Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) and Ted Lieu (CA-33) called on House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) to initiate an immediate investigation into the egregious overprescribing of opioid prescription painkillers and the inaction of Purdue Pharma and other pharmaceutical companies that may be aware of inappropriate opioid distribution by bad actors.
Recent reports by the Los Angeles Times exposed that Purdue Pharma, the maker of the highly addictive painkiller OxyCotin, collected extensive evidence on the overprescribing and illegal trafficking of the substance for more than a decade, yet the company failed to notify the appropriate federal and state authorities. During the course of their inaction, sales of OxyCotin at some pharmacies increased by over 1400 percent. Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999, and simultaneously so have sales of these prescription drugs.
“Despite receiving evidence from pharmacists and its own employees regarding suspected criminal trafficking of opioids, Purdue Pharma reportedly refused to take action and continued to engage in irresponsible practices that may have violated the law. In California, I was a leader in the fight to improve the state prescription drug monitoring program to prevent overprescribing by physicians and doctor shopping. Congress has a responsibility to investigate pharmaceutical companies that work around these reporting systems, ignore reports of illegal activity, disregard patient safety for the sake of profits, and endanger the public health,” said Congressman Mark DeSaulnier.
“I am troubled to learn of Purdue Pharma’s inappropriate opioid distribution practices. Reports indicating Purdue Pharma knowingly disregarded evidence of criminal drug trafficking of its drug reveals the company’s clear negligence for patient safety, medical ethics, and legal responsibilities all for the sake of profit. The fact that the United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic is cause for serious concern and we must hold those responsible accountable. As a member of the House Oversight Committee, I urge the Committee to initiate an investigation into this matter,” said Congressman Ted Lieu.
Click here to read a full copy of the letter sent to Chairman Jason Chaffetz.
To read complete coverage of Purdue Pharma by the Los Angeles Times click here.Read More
Thank you to the Herald for its recent coverage of the Frazier-Beall transportation plan, a smart, sensible bill that addresses our state’s transportation issues and provides a fair approach to funding provisions that will fix our roads and strengthen California’s economy. It is inarguable that our transportation infrastructure is rapidly deteriorating under the pressure of population growth that puts more vehicles on the road than the system was designed to manage safely.
The transportation funding plan put forth by Assemblyman Jim Frazier and Sen. Jim Beall offers a practical solution. It calls for an equitable distribution of funding responsibility among multiple sources, including gas and diesel tax increases and an annual fee for zero-emission vehicles. The bill encourages the use of public transit and other transportation alternatives. Frazier and Beall exhibit a commendable vision by balancing modes, understanding their net positive impact on relieving congestion and carbon emissions while off setting their impact on a corresponding net loss of gas tax receipts under the current program.
California’s transportation network serves as the lifeline for our personal mobility as well as an economic engine that makes the state the preferred originating point to move goods throughout the U.S. We must fund consistent, long-term maintenance and expansion now to keep our lifeline open and ensure a safe, reliable transportation system that we can count on.
President, West Division at HNTB Corporation
San FranciscoRead More
Following an investigation, members of the CASE (Contra Costa County Anti-Violence Support Effort) Team executed a search warrant on Wednesday, August 25, 2016 in the 3600 block of Olympia Circle in Pittsburg. Inside the residence, CASE found nearly a pound of methamphetamine (worth approximately $10,000), four firearms, approximately 150 rounds of various calibers of ammunition, digital scales, hundreds of small plastic bags used in the sales of controlled substances, and over $5,000 in U.S. currency.
The CASE Team arrested 41-year-old Leopoldo Fernandez and 41-year-old Jeanna Gomez, both of Pittsburg. They were booked into county jail on numerous drug and firearms related violations, including felon in possession of a firearm. Fernandez is being held in lieu of $615,000 bail: Gomez’s bail is set at $165,000.
The CASE Team is a joint effort by the Office of the Sheriff, California Department of Justice, California Highway Patrol, Pittsburg Police Department, and Walnut Creek Police Department. CASE was created in November 2011 as a collaborative effort to reduce violent crimes in Contra Costa, especially those related to illegal firearms.
