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Transit strike ban bill dies on party-line vote

A bill to ban all California public transit workers from going on strike died on a party-line committee vote Monday.

SB 423 by state Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-Brea, had gone first to the Senate Public Employees and Retirement Committee. There, senators Jim Beall, D-San Jose; Leland Yee, D-San Francisco; and Marty Block, D-San Diego, all voted against it, while senators Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Niguel, and Ted Gaines, R-Granite Bay, voted for it.

BART strike (AP photo)Huff suggested in a news release that the bill should’ve been heard first by the Senate Transportation Committee, since it’s all about making sure our transit systems actually work for the public.”

“But instead it was sent to the committee that focuses on the concerns of public workers,” he said. “That should tell you something about the priorities of the majority party.”

“Last year Californians witnessed the Bay Area come to a screeching halt not once, but twice, as leaders of the BART employee union called strikes and BART trains went dark,” Huff said in a news release. “Hundreds of thousands of Bay Area residents could not get to work, go to school, see the doctor, or visit with family and friends and it cost the region $73 million each day. We have made the public rely on public transit, but as a legislature, we have failed to make public transit reliable. That’s a major failure. Californians deserve a government that works for everyone but today they were let down.”

Huff in September had gutted and amended SB 423 to compel BART workers to honor the no-strike clause in their contracts even after those contracts expire. But he only amended the bill on the last working day of the legislative session, so no action was taken.

He later amended the bill further to ban strikes by all California public transit workers, with anyone who violates the ban subject to removal or other disciplinary action. Huff said the bill provided “a fair violation determination process” for such workers, but if a violation is found, such workers would lose two days of pay for every day of strike. Public transit unions similarly would have been banned from instigating strikes, and if the Public Employee Relations Board found a violation, that union’s rights would have been forfeited for an indefinite period; after three years of forfeiture, an employee organization could have sought reinstatement by the Legislature.

UPDATE @ 1:11 P.M.: Beall says he voted against the bill because it “just was not solution-oriented. It offered nothing to resolve the underlying bargaining issues that separate employees and management or to keep both sides at the table, such as binding arbitration.”

Posted on Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
Under: Bob Huff, California State Senate, Jim Beall, Leland Yee, Mimi Walters, Transportation | 3 Comments »

E.Bay lawmakers react to Jerry Brown’s SOTS

Some East Bay lawmakers are sounding off on the State of the State address that Gov. Jerry Brown delivered earlier this evening. Guess what: They liked it.

From state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro:

“This governor is being honest with the Legislature and the voters. We can no longer pretend the state can right its ship without serious action. As Senate Majority Leader, I am committed to working across the aisle and with voters up and down the state to make sure we, once and for all, put California’s budget crisis behind us. Every single person in Sacramento and the state wants California to again be a leader in jobs and prosperity.”

From Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo:

“Less than a week after assuming office, Governor Brown presented us with a budget that does not rely on accounting gimmicks or inflated revenue projections. He continued the dialogue tonight by talking honestly about the difficult choices all of us must make – Democrats and Republicans. It also is clear that the Governor understands the tremendous potential of California and the contributions that critical programs like education have made to our economy and our lifestyles. I share his vision and his optimism.

“I was born in California at a time when we were the leader in education, aerospace, research and many other industries. Anything was possible in our state then because we made critical investments in our infrastructure, and we were disciplined in how we spent our money and repaid our debt.

“I believe the Governor has been very forthright about the tough road that lies ahead and we must come together as Californians and be willing to make the sacrifices required to right our financial ship and rebuild our infrastructure, our schools, our colleges, our roads. It is both a fiscal and a moral imperative if our children are going to have the same opportunities as our generation.

“The Governor has repeatedly shared his commitment to education and to creating good jobs. These are two of my top priorities. As a budget subcommittee chair, I am holding hearings to review the Governor’s budget to allow for a thorough review and public comment as well as timely action. I am looking forward to continuing my work to help our great state regain its place as a leader in our nation.”

From Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont:

“I think Governor Brown is being straight-forward and very candid about the challenges facing California and people find that refreshing. He’s not using any smoke and mirrors or Hollywood flash, nor is he searching for scapegoats.

“The reality is there aren’t any quick fixes or silver bullets to get us out of this mess. We need to cushion the blow for those families who have already suffered the most from the recession, and we need to stimulate job growth. We can do that by becoming more competitive in manufacturing, putting people to work to modernize our facilities and make them more energy efficient, and by investing in our universities to advance our biotech industries.

“Our challenges are daunting, but they can be overcome by the creativity and imagination that has made our state the eighth-largest economy in the world.”

As the Bay Area has elected no Republicans to this Legislature, I picked a few GOP voices from elsewhere in the state. Follow me after the jump to read ‘em…
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Posted on Monday, January 31st, 2011
Under: Assembly, Bob Wieckowski, California State Senate, Ellen Corbett, Jerry Brown, Joan Buchanan, Mimi Walters, Tom Harman | 1 Comment »

Lockyer: ‘Straight Talk, No Bull#*+!”

Incumbent state Treasurer Bill Lockyer launched the first television ad of his re-election campaign today, with a slogan of “Straight Talk, No Bull#*+!”

For real.

If there’s one thing Lockyer can safely tout, it’s plain-spokenness. After all, he was the state Attorney General who suggested in 2001 that Enron CEO Ken Lay should do time in “an 8-by-10 cell that he could share with a tattooed dude who says, ‘Hi, my name is Spike, honey;’ ” the Democrat who after 2003’s gubernatorial recall election admitted he had voted for Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger; and the Treasurer who has bluntly criticized both the governor and Democratic legislative leaders for the state’s budget boondoggles. In fact, there are some who believe his penchant for “straight talk” might’ve burned bridges that otherwise might’ve led him to the governor’s office.

Lockyer’s ad comes almost a month after the launch of an ad by his Republican challenger, state Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Niguel, wherein she marks him as a career politician who’s part of Sacramento’s culture of failure.

No word yet from Lockyer’s camp as to how much he’s spending on this ad buy, but don’t you worry – he can afford it. His campaign had $7.7 million in the bank as of Sept. 30, compared to Walters’ $315,000.

UPDATE @ 5:20 P.M.: Per Lockyer campaign spokesman Tom Dresslar, “Without getting into specific numbers, it’s a substantial buy. We’re starting in LA, and extending statewide in a few days.”

Posted on Monday, October 11th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Bill Lockyer, Mimi Walters | 2 Comments »

Mimi Walters launching first ad against Lockyer

With all the heat and light of California’s gubernatorial and senatorial campaigns, it’s almost easy to forget about the down-ticket races. But with Labor Day behind us and the general-election season now fully upon us, forgetting is no longer an option.

To that end, Republican nominee for state Treasurer Mimi Walters – the state Senator from Laguna Niguel – announced today that she’ll start airing this ad next week on cable television in the Central Valley and parts of Southern California:

As you can see, it’s all about painting Democratic incumbent Bill Lockyer of Hayward as a career politician – which, of course, he is.

You can almost forgive her that, as it would be hard if not impossible to explain in a 30-second ad what the state Treasurer – California’s chief asset manager, banker and financier – actually does. More on that, after the jump…
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Posted on Thursday, September 16th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Bill Lockyer, Mimi Walters | 1 Comment »