IRVINE (CNS) - A fired Los Angeles police officer wanted in connection with the slayings of two people in Irvine and a Riverside police officer allegedly exchanged gunfire today with law enforcement authorities in Big Bear, wounding two deputies, after apparently tying up two people and stealing their pickup truck.
The condition of the wounded deputies was not immediately known, a sheriff's official told KCAL9.
San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said deputies received a report at 12:20 p.m. that a person matching Christopher Jordan Dorner's description stole a truck from a home in the 1200 block of Club View Drive in Big Bear.
A state Fish and Wildlife official told KCAL9 that wardens spotted Dorner in a vehicle along Highway 38 near 7 Oaks Road and tried to pull him over, but he refused to stop and opened fire on the wardens.
He then bailed out of the vehicle and ran away on foot, prompting a massive police pursuit and gun battle, the official said.
Police shut down major roads in and out of the Big Bear area.
Riverside County sheriff's officials said in a broadcast advisory that a man believed to be Dorner was involved in a home-invasion robbery at the home on Club View Drive and two people were tied up inside the house. The suspect fled in the couple's 2008 white Dodge pickup with a back hitch, according the Riverside County sheriff's broadcast.
On Feb. 3, Dorner allegedly gunned down the daughter and future son-in-law of the ex-police captain who represented him at a hearing that resulted in his dismissal from the LAPD. The bodies of 28-year-old college basketball coach Monica Quan and her fiance, 27-year-old USC public safety officer Keith Lawrence, were found in his car in the parking structure of their Irvine condominium building.
The next day, Dorner allegedly posted a 6,000-word manifesto on Facebook, vowing to kill named LAPD officers and their families. About 50 Los Angeles police officers and their families are being protected, authorities said.
On Thursday, Dorner was allegedly involved in the shootout with Los Angeles police guarding an officer's home in Corona, leaving an LAPD officer with a graze wound to the head, police said. About 20 minutes later, he allegedly fired on the pair of Riverside police officers stopped at a red light, killing Crain, 34, and wounding the other. The wounded officer was expected to recover.
Crain, an 11-year department veteran, was a former Marine. He is survived by his wife, Regina, and two children, Ian, 10, and Kaitlyn, 4. Crain left "an unforgettable impression" on everyone he met, Riverside police Lt. Guy Toussaint said. His funeral is set for Wednesday.
Ed. Note: Video from our complete broadcast of the speech and analysis will be available by noon Wednesday.
President Barack Obama addressed the nation on Tuesday in his first State of the Union address since being re-elected to a second term. The text, as prepared for delivery, follows.
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, fellow citizens:
Fifty-one years ago, John F. Kennedy declared to this Chamber that "the Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress...It is my task," he said, "to report the State of the Union - to improve it is the task of us all."
Tonight, thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, there is much progress to report. After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home. After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over six million new jobs. We buy more American cars than we have in five years, and less foreign oil than we have in twenty. Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding, and consumers, patients, and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before.
Together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger.
But we gather here knowing that there are millions of Americans whose hard work and dedication have not yet been rewarded. Our economy is adding jobs - but too many people still can't find full-time employment. Corporate profits have rocketed to all-time highs - but for more than a decade, wages and incomes have barely budged.
It is our generation's task, then, to reignite the true engine of America's economic growth - a rising, thriving middle class.
It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country - the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love.
It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation.
The American people don't expect government to solve every problem. They don't expect those of us in this chamber to agree on every issue. But they do expect us to put the nation's interests before party. They do expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can. For they know that America moves forward only when we do so together; and that the responsibility of improving this union remains the task of us all.
Our work must begin by making some basic decisions about our budget - decisions that will have a huge impact on the strength of our recovery.
Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion - mostly through spending cuts, but also by raising tax rates on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. As a result, we are more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances.
Now we need to finish the job. And the question is, how?
In 2011, Congress passed a law saying that if both parties couldn't agree on a plan to reach our deficit goal, about a trillion dollars' worth of budget cuts would automatically go into effect this year. These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize our military readiness. They'd devastate priorities like education, energy, and medical research. They would certainly slow our recovery, and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs. That's why Democrats, Republicans, business leaders, and economists have already said that these cuts, known here in Washington as "the sequester," are a really bad idea.
Now, some in this Congress have proposed preventing only the defense cuts by making even bigger cuts to things like education and job training; Medicare and Social Security benefits.
That idea is even worse. Yes, the biggest driver of our long-term debt is the rising cost of health care for an aging population. And those of us who care deeply about programs like Medicare must embrace the need for modest reforms - otherwise, our retirement programs will crowd out the investments we need for our children, and jeopardize the promise of a secure retirement for future generations.
But we can't ask senior citizens and working families to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while asking nothing more from the wealthiest and most powerful. We won't grow the middle class simply by shifting the cost of health care or college onto families that are already struggling, or by forcing communities to lay off more teachers, cops, and firefighters. Most Americans - Democrats, Republicans, and Independents - understand that we can't just cut our way to prosperity. They know that broad-based economic growth requires a balanced approach to deficit reduction, with spending cuts and revenue, and with everybody doing their fair share. And that's the approach I offer tonight.
On Medicare, I'm prepared to enact reforms that will achieve the same amount of health care savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission. Already, the Affordable Care Act is helping to slow the growth of health care costs. The reforms I'm proposing go even further. We'll reduce taxpayer subsidies to prescription drug companies and ask more from the wealthiest seniors. We'll bring down costs by changing the way our government pays for Medicare, because our medical bills shouldn't be based on the number of tests ordered or days spent in the hospital - they should be based on the quality of care that our seniors receive. And I am open to additional reforms from both parties, so long as they don't violate the guarantee of a secure retirement. Our government shouldn't make promises we cannot keep - but we must keep the promises we've already made.
To hit the rest of our deficit reduction target, we should do what leaders in both parties have already suggested, and save hundreds of billions of dollars by getting rid of tax loopholes and deductions for the well-off and well-connected. After all, why would we choose to make deeper cuts to education and Medicare just to protect special interest tax breaks? How is that fair? How does that promote growth?
