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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

Caltrans director about to be quietly reconfirmed

Caltrans is an agency in trouble. The most recent buffoonery involves putting California motorists at risk, with the 30 broken bolts discovered on the newly renovated San Francisco Bay Bridge. And apparently Caltrans knew about this.

A recently released report from the California League of Cities , California State Association of Counties and other transportation organizations found only 56 percent of California’s local streets and roads were deemed to be in “good” condition, and 49 of the state’s 58 counties were rated “At Risk” or in “Poor’ condition.

“By ‘streets and roads,’ the report is also referring to bridges and essential components like sidewalks, storm drains, curbs and traffic signs,” the AllGov California website… Read More

Katy Grimes

Politicians seek special enviro deal on arena

This is Part One of a two-part series.

The unusually speedy approval of a new NBA arena for the Kings basketball team in the heart of downtown Sacramento leaves many details and unanswered questions on the table, including how this arena project possibly will be completed and ready for opening by 2015.

Approved by the Sacramento City Council, the latest plan uses overstated revenue projections, grossly overstated projected attendance numbers and city-owned parking garages to sweeten the finances. As with all of the previous schemes to keep the Sacramento Kings in town in a luxurious arena, neither city officials nor local news media have ever… Read More

Katy Grimes

Neighborhood Legislature could restore accountability

Big spending on California politics has become one of the state’s largest industries. But the return on investment is lousy.

California’s political system has become so heavily manipulated by labor unions and other big money interests that the system is broken. Legislators have become professional fundraisers instead of managing public policy. And the individual voter no longer has much voice or influence.

It may sound farfetched, but the only way to fix this system is to expand it. California needs more lawmakers.

For democracy to work, it must be representative democracy. It must be a government of, by and for the people.

The Neighborhood Legislature

Last year Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, pushed an initiative for a part-time Legislature. She succeeded in bringing much needed attention to the broken system. And… Read More

Katy Grimes

Alameda County ‘secretary’ will retire wealthy

Is anyone still buying the idea that government workers are “public servants,” and so valuable they must be paid so much more than their counterparts in the private sector? Or are some just better scammers?

Alameda County Administrator Susan Muranishi is currently paid more than $420,000 in pay and benefits… and she will receive more than $420,000 annually for the rest of her life.

“The County Administrator is responsible for the implementation of policies and decisions of the Board of Supervisors,” the Alameda County website says. She’s the top secretary. It’s what we used to call today’s ‘administrators.’ Her office is responsible for managing the clerical support work for the County Supervisors.

ABC News in the East Bay reported Susan Muranishi is paid a base salary of nearly $302,000. And Muranishi is allowed to pile on more than $121,000 in other compensation,… Read More

Katy Grimes

Pay no attention to the political consultants behind the curtain

As long as I have followed politics closely — since Junior High school in the 1970′s — I’ve said political consultants will be the death of the Republican Party.

And now, finally, a political consultant finally agrees with me. “The way it works is this–ever since we centralized politics in Washington, the House campaign committee and the Senate campaign committee, they decide who they think should run,” Pat Cadell said at the CPAC conference. “You hire these people on the accredited list [they say to candidates] otherwise we won’t give you money. You hire my friend or else.”

“Pat Caddell, the Fox News Contributor and Democrat pollster who engineered Jimmy Carter’s 1976 Presidential victory, blew the lid off CPAC on Thursday with a blistering attack… Read More

Katy Grimes

‘Guns as a public disease’

SACRAMENTO — California politicians have added more anti-gun laws, but have yet to offer any real violent crime solutions.

Anti-gun lawmakers in the Senate and Assembly have been busy with legislation aimed at guns and ‘gun violence,’ whatever that is.

Is ‘gun violence’ similar to ‘SUV violence, knife violence or drug violence?’ After all, SUV’s, knives and drugs are responsible for killing many people each year, according to lawmakers’ definitions.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg thinks 16 ounce sodas kill.

Another ridiculous bill, SJR 1

The Senate passed a resolution Thursday by Senator Lois Wolk, D-Davis, urging Congress and President Barack Obama to enact a comprehensive gun violence prevention policy, including prohibiting the sale of military-style assault weapons, “high-capacity magazines,” and encouraged strengthening criminal background checks.

But mostly, the resolution is another silly California finger-wagging measure aimed at shaming the rest of the country into following the Golden State’s tarnished lead.

It is apparent Wolk and colleagues are feeling emboldened by President Barack Obama’s… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Fire Fee Lawsuit Served on State

Today the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association formally served the California State Board of Equalization, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and Department of Justice with a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s “Fire Prevention Fee.”

The wheels of justice grind slowly, but I’m pleased that this vitally important lawsuit is moving forward. Recent revelations regarding the state’s misuse of fire fee dollars have only strengthened our case that the ‘fire fee’ is really an illegal tax.

I plan to formally join the lawsuit by filing an amicus brief on behalf of the California taxpayers I represent. I’ve opposed the fire fee both during my time in the Legislature and as an elected member of the State Board of Equalization. But I’ve also encouraged impacted Californians to pay it because it is current law.

So far most taxpayers are doing so. Between August and December last year, the state mailed more than 760,000 bills for fiscal year 2011-12. As of March 1, about 72% of bills have been paid in full and 6% paid… Read More

Katy Grimes

Obamacare coming to a politician near you

SACRAMENTO — Californa’s desire to be the first state to do everything has never been more evident now that Obamacare has been signed into law.

And California lawmakers haven’t let any grass grow under their feet since passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. In January, Gov. Jerry Brown issued a proclamation to convene an extraordinary session of the Legislature to continue the work of implementing the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Obamacare cheat sheet

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as federal health care reform, or Obamacare, the state has the option to expand its Medi-Cal Program to cover over one million low–income adults who are currently ineligible.

Unlike some states, which have refused to implement the Obamacare health exchanges, California has embraced the federal health care plan and already began the process of implementation.

This means beginning January 1, 2014, the federal government will pay all of the costs associated with the Medi-Cal expansion, and do this for three years. Beginning January 1, 2017, the federal government will begin to decrease its portion,… Read More

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