FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

Ethics and government: Is it possible?

Ethics, even in politics, is based on adherence to moral principles. Honesty, integrity, loyalty, fairness, respect for others, lawfulness, pursuit of excellence and accountability, are principles.

G. K. Chesterton explained why: “Morality is always terribly complicated – to a man who has lost all his principles.”

The fundamental purpose of the American project was and still is individual freedom.

While many American freedoms have been eroded, we still hold the sanctity of the individual sacred in America. Americans believe that man is inherently free, whether a gift from God, or a fact of nature.

However, with freedoms and individual liberties increasingly plundered, many ask what the proper role of government is, as well as the proper role of the politician.

Especially in California, suffering under the cloud of recent scandals in the State Senate,… Read More

Ed Ring

The Unholy Trinity of Public Sector Unions, Environmentalists, and Wall Street

Taken at surface value, there ought to be minimal identity of interests between these three special interests. But if you follow the money and power instead of the rhetoric and stereotypes, you will find this unhealthy alliance is alive and thriving. For example, unions use “greenmail,” the threat of a lawsuit on environmentalist grounds, to block developments until the businesses involved concede to union demands. Once they back down, the environmental problem magically disappears.

California’s much vaunted high-speed rail and delta tunnel proposals are also examples of the unhealthy rapprochement between unions (public and private) and environmentalists. Because the construction unions, God bless ‘em, want thousands of good new construction jobs, and the only big projects that are environmentally correct are these monstrosities. The unions have a choice – fight the environmentalists in order to lobby for public works that actually yield economic benefits to society, or enjoy their considerable support for a couple of misguided mega-projects.

Beyond obvious examples, how unions, environmentalists, and America’s overbuilt financial sector collude –… Read More

State Sen. Joel Anderson

Laws to Pass, Not to Follow: Democrat Leadership’s Double-Standard

Recently, Democrat leadership in the California legislature have rallied around ethics. They’ve even held mandatory ethics training, banning legislators from bringing their cell phones into the room, lest their attention be diverted for even an instant.

With this new laser-focus, one would think they would surely be ready to genuinely address the ethics violations right under their noses. Yet, as new criminal behavior comes to light, we see that Democrats are focused on passing ethics laws, not on following them.

The Majority party is in hot water from the felony charges brought against three of their own. Senator Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) was found guilty of eight felonies and was expected to be sentenced in court next Friday — a judge has now pushed his sentencing into July. Senator Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) was indicted on federal corruption charges after an FBI sting, and Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) was charged in federal court with accepting bribes and gun trafficking.

When faced with this patently unethical behavior within its ranks, the Democratic Senate Leadership refused to let a vote for expulsion be addressed on the Senate… Read More

Jon Coupal

HJTA Adds New Attorney, Ryan Cogdill, to Litigation Team

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is pleased to welcome Ryan Cogdill to our expanding legal department. Cogdill, who graduated from McGeorge School of Law in 2011, will assist the Association with its legal efforts on behalf of California taxpayers, including the defense of Propositions 13 and 218, the integrity of the initiative process and government accountability. He joins HJTA’s litigation team headed by Director of Legal Affairs, Timothy Bittle.

We are excited to include Ryan’s knowledge and experience in our team. The addition of Ryan to our staff will enable the Association to remain California taxpayers’ leading resource to turn to when their government acts unjustly.

Cogdill, who is relocating to Sacramento from Modesto, has extensive litigation experience, most recently with the Curtis Legal Group, PLC.In addition, he served as a Fellow for the California Senate and as a Judicial Extern for the California Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District.He also has experience in the California Department of Justice as well as serving as a law clerk for the Fair Political Practices Commission. Cogdill also serves as a… Read More

Matthew J. Cunningham

OC 5th Supe District: Ury Builds Momentum, Ming Deals With Questions About Fundraising

Vote-by-mail ballots go out today (at least in Orange County, and voters will begin marking their choices in a number of competitive races in Orange County. One of those is the race to succeed Supervisor Pat Bates in the 5th Supervisor District.

There are five candidates running, but the contest to make the November run-off is widely viewed as being between Mission Viejo Councilman Frank Ury, Laguna Niguel Councilman Robert Ming and Dana Point Councilwoman Lisa Bartlett. [Let me disclose up front that I am strongly supporting Ury.]

While Ury has been picking up steam since the new year, Ming’s campaign – after a burst of momentum during the last few months of 2013 — has begun to slow and lately has been dogged by a series of embarrassing revelations.

Pay Yourself First Ming sprinted to an early fundraising lead, in large part by personally loaning his campaign $50,000. However, his campaign disclosure report for January 1 – March 17 of this year showed he had already paid himself back $10,000. – meaning nearly all of the $12,449 he raised during that period went to retire his campaign debt to… Read More

Rebuilding the Republican Party for the Future

Republicans respect and value hard work, believing every man and woman who aspires to live the American Dream deserves the opportunity to control their destiny through hard work, tenacity and a good heart. I’ve found this to be true from my own experience.

My family came to the United States from Taiwan when I was a boy, fleeing persecution and following their aspiration for a better life. My mother and father rolled up their sleeves and invested everything they had to open a restaurant in San Jose. Through years of scrubbing dishes and busing tables, I learned the value of hard work early in life. The lessons shaped my philosophy and planted the seeds of my conservatism. My experience since that time caused the seeds to grow into a desire to become a public servant, which is why I’m running as a proud Republican for the 10th Senate District, which includes the East Bay area… Read More

Jon Coupal


Just two months ago this column criticized Sacramento for subsidizing those politically connected companies that are part of the “in” crowd with millions in tax credits while maintaining high taxes on less glamorous industries. Auto maker Tesla has recently been “gifted” $35 million in this fashion and both Democratic and Republican lawmakers are lining up to ingratiate themselves with movie moguls while bearing offerings of hundreds of millions in tax subsidies.

Now we have a new high profile recipient of state largess. The Legislature has passed a bill by Democrat Al Muratsuchi to give space firms a property tax break. One of the principal beneficiaries would be billionaire Elon Musk’s company, Space X, that builds rockets and spacecraft in California. That the bill would give… Read More

Katy Grimes

California gives rise to ‘income inequality’

As I walked out of the Capitol Thursday, May 1 at just after 5:00 pm, I noticed a fledgling labor rally beginning.

It was May Day, the date chosen by the Socialists and Communists for International Workers’ Day.

But there weren’t any of the usual purple shirt-wearing protestors – this crowd was a real potpourri of odd people, including a group of leathered, old hippies, acting as if their brains had been fried years ago by drugs.

As I was walked past, guest speaker Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, was introduced.

Dickinson, a Democrat from Sacramento, is known as a good friend to labor. Dickinson took the microphone and began to speak as if there were thousands of purple-shirt SEIU members in the crowd.

“The direction we are going is putting the wealth of this country in the hands of fewer and fewer, at the expense of everyone!” Assemblyman Roger Dickinson said.

So compelling was his statement, I stopped to write it down. But that was about as much as I could take; I didn’t stick around for the rest of the speech. I knew where it was going.

Income “inequality”

Democrats across the country… Read More

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