Deukmejian in Long Beach, CA. Thursday November 21, 2013. (Thomas R. Cordova/Press-Telegram/Daily Breeze)

  • 11/3/86 – At campaign pep rally this afternoon held at Orange County Fairgrounds Amphitheater. Left to right- Senate candidate Ed Zschau with Nancy Reagan waving to fans- Pres. Ronald Reagan laughing and Gov. George Deukmejian. The groupwas having a good time watching the carnival of events at the close of the campaign rally.

    11/3/86 – At campaign pep rally this afternoon held at Orange County Fairgrounds Amphitheater. Left to right- Senate candidate Ed Zschau with Nancy Reagan waving to fans- Pres. Ronald Reagan laughing and Gov. George Deukmejian. The groupwas having a good time watching the carnival of events at the close of the campaign rally.

  • California Gov. George Deukmejian, accompanied by local and state officials, gets first-hand look at Whittier earthquake damage. (Courtesy Whittier Museum)
 (Courtesy Whittier Museum)

    California Gov. George Deukmejian, accompanied by local and state officials, gets first-hand look at Whittier earthquake damage. (Courtesy Whittier Museum) (Courtesy Whittier Museum)

  • Gov. George Deukmejian, accompanied by local and state officials, gets first-hand look at the quake damage left in Norwalk. Photo dated: October 3, 1987. (Photo courtesy Los Angeles Public Library)

    Gov. George Deukmejian, accompanied by local and state officials, gets first-hand look at the quake damage left in Norwalk. Photo dated: October 3, 1987. (Photo courtesy Los Angeles Public Library)

  • 11/3/86 – At campaign pep rally held at Orange County Fairgrounds Amphitheater. Left to right- Senate candidate Ed Zschau with Nancy Reagan waving to fans- Pres. Ronald Reagan laughing and Gov. George Deukmejian. The group was having a good time watching the carnival of events at the close of the campaign rally. (File photo)

    11/3/86 – At campaign pep rally held at Orange County Fairgrounds Amphitheater. Left to right- Senate candidate Ed Zschau with Nancy Reagan waving to fans- Pres. Ronald Reagan laughing and Gov. George Deukmejian. The group was having a good time watching the carnival of events at the close of the campaign rally. (File photo)

  • No.1 Under Deukmejian (1983-1990), the state’s economy benefitted from interest rates tumbling from previously unfathomable heights and a noteworthy national economic rebound under President Reagan. In 1985, Deukmejian signed into law what empowers the state’s homeowners’ associations — the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act (and that’s Davis as in then-Assemblyman Gray Davis). In Deukmejian’s terms, California averaged 225,259 new units; a half-century’s best 631,761 new residents; and 309,300 new jobs.  (AP Photo/Bob Galbraith)

    No.1 Under Deukmejian (1983-1990), the state’s economy benefitted from interest rates tumbling from previously unfathomable heights and a noteworthy national economic rebound under President Reagan. In 1985, Deukmejian signed into law what empowers the state’s homeowners’ associations — the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act (and that’s Davis as in then-Assemblyman Gray Davis). In Deukmejian’s terms, California averaged 225,259 new units; a half-century’s best 631,761 new residents; and 309,300 new jobs. (AP Photo/Bob Galbraith)

  • Gov. Ronald Reagan signs a bill restoring the death penalty in the State of California, for II categories of murder, in Los Angeles on Monday, Sept. 24, 1973.  The bill, authored by State Sen. George Deukmejian, left, of Long Beach, makes execution mandatory upon conviction of murder in any of the II categories, effective Jan. 1, 1974.  Seated just beyond Reagan is Attorney Gen. Evelle Younger.  (AP Photo)

    Gov. Ronald Reagan signs a bill restoring the death penalty in the State of California, for II categories of murder, in Los Angeles on Monday, Sept. 24, 1973. The bill, authored by State Sen. George Deukmejian, left, of Long Beach, makes execution mandatory upon conviction of murder in any of the II categories, effective Jan. 1, 1974. Seated just beyond Reagan is Attorney Gen. Evelle Younger. (AP Photo)

  • 3/13/10 – Former California Governor George Deukmejian, far left, congratulates Jim McDonnell after ceremoniously swearing McDonnell in as the new Chief of Police for Long Beach on stage at the Terrace Theatre in Long Beach. McDonnell wife, Kathy, right, is standing next to him.  (Staff File Photo)

    3/13/10 – Former California Governor George Deukmejian, far left, congratulates Jim McDonnell after ceremoniously swearing McDonnell in as the new Chief of Police for Long Beach on stage at the Terrace Theatre in Long Beach. McDonnell wife, Kathy, right, is standing next to him. (Staff File Photo)

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“He represents the kind of politicians that California used to produce but doesn’t anymore: decent, moderate conservatives,” said Jack Pitney, professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College.

Gov. Jerry Brown, whom Deukmejian followed in the office after defeating Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley in the 1982 election, hailed the two-term governor as someone who “made friends across the political aisle.”

Brown said flags at the state capitol would be flown at half-staff in Deukmejian’s memory.

Candidates for Deukmejian’s old job offered praise for the Menands, New York native who represented the Long Beach area in the California Assembly and Senate before being elected state attorney general during a 28-year run in public office that started in 1963.

“He not only was a leader of principle, civility and strength. He was a powerful example for California’s vibrant Armenian-American community,” said Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Democratic front-runner for governor.

Antonio Villaraigosa, the Democratic former Los Angeles mayor who’s running for governor, noted that the child of parents who fled the Armenian genocide “would go on to enact efforts to oppose apartheid in South Africa and stand against oppression.”

John Cox, a Republican running for governor, called Deukmejian “a great Republican, public servant and governor for all Californians.”

A graduate of Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., who earned his law degree from St. John’s University in New York City, Deukmejian moved to California and entered private practice. Here he met his wife, Gloria Saatjian. They had three children.

His law-and-order reputation followed him from the state Legislature to the attorney general’s office and the governor’s chair.

Deukmejian led a legislative drive in 1977 to legalize the death penalty in California, overturning a veto by Jerry Brown, then in his first stint as governor. As attorney general from 1979 to 1983, he was known in part for his opposition to marijuana, including a publicity-grabbing moment when he and armed state agents helicoptered into a Mendocino County pot grow. As governor, he presided over the largest expansion of the state prison system.

But he earned his nickname — The Iron Duke — with his opposition to new taxes and spending on projects large and small. In 1983, soon after he replaced Brown, Deukmejian whacked state spending on bicycle projects from $5 million a year to the lowest amount he could legally get away with, $360,000, pleasing his fiscally conservative supporters. Deukmejian would later boast of using his veto powers more than 4,000 times on bills by the Democratic Party-controlled Legislature.

Having eliminated the $1.5 billion budget deficit he inherited from Brown, Deukmejian said in a State of the State address that he had “taken California from IOU to A-OK.”

