Friday, January 27, 2017

• Coffee With Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez January 2017

Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, 67th Assembly District, had her first community coffee of 2017

She packed the house at RJ's in Murrieta and proceeded to go down the legislative update list she'd provided to the people in attendance.
A look at about 30% of the people in attendance.

For those of you that haven't been to one of her community coffees, she doesn't give a speech. She reads most of the items on her legislative update, then takes questions on any topic. They typically last about an hour.

One of my favorite quotes of her's was, "Luckily right now it's early in the year so they haven't done a lot of damage yet," which was met with amused laughter from the group, and she followed up with, "give us time."

Her two sided handout was broken up by things you'll love and things you'll hate.

She started with the things you'll love side first.

AB 27 - Rape as a Violent Felony
This bill will make all forms of rape a violent felony. 

It's stunning to think that RAPE, of any kind, can be off the Violent Felony list. 

However, even though rape nearly always means FORCED SEX ON A PERSON WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT, somehow there are actually some types of rapes that don't qualify as violent. 

Directly following this morning's community coffee, the assemblywoman was interviewed on KFI and this was touched on while she was on the air with Gary Hoffman and Shannon Farren. Apparently if a rape victim is passed out (from either drugs or alcohol) it's not classified as violent. 

Here is a brief list of "non violent" rape: 

• statutory rape
• rape of an unconscious person
• rape of an intoxicated person 
• rape using a controlled substance.

The only one I'd be willing to hear a counterargument to is statutory rape. Some of those are boyfriend/girlfriend with a nominal age gap this side or that side of 18, aside from those... rape is rape.

When asked, "Who would be against such a bill that would make all rape a violent felony?" The answer was, "The ACLU."


Upholding the Second Amendment
The stunner here (or not so much, considering the braindead one party rule up in Sacramento) is that Melendez was taken off the Public Safety Committee, though she's been the Vice Chair for the four years she's been our Assemblywoman.

That's the committee that hears all the gun bills, all the law and order bills, all the crime and punishment bills.

It's her reward for doing too effective of a job up there. 

It was basically a political vendetta on the part of the Speaker of the Assembly because MM was too effective at countering Sacramento's bull crap. They wanted someone less effective to get the position.

Utilizing Existing Funds for Road Repair
They've tried in the past to get this commonsense legislation passed, but to no avail so far. 

The aim is to pass legislation that says: Sacramento has to use the money collected for transportation, FOR TRANSPORTATION.

Sadly, this kind of commonsense is eschewed by California's Democrat majority.
Legislative Whistleblower Protection Act
This will be the third attempt on the part of Assemblywoman Melendez to get this through. As it stands, the laws that protect whistleblowers does NOT apply to the staff of legislators. 

My bet is that it will go down to defeat just as it has before. Nothing quite as nauseating as the unctuous stench that comes from legislators exempting themselves from the laws that apply to the rest of us.

Franchise Tax Credit
This is aimed at assisting businesses that would like to relocate to California, giving them a five year exemption on the Franchise Tax Fee.

This was beyond my understanding, but if it concerns you, contact the Assemblywoman's office. They'll give you the pertinent details.

Sober Living Homes Bill
This isn't about stopping such group homes. We want people to straighten out their lives [from substance abuse] and sober up. Many need the help of such facilities. The problem is that if a group home is comprised of six or fewer "guests" there is no regulation.

As it stands today, anyone can open up a "sober living home" and not need any training or other qualifications. 

Sorry, but if we're going to regulate lemonade stands and what can and can't be sold at the park snack bar during a city sponsored event, I want group homes in my neighborhood to be regulated too. 
A look at the crowd from the other side of the room.

Next, the bad legislation on the 2017 horizon:
aka Things we'll hate.

AB 1 (Frazier) & SB 1 (Beall)
This bill, among other things, would increase the gas tax by at least 12¢ per gallon and the diesel tax by at least 20¢ per gallon.

Of course, if the majority party, that has been ruling the capital for generations, would just use the money already raised for road repairs, such tax increases wouldn't be needed for road repair.

AB 5 (Gonzales-Fletcher)
This is one of those government overreach bills that wants to dictate to businesses more rules about new hires. It apparently aims to require businesses to offer more hours to existing employees before hiring additional employees.

