Assemblymen Obernolte and Lackey discuss accountability and transparency
Written April, 2018
By Jessica Gonzalez
Accountability and transparency were the two themes highlighted during the Community Coffee meeting held at the Phelan Community Services District on April 21. Assemblymen Tom Lackey (36th District) and Jay Obernolte (33rd District) were on hand to discuss current legislative efforts in Sacramento and respond to residents’ questions. Constituents brought up several issues, including concerns with the installment of internet infrastructure in the area, an unsafe intersection, police entering a home without a warrant, homeschooling, and the fate of AB2611, the Homeowner’s Insurance Right to Appeal Bill.
Before the representatives spoke, Community Services District Vice President Alex Brandon clarified the borders for the two districts. Communities east of Eaby Road are represented by Obernolte; Lackey represents areas west of Eaby Road.
Assemblyman Obernolte opened the meeting by discussing budget concerns and the gas tax increase. Obernolte noted that there is bi-partisan support on the issue of budgetary transparency, which refers to funds being used for their designated purpose. He cited Proposition 56, which passed in 2016 and raised the price on tobacco products. Funds were reportedly earmarked to increase access to healthcare for all Californians. According to Obernolte, after much debate, the money is now split between expanding access to MediCal and the general fund.
Obernolte cited another example of the lack of budgetary transparency; the gas tax. Californians are now paying an additional twelve cents per gallon, and residents are now paying between $25 and $175 more this year to register their vehicles. There was an objection to this increase, according to Obernolte, “on the grounds that the money we were already collecting wasn’t being spent on roads.”
Assemblyman Lackey briefly discussed Propositions 47 and 57 as well as proposed legislation. Lackey expressed concern with the results of Proposition 47, which reduces the penalties for non-violent crimes. He cited statistics that suggested an increase in violent crimes and noted that industries such as retail sales are adversely impacted by this legislation. A “common-sense, modest bill to try to make consequences for those (criminals) who try to organize together,” did not pass the committee. Lackey noted that Proposition 57 was recently ruled by a judge to be so poorly written that early release of sex offenders might be.
Lackey discussed proposed legislation to create a state-wide data base, accessible to those in a position to care for and protect children, e.g. law enforcement and family services, “so that they can make good decisions to protect children.”
Several residents expressed support for Obernolte’s Homeowner’s Right to Appeal Bill (AB2611), would allow homeowners to appeal insurance rate increases that are based on computer-generated fire risk scores. According to Obernolte, insurance companies prefer to use this data rather than send out an inspector, so the results often fail to accurately reflect each home’s fire risk. According to Obernolte, “Insurance companies hate it,” and it did not gain enough support from the Insurance Committee. Rather than let the bill be killed, Obernolte opted to pull it and work to gain more support before allowing it be put to a vote.
Accountability was another talking point during the meeting. One resident brought up the “lack of respect” toward property and roads showed by Race Communications, who is currently laying the infrastructure to install high-speed internet in the area. Assemblyman Obernolte recommended that any issues with the construction should be followed up with the County. The representatives urged another constituent, who reportedly experienced a police raid without any warrant provided, to contact the Sheriff’s commander and initiate the Citizen’s Complaint P
Obernolte expressed agreement with one concerned constituent regarding AB 2756 and AB 2956; many families regard these bills as a threat to their right to homeschool.
Lackey offered support to another resident who pointed out the dangers of the intersection at Duncan and Johnson Roads, where numerous fatal accidents have occurred. Petitions have reportedly been initiated to install a four-way stop. He noted that County Supervisor Robert Lovingood is aware of the issue, encouraged residents to email Lovingood’s office, and offered to help access the proper authorities. Lackey also urged concerned citizens to attend Board of Supervisors meetings regarding this matter, and “hold them accountable.”
Serving Wrightwood, Phelan, Pinon HIlls and West Cajon Valley Since 1961