An economic downturn, though, would produce an even larger deficit by the time Deukmejian turned the governor’s office over to fellow Republican Pete Wilson in 1991.

He held traditional conservative views on many social issues. Deukmejian vetoed a bill that would have made California the first state in the country to outlaw discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation.


Related stories:

Deukmejian loved Long Beach — and the city loved him right back

Here’s how the courthouse in Long Beach got named for Deukmejian

Deukmejian Courthouse in Long Beach opens for business

Tim Grobaty: The Duke had a real sense of humor – and here’s proof

From the archive: Deukmejian didn’t let a fall keep him down

A special moment: How Deukmejian-style encouragement changed a life


His popularity in Republican circles was such that national GOP officials reached out to him in 1988 to gauge his interest in being George H.W. Bush’s vice presidential running mate. Deukmejian said he turned down the opportunity because he would have had to turn over the state to Lt. Gov. Leo McCarthy, a Democrat.

Reserved and modest, Deukmejian called it “embarrassing” in 2013 when Long Beach christened its newest building the Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse.

On his way out of Sacramento and back to Long Beach in 1991, he joked that “I think they’re going to miss this wild and crazy guy.”

Tuesday, he was indeed missed.

Pitney, the political-science professor, said Deukemejian didn’t have major initiatives like other memorable governors — but that was never his goal.

“He kept the state on a sustainable path [fiscally],” Pitney said. “People remember him as somebody who was good at maintenance, just keeping the government running efficiently. And there’s something to be said for that.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/05/08/george-deukmejian-california-governor-in-a-different-era-dies-at-89-in-long-beach/

California now world’s 5th largest economy, surpassing UK

California’s economy has surpassed that of the United Kingdom to become the world’s fifth largest, according to new federal data made public Friday.

California’s gross domestic product rose by $127 billion from 2016 to 2017, surpassing $2.7 trillion, the data said. Meanwhile, the UK’s economic output slightly shrunk over that time when measured in U.S. dollars, due in part to exchange rate fluctuations.

The data demonstrate the sheer immensity of California’s economy, home to nearly 40 million people, a thriving technology sector in Silicon Valley, the world’s entertainment capital in Hollywood and the nation’s salad bowl in the Central Valley agricultural heartland. It also reflects a substantial turnaround since the Great Recession.

All economic sectors except agriculture contributed to California’s higher GDP, said Irena Asmundson, chief economist at the California Department of Finance. Financial services and real estate led the pack at $26 billion in growth, followed by the information sector, which includes many technology companies, at $20 billion. Manufacturing was up $10 billion.

California last had the world’s fifth largest economy in 2002 but fell as low as 10th in 2012 following the Great Recession. Since then, the largest U.S. state has added 2 million jobs and grown its GDP by $700 billion.

California’s economic output is now surpassed only by the total GDP of the United States, China, Japan and Germany. The state has 12 percent of the U.S. population but contributed 16 percent of the country’s job growth between 2012 and 2017. Its share of the national economy also grew from 12.8 percent to 14.2 percent over that five-year period, according to state economists.

California’s strong economic performance relative to other industrialized economies is driven by worker productivity, said Lee Ohanian, an economics professor at UCLA and director of the school’s Ettinger Family Program in Macroeconomic Research. The United Kingdom has 25 million more people than California but now has a smaller GDP, he said.

California’s economic juggernaut is concentrated in coastal metropolises around San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego.

“The non-coastal areas of CA have not generated nearly as much economic growth as the coastal areas,” Ohanian said in an email.

The state calculates California’s economic ranking as if it were a country by comparing state-level GDP from the Bureau of Economic Analysis at the U.S. Department of Commerce with global data from the International Monetary Fund.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/05/04/california-now-worlds-5th-largest-economy-surpassing-uk/

35,000 ask for their cities and counties to “opt out” of California’s sanctuary laws

Assemblyman Travis Allen, a Republican candidate for governor, announced Friday that he’s collected more than 35,000 signatures from people across California who want their communities to “opt out” of the state’s sanctuary law.

Allen plans to forward those signatures to elected leaders in the 300 cities they came from, hoping to build on a new anti-sanctuary movement.

  • Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen meets with people as he announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen meets with people as he announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • People wave and shout at traffic on PCH as Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    People wave and shout at traffic on PCH as Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

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  • Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen, right, and Huntington Beach Mayor Mike Posey speak as Allen announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen, right, and Huntington Beach Mayor Mike Posey speak as Allen announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Huntington Beach City Attorney Michael Gates, left, talks about the lawsuit filed by the city against California, alleging a new state law – the California Values Act – violates the California Constitution. Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen announces the receipt of more than 35,000 signatures he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law. Allen held a press conference at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Huntington Beach City Attorney Michael Gates, left, talks about the lawsuit filed by the city against California, alleging a new state law – the California Values Act – violates the California Constitution. Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen announces the receipt of more than 35,000 signatures he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law. Allen held a press conference at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen, center,  announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen, center, announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Huntington Beach Mayor Mike Posey listens as Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Huntington Beach Mayor Mike Posey listens as Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen, center,  announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen, center, announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Huntington Beach City Attorney Michael Gates talks about how the city’s lawsuit differs from the federal lawsuit against California’s sanctuary laws during a press conference called  by Assemblyman Travis Allen at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Huntington Beach City Attorney Michael Gates talks about how the city’s lawsuit differs from the federal lawsuit against California’s sanctuary laws during a press conference called by Assemblyman Travis Allen at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Martha Mac of Huntington Beach cheers for Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen  while he announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Martha Mac of Huntington Beach cheers for Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen while he announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Austin Edsell and Eva Weisz of Huntington Beach attend a rally in which Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Austin Edsell and Eva Weisz of Huntington Beach attend a rally in which Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Attending the rally, a woman who goes by Crystal Jade listens as Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Attending the rally, a woman who goes by Crystal Jade listens as Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen signs the back of a supporters shirt as he announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen signs the back of a supporters shirt as he announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen has photos taken with supporters as he announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen has photos taken with supporters as he announces the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he has received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen is surrounded by a small group of supporters as he is interviewed after he announced the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen is surrounded by a small group of supporters as he is interviewed after he announced the receipt of more than 35,000 petitions he received from across the state encouraging local elected officials to opt out of California’s sanctuary-state law while speaking at the Huntington Beach pier Friday, April 27, 2018. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

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At a press conference next to the Huntington Beach pier, Allen was surrounded by a handful of local politicians from Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos and Fountain Valley — three of the cities that have recently taken steps against California laws to protect people in the country illegally.

“It is a right to keep California safe and that’s what we’re going to do,” Allen told a crowd of about 60.

The sanctuary law, SB-54, limits cooperation between local and state agencies and ICE, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, regarding information and transfers of unauthorized immigrants upon their release from jail. The law, however, does not prohibit agencies from working together in many cases. Police can continue sharing the release dates of inmates if they have been convicted of one of about 800 offenses outlined in another state law called the California Trust Act.