Now is our best chance for bipartisan, comprehensive tax reform that encourages job creation and helps bring down the deficit. The American people deserve a tax code that helps small businesses spend less time filling out complicated forms, and more time expanding and hiring; a tax code that ensures billionaires with high-powered accountants can't pay a lower rate than their hard-working secretaries; a tax code that lowers incentives to move jobs overseas, and lowers tax rates for businesses and manufacturers that create jobs right here in America. That's what tax reform can deliver. That's what we can do together.
I realize that tax reform and entitlement reform won't be easy. The politics will be hard for both sides. None of us will get 100 percent of what we want. But the alternative will cost us jobs, hurt our economy, and visit hardship on millions of hardworking Americans. So let's set party interests aside, and work to pass a budget that replaces reckless cuts with smart savings and wise investments in our future. And let's do it without the brinksmanship that stresses consumers and scares off investors. The greatest nation on Earth cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next. Let's agree, right here, right now, to keep the people's government open, pay our bills on time, and always uphold the full faith and credit of the United States of America. The American people have worked too hard, for too long, rebuilding from one crisis to see their elected officials cause another.
Now, most of us agree that a plan to reduce the deficit must be part of our agenda. But let's be clear: deficit reduction alone is not an economic plan. A growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs - that must be the North Star that guides our efforts. Every day, we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?
A year and a half ago, I put forward an American Jobs Act that independent economists said would create more than one million new jobs. I thank the last Congress for passing some of that agenda, and I urge this Congress to pass the rest. Tonight, I'll lay out additional proposals that are fully paid for and fully consistent with the budget framework both parties agreed to just 18 months ago. Let me repeat - nothing I'm proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. It's not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.
Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing.
After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three. Caterpillar is bringing jobs back from Japan. Ford is bringing jobs back from Mexico. After locating plants in other countries like China, Intel is opening its most advanced plant right here at home. And this year, Apple will start making Macs in America again.
There are things we can do, right now, to accelerate this trend. Last year, we created our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio. A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. There's no reason this can't happen in other towns. So tonight, I'm announcing the launch of three more of these manufacturing hubs, where businesses will partner with the Departments of Defense and Energy to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs. And I ask this Congress to help create a network of fifteen of these hubs and guarantee that the next revolution in manufacturing is Made in America.
If we want to make the best products, we also have to invest in the best ideas. Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy. Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer's; developing drugs to regenerate damaged organs; devising new material to make batteries ten times more powerful. Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation. Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race. And today, no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy.
After years of talking about it, we are finally poised to control our own energy future. We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years. We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas, and the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar - with tens of thousands of good, American jobs to show for it. We produce more natural gas than ever before - and nearly everyone's energy bill is lower because of it. And over the last four years, our emissions of the dangerous carbon pollution that threatens our planet have actually fallen.
But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Yes, it's true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods - all are now more frequent and intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science - and act before it's too late.
The good news is, we can make meaningful progress on this issue while driving strong economic growth. I urge this Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won't act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.
Four years ago, other countries dominated the clean energy market and the jobs that came with it. We've begun to change that. Last year, wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let's generate even more. Solar energy gets cheaper by the year - so let's drive costs down even further. As long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy, so must we.
In the meantime, the natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. That's why my Administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits. But I also want to work with this Congress to encourage the research and technology that helps natural gas burn even cleaner and protects our air and water.
Indeed, much of our new-found energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together. So tonight, I propose we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an Energy Security Trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good. If a non-partisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals can get behind this idea, then so can we. Let's take their advice and free our families and businesses from the painful spikes in gas prices we've put up with for far too long. I'm also issuing a new goal for America: let's cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years. The states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make it happen.
America's energy sector is just one part of an aging infrastructure badly in need of repair. Ask any CEO where they'd rather locate and hire: a country with deteriorating roads and bridges, or one with high-speed rail and internet; high-tech schools and self-healing power grids. The CEO of Siemens America - a company that brought hundreds of new jobs to North Carolina - has said that if we upgrade our infrastructure, they'll bring even more jobs. And I know that you want these job-creating projects in your districts. I've seen you all at the ribbon-cuttings.
Tonight, I propose a "Fix-It-First" program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country. And to make sure taxpayers don't shoulder the whole burden, I'm also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most: modern ports to move our goods; modern pipelines to withstand a storm; modern schools worthy of our children. Let's prove that there is no better place to do business than the United States of America. And let's start right away.
Part of our rebuilding effort must also involve our housing sector. Today, our housing market is finally healing from the collapse of 2007. Home prices are rising at the fastest pace in six years, home purchases are up nearly 50 percent, and construction is expanding again.
But even with mortgage rates near a 50-year low, too many families with solid credit who want to buy a home are being rejected. Too many families who have never missed a payment and want to refinance are being told no. That's holding our entire economy back, and we need to fix it. Right now, there's a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today's rates. Democrats and Republicans have supported it before. What are we waiting for? Take a vote, and send me that bill. Right now, overlapping regulations keep responsible young families from buying their first home. What's holding us back? Let's streamline the process, and help our economy grow.
These initiatives in manufacturing, energy, infrastructure, and housing will help entrepreneurs and small business owners expand and create new jobs. But none of it will matter unless we also equip our citizens with the skills and training to fill those jobs. And that has to start at the earliest possible age.
Study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road. But today, fewer than 3 in 10 four year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program. Most middle-class parents can't afford a few hundred bucks a week for private preschool. And for poor kids who need help the most, this lack of access to preschool education can shadow them for the rest of their lives.
Tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America. Every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars later on - by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime. In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children, like Georgia or Oklahoma, studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, and form more stable families of their own. So let's do what works, and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind. Let's give our kids that chance.