Lafayette police are requesting the public’s assistance in trying to identify the suspect who robbed a branch of U.S. Bank on the 3400 block of Mt. Diablo Boulevard on Tuesday, August 23, 2016 at about 3:35 PM.
The suspect entered the bank, announced that a robbery was taking place, and demanded money from one of the tellers. After receiving some money, the suspect fled. Police quickly set up a perimeter and searched for the suspect, who is believed to have fled in a vehicle. He was not located. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, 5’8″ tall, medium build, and “salt and pepper” goatee. He was wearing a cap with the “Fox” logo on it.
Detectives from the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff have recovered most items that were taken during two burglaries that occurred at a home on Alhambra Valley Road in unincorporated Martinez, last month.
Following the burglaries, the Investigation Division received several anonymous email tips and voice messages on the tip line indicating the location of the stolen property. Detectives went to the location finding numerous bronze statues, whiskey decanters, and other items that were stolen from the residence. Several photos of the recovered items are attached.
Detectives subsequently executed three search warrants at locations in the El Sobrante area finding more stolen items.
Detectives arrested 49-year-old Charles Somers of San Pablo for possession of stolen property in connection with the burglaries. In addition, Somers, a parolee, is being held on a parole violation. Somers is currently in custody at the county jail without bail.
The investigation into the burglaries is continuing. Anyone with any information on this case is asked to contact the Investigation Division at (925) 313-2661.
For any tips, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866-846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.Read More
On Thursday, August 25, 2016, Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D – Oakley) and Senator Jim Beall (D – San Jose) introduced companion bills – ABX1 26 and SBX1 1 – in the 1st Extraordinary Session to address California’s transportation funding crisis. As mentioned in a recent article, the plan includes increases to the tax on gas by 17 cents per gallon and on diesel by 30 cents per gallon, as well as a $165 annual fee on electric vehicles.
“Over the past year, I’ve worked with my colleagues, local communities and industry experts to develop an all-inclusive plan that makes necessary improvements to our transportation system. These conversations resulted in ABX1 26,” stated Frazier. “The package that Senator Jim Beall and I put forth provides vital tools to ensure California remains economically competitive. By strengthening our trade corridors and accelerating the movement of goods, this proposal keeps business in California while simultaneously creating jobs through the advancement of crucial road maintenance and enhancement projects.”
The joint proposal provides an additional $7.4 billion annually across California’s transportation system: highways, local streets, transit, bikes and pedestrians. The plan utilizes a portfolio approach in addressing a multitude of funding needs, ensuring that everyone benefitting from California’s transportation infrastructure contributes to its continual maintenance and improvement. Additionally, important systemic reforms are included to ensure transparency and accountability in the use of funds.
“Assemblymember Jim Frazier and I have met with scores of legislators and stakeholders to craft an equitable solution that calls for everyone who drives to pay their fair share toward repairing California’s crumbling roads, bridges and trade corridors,” said Senator Jim Beall, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. “Our plan includes bipartisan recommendations to increase efficiency and accountability to taxpayers. By choosing to repair our transportation system now, we will have smoother and safer roads, generate jobs, and also save billions of dollars in future maintenance and construction costs.’’
The breakdown of new annual funding includes $2.9 billion for state highway maintenance, $2.5 billion for the upkeep of local streets and roads, $534 million to help regions restore cuts to the State Transportation Improvement Program, $516 million for transit capital projects and operations, $900 million to enhance goods movement, $80 million for active transportation projects and up to $150 million possible through Caltrans efficiencies for bicycle and pedestrian projects.
“This new proposal demonstrates real progress in the fight to secure needed transportation funding,” stated Bob Alvarado, Executive Officer of the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council. “Many in the labor community are already supportive of these efforts and look forward to helping secure the success of a funding package so we can put people to work.”
Asked if he and Beall had considered reallocating current spending to pay for their plan instead of the tax increases, Frazier responded with the following:
“In most circumstances, transportation funding has always come from a user-pay system. The General Fund is an unsteady and unpredictable source of revenue with regular fluctuations, resulting in constant funding and defunding of state-run programs. Therefore, this is not an ideal candidate for transportation projects, which can take years to plan and complete. Imagine the disappointment of developing a project only to have it cancelled last minute and without warning because state revenues are down and other programs were considered more important.”
