Even before he quit the Republican Party in March, San Diego Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher had come into the cross hairs of influential Flashreport publisher Jon Fleischman and Steven Greenhut, the Sacramento-based libertarian think tanker, editor and pundit with a national following. Now, as an independent mayoral candidate in today’s elections in San Diego, Fletcher has lived up to their warnings. He’s essentially teamed up with public employee unions against San Diego’s leading critic of the government status quo, rival mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio. I provide the grisly details here at Cal Watchdog.
Two ballot measures on the San Diego ballot Tuesday haven’t just stirred up the ire of local unions. They’ve gotten the attention of union puppet masters in Sacramento, who have used the Legislature and a state agency to make clear that San Diego can’t be allowed to have local control of how local government functions. Will San Diegans stand up to the bullies? We’ll see.
It was good to be back on the radio with Martha Montelongo of Gadfly Radio. Go here if you want to hear the podcast.
That link should be good until Tuesday morning.
For fans of my 2009-2011 show on KOGO 600 AM in San Diego, I have some news. I will have a weeknight show on the U-T TV cable channel in San Diego, probably an hour long, probably debuting in early summer. More info TK.
The people running CalPERS constantly pat themselves on the back even as they join in a dishonest effort to downplay the pension crisis with disinformation and shady accounting. This is just what their most powerful patrons — public employee unions — want them to do. But the “social justice” set of the political left, which nominally includes unions, is also a victim of CalPERS’ arrogance and incompetence. It turns out that CalPERS basically ignored directions from the Legislature that it divest its investments in firms involved in the Sudan genocide, one of the dearest causes of the celebrity and campus left. That’s my CalPERS!
The idea that unions are a bad influence on California is hardly just a conclusion of folks on the right. In 2005, the Los Angeles Times endorsed Prop. 75, saying barring the automatic deduction of union dues from public employees’ pay would lead to a fairer balance of power at the local and state government level. The Sacramento Bee editorial page has gone after unions for being unreasonable for years; here’s a recent example. Unions are so out of control that it barely raises eyebrows when union officials and allies like state Dem Party leader John Burton advocate a policy that would prevent giving anti-convulsion drugs to kids at risk of death if the person doing the giving isn’t a union nurse. But guess who completely absolves unions? The Calbuzz boys, whose writing style/shtick builds off the idea that they’re smarter than everybody, and the L.A. Times’ George Skelton, dean of Sacramento journos. Really, guys? Not a single mention of unions in your recent dissections of California’s dysfunction? Not one? Wow.
Here we go again. As frenzied as the tax-hike obsessives have been in recent months and years, Jerry Brown’s weekend warning that the 2012-13 budget is $16 billion short is sure to ramp up their intensity. So get ready for the media/Dem onslaught, folks, and prepare to be reviled.
Will Jerry Brown get lots of blame for his $4-billion-in-extra-revenue fantasy that he concocted last June? It’s made a dire situation much worse.
The fifth anniversary of the massive Stanford-led studies of California public schools is upon us, and once again, the special interests are characterizing the report as focusing on a lack of resources. Unlike the reporters who are now writing about “Getting Down to Facts,” I actually read about a thousand pages of the reports. And as I wrote back in 2007, buried in all the multiple studies, here is the lead: A review of all California school districts shows “essentially no relationship between spending and student outcomes” and that spending more is futile until “extensive and systemic reforms” are in place. In other words, the problem is much more about the stupid way money is spent than the lack of money.
Tuesday’s tentative court ruling that the Legislature had the sole authority to determine whether the budget it enacts is “balanced” is terrible news for California because it means Proposition 25 — the 2010 measure allowing state spending plans to pass on a simple majority of the Assembly and Senate — has no enforcement mechanism to prevent fake budgets from being treated as balanced. We’re likely to be on an even faster road to ruin as a result. But if you’re looking for a reason to smile, remember this: The guy who tried to rein in the Legislature and force it to produce more honest budgets is Controller John Chiang. So much for Chiang’s political future. The failure of his single major attempt to do right by California’s public — as opposed to its public employees — has a delicious double whammy effect. It’s now once again certain that the right (and taxpayers who follow the news) will never forgive his union duplicity. But unions will never forgive Chiang for his betrayal. Next stop for Chiang? May I be the first to quote the great Margita Thompson one-liner about Cruz Bustamante and suggest the union-defying Chiang has a future as a casino greeter.
In 1978, Howard Jarvis launched the U.S. anti-tax movement in California with Proposition 13, which capped annual increases in property taxes and kept people from being forced from their homes during real-estate bubbles. A generation later, the Golden State could be on the brink of launching another populist movement, one driven by anger over government compensation practices. A key battleground is San Diego. In June, voters will decide on Proposition B, the Comprehensive Pension Reform Initiative. It would end defined-benefit pensions for all new city hires except for police officers, instead providing pensions similar to 401(k)s. It would prevent pay sweeteners from being added to base salary when calculating pensions, and it would require city workers to pay a bigger share of their pension costs. Finally, Prop. B would mandate a five-year salary freeze.
This Chris Reed fella, writing in the L.A. Daily News, has some good news about the California High-Speed Rail Authority:
Why would the [California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers] turn on their normal allies and oppose plans for the bullet train? Because of the growing evidence that Gov. Jerry Brown thinks the only plausible way to fund the project is with the fees that heavy industries pay for the right to pollute under AB 32, the state’s landmark 2006 anti-global warming law. The state Legislative Analyst’s Office expects the fees from the “cap and trade” system to generate billions of dollars annually — perhaps as much as $14 billion by 2015.