Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Stracener greatly exceeded paid time off cap at previous job

From page A1 | October 29, 2012 | 33 Comments

Judge Warren “Curt” Stracener received more than $200,000 upon leaving his job at the Department of Personnel to become a judge as part of a payout for time off he had accrued. He was also paid arduous pay, a little-known method of paying for excessive hours worked. It has been alleged, however, that both of these payments were not above reproach.

Stracener, currently embroiled in a campaign against judicial candidate Joe Hoffman, left the Department of Personnel — now known as the California Department of Human Resources or CalHR and essentially acting as the HR department of state employees — with a salary of $138,768, according to DPA/CalHR’s records, said spokesperson Lynelle Jolley. This was his salary, including furloughs, for 2009 and 2010. She noted the database on state worker’s salary provided by the Sacramento Bee queried a different database, causing a different, incorrect number to show.

According to records from the Controller’s Office, Stracener retired on Dec. 31, 2010. Over two payments, Stracener received a total of just under $208,000 in cashing out unused paid time off, or PTO, that he had accrued. This is in addition to his normal salary.

The extra payout was the result of having a total of 3,116 hours of PTO upon retirement. However, according to an internal memo on April 12, 2010, sent from John Barlow, chief of human resources in the then-DPA, the cap on hours is 640 — far less than Stracener’s total.

The memo states, “The expectation is that division management will encourage employees with projected leave balances in excess of 200 hours (840+ hours) to submit a plan to start using down their time this calendar year.” The goal was for every employee over the cap to create a plan to whittle down the number of leave hours available by taking time off. It also has a list with 12 redacted names over the 640 cap. It shows five employees with leave balance over 1,000 hours, with one just over 1,900 hours as of March 17, 2010.

According to Jacob Roper, a spokesman for the Controller’s Office, a personal leave program had been instituted in previous years that a 5 percent reduction in salary resulted in more leave time to compensate. Time off had also been given in lieu of a promotion, he said, due to the budget crunch at the time. Thus, it had been fairly easy to accrue leave time under previous administrations.

Stracener, however, said that the number the Controller’s Office gave is 700 hours too high and the 640-hour cap “is not a hard cap.” Rather, he said, the cap and the plans for spending the time off acted as a “tool to put people off on vacation. They could be ordered to take a week or two weeks off,” he said.

Stracener also went over how he was able to accrue the hours: Every month, 20 hours are accrued during furlough times, plus annual holidays, plus a personal day off meant as a “birthday” holiday. Leave time for actual furlough days amounts to about 280 hours, given if an employee works during the furlough as Stracener did during litigation “defending the right of the governor” to institute the furlough system. All of this added to two 5 percent pay cuts, one in 2003 and one in 2010, each of which added 100 hours to the Personal Leave Program; paid time off, he said, is inaccurate.

“That’s about 630 if you had all these, not including the Personal Leave Program,” Stracener said. He added that the plan to manage those hours had to be “modified and changed on the fly by workload.”

Being the deputy chief attorney, he found it hard to take time off. Instead, he would take long weekends, often as part of holiday weekends. For example, he said, he would take six days off in a row, but only three of the days would be counted towards his vacation time as one day was a holiday and the other two were the weekend. His original plan, however, would be to take a week off a month — something that, with litigation, was not possible.

Management positions, he said, would be filled by a “rank and file” member of the organization that would be temporarily promoted for the “out of class assignment” and paid time-and-a-half. Or, another supervisor would take over and have to do the work of two supervisors.

Both Jolley and Roper both stressed the PTO payout did not affect Stracener’s pension.

Meanwhile, there are also allegations that Stracener used a loophole to receive “arduous funds,” meant for firefighters, police and the like when responding to disaster situations. Specifically, it is meant for managers who are not normally eligible for overtime, while their subordinates are.

Joan Branin, a retired attorney for the DPA, noted that Unit 2, the unit for lawyers and attorney generals, is not listed on the state’s pay differential list for arduous pay. However, “Excluded” employees are. Excluded means the employees are “considered confidential,” Branin said, referencing their knowledge, and that they dealt with collective bargaining. “Every DPA employee was ‘excluded,’ even lawyers,” she said. “That little word allowed Bill Curtis (chief attorney) and Curt Stracener … it gave them a little hook to slide the lawyers in. Are they violating the exact words? Probably not. Are they violating the spirit of arduous pay? Absolutely.”

