FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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BOE Member George Runner

Government Stalling Tactics Slow Fire Tax Lawsuit

As Californians hope and pray for an end to California’s drought and dangerous fire conditions, I am thankful for the many brave men and women who put their lives on the line to fight fires throughout our state.

We’re also reminded that not one dime of our state’s so-called “Fire Prevention Fee” has helped fund this year’s firefighting efforts.

Someday a court will strike down the unfair and, I believe, illegal fire tax enacted by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in 2010.

But getting there is proving quite a challenge.

As you may recall, in 2012 the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA), with my strong support, filed a class action lawsuit seeking to invalidate the so-called fee on the basis that it is really an illegally enacted tax.

Since then, California Department of Justice attorneys paid with your tax dollars have repeatedly sought to do everything in their power to slow the case down.

I’m told some of the state’s stalling tactics go far beyond what is typical of government attorneys involved in legal proceedings. These tactics include filing multiple demurrers aimed at blocking… Read More

Ray Haynes

Welcome to the Hotel California

In the southeast corner of the Capitol, sitting silently, is our cadaver in corner office, Governor Jerry Brown, ready to begin his fourth term as Governor. In 1974, he was the anti-Ronald Reagan, the expression of California’s dualism, as it moved from the iconic conservative to the liberal apologetic. He is now the symbol of modern liberalism, lifeless, unimaginative, and lost in its own past, tied to the monsters Brown created in his first term as Governor, the government unions, whose voracious appetites, satisfied at the taxpayers’ trough, will not be denied, and cannot be opposed, leaving their minions in the capitol bereft of ideas, because they have to feed that beast.

Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light, my head grew heavy and my sight grew dim, I had to stop for the night

It was the 60′s that saw California begin its shift. Prior to that time, California was an odd mix of midwest Democrats and progressive Republicans. The home of Hiram Johnson, Earl Warren, and (oddly enough) Pat Brown, California tended to have a unity of purpose, creating a strong economy, an education system second to none,Read More

Katy Grimes

Political Insider vs. Outsider Dynamic in Secretary of State Campaign

With many of the world’s largest technology corporations located right here in California, the state should be number one on the elections performance index. Instead, California ranks 49th.

Pete Peterson wants California to be back on top.

Peterson said the office of Secretary of State has not had committed, creative leadership for many years, and has regressed, rather than improved, in voter engagement and business engagement. Adding to the current mess, current Secretary of State Debra Bowen revealed she has been suffering with depression for years, has frequently been absent from the office, and hasn’t been doing her job overseeing the state’s voting.

The two candidates who are vying for the job have interesting contrasts.

Career Politician v. Citizen Representative

The race for Secretary of State between Republican Peterson, and Democrat Sen. Alex Padilla, is about a giant political insider, Goliath, versus the outsider, David. But remember, David slays Goliath.

If Pete Peterson applied for the job of Secretary of State, he’d be hired. By the voters. “Most people… Read More

Katy Grimes

Schools Superintendent Horse Race Provides Stark Contrasts

Only ten months ago, I wrote a story about the California Schools chief who at that time announced he wanted to extend Proposition 30’s “temporary” taxes. Only one year into Proposition 30’s five-year life, Democratic State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson called for an extension ofthe 2012 ballot initiative.

Set to expire in 2018, Prop. 30 was sold to voters as a temporary tax.

Today, Torlakson has many Democrats lined up with him, pushing for the tax extension, essentially lying to the public.

The 2013 Brown budget plan blamed “economic uncertainty” as the result of “global economic developments that tempered investment” and “Hurricane Sandy.”

“’We need to renew Prop. 30,’ Torlakson, the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, said at a coffee meeting with local PTA leaders in a Sacramento home,” theSacramento Beereported in January.

TorlaksonRead More

Kevin Dayton

Assemblyman Luis Alejo “Stood Up” for First Time in His Career (Trying to Get Water Bond $ to Unions)

Assemblyman Luis Alejo showed up again at the Monterey County Board of Supervisors today to tell them how to build theirinterlake tunnel project in exchange for Water Bond funding. It was an astonishing show as he accused the Monterey County Water Resources Agency of getting him“stood up” for the first time in his political career. He apparently called the general manager on Friday evening but failed to get a Monday morning meeting to tell staff to require a Project Labor Agreement. By the way, the estimated cost of this water project has gone from $22 million to $48 million in a few months. Two newspaper articles – just posted a few hours ago – that reveal how the Prop 1 Water Bond will work in actual practice: Debate Over Interlake Tunnel Project Rages OnMonterey Herald – October 29 At Tuesday’s meeting, Assemblymember Luis Alejo, who authored the project legislation, blasted the county water agency staffRead More

Ed Ring

California’s $12.3 Billion in Proposed School Bonds: Borrowing vs. Reform

“As the result of California Courts refusing to uphold the language of the High Speed Rail bonds, the opponents of any bond proposal, at either the state or local level, need only point to High-Speed Rail to remind voters that promises in a voter approved bond proposal are meaningless and unenforceable.” - Jon Coupal, October 26, 2014,HJTA California Commentary

If that isn’t plain enough – here’s a restatement: California’s politicians can ask voters to approve bonds, announcing the funds will be used for a specific purpose, then they can turn around and do anything they want with the money. And while there’s been a lot of coverage and debate over big statewide bond votes, the real money is in the countlesslocalbond issues that collectively now encumber California’s taxpayers with well over$250 billion in debt.

Over the past few weeks we’ve tried to point out that… Read More

Katy Grimes

Local ‘Thought Leaders’ Bamboozle Sac GOP on Measure L

I arrived home from a weekend away, lateSunday afternoon, to a robo-call phone message from the Sacramento County Republican Party Chairmantouting Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s “Strong Mayor,” Executive Mayor initiative. In the message, the Chairman told Republicans to vote “yes” on “Measure L.”

I was floored. Someone made a bargain with the devil.

Measure Lproposes the mayor as chief executive, responsible for the budget proposal, who chooses a city manager, and no longer will have a voting position on the city council.

Johnson, a Democrat, has modified the Executive Mayor plan four times since 2009, each rejected by citizens or voters. The idea of a strong mayor has some merit in some cities, but it is Johnson as the Strong Mayor that most people object to, as well as possible future liberal, elitist mayors. Johnson’s time as Mayor is not what he promised. He has instead spent his political capital on professional sports arenas and personal power, style over substance.

Johnson wants a “world class” arena because he is embarrassed by cowtown Sacramento, and wants… Read More

Neel Kashkari

Republicans Are the Party of Civil Rights

Republicans have a great opportunity this year to show California voters exactly who we are and what we’re fighting for. With Jerry Brown fighting poor and minority kids in court over failing schools, Democrats have been exposed as defenders of the powerful status quo – and opponents of civil rights.

Democrats say Republicans don’t care about the poor, that we don’t care about minorities, that we don’t care about women. They’re dead wrong. We are the party that cares about giving everyone an opportunity to succeed and we must lead the fight to open hearts and minds as to who we are and what we believe.

Our party was literally founded for the express purpose of abolishing slavery. The abolitionists among the Whigs and Democrats got together to form the Republican Party and recruited a one-term congressman named Abraham Lincoln to be their candidate for… Read More

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