The Armchair Quarterback’s Commentary

Posted on April 1, 2013

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Let’s start out with proposed laws: Bob Wieckowski as proposed AB 666 which is being referred to in some circles as “The Devil’s Bill” because it strips the responsibility of adjudicating red light camera cases from the courts and makes them administrative hearings in front of the town that put the cameras up, much like parking tickets. The upside? It depends on who you ask….. More revenue for cottage industries that are lobbying heavily to have the cameras turned back on so that they can resume that revenue split with the city that put them up. Red light cameras also wouldn’t count as a moving violation on your record anymore either. The downside is more erosion of due process for citizens. This bill puts red light cameras in the same category as parking tickets and we know how that works – You’re guilty even if you can prove your innocence.

Then there is SB 289 by Senator Lou Correa. In an effort to give law enforcement better guidance on what constitutes as driving under the influence, Mr. Correa has defined any detectable amount of any drug in your system as driving under the influence. This winner will be producing revenue for years to come when people are arrested for having eaten poppy seed bagels and charged with DUI when those trace amount of opiates show up in drug screening.

Are you a prop. 215 patient?

Mr. Correa seeks to ensure that you prop 215 people never get behind the wheel again because if you medicated at any time in the last month, you will test DUI under his bill. There’s a saying that people that don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. Zero tolerance drug laws are what filled our prisons to begin with. This time, there are those cottage industries, the auto insurance industry and law enforcement from around the state that would benefit from that revenue split that sponsor this bill. Soon you will see new and improved blow-and-go ignition interlocks that test for more than just alcohol. And of course we can’t forget that a DUI triples your auto insurance premiums for five years. Then again there are all of those out-of-work lawyers who can’t prosecute civil cases anymore because there are no civil courtrooms left. They too can jump in on Correa’s cash bonanza and start defending the third of Californians who took a hit off a joint in the last thirty days. Now if this law had a twice-annual random substance testing provision for those who enforce the laws I think we might see the public back this bill – and watch law enforcement kill it.

Last, we have Senator Ellen Corbett and SB 123 who wants to create special land use courts to manage the California Environmental Quality Act within our overburdened, under-resourced court system. So what is a land use court? They get to decide if your construction project will impact environmental quality. Well, it’s something that California Judges already do but Corbett aims to have a certain amount of judges hearing only CEQA cases so that these cases are less of an impediment to progress and that these cases move through the judicial system on a fast track of sorts. Imagine, soon one of the three judges hearing civil cases in Los Angeles might be taken off the job to hear only CEQA cases. Or one of the two judges in Alpine County would only hear CEQA cases. Corbett is a reliable source for thoughtless legislation.

Seen any other winners that would undermine due processes or overburden our courts? Tell us about it as we intend to start these new laws on our soon to be deployed legislative watch tab.
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Ever heard of the Feinstein invasion? Neither did we until a few days ago. You see the theory behind the Feinstein invasion is that if you’re going to invade the United States from the pacific coast, you concentrate your landings from Santa Barbara to Crescent City. The reason? Alaska has no gun laws. Washington and Oregon have few gun laws. There’s a significant military presence in Southern California and every gangbanger in L.A. has assault rifles despite the gun laws. So you hit the area where your forces can push in a few hundred miles with limited resistance. As our nation continues to debate stricter gun laws, let’s not forget that no one enforces the current laws on the books now and that represents a majority of the problem. With sabre-rattling from North Korea and talks of invading and nuking the United States, perhaps we should be reconsidering that marked lack of military presence from Santa Barbara north and permit law-abiding citizens to be well armed while strictly enforcing the existing laws on the books so that the Feinstein invasion never becomes a reality.

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A little bird is whispering to us that it’s appearing that another boondoggle might be taking form in San Diego. This boondoggle has to do with false commitments, tunnels, bridges and the tearing down of old, asbestos laden courthouses.

  • From Judge Kenneth So,  June 14, 2012 “The State of California will pay for the tunnel because it was part of the negotiations to obtain the land for the courthouse  from the County. The tunnel is included in the budget for the courthouse project.”
  • Notes of an AOC Memorandum to the City of Long Beach, August 2012 “The State was firm in their decision that they would not  finance the construction of the tunnel, as they view prisoner 

    transportation as a local responsibility, whether prisoners come from long beach, the county of communities like Signal Hill

    .”

  • The Michael Roddy report that went out to judges in San Diego in August 2012 reiterates the AOC’s policy by indicating that there is no tunnel planned from the county jail to the courthouse. There isn’t a bridge from the HOJ to the new courthouse. Conveniently, it leaves out who will pay to tear down the old courthouse like it is not on anyones’ radar, yet the proposed prisoner tunnel was penciled in (as part of the sales pitch) to go under the existing courthouse after it was raised. Except you can’t use SB1407 funds to build prisoner transport and they can only be used to tear down buildings when a new courthouse is going up in place of the old courthouse on the same plot of land. 

Another case of the insiders bamboozling the rest of us to win construction approval?

I wonder what a CEQA court would say about all the downtown air pollution generated by busing prisoners two blocks.

This courthouse was initially slated to cost 1.2 billion dollars by the AOC. In the last two years they’ve tossed about figures of between 554 million and 640 million. Yet what no longer appears as part of the project is the reason the land deal went down in the first place – a direct connection to the county jail. Instead, the AOC wishes to build their own holding facilities (the most expensive part of any courthouse with the least in it) and have prisoners transported to an area where no parking exists. If there will be no tunnel, the AOC should take advantage and move the courthouse out of the congested downtown area and save everyone – including themselves – some cash.