SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The investigative arm of the state Senate has found nearly two dozen registered sex offenders serving as substance-abuse counselors in California, which lacks procedures to screen them out.
The Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes said in a report Monday that California and Pennsylvania are the only two large states that conduct no criminal background checks on drug and alcohol counselors.
Other states check applicants’ fingerprints against criminal records or require applicants to report their own backgrounds, with penalties if they lie.
California also has no system to weed out counselors who are convicted of crimes after they have started working.
The report says the state should take charge of credentialing counselors or require that the current certifying organizations do a better job.
Many law enforcement officials say crime has increased because of Brown’s realignment law, releasing dangerous felons back onto the street.
In response to a federal court order, Gov. Jerry Brown pushed a novel approach through the Legislature two years ago to dramatically reduce California’s prison population.
People convicted of felonies that were considered non-violent, non-sexual and non-serious would serve their sentences in county jails rather than state prisons. Once released, they would be supervised by local probation officers instead of state parole agents.
The shift in California’s penal system, referred to as “realignment,” is one of the nation’s largest criminal justice experiments and has done its job in at least one respect: The population in the state’s 33 adult prisons has dropped so much that the system now ranks second to Texas in the number of inmates, even though Texas has 12 million fewer residents.
But the change has not come without criticism.
Many law enforcement officials, victims’ rights groups and Republican lawmakers say crime has increased because of Brown’s realignment law, as the wave of new inmates arriving in some county jails is leading to overcrowded conditions and the early release of dangerous felons.
Advocacy groups seized on preliminary FBI crime statistics to argue both sides of the issue.
Though still low in comparison to previous decades, property and violent crimes increased in 40 of California’s 69 largest cities in the first six months of 2012, the largest such increase in 20 years, and the Sacramento-based Criminal Justice Legal Foundation said realignment is clearly to blame.
“Your problem is that you chose to spend the night on your land. That’s dumb to hang out with copper-wire thieves, gang bangers, and the 18% unemployed. You’re supposed to live in Fresno, visit your land in the daytime hours, and leave the problems after dark to your foreman and the insurance company.”
Boom or Bust?
I have lived on the same farm for 59 years and seen at least three boom-and-bust farm cycles — one in the late 1960s, another in the early 1980s, and a third right now. I’ve witnessed raisins, for example, at $1,420 a ton 35 years ago, then $410 a ton, then $700 a ton — and now almost $2,000. The old wisdom insisted that almond acreage could never exceed 200,000 acres without a crash, that prices would never go over $1 pound to the farmer, that production could not go much over 3,000 lbs. per acre.
Now? There are now 800,000 plus acres of California almonds, prices near $3 a pound, and new varieties are creeping up to 4,000 lbs. per acre. Some almond orchards remind me of alien organisms: lousy soil, undersized trees, tiny roots — and loaded with nuts to the point that props are needed to keep the trees from toppling over, as agronomy keeps these artificial creations going with daily IV fusions of water and nutrients. It is almost as if anything on the tree that is not a nut is genetically superfluous.
When I began farming full-time in the cresting boom of 1980, vineyard or orchard went for almost $10,000 an acre. I saw it crash three years later and prices dip as low as $3,000 an acre for what was then called “Thompson Worthless” vineyards. By the 1990s, prices were back up to between $7,000 and $10,000 per acre — only to go back down too $5,000 by 2003. And now? Bare land can go for $15,000 an acre and up; a productive vineyard or nut orchard sells for $25,000 to $30,000. “They” say $35,000 an acre is on the horizon.
Nearly half of the county’s unauthorized immigrants lack a high school diploma, and 60% do not speak English well, according to the study. Twelve percent own their own homes.
Marchers at a May Day rally this month show support for comprehensive immigration reform.
One in 10 Los Angeles County residents is an immigrant living in the country illegally, according to a study released Tuesday by the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration.
Many of those immigrants have been in the country for more than a decade and are the parents of children who are American citizens, the study found. One in five children in Los Angeles County has at least one parent who is in the country without proper documentation.
One in four of the estimated 11 million people said to be in the United States without legal authorization lives in California. Statewide, the study estimates that about 7% of residents, or more than 2.6 million people, are in the country illegally.
