Join me on Talk Back with Chuck Wilder, while I guest host a cast of friends of liberty, on, Noon to 2 pm

Ben Boychuk of City Journal California and the Sacramento Bee will talk about how the Democrats in the California state legislature are working to undermine the initiative process that has kept government excesses in check for the past century. He’ll also talk about California’s efforts to undermine the Second Amendment.

Wayne Lusvardi of will talk about his Special Report just recently published up at, Brown proposal would force local school tax increases, a brazen betrayal of his word to the voters if they passed his signature ballot initiative, Prop 30 last November.

We’ll have Chuck Michael from the CA Pistol and Rifle Association  and the CA Chapter of the National Rifle Association NRA,  join us on the latest developments in the State’s efforts to disarm citizens or make it so expensive that only the rich can afford to have guns and protection.

Wednesday, Feb 13, LIVE on CRN1  from Noon-2:00 PM PST
CALL (800) 336-2225 to Join the Conversation!


A model for taking on unions-Chicago, not California: educational improvements require taking on unions and their counterproductive work rules

So writes Steven Greenhut in The Republican American, a CT based and online publication.

It is hard for education reformers to be too optimistic about the post-strike prospects for Chicago schools…

Click to read post here.

Mark Cabaniss, Chris Reed on Gadfly Radio: Public Employee Pension Costs, and the 50-ton Godzilla in the room

Tuesday Oct 2, 2012, at 10 AM PT, Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, managing editor at, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal welcome  Mark Cabaniss, and Chris Reed. 


Mark Cabaniss is an attorney from Kelseyville, CA. He has worked as a prosecutor and public defender. In September he penned two articles for CalWatchDog:

Yes, we can break public-employee pensions
Sept. 20, 2012

Even if politicians’ pensions are contracts protected by the Constitution, they are still breakable. In pretending otherwise, the politicians are lying. In other words, merely noting that pensions are contracts protected by the Constitution is not the end of analysis, but only the beginning, for all contracts are breakable, and all constitutional rights are subject to limits.

Breaking public-employee pensions: The political path
Sept. 27, 2012

The most important of the contract law doctrines that could be used to get out from under current pensions is the doctrine of mistake. According to that doctrine, the current pensions were granted while relying on mistaken assumptions, specifically, unrealistic projected future pension fund investment returns which have turned out to be too high.

The second contract law doctrine which might be used to get out of onerous pensions is that the money simply isn’t there to pay excessive pensions (the current highest in California is, ha-ha, $302,492 per year). The legal arguments, as well as the political arguments, are the strongest for reforming the very highest pensions, those in excess of $100,000 per year.

Chris Reed, Publisher of, Editorial Writer with San Diego Union Tribune, and contributor to, recently penned two articles concerning CA’s Teacher’s Unions and their power in Sacramento.
The sad reason Steinberg’s right about significance of his education bill
Sept. 28, 2012


The ‘nut graph’ you’ll never see in a state government story
Oct. 1, 2012

Here’s a one-paragraph version that should be the basis of what journos call the “nut graph” of most stories about state spending and state priorities:

“The members of the most powerful political force in state politics, the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers, get far more money from taxpayers than any other single group. The teacher unions’ power derives from the automatic dues deducted from teachers’ paychecks, meaning taxpayers directly fund the lobbying and political operations of Sacramento’s most influential entity.”

Ben Boychuk has a piece recently published in the NY Post:
Jerry Brown’s tax-hike hail mary

“…Brown might just find a way to hike taxes without Prop. 30, if Democrats can pick up those four legislative seats in November. Earlier this month, he told the editors of The San Francisco Chronicle that if Prop. 30 loses, ‘we’re not going to go out to the people again. Because we’ve tried it.'”

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on on CRN 1 or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!
If you tune in on CRN, give the player a few minutes to pop up and start streaming. Give yourself enough time so you don’t miss the program.

Sometimes the programing display for CRN 1 is not current, and it may say another program is playing. If it’s Tuesday, you can be sure Gadfly Radio is on from 10 am to 11 am PT! The number to call if you have any questions or comments during the show is 1-800-336-2225

Lisa Snell, of Reason on Education v. Politics in CA, Nov 2012 Elections

Tuesday September 24, 2012, at 10 AM PT, Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, managing editor at, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal welcome Lisa Snell, director of education and child welfare at Reason Foundation.

Lisa has recently been debating some formidable adversaries concerning some of the ballot initiatives.   We’ll talk with her about Prop 30, and 38, and of course I have to ask her for her thoughts on Prop 32, the initiative the public employee unions are going all out to defeat, and which former Senator Gloria Romero, the Director of CA Democrats for Education Reform, supports.

Two  Fridays ago, Lisa and her husband were part of a gathering of activists invited to a private screening of the film, Won’t Back Down. which was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Bonnie Reiss, the new Global Director of the new USC Schwarzenegger Institute.   Reiss presided over an impressive all star panel which included Leyla Avila, Exec V.P. of TNTP Gabriel Medel, Founder of Parents for Unity, Julie Collier, Founder of Parents Advocat League, Michelle Rhee, CEO/Founder of Students First, and Daniel Barnz,  the film Director of  Won’t Back Down.  The movie premieres this Friday, so we’ll have a few words about it too.

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on on CRN 1 or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”
If you tune in on CRN, give the player a few minutes to pop up and start streaming. Give yourself enough time so you don’t miss the program.

Sometimes the programing display for CRN 1 is not current, and it may say another program is playing.  If it’s Tuesday, you can be sure Gadfly Radio is on from 10 am to 11 am PT!  The number to call if you have any questions or comments during the show is 1-800-336-2225

Related and Other Important Links:
Yes, we specialize in serious journalism
by Steven Greenhut | September 24, 2012 |

The following is  Steven Greenhut’s response to “‘Serious, point-of-view journalism’?,” a Columbia Journalism Review article about CJR declined to print the response, but instead asked us to post it in its comments section. CJR’s reporter did not contact or the Franklin Center (Watchdog’s parent organization) for a comment before publishing its story. (Click here to read on.)


Taking Algebra away from Middle School Kids is a huge backward step

Out of the Equation:  California courts educational failure if it does away with eighth-grade algebra.
by Ze’ev Wurman and Bill Evers | City Journal | 14 September 2012

A bill sitting on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk would upend 15 years of achievement in mathematics by California students. Sponsored by Oakland Democratic senator Loni Hancock, Senate Bill 1200 would consign the Golden State’s eighth-grade students to a weakened, one-size-fits-all, pre-algebra curriculum prescribed by the Common Core national standards. No longer would qualified California eighth-graders have the opportunity to take Algebra I, as do their peers in high-performing countries. SB 1200 is so wrongheaded, in fact, that it would prohibit schools from offering any options in mathematics, even to high school students. The bill insists that only “one set of standards” be offered at “each grade level” across the entire K–12 span.   Click here to read more

Whitney Tilson’s emails’ coverage on CTU’s Strike–some excerpts

From Sunday September 16, 2012  at 8:13 AM PDT

1) Here’s the latest from Chicago, courtesy of DFER’s Joe Williams. It’s hard to tell how strong Rahm stood (keep in mind, below are the highlights provided by the union, which is trying to persuade its members to accept the deal):

Union delegates will vote on the proposed deal at 3 p.m. Chicago time, which would then end the strike and set the stage for classes to resume tomorrow. According to the union, the deal includes:

·         Raises of 3 percent, 2 percent and 2 percent over the next three years, with the option to extend the deal to four years “by mutual agreement” with another 3 percent raise.

·         Preservation of extra “step’’ increases based on experience, with new increases in the three highest steps.

·         The hiring of 600 additional teachers in art, music, physical education, world languages and other so-called “special’’classes.

·         The requirement that teachers be allowed to “follow their students” to other schools if the teachers school is subject to “school action,” such as closure.