“The proposal I laid out in ABX1-26 fixes the current transportation funding structure while still following the guiding principle of a user-pay system. This new plan utilizes a portfolio approach to diversify the collection of funds, ensuring that everyone benefitting from California’s transportation system is contributing to its maintenance and overall improvement. Additionally, the plan fixes the gas tax’s current structure, ending the instability and uncertainty of available revenues. It does this by resetting the revenue source to where it was before being altered in 2010. It then indexes it to keep pace with inflation so we can be confident that its buying power will remain strong into the future.”
The 1st Extraordinary Session was called by the Governor in June of 2015. The bills have until November 30th to be taken up for a vote before the session expires. To see the complete text of the bill, please click here.
Assemblymember Frazier represents the 11th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Antioch, Bethel Island, Birds Landing, Brentwood, Byron, Collinsville, Discovery Bay, Fairfield, Isleton, Knightsen, Locke, Oakley, Pittsburg (partial), Rio Vista, Suisun City, Travis AFB, Vacaville and Walnut Grove.Read More
By Allen Payton
If you’ve ever wanted to be in a movie, this may be your chance. Antioch’s own Anthony Ferrante, the director of the Sharknado films, is back in town with his crew filming a new movie entitled Forgotten Evil. And they need extras, starting tonight, Monday, August 22nd.
More about Ferrante and the movie, later. But, for now, according to Kris Wynne, Line Producer for the movie, following is the schedule for extras needed for the film:
(Please don’t wear black, white or stripes and NO logos)
MONDAY 8/22 – El Campanil Theatre 6PM-10PM
TUESDAY 8/23 – Riverview Lodge 6PM
WEDNESDAY 8/24 – Southern Cafe 8PM
THURSDAY 8/25 – Los Medanos College (Time to be announced)
FRIDAY 8/26 – Antioch Convalescent Home 3PM
If interested, please email email@example.comRead More
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office began a long term investigation regarding an enormous outdoor illegal marijuana cultivation near mile marker 18.6 on Mines Road in rural Livermore. ACSO obtained a search warrant for the 200 acre property, as well as a residence of the primary suspect in Antioch.
On Thursday, August 11, 2016, the search warrant was conducted on Mines Road with the assistance of Hayward, Fremont and East Bay Regional Parks Police. CHP Air ops and our UAV team provided aerial support. The Antioch residence search warrant was done by the Alameda County Narcotics Task. A small, illegal marijuana grow, approximately two pounds of dried and processed marijuana and $10,000 cash were located in Antioch. Two suspects were arrested at that location on Barbano Court.
The Mines Road location consisted of three separate parcels which were spread out on the 200 acres of land. Over 4,600 Marijuana plants were eradicated. Some of these plants were over nine feet tall and six feet wide. 100 lbs of processed marijuana, two firearms, and over $15,000 in cash were recovered. Eight people were detained and ultimately arrested for Cultivation and distribution of illegal marijuana at this location. A marijuana oil extraction lab was also located.
The land, gardens, and dozens of outbuildings were inspected by California Fish and Game, Zone 7 Water District, and Alameda County Code Enforcement. The Game Wardens located over 20 violations of environmental crimes. Some of the major violations were diverting natural water runoff, drilling illegal wells, and crimes of pollution which all severely impacted the environment in a negative way. Fish and Game reported there is likely over a million dollars’ worth of civil penalties for the damage caused by this marijuana grow. Cal Fire additionally evaluated the area and noted several violations regarding fire safety and endangerment to the environment.
The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office will be moving forward with the prosecution of this case.Read More
Assembly Member Jim Frazier wants to add a 17 cent per gallon tax on gas in addition to our already outrageous cost of living. He wants this tax increase to cover transportation costs. This tax would generate $7.4 billion.
