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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Edward Ring

How “Release Time” Causes Taxpayers to Fund Government Unions

Based on an estimated total membership of 1.1 million and average dues per member of around $700, California’s public sector unions collect andspend approximately $800 millionper year. The impact of the June 2018 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the caseJanus vs AFSCMEmay havechopped around $50 millionoff that annual total, by eliminating the union’s ability to collect agency fees from non-members. Nonetheless, California’s public sector unions still collect a stupefying amount of money every year, and remain one of the most powerful special interests in the state.

The long-term impact of theJanusdecision has yet to be felt. Will California’s public sector unions slowly lose membership? Or will they retain or even grow their membership by being more accountable to their members, or, equally likely, by continuing to make quitting the union an exercise in bureaucratic futility so… Read More

Bruce Bialosky

A Terrible Court Ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court made a ruling a couple weeks ago, supported by 170 years of precedent with support from both the liberal and conservative wings of the court and a 7-2 vote. In Gamble v. U.S., our Supreme Court validated the right for the government to put a criminal defendant in double jeopardy. There has been no ruling by the court that is more offensive than this ruling.

The Justices made this ruling despite the fact that the Fifth Amendment of our Constitution specifically prohibits such action with the language “nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” Why did the current Justices validate such poor judgment that had been adjudicated by their predecessors and reinforced previously? That is the mystery to be solved.

If one is not a legal expert but wants a better understanding, the best source today is Andrew McCarthy. Sure enough, McCarthy wrote about this case and he is dead wrong, a rare occurrence indeed.

He stated in his column that the principle definition of logic behind the decision was offered by the author of the majority decision, Justice Samuel Alito. McCarthy wrote… Read More

Bruce Bialosky

They Want to Ban Parades

I am not a big parade person, but when you live 15 miles from the Rose Bowl you can hardly miss the Rose Parade. It seems to be on every TV channel. One local channel was almost taken off air because of a cable company dispute with the channel, but we were saved at the last minute so they could show the parade — the channel’s biggest event of the year. While watching it, the thought came to mind as to when will the Left go after banning parades.

You’re thinking right now “Bialosky is either nuts or being satirical”. No, I am neither nuts nor being satirical. There are so many ways that the Left has gone after things in a nonsensical manner and we have lost those items from our lives.

What is more mainstream Americana than a parade? Thanksgiving, 4th of July, The Rose Parade, the parade in Indianapolis before the Indy 500 (yes, it is a huge thing) — all of these are shining examples of American life and all of them iconic, representing everything the Left hates about America.

You think they cannot make an argument for killing parades? You are wrong. The other things they have thought to kill – many of which we never suspected… Read More

Bruce Bialosky

Nonsense Spewed by Democrat Candidates

It became obvious early on during the Democrat Debates that the moderators/press would not seriously challenge any of the ideas proposed by the candidates. This is a press that likes to keep a daily count of what they consider to be President Trump’s misleading statements, but question others? As a public service, here are some of the highly questionable statements/policies by the candidates.

Julian Castro is quite a thoughtful guy, but his proposal of how to deal with the three countries in Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) staggers the mind. He questions why President Trump cut off funding to these countries. He has proposed a Marshall Plan for these three countries.

Does he not know we have been providing significant foreign aid to these countries for years? Does he not know that despite that significant aid a torrent of people are leaving, and we are being flooded with citizens from those countries? Does he not know their governments are corrupt and that most aid will not go to the people? Does he know there are corrupt governments on other continents and their people want to come here also? Yet he suggests we provide these… Read More

Bruce Bialosky

Stop Whining, America’s Great

If you think the constant bickering coming from our political leaders is disconcerting and the communication on our social media dips to levels that have never been seen in our history, you haven’t a clue. Travel to foreign countries — particularly ones that may be economically challenged — and you really will confirm that we may have collectively lost our minds.

Those of you who have read this column for a while may recall that directly following tax season is when the Beautiful Wife (BW) and I hightail it to some foreign lands. Thankfully we lock up our smartphones so that we can have a true vacation instead of staring at the small screens in restaurants (and everywhere else) like the rest of… Read More

Richard Rider

CA has the highest gas taxes in nation — and the SECOND worst roads

1 July, 2019. Congratulations, Californians. As of this date, with our latest 5.6 cent/gal gas tax increase, you folks (well, WE folks) now officially pay the highest gasoline and diesel taxes in the nation. Pennsylvania, you’re relegated back to #2.

So why do we have some of the crappiest roads in the nation? Read on.

First, a clarification: Prior too this latest CA gas tax increase, California ALREADY had the highest taxes on gasoline, but our CA “cap and trade” tax is not listed with the other fossil fuel taxes in such comparisons. The California Legislative Analysts Office estimates the cap and trade tax on gas is about 12 cents a gallon.

Now, about those roads. Below is a URL to a graphic showing that when it comes to the percent of “roads in poor condition,” California is worse than all but four states. And what’s interesting about the four states that are worse than CA is that all of them suffer from extreme cold temperatures and heavy snows, which are very hard on roads. What’s California’s excuse?

NOTE: I’ve had to update this article.My original figures had… Read More

Richard Rider

COL? California, Texas and the rest of the 57 states

The biggest single COL factor for middle class folks is housing. It can vary dramatically within a state (and usually does), but a state’s median home price is a good indicator. Texas is low, but 27 states are lower. The most expensive and affordable states to buy a house, ranked (https://www.businessinsider.com/cost-to-buy-a-house-in-every-state-ranked-2018-8#24-minnesota-28)

To compare states’ overall COL, I use the “Missouri” COL index. I think it makes a more realistic comparison than the BLS figures. Using this index, Texas is low, but 17 states are lower. Cost of Living Annual Average 2018 (https://www.missourieconomy.org/indicators/cost_of_living/)

Looking at this index, it’s clear that the “red” states are cheaper to live in than the “blue” states — by a LOT. For instance, for the first quarter of 2019, California’s COL is an astonishing 65.8% higher than… Read More

Edward Ring

A Strategy to Transform California in One Election

As a statewide political force, California’s conservative voters are disenfranchised. Almost now politicians holding state office speak for conservatives, almost no court rulings favor conservatives, and nearly everywhere, conservative values are discredited or ignored by a hostile press. But California’s political landscape could be poised for dramatic shifts. Even now, after more than a decade of national economic expansion that has especially favored California’s high tech industries, the negative consequences of liberal political dominance are increasingly visible.

By now every voter in California knows that something is wrong. Failing schools. Out of control homelessness. Millions living in poverty. Bad roads. Water shortages. Ridiculously expensive electricity, gasoline, utilities, even food. Overpriced homes. Regressive taxes. Punitive regulations that specifically target small businesses. We’ve heard this litany again and again. It’s true. And there are solutions.

Today Californian voters might reject liberal governance if they were offered candidates offering a new political agenda designed to rescue California’s schools and lower the cost of… Read More

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