Let's also make sure that a high school diploma puts our kids on a path to a good job. Right now, countries like Germany focus on graduating their high school students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges, so that they're ready for a job. At schools like P-Tech in Brooklyn, a collaboration between New York Public Schools, the City University of New York, and IBM, students will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree in computers or engineering.
We need to give every American student opportunities like this. Four years ago, we started Race to the Top - a competition that convinced almost every state to develop smarter curricula and higher standards, for about 1 percent of what we spend on education each year. Tonight, I'm announcing a new challenge to redesign America's high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy. We'll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math - the skills today's employers are looking for to fill jobs right now and in the future.
Now, even with better high schools, most young people will need some higher education. It's a simple fact: the more education you have, the more likely you are to have a job and work your way into the middle class. But today, skyrocketing costs price way too many young people out of a higher education, or saddle them with unsustainable debt.
Through tax credits, grants, and better loans, we have made college more affordable for millions of students and families over the last few years. But taxpayers cannot continue to subsidize the soaring cost of higher education. Colleges must do their part to keep costs down, and it's our job to make sure they do. Tonight, I ask Congress to change the Higher Education Act, so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid. And tomorrow, my Administration will release a new "College Scorecard" that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria: where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.
To grow our middle class, our citizens must have access to the education and training that today's jobs require. But we also have to make sure that America remains a place where everyone who's willing to work hard has the chance to get ahead.
Our economy is stronger when we harness the talents and ingenuity of striving, hopeful immigrants. And right now, leaders from the business, labor, law enforcement, and faith communities all agree that the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
Real reform means strong border security, and we can build on the progress my Administration has already made - putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history, and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years.
Real reform means establishing a responsible pathway to earned citizenship - a path that includes passing a background check, paying taxes and a meaningful penalty, learning English, and going to the back of the line behind the folks trying to come here legally.
And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system to cut waiting periods, reduce bureaucracy, and attract the highly-skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy.
In other words, we know what needs to be done. As we speak, bipartisan groups in both chambers are working diligently to draft a bill, and I applaud their efforts. Now let's get this done. Send me a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the next few months, and I will sign it right away.
But we can't stop there. We know our economy is stronger when our wives, mothers, and daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace, and free from the fear of domestic violence. Today, the Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act that Joe Biden originally wrote almost 20 years ago. I urge the House to do the same. And I ask this Congress to declare that women should earn a living equal to their efforts, and finally pass the Paycheck Fairness Act this year.
We know our economy is stronger when we reward an honest day's work with honest wages. But today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year. Even with the tax relief we've put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That's wrong. That's why, since the last time this Congress raised the minimum wage, nineteen states have chosen to bump theirs even higher.
Tonight, let's declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families. It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank; rent or eviction; scraping by or finally getting ahead. For businesses across the country, it would mean customers with more money in their pockets. In fact, working folks shouldn't have to wait year after year for the minimum wage to go up while CEO pay has never been higher. So here's an idea that Governor Romney and I actually agreed on last year: let's tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on.
Tonight, let's also recognize that there are communities in this country where no matter how hard you work, it's virtually impossible to get ahead. Factory towns decimated from years of plants packing up. Inescapable pockets of poverty, urban and rural, where young adults are still fighting for their first job. America is not a place where chance of birth or circumstance should decide our destiny. And that is why we need to build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class for all who are willing to climb them.
Let's offer incentives to companies that hire Americans who've got what it takes to fill that job opening, but have been out of work so long that no one will give them a chance. Let's put people back to work rebuilding vacant homes in run-down neighborhoods. And this year, my Administration will begin to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit towns in America to get these communities back on their feet. We'll work with local leaders to target resources at public safety, education, and housing. We'll give new tax credits to businesses that hire and invest. And we'll work to strengthen families by removing the financial deterrents to marriage for low-income couples, and doing more to encourage fatherhood - because what makes you a man isn't the ability to conceive a child; it's having the courage to raise one.
Stronger families. Stronger communities. A stronger America. It is this kind of prosperity - broad, shared, and built on a thriving middle class - that has always been the source of our progress at home. It is also the foundation of our power and influence throughout the world.
Tonight, we stand united in saluting the troops and civilians who sacrifice every day to protect us. Because of them, we can say with confidence that America will complete its mission in Afghanistan, and achieve our objective of defeating the core of al Qaeda. Already, we have brought home 33,000 of our brave servicemen and women. This spring, our forces will move into a support role, while Afghan security forces take the lead. Tonight, I can announce that over the next year, another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan. This drawdown will continue. And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over.
Beyond 2014, America's commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change. We are negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions: training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counter-terrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al Qaeda and their affiliates.
Today, the organization that attacked us on 9/11 is a shadow of its former self. Different al Qaeda affiliates and extremist groups have emerged - from the Arabian Peninsula to Africa. The threat these groups pose is evolving. But to meet this threat, we don't need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations. Instead, we will need to help countries like Yemen, Libya, and Somalia provide for their own security, and help allies who take the fight to terrorists, as we have in Mali. And, where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans.
As we do, we must enlist our values in the fight. That is why my Administration has worked tirelessly to forge a durable legal and policy framework to guide our counterterrorism operations. Throughout, we have kept Congress fully informed of our efforts. I recognize that in our democracy, no one should just take my word that we're doing things the right way. So, in the months ahead, I will continue to engage with Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention, and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world.
Of course, our challenges don't end with al Qaeda. America will continue to lead the effort to prevent the spread of the world's most dangerous weapons. The regime in North Korea must know that they will only achieve security and prosperity by meeting their international obligations. Provocations of the sort we saw last night will only isolate them further, as we stand by our allies, strengthen our own missile defense, and lead the world in taking firm action in response to these threats.
Likewise, the leaders of Iran must recognize that now is the time for a diplomatic solution, because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations, and we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon. At the same time, we will engage Russia to seek further reductions in our nuclear arsenals, and continue leading the global effort to secure nuclear materials that could fall into the wrong hands - because our ability to influence others depends on our willingness to lead.
