CalWatchdog Morning Read – January 26

  • State, feds on collision course over “sanctuary” policies
  • El Monte mayor can’t stop bonus pensions
  • Federal funding for San Bernardino shooting relief in jeopardy
  • State’s unfunded retirement benefits keep growing
  • Drought conditions lowest since April 2013

Good morning. TGIT. If today is anything like yesterday, buckle up. 

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said his administration would block federal funding for cities that don’t cooperate with federal immigration laws, with Democratic leaders in the state vowing to fight back.

A handful of California cities, like Los Angeles and San Francisco, have so-called “sanctuary” policies, which prompted the federal action. And in a statement of defiance, Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon said he would fast track his bill to make California a sanctuary state. 

“(T)he Senate will expedite the process to pass my bill, SB54, to prevent state and local tax dollars and law enforcement resources from being used to help ICE destroy families and damage our economy,” the Los Angeles Democrat said. 

But even as Democratic leaders strongly push to protect the sanctuary policies, the public is split. A Hoover Institution poll from earlier this month showed that 40 percent of voters support sanctuary policies, while 41 oppose (19 percent didn’t seem to care either way). 

CalWatchdog has more. 

In other news:

  • Pensions: “The mayor of El Monte, a cash-strapped San Gabriel Valley city with many retired employees drawing two pensions, says there’s ‘no rational justification’ for the extraordinary, taxpayer-funded generosity. But at the same time, Mayor Andre Quintero says there’s nothing city officials can do about the situation in the near term.” The Los Angeles Times has more. 

  • Sanctuary backlash: “Assistance promised to victims and law enforcement in response to the Dec. 2 terrorist attack is among the funding potentially jeopardized by President Donald Trump’s executive order blocking assistance to so-called sanctuary jurisdictions.” The San Bernardino County Sun has more. 

  • Unfunded liability: “California faces a $76.67 billion cost to provide health care and dental benefits to retired state employees, state Controller Betty Yee reported Wednesday, an increase of $2.49 billion over the previous year’s estimate,” reports The Sacramento Bee

  • Drought: “Hammered with record rainstorms and blizzards, nearly half of California is no longer in a drought, and the rest saw dramatic improvement over the past week, federal scientists reported Thursday. Overall, 49 percent of the state is now drought free, the highest level since April 2013, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor,” reports The San Jose Mercury News.


  • In at 9 a.m. 

Gov. Brown:

  • No public events announced. 

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