·         10 months of “true recall” to the same school if a position opens.

·         One-half of all CPS hires must be laid-off CTU members.

·         In new teacher evaluations, limits to 30 percent the weight given to student growth, down from what had been a maximum of 40 percent, and provides the right to appeal a “neutral” rating.

·         Reimbursement of school supplies up to $250.

·         An agreement to hire more nurses, social workers and school counselors if the system gets new revenue, including from tax increment financing funds.

Other stuff:


— KAREN LEWIS SICK OF BEING TOLD WHAT TO DO BY BILLIONAIRES: Makes it seem like the strike was about air conditioners in schools.

You can see her entire speech here:
From Sunday September 16, 2012 8:12:25 PM PDT

In an astonishing development, the Chicago Teachers Union today voted to continue its strike until at least the middle of this coming week.

My first thought is that my heart goes out to the hundreds of thousands of Chicago parents and children who are going to be hurt even more by this needless strike.

My second thought is that the outrageous, selfish, greedy behavior by the union is an absolute godsend to we reformers. Parents in Chicago – and everyone else who’s paying attention across the country – are so mad that they can’t see straight – and it’s now 100% directed at the union. This will benefit us in Chicago and nationally for years to come.

This type of behavior isn’t an outlier of course: so many teachers unions in cities and states all over the country are so disconnected from reality, so arrogant, and so used to bullying everyone that they do self-destructive things like this regularly, greatly diminishing whatever public support they might have. It may well be the greatest asset we reformers have.

Off the top of my head, in the pantheon of the many amazingly dumb things the unions have done in recent years to diminish their support, this far surpasses the recent killing of the bill in CA to make it easier to fire sexual predator teachers and trails only the unions going all in with Hillary in the primaries four years ago, thereby ensuring that Obama, once elected, owed them nothing.

I almost feel sorry for Randi: she’s smart enough to understand what a disaster this is for the unions. I’ll bet she’s wondering what she did to deserve Karen Lewis – who, by herself, is the #1 godsend to we reformers have right now. I wish I could put a blue ribbon on her mouth – every time she opens it, she helps us so much!

Below is a statement from Michelle Rhee and an article in the Chicago Tribune.
Statement from StudentsFirst CEO and Founder Michelle Rhee

Despite reaching an agreement on a framework for a deal on Friday, the CTU announced that it would extend the teacher strike into its second week this evening with CTU President Lewis stating:

“Our members are not happy.  They want to know if there is anything more they can get.”

[AP, September 16, 2012]

Michelle Rhee, CEO and founder of StudentsFirst, issued the following statement in reaction to the news:

“I was disappointed to learn that Chicago’s school children won’t be in school tomorrow morning, and outraged when I heard President Lewis’ reason why.

We heard a lot of talk from union leadership about fewer students in each classroom, about improving training, and about the very real challenges teachers face. But by extending the strike tonight, the union proved that this wasn’t about addressing any of those issues.

It’s clear this was only about job security and compensation for union members. It is as President Lewis herself said this evening about “anything else they can get” even if it means kids are kept from the classroom for longer.

If it were about the kids, we wouldn’t be negotiating the idea that increased compensation should come with more accountability for learning — not less. If it were about kids, we wouldn’t be negotiating whether principals should be empowered to choose the best teachers available regardless of fit or effectiveness.

And if it were about the kids, 350,000 students would be in class tomorrow morning instead of at home or on the streets.

Chicago families have paid enough. The education of Chicago’s children should not be a chip at the bargaining table for one hour longer so that the Chicago Teachers Union can see if “there is anything else they can get.”

Court hearing to wait a day, union to meet Tuesday
By Jason Meisner and Hal Dardick, Tribune reporters
8:39 pm, September 17, 2012

Chicago Public Schools students will miss a seventh day of classes Tuesday as Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s attempt to get the courts to quickly end the teachers strike did not produce immediate results.

Instead, a judge opted to hear arguments on the mayor’s request Wednesday from the school district and the Chicago Teachers Union.

By then, the legal matter could be irrelevant. Union leadership could decide at its Tuesday meeting to end the walkout in anticipation of a vote by teachers down the road on a new contract proposal that was hammered out during marathon negotiations last week.

If the strike is not called off, however, Cook County Circuit Judge Peter Flynn will listen to the merits of granting the school district an injunction against the union…

…he school district attorneys also made a second argument, asserting that the strike is “a clear and present danger to public health and safety.” The district noted that 84 percent of CPS students are eligible for free and reduced-price meals served at the schools, that no student has been shot in a school since 2007 and that special education services are provided to 50,000 students who “may suffer from loss of or decline in critical life skills.”

Several labor law experts said Monday that the city has a strong case when it says the primary issues cited by the union do not allow it to strike.

“This is a strike over noneconomic issues” said L. Steven Platt, a prominent city labor lawyer, noting that only economic issues are legal cause for a strike under state law. “Of course they insist there are other issues, but the main issues, the ones that are driving the strike, are noneconomic issues.”

That view was not unanimous. Martin Malin, a professor at the Chicago-Kent College of Law who specializes in labor law, said that some issues being negotiated, like air conditioning in schools, affect working conditions that are legal grounds for a strike.

Labor law experts did agree on a couple of points, however. One is that it will be very tough to prove that the strike represents a clear and present danger to public health and safety. “We’ve never had a teachers strike enjoined under this standard since the statute took effect,” Malin said.

Another point took the form of a question: Would a judge up for retention be willing to rule against the labor unions that historically have played a key role in city elections? Flynn is seeking retention on the Nov. 6 ballot.

“You tell me what chancery judge is going to issue an injunction against the teachers union,” Platt said. “Believe me, the unions have long memories. Every union is going to remember this judge … come election time.”

One option would be for the judge to try to settle the matter in chambers, without issuing a ruling that risked offending unions or even the mayor, the experts said.

The school district will first have to prove to Flynn that the matter should be in his court and not before the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board.

The union has stated that the strike was partly over unfair labor practices. It filed a complaint with the state labor relations panel and argues that board is the only agency with the right to ask a court to stop the strike. A preliminary ruling on the unfair labor practices matter is expected Tuesday.

CA Spotlight on Chicago Teachers Union Strike: Battle over Education v Warehousing, Accountability v Mediocrity

Tuesday September 18, 2012, at 10 AM PT, Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, managing editor at, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal welcome Larry Sand, President of California Teacher’s Empowerment Network

We’ll speak with Larry, Ben and John about the Chicago Teacher’s Union Strike, the brokered deal that was not good enough, the demands, and the impact on reform, particularly in CA.

We’ll also talk with Larry about rackets teachers unions in CA use to up their pay.   It’s not about performance, and the Hollywood motion picture coming out September 28 loosely based on The Parent Trigger Law.

Last Friday, Larry and I both attended a screening of the film, which was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Bonnie Reiss, named Global Director of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute in 2012.  She presided over an impressive all star panel which included Leyla Avila, Exec V.P. of TNTP  Gabriel Medel, Founder of Parents for Unity, Julie Collier, Founder of Parents Advocat League, Michelle Rhee,  CEO/Founder, Students First,  and Daniel Barnz, Director, Won’t Back Down.  Each of these individuals have accomplished extraordinary results in their disciplines, and each was an inspiration.

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on on CRN 1 or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”
If you tune in on CRN, give the player a few minutes to pop up and start streaming. Give yourself enough time so you don’t miss the program.

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Related Links:

Won’t Back Down Moive

Chicago teachers stifle reform

Viewpoints: Chicago teachers’ strike matters to California

Whitney Tilson’s emails’ coverage on CTU’s Strike–some excerpts

Out of the Equation
California courts educational failure if it does away with eighth-grade algebra.