America must also face the rapidly growing threat from cyber-attacks. We know hackers steal people's identities and infiltrate private e-mail. We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, and our air traffic control systems. We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy.
That's why, earlier today, I signed a new executive order that will strengthen our cyber defenses by increasing information sharing, and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs, and our privacy. Now, Congress must act as well, by passing legislation to give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks.
Even as we protect our people, we should remember that today's world presents not only dangers, but opportunities. To boost American exports, support American jobs, and level the playing field in the growing markets of Asia, we intend to complete negotiations on a Trans-Pacific Partnership. And tonight, I am announcing that we will launch talks on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union - because trade that is free and fair across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs.
We also know that progress in the most impoverished parts of our world enriches us all. In many places, people live on little more than a dollar a day. So the United States will join with our allies to eradicate such extreme poverty in the next two decades: by connecting more people to the global economy and empowering women; by giving our young and brightest minds new opportunities to serve and helping communities to feed, power, and educate themselves; by saving the world's children from preventable deaths; and by realizing the promise of an AIDS-free generation.
Above all, America must remain a beacon to all who seek freedom during this period of historic change. I saw the power of hope last year in Rangoon - when Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed an American President into the home where she had been imprisoned for years; when thousands of Burmese lined the streets, waving American flags, including a man who said, "There is justice and law in the United States. I want our country to be like that."
In defense of freedom, we will remain the anchor of strong alliances from the Americas to Africa; from Europe to Asia. In the Middle East, we will stand with citizens as they demand their universal rights, and support stable transitions to democracy. The process will be messy, and we cannot presume to dictate the course of change in countries like Egypt; but we can - and will - insist on respect for the fundamental rights of all people. We will keep the pressure on a Syrian regime that has murdered its own people, and support opposition leaders that respect the rights of every Syrian. And we will stand steadfast with Israel in pursuit of security and a lasting peace. These are the messages I will deliver when I travel to the Middle East next month.
All this work depends on the courage and sacrifice of those who serve in dangerous places at great personal risk - our diplomats, our intelligence officers, and the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. As long as I'm Commander-in-Chief, we will do whatever we must to protect those who serve their country abroad, and we will maintain the best military in the world. We will invest in new capabilities, even as we reduce waste and wartime spending. We will ensure equal treatment for all service members, and equal benefits for their families - gay and straight. We will draw upon the courage and skills of our sisters and daughters, because women have proven under fire that they are ready for combat. We will keep faith with our veterans - investing in world-class care, including mental health care, for our wounded warriors; supporting our military families; and giving our veterans the benefits, education, and job opportunities they have earned. And I want to thank my wife Michelle and Dr. Jill Biden for their continued dedication to serving our military families as well as they serve us.
But defending our freedom is not the job of our military alone. We must all do our part to make sure our God-given rights are protected here at home. That includes our most fundamental right as citizens: the right to vote. When any Americans - no matter where they live or what their party - are denied that right simply because they can't wait for five, six, seven hours just to cast their ballot, we are betraying our ideals. That's why, tonight, I'm announcing a non-partisan commission to improve the voting experience in America. And I'm asking two long-time experts in the field, who've recently served as the top attorneys for my campaign and for Governor Romney's campaign, to lead it. We can fix this, and we will. The American people demand it. And so does our democracy.
Of course, what I've said tonight matters little if we don't come together to protect our most precious resource - our children.
It has been two months since Newtown. I know this is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence. But this time is different. Overwhelming majorities of Americans - Americans who believe in the 2nd Amendment - have come together around commonsense reform - like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun. Senators of both parties are working together on tough new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns for resale to criminals. Police chiefs are asking our help to get weapons of war and massive ammunition magazines off our streets, because they are tired of being outgunned.
Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress. If you want to vote no, that's your choice. But these proposals deserve a vote. Because in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun.
One of those we lost was a young girl named Hadiya Pendleton. She was 15 years old. She loved Fig Newtons and lip gloss. She was a majorette. She was so good to her friends, they all thought they were her best friend. Just three weeks ago, she was here, in Washington, with her classmates, performing for her country at my inauguration. And a week later, she was shot and killed in a Chicago park after school, just a mile away from my house.
Hadiya's parents, Nate and Cleo, are in this chamber tonight, along with more than two dozen Americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence. They deserve a vote.
Gabby Giffords deserves a vote.
The families of Newtown deserve a vote.
The families of Aurora deserve a vote.
The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence - they deserve a simple vote.
Our actions will not prevent every senseless act of violence in this country. Indeed, no laws, no initiatives, no administrative acts will perfectly solve all the challenges I've outlined tonight. But we were never sent here to be perfect. We were sent here to make what difference we can, to secure this nation, expand opportunity, and uphold our ideals through the hard, often frustrating, but absolutely necessary work of self-government.
We were sent here to look out for our fellow Americans the same way they look out for one another, every single day, usually without fanfare, all across this country. We should follow their example.
We should follow the example of a New York City nurse named Menchu Sanchez. When Hurricane Sandy plunged her hospital into darkness, her thoughts were not with how her own home was faring - they were with the twenty precious newborns in her care and the rescue plan she devised that kept them all safe.
We should follow the example of a North Miami woman named Desiline Victor. When she arrived at her polling place, she was told the wait to vote might be six hours. And as time ticked by, her concern was not with her tired body or aching feet, but whether folks like her would get to have their say. Hour after hour, a throng of people stayed in line in support of her. Because Desiline is 102 years old. And they erupted in cheers when she finally put on a sticker that read "I Voted."
We should follow the example of a police officer named Brian Murphy. When a gunman opened fire on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and Brian was the first to arrive, he did not consider his own safety. He fought back until help arrived, and ordered his fellow officers to protect the safety of the Americans worshiping inside - even as he lay bleeding from twelve bullet wounds.
When asked how he did that, Brian said, "That's just the way we're made."
That's just the way we're made.