Many have misinterpreted the law, including Allen, who wrote in a news release this week that the law “prohibits local jurisdictions from cooperating” with ICE.

Those gathered Friday to support their hometown gubernatorial candidate echoed some of Allen’s slogans, which are similar to Trump’s.

“We’re taking our state back,” Allen told them.

The lawsuit filed by the U.S. Justice Department lawsuit challenges California’s sanctuary policies as obstructing federal immigration law and violating the Constitution’s supremacy clause.

California Sen. Kevin de De León, who wrote SB-54, argues that it does not violate the Constitution. California is not required to divert state resources to enforce federal immigration laws and the new law looks to ensure that, he reiterated during a press conference in San Diego on Wednesday.

The other two laws targeted in the federal lawsuit are the Workplace Raid law, which can fine business owners for cooperating with immigration agents, and the Detention Review law, which allows California to inspect federal facilities in the state used for immigration detentions.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/04/27/35000-ask-for-their-cities-and-counties-to-opt-out-of-californias-sanctuary-laws/

Trump tweets support of Orange County move to fight sanctuary laws

President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday, March 28 to express his support for the efforts of some in Orange County to fight California’s sanctuary laws.

“My Administration stands in solidarity with the brave citizens of Orange County defending their rights against California’s illegal and unconstitutional Sanctuary policies,” he tweeted. “California’s Sanctuary laws release known dangerous criminals into communities across the State. All citizens have the right to be protected by Federal law and strong borders.”

The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to join a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department that alleges three California laws are unconstitutional.

Los Alamitos was the first Orange County city to take a stand against SB-54, a California law that limits cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/03/28/trump-tweets-support-of-orange-county-move-to-fight-sanctuary-laws/

Want a cure for housing shortage? Bring back savings and loans

Maybe California’s housing shortage needs a dose of good ol’ savings and loans.

In all the debate about what might fix the imbalance between the state’s housing supply and demand, little has been said about the availability of real estate lenders who know a thing or two about California. In today’s world of practically standardized, automated loan approvals made by lenders with national brands, quirks of California’s consumers or builders can get lost in the rush to mass-produce real estate borrowing.

That’s a far cry from the S&L glory days when locally born and bred thrift institutions successfully — for a while, at least — helped fund California’s housing boom.

Look, the state has been a home to creative lending ever since the Gold Rush days when out-of-state bankers first caught wind of California’s penchant for unorthodoxy. Just think in more modern times how many great, game-changing California business ideas have been funded by risk-loving venture capitalists vs. more risk-averse bankers or Wall Street financiers.

S&Ls as innovators

The roots of S&Ls were essentially an economic fix coming out of the Great Depression. By law, they were originally designed to be consumer-friendly, allowing them to pay higher deposits rates than their commercial-bank rivals. And they were empowered to be the steward of local mortgage lending.

The S&L business had to be innovative to survive, especially after the staid world of banking was rocked by sky-high interest rates of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Rising rates technically bankrupted much of the industry, and regulatory attempts to give S&Ls some financial breathing room, in many ways, only made matters worse. Plus, financial scoundrels who were attracted to S&L fix-it gambits helped seal the fate of these mortgage makers.

Say what you want about the execution of many S&L concepts. The industry’s twists on traditional lending, many of which were California-inspired ideas, helped boost housing affordability. Not only did this lending motivate developers to build, some S&Ls also were financial backers of the housing industry, too.

Think about it: How else did common folks buy homes in the days of double-digit interest rates — yes, youngsters: mortgages rates above 10 percent — without S&L-inspired choices like adjustable-rate home loans or low-downpayment programs or qualifying folks with non-traditional sources of income or loans that minimized how much mortgage balance was paid off?

Still, S&Ls had suffered a fatal blow. By the late 1980s, failing institutions bankrupted the industry’s deposit insurance fund. Most of the remaining S&Ls were retooled by government intervention and sold to new owners.

And California housing lost a good friend.

S&L-fueled building boom

For all the S&L warts, the industry’s relevance to today’s housing challenges became clear when I filled my trusty spreadsheet with California data on housing permits, population and job growth dating to the 1960s.
Housing construction in the state has never been the same since the local S&Ls disappeared.

Yes, various state rules and local regulations may get in the way of today’s developers. The change from small, regional developers to huge national enterprises doesn’t help either. And let’s not forget the neighborly “NIMBY” fears of growth that limits construction, too.

Yet tight-fisted mortgage makers — reacting in many ways to the demands of risk-averse government-regulated buyers of home loans  — also are a housing-shortage culprit. Many Californian entrepreneurs, for example, have unconventional work and salary histories that don’t fit a typical loan-approval process. And the state’s high-priced housing needs a local touch to understand it, too.

Just ponder how robustly California created housing when S&Ls were around. From 1963 through 1990 — the S&L era — California developers built an average 203,000 new housing units per year, both rentals and homes for ownership.

When you compare that housing creation to that era’s population growth, you see that every new residential unit absorbed approximately 2.3 new Californians. That’s a seemingly comfortable density. That same construction pace vs. job creation — sort of an “affordability” index — shows 1.3 new workers for every new residential unit.

I’ll take that kind of growth — in housing, residents and jobs — as a golden era because that level of product has never been replicated. Well, we did come close. Let me explain.

Economic malaise ruled for most of the 1990s in the state. The end of the Cold War created a painful “peace dividend” — a sharp cut in the federal government’s military spending. Those cutbacks hurt the state’s numerous defense contractors. The loss of the S&Ls didn’t help. Nor did a moribund real estate industry.

From 1991 through 1998, California developers added new residents units at a 100,000 a year pace, half as much as the S&L days. Job growth slowed by almost that much, so you could see why developers were skittish. Yet population growth slowed by only a quarter, so each new housing unit had to absorb 3.4 new Californians. Let’s just say we were a bit more crowded.

Aggressive lending, again

As the 1990s were ending, new lenders appeared on the scene — a wave of privately funded and lightly regulated loan makers. They first dabbled, relatively unsuccessfully, in high loan-to-value second mortgages. Then others of this ilk help popularize the “subprime” mortgage revolution.

In many ways, these novel products were similar to what was offered by the shuttered California S&Ls. But this breed of bankers — many based in Southern California — didn’t keep their loans on their books like the S&Ls. Rather, they sold them through Wall Street partners to investors. That financial distance from the “owner” of the mortgage allowed for huge credit risks to be taken — bets that first overheated the housing market at the start of the new century, then eventually burst real estate into the Great Recession.

Just look at California’s housing creation. From 1999 through 2006 — another era of aggressive lending — California homebuilding jumped by three-quarters to average 173,000 units annually — almost S&L production levels. Yes, it took that Wild West subprime lending frenzy to get California homebuilding somewhere near levels last seen when S&Ls were a big financial force.

