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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Mark Bucher

CTA Hypocrisy Exposed by Vergara Ruling

The California Teachers Association is the most powerful special interest in California. They often run ads touting how much they care about education and our students, while at the same time steadfastly defending laws that make it virtually impossible to fire grossly ineffective teachers who can have a devastating impact on the education of students. Yesterday a judge in Los Angeles exposed this hypocrisy by ruling that CTA-backed laws protecting ineffective teachers are illegal because they deprive our children of a quality education.

The judge found:

“Evidence has been elicited in this trial of the specific effect of grossly ineffective teachers on students. The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience…There is also no dispute that there are a significant number of ineffective teachers currently active in California classrooms…The number of grossly ineffective teachers has a direct, real, appreciable, and negative impact on a significant number of California students, now and well into the future for as long as said teachers hold theirRead More

Brian Johnston

FEMINISM’S WAR WITH THE FEMININE

[Publisher’s Note: As part of an ongoing effort to bring original, thoughtful commentary to you here at the FlashReport, we present this column from Brian Johnston. Johnston is the Director of National Right to Life’s Western Office]

“The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-viewand mental habits proper to the devotees… but to make all other modes of thought impossible…. Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought…. Any word in the language …could be used either as verb, noun, adjective, or adverb.”

George Orwell, The Principles of Newspeak

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Doug Lasken

Kashkari’s challenge

Neel Kashkari will be the Republican candidate for governor of California against the incumbent, Jerry Brown, in November. The primary, on the GOP side, was largely interpreted as a battle between moderate Kashkari and the far-right candidate, Tim Donnelly. Now that the moderate has won, it’s time for him to change his campaign to deal with the prospects in November.

Those prospects are not good: Brown finished with 55% of the primary vote, Kashakari with 19%. According to the L.A. Times, “…Brown is poised to all but ignore Kashkari.” The article quotes Brown advisor Don Sipple: “The best mode of campaigning for him (Brown) is to govern the state…and not even give rise to the notion that there’s a competitive election.”

What can Kashkari do so that Brown cannot ignore him? One thing is for sure- Kashkari will spin his wheels and waste our time if he campaigns now the way he did in the primary. Coming on the scene in January as a hopeful dark-horse, Kahskari made an immediate … Read More

Edward Ring

Government Employee Unions – The Root Cause of California’s Challenges

Spokespersons for California’s government employee unions perpetuate a myth of staggering absurdity and tragic consequences – that they are protecting working Californians from wealthy corporations and wealthy individuals.

The reality is that government employee unions are focused on one thing: Expanding government employee pay, benefits and privileges. This requires expanding government, and that priority comes in front of everything else, including the cost to society at large.Expansive environmentalist regulations have made prices in California for housing and utilities the highest in the nation.Expansive compensation packages for unionized government workers have resulted in chronic deficits and accumulating state and local government debt that by some measures already exceeds $1.0 trillion. Expansive taxes and regulation have made California consistently rank as the most inhospitable place in the nation to run a small business.

Exactly how does any of this protect the poor from the wealthy?

It doesn’t, of course. But the deeper story is how government employee unions are not only failing to “protect” California’s… Read More

Edward Ring

Examining the CalSTRS Shareholder Bailout

“CalSTRS has a $70-plus-billion unfunded liability – even with assumed investment earnings that Brown deems ‘highly unlikely’ – and says it needs about $5 billion more a year to regain solvency.”

– Dan Walters column, “Brown budget reflects state’s massive debt,” May 25, 2014, Sacramento Bee

Those “investment earnings” that Walters quotes Brown as finding “highly unlikely,” refer to the long-term annual return on investment projection of 7.5% used by CalPERS (ref.FYE 6-30-2013 CalSTRS Annual Report, page 29).

So what happens if investment earnings generated by CalSTRS are destined to, as even California’s union-friendly Governor Brown attests, achieve more “likely,” lower returns? In November 2013, using data from CalSTRS FYE 6-30-2012 Annual Report, the California Policy Center released a study “Are Annual Contributions IntoRead More

Edward Ring

The Green Bantustans of California

One of the core barriers to economic prosperity in California is the price of housing. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Policies designed to stifle the ability to develop land are based on flawed premises. These policies prevail because they are backed by environmentalists, and, most importantly, because they have played into the agenda of crony capitalists, Wall Street financiers, and public sector unions. But while the elites have benefit, ordinary working families have been condemned to pay extreme prices in mortgages, property taxes, or rents, to live in confined, unhealthy, ultra high-density neighborhoods. It is reminiscent of apartheid South Africa, but instead of racial superiority as the supposed moral justification, environmentalism is the religion of the day. The result is identical.

Earlier this month an economist writing for the American Enterprise Institute, Mark J. Perry, published a chart proving that over the past four years, more new homes were built in one city, Houston Texas, than in the entire state of California. We republished Perry’s article earlier this week, “… Read More

Edward Ring

A “Left-Right Alliance” Against Public Sector Unions?

Consumer advocate and left-wing activist Ralph Nader has just written a book entitled“Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.”In aSalon interviewpublished on May 2, Nader lists five areas where the left and right can agree on policy goals: (1) controlling security state overreach, (2) eliminating corporate welfare, (3) fighting military overspending and waste, (4) cracking down on Wall Street financial fraud, and (5) revisiting international agreements that undermine American sovereignty.

Populist right-wing commentator Patrick Buchanan has taken notice. In a column published on May 19th entitled “A Left-Right Convergence?,” Buchanan identifies the rift within conservative ranks that provides an opening for convergence with the left. He writes:

“Undeniably, there has been a growing gap and a deepening alienation between traditional conservatives and those Ralph calls the ‘corporateRead More

Edward Ring

Conservative Politicians and Public Safety Unions

As reported by investigative journalist John Hrabe, conservative gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly has accepted money from public safety unions in his legislative campaigns. His support from unions wasn’t a momentary lapse in judgement. As cited in Hrabe’s reports, his past candidacies have also benefited from independent expenditure campaigns funded by public sector unions. To not report Donnelly’s actions here would be negligent. But Donnelly’s not alone.

An assembly candidate from Orange County, conservative Keith Curry,recently lost the endorsement of the conservative Orange County Lincoln Clubfor accepting a donation from theOrange County Firefighters Union. Apart from the Orange County Lincoln Club’s dramatic decision to hold Curry accountable, none of this is news. While public sector unions virtually control the Democratic party in California through campaign contributions and lobbying, public safety unions spread their money around to… Read More

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