We may do different jobs, and wear different uniforms, and hold different views than the person beside us. But as Americans, we all share the same proud title:
We are citizens. It's a word that doesn't just describe our nationality or legal status. It describes the way we're made. It describes what we believe. It captures the enduring idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations; that our rights are wrapped up in the rights of others; and that well into our third century as a nation, it remains the task of us all, as citizens of these United States, to be the authors of the next great chapter in our American story.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.
Two officers were wounded and one killed in two separate shootings early this morning, both of which police suspect involved the ex-LAPD officer who is the target of a massive manhunt.
Police had launched a massive search for Christopher Jordan Dorner, who reportedly wrote an 1,100-word manifesto threatening "unconventional and asymmetrical warfare" against all uniformed Los Angeles police officers after he was fired from the department.
Dorner is also suspected of murdering a high school coach and her fiance in Irvine. Monica Quan was the daughter of retired police captain Randy Quan, who was directly involved in the review proceedings that led to Dorner's removal from the force, according to the L.A. Times.
The first officer-involved shooting occurred in Corona at 1:24 a.m., according to LAPD Officer Rudy Lopez.
Officers were participating in the hunt for Dorner, when they were flagged down by a witness who claimed to have seen him. The two officers soon spotted a blue Nissan Titan matching descriptions of Dorner's vehicle and began to follow. After exiting the freeway, Dorner reportedly stopped, got out of his truck, and fired upon the officers with a "shouldered" weapon, according to Lopez. One officer was grazed by a bullet, the other uninjured.
The Riverside Press-Enterprise has that interview in the YouTube video below.
In Riverside some time later, two officers were stopped at an intersection for a red light when they were reportedly ambushed by a shooter. One officer was killed, another injured, according to Riverside Police Lt. Guy Toussaint.
Toussaint related the details in a press conference captured here by the Press-Enterprise:
Toussaint said there was a "strong likelihood" that Dorner was involved, but said the investigation is continuing.
One reporter asked "Do you consider yourselves under attack?"
"Based on the circumstances of the shooting, yes I do," he said.
UPDATE from Karen Foshay, 2:30 p.m.:
L.A. Archdiocese spokesperson Tod Tamberg tells "Socal Connected" the diocese has sent notices to the LAUSD regarding people accused of misconduct who either have current or former ties to LAUSD, and have offered to share information over the phone. We have not received follow up to those letters."
Tamberg couldn't say how many letters have been sent and but did say they the letters involved persons the diocese believed would be of interest to LAUSD.
The Los Angeles Archdiocese tells "SoCal Connected" it was made aware, in 2001, that defrocked priest, Joseph Pina had applied for a job with the Los Angeles Unified School district after resigning in disgrace from the church in 1998. Recently released church documents reveal Pina began having sexual relations with a 16 year-old girl while he was still an active clergyman. The documents detail his admission that he became attracted to the young girl after seeing her dressed as Snow White when she was in the eighth grade.
Over the weekend the LAUSD told "SoCal Connected," in an email, they did not have information of any communication between the Church and the school district. But this morning, Tod Tamberg, Director of Media Relations for the LA Archdiocese wrote in an email to "SoCal Connected" they had communicated with the LAUSD regarding Pina. "The Archdiocese received an employment questionnaire from the LAUSD in August 2001 regarding Joseph Pina. In response to the question: 'Should the Los Angeles Unified School District consider anything else regarding this candidate's employment suitability?' the Archdiocese checked the box, 'yes,' adding that we would 'not recommend him for a position in the schools.' In response to the next question on the form, 'Would you hire this person again?' the Archdiocese checked the box 'no.'"
Tamberg goes on to write "there is no indication in our files of any further contact from LAUSD regarding Mr. Pina once the form was returned to the LAUSD."
According to Waldman Pina began working at the district in January 2002, after clearing a Department of Justice fingerprint and background check. The former priest was hired as a Community Outreach Organizer, who coordinated and attended dozens of community events throughout the city. LAUSD says he is no longer employed with the district.
Pina resigned from the Church after being admitted to at least two in-patient treatments centers for engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct. There were also a other allegations of "boundary issues" with Pina and other minors.
LAUSD Employment Questionnaire Regarding Joseph Pina
Additional reporting by Karen Foshay, Lata Pandya, and Miguel Contreras.
[Update - Monday, February 4, 1:41 p.m.: L.A. Archdiocese Says It Warned LAUSD Not To Hire Former Priest]
Joseph D. Pina was a Catholic priest for 26 years in Southern California until he left the church after repeated admissions of a sexual relationship with a minor. "Socal Connected" has learned Pina later went to work at Los Angeles Unified School District.
According to recently released church documents, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles was aware as early as 2009 that Pina was working for LAUSD, despite his extensive record of sexual misconduct as a Catholic Priest. It's unclear if church leaders informed the district of Pina's past.
Pina, whose last assignment was at St. Emydius Church in Lynwood, Calif., resigned from the priesthood in March 1998. A review of the LAUSD website shows Pina has worked as a community organizer for the school district as early as February 2002.
In an email to "SoCal Connected," LAUSD's director of communications, Thomas Waldman, confirmed former priest Joseph Pina is "the same Joseph Pina" who has been working at the district. Waldman did not have employment dates or Pina's current employment status. As a community organizer at LAUSD, he organized and attended dozens of community outreach events throughout the city.
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday for a new occupational center in Bell, an event Pina reportedly organized for the district, one man told "SoCal Connected" that he worked with Pina and that Pina served "as community rep for this project." When asked if he was aware Pina was a former priest involved in a sexual misconduct case with a minor, the man, who declined to give his name, said he didn't know the personal life of Joe "at all" and then said he had no further comment.
Tiffany Mansour, who was helping community organizers at the Bell event, reviewed a photo "Socal Connected" showed her and recognized Pina as an LAUSD employee who has worked with her mother for a number of years. She recalled Pina used to be a priest but said she was shocked to learn that he has been involved in a sexual abuse case.
