FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

Biofuel bill morphs into gun control bill – this is how it’s done

Yesterday morning, Senate Bill 916 by Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, was a bill about mandating use of bio-derived lubricating oil. But by yesterday evening, biofuel is off the table and gun control is back on.

California’s obsession with the most extreme environmental issues, and belief that if a new “green” product sounds good, it must be good, means the bill probably would have passed through the Legislature with flying colors.

Yesterday, the bill was gutted and amended into a gun control bill. “Talk about pyrrhic victory…” Tom Tanton emailed to me. Tanton, a Director at the Energy and Environment Legal Institute, wrote an op-ed about it in Fox and Hounds recently. Tanton warned, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

It turns out Tanton was right.

The new gun control bill, SB 916

The new bill language is clearly not done cooking. Anticipate more amendments, as this bill appears to be a placeholder.

“Existing law prohibits the manufacture, importation, and sale… Read More

Ashley Indrieri

Celebrate the environment and its stewards – the people of agriculture

Today, Earth Day, April 22, is a time for renewed commitment to protecting the environment in a serious, commonsense way that balances the interests of people and the economy with the need to preserve nature’s vitality and variety.

It is also a time to celebrate the people who grow the food and fiber for our nation and the world, because environmental protection is a priority for them, day-in and day-out.

For farmers, ranchers and dairyman, being stewards of the earth is part of the job; it comes with their calling. They are dependent on the land and water not only to provide a healthy, safe food supply, but to support their own families and communities.

Far too often we hear negative rhetoric about impersonal, indifferent “corporate agriculture.” But let’s not forget that in California 97 percent of farms are family owned and operated.

And consider all the environmental benefits that agriculture brings: open space; habitat for birds, animals and fish; food sources for countless varieties of species. The air is purified by crops and trees, through photosynthesis. In fact, agricultural land throughout California currently boasts more than 150… Read More

Kevin Dayton

Celebrate Earth Day: Trees-for-Shade and Cap-and-Trade for California High-Speed Rail

Earth Day 2014 deserves a detailed report on the environmental achievements of California High-Speed Rail, the spine of the mass transit connectivity system that will one day transport you between your own home transit village and another transit village.

And yes, you WILL ride, because artificial government cost barriers will discourage you from driving and flying. A governor and legislators who today are merely students protesting at a University of California campus somewhere will enact such policies between 2028 and 2041.

Trees-for-Shade and Other Schemes for “Net Zero Emissions”

The California High-Speed Rail Authority claims it will achieve “net zero emissions” when it builds its “First Construction Segment” from Madera to Bakersfield by 2017. This program will allegedly allow the Authority to avoid adding to the state’s carbon footprint already imprinted by the lifestyles of Hollywood celebrities and other top Democratic Party campaign contributors.

Net zero emissions means lots of free and discounted stuff to the San Joaquin Valley. The Authority plans to plant 5,000 trees, buy new school buses for school… Read More

Jon Coupal

RUMSFELD’S PROBLEM IS OUR PROBLEM

In filing his tax returns, Donald Rumsfeld included a letter to the IRS stating, “As in prior years, it is important for you to know that I have absolutely no idea whether our tax returns and our tax payments are accurate.” Now critics of the former secretary of defense and member of Congress may not be sympathetic, but they overlook the fact that Rumsfeld’s problem is shared by almost every American taxpayer.

The U.S. Tax Code is currently 73,954 pages long and a few more pages are probably being added as this is written. Every year, members of the Washington, D.C. political class pay lip service to the goal of tax reform, but usually all Congress does is tinker around the edges in an effort to please special interest supporters and to increase revenue, or “raise taxes” in the… Read More

Jon Fleischman

Did Senator Anderson’s Stance In Support of Expelling Rod Wright Cost Him A Key Vice-Chairmanship?

Apparently there is a price to pay for being willing to stand tall on the Senate Floor for the rule of law. FR readers will recall that recently Anderson was the only vote in the legislature’s upper chamber against “suspending” Senators Leland Yee, Ron Calderon, and Rod Wright. Anderson had the temerity to point out that Wright had already been found guilty by a jury of eight felony counts, and that Wright shouldn’t be suspended, but rather should be removed from the Senate. Subsequent to Anderson’s floor remarks (which, if you haven’t seen them, I suggest you do so hereor watch the speech below), incoming Senate President Kevin DeLeon rose up and made a complete ass out of himself, attacking by inference Senator Anderson’s motives and integrity.

Well it has now been revealed — thanks to Union Tribune San Diego columnist Steve Greenhut in his Sunday column — that Senator Anderson was given a rather unceremonious… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

If the Government Takes Your Money Illegally, Shouldn’t You Get it Back?

Did you know, if the State of California takes your money in the form of an illegal tax or fee, you might not be able to get it back?

I was outraged when I first learned if a taxpayer pays a tax or fee that is later found to be unconstitutional or illegal in court, the government does not necessarily have to refund their money.

Currently, taxpayers are only eligible to receive refunds if they have exhausted all of their “administrative appeals remedies,” even if the tax they paid is later declared illegal or unconstitutional.

In order for taxpayers to exhaust their “administrative appeals remedies” they must file a timely refund claim with the proper agency. The time period to file a refund claim is different for each tax and fee program, ranging anywhere from 30 days to several years.

That’s right; your state government will keep any and all money it illegally took from you, unless you have already jumped through several confusing administrative hoops – even hoops that you were never aware of.

That’s why this legislative session, I am proud to sponsor legislation to change this situation by extending important, common sense… Read More

Jon Fleischman

CA Teachers Association Weighs For Inland Empire GOP Candidates Glen Miller and Gary Jeandron

There is no single public employee union in our state that is more partisan, more liberal, and spends more money working to elect Democrats to office than the California Teachers Association.

So imagine my surprise, and distress, to see two Republican candidates for the State Legislature receive their endorsement, and a major contribution, respectively, from the CTA. I don’t know if it is coincidental that both candidates hail from the Palm Springs area.

In the 28th State Senate District, there is a three-way scramble underway between Republicans former Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia, County SupervisrorJeff Stone, and Glen Miller. This is a “new” safe GOP seat. Frankly, from this conservative bloggers perspective, each of the candidates has flaws – and up to this point I had declined to write about the race at all.

But when I received a press release earlier this week from Glen Miller’s campaign, bragging up receiving an endorsement from the CTA – my eyes popped out of their head. I thought perhaps it was a spoof – after all Miller is a candidate who calls himself a conservative, and who says on his website, “I will not go… Read More

Congressman John Campbell

Frustration

Frustration: There is no question that a major factor in my decision to not seek re-election this year is my frustration with the conditions in Washington, which increasingly make it exceedingly difficult to accomplish anything of note.

I am not the first person to make this observation. Some have attributed this condition to the fact that few legislators live in Washington any longer since the advent of frequent air travel and, therefore, personal relationships are harder to form. Others have suggested that redistricting in Congress, which makes more “safe” seats in each party, reduces the impetus for compromise. Such structural factors probably have some impact. But, I don’t think they are the primary causes. The primary causes in my estimation are more temporary. That is the good news. However, they are also pretty deep-rooted. That is the not-so-good-news.

I believe there are two primary, though temporary problems. The first will likely not surprise you. It is President Obama. I’m not going to beat this point into the ground because Obama’s approval rating of around 40% indicates that most Americans understand… Read More

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