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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Edward Ring

San Diego’s 2012 Pension Reform at Risk

“The ruling is also an implicit endorsement of the state Public Employment Relations Board’s conclusion that the employees hired since the measure took effect must be made whole and get a pension equivalent to what they would have received pre-Proposition B.” Editorial, San Diego Union Tribune, March 18, 2019

The ruling in question is the California’s Supreme Court’s August 2018 decision which found that “San Diego’s six-year-old pension cutbacks were not legally placed on the ballot because city officials failed to negotiate with labor unions before pursuing the measure.” It’s in the news again this week because the U.S. Supreme Court has just announced they will not hear the City’s appeal of the California ruling.

What’s going to happen now is uncertain. Back in 2012, a super-majority of San Diego voters, 65 percent, approved pension… Read More

Edward Ring

California Cronyism and its Consequences

Crony capitalism is an economy in which businesses thrive not as a result of risk, but rather as a return on money amassed through a nexus between a business class and the political class. This is done using state power to crush genuine competition in handing out permits, government grants, special tax breaks, or other forms of state intervention. Wikipedia, Feb. 2019

If the goal of public policy is to optimize the role of government, cronyism must be identified and curbed wherever possible. Cronyism wastes the limited resources of governments, at the same time as it reduces the efficiency of the private sector by using subsidies and other incentives to undermine healthy competition.

The harm caused by crony capitalism can best be illustrated by example. In California, cronyism is a major culprit in one of the worst policy failures in recent decades, the housing and the related homeless crisis.Several types of cronyism played into California’s housing debacle. The most significant was cronyism that took the form of regulations that favored the wealthiest, most established… Read More

Edward Ring

California Rule Does Not Protect “Airtime”

Earlier this week the California Supreme Court ruled in the caseCalFire vs CalPERS. The case challenged one of the provisions of California’s 2014 pension reform legislation (PEPRA) which had eliminated the purchase of “Airtime.”

This was the practice whereby retiring public employees could purchase “service credits” that would lengthen the number of years they worked, which would increase the amount of their pensions, even though they hadn’t actually worked those additional years. While the amount these retirees would pay was always estimated to cover how much they’d eventually get back, with interest, in their pensions, in practice these estimates were always too low.

The plaintiffs in the case argued that airtime was protected by the “California Rule,” which, the argued, prevents pension benefits from being reduced unless some other benefit of equal value is offered in return. But… Read More

Edward Ring

The University of Diversity Will Destroy America

America’s educational system is breaking, and the primary culprit is the diversity bureaucracy, now an industrial strength special-interest group that grows more powerful and more expansive every year. For years they have dominated America’s social sciences and humanities, and now they’re launching an assault on the hard sciences. If they are not stopped, they eventually will destroy America as a first-world democracy.

They’re well on their way. But it isn’t “racism”—the currency of the diversocrats—that is denying opportunities to “people of color.” It is failures in the social culture of the inner cities, even more than aggregate economic disadvantages, or the lousy, unionized public schools, that result in the chronic academic underachievement of their children.

There’s no money to be made, or votes to be had, however, in telling this tough truth, even though it might do a lot of good if enough people said it or heard it. The commitment to “diversity” in American university enrollment is absolute and all-powerful, despite the… Read More

Edward Ring

California’s GOP Plays it Safe When Safe Equals Death

In September 2016, Michael Anton published an influential essay entitled “The Flight 93 Election.” It compared the 2016 election to the tragic Flight 93 of 9/11/2001. Anton’s essay opened with this:“2016 is the Flight 93 election: charge the cockpit or you die. You may die anyway. You—or the leader of your party—may make it into the cockpit and not know how to fly or land the plane. There are no guarantees. Except one: if you don’t try, death is certain.”

California’s GOP faced a similar existential choice this weekend at their semi-annual state convention, when they had to elect a new party chairman. California’s GOP, like Flight 93, faces certain death. Many would say it is dead already. A new term has been coined to describe the status of the GOP in California, a “mega minority.” Whereas a “super minority” means your party holds less than one out of every three offices, a “mega minority” means your party holds less than one out of everyfouroffices. That wouldRead More

Jon Fleischman

CD48: Republicans Can Shut Out Democrats With Vote For Baugh

Because of the change in our election system where the two candidates with the most votes go on to the November election, there is an opportunity for Republican voters in the 48th Congressional District (Coastal Orange County) to advance two Republicans. This is significant because political observers have said that there is a very real chance that a Democrat could win this seat, which went for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.

As a former Executive Director of the California Republican Party, I have a lot of experience reading polling data. Dana Rohrabacher will be advancing to the November election as the top vote-getter. I can say this with 100% certainty.

The question is whether or not the second spot will go to a Republican – former longtime Orange County Republican Party Chairman Scott Baugh — or one of the ultra-liberal Democrats?

Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats have literally pounded Baugh with millions of dollars in false and misleading attacks because they are desperate to avoid a Republican grand-slam – no Democrats on the ballot in November.

If I were a Republican voter in this district – even a hardcore… Read More

Katy Grimes

The Conservative Massacre By a Vindictive California Republican

“Politicsis show business foruglypeople.” – Paul Begala

The soon-to-be-replaced California Assembly Minority Leader Chad Mayes – the turncoat Republican lawmaker who colluded with Democrats for the passage of a 10-year extension of the cap and trade program — made drastic changes in the Assembly committee assignments Tuesday, that would appear vindictive even to political novices.

In a move that can only be described as “burn it down and leave,” Mayes stripped important committees from the conservatives in his own caucus who opposed his cap and trade vote manipulations, and reassigned them to… wait for it… himself.

Mayes’ failure to lead on the disastrous cap and trade manipulations and vote allowed the cap and trade program to be voted on prematurely by two years, saved, and… Read More

Edward Ring

A Modest Proposal for California from a Public Servant

When I see someone attacking the benefits the Fire Department receives or the Police Department receives, my concern is: Why wouldn’t you expect the same for yourself? We should act as a beacon.” – Mike Mohun, president of the San Ramon Firefighters Union, quoted in theNew York Times, March 2, 2017

There are many compelling reasons to examine this statement by Mr. Mohun, since pension benefits for state and local government workers are consuming ever increasing percentages of tax revenue. For starters, using the term “attack” is unfair. More accurate might be “counter-attack,” since the costs for these pensions are what has become extreme, not our reaction. If these pensions were financially sustainable, California’s citizens would not beunder attack by continuously escalating taxes, and continuously diminishing public services.

But why shouldn’t we expect the same for… Read More

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