FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

We’re From the UFW and We’re Here To Help

The political left always talks about the importance of counting every vote, right up until they don’t want the result of that vote, as in the case of the workers at Gerawan Farming, Inc.

Despite chilly, foggy temperatures, Gerawan Farming workers traveled from California’s Central Valley, to the state Capitol last Thursday to hold yet another rally and meet with lawmakers. But it wasn’t your average worker rally – these farm workers want the Agricultural Labor Relations Board to count the workers’ votes from the November 2013 election to decertify the United Farm Workers union.

UFW founder Cesar Chavez must be rolling over in his grave.

The UFW is working with the ALRB to force the farm workers into a collective bargaining agreement that the thousands of workers don’t want. The United Farm Workers narrowly won an election to represent Gerawan Farming’s workers 24 years ago. But after only one bargaining session, and no contract in place, the union disappeared and wasn’t heard from for more than two… Read More

Ron Nehring

San Diego County Prepares Rule to Force Campaign Money Underground

San Diego voters have a right to know who is trying to influence our local elections. Yet a proposal going before the County Board of Supervisors will mean more dark money and less transparency in our local politics.

Our local political parties are broad based, democratically governed and transparent. In fact, our political parties are the only organizations involved in local elections with these important qualities that make them accountable.

The proposal would sharply curtail the ability of political parties to directly contribute to county candidates, with a limit of about 1 cent (not dollar, cent) per voter for countywide candidates, and about 3 cents per voter for supervisor candidates. Donors and special interests who wish to support candidates in excess of these limits will shift their funds elsewhere. Often, that’s under ground. And everybody knows it.

Under the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, the First Amendment protects every American’s right to make unlimited contributions to so-called “independent expenditure” committees.

These “IE’s” conduct… Read More

Richard Rider

Average San Diego homeowner saves over $600 a MONTH, thanks to Prop 13

It’s an educational (and scary) exercise to consider what our property taxes would be if Prop 13 had NOT passed in 1978 — and no subsequent reforms in property taxes occurred (a fair assumption, given Democrat dominance of the state legislature since 1970).

Most people have forgotten the following aspect: “In 1977, the average property tax rate in California was **2.67 percent**. Proposition 13 fixed the rate at 1 percent of the purchase price [plus a 2% annual increase, or the COL, if less]. On top of the 1% is whatever additional rate is approved to cover voter-approved indebtedness, such as bonds. Although the additional rate varies around the state, it generally runs at about one-tenth of 1 percent, setting the overall Proposition 13 rate at 1.1 percent.” http://www.caltax.org/WhatProposition13Did.pdf — page 1

Actually most people today will find that this article’s “1.1%” property tax rate understates what is actually paid. Looking at my own property tax bill, my annual “1%” tax on our 1993 purchase is $4,526.13 in 2014. The other… Read More

Jon Fleischman

Union Power Extends Into Healthcare

California taxpayers know that bad things come from allowing unions to become too big, too powerful, and too well-moneyed. California conservatives are even more attuned to the ills that unions cause. So, as we think about what crazy schemes will be pushed by union-backed politicians in the California legislature this year, as well as the 2016 Senate race and congressional races, it’s worth paying attention to what unions are up to outside of the strictly political arena to try to enhance and entrench their power here.

Last week, the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) concluded the first of what could be a series of statewide strikes against Kaiser Permanente. This may seem like a non-sequitur, but there’s a reason for taxpayers and conservatives as well as Kaiser customers to care about this: If the NUHW gets its way in its negotiations, it will mean a stronger… Read More

Jon Coupal

PUBLIC SECTOR PAY: TRANSPARENCY AND PERSPECTIVE

Public sector labor leaders in California would rather that the public remain relatively ignorant about how well their members are compensated. But they are fighting a losing battle.

Because of California’s massive unfunded pension liability and other scandals, the public is demanding answers. Interests diverse as taxpayer groups, business organizations, the media and some elected officials have moved aggressively, not only to address these problems, but also to ensure that there is much greater transparency about public sector compensation than we have seen in the past.

For example, attorneys at Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association won several Public Records Act lawsuits against government interests – mostly at the local level – who were attempting to shield their compensation data from the public. And Pension Tsunami is a website which for years has been a clearinghouse for articles on pension abuses. But it is not just conservative interests who are shining the light. Left of center newspapers like the Sacramento Bee and San Jose Mercury News, have fought very hard to expose the truth on employee compensation. Self-styled progressive John Chiang… Read More

Jon Fleischman

OC Firefighters – Laughing To The Bank?

[Before you read this, understand that in 2011 the total compensation for an Orange County Firefighter was $237,000.]

Guess what — another disappointing win for a public employee union and loss for taxpayers — here in Orange County. The Orange County Fire Authority has approved a new contract with its firefighters. Early on in this article is says that firefighters are now paying 100% of their retirement. Of course, that isn’t even close to true. They are now technically paying their required share of their retirement — still a fraction of the total cost. That would be a step in the right direction EXCEPT…

Read the fine print of this article in the OC Register, “Employees will receive pay increases of 2.75 percent, 2.5 percent and 3 percent over the three years of the agreement.”Read More

Richard Rider

Latest deceptive CA unemployment figures — and WHY they are deceiving

Here’s how deceiving our unemployment figures can be: 1. The California unemployment rate in December dropped a dramatic .2% in one month — from 7.2% to 7.0%. That is an IMPRESSIVE improvement. Except . . . 2. Number of net jobs added in California that month — a state with over 38,800,000 people: 700. No, I didn’t leave out a zero or two — SEVEN HUNDRED. Yes, a statistically insignificant 700 net jobs added, yet our state unemployment rate dropped a full two-tenths of a percent. How can this be?

You know the answer by now: Our lower unemployment rate for December is almost 100% due to people no longer looking for work, leaving the state, or retiring (a.k.a. the lower “labor force participation rate”) — even after counting the young adults entering the CA work force marketplace.

Here’s another unnerving aspect to consider: Our CA jobs grew by 700. But the jobs gained too often were low paying service jobs, while the… Read More

Katy Grimes

‘Choice’ Is Deceptive in California Assisted Suicide Bill

Opponents of assisted dying warn that significant numbers of seriously ill people, as well as the disabled, the mentally ill, and even those who are depressed, could end up being swept up in the new law, prioritizing cost effectiveness, over higher costs of ongoing care.

“Assisted suicide proponents frequently appeal to free choice and self-determination. But in reality, legalized assisted suicide actually diminishes individual choice, control, and self-determination,” warns the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund.

This week, Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, and Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, introduced the End of Life Option Act, a bill to authorize medical aid-in-dying in California.

Senate Bill 128, is modeled on… Read More

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