14 September 2012

Contract on California
How useless “professional-development” classes for teachers cost taxpayers billions

23 September 2011
Court hearing to wait a day, union to meet Tuesday

Labor law experts did agree on a couple of points, however. One is that it will be very tough to prove that the strike represents a clear and present danger to public health and safety. “We’ve never had a teachers strike enjoined under this standard since the statute took effect,” Malin said.

Another point took the form of a question: Would a judge up for retention be willing to rule against the labor unions that historically have played a key role in city elections? Flynn is seeking retention on the Nov. 6 ballot.

“You tell me what chancery judge is going to issue an injunction against the teachers union,” Platt said. “Believe me, the unions have long memories. Every union is going to remember this judge … come election time.”

Ideals like those of Michelle Rhee, around education, are the core of a pivotal battle taking hold in the Democratic Party

How Michelle Rhee Is Taking Over the Democratic Party

Molly Ball | Sep 8, 2012
In a major shift, education reformers are now influential at the highest levels of the party once dominated by the teachers unions. Click here to read the story

CNN Reports On CTA’s Donations Killing Child Molesters Bill, Legislators Hide: This is a battle for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party

Gloria Romero, former CA State Senator and former CA State Senate Majority Leader, speaks out in this stinging investigative report which shows how powerful the special interests are, even at the expense of the safety of our children from sexual predators.
According to Maplight, the four Democrat Senators in the powerful Education Committee who abstained from voting, which is the equivalent of a no vote in this case, included Wilmer Carter of Rialto who according to Maplight has received $7000 from the CTA since 2009 (she sold out for the cheapest price), Mike Eng of Alhambra who has received $18,000 since 2009, Betsy Butler of El Segundo who has received $11,000 from the CTA since 2009, and Das Williams of Santa Barbara, who has received over $30,000 since 2009.

SB 1530, proposed by state Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima, was introduced in response to the sex-abuse scandals at Miramonte Elementary and other campuses in Los Angeles Unified. It would have streamlined the process for terminating teachers in cases involving sex, drugs and violence against children.

The measure was supported by Los Angeles Unified officials, including several board members who testified during the hearing. However, the powerful California Teachers Association, as well as United Teachers Los Angeles, lobbied against it, saying it would have violated due process for teachers.

The vote of the 11-member committee was 5-2, with four abstentions. The measure needed six votes to advance.

Jack Humpreville–Stop the Pension Scams-Yes on Prop 32 & Hubris to the N’th Degree–Forget the Judge’s Ruling–Doors Remain Locked to Parents and their Children’s Education

Tuesday August 21, 2012, at 10 AM PT,  Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, Managing Editor at, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal welcome Jack Humpreville, the LA Watchdog for CityWatch and David Phelps, National Communications Director for The Parent Revolution.
Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on on CRN 1 or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

If you tune in on CRN, give the player a few minutes to pop up and start streaming. Give yourself enough time so you don’t miss the program.

Sometimes the programing display for CRN 1 is not current, and it may say another program is playing. You can be sure Gadfly Radio is from 10 am to 11 am PT, Tuesdays! You can count on that!

Call in number: 1-800-336-2225

Jack Humphreville, LA Watchdog of LA CityWatch, on the central role of Public Employee Pensions in the Tsunami of of fiscal bankruptcies coming to cities throughout the state of California, and why he advocates a Yes on Prop 32.

Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and the Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. Humphreville is the publisher of the Recycler — . He can be reached at:

David Phelps, new National Communications Director for The Parent Revolution on the shocking hubris of the Adelanto School Board which decided to ignore a judge’s order in the Desert Trails (Calif.) Parent Trigger Petition decision handed down 30-days ago by Judge Steve Malone in the San Bernardino Superior Court. We’ll also talk with David about the upcoming Hollywood film, “Won’t Back Down,” starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, inspired by real events. “Won’t Back Down” premiering in September, is the dramatic story of a community taking back and fixing its failing school.

Related Links:
CalPERS Thuggery Highlights Pension Scam
By Jack Humphreville | 08.16.2012

Won’t Back Down – In theaters September 28

Trailer for Won’t Back Down

Adelanto School Board Decides To Violate Court Ruling on Desert Trails Parent Trigger Petition

Victorville, Calif. – August 18, 2012 – In the wake of Superior Court Judge Steve Malone’s historic July 18 ruling in favor of the Desert Trails Parent Union (DTPU) Parent Trigger Petition the Adelanto school board on Friday night, August 17, voted to flagrantly violate Judge Malone’s order and to continue its never ending attempts to preserve the status quo at any cost.

Proposition 32: A fraud to end all frauds
Proposition 32, on the November ballot, is nothing but an attack by Republicans and conservatives on unions and their members.

Steven Greenhut: Bankruptcy no panacea for pension mess
OC Register | Aug. 17, 2012 Updated: Aug. 18, 2012 9:20 a.m.

Moody’s Warns of Mass California Municipal Bankruptcies
By Chriss Street | August 18, 2012

Former CA State Senator Gloria Romero, DFER stands up to Union Bosses, for “Yes on Prop 32″

Senator Romero joins Gadfly Radio Tuesday, Aug 14, at 10 am PT. Romero has always been a champion for civil liberties, throughout her entire career as an elected official. She was a teacher before she went into politics and she has always been popular and respected for her courage and bold leadership on issues that bear a disproportionally heavy impact on poor black and Latino communities.
Tuesday,  Aug 14, Former Senator Gloria Romero,  joins Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, Managing Editor at, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal.
Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on on CRN 1 or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

If you tune in on CRN, give the player a few minutes to pop up and start streaming. Give yourself enough time so you don’t miss the program.

Sometimes the programing display for CRN 1 is not current, and it may say another program is playing. You can be sure Gadfly Radio is from 10 am to 11 am PT, Tuesdays! You can count on that!

Call in number: 1-800-336-2225

Former Senator Romero’s convictions run deep. As a life long Democrat, she continues to champion fundamental civil rights and dignity with courage and bold leadership.  She and the California Chapter of Democrats for Education Reform boldly stand for Proposition 32, against the power of the CA Democratic Party and the union bosses who want to hold on to their dues and power no matter what. 

If money and grassroots networks rule, the odds are against Prop 32, simply because of the amount of money that the unions will contribute to the NO on 32 campaign. A brief summary of the largest donors’ with contributions over $50K as of July 8, 2012 on Ballot-Pedia show the Yes on 32 side outspent by a margin of 6 to 1. This is not the final tally.  The No side will have the deepest, largest pockets and the ratio will persist and broaden up to the finish line.

Despite the main stream media covering for the bosses and their bought and paid for politicians, the average voters are on to them.  Will outspending Yes on 32 ten to one  prevent what happened in Wisconsin?    Have things gotten bad enough here yet for the average to understand why roads and schools and parks and services are falling away?

We’ll cover the stories we didn’t get to last week, with John Seiler and Ben Boychuk. We’ll talk with John Seiler on his piece about The Great Rip-Off. Police Chiefs and other municipal administrators who are earning higher salaries retired, than when they were working. They’re earning six figure incomes, and cities have revolving doors of new hires, and new retirees. It’s like a looting taking place in broad daylight, and no one to stop it, because the people the public would expect to serve and protect us are the ones doing the looting.

Related Links: for “Yes on 32″ Campaign information.
Unions air statewide radio ads against Prop. 32
August 7, 2012 | 4:51 pm

California Proposition 32, the “Paycheck Protection” Initiative (2012) Ballot-Pedia

Behind the Prop 32 Curtain
Steve Smith | Aug 8, 2012 | The California Majority Report

Of course Prop. 32 would slam unions
Aug. 9, 2012 | By John Seiler | CalWatchDog

LA’s Pending Insolvency and Prop 32
By Jack Humphreville | Fox & Hound Daily | Friday Aug 10, 2012
LA Watchdog writer for CityWatch, President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and Publisher of the Recycler
Friday, August 10th, 2012

Good-government groups call Proposition 32 deceptive I read this title as “Good Government” groups call Proposition 32 deceptive.
LA Times | Jul 23, 2012
Representatives of the League of Women Voters of California and Common Cause denounced Proposition 32…

Anaheim PD Violence, City Govt and Drug Laws, One Teachers’ Pay Hike Racket, When Defrauding and Shaking Down the Public Became “de rigueur”

Tuesday, July 31, Judge Jim Gray, Larry Sand, and Katie Grimes join Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, Managing Editor at, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal.

