FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Let the Voters Control Congressional Districts

[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. Dana Rohrabacher, Huntington Beach, and Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long-Beach.]

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Depending on how the Supreme Court rules in the next couple weeks, partisan gerrymandering could become the only way that congressional districts are drawn. The Court heard arguments on March 2 in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, a case challenging Arizona’s non-partisan, citizen-run redistricting… Read More

Katy Grimes

State Auditor Issues Scorching Report to Admin Authority of CA Courts System

A scorchingreport from California State Auditor Elaine Howle, found that the Administrative Office of the Courts, now called the Judicial Council, spent $386 million over four years on statewide services that nearly half of California’s 58 trial courts don’t use – including $186 million on contractors and consultants.

Now, the Administrative Office of the Courts is trying take away the authority for decision making of trial court funds from the independent Trial Court Budget Advisory Committee, and give it to the Judicial Council’s Committee on Accountability and Efficiency — the same committee that approved big raises for top AOC officials as its first official action under its then-chair, Justice Cantil-Sakauye.

It’s akin to City Councils voting for their own… Read More

Asm. Kristin Olsen

We Can Expand Early Childhood Education without Raising Taxes, Growing Government

Californians expect government to provide efficient and effective services to the taxpayers it serves.

But expanding state government isn’t the answer to every problem facing our state, nor is government necessarily the best solution. Despite our economic recovery, we cannot afford to simply create a new government program to serve every unmet need.

In many areas, the private sector can do a better job of funding services to Californians. Take the lack of opportunities for early childhood education, for example.

The benefits of early education to both the individual and the economy are without question. Economists have estimated that for every dollar invested in early education, as much as 16 dollars is generated for the community.

Nevertheless, state government simply cannot afford to expand opportunities for early childhood education to keep up with the demand. The First 5 Association of California estimates that there are over 200,000 families on a waiting list today. Additionally, it is very difficult for low-income Californians to afford the high cost of putting their kids in private preschool.

Typically, the response from the… Read More

Ed Ring

California’s Government Unions Collect $1.0 Billion Per Year

“If you say there is an elephant in the room, you mean that there is an obvious problem or difficult situation that people do not want to talk about.” Cambridge Dictionaries Online

If you study California’s legislature, it doesn’t take long to learn there’s an elephant in both chambers, bigger and badder than every other beast. And consideringthe immense size of that elephant, and the power it wields, it doesn’t get talked about much.

Because that gigantic elephant is public employee unions, and politicians willing to confront them, categorically, in every facet of their monstrous power and reach, are almost nonexistent.

Government reformers and transparency advocates are fond of attacking “money in politics.” They attack “soft money” and “dark money.” Most of the time, these reformers are on the so-called political left, concerned that “rich billionaires” and “out-of-state corporations” have too much political influence. They are misguided and manipulated in this sentiment. Becausebillionaires… Read More

Katy Grimes

50 Shades of Brown: Gov. Jerry Brown and Democrat Party Rule

As Gov. Jerry Brown prepares to sign another climate change agreementwith “government leaders from around the world,” as his office announced, remember the recent agreement Brown got into with the scandalized Oregon Gov. Kitzhaber. “In October 2013,California Gov. Jerry Brown, together with the Governors of Oregon and Washington and the British Columbia Premier,signedthePacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy, “to align climate change policies and promote clean energy,’” I wrote in February.

The Pacific Coast Collaborative links with theWest Coast Infrastructure Exchange(WCX), a compact betweenCalifornia, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, formed in 2013 to promote “the type of new thinking necessary to solve the West Coast’s infrastructure crisis.” And the WCX is linked to… Read More

Matt Patterson

Rogue Labor Board Brought Down by Court

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of assembly, among other cherished rights. Unfortunately, the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) never got the message.

The board, created by Jerry Brown back in 1975 as an enforcer for the United Farm Workers union has in fact been perpetrating outrageous and flagrant violations of both the California and the United States Constitutions.

The board has had the authority under the Mandatory Mediation and Conciliation Statute (MMC) to unilaterally impose union contracts on workers and companies.

It’s nice when a government bureaucracy actually has the honesty to call its dictates “mandatory.” No pretense to democracy or choice or freedom. It’s quite amazing really – even in Soviet Russia there was the fiction that one had a choice whether or not to join… Read More

Jon Coupal

TAKE OUR JOBS, PLEASE

There’s a joke about public sector union bosses making the rounds in Sacramento lately: What happens when the California Legislature hands over a blank check to the California Teachers Association (CTA)? It’s returned the next day marked “insufficient.”

No matter that spending on schools is up 36 percent over the last four years, the state budget has increased 25 percent over the last three and the state is running a surplus of nearly $7 billion, it is never enough. The government employee unions are continuing to press for higher taxes and more spending from which they benefit both in terms of money and political power.

Since California already imposes the highest taxes in all 50 states in almost every category except taxes on property – we rank 19th highest – the obvious target is Proposition 13 which limits annual increases in property taxes. To take on Proposition 13, public unions, including the two major teachers unions and the Service Employee Employees International Union, have joined with some rag-tag groups of Bay Area radicals to create a front group, calling itself “Make It Fair.” The stated goal is to strip Proposition 13… Read More

Katy Grimes

Important Legal Victory for Farmworkers and Gerawan Farming

Thursday, a California Appellate Court struck a blow to autocratic labor, when it struck down California’s Compulsory Contracting Statute as unconstitutional, and set aside the state’s Agricultural Labor Relations Board-ordered contract on Gerawan Farming. The court called the forcing of this unwanted union contract on workers an ”unconstitutional abuse of authority.”

And, the Court even awarded repayment to Gerawan of its costs for bringing this appeal.

The ruling is a significant victory for Gerawan Farming and its 5,000 workers. Gerawan’s workers have been fighting a UFW takeover since October 2012, when the United Farm Workers labor union showed up unannounced after abandoning workers for more than 20 years, and ordered workers to pay 3 percent of their pay as dues or… Read More

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