This, she said, was Curtis and Stracener’s way of getting around furloughs — which they said in the staff meeting where they introduced the pay differential.

“One of the things Curt said was, ‘This is just a way we can ease the pain of the furloughs.’ (Arduous pay) was never meant to ease the pain of the furloughs,” she said. “It’s not what the differential was meant for.”

Every month between March 2009 and June 2009, Stracener was paid $1,200 in arduous pay, according to the Controller’s records. The same was true for between December 2009 and May 2010.

Even more, Stracener was considered a CEA, or Career Executive Assignment — something the pay differential rules say cannot be given arduous pay unless the governor declares a disaster, something that was not done during that time, Branin said.

“It was never meant for lawyers or to ease the pain of furloughs,” she said. “It was certainly misapplied.”

Stracener said that a variety of departments, including his, have an arduous pay program, including the Department of Finance and the Franchise Tax Board and that it was a fairly normal program. As to being a CEA getting arduous pay, Stracener said that the governor, contrary to what Branin said, did indeed declare emergencies — twice. Once in 2008 and once in 2009. There was no time frame on declarations, which were declared during times of financial emergency for the state, “to deal with the fiscal crisis.”

The judge also noted that it had nothing to do with “overtime,” meaning working over 40 hours in a week. Rather, it dealt with “excessive hours,” as attorneys do not get paid time-and-a-half overtime. “They do what’s needed to get the job done,” he said. As an example, he said, litigation may cause an attorney to “work 14 or 15 days straight without a break, or 12 hours straight, such as during furlough litigation.” Or there might only be a half day off in two weeks with no weekends off.

He also noted that arduous pay was, again contrary to Branin’s statement, not his idea. “I never requested arduous pay, the decision was made by the executive office, and they included me in it,” he said. He said he wanted the people who worked for him to have it, but he “specifically asked” to not be included in the arduous pay program.

Stracener was working three different pieces of litigation in the past few years, including working on the “last vested offer” for contracts for the Department of Corrections, essentially making sure things went “without a hitch” for three years while a new, final contract was made; litigation surrounding the Department of Corrections and the contract issue; and the litigation surrounding the furloughs.

“Any one of those jobs could keep a person busy full time,” Stracener said, between meetings, monitoring the situation, prepping for court and actually being in court.

Though he has not been on a traditional family vacation in close to 20 years, he would still take a day or two off periodically — but the time off accrued surpassed time he could spend away from court. “I’ve just always been a very hard worker,” Stracener said.

Contact Cole Mayer at 530-344-5068 or Follow @CMayerMtDemo. 


Discussion | 33 comments

  • TheConfiscatorsOctober 26, 2012 - 7:59 pm

    Stracener used a loophole to receive “arduous funds,” meant for firefighters, police and the like when responding to disaster situations. What do local police and firefighters have to say about this? Can't believe they'd be supportive of a guy who on the one hand was trying to whack their pay and pensions, and on the other was logging vacation days like a madman waiting for the bonanza of a payout. He could have returned or refused the arduous pay. He expects that voters will believe there was no way to turn down those vacation days or the pay for "arduous" work pushing paper across his desk?

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  • Chuck HollandOctober 26, 2012 - 9:08 pm

    I learned two very important things from this article. One, Warren Stracener is a beady eyed rat who took ill-gotten tax payer monies for his own personal gain. Two, He will say anything to make people believe his hog wash. The irony of this campaign is that Stracener has spend in excess of 200k attempting to buy himself the job. The good thing, all that ill-gotten money has been removed from the crook and re-distributed back into our economy.

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  • LetsuseFactsnotFictionOctober 27, 2012 - 9:56 am

    What happened to investigative reporting. This "lets create drama at any cost" type of reporting doesn't do our society any just keeps the people distracted and involved in class battle. The mountain democrat could have taken a few minutes to find the personnel management liaison (pml memo) on the CalHR website or asked for help to find allows executives to receive arduous pay for work greatly above and beyond normal requirements. In fact, for exactly the circumstances described if a current employee is not willing to do the extra hours of work the State would have needed to hire an additional attorney (costing taxpayers salary AND benefits approaching 200K per year). Attorneys in the state do not make the $350 to $500 per hour that they do in private practice, a decent attorney bills in the high six figures. As to all the hype that arduous pay is illegal, immoral or somehow wrong well take a minute to go on the Department of Finance's website. Right there in black an white is their arduous wage scale and the names of folks getting it. Very hard working individuals that often work 60, 70 or even more hours per week....based on the hours, a good deal for the taxpayers.