Now, when the dicey subprime loans blew up — as they should have — they wreaked massive pain throughout the real estate and financial worlds. California housing production plummeted. Since 2007, only an average 77,000 units per year were permitted — nearly two-thirds less than the S&L days.

More problematic was that, despite all the economic turmoil, California’s population increases and job growth in the past 10 years slowed nowhere as quickly as homebuilding.

So the typical new housing unit built has had to absorb far more Californians — a very dense 4.1 new residents and 1.7 new jobs, reflecting lowered affordability. That’s far short of the building pace of the “golden standard” of the S&L and subprime eras.

Please don’t think I’m suggesting crazy lending is needed (or wanted) to support California housing. But the housing construction data strongly suggests when lenders are skittish — for much of the 1990s and in the past decade — California badly falls short of its housing-supply needs. My spreadsheet shows California housing creation during the past half-century running at half the pace in those tight-money times vs. periods of more-lenient loans.

More construction could possibly lower California housing’s monetary burdens. But who’d qualify to buy — or rent — what’s offered to the home-seeking marketplace?

So it can’t simply be, build it and they will come. Somebody who knows California’s quirks has got to finance it.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/03/19/want-a-cure-for-housing-shortage-bring-back-savings-and-loans/

How California’s nutrition labels on restaurant menus have benefited residents and the nation

Ten years ago this week, San Francisco required restaurants to list nutritional information on menus. Before the year was over, California became the first state to follow suit. The policy became national in December 2016.

One of the main reasons California has pushed for nutritional labeling is the rising rate of obesity, linked to many health problems.

National obesity rates

For 50 states and the District of Columbia

Obesity in U.S.Obesity in California

The portion of California’s population considered obese went from 9.9 percent in 1990 to 25 percent in 2016, leveling off since 2010.

Obesity rates over time

Here is a how obesity rates map out across all 58 California counties.

California countiesNew national standards

Studies show that about one-third of the food Americans eat is from restaurants. The trend that California began in requiring restaurant chains with 20 or more establishments to include caloric counts for food on menus will become a national policy in May. Many restaurants have already included the information.

Where you will see calorie labeling:

  • Meals at sit-down restaurants
  • Foods purchased at drive-through windows
  • Takeout food, such as pizza
  • Foods, such as made-to-order sandwiches, ordered from a menu or menu board at a grocery store or delicatessen
  • Foods you serve yourself from a salad or hot food bar at a restaurant or grocery store
  • A muffin at a bakery or coffee shop
  • Popcorn purchased at a movie theater or amusement park
  • A scoop of ice cream, milkshake or sundae from an ice cream store

Foods in covered vending machines also will have to carry calorie labeling that can be viewed before purchase, subject to certain exceptions.

New labels

New nutrition labels may go into effect in July for businesses with more than $10 million in annual food sales. There is a proposed extension for the compliance date that the FDA has not ruled on.

New nutrition labelServing size changes
One of the biggest differences in the new label is more realistically reflecting modern serving sizes. A pint of ice cream might say four servings on the old label, but the new label will say three.

Portions on labelsPackaging
Packaging size affects how much people eat and drink. The new label will make both 12- and 20-ounce bottles one serving, since people typically drink the whole amount in one sitting.

You can see the USDA’s recommendations for daily caloric intake here.

Sources: National Institutes of Health, USDA, FDA, Trust for America’s Health, California Department of Public Health

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/03/09/how-californias-nutrition-labels-on-restaurant-menus-have-benefited-residents-and-the-nation/

Trump administration sues California over “sanctuary state” laws

California and the Trump administration have been warring over immigration for more than a year and, on Wednesday, that battle shifted to the courts.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions slammed California and its stance on illegal immigration in a Sacramento speech to formally announce the federal government’s lawsuit against California, Gov. Jerry Brown and Xavier Becerra, the state’s attorney general.

“California, we have a problem. A series of actions and events has occurred that directly and adversely impact the work of our federal officers,” Sessions told a group assembled for a law enforcement event.

To Libby Schaaf, the Oakland mayor who recently warned her community of immigration raids, Sessions said this: “How dare you. How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of law enforcement just to promote your radical open borders agenda.”

Reaction to the pointed speech varied, depending on the respondent’s stance on immigration, but language from all sides was strong.

Gov. Brown said Sessions was acting “more like Fox News than a law enforcement officer” and added that the Trump administration was “full of liars.”

The lawsuit

In the lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Sacramento the Justice Dept. is challenging three California laws — the “California Values Act” (SB 54), the “Workplace Raid” law (AB 450), and the “Detention Review” law (AB 103).

The California Values Act, which took effect Jan. 1, limits cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities, including sharing information about criminals in custody unless the person in question has been convicted of certain serious crimes. Passed in reaction to the Trump administration’s tough talk on immigration and his order to broaden deportations, the law essentially establishes California as the nation’s first sanctuary state.

The Dept. of Justice lawsuit seeks to allow police in California to tell federal agents when immigrants are released from custody and to share other information about those people. It also would allow law enforcement in California to transfer immigrants directly into federal custody without a warrant.

The Workplace Raid law forbids employers from cooperating with federal immigration officials and requires them to give a heads-up to their work force before immigration agents arrive for an inspection. Business owners can be fined $2,000 to $10,000 for failing to comply.

“Just imagine if a state passed a law forbidding employers from cooperating with OSHA in ensuring workplace safety. Or the EPA, looking for a polluter. That would obviously be absurd,” Sessions said. “But it would be no different in principle from this new law enacted by California.”

Among other things, the federal lawsuit seeks to allow California business owners to cooperate with federal agents, including sharing employee records without a judicial order.

The Detention Review law allows California officials to inspect federal facilities in the state where immigrants are being detained on immigration-related issues. The federal lawsuit seeks to strike down that law.

“It’s refreshing”

Activists who want tougher immigration rules, tired of what they view as liberal California laws, were thrilled with Sessions’ words. California leaders, they said, have too long ignored federal rules on immigration to help people who are living in the country illegally.

“It’s refreshing to hear an attorney general talk about upholding our laws,” said Robin Hvidston, executive director of the Claremont-based We the People Rising, an anti-illegal immigration group with members across Southern California.

“It restores order and lawfulness to our state,” said Hvidston, also a leader with the Texas-based Remembrance Project, a group that honors those killed by people residing in the country illegally.

On Facebook,  Assemblyman Travis Allen, a Republican gubernatorial candidate from Huntington Beach, touted “We did it!! JUSTICE COMES TO CALIFORNIA!”

Allen’s post late Tuesday garnered over 11,000 likes.

On Wednesday, some of Allen’s constituents went on line to react to Session’s announcement with comments such as this from Inland Empire resident Phyllis Gibson: “Never thought I would ever want to leave the state I was born & raised in. But unless conservatives can gain control, it will only get worse!”

