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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Ed Ring

How Unionized Government Enables the Iron Law of Oligarchy

Political Parties,” published by the German political theorist Roberto Michels in 1911, is a relatively obscure book. But in this book, Michels offers a concept that has increasing relevance today, the “Iron Law of Oligarchy.” This law is summed up reasonably well in its Wikipedia entry:

“According to Michels all organizations eventually come to be run by a ‘leadership class’, who often function as paid administrators, executives, spokespersons, political strategists, organizers, etc. for the organization. Far from being ‘servants of the masses’, Michels argues this ‘leadership class,’ rather than the organization’s membership, will inevitably grow to dominate the organization’s power structures. By controlling who has access to information, those in power can centralize their power successfully, often with little accountability, due to the apathy, indifference and non-participation most rank-and-file members have in relation to their organization’s decision-making processes. Michels argues that democraticRead More

Jon Coupal


As any reader of this column knows, voters will be confronted come election day with billions and billions of new tax hikes and bond measures (which, of course, result in their own tax hikes). But let’s not forget that there is another reason for taxpayer to experience a heightened sense of anxiety over the next few weeks.

For many the real scare this time of year is not the monsters at our doors on Halloween but the property tax bill in the mail box. But, while the “tax and spend” lobby increases its influence in Sacramento, homeowners have still been able to count on Proposition 13 for some degree of protection. Because Proposition 13 limits increases in a property’s assessed value to two percent annually, most property owners have a good idea what their tax bill will be even before opening the envelope. But homeowners still need to examine carefully their property tax bill because mistakes can happen.

Taxpayers should understand the various charges and make certain that they are not being assessed for more than they are legally obligated to pay. The best way to check a tax bill is to have your previous year’s bill handy for… Read More

Ray Haynes


A police officer in Lancaster was executed this last week. By all accounts, he helped his community in many different ways, not only by keeping it safe for 29 years, but also for helping it on a volunteer level in a number of community events. His family and his community lost a great man. He was about a year away from retiring, and he was killed in cold blood. It didn’t have to happen.

According to the information made public thus far, this police officer’s killer was an evil man. Leave aside the fact that, after having been stopped during a burglary, the criminal was able to shoot the officer, that criminal didn’t just leave to escape. The criminal stood over the cop and put four more bullets into the officer, execution style. It was a heinous killing, not just because of the victim, but also because of the cold blooded and evil methods used to “finish off” the officer. It didn’t have to happen.

According to the press and police reports, the killer had been outside the law since he reached adulthood. He had been to state prison twice, violated his parole six times, and yet he remained free. He was let go and listed… Read More

Katy Grimes

Gov. Jerry Brown and Democrats Undermining Law and Order, Dismantling California

California’s capital city of Sacramento has a big problem: violent criminals are terrorizing Asian immigrants. City officials pride themselves on tolerance and diversity,but have responded with little more than political appeasement, leaving Asian communities afraid and vulnerable, and forcing them to take matters into their own hands.

A recent report in the Sacramento Bee found a crime wave has swept over South Sacramento’s Asian neighborhoods. According to the city’scrime report database, robberies in daylight, muggings, and frequent home invasions have targeted 300-400… Read More

Tom Scott

Reality Check: Which legislators are failing small business?

It’s easy to be a politician and claim to be a friend of small business. However, the annual NFIB Voting Record separates political rhetoric from reality. Each year, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)/California walks the halls of the State Capitol urging legislators to support small business in California. We know that the health of the California economy depends very much on the health of California’s small businesses.

We also know there is a critical difference between saying you’re a friend of small business during campaign season, then once elected voting against small businesses at every turn. Following what was truly one of the most devastating years for small businesses in the State Capitol, NFIB today unveiled its 2016 voting record which provides a reality check as to who is… Read More

Jon Coupal

Prop 13 Report from Legislative Analyst Elicits Mixed Reactions

Two weeks ago, the California Legislative Analyst released a report entitled “Common Claims About Proposition 13.” On balance, the report was a (mostly) objective view about California’s landmark property tax reduction measure.

As the title of the report implies, there are many claims about Prop 13, what it does and what it doesn’t do. In fact, we at Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association have collected a lengthy list of “myths” about Prop 13 that are deeply ensconced in urban legend. For example, the monolithic education bureaucracy repeatedly claims that Prop 13 starved public education in California. But the fact is that we now spend 30% more on a per student, inflation adjusted basis than we did just prior to Prop 13’s passage – a time in which there is broad consensus that education in California was the best in the nation. Whatever it is that caused the decline in the quality of public education, it certainly hasn’t been the lack of revenue.

The release of the LAO report instigated a great deal of reaction, ranging from cheers to jeers depending on one’s pre-conceived opinions about Prop 13. Every interest group, it seems,… Read More

Ed Ring

For Nov. 8th: $32B in Local Borrowing, $2.9B in Local Tax Increases

New local taxes and new local borrowing are a regular phenomenon in California elections, but this year our government union controlled politicians have outdone themselves. Let’s compare:

November 2014- $11 billion in new borrowing proposed via 118 local bond measures, 81% passed. Of the 117 local proposals for new taxes, 68% passed.

June 2016-$6.2 billion in new borrowing proposed via 48 local bond measures, an estimated 93% passed. Of the 42 local proposals for new taxes, an estimated 66% passed.

November 2016 – $32.2 billion in new borrowing via 193 local bond measures, and 224 local proposals for new taxes!

Not only do these general and primary and special election tax and bond measures accumulate year after year, but they nearly always pass! The primary source for this information is theCalifornia Tax Foundation, who have just produced another excellent guide “… Read More

Jimmy Camp

The Super World Series Bowl – The 1995 Chicago Bears vs. The 2000 New York Yankees

It feels like tonight is game one of the 2016 Super World Series Bowl, where the 1985 Chicago Bears arefacing the 2000 New York Yankees. It makes my stomach hurt. Two teams I can’t stand, for verydifferent reasons, facing off for the title. I have to watch. After all, it’s the Super World Series Bowl.Everyone’s watching. No matter what, the outcome will be bad.

I can’t root for the Bears even though I’m an NFC north guy. My NFC north team didn’t make it. TheBears did. Led by cocky and arrogant Jim McMahon. The guy that succeeded when the rules worked tohis advantage and either broke the ones that didn’t or complained about them like a child. The guy thatshowed up to his first press conference with a beer in his hand, pissed in a doorway when beinginterviewed by a reporter, and dropped his pants and bared his ass for a news helicopter hoveringabove. I hate this guy.

Then we have the 2000 New York Yankees. Arrogant in their own way, yet quietly so. Nothing brash oroffensive, yet at the same time nothing endearing or lovable. They’re owed this title. They’re the NewYork Yankees, after all. They have the best coaches and players… Read More

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