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Jon Fleischman

Jon is the elected Vice Chairman, South of the California Republican Party.


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Today's Commentary on the News




by Jon Fleischman - Publisher (bio) (email)

5-20-2009 6:48 am

Over the next two days, we will be presenting to FlashReport readers our "Winners & Losers of the May 19 Special Election" feature...  Today we will be presenting the winners - those people or groups who, from our perspective, increased their stature, standing and reputation as a result of the outcome of yesterday's vote.  Let me say that you will not find on the list below any of the labor groups (and there were some) who opposed Proposition 1A.  Our position is that, given the ineffectiveness of the alleged "spending cap" in 1A, these groups have actually done themselves harm - though we are okay with that.

So, without further commentary, and in no particular order, our Winners...


The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association - They came out against 1A within days of it being placed on the ballot, and led the charge against the measure.  HJTA President, Jon Coupal, was the most visible and vocal opponent of the measures statewide.  The group dropped serious six figures into opposing the measures, and even more if you add their issue advocacy advertising.

Americans for Prosperity - This grassroots anti-tax organization, ably led by its Chairman, Ventura County Supervisor Peter Foy, was actively engaged at every stage of the campaign.  Foy traveled all around California, and dropped tens of thousands of his own money into GOTV efforts against 1A.

John Kobylt and Ken Champiou - These powerful Southern California KFI radio talk show hosts dominate drive-time talk radio for the commute home for hundreds of thousands of voters - and literally every day they launched into the stupidity of these ballot measures, and blasted proponents with their Heads on a Stick campaign.

National Tax Limitation Committee - NTLC President, Lew Uhler, is an icon in movement to limit government spending, and his well written and widely read criticism of the alleged spending cap in 1A helped to undercut support for the measure.

The Peoples Advocate - The group formed by Paul Gann continues to make a difference in opposing tax increases.  The longtime head of PA, Ted Costa, was an important part of a confederation of anti-tax leaders led the no on 1A charge.

Michael Reagan - The well respected eldest son of Ronald Reagan came out strongly against Proposition 1A early, and often.  Reagan not only conferred the gravitas of the family legacy to the anti-1A movement, but he also worked actively in front and behind the scenes towards its defeat.

Californians Against New Taxes - This effort to stop 1A's $16 billion in higher taxes focused on earned media and radio advertising to get out their message.  Leaders of this group included former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, Board of Equalization Member Michelle Steel, Senator George Runner, CRP Secretary and Republican Lawyers Association President Steve Baric, Ventura County Supervisor Peter Foy, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich and Congressman Tom McClintock.  Major funding for their efforts came from the Orange County Lincoln Club, who came out early against the measures.

Pete Wilson - This former Republican Governor of California was an opponent of 1A, and vocalized his opposition within both the California Chamber of Commerce as well as the New Majority.  Both groups would have a lot more money in the bank if they had listened to his sage counsel.

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page - Through its print edition and it's Political Diary e-mails, the Journal Editorial Board, and especially Steve Moore and John Fund, really hammered hard against the ballot measures.  Hey, when the Journal speaks, people listen.  

The Pacific Research Institute - As it turns out, there were no reputable independent economists who came out and endorsed the verbiage in Proposition 1A as an effective spending cap.  But early on, PRI's Benjamin Zycher performed and in depth analysis of the measure, and presented its flaws in multiple publications around the state.  Zycher's credibility went a long way towards convincing many that passing 1A's alleged budget reform would be worse than doing nothing at all - never mind all of those taxes.

Julie Soderlund, Wilson Miller Communications - It may seem odd to make the individual responsible for communications for the losing Budget Reform Now campaign a winner - but by all accounts Soderlund performed yeoman's work in trying to put lipstick on a pig.  There was no day when Soderlund and her team weren't tireless in their advocacy.  One can only imagine how much worse the final numbers would have been but for her efforts.

The Claremont Institute - Tom Karako of CI's Golden State Center for State and Local Government was not bashful or shy in his stringing negative review of the ballot Proposition.  CI has a long, rich history of taking up the fight against bigger and ineffective government proposals, and the battle against these ballot propositions was no exception to that tradition.

GOP Legislators Who Didn't Support Putting 1A Before The Voters -- There were a handful of Republican legislators in Sacramento, knowing that a tax trigger would be subsequently attached to it, did not vote to place Proposition 1A on the ballot.  For their prescience, they are winners - Senators Bob Dutton, George Runner and Mimi Walters, Assemblymen Joel Anderson, Chuck DeVore and Curt Hagman.

Americans for Tax Reform - Originators of the no-new-taxes pledge, this D.C. based group strongly opposed Proposition 1A, and they opined against it frequently.  Whether through column from founder Grover Norquist, or even videos, ATR made is displeasure with these tax increase known to thousands of Californian leaders.

California Republican Party -- Grassroots leaders of the party came together from around the state and formally opposed all of the ballot measures.  Having this election being framed around the issue of a tax increase, and then having the voters reject the measures, is all good for the GOP.

National Federation of Independent Business, California - There is no doubt that this is by far the most credible group in the state that speaks on behalf the interests of small business.  They polled their 22,000+ members, most of whom opposed 1A, and the group was vocal in the final weeks against its passage.  By stepping up, NFIB-CA has maintained its key role in the Capitol political scene.

The FlashReport Bloggers - Pardon us while we toot our horn...  FR is go-to spot on the web for California politicos from the center-right to the right - the FR and its stable of contributors played a big role in delivering a lot of information to interested readers all around the state.  FR bloggers Bill Leonard, Ray Haynes, Doug LaMalfa, Frank Schubert, Mike Der Manouel, Shawn Steel, Senator George Runner and Publisher Jon Fleischman led the charge, with many others chiming in.

The Taxpayers of California - Last but most importantly, are the biggest winners of all -- all of us -- the taxpayers - who sent a strong message to politicians with their lopsided rejection of Propositions 1A-1E, and even with their approval of 1F.  We have asserted our primacy in a democratic republic, and have sent a clear message - they aren't paying any more taxes!

Our apologies as we invariably missed some winners - such is the nature of this kind of endeavor.  Please accept our humble apologies.  Tomorrow we will present, in our infamous pithy style, the Losers!

Care to read comments, or make your own about today's Daily Commentary?

Just click here to go to the FR Weblog, where this Commentary has its own blog post, and where you can read and make comments.

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