Judge Jim Gray authored Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs.  “It was the culmination of his experience as a former federal prosecutor, defense attorney and trial judge.”  We’ll speak with Judge Gray about Anaheim, about an important factor  in the legal conflicts between the people of the affected neighborhood of Anaheim and the Anaheim Police Department.

Larry Sand  of CTEN talks with us about a racket teachers in CA use to hike their pay regardless of whether or not they hike their skills or achievements as teachers.

Katy Grimes of CalWatchDog talks about the investigative reporting she’s done recently, to uncover millions of dollars of stashed away taxpayer dollars.  While the State of CA cries poverty and threatens to shut down parks, cut vital services and cut back university and K-12 funding, agencies have been hoarding and doling out millions of dollars, like slush funds.

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on on CRN 1 or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

If you tune in on CRN, give the player a few minutes to pop up and start streaming. Give yourself enough time so you don’t miss the program.

Sometimes the programing display for CRN 1 is not current, and it may say another program is playing. You can be sure Gadfly Radio is from 10 am to 11 am PT, Tuesdays! You can count on that!

Call in number: 1-800-336-2225

Related Links:

Parks Dept. corruption not isolated
July 27, 2012 By Katy Grimes

The recent scandal inside of the State Parks and Recreation Department is no surprise to anyone, but the levels of corruption, schemes and deceit, is. The agency director, Ruth Coleman, resigned. But as she r…

Contract on California
How useless “professional-development” classes for teachers cost taxpayers billions
by Larry Sand | 23 September 2011

Anaheim Police Prepare for Protests Today With Public Displays of Arsenal–UH OH…
By Gustavo Arellano Sun., Jul. 29 2012 at 7:51 AM<

Anaheim Police Arrest Protesters; Angrily Point Rifles at Photographers
By R. Scott Moxley Sun., Jul. 29 2012 at 3:45 PM

Police shooting policies need rethinking
July 30, 2012 | By Steven Greenhut

“…Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait…tried his hand at tough-guy rhetoric at a news conference after Tuesday’s violence: “Vandalism, arson and other forms of violent protest will simply not be tolerated in our city. We don’t expect last night’s situation to be repeated but if it should be, the police response will be the same: swift and appropriate.

Of course, we all are against violence, vandalism and arson. Indeed, the mother of one of the men killed by police poignantly called for calm. But I can’t agree that the police response was appropriate.

Tait, who rightly called for an outside investigation of the police shootings, over the objections of other council members, needs to work harder to live up to the promises he made when became mayor. Tait promised to foster a culture of “kindness” in the city. I know he means it, and he told me he is deeply concerned about some police actions.

Police culture

Anaheim’s police culture echoes the old Los Angeles Police Department culture that valued aggressiveness over community policing, and the city administration has shown no willingness to confront it. City police have shot six people this year, five fatally, under varying circumstances (Gadfly’s emphasis).”

“Powerful police unions

While Anaheim has a greater need than some other cities to re-evaluate its policing policies, problems with police use-of-force problem are endemic throughout the country and, especially, in California, where police union priorities — i.e., what’s best for officers, not the citizenry — have dominated policy decisions for decades.

Recent news reports show a significant increase in police-involved shootings in many areas of California. Police shootings account for one of every 10 shooting deaths in Los Angeles County, according to a Los Angeles Times report. Videotapes of the encounters often show that the official version of the story is at odds with what really happened. No wonder police agencies spend so much time confiscating video cameras from bystanders, something that should chill every freedom-loving American, whether on the political Left or Right.

The California Supreme Court’s Copley Press vs. San Diego decision in 2006 allows allegations of police misconduct to remain shrouded in secrecy. The public can access complaints against doctors, lawyers and other professionals but, in California, misbehavior by public employees who have the legal right to use deadly force often is off-limits to scrutiny. Because of an exemption in the public-records act, police agencies need not release most details of their reports of officer-involved shootings.

Furthermore, the Peace Officers Procedural Bill of Rights in California’s Government Code gives accused officers such strong protections that officers can rarely be disciplined or fired. The “code of silence” is alive and well in police agencies…”

The “POBR”
Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act.

History: First state to get a POBR (Peace Officers Bill of Rights), effective 01-01-77. The concept originated around 1974. The largest supporter of POBR was the ACLU. Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law.

SECTION 3300-3312

Police Violence, Racialized Indifference and a Hunger for Justice in Anaheim
Friday, 27 July 2012 09:53 By Rania Khalek, Truthout | Report

Of the six victims of Anaheim police-involved shootings this year, five were Latino. In fact, the Anaheim neighborhood where Diaz was shot is almost 90 percent Latino.

At news conferences and in statements to the press, Anaheim police have repeatedly used the term “gang member” in justifications for the recent shootings and subsequent treatment of protesting residents.

Anaheim Police Chief John Welter has said that the firing of bean bags and pepper spray at residents protesting the killing of Diaz was in response to “some known gang members” throwing bottles and rocks at officers.

In a detailed statement released by the Anaheim Police Association on July 24, Kerry Condon, president of the police union, said the following:

“… we live in a dangerous world where there are too many violent gang members like Manuel ‘Stomper’ Diaz and Joel ‘Yogi’ Acevedo who spent their young lives wreaking havoc on their neighborhoods and the law-abiding citizens who live there. It was the actions of these gang members, not the police officers, who set these unfortunate events in motion.

“Even though there have been several death threats to Anaheim police officers in gang neighborhoods throughout the city of Anaheim in the last year, our officers continue to go into these areas to fight gang crime and protect the residents who continue to live in fear of these domestic terrorists.”

Hundreds continue protest against Anaheim police | Jul. 29, 2012 | 10:25 PM

“What’s going on here in Orange County is symbolic of a problem with the system,” Eduardo Perez, a 21-year-old student, told the Register. “This wouldn’t happen to white people. This is racism, simple as that.”

The demonstrations occurred just hours before a scheduled evening memorial service for Manuel Diaz, a 25-year-old man who was shot dead July 21. Police said Diaz, who had a criminal record, failed to heed orders and fled police. He was unarmed.

2 Anaheim protests: 1 raucous, 1 silent; 9 arrested
July 29, 2012 | Updated: July 30, 2012 9:25 a.m.
By Eric Carpenter, Andrew Galvin, Tom Berg, Scott Martindale and Sonya Quick |The Orange County Register

The Rev. Fr. Arturo Ferreras of St. Matthew Ecumenical Catholic Church in Orange urged the mourners – mostly residents of Anna Drive – to use Diaz’s death to work toward permanent, positive change in their community.

“We are gathered to let the world know we don’t want a community of violence on Anna Drive,” Ferreras told the mourners in Spanish as he presided over an ecumenical Catholic Mass. “We want our children to be able to grow up in peace. … Hopefully we will be able to make a better Anaheim and a better Anna Drive.”

Ferreras, who stood next to a 4-foot-tall Virgin of Guadalupe statue near where Diaz was shot, blessed the site where Diaz was killed and the children who witnessed what happened that day.

He also challenged young Anna Drive residents to become community activists and to use “democratic” channels to pursue change.