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  • Sandra NewbertOctober 27, 2012 - 10:15 am

    I never comment on these blogs. Usually, just a bunch of political hacks or discontent folks with no solutions. Thank you "Just the facts" I took a minute to do some research. You are right. My vote is finally decided and I'm not letting dishonest politics stop me from voting in those that are good for our society....Judge Stracener has my vote and I will tell my friends and family about dishonest reporting and the political deception being used here. Good Job!

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  • Chuck HollandOctober 27, 2012 - 10:17 am

    @Letsusefacts, thank you for confirming that Stracener is NOT a "decent lawyer" since he's not capable of billing in the high six figures.

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  • Shaun SpillaneOctober 27, 2012 - 10:22 am

    I personally worked with Judge Stracener when he was at DPA - he got into the office at 9am and most nights did not leave the office until after 9pm and kept working once he got home. I received e-mails from him at 1 and 2 in the morning answering questions I had and reviewing the briefs I had written. This is a man who worked so far above and beyond the requirements of his job that he was almost never able to take time off from work. And even on those days he did take off, I would get phone calls and e-mails from him on different litigation strategies and arguments that needed to be made. He would even come into the office and work on his days off. This is a man who sacrificed his personal life for the good of the state. I can personally vouch for Judge Stracener's inability to take time off to get below the cap. After only three years at DPA, I've already hit the 640-hour cap because I've worked these overnight shifts with Curt and others, we've worked weekends preparing briefs, we've been on our computers furously typing away at briefs on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, the 4th of July, and even from out-of-state while on vacation. The 640 hour cap is a great idea in theory, but it is entirely unforceable as a matter of law (the Supreme Court in Suastez v Plastic Dress-Up Co. 31 Cal.3d 774 held that all earned vacation must be paid upon separation from employment). There was nothing improper about Judge Stracener being paid for his earned, accrued time off. The same goes for the arduous pay - this is a special form of payment that provided to those who worked above and beyond the requirements of the job. Yes, it happened to be during the furlough period, but it was necessary due to the fact that a handful of attorneys had to be re-assigned from doing their everyday work to drop everything and focus on the furlough and minimum wage litigation that nearly crippled our legal office. These attorneys' caseloads had to be shifted onto the other attorneys in the office such that it required nearly everyone at DPA to work an excessively high number of hours to defend the state against the 40+ lawsuits the unions brought. Arduous pay was simply a way of recognizing these employees' personal sacrifices. This article greatly overexaggerates what happened. Judge Stracener could not utilize his accrued vacation time prior to separating because he could no longer be employed with the State and be employed as a Judge at the same time. The law required the state to pay Judge Stracener for these accrued, vested benefits before he left. I no longer work for Judge Stracener and have no reason to come to his defense other than the fact that I personally know his work ethic, his intelligence, his integrity, his devotion, and his drive. This is a man who has sacrificed his personal life for the good of the state and a man that will go to every length to do the same for El Dorado County.

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  • ???October 27, 2012 - 10:43 am

    "Every month between March 2009 and June 2009..." Cole Mayer, how many months WERE THERE between March 2009 and June 2009?

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  • Joyce MutterOctober 27, 2012 - 2:50 pm

    It sounds like Judge Stracener had a right to the leave pay but the arduous pay sounds different. Governor Schwarzenegger made most state workers take a three day furlough per month and a 15% pay reduction. Schwarzenegger claimed he had to get that money because of a fiscal emergency. That must be the emergency that Judge Stracener claims was declared. Judge Stracener brags at meetings that he saved millions of dollars for the state defending furloughs. But then he took extra pay and gave it to the lawyers in the office where he was second in command. It is not believable that he was forced to take the pay. So it was okay for Judge Stracener to make state workers get a 15% pay loss while he got his money back? And the state needed that money but it was okay for Judge Stracener and his lawyers to get extra pay? His logic is not very good and he was a hypocrite.