It is not known whether LAUSD knew anything of Pina's background when he was hired. In Waldman's email to "SoCal Connected," he said he had "no information of any conversation between the Church and LAUSD regarding Mr. Pina's past in the priesthood." Calls to the church's public information officer were not returned at press time. "SoCal Connected" also made numerous attempts to locate Pina, but neighbors told us he didn't come home Friday night, and they had not seen him. Pina did not return our phone call.
The once-confidential church documents reveal Pina sought treatment on several occasions for sexual misconduct. A psychological evaluation dated Oct. 8, 1993, and written to Monsignor Timothy Dyer said Pina "remains a serious risk for acting out." The document goes on to say, "Over the years he's perfected his method, and his behavior suggests that single Hispanic female mothers and possibly minors are at risk for becoming victimized." The evaluation's author concludes with a recommendation, "I would advise the Archdiocese to take appropriate measures and precautions to insure that he is not in a setting where he can victimize others." The archdiocese sent him to at least two in-house treatment centers and a halfway house for sexual offenders, but also returned him to several parishes, until Pina resigned in 1998.
The documents additionally revealed the church stood behind Pina and offered words of support and comfort, support that came from the man at the very top: then Archdiocese Roger Mahony. "Dear Joe," wrote Mahony in June 1990, "I just want to renew in writing my esteem, affection and prayers for you during these days of some trial." Mahony ends the letter by writing "you continue to have my prayers, my support and my friendship."
The Pina files raise serious questions about the extent of the church's systematic cover-up, and whether any steps were taken to inform LAUSD of the former priest's troubled background while he was working for the nation's second largest school district.
In his resignation letter to the parishioners of St. Emydius dated March 14, 1998, he wrote "the time has come for me to seek more serious help for my personal issues. For some time now I thought that I was working on my recovery issues diligently and honestly. However, I was not."
Watch more on this story on "SoCal Connected" on Monday, Feb. 4 at 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. on KCET.
Update, Monday, February 4: L.A. Archdiocese Says It Warned LAUSD Not To Hire Former Priest
(Photo Credit: ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)
Laura Ling contributed to this report.
Why would someone take a drug that can turn you into a psycho or a flesh eating zombie? If you've seen the "man eats face" video on YouTube, then you're probably familiar with bath salts, the drug behind the atrocity depicted there. But for former addicts, like 21 year-old ballet dancer Hannah, bath salts weren't seen as anything worse than an energy drink.
As veteran correspondent Laura Ling uncovers in Wednesday's broadcast of "SoCal Connected," this synthetic stimulant, which has nothing to do with the bath salts we bathe in, can cause violent hallucinations and paranoia. It's cheap and easy to get -- no drug dealer needed.
For years it's been an underground business that the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) has allowed to operate in the shadows. But the issue of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," is now dogging the Division like a relentless bloodhound.
For several months, DOGGR has had to make up for lack of attention to the issue by attending countless community meetings, giving news interviews, and generally being held accountable. Now add the news that it's being sued by an environmental organization for turning a blind eye to fracking all these years.
In 2002 the residents of Orange County, Calif., passed a measure to kill plans for the development of the El Toro Airport and instead voted to turn a huge swath of land from the decommissioned Air Force base into a central park and nature preserve. From that, the O.C. Great Park was born, billed by the Irvine City Council as the country's next great urban park -- one that will rival New York's Central Park. Fast forward 10 years and only 200 of the 1300 acres have been developed. Roughly $200 million has been spent, and many are now asking, "Where has all the money gone?" Has the O.C. Great Park turned into a great disappointment?
Watch our full report on "SoCal Connected" tonight at 5:30 and 10.
"SoCal Connected" recently presented a special one-hour episode to bring you a mayoral forum moderated by our own Val Zavala.
With less than six weeks to go until the election, the mayoral candidates tackled such topics as the troubled city budget, housing, pensions, and unemployment. The speakers included councilmembers Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry, City Controller Wendy Greuel, attorney and broadcaster Kevin James, and former tech executive Emanuel Pleitez.
The event was sponsored by the League of Women Voters and Communities United for Smart Growth.
TEXT OF GOV. JERRY BROWN'S 2013 STATE OF THE STATE ADRESS
Edmund G. Brown Jr.
State of the State Address
Remarks as Prepared
January 24, 2013
The message this year is clear: California has once again confounded our critics. We have wrought in just two years a solid and enduring budget. And, by God, we will persevere and keep it that way for years to come.
Against those who take pleasure, singing of our demise, California did the impossible.
You, the California legislature, did it. You cast difficult votes to cut billions from the state budget. You curbed prison spending through an historic realignment and you reformed and reduced the state's long term pension liabilities.
Then, the citizens of California, using their inherent political power under the Constitution, finished the task. They embraced the new taxes of Proposition 30 by a healthy margin of 55% to 44%.
Members of the legislature, I salute you for your courage, for wholeheartedly throwing yourself into the cause.
I salute the unions--their members and their leaders. You showed what ordinary people can do when they are united and organized.
I salute those leaders of California business and the individual citizens who proudly stood with us.
I salute the teachers and the students, the parents and the college presidents, the whole school community. As the great jurist, Oliver Wendell Holmes, once said when describing what stirs people to action: "Feeling begets feeling and great feeling begets great feeling." You were alarmed, you stirred yourselves to action and victory was the outcome.
That was 2012 and what a year!
In fact, both 2011 and 2012 were remarkable.
You did great things: Your 1/3 renewable energy mandate; the reform of workers compensation; the reorganization of state government; protecting our forests and strengthening our timber industry; reforming our welfare system; and launching the nation's first high speed rail system.
But, of course, governing never ends. We have promises to keep. And the most important is the one we made to the voters if Proposition 30 passed: that we would guard jealously the money temporarily made available.
This means living within our means and not spending what we don't have. Fiscal discipline is not the enemy of our good intentions but the basis for realizing them. It is cruel to lead people on by expanding good programs, only to cut them back when the funding disappears. That is not progress; it is not even progressive. It is illusion. That stop and go, boom and bust, serves no one. We are not going back there.