Judge James P. Gray – The Primary Issues:

“2. Repeal the failed and hopeless War on Drugs by restricting the role of the federal government to assisting each state to enforce its chosen laws. Crime was reduced by more than 20 percent within one year after we pursued this course with the repeal of Alcohol Prohibition, and the same results will be realized when we finally repeal Drug Prohibition. People must be held accountable for their actions, instead of for what they put into their bodies. The War on Drugs has directly created an enormously large and lucrative black market that has corrupted institutions, people in all walks of life, and, most especially, children, here and all around the world. In addition, it has enabled the sale of illicit drugs to provide huge amounts of funding for terrorists. Our policy should be changed for specified drugs like marijuana to be strictly regulated for distribution to adults — and taxed — and users of other drugs should be allowed legal access to them under the strict supervision of medical professionals. Medical programs of this kind are successfully reducing crime, drug usage and health problems today in countries like Switzerland and Germany , and we can emulate their success.”

The Videos Anaheim PD Doesn’t Want Us to See
By: Siun | | Sunday July 29, 2012 6:00 pm

Government Rip-offs & Rackets that Rob Children & Adults of Their Savings, and Future on Gadfly Radio Tues. at 10AM PT

Tuesday, July 17,  Wayne Lusvardi, regular contributor to,  self employed real-estate appraiser, and formerly an eminent domain appraiser for over 20 years,  joins Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, Managing Editor at, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal.

Also on the program, Larry Sand, President of CTEN, frequent contributor at L.A. Daily News, L.A. Times, City Journal, Union Watch, and more.

Almost half of CA’s budget goes to pay for Education, yet we’re at the bottom, or second from the bottom in results.  The CA Teacher’s Union and all their bought and paid for politicians at all levels of government block any reforms, even the most narrowly tailored,  that would modestly improve the chances for poor and lower middle class kids to have access to quality teachers and schools.

Two lawsuits have just been filed, to take on the teacher’s union, in the courts.  Larry Sand will fill us in.

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on on CRN 1 or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

If you tune in on CRN, give the player a few minutes to pop up and start streaming.  Give yourself enough time so you don’t miss the program.

Sometimes the programing display for CRN 1 is not current, and it may say another program is playing.  You can be sure Gadfly Radio is from 10 am to 11 am PT, Tuesdays! You can count on that!

Call in number: 1-800-336-2225

Related links:

US Housing Crisis – Negative Equity Infographic – Zillow

Bad news for CA housing recovery | CalWatchDog
July 9, 2012
By Steven Greenhut

Should San Berdoo cherry pick underwater mortgages? | CalWatchDog
July 13, 2012 | By Wayne Lusvardi

What a ripoff. San Bernardino County wants to use eminent domain to let a private mortgage lender cherry pick “underwater” mortgages without paying damages to the lenders. Doing so supposedly would stimulate the resale market for homes.

Eminent domain mass delusion hits San Berdoo | CalWatchDog
July 16, 2012 | by Wayne Lusvardi

“…the mania of the San Bernardino County Joint Powers Authority to seize “underwater mortgages” on homes through the use of eminent domain.”

Students vs. Status Quo–California lawsuits target teachers’ union work rules. by Larry Sand – City Journal | June 6, 2012

Students vs. Status Quo: California lawsuits target teachers’ union work rules

Larry Sand writes about the approach reformers are taking to combat the impenetrable block the CA Teacher’s Unions practices to prevent any kind of reform to policies such as seniority and tenure rules for teachers.

When politics fails, reformers turn to the courts. California’s Democrat-controlled state legislature has resisted reforms that threaten teacher-union power. Now two class-action lawsuits could undo the state’s longstanding seniority and tenure rules. On Tuesday, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge heard arguments from attorneys representing six families who say the nation’s second-largest school district has ignored the 40-year-old Stull Act, which requires the use of student performance in teacher evaluations. If successful, the lawsuit, filed last November, would require every school district in the Golden State to establish its own method of evaluating teachers—but all would need to use evidence of student learning based on standardized tests, just as 23 other states currently do.

A second lawsuit, filed last month on behalf of eight students from around the state, claims provisions of California’s education code—rigid tenure rules, a seniority-based firing system that ignores teacher quality, and a “due-process” system that makes it all but impossible to remove incompetent or criminal teachers—violate student rights.

Click here to go to City Journal and read the full article.

Travis Kiger on Fullerton Recall & Reform, Larry Sand on Powerful CTA Acts to Protect Child Molesters

Tuesday, July 10,  Travis Kiger, newly elected City Council Member for  The City of Fullerton, and an active contributor with Friends For Fullerton’s Future Blog, joins Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, Managing Editor at, and  Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal.

Also joining us is Larry Sand,  President of CTEN, frequent contributor at L.A. Daily News, L.A. Times, City Journal, Union Watch, and more.

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

Call in number:  1-800-336-2225

Travis Kiger talks with us about being a newly elected and sworn in City Councilman of Fullerton, CA, the new majority now in office, and the changes they pledged to make.

Larry Sands talks with us about “the defeat” on June 27, 2012, “of a proposed law that would have made it easier for school districts to fire teachers in cases of sexual and other egregious misconduct has shone a spotlight on the strong sway of the California Teachers Association, widely considered the state’s most politically influential labor union with more than 325,000 members.

Related Links:

Former City Manager Chris Meyer Shares Wisdom; Recipients Underwhelmed

Defeat of Calif. teacher bill shows union power – SFGate CHRISTINA HOAG, Associated Press, June 28, 2012

L.A. Sheriffs set the standard for dealing with the homeless By Tori Richards, |July 9, 2012 and published on Friends for Fullerton’s Future same day.

Dysfunction @ County Reaches Rock Bottom By The Fullerton Shadow, | July 9, 2012

 Kelly Thomas killing aftermath: Reforming how cops deal with the homeless by Tori Richards | and also published on Friends for Fullerton’s Future, July 5, 2012

New Council Kills Illegal Water Tax By Admin, July 4, 2012 |Friends for Fullerton’s Future Blog

Teacher Claims Sweden Cares More and Spends More on Education Than the U.S.–Richard Rider Responds in Dollars and Sense

Richard Rider, San Diego Tax Fighter, Pens a Letter to the Editor at the Union Tribune–Rejected, he shares it with the public anyway, and I’m sharing it here.  We not only spend more, but he points out what does help Sweden out-perform the U.S.  Sweden supports competition, and empowers their population with school choice, showing real commitment to putting students first:

Dear U-T Editor:

This is an expanded version of a letter I submitted to the SAN DIEGO U-T. Didn’t run, but no need for my research and insights to go to waste. Here ya go.


Dear Editor:

Teacher Sharon Collins’ letter selflessly calls for higher taxes for education, citing socialist Sweden as her shining light.
She didn’t do her homework.

She thinks Sweden values education more than America because they have a 25 percent sales tax (actually a VAT tax). But that high tax tells us nothing.

For a meaningful comparison, look at education spending per student. Of the 32 OECD counties (the economically advanced countries of the world) providing data, in 2008 Sweden ranks 6th in primary school per student spending, the U.S. 5th. Sweden ranks 9th in secondary school spending, the U.S. ranks 4th.

Sweden spent $9,080 per primary school student. The U.S. spent $9,940. Sweden spent $9,940 per secondary school student — the U.S. spent $12,007.

Think that’s not a fair comparison? Compare spending as a percent of GDP. Sweden spends 4.0% of GDP on K-12 education. The U.S. spends 4.1% — without a 25 percent “sales tax.” The OECD average is 3.8%.

But here’s the kicker — since 1993 Sweden has had a full-blown school voucher system. ANY parent can take the money spent on public schools and use it for sending their kids to private schools — religious or secular.

All Swedish schools compete for students, making the kids’ education a higher priority than the welfare of the school employees. While controversial when first adopted, education vouchers are now a non-issue in Sweden, as almost everyone supports the common sense choice and competition that this option offers.

Inadvertently, teacher Collins picked an interesting subject on which to “school” us. Class dismissed.

Richard Rider

What is Jerry Brown saying to Ed reformers in the Democratic Party base? He wants their support for the tax increases first. Keep talking, he says “we” hear you.

