FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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BOE Member George Runner

The Fire Fee Shell Game: You Lose!

Democrats in the California Legislature seem to be facing the reality that the fire tax they passed with the Governor’s help in 2011 is unfair. Californians who live in rural areas rely on a range of public services from multiple levels of government to combat fires. These residents already pay taxes to fund essential fire services.

The original fire fee was a scheme Governor Brown came up with after diverting about $90 million a year in fire prevention funds to help “balance” the state budget. Residents have gained nothing since this shell game passed. Not a dime of fire fee revenues can be used for actual fire suppression — trucks, planes or hoses. The funds can only be used for “prevention” efforts, which seem to be few and far between.

However, instead of simply repealing this onerous fire prevention fee, Democrats now want to replace a really bad policy with an even worse one.

AB 1203, authored by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer is currently awaiting consideration by the Legislature. The bill would repeal the fire fee, but replace it with a 3 to 5 percent insurance surcharge on all commercial and residential property statewide. The money… Read More

Richard Rider

Nobody wants a San Diego city job? SERIOUSLY???

Michael Zucchet, president of the San Diego Municipal Employees Association, said . . . restoring those [past city worker] cuts will require hiring new workers, which he described as a struggle because many city positions have salaries below market rate based on pay freezes and some pay cuts in 2010.“Funding the positions is only half the battle,”

Zucchet said. “It’s just not clear the city is going to be able to hire those people at the current compensation.”



Interesting hypothesis:Nobodywants a San Diego city government job.Seriously??

Zucchet’s “below market rate” is comparing with other CITY jobs in the region — cities that haven’t yet adopted San Diego’s pay and pension reforms. But that’s not the real labor market, and well he knows it.

Let’s test this hypothesis: Give me an advertising budget of $100,000, and I pledge I’ll get… Read More

Jon Coupal


Even good drivers get an occasional ticket. But in the last several years, there has been a perverse incentive for eagle-eyed enforcement officers to issue even more citations. We are now discovering that California drivers are a goldmine for government by the imposition of traffic fines that are absurdly excessive.

As recently as 2005, a ticket for drivers going from one to 15 mph over the speed limit in California would cost $99. This would include a base fine of $25 and additional charges of $74 to be shared with the state, the county, the courts and other programs. Only nine years later the same ticket would include a base fine of $35 and another $203 to be divided among the usual suspects for a total of… Read More

Rep. Darrell Issa

Increased Spending Makes “Doc Fix” Bad Policy

[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 Rep. Darrell Issa.]

If you are new to the FlashReport, please check out the main site and the acclaimed FlashReport Weblog on California politics.

The status quo in Washington is perhaps best summed up by the phrase, “continually kicking the can down the road.” And perhaps the only thing worse than a perpetual inability to effect meaningful, lasting change, is to finally attempt to solve a problem and to only do so in a half-baked manner. Unfortunately, I believe that is a fair characterization of the recent vote over… Read More

Katy Grimes

UFW Inflates Membership Numbers – A Lie, or Premature Calculation?

The United Farm Workers labor union is either lying about how many members it really has, or is boastfully counting future farm worker members, while assuming it will win the fight over the workers.

Gerawan Farming employees are under assault by the United Farm Workers labor union, the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, and by Democratic politicians up and down the state.

The workers don’t want to be members of the UFW, and held an election in 2013 to officially decertify the labor union. But the ALRB locked up the workers’ ballots, refused to count them, and has instead assisted the UFW in its takeover attempt.

Gerawan Farming is a third-generation family farming operation, growing peaches and grapes in the Fresno area. The farming company is well known as a favored employer, and currently employees 5,000 workers. Gerawan has a history of paying the highest wages and compensation package in the industry, according to the many employees I’ve spoken with.

It is apparent the UFW labor union is trying to gain what they can no longer win through the secret ballot process and sincere labor negotiations with… Read More

Richard Rider

Four San Diego city firefighter hiring reforms we need

Here’s a San Diego city firefighter hiring reform we need. Four, actually.

1. Do what EVERY OTHER CITY IN THE COUNTY DOES — hire already qualified firefighters who graduate from accredited firefighter academies — primarily our community college programs. Let the students pay for their firefighter education. No need to start from scratch with a new recruit — putting him (occasionally her) though the city’s own firefighter academy totally at city taxpayer expense. If the city wants to do additional training on top of that, fine — use OJT or hold a short academy for new hires. That’s what other cities do.

2. Not only do we pay for our SDFD new hires’ education, we actually pay them a SALARY to go to our free school. I think it’s currently about $2,500 a month — with zero commitment to the city upon graduation. This subsidy is TOTALLY unnecessary. Moreover, by having the students as employees, we taxpayers are subject to a lifelong disability risk while in the city academy — a risk that the students normally are responsible for while in school.

3. As I mentioned, our SDFD academy graduates — educated… Read More

Ed Ring

Pension Reform is BAD for Wall Street, and GOOD for California

“His idea [Mayor Chuck Reed’s] of pension reform is, you sign up for one pension system, we’re going to change it now in mid career, and now you’re going to get something different.” Lou Paulson,President, California Professional Firefighters (ref.CPFVideo, April 1, 2015)

The biggest problem with Mr. Paulson’s comment is the double standard he applies. Changing pension systems “mid-career” are just fine when they improve the benefit to Mr. Paulson’s unionized government workforce, but when it comes time to roll back these financially unsustainable changes, he cries foul.

The most obvious, indeed egregious example of a “mid-career” change to pension systems that improved pension benefits began during the internet bubble year 1999, whenSB 400was passed by the California State Legislature. SB 400 changed the pension benefit formula for California’s Highway Patrol officers from “2% at 50″ to “3% at 50,” a 50% increase… Read More

Assemblyman James Gallagher

Leading in Sacramento from Day One

[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 Asm. James Gallagher.]

If you are new to the FlashReport, please check out the main site and the acclaimed FlashReport Weblog on California politics.

California faces significant challenges due to flawed policies instituted by liberal lawmakers in Sacramento. Whether it’s the state’s deteriorating business climate, education or natural resources, California is struggling. Republican leaders are working diligently to improve the forecast and make California the golden land of opportunity it once was.

From an overly burdensome and a regulation-heavy business climate that has forced business to leave California, to an education system that refuses to evaluate teacher performance and serves the powerful union instead of ensuring the most quality education for our state’s children, California is being held back from being a true “Golden… Read More

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