The attorney prosecuting Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Diana Hall before the California Commission on Judicial Performance is calling for Hall’s removal from the bench for laundering campaign contributions from her former lesbian lover. Attorney Andrew Blum wrote, “The public can have no confidence in a judge, hence the judiciary, that is required to know and respect the law but does neither.” Although Hall admitted to falsifying campaign contributions – reportedly to hide her sexual orientation – her attorney countered removal is disproportionate to the offense, noting that a judge who repeatedly lied about driving drunk was only censured. The whole commission considers the matter on October 17.

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein joined the chorus of California lawmakers opposing a bill they contend will weaken the 25-year moratorium on new oil exploration and development off the coast of California. The Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act – pushed by California Congressman Richard Pombo – would extend Florida’s moratorium until the year 2022, but would not do the same for California’s. Feinstein’s remarks echoed those made in recent weeks by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer and Congresswoman Lois Capps.

A bill proposing a state-run single-payer healthcare system – in which a state-run organization collects all healthcare fees and pays out all costs – passed the California Assembly on Monday, and now awaits approval from the state Senate and the governor. While the Senate is expected to pass SB 840, the governor has opposed calls for universal healthcare in the past.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides made a pit stop in Santa Barbara on Tuesday to discuss what he characterized as his middle-class agenda. Angelides said he would reduce excessive profits and executive pay at HMOs and would close tax loopholes for “multi-multimillionaires.” “There was a time,” Angelides said, “when people living paycheck-to-paycheck got tax breaks,” rather than billion-dollar corporations receiving them.

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