In the News

January 20, 2016

The Democratic chairman of the state Senate transportation committee said he plans to hold oversight hearings on the bullet train to examine its management performance, construction schedules and cost estimates.

The hearings, chaired by Sen. James Beall Jr. of San Jose, would provide the first significant legislative oversight of the project in four years, during which it has fallen far behind schedule and concerns have mounted over its costs and other uncertainties.

January 20, 2016

On Jan. 13, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, a 14-member panel of the state Assembly and Senate, approved an audit of Hemet’s finances. The decision comes months after the city’s placement on the state auditor’s high-risk local government watch list. While both moves were resisted and challenged by Hemet officials, we believe bringing in a more objective set of eyes to the city’s finances is the right decision and encourage city leaders to welcome such reviews.

At last week’s hearing, State Auditor Elaine Howle laid out the rationale for pursuing an audit. Noting problems like Hemet’s high rate of turnover in city managers, budget deficits in eight of the past nine years and growing pension obligations and retiree health costs, Ms. Howle also raised questions about the city’s fairly optimistic fiscal projections.

January 08, 2016

Small flags honor law officers, firefighters and victims of the Dec. 2 terrorist attack.

When it came time to plan this year’s Flags for the Fallen ceremony, it seemed natural to include tributes to the 14 people killed in the Dec. 2 terrorist attack in San Bernardino.

“Something of that magnitude has never happened in the Inland area,” said Dani Medrano, president of the Eastvale-based Wives of Law Enforcement and Firefighters, which sponsored Friday’s event. “It was horrific.

“We need to support those families,” Medrano said. “And we need to honor the victims who were Inland Empire residents.”

And so it was that, in addition to the 131 American flags honoring law enforcement officers and 86 flags honoring firefighters who died in 2015, 14 flags with small black ribbons and bearing the names of the San Bernardino victims were placed on the front lawn of Eastvale Fire Station 27.

January 08, 2016
The Norco prison will remain open for several years so the state can stay below a cap on its inmate population, an official announced Thursday, Jan. 7.

 
Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2016-17 budget proposal temporarily extends operations for the California Rehabilitation Center, which had been earmarked for closure by the end of this year.

 
In addition to the announcement, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Scott Kernan said there would be a 1.4 percent budget increase next fiscal year for state prisons.

 
Still, days for the prison that opened in 1962 still appear numbered.
November 01, 2015

California’s penny-pinching governor has stiffed the Inland Empire again.

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill by state Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, to allot $5 million for seven seats on the bench in Riverside and San Bernardino counties , where judicial caseloads are staggeringly high, and five elsewhere in the state.

According to a recent study, Riverside County needs 127 judges, but has only 76; San Bernardino County needs 143 judges, but has only 86. Judge-rich Santa Clara County, meanwhile, needs only 70 but has 89.

October 18, 2015

Small businesses in San Joaquin County and the rest of California remain vulnerable to thousands of dollars in penalty and legal fees for violating disability access rules since Gov. Brown’s recent veto of an Americans with Disabilities Act reform bill.

“It’s unbelievable,” Stockton business owner Jerry Brannon said over the news. “We need some help … so we can stop the extortion of money from small business.”

Senate Bill 251, authored by Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, was among nine bills targeted by Brown because they provided state tax credits.

October 15, 2015

PRESS-ENTERPRISE EDITORIAL

Despite bipartisan support, legislation to protect small business owners and enhance compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Senate Bill 251, proposed by Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, took a sensible, balanced approach to the problem of widespread noncompliance with the ADA’s often confusing and minute requirements.

October 14, 2015

It’s understandable if Sen. Richard Roth feels the cold shoulder these days from Gov. Jerry Brown.

In recent weeks, the governor has vetoed three bills authored by, and important to, the Riverside Democrat. One would have restored vehicle license fees to four Riverside County cities, another would have provided money for more Inland judges and the third would have given small businesses tax credits to enhance their access for disabled customers.

In veto messages, Brown, a Democrat, wrote that the vehicle license fee bill would have been a drain on the state’s general fund. He said a more system-wide approach is needed to apportion judges and that California’s budget couldn’t afford tax credit bills like the one for disability access.

Roth, a retired Air Force general elected in 2012, said he learned Brown vetoed his judgeship bill, SB 229, through the media. He said he was disappointed he didn’t have the chance to talk about the veto with the governor’s staff.

October 13, 2015

A Fourth District Court of Appeal justice who heads a major committee in the judicial branch expressed disappointment yesterday with Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto of a bill to fund additional judgeships, but said work on the issue would continue.

Justice Douglas Miller of Div. Two, the chair of the Judicial Council’s Executive and Planning Committee, reacted in a statement to the governor’s rejection Thursday of SB 229, which had passed both houses of the Legislature unanimously.

“We are disappointed that the Governor didn’t sign the bill, but we’re encouraged that he recognizes that the need for judges is indeed ‘acute,’” Miller said. “He asked that the Judicial Council work with him to look at a ‘systemwide approach’ as to how we can balance judicial workload throughout the state. I’m hopeful that we can work with the Governor to find a practical solution to meet an urgent need.”

The bill, by Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, would have funded 12 previously authorized judgeships, including one in the Los Angeles Superior Court.

October 12, 2015

Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill by State Sen. Richard Roth, a Riverside Democrat, that would have given small business owners tax credits for costs of bringing their businesses up to code with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The bill, SB 251, provided 10 percent of access-compliance expenditures up to $10,250 annually for defined small businesses.

Brown said in his Oct. 10 veto statement that he could not support providing additional tax credits against a state budget that he called “precariously balanced due to unexpected costs and the provision of new services.”

The bill was one of nine that carried tax credits which the governor vetoed over the weekend.

Roth said in a statement Monday, Oct. 12 that he was “baffled” by the initial voice mail Saturday from Brown’s office that the bill, SB 251, would be vetoed and “confused” by the governor’s statement.