– Last night about 800 were on hand for the Orange County GOP’s annual Flag Day fundraising dinner featuring Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, author/screenwriter/political pundit Andrew Klavan, and a moving tribute to Andrew Breitbart. Persona non grata at the event was Charles Munger, Jr. A rousing applause was given when Assemblyman Allan Mansoor was introduced. A vast amount of OCGOP resources were diverted into re-electing Mansoor when Munger put over a half-million dollars into his ultimately very unsuccessful opponent.
– Proposition 14 is already clearly failing utterly to deliver on two of it’s articulated goals — reducing the role of special interests, and increasing voter choice. On the first, as candidates gear up for what will now be a second election in a row where they need to raise enough money to campaign to all voters (direct voter contact is quite expensive and California’s legislative districts are quite large), true local candidates have mostly tapped out their local sources of contributions. Guess who will have lots of campaign cash for the November elections? You guessed it — the unions and the crony capitalists. As for increased voter choice, where in 2010 voters were assured of being able to selected from the nominees of every political party on their general election ballot, now many voters will be forced to vote for candidates from only one party. And also note that not one candidate from any of California’s third parties will be on the ballot for a partisan office. Some choice!
– Today a new coalition is being announced, Californians for Reforms and Jobs, Not Taxes, is being formed to fight the massive tax increases that will be before voters on the November ballot. The new effort will be headed up by Jon Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, John Kabateck of the National Federation of Independent Business, California, and Joel Fox of the Small Business Action Committee. HJTA and NFIB/CA were a key part of the coalition that helped see the 2009 Prop. 1A tax increases go down in flames. Fox’s presence in the coalition is a strong indication that many in the business community will be opposing the taxes. Strong, organized opposition will most certainly sink the measures, which have already plummeted to a bare majority of support, which according to the Sacramento Bee’s Dan Walters means they are in big trouble.
– The Constitutional deadline for passing a state budget is this Friday. You can be sure that the legislature will do just that given the provision of Proposition 25 that would withhold their pay if they fail to do so. The real question is whether both legislators and the public will have a meaningful period of time to review the actual spending plan before it is voted upon. We have long called for a 72 hour “in print” rule before voting on any legislation, included the budget, gets voted upon. Yesterday Senate and Assembly Republicans called on Democrats to have the final budget released at least 48 hours before a vote. In a release, Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff and Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway said, in part: “Today is just four days before the Legislature’s constitutional deadline to pass a balanced budget, yet it has been disappointing to see the majority party engage in a sham budget process. While Democrats talk about openness and accountability, all we have seen from them are smoked-filled rooms and back-room deals, shutting out taxpayers and the news media. Budgets thrown together behind closed doors or passed in the middle of the night are one of the main reasons why California is facing chronic deficits today.”
– For those who have thought critically of MSM newspaper websites starting to charge for content, I encourage you to read Bruce Maiman’s column today in the Sacramento Bee.
– There are apparently Republican Members of Congress who believe that not cutting spending is a better than cutting spending through across-the-board cuts. Their argument, which rings awfully hallow, is that these kinds of cuts empower the Executive Branch as it is up to the President’s administration to determine which cuts get made. Um, hello? If you’ve seen the size of the federal debt right now, should we really be stopping any cuts?
– Apparently some legislators need some coaching about message control. With the budget deadline approaching, and the legislative GOP leaders calling for 48 hours in print, media releases from individual Republican members should be on these important topics. Instead, they are rolling out releases announcing their “businesses of the year” — talk about fiddling while Rome burns…
– Ever heard of gambling with online games such as Farmville and Angry Birds? According to the California Online Poker Association, the public largely uninterested in playing these games as an online gaming enterprise. These two games were thrown into a question gauging whether likely voters would prefer only allowing online poker vs. poker and other games. Curiously the question did not ask about, say, online blackjack or slots. As a strike against Angry Birds, if it is available on gambling websites, my four year old will play it a lot. And he will lose a lot of money at it.