FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Richard Rider

The little-noticed CRUSHING rejection of Coronado’s school bond measure — how and why

There was one taxpayer victory in the June, 2014 primary that I SHOULD have reported, but didn’t. A tiny, unfunded but determined pro-taxpayer group in Coronado CRUSHED a Ponzi-scheme school bond measure. It’s perhaps a textbook example of how to defeat the Establishment and the special interests that back such measures. Representing San Diego Tax Fighters, I provided some expertise (at the request of the bond opponents), but the truth is that the locals made it happen — not me. Note particularly the quality opposition website — one that added to the professionalism of the rag-tag band of opponents. http://kisstheschoolbondgoodbye.com/2014/06/thank-coronado-voters-solidly-defeating-prop-e/

It was a short term school bond proposition for the small, affluent city of Coronado. It was largely intended to provide supplemental OPERATING funds for the district for 3 years, with a 5 year payback on the bonds — the theory being that, in those 3 years, additional funding would magically appear from the state of… Read More

Katy Grimes

Statists turn to drought for control in California

Sinclair Lewis wrote “It Can’t Happen Here” in 1935, a fictional story about a populist state Senator who is elected President on

campaign promises of economic and social reforms, and a return to patriotism and traditional values. After winning the presidency by appealing to the interests of ordinary Americans, the new President instead takes over the government, imposes totalitarian rule with the help of a ruthless paramilitary force. The new President’s government abolishes women’s and minority rights, and eliminates states’ rights by subdividing the country into federal administrative sectors. The new government imposes statist control of all aspects of the life and productive capacity of the nation through censorship and terrorism.

All the while, citizens reassure themselves that fascism cannot “happen here.”

If this feels vaguely familiar, it should – especially… Read More

Conservatives and Libertarians: Lincoln Labs Hopes to Lead on Technology and Innovation

In the wake of Mitt Romney’s defeat in 2012, my partners and I sat down and took a long, hard look at what the Republican party and liberty causes did right and wrong during the election. As technologists, our focus was on where we fell short on the digital pieces of a modern campaign. Unfortunately, after only brief analysis we found we were behind the progressive movement at every level.

Rather than sitting around and complaining, we began Lincoln Labs – a conservative and libertarian technology organizing arm for campaigns and political efforts on the right side of the aisle. As most Americans, and certainly many conservatives know, if we wait for the establishment or those inside the Beltway to come up with new ideas, we’ll have gray hair and still nothing to show for our patience.

Our frustration manifested itself in creating a group that hosts events across the country on a regular basis – bringing together young, ‘conservatarian’ hackers and others to create new, innovative technology. We’ve been impressed with the level of talent we’ve observed and decided to take Lincoln Labs to the next level by hosting our first annual conference later… Read More

Jon Coupal


We certainly understand the hostility that professional politicians exhibit against citizens using the tools of direct democracy. The People’s right of initiative, referendum and recall are effective tools to control an indolent or corrupt legislature.

The powers of direct democracy are enshrined in the California Constitution for reasons that are just as compelling in 2014 as they were in 1911 when Governor Hiram Johnson, seeking to suppress the absolute control the railroads had over the state Capitol, pushed to give ordinary citizens a “legislative battering ram” – using the language of the Supreme Court – to address issues that, for whatever reason, the legislature refuses to address.

Politicians hate the initiative process. From their perspective, it allows the great… Read More

Mark Bucher

Secret Sheriff Union Negotiations Endanger Orange County’s Financial Future

The Orange County Board of Supervisors has tentatively approved a transparency ordinance, known as COIN (for Civic Openness In Negotiations) that would require negotiations with government employee unions to be open to the public. Boy, do they need it.

The current negotiations between the sheriffs’ union and the Orange County Board of Supervisors are a perfect example of why COIN is needed. On Friday, after two years of secret negotiations with the Sheriffs’ union, the proposed terms of the contract being offered by the union were revealed to the public for the first time. And now the Board proposes to take a final vote this Tuesday!

That’s right, fellow taxpayers. We get one business day to review the complex business deal that will bind our County for years to come, and then our elected officials will vote.

This not nearly enough time for the taxpayers, who are going to be on the hook for these salaries and pensions, to understand the costs of what is being offered or fully weigh in. Which is, of course, the point of keeping the details secret until the last minute. Secret negotiations, followed by sudden and final votes, is how business has always… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Move Workers Out of Board of Equalization Building Before Someone Gets Hurt

As seen in the Sacramento Bee

Sacramento residents who recently witnessed the successful Fix50 project must wonder why government can’t also find a way to deal with other problems in an equally swift and efficient manner. Take, for instance, the troubled government building at 450 N St. in downtown Sacramento, just blocks away from the future Kings arena.

Falling windows, leaking sewage pipes, mold and methane gas are but a few of many safety problems plaguing the state Board of Equalization headquarters in recent years. The Sacramento Bee’s Jon Ortiz has done an excellent job of chronicling the ongoing saga in his State Worker column.

Recently we’ve learned that the building’s fire safety system has also failed, forcing an hourly fire safety walk until repairs are made. Additionally, employees have filed a $50 million claim with the state alleging health problems stemming from the mold contamination. More glass could fall at any time, so the 24-story building remains surrounded by scaffolding. A 2012 incident, captured on security videotape, shows a pedestrian mere feet away from being struck by a glass panel that fell from… Read More

Kevin Dayton

Will a Few Republican State Legislators Open Floodgates for Costly Union Control of California Water Projects?

Union lobbyists try to be discreet when they influence the California State Legislature to gain advantages in public contracting. That secrecy is now crumbling in the case of a new “urgency” bill that authorizes a Monterey County water agency to use an alternative bidding procedure to build a pipeline project.

Can unions whip this bill through the legislature before new revelations about backroom deals undermine local support for it? It depends on how many Republicans in the Assembly and Senate see construction union support as useful to their political futures.

A Mundane Objective: Awarding a Contract for a Water Storage Project

The Monterey County WaterResources Agency proposes a $25 million pipeline to improve water storage by transferring water between two reservoirs. It wants to use a construction procurement procedure called “design-build.” Instead of awarding separate design and construction contracts to the lowest responsible bidders, the agency would award one combined contract for the project based on subjective scoring criteria.

Since the early 1990s, the California legislature has passed… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Tax Help for California Seniors

Senior citizens deserve to enjoy the rewards of their life’s work, but rising taxes and inflation leave many feeling squeezed.

California seniors know about discounts at restaurants and the movies, but they may not be familiar with the tax benefits and services available to them. For example, many seniors qualify for property tax exemptions, income tax credits and free income tax preparation.

That’s why I created the new Tax Help for California Seniors webpage. This online resource provides helpful information and links designed to help seniors be aware of important tax tips relating to property tax, sales and use tax and income tax.

Please take a look at this new online resource and consider sharing it with your family and friends who are seniors.… Read More

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