FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Vince Vasquez

California GOP Slate: Six Lessons from Election Day

For the third election in a row, a Republican candidate has failed to win statewide office in California. Rather than bemoan party losses, it’s important to recognize important lessons that can be gained this election cycle. With proper planning for the future, the party can realistically secure statewide seats again by the end of the decade. The following are six key lessons I’ve learned as an elections analyst this November, following what worked and what didn’t among our statewide GOP slate of candidates.

Due Diligence Isn’t Voter Communication Speaking before editorial boards and morning news stations, while important and necessary, is fundamentally different than direct voter contact. Newspapers and television news are read and watched by millions of non-voters and voters who won’t show up on Election Day. The more critical interviews that need to occur are… Read More

Katy Grimes

CA Nurses Union Bullies Kaiser Nurses Into Strike

Nearly 21,000 Northern California Kaiser nurses are walking off the job for a two-day strike. Tuesday was day one of the California Nurses Association Kaiser strike.

Kaiser was forced to hire and train nearly 3,000 temporary nurses because of the strike, with estimate costs of $20 million per day, Kaiser reports.

Labor meetings last summer focused on upcoming changes and growth anticipated by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). And if there is growth, the nurses union wants its cut, according to a NPR story from July.

Nurses claim there are more than 30 operational proposals still unresolved after only three months of bargaining. They want 2,000 vacated positions filled, better protections for use of sick leave, more time with patients, more flexibility over breaks, and more training and education, NPR reported.

And the nurses union is throwing in the Ebola scare as an issue “to try to win PR points with the… Read More

Ed Ring

Californians Vote for More Taxes and More Borrowing

It has been argued that California’s votersdefy their political stereotype when it comes to taxes. California’s property tax revolt in 1978 resulted in the passage of the historic Prop. 13, which limits property tax increases to 2% per year. As recently as 2009, California’s legislature joined with Gov. Schwarzenegger to place Propositions 1A through 1E on the state ballot. All of them would have raised taxes, and all of them were defeated by voters.

That was then.

In 2012 Californians voted to raise sales and income taxes through Proposition 30, which supposedly was designed to collect an additional $6 billion per year to fund public education. And while 2014 did not include major new tax proposals on the state ballot, in cities, counties and school districts throughout California, tax and bond proposals were placed before voters. Most of them passed.

In the June 2014 primary, 47 local bond measures were proposed, with 36 of them passing. Also in June, 44 local tax increases were proposed, and 36 of them passed. That was just a warm-up for the November 2014 election, where 118 local bonds – most of them for public education – were proposed,… Read More

Richard Rider

Tea Party is dead — long live the Tea Party

As a person who has followed the Tea Party movement from its beginnings — first with enthusiasm and now with glum disappointment — let me point out an all-important change.

The Tea Party started out as a low tax, small government movement. It grew faster than anyone anticipated, and caught the nation’s attention (as it merited). In San Diego County, I spoke to rallies across the county as big as 4,000 — an amazing phenomenon.

It had three core positions — incorporated into every loose-knit Tea Party agenda:

1. Limited Government 2. Fiscal Responsibility 3. Free Markets

But that Tea Party — the one that I spoke to often in 2008-2009 — is gone. It’s metastasized into a cabal of myopic social conservatives, single issue Pro-Life activists, conspiracy enthusiasts, anti-Mexican fanatics and Obama haters.

Fiscal issues are just a side show for today’s transformed Tea Party outfits — though they still give lip service to such tax-and-spend matters still being a top priority. They are not. Not anymore.

Recently I was stunned to… Read More

Assemblywoman Diane Harkey

Why Republicans Go to Sacramento

Democracy demands honest debate and consensus building. Consensus does not mean “caving” to the opposition but understanding where you can negotiate for a more favorable position or piece of legislation, through honest debate of the issues. Key to both debate and consensus building is knowledge of the topic and more importantly, understanding the history and legal implications in the language of a proposed bill.

With Republicans in the minority in both houses of the Legislature, loyal, honest and straightforward senior staff members are not only necessary, but an absolute must to retain. Speaking plainly, there are many more opportunities for staff advancement with the majority party, which of course equates to higher pay and more junior staff to assist. In addition, Legislative Counsel, that writes and opines on the bills presented by members, works for the “House” and the house is run by the majority party.

Bills are dropped on our staff late, with changes in language, oftentimes in unbelievable volumes. While elected legislative members slumber, staff is working all night to write analysis for us to review in the morning. In short, to… Read More

Reprieve for Prop 13

By now, most Californians have read dozens of analyses from experts and partisans alike about the meaning of last Tuesday’s election. Analyzing the national scene is not rocket science. Republicans romped and Democrats took a shellacking.

But understanding the impact here in ever-so-blue California is a bit more complicated. While it is true that Republicans, who tend to be more taxpayer friendly, did not win a single statewide seat, the news for fans of Proposition 13 is actually quite good.

Rather than focus on the statewide races, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association was laser focused on using our political muscle to prevent the tax-and-spend majority party from securing the dreaded two-thirds supermajority in both the California Senate and Assembly. The reason why a two-thirds supermajority is so dangerous is two-fold. First, under Proposition 13, taxes imposed by the state cannot be imposed without the two-thirds vote. As long as the minority Republicans hold firm against tax hikes, Californians will be protected. (And it’s not like California needs higher taxes. We already have the highest income tax rate, the highest sales tax rate and the highest… Read More

Ray Haynes

As sure as 1996 Follows 1994 and 2012 Follows 2010…

Far be it from me to throw cold water on this year of great victories, but this is not the first time Republicans have seen historic victories. 1994 was overwhelming. 2010 was hopeful. And despite these great victories, Republicans managed to throw away these amazing opportunities. The question after this historic election is whether we will do the same again in two years.

I start with a rule I developed out of years of observation of politics (I have several, this is just one). This rule of politics is Democrats lose elections because they keep their political promises, Republicans lose elections because they break their political promises. Remember, when the Republicans were on the ascent, “Read my lips, no new taxes”? That promise cost Republicans two years of hell in the first term of the Clinton presidency. Clinton, however, promising to reform the health care system, frightened Americans so badly that Republicans won the majorities in both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years. Republicans then nominated for their presidential candidate in 1996 the tax collector for the welfare state, Bob Dole, and America got stuck with 4 more… Read More

Katy Grimes

Election 2014: Democrats Spent Political Capital Without Reinvesting

Democrats lost big in the November 2014 midterm elections. And their money folks lost even bigger. The country’s largest teachers unions spent nearly $60 million of their members’ money on the failed 2014 midterms elections.

What the 2014 results suggest is the significance of electing the first black president no longer applies. And it will not apply again in 2016.

The hysterical racial appeals to cultivate black voters failed. The “War on Women” failed. And that’s all they have. There are no back-benchers for the Democrats right now; they have been spending their capital without reinvesting.

Dems’ Aging Bench

“Democrats have become the New York Yankees of politics: some aging stars, a thin bench and a depleted farm system,” said James Warren in the… Read More

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