The budget is balanced but great risks and uncertainties lie ahead. The federal government, the courts or changes in the economy all could cost us billions and drive a hole in the budget. The ultimate costs of expanding our health care system under the Affordable Care Act are unknown. Ignoring such known unknowns would be folly, just as it would be to not pay down our wall of debt. That is how we plunged into a decade of deficits.
Recall the story of Genesis and Pharaoh's dream of seven cows, fatfleshed and well favored, which came out of the river, followed by seven other cows leanfleshed and ill favored. Then the lean cows ate up the fat cows. The Pharaoh could not interpret his dream until Joseph explained to him that the seven fat cows were seven years of great plenty and the seven lean cows were seven years of famine that would immediately follow. The Pharaoh took the advice of Joseph and stored up great quantities of grain during the years of plenty. When famine came, Egypt was ready.
The people have given us seven years of extra taxes. Let us follow the wisdom of Joseph, pay down our debts and store up reserves against the leaner times that will surely come.
In the midst of the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt said: "There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation has a rendezvous with destiny."
We --right here in California-- have such a rendezvous with destiny. All around us we see doubt and skepticism about our future and that of America's. But what we have accomplished together these last two years, indeed, the whole history of California, belies such pessimism.
Remember how California began.
In 1769, under King Charles III, orders were issued to Jose de Galvez, the Visitor General of Baja California, to: "Occupy and fortify San Diego and Monterey for God and the King of Spain.´
Gaspar Portola and a small band of brave men made their way slowly north, along an uncharted path. Eventually, they reached Monterey but they could not recognize the Bay in the dense fog. With their supplies failing, they marched back to San Diego, forced to eat the flesh of emaciated pack mules just to stay alive. Undaunted, Portola sent for provisions from Baja California and promptly organized a second expedition. He retraced his steps northward, along what was to become El Camino Real, the Kings Highway. This time, Father Serra joined the expedition by sea. The rest is history, a spectacular history of bold pioneers meeting every failure with even greater success.
The founding of the Missions, secularized and sold off in little more than 50 years, the displacement and devastation of the native people, the discovery of Gold, the coming of the Forty-Niners and adventurers from every continent, first by the thousands and then by the hundreds of thousands. Then during the Civil War under President Lincoln came the Transcontinental Railroad and Land Grant Colleges, followed by the founding of the University of California. And oil production, movies, an aircraft industry, the longest suspension bridge in the world, aerospace, the first freeways, grand water projects, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Venture Capital, Silicon Valley, Hewlett Packard, Apple, Qualcomm, Google and countless others, existing and still just imagined.
What is this but the most diverse, creative and longest standing mass migration in the history of the world. That is California. And we are her sons and daughters.
This special destiny never ends. It slows. It falters. It goes off track in ignorance and prejudice but soon resumes again--more vibrant and more stunning in its boldness.
The rest of the country looks to California. Not for what is conventional, but for what is necessary--necessary to keep faith with our courageous forebears.
What we have done together and what we must do in the coming years is big, but it pales in comparison to the indomitable courage of those who discovered and each decade thereafter built a more abundant California.
As Legislators, It is your duty and privilege to pass laws. But what we need to do for our future will require more than producing hundreds of new laws each year. Montaigne, the great French writer of the 16th Century, in his Essay on Experience, wisely wrote: "There is little relation between our actions, which are in perpetual mutation, and fixed and immutable laws. The most desirable laws are those that are the rarest, simplest, and most general; and I even think that it would be better to have none at all than to have them in such numbers as we have."
Constantly expanding the coercive power of government by adding each year so many minute prescriptions to our already detailed and turgid legal system overshadows other aspects of public service. Individual creativity and direct leadership must also play a part. We do this, not by commanding thou shalt or thou shalt not through a new law but by tapping into the persuasive power that can inspire and organize people. Lay the Ten Commandments next to the California Education code and you will see how far we have diverged in approach and in content from that which forms the basis of our legal system.
In the right order of things, education--the early fashioning of character and the formation of conscience--comes before legislation. Nothing is more determinative of our future than how we teach our children. If we fail at this, we will sow growing social chaos and inequality that no law can rectify.
In California's public schools, there are six million students, 300,000 teachers--all subject to tens of thousands of laws and regulations. In addition to the teacher in the classroom, we have a principal in every school, a superintendent and governing board for each school district. Then we have the State Superintendent and the State Board of Education, which makes rules and approves endless waivers--often of laws which you just passed. Then there is the Congress which passes laws like "No Child Left Behind," and finally the Federal Department of Education, whose rules, audits and fines reach into every classroom in America, where sixty million children study, not six million.
Add to this the fact that three million California school age children speak a language at home other than English and more than two million children live in poverty. And we have a funding system that is overly complex, bureaucratically driven and deeply inequitable. That is the state of affairs today.
The laws that are in fashion demand tightly constrained curricula and reams of accountability data. All the better if it requires quiz-bits of information, regurgitated at regular intervals and stored in vast computers. Performance metrics, of course, are invoked like talismans. Distant authorities crack the whip, demanding quantitative measures and a stark, single number to encapsulate the precise achievement level of every child.
We seem to think that education is a thing--like a vaccine--that can be designed from afar and simply injected into our children. But as the Irish poet, William Butler Yeats said, "Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire."
This year, as you consider new education laws, I ask you to consider the principle of Subsidiarity. Subsidiarity is the idea that a central authority should only perform those tasks which cannot be performed at a more immediate or local level. In other words, higher or more remote levels of government, like the state, should render assistance to local school districts, but always respect their primary jurisdiction and the dignity and freedom of teachers and students.
Subsidiarity is offended when distant authorities prescribe in minute detail what is taught, how it is taught and how it is to be measured. I would prefer to trust our teachers who are in the classroom each day, doing the real work - lighting fires in young minds.