New fears

But activists who support rights for immigrants and unauthorized residents said Sessions’ speech, and the possibility that the federal lawsuit could invalidate California’s immigration statutes, stirred fears in immigrant communities. They said many families include members with mixed legal status, and that those families could be broken up by tougher immigration enforcement.

“If they are successful in taking away these protections, it will affect daily lives,” said Javier Hernandez, director of the Inland Coalition for Immigration Justice.

Hernandez ticked off each targeted law and defended them. The law that allows California to evaluate how detention centers are run, for example, is needed to provide transparency and protect those who are being held solely for their immigration status. Last year, he noted, three detainees died in the Adelanto Detention Facility, which is operated by one of the country’s largest private prison companies.

“If the state of California wants to understand how detentions work, and how people are being held in detention, we have every right to do so,” Hernandez said.

Los Angeles Councilman Gil Cedillo said: “With their recent lawsuit, Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump have declared war on California. What they fail to realize is that we have rights too. Their legal threats will not intimidate us.”

In Santa Ana, which has declared itself a “sanctuary city,” Councilman David Benavides said the federal lawsuit could further isolate his community and other immigrant communities across the state.

“Our community was already very fearful and concerned as a result of the last election, when Donald Trump was elected,” Benavides said.

“This makes it more difficult for law enforcement officials to provide safety because some people won’t want to call police.”

Law enforcement

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, who has called for working more closely with immigration agents, believes public safety is being hindered by current state law, and the federal lawsuit could spark what she views as necessary change.

“I really think we should be able to notify ICE of individuals who have committed serious crimes and who are in our custody and let them know when they are going to be released,” Hutchens said in an interview Wednesday.

Currently, local law enforcement is not allowed to notify U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, when a criminal who is an unauthorized immigrant has served his or her time and is about to be released — though there are exceptions for immigrants who have committed violent crimes and other serious offenses. Previously, local law enforcement could tell ICE about the release of any immigrant from a local jail. ICE agents could then be on hand to detain them again on an immigration hold.

“This is tying my hands behind my back in areas where I think I should notify ICE,” Hutchens said of the current state law.  She said the current law forces ICE agents to search and arrest immigrants in the community, which can boost the odds of deportation for other unauthorized immigrants who have not committed any other crime.

“Local law enforcement has no desire to enforce immigration law,” Hutchens said. “However, we must have the ability to work with our federal partners to remove dangerous criminals from our community.”

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/03/07/trump-administration-sues-california-over-sanctuary-state-laws/

Need rental housing? California has 6th-fewest vacancies in the U.S.

California renters can pick through slim rental listings with a tiny bit of solace knowing they’re no longer facing America’s tightest market.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the statewide rental vacancies equaled 4.3 percent of all units in 2017. That was the sixth-tightest among the states … a mild improvement from a 3.6 percent vacancy rate in 2016, when California ranked No. 1 among for rental tightness.

Last year, empty rentals were more common only in Rhode Island, Washington, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Overall, the U.S. vacancy rate was 7.2 percent last year, up from 6.9 percent in 2016.

Look, California wasn’t an easy place to rent before the Great Recession. It’s only gotten worse since.

Empty rentals in California ran at 6.6 percent from 2005 to 2010, No. 8 in the U.S. Since that ugly economic downturn, California vacancies have averaged 4.7 percent, No. 3 nationally. The only tighter rentals markets since 2011 were in Oregon and Vermont.

It’s getting harder to find a place to rent across the nation, too. The average national vacancy rate, since 2011, was 7.9 percent vs. running at a 10 percent pace in 2005-2010.

In case you missed it …

Los Angeles-Orange County homeownership at 9-year high, but 4th lowest in U.S.

California migration: Come for jobs, leave to retire

Southern California’s job growth only boosts its unaffordability

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/03/06/need-rental-housing-california-has-6th-fewest-vacancies-in-the-u-s/

Best state? California ranks as 5th most unpredictable one

Beauty is in the eye of the rankings.

Or so goes our national obsession with scorecards that weigh the virtues of just about anything. Ponder a genre of rankings I follow intently: What’s the best state?

These statistical endeavors try to solve a likely unanswerable puzzle and are fraught with various challenges, including intentional and unintentional biases of those doing the rankings. Take California’s performance in three recent rankings: 10th best state to raise a family, by WalletHub; 14th best livability from Gallup; or 32rd “best state” by U.S. News & World Report. Talk about relative confusion!

So I tossed into my trusty spreadsheet ranking data from that trio of efforts — the overall rankings plus the subcategory scores that helped produce the three scorecards.

Of course, I created a “composite” ranking the combined three studies! (California came in at a middling No. 24.) But the true goal was to use “standard deviation” on the factors in the three studies to see if there were any patterns of predictability.

What did I learn? You can bet on Minnesota! Its rankings had the smallest deviations.

Actually, there’s no great need for advanced statistics when a state draws a pair of No. 2s and a fourth-place score in three overall rankings. Can you say “consistency”? And my composite rank had Minnesota as the nation’s No. 1 state. Congrats!

But statistical certainty doesn’t reside solely at the top of the heap as the second-most predictable state was West Virginia, which rated a lowly No. 49 composite ranking from my trusty spreadsheet. Yes, the second-worst state!

West Virginia garnered a pair of No. 47s and a last-place score from the three studies; the highest subcategory score it got was a 23rd place. Basically, the state’s poor reviews are very predictable.

No. 3 in rank consistency was Nebraska, which drew my composite score of ninth best. No. 4 for predictability was Louisiana, last place in my composite ranking. And fifth most predictable was Michigan, No. 36 on the combined scorecard.

So what states are very “unpredictable”? Let’s start with California, the fifth-least consistently ranked. One key reason: It joined Hawaii and Rhode Island as the three states that drew both a first place and last place in subcategory rankings.

Fourth-hardest to figure out was Connecticut, which was No. 9 in the composite ranking. Third most volatile was Idaho which drew a No. 15 composite rank. Next: New Mexico and its composite rank of 44th.

And the most unpredictable state? New Jersey!

In overall rankings, the often-maligned Garden State actually scored well: 12th, 19th and 28th. Its subcategory scores were scattershot, though: from a second place to a No. 49. And still, “Joy-zee” managed to be 18th best in my composite rankings.

But for these states with high standard deviations — thus, limited agreement from the three scorecards — their placement in these statistical beauty pageants, good or bad, is up for serious debate!
In case you missed it …

Los Angeles-Orange County homeownership at 9-year high, but 4th lowest in U.S.

California migration: Come for jobs, leave to retire

Southern California’s job growth only boosts its unaffordability

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/03/05/best-state-california-ranks-as-5th-most-unpredictable-one/

California’s housing supply is the tightest in the nation

Looking for housing in California — to buy or rent — means having the fewest choices in the nation.

A curious stat from the U.S. Census Bureau tracks empty residences, whether those units are rentals or ownership properties. Basically, “gross vacancy rate” is a proportional measure of how many places are available in a geographic area.

