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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Elevating Republican Legislative Candidates in a Presidential Election Year

As hundreds of Republicans gather in Burlingame this weekend, state and national media will focus on the Presidential election, but it is important GOP supporters remember that state legislative races are consequential this election cycle. The fight to thwart a Democrat two-thirds supermajority continues, and Republicans must stay vigilant, even while the attention of political pundits is on who will clinch the GOP Presidential nomination. Otherwise, we fear losing the ground we gained two years ago, when California Trailblazer wins enabled Republicans to break supermajorities in both legislative houses.

California Trailblazers and program partners, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Republican Leader Jean Fuller, and Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes, work year-round to identify, recruit and train Republican candidates to develop and run strong campaigns. We are committed to… Read More

Katy Grimes

Who is Blocking 29 Million People in Los Angeles From Getting Water, and Why?

In my last article, Why Can’t California Farmers Get the Water They Need?, exposed were Gov. Brown’s appointees at the State Water Resources Control Board who ordered the release of massive amounts of water from the New Melones Reservoir and Lake Tulloch, to save a dozen fish, and Gov. Brown who has systematically booted a number of qualified people off of the California Water Commission, the body that decides how to spend $2.7 billion in Prop. 1 Water Bond water storage money.

Now we all need to know who is blocking 29 million people in Los Angeles from getting water, and why?

A “slough” of enviro-sounding non-profits claiming to be for waterfowl, ducks, trout, fish, nature, natural resources, and the environment, oppose shifting $8 billion in uncommitted rail bonds… Read More

Tom Scott

NFIB Unveils 2016 “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” Bill List

When one takes inventory of the beyond dismal business climate in California, it is important to remember that we did not get here overnight.

Decades of bad bills churning out of the California Legislature have made this state one of the worst to do business with the highest taxes and most hostile legal climate in the nation. Only by proactively tracking and advocating on the most significant current legislative issues in the State Capitol do we have a chance of moving the needle in favor of job creators in California.

On Tuesday April 19th, at our annual Day at the Capitol lobby day in Sacramento, NFIB California unveiled our 2016 “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” list of bills which will have the most significant impact on small businesses across the state. This list is comprised of bills from the 2015-2016 legislative session, and as bills develop or are potentially gut-and-amended, the list will be regularly updated. Currently there are 36 bills total listed; 13 good, 7 bad, and 16 ugly and the current version can always be found at http://www.nfib.com/ca/gbu.

As the leading voice of small business under… Read More

Mend, Don’t End, California’s Death Penalty

Child killers. Rape-torture-murderers. Cop killers and serial murderers. These are the worst of the worst.

It takes an evil person to kill another innocent human being, but it takes an especially depraved mind to commit acts so utterly heinous that you earn a spot on California’s death row. Depraved minds like that of Charles Ng, who over the course of 1983 to 1985, committed as many as 25 murders in Calaveras County. Ng kidnapped families, tortured then murdered fathers and infants while forcing the mothers to watch. He then repeatedly tortured and raped the mothers, before finally killing them as well.

It has been over 30 years since his last murder.

Ng fled to Canada where he fought extradition for over six years. Finally sent back to California, he engaged in a series of legal maneuvers to delay his trial for seven more years. His time in court did not begin until… Read More

Ed Ring

The Bell Syndrome Afflicts More Cities Than Just Bell

Remember Bell, California? Back in 2010 the Los Angeles Times reported thatBell city officials were receiving unusually large salaries, perhaps the highest in the United States. For example,Robert Rizzo, the City manager, had received $787,637.By September of that year,as reported on CNN, the California Attorney General filed charges againsteight former and current city officials. The public was outraged.

Not generally known however was the process whereby the City of Bell employees managed to pay themselves so much money. Earlier that summer theLos Angeles Times covered this part of the story, reporting “The highly paid members of the Bell City Council were able to exempt themselves from state salary limits by placing a city charter on the ballot in a little-noticed special election that attracted fewer than 400 voters.”

This use of barely legalmaneuvers to extract ridiculously generous salaries and benefits from taxpayers is not restricted to Bell, however. The Bell Syndrome… Read More

AB 2492: Do Legislators share Trump’s View that Eminent Domain is “Wonderful?”

Both conservative and liberal presidential candidates have universally condemned Donald Trump’s assertion that “eminent domain is wonderful,” and yes, even democratic socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has rejected this notion.

This condemnation was evident when a Ted Cruz for president campaign ad reminded voters of Trump’s failed attempt to seize a little old lady’s home by eminent domain, in order to make way for a limousine parking lot for his Atlantic City casino.

These kinds of takings were all too common in California, as well. To add insult to injury, California took it a step further by using taxpayer dollars to help developers finance their luxury hotels and golf courses, and shopping centers. That was until the State Legislature and Governor Brown abolished this practice, otherwise referred to as “redevelopment.” They did so because redevelopment was costing taxpayers… Read More

Katy Grimes

Digital Democracy Project Unleashes Oversight and Accountability on CA Legislature

Every year in California’s state capital, 120 full-time lawmakers, 2,000 full-time staff, and 130 legislative committees, introduce an average of 5,000 bills each legislative session, thus creating a booming industry for California’s 1,100 registered lobbyists. They do this with a $150 billion annual budget. And they do this while simultaneously managing to keep out most of the public.

In 2015, former State Sen. Sam Blakeslee, tackled head-on the problem of transparency in politics when he launched the Digital Democracy Project at the “Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy,” at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Digital Democracy provides a… Read More

Jon Coupal

Breaking Good?

Those who value liberty, good government and a reasonable level of taxation have a lot to complain about if they are citizens of California. Not only do we have one of the highest tax burdens in America, we rate very poorly in term of efficient and effective governance as well as transparency. Those of us who point out the state’s shortcomings are labeled as contrarian, “declinists” or pessimists by state politicians, including our governor.

And let’s not forget about corruption. Just a couple of years ago, the California Senate actually had a higher arrest rate than the general population of California. Because of all the negative press, it is no wonder that that the public believes that most of what the California Legislature does is self-serving.

Although there is more than sufficient justification to criticize California’s political system (and especially its legislature), for the sake of fairness, we should take special notice when our politicians do the right thing. For example, every so often bills are introduced that cut against the stereotype by providing genuine benefit to average folks.

To read the entire column click here… Read More

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