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Edward Ring

Conservatives, Police Unions, and the Future of Law Enforcement

Conservatives in America are at a crossroads. They face a choice between greater freedom or greater security. While striking this delicate balance has required ongoing policy choices throughout history, recent events involving law enforcement have brought these choices into sharp focus. Here’s how Patrik Johnson, writing last month in theChristian Science Monitor, described the choice:

“Police forces nationwide are being pulled between two opposite trends: more empathetic, community policing and an increasingly militarized response to crises.”

How conservatives, on balance, weigh in on this choice has far reaching consequences. On one hand, conservatives can support suggested reforms that embrace the value of empathy, minimize violence, alleviate tensions, and pave the way for 21st century policing appropriate to a free republic. Here is a key reform advocated by the protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, in reaction to the tensions in that city following a police shooting:

“A comprehensive review by the Department ofRead More

Edward Ring

Final Results: 81% of Local Bonds Passed, 68% of Local Taxes Passed

It took over a month to count the provisional ballots, but the results are now in for every one of the 118 local bonds and 171 local tax increases that were voted on by Californians on November 4th. Prior to counting most of the provisional ballots, as reported on November 11th in our editorial “Californians Vote for More Taxes and More Borrowing,” here were the results so far:

November 11th provisional results: “At last count, of the 118 local bonds, 72 were passed, 15 were defeated, and 31 remain too close to call. Of the 171 local tax proposals, 98 were passed, 45 were defeated, and 28 are still too close to call.”

And here is the impact, five weeks later, with all ballots counted, including provisional ballots:

December 15 final results: Of the 118 local bonds, 96 were passed, and 22 were defeated. Of the 171 local tax proposals, 117 were passed, and 54 were defeated.Final results: 81% of local bond measures passed; 68% of local tax… Read More

Edward Ring

Police Unions in America

The first thing we have to understand is that without the law, we have nothing. It turns into a situation of savage against barbarian, of the powerful against the powerless. It turns into a situation of dog eat dog, unrestricted, without restraints or consideration of anybody’s humanity. Dr. Harry Edwards,POPSspot Sports Radio Interview, August 22, 2014

Police union spokespersons often suggest that media coverage of police actions is invariably negative. Where are the reporters when a cop performs a good deed? Whether or not the media is truly biased against members of law enforcement is debatable, of course, but as noted sociologist Harry Edwards points out, “without the law, we have nothing.” Given the penchant for many professional social commentators and activists to jump onto the latest anti-police brutality bandwagon with unequivocal pronouncements, Dr. Edwards’ measured response is… Read More

Edward Ring

An Economic Win-Win For California – Lower the Cost of Living

A frequent and entirely valid point made by representatives of public sector unions is that their membership, government workers, need to be able to afford to live in the cities and communities they serve. The problem with that argument, however, is thatnobodycan afford to live in these cities and communities, especially in California.

There are a lot of reasons for California’s high cost of living, but the most crippling by far is the price of housing. Historically, and still today in markets where land development is relatively unconstrained, the median home price is about four times the median household income. In Northern California’s Santa Clara County, the median home price in October 2014 was $699,750,eight timesthe median household income of $88,215. Even people earning twice the median household income in Santa Clara County will have a very hard time ever paying off a home that costs this much. And if they lose their job, they lose their home. But is land scarce in California?

The answer to this question, despite rhetoric to the contrary, is almost indisputably no. As documented in an earlier post, “… Read More

Edward Ring

California’s New, Big, Nonpartisan Political Tent

“In politics, a big tent or catch-all party is a political party seeking to attract people with diverse viewpoints and thus appeal to more of the electorate. The big tent approach is opposed to single-issue litmus tests and ideological rigidity, conversely advocating multiple ideologies and views within a party.” – Wikipedia, “Big Tent

Something is happening in California. An unstoppable movement for reform is building, attracting support from conscientious Californians regardless of their age, income, race, gender or political ideology. The metaphor of a “big tent” aptly describes the approach that reform leaders are finally embracing.

The fabric of this big tent is supported by two poles, one representing restoring quality education, the other representing restoring financial health to California’s public institutions. But the big tent metaphor breaks down somewhat if it describes a political party. Because most of California’s reform leaders no longer care who gets it done, or what political party takes credit. They just want to Californian children to… Read More

Edward Ring

More Taxes and Tuition Buy Time for the Pension Bubble

“The ‘recovery’ is largely an illusion created by the effects of zero percent interest rates, quantitative easing, and deficit spending. The asset bubbles that have been created as a result of these policies have primarily benefited the owners of stocks, bonds, and real estate (the rich), while simultaneously deterring the savings and capital investment that is needed to actually create good paying jobs and increased purchasing power.” – Peter Schiff,EuroPacific Weekly, November 6, 2014

The question everyone should be asking, especially the managers of public employee pension funds, is how much longer can our economy run on zero percent (adj. for inflation) interest rates, quantitative easing, and deficit spending.

When askedhow we unwind all of this debt and deficits in a manner that doesn’t trigger a collapse of collateral and potentially catastrophic deflation, i.e., how do we create the preconditions for sustainable economic growth, respected economics bloggerCharles HughRead More

Edward Ring

The Amazing, Obscure, Complicated and Gigantic Pension Loophole

“The bottom line is that claiming the unfunded liability cost as part of an officer’s compensation is grossly and deliberately misleading.” –LAPPL Board of Directors on 08/07/2014, in their post “Misuse of statistics behind erroneous LA police officer salary claims.”

This assertion, one that is widely held among representatives of public employees, lies at the heart of the debate over how much public employees really make, and greatly skews the related debate over how much pension funds can legitimately expect to earn on their invested assets.

Pension fund contributions have two components, the “normal contribution” and the “unfunded contribution.” The normal contribution represents the present value of future retirement pension income that is earned in any current year. For example, if an actively working participant in a pension plan earns “3% at 55,” then each year, another 3% is added to the total percentage that is multiplied by their final year of earnings in order to… Read More

Edward 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

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