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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

Pattern developing in reform bill killings

It’s the first day of May. If you haven’t noticed, the California Democratic Supermajority is killing all reform efforts. And the targets are not just Republican bills.

Just yesterday, the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality killed a bill which would have stopped the California Air Resources Board from assessing a very expensive administrative fee on California colleges for implementation of AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

SB 497, by Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Irvine, said the committee’s failure to approve the bill will likely result in fewer students being able to attend California’s higher education institutions, and higher tuition costs for those who do.

The Senate Education Committee killed SB 441, by Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, which would merely have suggested school districts around the state to assess the performance of teachers and school administrators.

This week SB 453, by Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, was also killed. SB 453 would have allowed school districts to make staffing decisions based on performance evaluations and factors other than a teacher’s simple date of… 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

Sacramento arena: A ‘Field of Schemes’

Sacramento officials have lost all ability to reason, and instead are letting emotions and delusions of grandeur drive their decision over a downtown sports arena.

Arenas are nothing more that fields of schemes, and the joke is on taxpayers. And Sacramento is hardly a bastion of economic splendor. Despite some of the highest unemployment in the country, escalating business closures, widespread home foreclosures and short sales, and declining tax revenue, arena talks are all the rage in Sacramento.

Judith Grant Long’s data on full public cost of stadiums and arenas is groundbreaking. “Where most ‘stadium cost’ charts just rely on self-reporting by teams, Harvard researcher Long has actually attempted to calculate the public and private costs of every major-league stadium and arena in North America, including hidden subsidies like free land, lease breaks, and tax exemptions,” Field of Schemes Neil deMause wrote.

It’s as if the Mayor is so enamored of the idea of driving away from the car dealership in a new Maserati, he’s forgotten he can’t afford… 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

Regulation is the enemy of freedom

The U.S. Constitution provides for certain government regulations, but actually stresses minimum involvement. Regulations are merely a way for the government to implement social change and impart control.

But government intervention usually causes more harm than the problem the regulation sought to correct; most government regulations don’t work.

During a dinner party discussion with friends this weekend, the subject of gun control came up. “No one needs an assault rifle,” one friend said. “No one should be allowed to have one. I mean, who really needs… Read More

Katy Grimes

Prevailing wage scams steal from taxpayers

In what strange world do janitors get paid $45 per hour? In California, the land of the prevailing wage.

The dirty secret is that janitors often are not really getting paid $45 per hour, but the taxpayers are being charged this amount on public works projects.

Designed to help the worker, the prevailing wage was created to set a minimum hourly rate paid on all public works projects, primarily for construction workers. But the classification has been expanded and greatly abused.

One contractor’s saga

I recently met with a Southern California contractor who has owned a final construction cleanup business for more than 25 years. Final cleanup on government construction projects is always the last task in the project, and usually takes place within days of the occupants moving in, depending on the size and scope of the cleanup. The contractor said that the work he and his crews do includes cleaning the construction dust off of walls, washing and polishing floors, cleaning windows and mirrors, power-washing all surfaces, wiping down fixtures and hosing down the roof and parking lots.

He is hired as a subcontractor by large… Read More

Katy Grimes

Calif. economy: Ya sure, you betcha, we’re fine!

The latest barrage of “news” reports that California is enjoying an economic recovery is evidence that this is most likely being driven by Gov. Jerry Brown’s office.

Ya sure, you betcha, we’re fine.

Given that the California Department of Finance works only for the governor, the pressure is on to provide numbers and information which presents a picture favorable to the governor.

This was never more clear than when a report showing the unemployment rate in the U.S. fell below 8 percent in order to boost to President Obama’s re-election campaign right after his first dismal debate performance with Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

It was the numbers from California that gave the boost needed.

Conveniently, the Labor Department reported in Sept. that the nation’s jobless rate improved to 7.8 percent. The unemployment rate had not been that low since Obama took office in January 2009.

The latest monthly jobs report was released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics the first week of October. The unemployment rate miraculously decreased to 7.8 percent in September, the BLS reported.

According to The Associated Press, “the… Read More

Katy Grimes

Right-to-work is a real economic stimulus

In Michigan, game-changing right to work legislation was just passed. The change will make it legal for employers to pay workers who choose not to be union members, and would make paying union dues voluntary.

Currently, Michigan employers are required to fire unionized workers who do not pay dues.

Despite the left claiming that big bad business will stop paying living wages to workers, the opposite will happen. There will be a leveling of the unrealistic, skyrocketing union wages that unions demand, and hopefully, employers can once again be competitive.

When unions and governments demand that business owners and employers pay employees higher wages than the market will bear, ultimately it renders the business non-competitive. But when businesses are allowed to fairly compete, often times everyone wins. If… Read More

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