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  • EldoradoOctober 27, 2012 - 8:44 pm

    I am disappointed that the newspaper's editorial position is used to influence good reporter's stories.

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  • Chuck HollandOctober 28, 2012 - 11:21 am

    Sounds like Shaun is another bureaucrat justifying some more ill-received free tax payer monies. Shaun, are you another one of the DPA Bureaucrats abusing the pay system, trying to bankrupt California? It looks like we need to dig into Shaun's pay history to find out the "real" truth behind his defense of Stracener. People need to remember that all those millions of tax payer dollars Stracener wasted defending the furloughs, and stealing from the state workers was NOT money saved. In the end the "money saved" had to be paid back to the furloughed workers. Stracener and his cronies don't tell that dirty little fact to the voters. On voting day, flush the bureaucratic crap back to Sacramento.

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  • Shaun SpillaneOctober 28, 2012 - 1:18 pm

    Chuck - I'm just someone who knows what he's talking about and who takes time to examine the facts against the far-fetched conclusions that people like yourself irresponsibly disseminate to the public. For example, if you took some time to actually read the court decisions on the furlough lawsuits, you'll find out that of the 63 state agencies that were sued by the unions (there are more than 100 state agencies in California), employees of only 6 state agencies were paid back for the time they were furloughed. The California Supreme Court and Court of Appeal upheld the furloughs with regard to ALL other state employees. Feel free to educate yourself by reading the decision, and if you still don't understand it, the Bee breaks it down real simple for you in words maybe even you can understand:

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  • cookie65October 29, 2012 - 4:46 am

    Anyone who is shocked by this needs to wake up and figure out what the public sector is all about. There is a reason for California's debt and it ain't a tax problem. Just another reason to vote NO on 30 and YES on 32. In your spare time look up the California University Regents salaries. Positions created for political favor paybacks. Like michelle obama's diversity cooridator position at the hospital in Chicago.

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  • edh momsOctober 29, 2012 - 8:39 am

    1. Chuck: You are such a hater in the name of justice. That is a real ugly quality. Between you and the Mt.Democrat....quit twisting up the facts for your own benefit. not listen to "Pot-head" Chuck - who earned cash for his start up money the 'ole "cash for the stash" way! Go away STONEY! 2. Joe Hoffman: WHERE IS THE GOLD???????? 3. Shaun: Your words are far more clear to me than this article written by - again: Cole Mayer. Are you on the take $$$ too - Cole? 4. Maybe Joe, Chuck and Cole know "WHERE THE GOLD IS? 5. My vote goes to Judge Stracener! His commitment and dedication to serving families in the county earned my vote- He cares about these children - unlike Hoffman who only wants to push 'em through without doing his homework or using his conscious. Don't be fooled people!

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  • BudOctober 29, 2012 - 8:56 am

    Hoffman now has my vote.

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  • Chuck HollandOctober 29, 2012 - 10:55 am

    @EDH MOM, I've been called a lot of things, but a "pot-head" is a new one for me. From your desperate plea to the "people" I have hit a truth nerve somewhere deep in Straceners integrity. Those that know and follow my writings know I have very little patience for public corruption, wasting of tax payer monies, and incompetence in our elected's. Stracener fits all categories.

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  • Jim RiordanOctober 29, 2012 - 1:34 pm

