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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

Gov. Brown Holding Road and Hwy Projects Hostage for Tax Votes

California state budgets no longer require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to be passed, butthere are still budget games, deals and hinky promises that happen in the process.. However, tax increases do still require two-thirds vote.

This year, Gov. Jerry Brown had proposed tax increases – a gas tax hike, a road tax for miles driven, a car registration hike, and a health plan tax… to name a few.

In order to get these tax increases approved, Brown and his administration use arm-twisting and extortive tactics on lawmakers who show resistance.

In January, the California… Read More

Katy Grimes

California’s High Speed ‘Browndoggle’ Breaks Ground

Desperate to get any part of California’s High Speed Rail built, Gov. Jerry Brown pushed the groundbreaking for the rail system upto Tuesday, just as the new Republican Congress is getting settled.

The motive? Democrats want to get their hands on $3.5 billion in federal stimulus money. And, there’s no time like the present… following a recent Third District Court of Appeal ruling which overturned a Sacramento Superior Court decision which contended that the funding plan for the high-speed rail project violated the ballot measure voters approved in 2008.

Dan Richard, chairman of the board of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, said they would move “aggressively” to build “a modern high-speed rail system that connects the state, creates jobs and complies with the law.”

There’s no time to waste lest another legal decision derail their plans.“Jobs, jobs, jobs” was the campaign rally cry for Jerry Brown during his 2010 run for governor, when he vowed his support for high-speed rail. He supported it so much it’s earned the nickname the “Browndoggle.”

In January 2013, Brown held carefully staged signing… Read More

Katy Grimes

Reactions to Sac Bee Columnist’s Love Letter to Steinberg

Sacramento Bee News Columnist Marcos Breton wrote a love letterSunday Oct. 11, to outgoing Democratic Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg: “An argument could be made that Darrell Steinberg is the most accomplished politician Sacramento has produced in nearly a century,” Breton said.

With a legacy of special interest legislation, a delayed statewide water bond full of pork and wasteful spending, support of the $100 billion High-Speed Rail bungle, his dubious law firm connections, his mental health millionaire’s tax, the special interest bill he helped pass for the billionaire… Read More

Kevin Dayton

Swearengin Faced With Meaningful Veto Opportunity: Will It Happen Before the Election?

News media has portrayed Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin – a Republican – as a candidate with potential to defeat Democrat Board of Equalization member Betty Yee in the November 4, 2014 election for California State Controller. But as she seeks support from California voters in the political center, Swearengin faces criticism from some conservatives.

FlashReport’s John Hrabe has criticized Swearengin’s apparent tendency to conduct public business without the knowledge of the public. Among several examples he cites is her role behind-the-scenes in pushing for a union… Read More

Kevin Dayton

Celebrate Earth Day: Trees-for-Shade and Cap-and-Trade for California High-Speed Rail

Earth Day 2014 deserves a detailed report on the environmental achievements of California High-Speed Rail, the spine of the mass transit connectivity system that will one day transport you between your own home transit village and another transit village.

And yes, you WILL ride, because artificial government cost barriers will discourage you from driving and flying. A governor and legislators who today are merely students protesting at a University of California campus somewhere will enact such policies between 2028 and 2041.

Trees-for-Shade and Other Schemes for “Net Zero Emissions”

The California High-Speed Rail Authority claims it will achieve “net zero emissions” when it builds its “First Construction Segment” from Madera to Bakersfield by 2017. This program will allegedly allow the Authority to avoid adding to the state’s carbon footprint already imprinted by the lifestyles of Hollywood celebrities and other top Democratic Party campaign contributors.

Net zero emissions means lots of free and discounted stuff to the San Joaquin Valley. The Authority plans to plant 5,000 trees, buy new school buses for school… Read More

Katy Grimes

Bill to stop High-Speed Rail in its tracks

California’s High-Speed Rail Authority continues to forge ahead with the project to build the $68 billion train system, despite a court decision saying the HSRA cannot use Proposition 1A funds that were approved by the legislature.

To address this and many other controiversial decisions by the HSRA, Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, has introduced AB 1501 to protect California taxpayers from a risky financial obligation by the HSRA.

“By continuing to spend federal money, the HSRA is leaving taxpayers holding a bag full of matching state bond funds that a judge has said can’t be spent,” Patterson said in an interview. “We are essentially overdrawing our bank account by spending these federal funds. We simply don’t have the matching funds required by the federal… Read More

Kevin Dayton

4 Democrat-Held Statewide Offices Vulnerable to GOPers Who Focus Campaigns on High-Speed Rail Fiasco

State Office Democrats Republicans Governor Jerry Brown (incumbent) Assemblyman Tim Donnelly and Neel Kashkari Treasurer John Chiang (now Controller) None Controller Board of Equalization Member Betty Yee None Attorney General Kamala Harris (incumbent) None

The deadline to file a candidate statement for a statewide office for the June 3, 2014Read More

Kevin Dayton

Meet Early Victims of California High-Speed Rail: Little People in the Way of Progress

I reported on the impending demolition of the only dairy cow carcass rendering plant in Kings County in my June 4, 2013 www.FlashReport.org article Two Gifts for the Planet: Build California High-Speed Rail and Choose a Path that Crushes the Dairy Industry.

Someone at the California High-Speed Rail Authority should be given the nickname Annie Oakley, because the planned eastern route through Kings County for the “Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train for the 21st Century” shoots with pinpoint accuracy through the middle of a pivotal agricultural facility. It just so happens that the business of this facility offends certain 21st Century enlightened sensibilities. (It’s where dead cows go in the process of becoming consumer products.)

But small business owners in industrial areas of the City of Fresno are getting the boot first. Not surprisingly, some of these businesses also engage in activities offensive to certain 21st Century enlightened… Read More

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