When I put this housing-supply data into my trusty spreadsheet, I found California has had nation’s lowest vacancy rate in five out of the last seven years. And in the two years, California did not have the slimmest housing supply (2011 and 2013), the state ranked No. 2.

Last year, 8.3 percent of California residences — both ownership and rental — were vacant. That was the tightest market among the states ahead of Washington, Ohio and Oregon.

The only good news is the 2017 California vacancy rate was up from 7.8 percent in 2016 (also a national low) and the highest since 2014 (also a national low).

By the way, limited availability of housing is a growing national problem. The U.S. rate was 12.7 percent last year, down 0.1 percent to a 12-year low. And vacancies in 11 states hit 12-year lows in 2017, too.

The Great Recession and the uneven-but-powerful economic recovery made California’s long-running vacancy shortage only worse. Job creation has far outpaced developer’s ability and willingness to build new supply.

From 2005 through 2010 — that’s boom to bust — California vacancies ran 10.3 percent, fourth lowest in the U.S. Since the rebound began in 2011, the state’s average gross vacancy rate fell to 8.8 percent. Again, that’s the national low. That decline is a 14.4 percent drop, the fifth-largest supply shrinkage in the U.S.

Post-recession, where did vacancies shrink even faster than California? In some hot economies: Minnesota, Colorado, Oregon and the District of Columbia. And where was the biggest loosening of housing supply? North Dakota, Mississippi, New Mexico, Idaho and New Jersey.

Please note, this vacancy data has a key quirk: States with significant seasonal employment and/or well-traveled “snowbirds” with second homes. So the highest vacancy rates are found in Maine, Florida, Alaska, Vermont and Arizona.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/03/02/californias-housing-supply-is-the-tightest-in-the-nation/

Storm hits Sierra Nevada, evacuations ordered in Santa Barbara County mudslide area

  • In this photo provided by Northstar California, two snowboarders walk to a lift from mid-mountain Thursday, March 1, 2018, at the Northstar California resort in Truckee, Calif. The morning snow was falling at approximately 2 inches per hour. A major winter storm moved across Northern California on Thursday, bringing heavy snow and strong winds to the Sierra Nevada and steady rain through the region that disrupted the morning commute. (Northstar California via AP)

    In this photo provided by Northstar California, two snowboarders walk to a lift from mid-mountain Thursday, March 1, 2018, at the Northstar California resort in Truckee, Calif. The morning snow was falling at approximately 2 inches per hour. A major winter storm moved across Northern California on Thursday, bringing heavy snow and strong winds to the Sierra Nevada and steady rain through the region that disrupted the morning commute. (Northstar California via AP)

  • In this photo provided by Northstar California, a snowboarder and pair of skiers make their way through gusts of wind to a lift Thursday, March 1, 2018, at the Northstar California resort in Truckee, Calif. A major winter storm moved across Northern California on Thursday, bringing heavy snow and strong winds to the Sierra Nevada and steady rain through the region that disrupted the morning commute. (Northstar California via AP)

    In this photo provided by Northstar California, a snowboarder and pair of skiers make their way through gusts of wind to a lift Thursday, March 1, 2018, at the Northstar California resort in Truckee, Calif. A major winter storm moved across Northern California on Thursday, bringing heavy snow and strong winds to the Sierra Nevada and steady rain through the region that disrupted the morning commute. (Northstar California via AP)

  • In this photo provided by Northstar California, skiers ride a chair lift as snow falls Thursday, March 1, 2018, at the Northstar California resort in Truckee, Calif. A major winter storm moved across Northern California on Thursday, bringing heavy snow and strong winds to the Sierra Nevada and steady rain through the region that disrupted the morning commute. (Northstar California via AP)

    In this photo provided by Northstar California, skiers ride a chair lift as snow falls Thursday, March 1, 2018, at the Northstar California resort in Truckee, Calif. A major winter storm moved across Northern California on Thursday, bringing heavy snow and strong winds to the Sierra Nevada and steady rain through the region that disrupted the morning commute. (Northstar California via AP)

  • In this photo provided by Northstar California, large snowflakes obscure a pair of gondolas as a storm passes Thursday, March 1, 2018, at the Northstar California resort in Truckee, Calif. A major winter storm moved across Northern California on Thursday, bringing heavy snow and strong winds to the Sierra Nevada and steady rain through the region that disrupted the morning commute. (Northstar California via AP)

    In this photo provided by Northstar California, large snowflakes obscure a pair of gondolas as a storm passes Thursday, March 1, 2018, at the Northstar California resort in Truckee, Calif. A major winter storm moved across Northern California on Thursday, bringing heavy snow and strong winds to the Sierra Nevada and steady rain through the region that disrupted the morning commute. (Northstar California via AP)

  • In this image from a dashboard camera provided by the California Highway Patrol is a closed section of Interstate 80 at Donner Summit Thursday, March 1, 2018, near Truckee, Calif. A major winter storm moved across Northern California on Thursday, bringing heavy snow and strong winds to the Sierra Nevada and steady rain through the region that disrupted the morning commute. Up in the Sierra, officials warned people to stay off mountain roads. The California Department of Transportation said there were chain controls or snow-tire requirements in place on stretches of Interstate 80, U.S. Highway 50 and U.S. 395. (California Highway Patrol via AP)

    In this image from a dashboard camera provided by the California Highway Patrol is a closed section of Interstate 80 at Donner Summit Thursday, March 1, 2018, near Truckee, Calif. A major winter storm moved across Northern California on Thursday, bringing heavy snow and strong winds to the Sierra Nevada and steady rain through the region that disrupted the morning commute. Up in the Sierra, officials warned people to stay off mountain roads. The California Department of Transportation said there were chain controls or snow-tire requirements in place on stretches of Interstate 80, U.S. Highway 50 and U.S. 395. (California Highway Patrol via AP)

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BY CHRISTOPHER WEBER and OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ
The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — A major winter storm is sweeping south through California on Thursday, bringing heavy snow and strong winds to mountains and steady rain elsewhere, while prompting mandatory evacuations for coastal areas to the south that were devastated by deadly mudslides in January.

As many as 30,000 people were ordered to leave an area of Santa Barbara County before the storm arrived early Friday.

Sheriff Bill Brown said forecasters weren’t certain how intense the storm would be when it arrives in Southern California. However, modeling indicates “there is a risk for dangerous flash flooding, mud and debris flows,” he warned.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Montecito resident Harriet Mosson said.

The 76-year-old said the three-story condo building where she lives was not damaged in January because it’s on the ocean side of U.S. 101, which helped divert the mudslides that came down the mountains.

“Can it happen again? Yeah, I guess it can. Will it, now? I doubt it,” she said. “And if something terrible happens I’ll be able to get out of here.”

People cannot be forced to leave their homes under a mandatory evacuation order, but authorities said they should not be expected to be rescued while the storm event is occurring.

