FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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James V. Lacy

Have Most Californians, Especially Republicans, Just Given Up on Voting?

Sure, it’s been more than half a year since California’s last statewide election. But Californians’ remarkable failure to participate still deserves some attention today as we start focusing on the 2016 elections. In last November’s midterm Congressional election, the largest state in the nation had about the lowest voter participation of any state in the country. Hardly more than 42% of California’s registered voters bothered to mail-in their ballots in the conveniently provided pre-addressed envelopes, or even show up at the polls. This dismal voter participation was even worse than voter disinterest in one of the state’s other previous bad showings in 2002 when just over 50% of participants elected Gray Davis, the Democrat, over the GOP’s Bill Simon. In neighboring Oregon, voter participation in the November 2014 election at 69.5% was more than half again by percentage the level of participation of California voters in the same… Read More

Asm. Bill Brough

For Republicans, Special Session is a Singular Opportunity

[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 Assemblyman Bill Brough.]

In the State Assembly, numbers are part of the everyday vocabulary.

The “Rule of 41” necessary to name an Assembly Speaker; the “supermajority of 54” gave Democrats outsized control in 2013 and 2014; the “Big 5” represents the governor, majority and minority leaders of the Legislature, and their sort of annual floating budget summit.

But despite this obsession with numbers, can Sacramento do basic math?

In January, Governor Brown said it was a 2015 priority to address $59 billion worth of unmet maintenance for California’s transportation needs – a shortfall that took decades to… Read More

Jon Coupal

APOLOGY ACCEPTED, BUT WE STILL DON’T TRUST YOU

The Sacramento Bee wrote, “Finally, war on Proposition 13 breaks out” and the paper is correct, attacks are coming from all directions.

Tax raisers, primarily an alliance of government employee unions and Bay Area radicals, are pushing attacks on Proposition 13 in the Legislature and through the initiative process.

In the Legislature, Senators Holly Mitchell and Loni Hancock have introduced a bill, Senate Constitutional Amendment 5, to alter Proposition 13 so as to increase property taxes on businesses. Then there is Assembly Constitutional Amendment 4 by Assemblyman Jim Frazier. ACA 4 would lower Proposition 13’s mandated two-thirds vote to 55 percent to increase certain special taxes.

On the initiative front, a measure that would increase property taxes on both business and residential property has been filed with the Office of the Attorney General. With the benign title of “Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Act” it proves, once again, that children are used like “human shields” by tax raisers to deflect criticism as they try to wring more out of already beleaguered California taxpayers.

Click here to read… Read More

Richard Rider

San Diego nation’s 7th worst big city for road repairs — four other CA cites even worse — including the worst three.

In a just-released survey by the nonprofit TRIP, among U.S. urban areas exceeding 500,000 population, my city of San Diego is tied nationally for having the 7th worst city road conditions. Californians will be disappointed (but not surprised) to find that four of the six large population areas that are ranked even worse than San Diego arealsolocated in the Golden State. An “Olympic” state, California sweeps the “top” three spots in road disrepair. Great. http://www.tripnet.org/docs/Urban_Roads_National_TRIP_Release_07-23-15.php

What makes these rankings particularly galling is that California gouges us for the nation’s second highest total gasoline tax — which most people foolishly think is dedicated to road building and repair. Would that it were so!

TECHNICAL NOTE:The American Petroleum Institute, which tracks these state figures month to month, lists California as “only” the 4th worst state, a modest improvement as the state just reduced theRead More

Lance Izumi

U.S. PEDIATRICIANS CALL FOR ACTION ON CHILDHOOD OBESITY, ONE PROGRAM DELIVERS

To combat soaring childhood obesity rates, just released guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatrics call for greater prevention efforts, including increased physical activity for children. Although the pediatricians group says that more research needs to be done to prove whether anti-obesity strategies work, a new UCLA study has found one program that dramatically improves children’s fitness.

The program is called Sound Body Sound Mind (SBSM), which is a joint partnership between the Sound Body Sound Mind Foundation and the UCLA Health System. The program donates gym equipment to public schools so that students can exercise and familiarize themselves with fitness techniques that will improve their health and well-being. SBSM has installed more than 100 fitness centers into Los Angeles-area public schools and impacted more than 100,000 students. The program is innovative, but the bottom line is that it works.

California requires students take a FITNESSGRAM assessment, which measures muscular strength, muscular endurance, aerobic capacity, flexibility and body composition. Students must achieve a passing score in five of these six categories.… Read More

Richard Rider

LA TIMES lies about refinery oil profits in CA — infecting my local U-T newspaper

One hazard of the LA TIMES now owning the SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE is that my paper now mindlessly publishes LA TIMES stories. It’s a ballyhooed “efficiency” of one paper buying the other. But the hazard is that the fabled LA TIMES liberal news bias now regularly appears in my previously right-of-center San Diego paper. The story below is definitely newsworthy — written by the “news” reporters for the LA TIMES. California’s years of restricting our state’s refinery capacity — coupled with regulations that pretty much block gasoline being imported from other states — have resulted in periodic windfall profits for the very oil companies everyone loves to hate. But this article is deceiving — and given the paper’s strong liberal bias — I’m sure it’s intentional. The paper uses “gross profits” as a benchmark. But that term is both undefined, and mis-defined in the article. Here’s the proper accounting definition of “gross profit”: A … Read More

Rohit Joy

The Making of a Republican Contra Costa County

[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 Rohit Joy, Chairman of the Republican Party of Contra Costa County.]

The Republican Party of Contra Costa County held a special election last Thursday to fill the vacancy in the chairmanship and I am honored and humbled to have been elected county party chairman by the members of the central committee for the remainder of the 2015-2016 term.

First, I would like to thank Nyna Armstrong, our immediate past chairman, for laying a foundation for a successful election cycle. Nyna made significant progress healing some of the acrimony that existed among different factions of the party, re-launching our speaker series, and forming working committees to perform nuts-and-bolts party building activities. Thanks… Read More

Katy Grimes

ALRB Credibility Shot in Gunlund Ranches Case

Part lll – ALRB Credibility Lacking in Gunlund Case. Part l is here, Part ll is here.

The Agricultural Labor Relations Board is lacking credibility in the H&R Gunlund Ranches case.

Despite the transcripts from the ALRB v. Gunland Ranches case showing the Agricultural Labor Relations Board administrative law judge Mark Soble had doubts about crucial parts of ALRB Regional Director Silas Shawver’s testimony against the ranch, the judge still ruled against Gunlund Ranches.

During the course of the case agains Gunlund Ranches, Shawver’s status had changed. He… Read More

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