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Jon Fleischman

Back From Vacation — And Rome Is Still Burning

In March of 2001 I started producing an e-mail newsletter, The FlashReport, that went out several times a week, which combined daily clippings with my own analysis and commentary on California politics.  In October of 2005 I flipped the newsletter into this website, where, along with my Editors John Hrabe and Anton Hartmann (and Nick Romero back in the day), have still been producing daily links to online political stories as well as a lot of great original content not only from yours truly but from hundreds of contributors. The last month I did something I had not done for over a dozen years — I took a month off.   I had a family vacation planned before Thanksgiving, and decided that I would truly “unplug” and spend quality time with my wife and kids.  It was a much needed break — and it was nice to simply consume political stories rather than create them!

I’m back in the saddle now, and am looking forward to 2014, and covering the California political scene!

Right now I’m actually sitting in an airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, waiting for a connection to snowy Washington, D.C, where I am looking forward to meeting up with a group of some of the most impactful conservative bloggers in the country.  Of course I have a few other fun meetings planned as well!

Of course there is no shortage of topics to write about, so look for the return of my regular columns and blog posts.

Heck, just from reading yesterday’s news…

— Moderate GOPer Bill Emmerson retired from the State Senate as of December 1st, citing a “lack of passion” for legislating.  Perhaps he really lost a passion for legislating on a State Senator’s salary as it was announced that he’s now the Chief Lobbyist for the influential California Hospital Association (though I guess he’ll just provide ‘strategic guidance’ for the one-year ‘cooling off’ period before an ex-legislator can actually lobby in the Capitol.  I don’t know what the job pays now, but based on government filings by the CHA, the job assumed by Emmerson paid $435,000 in 2011 — plus another $46k in additional compensation (retirement and such).  Not too shabby.

— It looks like Governor Brown is going to “bid” to bring Boeing’s construction of their massive 777X aircraft to California.  How does one “bid” for such things?  It’s actually pretty disgusting.  Our state government does more of what it does best — picking winners by making tax credits and other lucrative incentives available to some companies (in this case Boeing) — but of course those goodies come at the expense of everyone else.  It would be much better if we could just create a better job creation environment in the state by reforming the tax code, and reducing regulation.  But of course what would lobbyists actually do if we had a level playing field for everyone?

— Disgraced ex-San Diego Mayor Bob “Filthy” Filner has cut a deal with the authorities — pleading guilty to a felony in return for some sort of “home detention” — which is actually a disgrace to all of the victims of his sexual assault and harassment.  Not to mention the other victims — the taxpayers of San Diego who will be paying out big bucks in civil claims for years to come.  Filner should be behind bars.

— Kudos to State Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff who yesterday introduced legislation that would ban public transit workers from striking.   It’s a great first step — as a practical matter, no public employees should be able to strike.  Nor should public employees have the right to collectively bargain.  But it’s important to remember that here in California we have actually jumped through the looking glass.  The unions actually own state government — which is why, unfortunately, Huff’s righteous legislation will die a quick death in its first committee hearing.

— One advantage of a Republican majority in the House of Representatives is that no matter how angry our liberal President and the leftist majority in the U.S. Senate get, they simply cannot increase federal government spending without Republican ascendence.  That said, it is disconcerting to read that in a shocking display of delegation of authority apparently House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is negotiating a budget deal one-on-one with his counterpart in the U.S. Senate — Patty Murray.  Reports are that this budget deal would include — spending increases.  This would be the textbook example of snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory were it to happen.  Going into the 2014 elections Republicans need to show that the sequester cuts are just a down payment on more reductions as we attempt to shift power out of the beltway and back to the people and the states.

Finally — a shout out to good ol’ Proposition 13.  This landmark 1978 Constitutional Amendment limits property tax increases year over year to no more than 2% or the rate of inflation, whichever is LESS.  It’s not often that inflation is super-low — but this was one of those years — one half of one percent.  Thus property tax increases will be very much reigned in this go around.  Kudos to Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann, may they rest in peace.

OK, it’s off to cccold Washington, D.C. But I can take comfort that while the record has been set for the coldest spot on the Earth in recorded history, it’s not our nation’s capitol.  Down in Antarctica, it’s a balmy –135.8 degrees!  Brrrrr.

In Sacramento, as I like to say, Rome is still burning.  And we will continue to chronicle the blaze from the suburbs.