FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Ed Ring

Tough Education Reform, not More Borrowing and Spending, is What Students Need

Last week the California Policy Center published amajor new studythat compiled, in exhaustive detail, both the amount that Californians have borrowed to finance public school construction and upgrades, as well as documented the abuses that have diminished the return on these substantial investments. Californians simply don’t realize how much borrowing is going on.

“For the Kids,” Construction spending of $10 billion per year for the last 14 years, despite enrollment in slight decline.

In 2001, voters passed Prop 39, which lowered the threshold for passage of a school bond from 66% to 55%. Prior to the passage of Prop. 39, only 42% of school bond proposals would pass – since then,88%… Read More

Ron Nehring

Guide to understanding 2016 Presidential polling and reporting

When I arrived in Des Moines, Iowa just before the 1996 Republican caucuses, New York publisher Steve Forbes was first in the polls. Nine days later, he finished fourth.

A lot of lessons can be drawn from that campaign, and every other. How to use and interpret polling data and political reporting are two of them.

As a former candidate, state party chairman and member of the Republican National Committee, I’ve spent plenty of time with pollsters, looking at data, and seeing political stories both in the media and behind the scenes. Unfortunately, some of what we see in the political press and social media concerning polling in the 2016 race for the Republican presidential nomination ranges from misleading to useless.

Here’s a guide to making some sense of the polling and reporting.

Political reporting is written by political people, who tend to overestimate how well the candidates are known. Who’s following the 2016 contest closely? Not normal people. Most people are more focused on living their daily lives than following the machinations of a race where not a single ballot will be cast for six more … Read More

Katy Grimes

Murderer Got Death Penalty for Killing Unborn Baby; Why Not Planned Parenthood?

Scott Peterson murdered his eight-month pregnant wife, Laci, in 2002. In 2004 a jury convicted Peterson of first-degree murder in the death of Laci, and of second-degree murder in the death of the unborn baby the couple had named “Conner.”

Pro-abortion advocates have insisted for decades that unborn babies are not alive.

However, Planned Parenthood is now accused of the illegal trafficking of aborted baby organs, following the release of several videos showing Planned Parenthood doctors casually discussing the sale of aborted baby body parts with bio-tech reps. The Planned Parenthood doctors and senior medical directors discussed using “partial-birth abortion” techniques to deliver some of these organs intact, rather than crushing them during the abortion procedure, while they negotiated with bio-tech company reps.

These videos make very clear that the organs and tissue from aborted babies are being treated with the same medical care and precision as still-beating human hearts, kidneys and livers, carefully extracted from recently deceased car-crash victims, which are whisked away in ambulances to awaiting patients.

If Scott Peterson can be… Read More

Jon Coupal

DON’T REWARD BAD BEHAVIOR

Why Higher Taxes for Potholes is a Bad Idea

To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, here we go again. Once more, taxpayers are being told by our political elites that, if we want good roads, we have to have higher taxes.

Just a few weeks ago, this column exposed the politicians’ plan to hike gas taxes along with vehicle license fees and registration. This plan, by San Jose lawmaker Jim Beall would slam taxpayers in three ways. First, it would raise at least $3 billion annually by increasing the gas tax by another 10 cents a gallon. Second, it would hike the vehicle license fee, which is based on value, by more than 50 percent over 5 years. Third, it would increase the cost to register a vehicle by over 80 percent.

The latest scheme is Assembly Constitutional Amendment 4 which would weaken Proposition 13 by eliminating the two-thirds vote for local transportation sales taxes. ACA 4 is a bad idea. California already has the highest state sales tax in the nation. Not only that, but sales taxes are highly regressive, hitting the poor and working middle class the hardest.

Click here to read the entire column:… Read More

Dan Spencer

On perchlorate, regulators have abandoned duty to public

In California, the state’s financial and weather outlooks are in many ways the same: all dried up. Now, environmental lobbyists and restless government regulators aim to worsen the forecast for both.

The duo have managed success largely as a consequence of the complicated nature of the issue, relying on an uninformed and distracted public — like cattle to the slaughter, taxpayers and consumers won’t know what’s happened until it’s already over.

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA)—think of it as red tape ground zero—recently revised the state’s public health goal for perchlorate, from six parts per billion (ppb) to a unnecessary and expensive standard of one ppb. Perchlorate is a manufactured chemical that also happens to be present naturally at low levels.

Don’t get lost in the science of parts per billion: a tighter standard simply means that the state regulators would force water utilities, consumers and farmers to cover the hundreds of millions of dollars in… Read More

Kevin Dayton

Hobnobbing with the Pope to Stop Climate Change: The Inside Scoop

Californians on vacation in recent weeks may not be aware that their Governor Jerry Brown attended a conference about climate change on July 21-22, 2015at the Vatican, with Pope Francis in attendance. In addition to arranging for the attendance of Governor Brown, the Vatican also invited mayors of cities “of international importance” to attend the conference.

The mayors of San Francisco and San Jose accepted their invitations, along with mayors from eight other American cities. (The Mayor of Los Angeles did not attend but participated in a joint statement of support.) All attendees were Democrats, although the Vatican claimed that Republican mayors had been invited but declined.

Governor Brown also attended, and he came bearing a gift from the California… Read More

Katy Grimes

Real ‘Income Inequality’ Is In UC, CSU Academia

Those on the left who wail incessantly about “income inequality” need look no further than California academia. While the left focuses like a laser beam on private sector CEO salaries, the salaries in government and state run academia are soaring.

There’s no risk being a public official; the real risk belongs to CEO’s who can be tossed out of their jobs on the whim of boards of directors. Private sector employees are subject to performance reviews and standards — it’s called merit. When was the last time anyone in government was terminated for poor performance? The faulty Oakland Bay bridge… no heads have rolled yet on that.

Income Inequality Belongs to California Academia

The UC Regents approved 3 percent raises for 15 of the University of California’s highest-paid executives. The new pay scale for the five UC chancellors are: $772,500 for UC San Francisco’s Samuel Hawgood; $516,446 for UC Berkeley’s Nicholas Dirks; $441,334 for UCLA’s Gene Block; $436,120 for UC San Diego’s Pradeep Khosla; and $424,360 for UC Davis’ Linda… Read More

Catrina Rorke

Proposed Changes to California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard

[Publisher’s Note: As part of an ongoing effort to bring original, thoughtful commentary to you here at the FlashReport, we are pleased to present this column from Catrina Rorke.]

Hard as it may be to believe, we’re beginning to hear rumblings of sensibility from California’s electricity markets. Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison both have written to the state’s Assembly Committee on Utilities and Commerce to request a smart and much-needed change to the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.

As the rules are currently defined, power generated from so-called distributed resources – smaller, decentralized sources that produce power at the point of use – does not count as… Read More

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