To the north, a blizzard warning was issued for parts of the Sierra Nevada, where winds could gust up to 125 mph  on ridges and 60 mph in some valleys, the National Weather Service said.

The cold front is expected to bring snow to foothill areas as low as 3,500 feet, and officials warned people to stay off mountain roads.

The California Department of Transportation said 90-miles stretch of Interstate 80 was closed between Colfax, California, and the Nevada state line due to whiteout conditions.

Chains or snow tires were needed on stretches of Interstate 80, U.S. 50 and U.S. 395. Dozens of collisions were reported on San Francisco Bay Area highways.

Northern mountains were expected to receive as much as 5 feet of snow and reach 7 feet in some areas.
The snow will help the Sierra snowpack, which is vital to the state’s water supply and is only about a quarter of its normal depth for this time of winter.

Stephanie Myers, a spokeswoman for Heavenly Mountain Resort and Kirkwood Mountain Resort in Lake Tahoe, estimated snow was falling at about 2 inches an hour.

“We’re thrilled about this storm,” Myers said. “Once the storm moves out of the area, we’ll have a beautiful bluebird powder day.”

Predictions of widespread showers raised concern about flash flooding when the storm reaches Southern California.

Santa Barbara County ordered the immediate evacuations for residents of areas burned by three major wildfires over the past 18 months.

The order encompasses Montecito, where a Jan. 9 storm triggered flash floods that destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes. Twenty-one people were killed and two remain missing. Other areas impacted by the order are Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria.

The county is following a rigorous new system of alerts that emphasizes evacuations well in advance of storms rather than suggesting residents can use their discretion.

“We want everyone to be out of the area, and out of harm’s way, by nightfall,” Brown said, adding that evacuations in areas stripped bare by wildfires will be part of “the new normal” following the devastation in Montecito.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/03/01/storm-hits-sierra-nevada-evacuations-ordered-in-santa-barbara-county-mudslide-area/

Flu season’s end in sight, but hospital visits continue at ‘elevated’ levels, state health officials say​

While the number of flu-related deaths declined across California last week, state health officials on Friday could only repeat the same message that has defined what they’ve called the worst season in almost 10 years: Influenza is continuing to spread at elevated levels.

There were 22 people who died of flu-related illnesses across the state last week, bringing the total number of deaths to 185 in California among those age 64 and younger. While still high compared to an average flu season, the number of fatalities reported this week was a decrease compared to the week before, when 36 people were reported to have died, making it the deadliest week in the season so far.

The California Public Health Department doesn’t count flu-related deaths among those 65 and older because under a state mandate they are not required to do. State health officials have said flu-related deaths in those 64 and younger is used as an indicator of the severity of the season’s strain.

Most of those deaths reported by the state — or 61 of them — are being reported in the southern part of the state, including Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Imperial counties.

In Orange County, there were almost 6,000 people who tested positive for the flu, and 12 deaths reported so far this season. Last year, there were 1,921 cases and 2 deaths, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

“Several more weeks of flu activity are expected,” according to state health officials, and many counties are noting that.

RELATED STORYFlu-related deaths in California surpass 150 as worst season in years continues its toll

In Los Angeles County, health officials noted there have been 158 flu-related deaths among all ages, though those figures don’t include the cities of Long Beach and Pasadena, since each have a health department. Of the 158 deaths, one was a child. Last year, 53 adults died and there were no pediatric, flu-related fatalities.

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L.A. County health officials also noted a new trend. Most of this seasons flu-related deaths were attributed to the Influenza A H3N2 strain. But there has been a shift.

“We have also seen a small uptick in ED visits related to influenza-like illness, which may be explained by the increasing predominance of flu B viruses,” according to the weekly report.

Federal health officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study this week that noted that this year’s vaccine was 36 percent effective against influenza A and B virus infection.

“This means that the seasonal flu vaccine has reduced the risk of getting sick and having to go to the doctor from flu by about one third,” Los Angeles County health officials wrote in the department’s weekly flu surveillance report.

Influenza A (H3N2) viruses were responsible for most of the flu infections reported in the study.

“Thus, the seasonal flu vaccines are providing some protection against A(H3N2) viruses,” according to L.A. County health officials.

Both state and local health officials continue to press the public to get vaccinated.

“Based on these estimates, flu vaccination will still prevent a substantial amount of illness,” state health officials said.

Influenza symptoms include fever or feeling feverish, a cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, chills and fatigue. Most people with the flu are able to treat themselves at home, health officials say, but in some, the disease can lead to complications including pneumonia, seizures, and worsening of chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and heart or lung disease.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/02/16/flu-seasons-end-in-sight-but-hospital-visits-continue-at-elevated-levels-state-health-officials-say%E2%80%8B/

California rent rates have risen to some of the nation’s highest. Here’s how that impacts residents

California’s population is growing faster than builders can add housing, driving up rents. Incomes, meanwhile, aren’t keeping up. As a result, it takes three full-time, minimum-wage incomes to afford a two-bedroom California apartment. Here’s how rising rents are impacting the state and, in particular, Southern California.

Rising rent

Los Angeles County apartment rents increased almost $500 a month, or 34 percent, in the last seven years, Reis Inc. figures show. In Orange County, rents increased $355 a month, while in the Inland Empire they’re up $266 a month. More than half of Southern California’s tenants are “rent burdened,” meaning they spend at least a third of their income on rent, U.S. Census figures show.

rental risePercent of income going to rent

Rent percentage

 

Minimum wage and renting

A Californian working for minimum wage ($10.50/hour*) would need to work 92 hours to afford a 1 bedroom rental at Fair Market Rent without paying 30 percent of income. The state map shows the National Low Income Housing Coalition county by county calculations.

*Starting in January, minimum wage is $11/hour for businesses with more than 25 employees. Charts are calculated for $10.50/hour.

Only 12 counties spread across Washington, Oregon and Arizona had wages high enough and housing costs low enough for a minimum-wage worker to afford housing at 30 percent of their income and only work 40 hours.

California counties and rent

You can see the 2017 report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition here.

There are an estimated 6 million renters in California which is about 46 percent of the households.

Rise and fall

Inflation-adjusted median rent and median renter income from 2000 to 2015.

Orange County: +28 percent rent, -9 percent income
Riverside County: +32 percent rent, -3 percent income
Los Angeles County, +32 percent rent, -3 percent income

California compared

California has the fourth-highest hourly total needed for a minimum wage worker to afford a one-bedroom rental without paying more than 30 percent of their income.

Nation map hours worked

1. Hawaii, 116 hours
2. Virginia, 109 hours
3. New York, 101 hours
4. California, 92 hours

California has second highest hourly wage needed for a householder working a 40-hour week to afford a two-bedroom rental.

