One of the defects in California’s political system is how not just the public-employee unions, but the super-wealthy can manipulation the system. They use democracy to short-circuit democracy.
A good example is billionaire Reed Hastings, chairman of the board at Netflix. He has long been involved in California’s political process, especially on education. Nothing wrong with that. He’s a citizen.
But in 2000, he used his immense wealth to put Proposition 39 on the ballot to increase school construction funding. It did not increase taxes on the incomes of billionaires. Instead, it made it easier to pass local school construction bonds, paid for by tax increases on property, by dropping the passage supermajority from two-thirds to 55 percent. That meant higher costs for housing, contributing to the subsequent housing and homelessness crises….
As tensions continue to escalate over the influx of migrants following the expiration of Title 42, U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz has announced his retirement this week.
In a letter to coworkers on Tuesday, Ortiz said that his last day will officially be June 30th. He has held his position for less than two years, and during that time, he managed around 20,000 Border Patrol personnel.
“I leave at ease, knowing we have a tremendous uniformed and professional workforce, strong relationships with our union partners, and outstanding leaders who will continue to tirelessly advocate for you each day,” Ortiz wrote.
Ortiz handled emergency Title 42 health limitations and COVID-19 period policy changes during his brief time in charge of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s law enforcement division.
Following the termination of Title 42 earlier this month, he also played a key role in the implementation of Title 8, a set of limitations designed to reduce the flow of immigrants at the southern border while creating new legal avenues for immigration.
Ortiz came under criticism just before the new rules went into effect after a leaked directive showed that he had told border agents to release large groups of migrants without giving them court dates or any way to find out where they were in the nation.
The U.S.-Mexico border, however, remained relatively tranquil in the early days of Title 8, and interactions between migrants and agents lessened as many prospective asylum seekers assessed their choices.
Ortiz’s retirement comes amid continuous debate regarding American cities’ capacity to receive the influx of newcomers who manage to cross the border, as well as the risky methods some desperate asylum seekers are employing to enter the country in the first place.
Drug cartels are reportedly offering to transport migrants to the border for around $200 each, but if they cannot afford the money then they also risk being forced into the drug trade or even having their fingers amputated.
A distressing video of a smuggler dropping a 4-year-old boy off of a 30-foot border wall in San Diego has recently surfaced.
On Twitter, Ortiz had criticized the video and urged others not to “trust smugglers.”
In August 2021, Ortiz was placed in his role as the new Border Patrol Chief. His predecessor, Rodney Scott, was a fervent supporter of Trump administration policies, notably the debate over the construction of a border wall between Mexico.
The U.S. Border Patrol had received harsh criticism from the public for displacing migrant families while Scott was in charge. Even though Ortiz’s tenure was less contentious, the agent’s reported inappropriate use of force against non-threatening asylum seekers drew condemnation from some.
The agency admittedly did not have “operational control” over the whole border, as Ortiz was forced to confess to this in a hearing before a congressional committee in March. About a year earlier, he also claimed in a leaked video that agent morale was at an “all-time low.”
However, Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of homeland security, hailed Ortiz on Tuesday for being a strong leader.
“Selecting him to lead the Border Patrol was among the most important decisions I have made,” Mayorkas wrote. “Chief Ortiz agreed to postpone his retirement several times since and the Border Patrol, the Department, and our country have been all the better for it.”
A group of minors was apprehended following a severe attack on three off-duty U.S. Marines at the San Clemente Pier in Southern California over the Memorial Day weekend. The incident, which involved a crowd of dozens of young people, led to the arrest of five minors on felony assault charges. The incident is currently under investigation by local authorities.
Mayor Chris Duncan of San Clemente confirmed that four additional minors will be held accountable for their roles in the violent altercation, though they will not be detained. Specifics regarding the charges they face have not yet been disclosed. The arrested individuals, comprising four boys and one girl, could be charged with felony assault with a deadly non-firearm weapon and are currently held at the Orange County Juvenile Hall….
SEAL BEACH, Calif.—One man was in custody May 30 and two others are facing charges in a Seal Beach robbery.
Police were dispatched about 11:30 p.m. Friday to the Seal Beach Pier and the 10th Street parking lot regarding the robbery, Seal Beach Police Department Lt. Julia Clasby said.
The suspects pulled in behind another vehicle in a black Honda and two of the suspects confronted a victim, who jumped into his vehicle and locked himself inside, Clasby said.
One suspect slashed the rear driver’s side tire and another suspect started pounding on the driver’s side window, Clasby said. The victim drove the car over a parking block to get away, Clasby said….
During the Memorial Day weekend, on the San Clemente Pier, a large group of teenagers attacked and beat two non-uniformed United States Marines who simply requested that the crowd discontinue igniting fireworks. The irony of beating enlisted soldiers on this May weekend is not lost on the residents of Orange County. A video of the melee has gone viral and is an embarrassment to the 3 million Orange Countians who have been impugned by this deplorable act.
It’s early, but something tells me that some form of calamity was expected. San Clemente residents have been asking for more public safety, and on April 18, the City Council formed the Private Security Subcommittee. The goal was “to provide the full body of the City Council information about the use of private security to enhance the existing public safety efforts.” This was pursued as the City Council had “authorized the use of a private security firm for up to three months and up to $100,000 per month on a limited term basis while longer-term solutions are analyzed.”…
SACRAMENTO—For most of the year, California’s quest to rid itself of fossil fuels seems on track: Electric cars populate highways while energy from wind, solar, and water provides much of the power for homes and businesses.
Then it gets hot, and everyone in the nation’s most populous state turns on their air conditioners at the same time. That’s when California has come close to running out of power in recent years, especially in the early evenings when electricity from solar is not as abundant.
Now, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to buy massive amounts of renewable energy to help keep the lights on. The idea is to use the state’s purchasing power to convince private companies to build large-scale power plants that run off of heat from underground sites and strong winds blowing off the coast—the kinds of power that utility companies have not been buying because it’s too expensive and would take too long to build….