That means the stakes for California are particularly high as Congress debates immigration reform, including the possibility of a mass legalization.
“The share of children with at least one undocumented parent really speaks to the interwoven generations,” said Manuel Pastor, the USC center’s director and a coauthor of the study. “Another thing that’s striking to me is the length of settlement of the undocumented population. Rather than the person who stands in front of Home Depot who just got here a year ago, it’s actually a more settled population.”
In Los Angeles County, 63% of unauthorized immigrants are from Mexico and 22% from Central America, according to the study. Eight percent are from the Philippines, Korea or China.
The inability to create effective public policy is also a result of the toxic and unhealthy relationship elected officials have with the public safety unions that have consistently spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy elections, castrate elected officials to vote their way and threaten those who vote against their selfish interests.
Since the city of San Bernardino declared bankruptcy in July 2012, there have been many opinion pieces written with all sorts of different ideas about how the city got to where it is.
While the entire story really is comprised of lost industries, closed military bases, re-routed freeway systems, an influx of renters without the same financial interest in maintaining property values and neighborhoods, a sinking tax base and a county seat that is home to many of the social services needed by those resting upon society’s safety net, the crux of the issue resides with the system that dictates the operations of the city as a municipal corporation – the City Charter.
At the end of the day, we are where we are – and that is on the brink of insolvency, disincorporation, no longer being the city of San Bernardino, and losing the oldest historic city in the county.
The City Council is fundamentally unable to make the difficult decisions that are needed to pull the city back off the brink of the precipice. This is the result of a council that is bound by rules imposed by a charter that dictates to those decision-makers what to pay certain city employees (public safety) – a specific rate that is compared to cities throughout the state that share no commonalities with San Bernardino.
There’s a reason a California official told residents to lock their doors and load their guns. Democrats control two-thirds of the legislature in California and CalWatchdog’s Brian Calle asks Victor Davis Hanson about the future of the state.
Stockton, California boomed during the real estate bubble but went bust when it popped. Now Stockton is the first major United States city to enter into bankruptcy. Who will win and lose as creditors fight over the remains of this failed city? Find out as the Col. Allen West, Terry Jones and John Phillips tell you what is at stake for California pensions and this bankrupt municipality.
California County Administrator gets $424,000 per year in retirement – more than twice a US President. It’s Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous on a Government Pension as the state slides toward bankruptcy.
So with a better understanding of the criteria used to measure personal and economic freedom (and with a better idea of what they mean when they use the word “freedom”), here are the top 10 “freest” states in the U.S., according to “Freedom in the 50 States”:
“There’s another chapter in the high-speed fail saga, and I almost can’t do this one with a straight face,” Assemblyman Brian Jones, R-Santee, said in a recent video series in which he shares political frustrations. “What a social engineering disaster this is going to be, and add to California’s laughingstock reputation.”
What do high school dropouts, convicted felons and union apprentices have in common?
They’re all “disadvantaged” workers who — alongside veterans, former foster children and single parents — must account for at least 10 percent of the labor force behind California’s $68 billion high-speed rail project. By 2029, the state’s High-Speed Rail Authority hopes to send commuters hurtling at 200 mph between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The 800-mile system with up to 24 stations will eventually extend to Sacramento and San Diego, but some critics — and even former proponents of the megaproject — are now questioning its viability.
Randal O’Toole, a senior fellow at Cato Institute, a Washington-based think tank, said his biggest concern is not the unconventional workforce demand, but that the electrically-powered train system is really a “political project” aimed at fattening the wallets of well-connected unions, contractors, engineers and associated firms.
“There’s a lot of money to be made out of building this and the whole goal of high-speed rail is to make that money, to transfer money from taxpayers into the pockets of selected supporters of the Obama administration,” O’Toole told FoxNews.com. “It always comes back to politics.”
Adam Carolla knows liberal media bias exists because he’s seen it up close and personal. So when he watches the mainstream press ignore President Barack Obama’s hypocrisy he simply chalks it up to more of the same.
Find out how the negativity and self-loathing of modern Hollywood is just a small gear in the machine that brings down entire nations. What can we do about it? Well, we can walk right into the heart of Mordor and destroy the Ring of Power.