Illegal aliens cost California taxpayers more than $25 billion per year. Here is a novel idea, stop supporting these illegals (in some cases they receive far more than U.S. citizens), and many problems would be solved at the same time, by the same action. Most illegals would return to their country of origin or go elsewhere. This would relieve the strain on the state budget, the strain on the water supply, the strain on the judicial system, education, jail systems to name a few.
All of these positives and more could be achieved by actually enforcing current, existing laws. By doing so, we would not need a 17 cent per gallon gas tax increase and would still have more than $17.6 billion left from the $25 billion that illegals cost California taxpayers annually.
In an honest system, we could even receive a tax cut, but I just do not see this happening. By myself, I have supported more families than I have actual family members. I, for one, am growing extremely weary of it.
We are no longer citizens or constituents, only taxpayers or dollar signs.
Steven PayneRead More
Dave Miller who is challenging incumbent Assemblyman Jim Frazier in his race for re-election issued a statement opposing Frazier’s proposal for an increase in the gas tax.
Following is Miller’s statement:
There are two undisputed facts that everyone should know: California has the highest Gas Prices of any state that is not an island. There are a number of reasons for this and all of them originated in our legislature.
Gas and Diesel taxes hurt the working poor more than any other group. The working poor are more likely to commute farther for work -that alone is enough of a burden, they have to drive more. In addition to that, increasing the Diesel tax means that it costs more to deliver goods and services. Businesses pass along the higher delivery cost to customers in the form of higher prices. Which means our dollars don’t go as far as they used to.
Assemblyman Frazier, the chairman of the Transportation Committee, knows this. He just doesn’t care. He knows that the people that will be the most affected by this are too busy trying as hard as they can to eek out a living that they don’t have the time or money to pay attention.
Knowing that, yesterday Assemblyman Frazier joined with State Senator Jim Beall, according to the LA Times, to unveil their new gas tax plan. Here are some highlights:
- Additional 17 cent per gallon tax on gasoline.
- Additional 30 cent per gallon tax on diesel.
- $165 annual fee added to the registration fees for electric cars.
The creation of a new political bureaucracy – The Office of Transportation Inspector General. (I wonder how much of the new gas tax will have to be used to pay for that…)
Assemblyman Frazier is hoping that no one notices another key point of his tax plan. It is designed to increase inflation annually thus triggering a higher tax on gasoline automatically. Inflation is calculated by looking at the Consumer Price Index. The more things cost – the higher inflation is. So he is going to increase the costs of all goods and services by increasing the cost of fuel. By tying his tax to inflation Assemblyman Frazier is taking his planned price increases for all goods and services -caused by his tax plan- and turning them into a self-fulfilling prophecy of ever increasing gas taxes and higher inflation.
This is not his first attempt to increase the tax on each gallon of gasoline. On January 6th of 2016 Assemblyman Frazier introduced AB-1591 which would have increased the tax on gasoline by 22.5 cents per gallon and 30 cents per gallon of diesel. In addition to the new gas tax AB-1591 would have increased the cost of annual vehicle registration from $38 to $165 depending on your vehicle. Like his current proposal AB-1591 would have also been tied to inflation and automatically increased annually. AB-1591 died in committee. But Assemblyman Frazier told the L.A. Times that he would try to push for a lame duck session to get his new bill passed.
The big issue with trying to force it though a lame duck session is that you may end up with enough legislators that lost their elections, or decided to retire, that might vote for something that their constituencies do not want since there is no political consequence. What Assemblyman Frazier is doing here is putting politics before people.
As many of you know Jim has skipped out on 2 scheduled debates with me. The most recent he had a fellow democrat try to come to his aide by saying that he was stuck in a committee hearing. When the truth is that he had an hour and 45 minutes after the conclusion of his meeting to get just 35 miles. Even if he hadn’t left the capitol for 30 minutes after his hearing AND got caught in traffic, and hit every red light, he still would have been able to make it to the debate.
So, I have issued a challenge, anytime, anywhere. I will debate Mr. Frazier anytime, anywhere. But, he is too scared to debate a serious contender that knows the Assemblyman’s record better than the Assemblyman does, himself.
Frazier is seeking his third term in the Assembly. For more information about Miller, visit his website at www.electdavemiller.com. The election is on Tuesday, November 8.Read More