Politics On Government Time? E-mail Sent By

Councilmember’s Deputy Forwarded To Attorney General For Review

An e-mail dated April 30 sent from the city government account of 2nd District Councilmember Jeannine Pearce’s communications deputy, Devin Ablard, has been forwarded to the state attorney general’s office along with a cover letter for review, according to City Attorney Charles Parkin. A copy of the e-mail obtained by the Business Journal shows that Ablard sent a plea for volunteers to come out in support of Pearce in order to combat signature gathering efforts to recall her from office. The e-mail from his government account read, in part, “Urgent Request for Support for our friend Jeannine Pearce!! The Recall campaign has claimed to be close to finishing their signature gathering. We NEED everyone out TODAY. We can still block this effort to hurt our ally and that will cost our city $250k+ because of the hotel lobby.” Ablard provided a date, time, location and contact information for volunteering. Local governments and government employees are restricted from conducting political business on government time, as it translates to the use of taxpayer dollars for political purposes. Ablard told the Business Journal that he was not commenting on the matter at this time.


Planning Commission Considering Recreational Marijuana Zoning Regulations

The Long Beach Planning Commission is considering amendments to the city zoning code that would define recreational marijuana business uses and designate where such businesses are allowed to be located. City staff recommends defining marijuana operations in the following categories: dispensaries as retail use; cultivation, manufacturing and distribution operations under industrial use; and testing operations as professional service use. If approved by the commission and the city council, businesses that fall in these categories could only open in areas zoned for each of those uses.


Marijuana Generates Millions For California Economy

The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration announced today that tax revenue from the cannabis industry totaled nearly $61 million in the first quarter. The state’s excise tax on marijuana generated $32 million, while retail sales garnered $27.3 million and cultivation amassed $1.6 million. A cultivation tax on all harvested cannabis entering the commercial market and a 15% excise tax on the purchase of cannabis and cannabis products went into effect on January 1.


Governor Reveals Revised Budget With Increased Revenues

Gov. Jerry Brown released a revised state budget proposal today that anticipates an additional $8 billion in tax revenues to the state. As a result, he announced that the state would keep existing commitments to increase funding for Medi-Cal, Cal Grants, child care and other initiatives. Other spending commitments outlined in a statement from Brown’s office include: $2 billion dedicated to infrastructure improvements for universities, courts, state facilities and flood control; $359 million for homelessness programs; and $312 million for mental illness programs. A number of statements were released subsequent to Brown’s announcement, including the following:

– California State University (CSU) Chancellor Timothy White stated that he was grateful for the maintenance funding. However, Brown has only allocated an ongoing increase of $92.1 million for the CSU compared to the $263 million the system had requested.

– A statement from Californians Against Higher Taxes acknowledged that the budget “reflects a state on strong financial footing,” but pointed out that legislators have proposed more than 30 bills and constitutional amendments that would result in an additional $269 billion in fees and taxes. The organization urged “prudent spending” rather than creating a burdensome business climate.