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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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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

California Supporters of Economic and Personal Freedom Can Plan for 2014 by Thinking Locally

Want to advance and protect economic and personal freedom in California in 2014?

Turn off the talk radio. Instead, turn on Cable Channel 19 or whatever station broadcasts your local government meetings. Or look up your local government web sites for agendas, minutes, and archived videos of meetings.

You may discover the Left advancing its agenda through the mundane policy implementation and administrative operations of your local governments, with virtually no resistance or news media coverage. But you can turn the tables.

Here are two suggestions on how YOU can make a difference in 2014 in your city.

Explain Bond Measures to Your Friends, Neighbors, and Coworkers

California voters almost always approve ballot measures that authorize local K-12 school and community college districts to borrow money for construction by selling bonds. Most voters know little about school construction finance. They vote for bond measures to “help the kids.”

While this incomplete knowledge about bond measures gives educational districts a chance to mismanage huge amounts of money with impunity, it also gives you the opportunity in… Read More

Kevin Dayton

Governor Brown Signs Union-Backed Senate Bill 7 and Continues Erosion of Constitutional Checks and Balances

What’s the point of having a constitution if the government punishes The People for exercising their rights guaranteed in it?

Article XI, Section 3 of the California Constitution gives the state’s 121 charter cities the authority to govern their own municipal affairs. In recent years, city councils have proposed charters and voters have approved charters in order to circumvent costly and unnecessary state mandates imposed by the California State Legislature on local governments. Many of these mandates are pushed into state law by union lobbyists.

In 2012 the California Supreme Court upheld a right practiced by dozens of charter cities. The court ruled that charter cities could establish their own policies concerning government-mandated wage rates (so-called “prevailing wages”) for public projects funded exclusively with city funds and private projects getting city financial assistance.

To stifle this little local rebellion, State Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Republican Senator Anthony Cannella introduced a bill in 2013 sponsored by the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California. Senate Bill 7 cuts off… Read More

Kevin Dayton

Unions Tempt Republicans with “Bipartisanship” Lure: Five Tips for Resistance

Two Republicans in the California State Legislature are now voting for legislation sponsored by the state’s construction unions, following several years of unified, principled caucus resistance to such schemes. One might think that former Republican legislators Brett Granlund, Anthony Pescetti, and Ken Maddox are back from term-limited exile, in disguise.

Union leaders and lobbyists are thrilled! They can now label their costly, self-serving bills as “bipartisan” while labeling their more principled critics as “extremist.”

A Bipartisan Attack on Constitutional Rights, Local Control, and Fiscal Responsibility

Most prominent among the union-backed bills with Republican support is Senate Bill 7. This bill would withhold state funding for any of the state’s 121 charter cities that exercise their right under the state constitution to set their own government-mandated wage rate policies for purely municipal construction.

SB 7 undermines the principle of local control over local funds and the fundamental structure of constitutional federalism. It also punishes fiscally responsible cities that recognize how state-mandated… Read More