Torrico: Raise car fees to put cops on campus

Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico – locked in a six-way battle for the Democratic nomination for state Attorney General – will roll out legislation next week to put a uniformed police officer at each of 100 California high schools in areas with the highest crime rates.

Torrico, D-Newark, will unveil his “Cops on Campus Grant Program” in a press conference next Tuesday at Independence High School in San Jose; he’ll be joined by his brothers Fabian Torrico, a veteran San Jose Police Department officer, and Cesar Torrico, principal at the city’s Franklin Elementary School.

“Every student, teacher, and school employee in California deserves a safe and secure learning environment,” Torrico said in his news release. “A uniformed police officer dedicated to school safety, like my brother Fabian who has dedicated his career in law enforcement to protect South Bay residents, will help make our high schools a better place to learn.”

His bill would establish a grant program, overseen by the California Department of Education, to which school districts can apply for funding to pay for the officer. It’s to be funded by what Torrico calls “a minor restoration” in the Vehicle License Fee for vehicles valued at $50,000 or more, which would raise about $10 million per year.

Torrico is also pushing his AB 656, the Fair Share for Fair Tuition bill, which discusses a 12.5 percent oil-severance tax toraise more than $2 billion to help control the state’s skyrocketing higher-education tuition fees. “It is our responsibility to ensure our high schools remain safe and the opportunity to a higher education is in reach,” he said.

Actually, I checked and saw that AB 656 in its current iteration merely asks the Board of Equalization to report back to the Legislature on how much such a tax would raise; Torrico spokesman Jeff Barbosa said this morning that Torrico will continue exploring the possibility of actually trying to implement such a tax.

Also in the Democratic primary race for Attorney General are San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris; former Facebook chief privacy officer Chris Kelly; Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance; Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara; and former Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.