California two bedroom wage

1. Hawaii, $35.20
2. California, $30.92
3. Maryland, $28.27
4. New York, $28.08

Southern California rentals

This map shows regional rental prices for apartments on Trulia.com, a real estate and rental listings site. The map is from Feb. 14.

Highest and lowest areas rentMedian gross rent, 2012-16

San Bernardino County: $1,144
Riverside County: $1,212
Los Angeles County: $1,264
Orange County: $1,608

Median two bedroom rent

Select Southern California cities in December 2017.

So Cal cities rentOwn or rent

Los Angeles County has more renters than homeowners.  Percentage of owners and renters by county:

Own or rent

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, National Low Income Housing Coalition, Trulia.com, Apartmentlist.com, Legislative Analyst’s Office , Reis Inc.

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/02/15/california-rent-rates-have-risen-to-some-of-the-nations-highest-heres-how-that-impacts-residents/

DMV to offer REAL ID, special driver’s license making it easier to fly when regulations kick in

Want to make air travel easier in a few years?

The Department of Motor Vehicles can help.

Beginning Monday, Jan. 22, the California DMV is taking applications for special identification cards and driver’s licenses that can be used to comply with federal air-travel regulations that kick in 2020.

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The California Department of Motor Vehicles on January 22 will start taking applications for identification cards and driver’s licenses that can be used to comply with federal air travel regulations that will start in 2020. The new cards, such as the rendering shown here, will have some new features. (Courtesy of the Department of Motor Vehicles)
Called REAL ID, the special cards are to to safeguard air travel, in the post 9/11 world. To get a card takes more effort than obtaining or renewing the regular license or state-issued ID (DMV officials say the easiest time to get a REAL ID is when renewing a license or ID).

Unlike most times when renewing a license, you must go into a field office and also show proof of residency with a utility bill or a mortgage statement, proof of a Social Security number, and bring in a U.S. passport or a birth certificate.

An original or certified copy of any name-change document, such as a marriage certificate or a divorce document, may also be
required. A list of accepted documents is on the DMV’s website.

“It’s not mandatory,” Cristina Valdivia Aguilar, a DMV spokeswoman, said about the higher-end driver’s license and ID card. “Not everyone will need it or want it. The fees are exactly the same as what your card would cost to renew it ($30). We encourage people to get an appointment.”

After Oct. 1, 2020, U.S. passports, passport cards, military identification or other TSA-approved ID will still be accepted to board a domestic flight. But after that, a traditional driver’s license or state ID will no longer be enough.

Flashing the REAL ID will do the trick, though, for flights and to enter military bases or to get onto federal facilities. On domestic flights, minors still will not need ID if flying with an adult.

The new identification cards will have some different design features, such as images of a gold miner and California poppies in the background. With ultraviolet light, the Golden Gate Bridge and Coit Tower will appear.

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/01/20/dmv-to-offer-real-id-special-drivers-license-making-it-easier-to-fly-when-regulations-kick-in/

California may buck Congress with its own health insurance requirement

By Elizabeth Aguilera, CALmatters

With Congress ending the requirement that all Americans have health insurance, California leaders are preparing to counter that move by securing health care for as many residents as possible in a fortified state insurance exchange.

State lawmakers say they will present a package of health-related proposals in the coming weeks, before a Feb. 16 deadline for new bill introductions. Details are still developing, but officials and health care advocates say discussions focus on ways to maintain the exchange’s high enrollment and help still more Californians obtain insurance.

“Everything they are doing at the federal level, we are doing the opposite,” said state Sen. Ed Hernandez, an Azusa Democrat who chairs the Senate Committee on Health and plans to host a bill-pitching session next week.

The outcome may or may not include a state version of the mandate the federal government repealed, effective next year.

covered-california-enrollment“What drives individuals to purchase on the exchange is the marketing, but also the subsidies and the health care,” Hernandez said. “We are looking at every option.”

The mission, Hernandez said, is to retain California’s successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act, further lower the number of uninsured people and control health care costs.

Across the country, states that created their own exchanges like California did are similarly engaged. Maryland lawmakers, for example, are trying to adopt a mandate that residents have health insurance or pay a penalty. Alternatively, the equivalent of the penalty could be used as a kind of downpayment on a health care plan.

The federal penalty for those without insurance goes away at the end of this year. It was imposed as part of the Affordable Care Act to ensure that most Americans signed up for health care, including the young and healthy who would give the exchanges a good balance of individuals and offset costs for those older and less healthy.

Republicans in Congress argued that removing the federal mandate allows families to choose for themselves whether to buy insurance and saves the federal government money because fewer subsidies will be required.

President Donald Trump, in tweets encouraging Congress to act, called the mandate “very unfair and unpopular.” The government’s savings, he said, could be used for “Tax Cuts for the Middle Class.”

Trump’s administration had already limited the latest enrollment period for the federal exchange and gutted the marketing budget that provided information about how to sign up.

California has been working to keep its exchange, called Covered California, strong. Its current marketing efforts include a television ad campaign emphasizing that anybody’s health can change in an instant. The ads show people in accidents—falling off a ladder while putting up holiday lights, slipping on toys left on a staircase.

Covered California is spending $111 million on marketing and outreach in hopes that the number of enrollees for 2018 will continue to climb as the sign-up period nears its Jan. 31 end. That expenditure is up from $99 million during last year’s enrollment period.

In the first month of the current sign-up period, enrollment was up 28 percent over the same period last year, according to Covered California, with more than 100,000 new enrollees and 1.2 million renewals.

California already has one of the lowest rates of uninsured in the nation, at 6.8 percent, down from 17 percent in 2013, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We are actively marketing, we are supportive in the Legislature, we have a significant increase in enrollment,” said Hernandez. “We are doing things right, and I want to make sure we stay on that trajectory.”

An individual insurance requirement is an important way to keep Californians in the exchange, said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, which advocates for consumers.

“What can we do … at the state level so they don’t leave people in the lurch or destabilize the overall market?” Wright said. “The individual requirement piece is part of that mix.”

The penalties collected could be used to lower the cost of Covered California insurance, Wright said. But “we’d prefer more people sign up than pay a penalty.”

Without the mandate, which Congress repealed as part of the recent tax overhaul, some worry that healthy people, the young or those who opt not to pay for insurance could drop out of the system.

And last month, Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, told the board of directors that the effect of a penalty reduces the cost of care for the uninsured in emergency rooms, in addition to other benefits like the bigger risk pool for insurers.

Wright and other health care advocates want more. They’re urging legislators to combat the Trump administration with a bigger arsenal, including the extension of subsidies to families that don’t currently qualify and further expansion of Medi-Cal, the state’s health care system for the needy.

Hernandez agreed that more families deserve assistance but was doubtful that more subsidies would be made available in the near term, despite the state’s full coffers.

“I would love to do some kind of state subsidy,” he said. But with all the demands on the state budget, “I’m a realist as well.”

CALmatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/01/17/california-may-buck-congress-with-its-own-health-insurance-requirement/