    Hi Chuck and Cookie65. I agree with both of you and to boil all of this overload of BS by others down to the very basics. I don't much care how they calculate it, I don't care what they call it, it is all BS theft created by or with all those POS UNIONS that need to be driven out of all government agencies before they break the back of this entire nation. The days of workers being beaten, abused and overworked are gone. LONG gone. The only purpose unions serve now is to buy as many political favors as they can get and relieve us citizens of every tax dollar they can. Unions should be permanently banned from all government jobs and simply let the people who want the jobs bid for them . If you have the credentials and can do the job and agree to do it for less than another worker, let the DOWN-trending final lowest bidder get the job. And spare me the "unions workers are better trained or worth more" . . .I have worked with too many union and and non-union workers and I know better. If we really want to get this overburdened, bureaucratic, money-eating behemoth called government "workers" off our backs we need to crush unions through job bidding. And get rid of all the BS days off for this, time off for that,personal time off, private time off . . GEES. How about permanent unpaid time off. As a private small business person who is paying for all this crap while never being able to justify so many days off myself,I find it pure despicable thievery from their employers . . US taxpayers. This is just an unending scam to work less days, make the same or more money and then when the work fails to get done , (like say, educating our kids), they want to extort more dollars or keep cutting back "work"-days until the bureaucrats will be sitting at home on their butts for 364 days per year and still be telling us if we vote for more taxes, more work will get done. I say BS. Start banishing unions, send their lawyers packing, and start job bidding. I'll bet in no time at all we could replace every one of them excluding Law enforcement and Fire who truly do need very specialized training and should be the top paid people in government along with our special ops folks. All the rest can easily be replaced with minimal training and no stinking unions. I have personally replaced a 30,000 square foot woodworking plant full of union non-performers, by shutting down the plant, starting over with a new name and hiring teams of non-union workers who caused the owners far less problems, increased quality and production numbers (big-time)and continued on that path for over five years after I left that assignment. I know job bidding works. I say start today.

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  • Ken SteersOctober 29, 2012 - 2:17 pm

    Jim, While I agree with you that government employees do not need union representation based on the fact that final protection of employees are by laws imposed and enforced by our government. I don't think that Judge Stracener's misuse of Hazard (arduous) pay and never taking PTO has anything to do with union oversight. When my company switched to the PTO system and capped personal days I found that I had a hand full of individuals mostly at VP and director level who had as much as twice the cap rate. Some as much as $200,000.00. My HR informed me that this was not because they never took vacations rather because they never reported their vacations. In the story Stracener explains that he took vacations wrapped around weekends. What I would like to see is if he ever documented taking a vacation day. I'm pretty damned sure that he never reported vacations because he didn't have oversight and the fact that he took hazard duty (arduous)pay only because he could. I'd say that's why he gave himself 3100 hours of vacation pay leaving the state, because he could. At the time of his separation from the state he could have corrected this problem. He obviously believes he is above the laws he was paid to enforce. That's a tenuous problem for an appointed judge in our county.

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  • EldoradoOctober 29, 2012 - 3:55 pm

    Just remember that Hoffman told the NRA that he favors registering handgun owners.

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  • Ken SteersOctober 29, 2012 - 6:22 pm

    Ha ha Eldorado you run with that. I wonder if you realize that it is California law to register hand guns. Is Stracener who runs juvenile court advocating minors running around with unregistered hand guns? I don't think that you have thought that whole campaign thru...

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  • angelmomOctober 29, 2012 - 9:11 pm

    Chuck, Jim, and Ken, A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech, winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his fingers, with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord; therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; In a moment he will be broken beyond healing. There are six things that The Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. Proverbs 6:12-19 I feel sorry for you guys filled with so much hate and spreading lies. I do pray for you to see that Judge Stracener is honest and a man of integrity .

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  • Educated VoterOctober 29, 2012 - 9:22 pm

    Joe Hoffman is certainly deserving of his day in court (defending himself); he is however not deserving of a day in court as judge, Just as allegations continue pouring in over Lance Armstrong's doping, allegations will continue pouring in about Hoffman. Say it isn't so Joe?

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  • Ken SteersOctober 29, 2012 - 10:33 pm

    Angel and educated voter, do you really think you are helping the disgraced judge? Read the story again.

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  • Justice InsiderOctober 30, 2012 - 6:56 am

    Angelmom, I could not have said it better, however what your describing is a perfect match to the Stracener campaign and his followers. Viewing his campaign from the inside of the justice system allows me a look into places you don't realize even exist. On the other hand, Ken, Jim, Chuck, & Cole have hit the nail right on the head. Stracener has become a very desperate man who will do or say anything to get elected to this job, apparently at any cost. Food for thought, a sitting judge has to spend in excess of 200k to keep his job. That fact alone indicates major problems. Please join the rest of the justice system and vote for Hoffman, the honest man.

