FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Jon Coupal


With the recent terror attacks against France, America’s oldest ally, most Americans are rightfully concerned for the welfare of our friends abroad as well as our own safety.

With the French, we share a common heritage of a dedication to liberty. The Statue of Liberty that stands proudly in the harbor of New York is a gift from the people of France.

Acknowledging the contributions of French officer the Marquis de Lafayette to the success of our revolution, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Stanton a commander of the American Expeditionary Force in WW I, told Parisians on arrival, “Lafayette, we are here!”

While Americans and the French are victims of terrorism because of our beliefs and way of life, both nations continue to value and be grateful for our republican form of government that allows citizens to elect their representatives. And we share a common conviction that we will prevail over adversity.

To read the entire column click here http://www.hjta.org/california-commentary/for-what-are-taxpayers-thankful-in-2015/Read More

Katy Grimes

Pepperdine Grad Students’ Head-On Collision With Local Govt. Officials

Why does it take 54 days, more than 30 emails, 25 phone calls, 3 faxes, and 2 trips to the city of West Covina to obtain records available to the public? The short answer is that some local government officials don’t believe they have to make the public records available to the public.

A group of graduate students working to achieve a Masters Degree from the Pepperdine School of Public Policy were assigned with obtaining all official campaign contribution forms 410, 460, and 700 for elected officials in the city of West Covina from 2012-2015.

The class is taught by Matthew J. Peterson, Ph.D. on the intersection of media with state and local government – and these grad students just had a head-on collision in the intersection with local… Read More

Richard Rider

My Applebee’s robot waitress auditioning for the human waiter’s job

Last night I took my wife and our two young grandchildren to Applebee’s. It went great — our 4 and 2 year old charges were more decorous than half the patrons.

But I digress. Here’s what caught my attention: Applebee’s is testing a new ordering policy — using the technology that is rapidly becoming prominent in fast food restaurants. Every table had an online electronic tablet, with the menu, ordering and payment process built in. One can place the order and have the busboy bring your food.

For now, one can still use a waiter for service, but obviously the plan is to reduce or eliminate that service. That makes PARTICULARLY good sense in California, which is rapidly becoming the home of the $15 minimum wage. Moreover, California is one of only 7 states that requires “tip” employees to be paid a FULL minimum wage IN ADDITION TO all tips collected. That can make a meal too pricey — reducing the number of times patrons choose to dine out.

Because of the hectic nature of two tykes seeking guidance in meal selection, we opted to use the waitress — much to her delight. I had a nice salad as my… Read More

Katy Grimes

Gov. Brown’s Droughts, Wildfires, Water Shortage, and other Climate Change Ignis Fatuus

California Governor Jerry Brown inherited the Golden State, the land of opportunity. However, everything he touches turns Brown.

Climate change has been the top priority of his governorship… not the flailing economy, or California’s largest-in-the-country-and-growing poverty class, or the 47th in school performance issue, or the $600 Billion in unfunded public employee pension and health liability, or the desperate need for water storage, or even the illegal immigrant problem.

For Brown who has said “Latin makes you smarter than everybody,” Climate change is his ignis fatuus – his fata morgana, his hallucination, myth, hocus pocus, or head trip.

Climate Change: “one of the fundamental issues of our time”

Brown has never specified how to achieve his radical emissions target, despite it’s… Read More

Kevin Dayton

Fresh Out of Bankruptcy, Stockton Plans a Union Monopoly on Construction Contracts

The City of Stockton filed a petition for Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy relief on June 28, 2012, and the petition was accepted onApril 1, 2013. Earlier this year, on February 25, the City of Stockton exited bankruptcy protection.

Stockton’s city manager declared that “We emerge from bankruptcy a renewed city, perhaps better prepared for our future than any other city in the State, with a new value system, a thorough understanding of our operations and finances, and the tools to maintain solvency and adjust to economic conditions for decades into the future.”

With that inconvenience out of the way, the Stockton City Council is proceeding to implement a “value system” similar to what brought it to bankruptcy in the first place. It is giving its most favored constituency –unions –a potentially costly monopoly on… Read More

Ed Ring

How Project Labor Agreements Elevate Costs to Taxpayers

When considering the labor movement in the United States, there is a huge distinction between government unions and private sector unions. Government unions elect their own bosses, they operate within agencies that collect taxes instead of having to make a profit by enticing consumers to buy their products, and they operate the machinery of government which means their more zealous members have the ability to intimidate their political opponents. Private sector unions have none of these advantages. They negotiate with managers hired by CEOs who report to shareholders. They negotiate with companies that will go out of business if they over-compensate their workers. And with rare exceptions, workers in private companies are not approving our business permit applications, inspecting our workplaces, or auditing our tax returns.

So where does this put construction unions who compete for government contracts?

This question matters a lot to reformers, because private sector unions, properly regulated, not only have a vital role to play in American society, but their members have the potential to lobby effectively against many of the special interests who are killing… Read More

Richard Rider

Texas COL-adjusted median household income is much higher than CA

I’ve just updated here a salient comparison of the median household income of California vs. hated Texas. My last figures were from 2009. Since then it’s gotten even better — for Texas.

According to recent U.S. census figures, the 2014 median household income in California is significantly higher than Texas.

CA — $60,487

TX — $53,875 — 10.9% less than CA (vs. 18.1% less in 2009), though slightly above the national average of $53,657


But, ADJUSTED FOR THE COST OF LIVING, the Texas median household income is significantly higher than California.

TX — $58,816

CA — $44,706


BOTTOM LINE: TX COL-adjusted median household income is 31.6% higher than CA.Read More

Bruce Bialosky

California Government Coming After You No Matter Where You Are

Californians running their own businesses are accustomed to having an invasive government. They are also used to the government taking the side of their employees and being considered guilty until proven innocent on any claim asserted against them. But when your company is outside of California, you certainly do not expect these things to happen to you. That is apparently no longer true.

I was contacted by a man named Ben from New Jersey who was referred to me by a client from New York. Ben tells me he had contracted a man to do a website for him that happened to originate from California. He tells me that the man had his own corporation, but for a time during the contract the Computer Maven (Maven) had to be paid directly because his corporation was in formation. Ben tells me he was contacted by Jennifer McPeak from the Employment Development Department (EDD), who asked him a series of leading questions that made him very uncomfortable. Ms. McPeak was asserting Maven had been an employee of Ben’s company and that he had to file for payroll for Maven. My first instruction to Ben was never speak to a California employee as a businessman without a hired gun like… Read More

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