My 2013 Budget Summary lays out the case for cutting categorical programs and putting maximum authority and discretion back at the local level--with school boards. I am asking you to approve a brand new Local Control Funding Formula which would distribute supplemental funds -- over an extended period of time -- to school districts based on the real world problems they face. This formula recognizes the fact that a child in a family making $20,000 a year or speaking a language different from English or living in a foster home requires more help. Equal treatment for children in unequal situations is not justice.
With respect to higher education, cost pressures are relentless and many students cannot get the classes they need. A half million fewer students this year enrolled in the community colleges than in 2008. Graduation in four years is the exception and transition from one segment to the other is difficult. The University of California, the Cal State system and the community colleges are all working on this. The key here is thoughtful change, working with the faculty and the college presidents. But tuition increases are not the answer. I will not let the students become the default financiers of our colleges and universities.
California was the first in the nation to pass laws to implement President Obama's historic Affordable Care Act. Our health benefit exchange, called Covered California, will begin next year providing insurance to nearly one million Californians. Over the rest of this decade, California will steadily reduce the number of the uninsured.
Today I am calling for a special session to deal with those issues that must be decided quickly if California is to get the Affordable Care Act started by next January. The broader expansion of Medi-Cal that the Act calls for is incredibly complex and will take more time. Working out the right relationship with the counties will test our ingenuity and will not be achieved overnight. Given the costs involved, great prudence should guide every step of the way.
California lost 1.3 million jobs in the great Recession but we are coming back at a faster pace than the national average. The new Office of Business and Economic Development -- GoBiz --directly assisted more than 5,000 companies this past year.
One of those companies was Samsung Semiconductor Inc. headquartered in Korea. Working with the City of San Jose and Santa Clara County, GoBiz persuaded Samsung to locate their only research and development facility in the world here in California. The new facility in San Jose will place at least 2,500 people in high skill, high wage jobs. We also leveled the field on internet sales taxes, paving the way for over 1,000 new jobs at new Amazon distribution centers in Patterson and San Bernardino and now Tracy.
This year, we should change both the Enterprise Zone Program and the Jobs Hiring Credit. They aren't working. We also need to rethink and streamline our regulatory procedures, particularly the California Environmental Quality Act. Our approach needs to be based more on consistent standards that provide greater certainty and cut needless delays.
California's exports are booming and our place in the world economy has never been stronger. Our ties with The People's Republic of China in particular are deep--from the Chinese immigrants crossing the Pacific in 1848 to hosting China's next President in Los Angeles last February. This year we will take another step to strengthen the ties between the world's second and ninth largest economies. In April, I will lead a trade and investment mission to China with help from the Bay Area Council and officially open California's new trade and investment office in Shanghai.
Central to the life of our state is water and one sixth of that water flows through the San Joaquin Delta.
Silicon Valley, the Livermore Valley, farmers on the East side of the San Joaquin Valley between Fresno and Kern County and farmers on the West side between Tracy and Los Banos, urban Southern California and Northern Contra Costa, all are critically dependent on the Delta for Water.
If because of an earthquake, a hundred year storm or sea level rise, the Delta fails, the disaster would be comparable to Hurricane Katrina or Superstorm Sandy: losses of at least $100 billion and 40,000 jobs. I am going to do whatever I can to make sure that does not happen. My proposed plan is two tunnels 30 miles long and 40 feet wide, designed to improve the ecology of the Delta, with almost 100 square miles of habitat restoration. Yes, that is big but so is the problem.
The London Olympics lasted a short while and cost $14 billion, about the same cost as this project. But this project will serve California for hundreds of years.
When we think about California's future, no long term liability presents as great a danger to our wellbeing as the buildup of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
According to the latest report from the World Bank, carbon dioxide emissions are the highest in 15 million years. At today's emissions rate, the planet could warm by more than 7 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century, an event unknown in human experience. California is extremely vulnerable because of our Mediterranean climate, long coastline and reliance on snowpack for so much of our water supply.
Tipping points can be reached before we even know we have passed them. This is a different kind of challenge than we ever faced. It requires acting now even though the worst consequences are perhaps decades in the future.
Again California is leading the way. We are reducing emissions as required by AB 32 and we will meet our goal of getting carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
Key to our efforts is reducing electricity consumption through efficiency standards for buildings and appliances. Over the last three decades, these pioneering efforts have saved Californians $65 billion dollars. And we are not through yet.
We are also meeting our renewable energy goals: more than 20% renewable energy this year. By 2020, we will get at least a third of our electricity from the sun and the wind and other renewable sources--and probably more.
Transportation and High Speed Rail
In the years following World War II, California embarked on a vast program to build highway, bridges and roads.
Today, California's highways are asked to accommodate more vehicle traffic than any other state in the nation. Most were constructed before we knew about climate change and the lethal effects of dirty air. We now expect more.
I have directed our Transportation Agency to review thoroughly our current priorities and explore long-term funding options.
Last year, you authorized another big project: High Speed Rail. Yes, it is bold but so is everything else about California.
Electrified trains are part of the future. China already has 5000 miles of high speed rail and intends to double that. Spain has 1600 miles and is building more. More than a dozen other countries have their own successful high speed rail systems. Even Morocco is building one.
The first phase will get us from Madera to Bakersfield. Then we will take it through the Tehachapi Mountains to Palmdale, constructing 30 miles of tunnels and bridges. The first rail line through those mountains was built in 1874 and its top speed over the crest is still 24 miles an hour. Then we will build another 33 miles of tunnels and bridges before we get the train to its destination at Union Station in the heart of Los Angeles.
It has taken great perseverance to get us this far. I signed the original high speed rail Authority in 1982--over 30 years ago. In 2013, we will finally break ground and start construction.
This is my 11th year in the job and I have never been more excited. Two years ago, they were writing our obituary. Well it didn't happen. California is back, its budget is balanced, and we are on the move. Let's go out and get it done.
Photo: California Governor Jerry Brown announces his public employee pension reform plan October 27, 2011 at the State Capitol in Sacramento, California. (Credit: MAX WHITTAKER/STRINGER/Getty Images)