Here's the problem. Some people still think we live in America, and want LESS regulation, especially on this level, not MORE of it.

This was discussed for awhile. 

It's surmised that the authors of this bill are looking for a way to "encourage" (cough... more like "force") businesses into having more full time workers. 

A noble idea, but one so shortsighted that it would only find favor in California's heavily biased seat of power.

In a sane world, where many onerous obligations don't start to kick in after about 30 hours, bosses and managers would far prefer having full time employees. 

However, when you start dictating to businesses what types of benefits you must offer your full time employees, anyone with a brain would have been able to see the spike in part timers, as they began taking over the full timers.

Repeat after me the well known aphorism: the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

AB18 (Pan)
According to the handout, "This bill undermines the role of the parent by establishing seven, incredibly vague "rights" for youth in California in order to determine the best interest of the children."
If you can't read the graphic, follow the link at the bottom of the blog.

As Melendez was reading the proposed "rights" from the website, I kept waiting for something along the lines of, "...and a flying unicorn for every child," to be one of the proposed new "rights."

Must we revisit the aphorism mentioned above so soon? Good intentions or not, some things are nothing but poppycock on steroids. This being one of them.
•          •          •

As the hour was winding down, there was one guy that was having a problem. It appeared that he'd been in contact with the assemblywoman's office many times before, as she remembered the man and his story, and it sounded as if he already has a private appointment with her.

As compelling as his story may have been, something about his friend racking up $74,000 in legal fees trying to defend a lawsuit over a "fraudulent" $120 invoice, time and place, sir. 

This was neither the time nor the place for personal problems. At one point a couple of CHP officers approached him to maintain order. I think without their intervention the guy would have continued to escalate.

Based on the fees he claims were paid to defend a bogus case should remind everyone why so many people just settle cases. You can "WIN" the lawsuit, and still end up on the short end of things.
•          •          •

I spoke to Melendez's representative, Branden Webb, and asked when we can get one of these community coffees in Wildomar. I has happy to hear his response that they're working on it and we should expect one in Spring.

I urge all Wildomartinis to make time on your schedule to attend if at all possible. The way to know when such community coffees are happening is to sign up for the Assemblywoman's emails. 

•          •          •

Hell isn't merely paved with good intentions; it's walled and roofed with them. Yes, and furnished too.
– Aldous Huxley

Wildomar Rap reminds you that whenever you find yourself meandering down the primrose path, there's no better mode of travel than a hand basket.


  1. Hi Joseph, could you clarify what was said about the ACLU in regard to AB27? Did Melendez say the ACLU is opposing the bill? or was it crowd-sourced answer. I'm curious because I can't find any reference to the ACLU opposing this bill. Thanks, jg

    1. Hi John,

      I went back and reviewed the tape and couldn't find it (I wasn't prepared to listen to all 70 mins all the way through). So I removed the reference for now. The next time I see her I'll ask her, "Who would be against it?" and if I hear what I thought I heard the first time, I'll restore it. Until then, I'm more interested in accuracy, so it's gone.

      That out of the way, can you think of a time that the ACLU has been at odds with the Democrats when it comes to their stance on a bill about crime and punishment? I can't. There is no doubt that the Dems are against this.

  2. Hi Joseph. Thanks for checking. Your last question is a bit like asking me to calculate the last digit of pi: it's too broad for me to answer fairly, and my failure to know an example is not a proof. But your suggestion that the Democrats will oppose AB-27 is a testable hypothesis. I'll try to keep an eye out for the bill's progress, and if you see anything, please let me know. I read the summary of the bill but not the details. It looks defensible from the summary.

  3. My I change my answer regarding your question? The pre-cursor bill to AB-27 appears to be AB-2888 and Gov. Brown signed that into law last Sept. ( Some notable concern was raised in regard to it by the ACLU ( Considering that passed, I'd say the "Dems" managed to oppose the ACLU's position on this.

    1. I bet there's an example of the GOP going against the NRA too... but we both know such things are far from the norm.

      I read the article. I guess some people agree with that view point. I found it sad on many levels.

      In short, it smacked of the same soft on crime stance that the ACLU has become renowned for.