How bold are the reformers?  How firm do they stand? Or are they waiting, hoping, and prodding, but do not want to upset the establishment? Do they support the tax increases as necessary for real education reform?

Jim Manzi discusses “Uncontrolled: The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Error for Business, Politics, and Society”; Plus: American Dream Goin’ South and California’s Proposed Cigarette Tax, This Week on Gadfly Radio

Join us live Tuesday, 10 a.m. PDT, on, CRN1, for another spirited edition of Gadfly Radio with Martha and CalWatchDog.

Martha Montelongo could not stay away from the microphone for long, so she’s returning from her road trip a week early!

In the first half of the program, we’ll talk to Jim Manzi, author of the new book, Uncontrolled:  The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Error for Business, Politics, and Society. Manzi, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the founder and chairman of Applied Productive Technologies, argues “we have much less formal knowledge about society than economists and other social scientists often claim, and that therefore we need to rely predominantly on practical expertise, federalism and trial-and-error learning to make useful progress.” It’s a fascinating book, and should make for a fascinating discussion.

Then, John Seiler, Ben Boychuk and Martha Montelongo will discuss some of the latest developments in California, including the pitch battle over Proposition 29, the “Tobacco Tax for Cancer Research Act.” If approved, Prop. 29 would raise the cigarette tax by $1, with the money ostensibly earmarked for cancer research.

Prop. 29’s backers are trying to portray the measure’s opponents—which do, in fact, include tobacco companies—as objectively “pro-cancer.”  L.A. Times columnist George Skelton flatly asserts that Prop. 29 will save countless lives, and that opponents of the tax increase are simply lying to protect Big Tobacco. And in a column at California Progress Report headlined “The Friends of Lung Cancer,” former Sacramento Bee editorial page editor Peter Schrag writes:

There are lots of good reasons to support Proposition 29, the tobacco tax initiative on the June 5 ballot, not least those named Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds. Together, the two tobacco giants have so far kicked in about $40 million to the sleazy campaign to defeat it. If you count the nearly $700,000 that the Republican Party contributed to their cause you have yet another reason.

Incredibly, Schrag comes out in qualified opposition to Prop. 29, saying, “Anything that big tobacco is against – or big pharma or big oil – is usually good enough to be for. But let’s save it for a more worthy purpose next time around. There’s a long list of underfunded programs that can badly use the money.” Well, alrighty then!

The problem with Prop. 29—well, one of them, anyway—is that it would create yet another new agency with an unreliable revenue stream in a state beset with a multi-billion dollar deficit. Remember Prop. 71? That was a 2004 bond measure that set up a mostly unaccountable new agency responsible for spending billions on stem-cell research. The Sacramento Bee reported Monday that the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is now in danger of running out of money.

And as CalWatchDog’s Katy Grimes noted last month, Prop. 29’s backers have plenty to gain if the measure passes: “Don Perata, a former state legislator, has been using the June ballot measure’s election fund as his own personal checkbook. Perata has paid nearly $40,000 to an Oakland City Councilman in order to win a contract for one of his lobbying clients, the San Francisco Chronicle and Contra Costa Times reported.” Grimes also reports that Prop. 29 includes “a clause prohibiting any changes in the spending decision that its politically appointed commission makes, for a full 15 years.”

What’s more, the measure, “is written in a way to exempt the CEO from normal state salary requirements, and why that CEO can hire whomever he wants, at whatever salary he chooses.”

How bad is California’s economy? People are voluntarily returning to Mexico. John Seiler at CalWatchDog lays out the numbers in “American Dream Goin’ South,” which highlights the reverse migration of Mexicans from California. John writes:

Although the official California unemployment rate is 10.9 percent, the real level — including those working part time who want to work more and those who have given up looking for work — is 25 percent, just as during the 1930s, as I have reported.

A difference this time from the 1930s is that Mexico’s economy is not also in a slump, but is a hot tamale:

“First-quarter growth was 4.6 per cent compared with a year earlier, the fastest pace since the third quarter of 2010, prompting several analysts to upgrade 2012 growth forecasts.”

Other items of note: 

  • “California’s salary setting commission is bracing next week to consider a 5 percent pay cut for legislators and other statewide officeholders, in keeping with a similar cut proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown for state workers,” reports Jim Sanders at the Sacramento Bee.
  • Executives at California State University campuses would be prohibited from getting public pay increases during the next two years and then limited to 10% raises during the next four years under legislation approved Monday by the state Senate,” according to the Los Angeles Times. CalWatchDog’s John Hrabe has been on the cutting edge of reporting on the Cal State executive compensation scandal. Read his latest report here.
  • During last week’s episode, Ben and John discussed California’s exploding budget deficit, including the state’s high hopes for billions in new revenue from the Facebook IPO. City Journal contributing editor Joel Kotkin argues at The Daily Beast that Facebook won’t save the Golden State. Meantime, Facebook shares on Monday closed near $34 on the second day of trading—or about $4 below the stock’s initial offering price. Yikes.

This Week on Gadfly Radio: Troy Senik on the “Worst Union in America”; Plus: Jerry Brown and California’s Greek Ways

Join us live on Tuesday, 10 a.m. PDT, on, CRN1, for another lively edition of Gadfly Radio!

Troy Senik, has a dynamite article in the Spring issue of City Journal: “The Worst Union in America: How the California Teachers Association betrayed the schools and crippled the state.” Really? The worst? Worse than the SEIU? Worse than the NEA? Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes. But we’ll have Senik make his case, which will be excerpted in the Los Angeles Times in the next few days. And editor-in-chief Brian Calle opines in his latest column at the Orange County Register.

We’ll also discuss Governor Jerry Brown’s May budget revision, which was released officially Monday but previewed over the weekend. Anyone not paying attention would have been shocked to learn that California’s current budget deficit is several billion dollars higher than Brown’s office reported in January—$16 billion, as opposed to around $9 billion at the beginning of the year. Anyone else wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised.

“This means we will have to go much farther and make cuts far greater than I asked for at the beginning of the year,” Brown said. “But we can’t fill this hole with cuts alone without doing severe damage to our schools. That’s why I’m bypassing the gridlock and asking you, the people of California, to approve a plan that avoids cuts to schools and public safety.”

Brown delivered the “news” on YouTube, where he doubled down on his pitch to voters to approve a tax increase in November.

“Please increase taxes on the most affluent,” Brown urged. “It’s reasonable and fair.”

”By the time I leave here, California’s budget will be balanced and the state will be back on road to prosperity,” Brown added. ”I am a buoyant optimist.”

It’s phony-baloney. All of it.

Katy Grimes at CalWatchDog: “Jerry Brown twists out ‘pretzel palace’ budget,” which reports legislative Republicans’ reaction to the governor’s news.

“Tax revenue is up two years in a row, but not enough to satisfy the spending demands of Sacramento Democrats,” retorted Assembly Republicans. “It will be interesting to see if the liberal majority in the Legislature accept the Governor’s cuts, or reject them as they did earlier this year when they blocked the Governor’s health and welfare reforms and grew spending by $1 billion,” wrote Assembly Minority leader Connie Conway, R-Visalia, and Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, R-Biggs.

Tom Del Beccaro, chairman of the California Republican Party: “Amazingly, a year and a half into Brown’s Governorship and we still hear nothing of the unemployed. California will continue to face chronic budget deficits because so many people remain out of work; the conversation about revenues should always begin with how to restore jobs. So many people are wondering when Brown will offer plans to make California competitive, so that business will return to this state and bring jobs with them.”

Calle at CalWatchDog: “If nothing else, the budget situation points to the power teachers’ unions have within the Brown administration and California government in general. This is particularly true of the juggernaut CTA, which was recently dubbed by City Journal as the ‘Worst union in America’ because of the lopsided influence it has on public policy in California. Education spending is perhaps the Holy Grail of politics in the Golden State. So it is no surprise Brown’s administration is using education as a justification for increasing taxes. Improving education is popular with voters. But money is not the major problem facing California’s education. Instead, the state is in need of structural reform.”