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  • 1036-FrankOctober 30, 2012 - 11:31 am

    What people need to know is that all Govt. employees that I have ever known try to bank their hours for a payout when they retire, the ones who usually are paid the most are the higher level employees who bank the most leave hours and have other hours to store as perks they can cash out when they leave. The county had to put in caps for the same reasons, however it seemed management level people had ways around it. I am sure this type of cash out is common, especially when a new Gov. is coming in. None of this changes what Hoffman did to help snare the unwary investor by writing that letter for Chartraw, the arrested con-man, Daniel Chartraw, who sits somewhere in a jail cell while attorney Folsom Joe campaigns for judge. Hoffman does not pass the character test and the people who are in the legal community should take a closer look at someone before jumping to endorse them. Hoffman has a questionable association with a jailed con-man and fails the judge test.

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  • Ken SteersOctober 30, 2012 - 2:53 pm

    Wouldn't a judge who bilked the tax payers of California, hundreds of thousands of dollars while campaigning on the fact that he was responsible for furloughing hundreds of thousands of state employees be relevant? Doesn't disgraced judge Stracener have endorsements from lawyers who represented murderers on death row? Does that make the lawyer complicit? It doesn't and is as relevant as saying that the judge is endorsed by the NRA in Washington DC. Remember the same NRA endorsed Hennick. The NRA of Eldorado county is run by Chuck Holland. Who does Chuck endorse?

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  • Carrie HerbertsonOctober 30, 2012 - 6:20 pm

    First of all, to correct eldorado, Joe Hoffman told the NRA that he would support the licensing of all handguns in California, not the registration. That means that he would support additional gun control in a state already burdened by onerous gun laws - which is why he received a "C" grade from the NRA. I wonder if Mr. Hoffman is even an NRA member - as is Judge Stracener. Mr. Steers, the NRA is not some bureaucratic office in DC as you like to characterize - it's the millions of members that put their trust in decision makers to support pro gun candidates, of which Mr. Hoffman is not. If he doesn't support handgun licensing, and told the NRA that he did, then shame on him for not getting it right and working to clear it up. If a judicial candidate can't get a question as simple as that right, then does he really deserve our support? Chuck Holland is NOT the NRA in El Dorado County - I am, my neighbors are, my family is, the community of members that pay their dues are and thank heavens the powers that be in Virginia recognize a pro gun candidate when they see one - rather than the guy who is only talking the talk.

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  • Ken SteersOctober 30, 2012 - 8:24 pm

    Sorry Carrie but you are wrong. Hand gun registration is the law in California. Stracener doesn't even own a hand gun. The fact is that when Arnold gave Stracener the "Golden Handshake" and appointed him as one of our judges. Arnold did the same thing to Eldorado County that he had been doing to his house keeper for years. And he hasn't bought any of us a house in Bakersfield...

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  • Chuck HollandOctober 30, 2012 - 9:42 pm

    @Carrie, lets just set the record straight as to my position and participation in this judicial race. First off, I too am a member of the NRA, although I don't pay annual dues, I paid for a life membership in full. Either way as you point out in your writings I too am the NRA along with you, your neighbors and so on. I support Joe Hoffman for Judge. Joe is unequivocally the best candidate for the job. My research has proved stracener to be untruthful, deceiving, and mis-leading. What would make me believe that someone like your self didn't fill out his NRA questionnaire for him? By his own admission on tape with Rob Charney Stracener admits he is not even a gun owner. Although, he used to have a .22, but has apparently lost it somewhere. (Does that sound like a responsible gun owner?) Joe Hoffman on the other hand is a gun owner, as well as a CCW holder. Therefore it's my opinion Hoffman is the responsible gun owner and obvious steward of the 2nd Amendment. A candidates position on the 2nd Amendment is not necessarily the best way to vet a candidate for judicial office. I would refer you to the NRA web site stating they generally don't get involved in judicial races. Had it not been for your participation walking an endorsement through a back door I suspect the powers to be in VA. would have sat out of this race as they do most other judicial races in the country. It's my opinion Joe Hoffman is the most qualified person to occupy this judicial office, and I would encourage voters to vote for Joe.