  4. Good morning, Joseph. Did you just use an opinion (Republicans must have opposed the NRA) to dismiss the facts I presented (links to articles, Bill number, ACLU members)? If so, you're demonstrating "truthiness": Feels true so that's good enough. You will always be able to create opinions faster than I can research the facts. Now you've concluded that the ACLU is weak on crime because of an image they have? My hypothesis is that if we start tracking the ACLU's activities in regard to crime laws, we will find that on average, their positions will have valid constitutional grounds and a realistic view of cause and effect. I can't answer this today, but I'll put the ACLU on my radar. If I can conclude my hypothesis was incorrect, I'll say so.

    1. Way too much for the written form of communication for me to deal with.

      I stay with generalizations when on the net because there is no adequate way to get into the details of complicated issues without getting lost or spending unwarranted amounts of time on a topic. I rely upon the reader (you in this instance) to put on his thinking cap, and properly deduce the broader points I'm trying to make.

      There are plenty of times that I fail to make a point the way I had intended to, I hate it when that happens. Other times the point was made, but people disagree with my conclusions, c'est la vie.

      However, I'll try to answer a couple of your questions here just the same.

      "Now you've concluded that the ACLU is weak on crime because of an image they have?"
      No, I've concluded that the ACLU is weak on crime because of their track record, and the things they support; image notwithstanding.

      "Did you just use an opinion (Republicans must have opposed the NRA) to dismiss the facts I presented (links to articles, Bill number, ACLU members)"

      No, I used an opinion (Republicans must have opposed the NRA)to redirect you to my actual point that you missed up front. (refer to my previously stated point about not getting into details/specifics when on the net). It was an apt generalization about the California Democrats and the ACLU when it comes to legislation on crime and punishment.


  5. Facts and evidence can be quite an encumbrance to expressing one's opinion on political and cultural differences. They also interfere with our assumptions, biases and prejudices. That's why I explore facts and evidence whenever I can. I didn't come here to harass you. I wanted to see what goes on at one of Melendez's coffees, and my original interest was finding out of the ACLU comment was one of her un-examined statements (e.g., others "stand up against Islam," "Planned Parenthood is a chop shop"), but I got sidetracked with statements that I think deserved examination, as well as learning a little more about the ACLU. You do a lot of fine work here. Take care. I'll be back (in a good way).
    Your Reader

  6. Hi Joseph, my last comment was conciliatory, so I'm a bit concerned that you haven't published or received it. In case it went missing in the media, here it is again:

    Facts and evidence can be quite an encumbrance to expressing one's opinion on political and cultural differences. They also interfere with our assumptions, biases and prejudices. That's why I explore facts and evidence when I can. I didn't come here to harass you. I wanted to see what goes on at one of Melendez's coffees, and my original interest was finding out if the ACLU comment was one of her un-examined statements (e.g., other un-examined statements "stand up against Islam," "Planned Parenthood is a chop shop"), but I got sidetracked with statements that I think deserved examination. Take care. I'll be back (in a good way).

    1. John,
      I don't have notifications on my phone and I didn't see the notification until now when I checked that email. I have comments on hold after 7 days to block out spam that gets posted on old blogs.

      "I wanted to see what goes on at one of Melendez's coffees[?]"
      Though she is a partisan, I don't find it a complete "rah-rah for republicans" at the coffees, though I can see where some may think it appears that way due to the nature of Sacramento politics.

      It's worth going to one of her community coffees for many reasons. First, to get a feel of the person representing this district. Second, to hear what she thinks are key legislative issues for the current year. Third, to express an opinion about relevant issues that concern you (even if yours isn't in line with hers). Last, you get coffee. :)

      The line about the ACLU, as I remember it, was just a throw away response to a question/statement as she was transitioning from one topic to another.

      I'm glad you take the time to read the blog and endeavor to get clarity when I'm not clear, or to call me out when you think I've gone too far. This is the kind of healthy dialog I'd like to see more people, especially on the net, engage in.

  7. Delightful response. Thanks. Now, the deciding factor as to whether I attend a coffee is the quality of the coffee. But perhaps we shouldn't go that route as one's tastes in coffee fall along partisan lines. And though I have pretty strong opinions about coffee, I don't want to be seen as an extremist.

    REgarding your comment about "seeing what she sees as key legislative issues..." -- a big yes to that one.


Let's hear what you have to say... for other inquiries try the email listed under "view my complete profile" but if you want to discuss a blog topic, I'll only do it in this comment section, not by email.

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