FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Jon Coupal

PUBLIC SECTOR PAY: TRANSPARENCY AND PERSPECTIVE

Public sector labor leaders in California would rather that the public remain relatively ignorant about how well their members are compensated. But they are fighting a losing battle.

Because of California’s massive unfunded pension liability and other scandals, the public is demanding answers. Interests diverse as taxpayer groups, business organizations, the media and some elected officials have moved aggressively, not only to address these problems, but also to ensure that there is much greater transparency about public sector compensation than we have seen in the past.

For example, attorneys at Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association won several Public Records Act lawsuits against government interests – mostly at the local level – who were attempting to shield their compensation data from the public. And Pension Tsunami is a website which for years has been a clearinghouse for articles on pension abuses. But it is not just conservative interests who are shining the light. Left of center newspapers like the Sacramento Bee and San Jose Mercury News, have fought very hard to expose the truth on employee compensation. Self-styled progressive John Chiang… Read More

Jon Fleischman

OC Firefighters – Laughing To The Bank?

[Before you read this, understand that in 2011 the total compensation for an Orange County Firefighter was $237,000.]

Guess what — another disappointing win for a public employee union and loss for taxpayers — here in Orange County. The Orange County Fire Authority has approved a new contract with its firefighters. Early on in this article is says that firefighters are now paying 100% of their retirement. Of course, that isn’t even close to true. They are now technically paying their required share of their retirement — still a fraction of the total cost. That would be a step in the right direction EXCEPT…

Read the fine print of this article in the OC Register, “Employees will receive pay increases of 2.75 percent, 2.5 percent and 3 percent over the three years of the agreement.”Read More

Richard Rider

Latest deceptive CA unemployment figures — and WHY they are deceiving

Here’s how deceiving our unemployment figures can be: 1. The California unemployment rate in December dropped a dramatic .2% in one month — from 7.2% to 7.0%. That is an IMPRESSIVE improvement. Except . . . 2. Number of net jobs added in California that month — a state with over 38,800,000 people: 700. No, I didn’t leave out a zero or two — SEVEN HUNDRED. Yes, a statistically insignificant 700 net jobs added, yet our state unemployment rate dropped a full two-tenths of a percent. How can this be?

You know the answer by now: Our lower unemployment rate for December is almost 100% due to people no longer looking for work, leaving the state, or retiring (a.k.a. the lower “labor force participation rate”) — even after counting the young adults entering the CA work force marketplace.

Here’s another unnerving aspect to consider: Our CA jobs grew by 700. But the jobs gained too often were low paying service jobs, while the… Read More

Katy Grimes

‘Choice’ Is Deceptive in California Assisted Suicide Bill

Opponents of assisted dying warn that significant numbers of seriously ill people, as well as the disabled, the mentally ill, and even those who are depressed, could end up being swept up in the new law, prioritizing cost effectiveness, over higher costs of ongoing care.

“Assisted suicide proponents frequently appeal to free choice and self-determination. But in reality, legalized assisted suicide actually diminishes individual choice, control, and self-determination,” warns the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund.

This week, Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, and Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, introduced the End of Life Option Act, a bill to authorize medical aid-in-dying in California.

Senate Bill 128, is modeled on… Read More

Shawn Steel

Scott Walker, Rick Perry Shine at RNC Meeting in San Diego

Two governors shined at the Republican National Committee’s 2015 winter meeting, as RNC ChairmanReince Priebus was easilyreelected to a third term.

It’s been more than two decades since a chairman has served as long as Priebus. And he celebrated his victory by enjoying a few cigars with San Diego’s stellar crew of GOP activists, led by SD GOP Chairman Tony Krvaric.

There weren’t any major controversies at the GOP’s first meeting of the new year. Co-Chair Sharon Day, who faced a challenger, cruised to reelection by a115 to 50 vote.

The real business at hand was not a victory lap for the 2014 elections but to prepare for the all-out struggle for the White House in 2016. Priebus made it clear: if the… Read More

Katy Grimes

EPA Used Children in Illegal Diesel Exhaust Experiments

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency paid the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles to conduct experiments on children, to determine whether exposure to diesel exhaust harms humans. These experiments are illegal under the Nuremberg Code, California state law, and federal regulations, concerning the protection of human subjects in medical research, according to Energy and Environmental Legal Institute attorney David Schnare.

The EPA along with the USC and UCLA, illegally used children in diesel exhaust experiments 2003 through 2010, after the EPA and the California Air Resources Board had concluded inhaling diesel exhaust can cause death within hours.

According to Schnare, this is still going on, even though Schnare sued the EPA to stop these… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Falling Gas Prices Mask Hidden Tax

So why is it that while other states are now enjoying gas prices of less than $2 per gallon, California is still paying higher prices?

Due to high taxes and costly regulations, our state’s gas prices are higher than other states. It’s been that way for years.

But what’s new is that the gap between California’s and other states’ gas prices has grown.

To get a sense of the change, compare California gas prices with those of the nation as a whole. According to GasBuddy.com, even while overall prices have fallen, the gap has grown from about 32 cents per gallon just a month ago to as much as 47 cents this January.

That’s a 15 cent increase in just one month!

The likely culprit is a new “hidden gas tax” that took effect January 1. The new regulation expands the state’s cap-and-trade program to include transportation fuels. The expansion is the latest in a series of sweeping and costly regulations developed by the California Air Resources Board as it implements the California Global Warming Solutions Act.

Luckily for the Governor and his Air Board appointees, gas prices barely budged when the new rule kicked in; in fact,… Read More

Ed Ring

Is Deficient Recruiting the Real Reason for Police Understaffing in San Diego?

Whenever there is a shortage of police personnel in a California city, a common reason cited is inadequate pay. When officers at a particular agency are paid less than their counterparts at some other agency, so the theory goes, they quit in order to start working where they can make more. This seems to be sound logic. But is it supported by facts?

According to a new study “Analysis of the Reasons for San Diego Police Department Employee Departures,” released last weekby the California Policy Center, the answer to that question is a resounding “no.” Authored by Robert Fellner, research director for theTransparent Californiaproject, the study’s findings contradicted the conventional wisdom. They were:

Claims that SDPD officers were leaving to join other departments misrepresented the data on attrition, by focusing on the 10% who left to join other departments, instead of the 60% who retired. These claims also misrepresented the overall data regarding staffing and … Read More

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