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  • Educated VoterOctober 30, 2012 - 11:16 pm

    And why would we believe a lowly bail bondsman that got his money to start up his business from the sale of pot. Check the sheriff's department on that one. The lies that just keep spewing out of your mouth. Research you've done? You mean every kind of lie and spin just to get your boy elected. Well, maybe you should have been researching Hoffman and the 3 lawsuits against him in New York. Now that is fact because those people want their money back that they were swindled out of and Hoffman vouched was in the trust account. It is just like the Obama campaign that is trying to hide documents; Hoffman is doing everything he can to hide the truth. But the truth will come out. The only one that is Honest in this campaign is Judge Stracener. People have told me they won't vote for Hoffman because of the people that he surrounds himself with.

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  • Carrie HerbertsonOctober 31, 2012 - 7:25 am

    With all due respect to Ken Steers and Chuck Holland. Ken - I am well aware that handgun registration is the law of the land...Hoffman said he supported handgun LICENSING - which is a different issue altogether. Also, owning a handgun is not a criteria of being endorsed by the NRA...being pro-gun is, and Judge Stracener fills that role. Chuck - your ignorance regarding the NRA endorsing policies is staggering which is further proof that perhaps you should stick to your role with the Foundation, which has no political affiliation to the NRA Political Victory Fund whatsoever. Your endorsement of Hoffman is yours to make, obviously, for whatever reason you choose to do so, but do not pretend that its because he's pro-gun. Your assumption that I somehow "walked" this endorsement through the NRA door after helping Stracener fill out his questionnaire is laughable and doesn't even pass the threshold of believable if you know anything about the NRA endorsement process, which again, clearly you don't. Keep talking Chuck - your ignorance with NRA endorsment policy will continue to shine through. You do a yeoman's job raising funds for the Foundation and for that, your role is invaluable and NRA Life members like Ron and I appreciate it, since we raise funds through our own dinner. But don't even begin telling an NRA lobbyist how endorsements work because you'll find yourself treading in very deep waters without a vest.

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  • Justice InsiderOctober 31, 2012 - 9:56 am

    Sounds like Carrie has had her nails sharpened ready to defend her mis-carriaged endorsement. The NRA web site supports Chuck's comments above. Here is some verbiage from the NRA site to refresh Carries memory. "Sometimes we receive inquiries concerning judicial races. NRA-PVF generally does not issue endorsements in judicial elections..." "Judges, unlike legislators, often do not have voting records. Therefore, in evaluating judicial candidates, NRA-PVF can only make evaluations based upon past legal opinions and public statements involving firearm-related issues..." Warren Stracener has not had any firearms cases, apparently he's made a public statement that he is an irresponsible firearm owner. Carrie also makes a statement that Chuck is ignorant to the endorsement process. Carrie you should explain why Ed Worley was left out of the loop. Don't endorsements normally start with Ed? Why did the folks in VA. no nothing of this endorsement? Why were you, a Nevada and Hawaii lobbyist announcing the endorsement before it was even officially released? I think Chuck may know more than you give him credit for. Carrie its people like you that give good organizations like the NRA a black eye when you use your influence for your own agenda.

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  • Carrie HerbertsonOctober 31, 2012 - 10:14 am

    Oh brother...this is getting ridiculous. Get over your bad selves. This endorsement came through our Grassroots Division and was announced there, not from me. My husband is the NRA Election Volunteer Coordinator in El Dorado County and he sought it out after being asked to get in by NRA members in the county, including former Senator Rico Oller. You want to make this about everything but the position of candidate Joe Hoffman to justify your involvement. He supports handgun licensing, period. That's enough to warrant NRA's involvement, judicial race or not. That's what he told the NRA through his candidate survey - you may not like it, but there it is. As for me personally, I may lobby in other states but I am a 4th generation Californian with long-standing ties to El Dorado County and my views on pro-gun issues is what drives my vote.

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  • Ken SteersOctober 31, 2012 - 10:48 am

    Carrie, do you or your family actually think that you're more Pro-2nd amendment than Chuck or I? Both life members of NRA and Gun Owners. But thank you for stating the obvious. Yhat it was Rico Oller who twisted your husbands arm for the NRA endorsement. Why would Rico do this when the only gun Stracener has ever known by his own admission has come up missing? Because Stracener hired Rico's butt buddy, scumbag Dan Dellinger. Thank you for clarifying and I look forward to seeing all of you at the next NRA fund raiser.

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