Robert Wenzel at Economic Policy Journal: “California is fast becoming the new Greece.” And Brown’s proposal to reduce the work week of many state workers—a move that would need to be bargained with the unions because the Democratic-controlled Legislature isn’t about to impose that change unilaterally—would be equivalent to a 5 percent pay cut.

Bill McGurn at the Wall Street Journal (subscription required): “Jerry Brown vs. Chris Christie.”

Hard economic times bring their own lessons. Though few have been spared the ravages of the last recession and the sluggish recovery, those in states where taxes are light, government lives within its means, and the climate is friendly to investment have learned the value of the arrangement they have. They are not likely to give it up.

Meanwhile, leaders in some struggling states have taken notice. They know the road to fiscal hell is paved with progressive intentions. The question regarding the sensible ones is whether they have the will and wherewithal to impose the reforms they know their states need on the interest groups whose political and economic clout is so closely tied with the public purse.

Mr. Brown’s remarks Monday suggest the answer to this question is no.

McGurn’s column follows on the Journal‘s editorial fusillade Monday:

Among the biggest surprises is a 21.5% or nearly $2 billion decline in personal income tax payments from what Governor Jerry Brown had anticipated. This reinforces the point that when states rely too heavily on the top 1% of taxpayers to pay the bills, fiscal policy is a roller coaster ride.

California is suffering this tax drought even as most other states enjoy a revenue rebound. State tax collections were up nationally by 8.9% last year, according to the Census Bureau, and this year revenues are up by double digits in many states. The state comptroller reports that Texas is enjoying 10.9% growth in its sales taxes (it has no income tax), while California can’t seem to keep up despite one of the highest tax rates in the land.

This would seem to suggest that California should try cutting tax rates to keep more people and business in the state, but Sacramento is intent on raising them again. Governor Brown and the public-employee unions are sponsoring a ballot initiative in November to raise the state sales tax by a quarter point to 7.5% and to raise the top marginal income-tax rate to 13.3% from 10.3%. This will make the state even more reliant on the fickle revenue streams provided by the rich.

The Orange County Register: “More bad news ahead of Brown’s revised budget”:

This is a man for all intents and purposes bought by, and in the pocket of, government employee unions. Likewise, so is the Democratic-controlled Assembly and state Senate, which all but precludes a legislative fix.

Sadly, California deserves better than it has gotten for more than a decade in Sacramento. An unwillingness to properly adjust government spending and an insistence on draining even more billions from the private sector is symptomatic of the runaway fiscal catastrophe under way in Europe.

Bottom line, courtesy of Reason‘s Tim Cavanaugh: “Where are the devastating cuts of the austerity of bare-bones of the starving beast in a state that will increase spending by six percent — from $86.5 billion in outlays last year to $91.4 billion this year?” Mighty good question.



On Education, More Money Doesn’t Equal Better Results–This truth is factually buttressed, but buried by rhetoric, again, as usual

Stanford studies showing no correlation between spending, school quality hijacked again |

“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.

Read more: Stanford studies showing no correlation between spending, school quality hijacked again |

Jenny Worman on Liberty Caucus in CA, & Peggy Christensen, Open Source Learning, a.k.a. Homeschooling on Gadfly Radio Tuesday at 10am PT

Tuesday, May 1, on Gadfly Radio, Peggy Christensen, mother of two, after starting her first girl in a public school for the first few years, explored and finally jumped into open source learning, a.k.a. homeschooling, for both of her two daughters. Ms Christensen joins Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, managing Editor at, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal.  Also, GOP Congressional candidate, Jenny Worman drops in for short visit.

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

On April 30, Larry Sand, retired L.A.U.S.D. teacher and Founder and President of California Teachers Empowerment Network published what he called an Honest Cheat Sheet of facts regarding Public Education in L.A.U.S.D., for those who need to see the numbers– how much we actually spend per pupil, and how many children are failed in our schools despite the dollars we spend. (Click here to download the PDF of Larry’s Cheat Sheet)

Reformers battle to empower parents, and give them choice in what school their child has to go through, with the idea that competition would improve the stagnant and ossified conditions that prevail in most public schools. It could be years before The Parent Trigger Law gets any traction. Schools will argue that they’re implementing their own reforms, and have the access to parents the reformers don’t have.

Decades pass, and little victories come and go, but ultimately, the situation has only grown more dire, in cost, and worse, in unlearned children. The schools are little detention centers where large groups of children are corralled into classrooms, and conditioned into submission and conformity. And as if this assault on the way children naturally learn and develop were not bad enough, in just the past four months of this year, it seems everyday we read and hear about teachers and aides who sexually or physically abused children. It is an all too common danger that further betrays and victimizes our children.

What if you could give your children an education that was designed to nurture leadership, curiosity, independence, critical thinking, initiative, individuality, confidence, and written and spoken communication skills? What if these skills could be learned by any child, without having to pay tuition for an elite private school, or live in a multimillion dollar neighborhood?

President Franklin D. Roosevelt was a C student in College. President Bush was hardly a C, and Senator Kerry, who ran against Bush, had an even lower grade point average than Bush. They went to elite boarding schools. What characteristics and what skills prepared and qualified these men to be a Senator and Presidents? What if all children were capable of developing the same qualities and skills? They are.
We will discuss with Peggy, her journey into what she prefers to refer to as open source learning, for her two daughters. We’ll talk about her reservations starting out, her shift of consciousness, the challenges she faced, resources, her success and advice she has to share.

Also joining us, later in the program is GOP Congressional candidate, Jenny Worman, on the board of the Screen Actors Guild for six years, and is part of the Liberty Caucus of the CA GOP. She’s running for U.S. Congress in the new 28th District. What’s special about CA’s Primary if you want to vote for Liberty Candidates but you’re not a Republican? Last day to register is May 21, to apply for vote by mail is May 29, and June 5th is the Primary.
Links shared by Jenny Worman:
The Ron Effect–Bloomberg Business Week, April 26, 22012 
Liberty Candidates across the USA in 2012

Links shared with us by Peggy Christensen:
Freedom of
John Holt: Growing Without Schooling–The Journal of Homeschooling Online
The Link, A.K.A. The Homeschool News Link Online Magazine
Free Range Learning, on Facebook
Excellence in Writing

Additional Links on Open Source Learning (Homeschooling):
Homeschool Legal Defense Association/California
The Preservation Institute:  Beyond Progressive and Conservative on John Taylor Gatto

Homeschool Oasis about John Taylor Gatto
How one family has been helped by the Khan Academy | KTVB.COM Boise

California Dreaming–Brown’s tax measure, which has yet to even qualify for the June 2nd ballot is a band-aid for a critical condition

California Dreaming

The latest Public Policy Institute of California poll shows Gov. Brown’s proposed tax initiative – which hasn’t yet qualified for the ballot – currently has 54 percent support among likely voters. Historically in this state, ballot initiatives lose support over time, so it looks like an uphill climb. If the unscientific San Francisco Chronicle readers’ poll accompanying the article is any indication, the opposition is just getting warmed up.

Because CalSTRS has earned only 60 percent of its forecasted investment return since 1999, it needs school districts to boost contributions by more than $100 billion. Worse, CalSTRS waited so long to seek more contributions that its request is now for an extra $4.5 billion a year, almost double the $5 billion a year it already receives in contributions.

Click here to read to article

On Education v. Compulsory K-12 Public Schooling, can you improve the system, or is it better to transform how we understand the distinction?

Peggy Christensen, who will be our guest on Gadfly Radio, Tuesday May 1,  shared with me, in a private phone interview, a lot of information and insights into her personal journey, allowing her two daughters to educate at home,  as opposed to “schooling” them in a Government school, or a private school that is still too much like the dehumanizing and constraining elements of compulsory public education.

