FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

- Or -
Search blog archive

Katy Grimes

Prevailing Wage Scams Between State DIR and Unions

A San Bernardino janitorial contractor has always paid his employees union-approved wages. But he has been kicked off public works job sites for so-called prevailing wage violations for five years now. The kicker?

Three years ago I asked, “In what strange world do janitors get paid $45 per hour? In California, the land of the prevailing wage.” The answer today is still the same, only I will add, “In labor union-run California….” And today this janitorial prevailing wage rate is up to $48.50 per hour.

The strange and tragic case of Jeff Baron, proprietor of Baron Services, a janitorial service specializing in final clean up of big construction projects, is not complex – in fact, it’s crystal clear what’s going on. But it has become convoluted.

Another Corrupted State Agency

The crux of the issue is there is noDepartment of Industrial Relationsprevailing wage classification for this specific type of construction clean up janitorial work. Baron explained that the going rate in the private sector for a basic janitorial job is between $10 and $15 per hour. But the… Read More

Jon Coupal


Chicago, Carl Sandburg’s “City of the big shoulders,” is about to find out just how heavy a tax burden homeowners are able to bear. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has revealed his plan for a massive property tax increase to pay for unfunded pension obligations. And for taxpayers, it isn’t pretty. The mayor wants a $543 million increase in property taxes to cover police and fire pensions, as well as additional taxes and fees to close a projected $745 million budget shortfall.

How much this will cost the average homeowner is not yet clear. Emanuel is seeking approval from the Legislature to exempt those homes worth less than $250,000 from the increase, meaning more valuable properties would absorb the entire burden.

The uncertainty may also be contributing to a decline in home values in recent months, as shown by the Case-Shiller Home Price Index. Buyers may not be so ready to cut a deal that will see them inheriting a massive property tax hike.

To read the entire column click here http://www.hjta.org/california-commentary/its-never-enough/Read More

Richard Rider

CA prisoner firefighters saves us $80-$100 million a year

CA state and local governments deem inmate brush firefighters a valuable asset that makes good sense. But the idea of forming CIVILIAN VOLUNTEER brush firefighting brigades to fight the fires and protect homes when these fires approach housing areas is somehow not safe — for union firefighters. Few people realize how big our California prisoner firefighting effort is. There are 196 inmate fire crews that perform more than 3 million hours of emergency response work annually.It’s estimated to save California $80-$100 million a year — combating CA brush and forest fires. The story below about this program is illuminating (sorry), but should result in some heated (again, my bad) debate.

In my subdivision (Scripps Ranch in San Diego) we lost 330 homes to the 2003 Cedar brush fire — mostly abandoned homes burned down by embers. Many homes were saved — by homeowners who stayed behind and put out the ember fires before they grew. The fire trucks arrivedhourslate — in large part the result of too many called-up union… Read More

Senate Republicans Fight for California Families

With the 2015 Legislative session now in the rear view mirror and my sights set on leading Senate Republicans into 2016, it is clear to me that the principles and values of this great party of ours align quite well with the hard-working residents of this state.

As we move forward we must make sure we state those goals effectively to Californians and stand with them shoulder-to-shoulder to fight to for those common goals – most importantly, the ability for those residents to hold on to as much of their earnings as possible.

As an eternal optimist, I believe California is, and always has been, the Golden State. Over-taxation and heavy regulation still threaten our economic recovery, but California’s economy is on the rebound. As the Senate Republican Leader, rather than looking for new and innovative ways to take more of your hard-earned money, I’m committed to finding new and innovative ways to safeguard your pocketbook, while ensuring that each and every tax dollar sent to Sacramento is spent as efficiently and effectively as possible.

This past legislative session was an excellent example of Republicans fighting to ensure middle-class Californians… Read More

Katy Grimes

Desperate United Farm Workers Union Steps Up PR Campaign

The United Farm Workers labor union just received advertising and public relations help, thanks to several pro-UFW stories published in the Sacramento Bee last weekend.

Sept. 24, Kerry Kennedy wrote about her father Robert Kennedy’s involvement with Cesar Chavez in the 1960′s. Sept. 26, the Bee ran a story about the 50thanniversary of the UFW’s grape strike in Delano, CA. Rounding out the pro-UFW public relations and marketing campaign was a story on Sept. 27 about Phil Serna, son of late former Mayor of SacramentoJoe Serna Jr., who was also aUFW organizer.

This interestingly timed PR move comes on the heels of the order to destroy farm worker’s ballots from the 2013 labor union decertification election, rather than allow them counted,by Administrative Law Judge Mark Soble, employed by the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board. Thousands of farm workers in California must now abide by an unwanted unionization deal struck decades ago and never ratified or enforced. The workers’ votewas expected to… Read More

Kammi Foote

Oath of Office: Elected officials’ promise to uphold rule of law

When I was elected to the office of Inyo County Clerk-Recorder, my first official act was to take an Oath of Office. Not only have I taken the Oath, but one of my responsibilities as a County Clerk is to administer Oaths of Office to other public employees and elected officials.

All public servants, from the President of the United States, to the part-time file clerk, take the Oath in one form or another before assuming office. In California, the Oath includes the affirmation that we will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California, against all enemies, foreign and domestic. By swearing to defend the Constitutions against domestic enemies, we are promising to administer the laws as decided by the body politic and not to undermine our system of governance by acting under our own sovereignty.

Lately we have seen a number of examples of… Read More

Katy Grimes

FILIBUSTER: New App for Political Junkies, Wonks and Voters

For most voters, making your voice heard by candidates and politicians feels like a lost cause. You fax, write, phone and email your elected officials, and at most, receive a form letter reply.

Those days look to be over… finally, a way to get your political voice heard. Derek Garnier has written a new political social App called “Filibuster” to make your political voice count.

Filibuster: an effort to prevent action in a legislature (such as the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives) by making a long speech or series of speeches.

It’s a way for the average person to chime in on politics instead of just Tweeting and arguing on Facebook. “Filibuster is the social app for all things political. Tell… Read More

Jon Coupal


According to press reports, Fresno Assemblyman Henry T. Perea is off to Spain to study high-speed rail while accompanied by business and labor representatives. He is being joined by his father, Fresno County Supervisor Henry R. Perea.

Out-of-state travel by California politicians is common. Lawmakers say such trips are valuable in learning about programs and policies in other states and countries. Other times travel is justified as an opportunity to attend conferences with those facing similar issues. That the destinations of these trips are so often 5 star hotels in desirable vacation spots is dismissed as coincidence by the journeying elected officials. Still, it seems strange that so many “important” conferences take place in locations like Hawaii and not in Narvik, in northern Norway, during the fall and winter. A few years ago, a number of Los Angeles City Council members jetted off to Paris in the springtime, explaining that the trip was necessary to study public toilets. (You can’t make this stuff up.)

In fairness to Assemblyman Perea, who is termed out next year, there is no suggestion that taxpayers are footing the bill for his weeklong trip… Read More

Page 1 of 1,66412345...102030...Last »