Among the wealth of information she shared with me, she told me how much she liked John Taylor Gatto.  She may have said how much she loved him, but I don’t want to put words in her mouth. I will say that Ms Christensen is very understated and mindful of not offending or putting anyone off with anything that might be taken as her being judgmental or dramatic.
Her desire is to inspire others enough to pique their curiosity, so that they will question their hard set beliefs and consider exploring the possibility that they may be missing out on a far more rewarding experience, if only they will take a few minutes of their time, and explore their options.

I am looking forward to our interview tomorrow, and in the mean time I have fallen in love with John Taylor Gatto!

I looked him up, and I have to say, he is the most exciting voice I have ever heard on education.  I urge anyone with the slightest curiosity, to give him a listen, and a read.  Here is a YouTube playlist I put together for my own listening instruction and pleasure–I delight in hearing what he has to say.   You can listen while you exercise on a treadmill or an elliptical machine,  while you walk, run, weed or water the garden, wash dishes, fold laundry, sew, (these are my home routines and activities), or what ever it is you do that leaves room for you to listen and ponder. Enjoy.

      “I don’t think we’ll get rid of schools any time soon, certainly not in my lifetime, but if we’re going to change what’s rapidly becoming a disaster of ignorance, we need to realize that the school institution “schools” very well, though it does not “educate”; that’s inherent in the design of the thing. It’s not the fault of bad teachers or too little money spent. It’s just impossible for education and schooling ever to be the same thing.”

– John Taylor Gatto

Bill Evers: Nationalize Education? & Brian Calle: Scott Walker Recall a Nationally Pivotal Battle, Tuesday, April 17 on Gadfly Radio

Tuesday, April 17, on Gadfly Radio, ‎Bill Evers, fellow, research fellow
member of the k–12 education task force, and Brian Calle, Editor-in-Chief at join Martha Montelongo, John Seiler, managing Editor at, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal on, CRN1. Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!

Related Links:

Nationalizing Education Through National Defense?
By Bill Evers
This month, the Council on Foreign Relations issued a report calling in the name of national security for national curriculum-content standards on science, civics, foreign languages, technology, creativity, and problem-solving – for elementary and secondary education. (Click here to read the article)

Scott Walker recall must be thwarted
Orange County Register Opinion
April 11th, 2012, by Brian Calle
The importance of thwarting the recall campaign against Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker can not be understated: The Wisconsin showdown arguably is the most consequential election in the country this year. And with the release of recent polling data showing the anti-Walker effort leading, the stakes have become even higher.

A Rasmussen poll released April 2 found that a “majority of Wisconsin voters now support the effort to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker.” Fifty-two percent of likely voters polled said they would recall the governor, versus 47 percent wanting to keep Mr. Walker in office. While the election is still nearly two months away, those numbers are still discouraging. (click here to read more.)

Guns and Roses
Jerry Brown’s high-stakes tax proposal faces a political challenge—from the Left.
5 April 2012 by Ben Boychuk

Jerry Brown wants Californians to believe that the state, facing a current budget deficit of $9 billion, has a revenue problem. In fact, what the 30 million residents of the Golden State have is an entitlement problem. From health care to state and local public-employee retirement benefits, Californians face as much as $500 billion in unfunded liabilities for pensions alone. The state’s unfunded health-care liabilities top $62 billion. Brown’s new budget actually proposes a 7 percent increase in spending, though it offers to cut some services. All of the governor’s plans assume that substantial, voter-approved tax hikes will provide billions in new revenue, helping to pay for the extra spending and shrinking the deficit. “I’m promising wine and roses,” he told reporters after a speech last month, “but not in 2012.” (Click here to read more)

Terry M Moe, Author of “Special Interest: Teachers Unions and America’s Public Schools” visits Gadfly Radio

Tuesday, April 10th, Stanford Political Science Professor and author of Special Interest: Teachers Unions and America’s Public Schools, joins Ben Boychuk, John Seiler and myself on Gadfly Radio, on or on USTEAM TV, on CRNStudioLive!

Every attempt at education is blocked by the most powerful union sector in the country.  The Parent Trigger law is no exception.   Teacher’s union blow back and thuggish blocking is de riguer.   Accountability and performance metrics for educators are blocked.   How impenetrable is the Teacher’s Union and where is the path to a renaissance of real learning and a spirited entrepreneurial culture?

Related links:  Special Interest: Teachers Unions and America’s Public Schools [Hardcover]

The Parent Trigger Law and the case of Adelanto School Board blocks the take over bid lead by parents.

Here’s a great podcast interview at Education Next with Terry Mo discussing Special Interest.



Senator Gloria Romero on Parent Trigger & Steven Greenhut on Pensions & Healthcare Benefits for Public Emp Retirees on Gadfly Radio Tues., April 3 @ 10AM PT

Tuesday, April 3 at 10 AM PT, Senator Gloria Romero and Steven Greenhut join Ben Boychuk, John Seiler and myself on Gadfly Radio, on or on USTEAM TV, on CRNStudioLive!

Senator Gloria Romero is the Director for the CA Chapter of Democrats for Education Reform.   On the Adelanto School Board, the Teacher’s Union blocks the Parent Trigger.  Fraud charges raised.– related links:  California’s school reform ‘parent trigger’ law doesn’t need rewriting – Los Angeles Times

Viewpoints: Failing schools dishonor civil rights heroes – Viewpoints – The Sacramento Bee

On Steven Greenhut, VP of Journalism with The Franklin Center for Govt and Public Integrity, some related links:

Steven Greenhut: Bankruptcy may be only way out for cities, states| bankruptcy, unions, reform – Opinion – The Orange County Register Feb 24, 2012
The problem in the public sector is that government never is allowed to fail. There never is a day of reckoning no matter how poorly government provides its so-called services.

What happens when failure is no option? – HUMAN EVENTS  Feb 28, 2012
SACRAMENTO — In my latest column, I documented how the state’s pro-union Attorney General Kamala Harris provided an unfair and dishonest title and summary to a pair of pension reform initiatives submitted to her office, thus effectively killing the measures. Last week the unions tried — and almost succeeded — with an even nastier stunt designed to undermine democracy.

If Stockton Is Broke, Then Why Isn’t San Diego?: Steven Greenhut – Bloomberg March 1, 2012

California Refuses to Fix Public-Sector Pensions – Reason Magazine  March 9, 2012
Golden State lawmakers close their eyes and pretend the looming pension crisis doesn’t exist.

Special Series: Broke Municipalities Look to Bankruptcy Option | CalWatchDog  March 9, 2012
This is the second in a Special Series of 12 in-depth articles on municipal bankruptcy.

Public Unions Send Medical Bills to Taxpayers – Bloomberg  March 15, 2012
The U.S. public pension mess, with its $2 trillion to $3 trillion in unfunded liabilities, is such a volcano of gloom that it takes a potentially bigger problem to turn our eyes away from it.
Turn your attention instead to the size of the taxpayer- backed health-care obligations for public employees.

Are there Other Stocktons Out there?
By Kevin Klowden
Director, California Center; Managing Economist
Monday, April 2nd, 2012 Want to ask Steve what he thinks of Klowden’s remarks here:

“There is hope on the horizon, however. Negotiations to reduce future pension and benefit obligations are bearing fruit and will clearly show long-term improvements for cities such as Stockton. Construction of intermodal port facilities in the city are creating jobs both in the near and long term. The concern is that neither of these developments helps Stockton and cities like it right now.”




Senator Gloria Romero joins Gadfly Radio Tuesday, April 3 @ 10 AM PT

“The nation is watching this evening. California is watching,” said former California state Senator Gloria Romero, who co-sponsored the legislation.

The outcome of Wednesday’s meeting marked the second time the Adelanto board has denied a petition submitted by families seeking a takeover, finding they fell short in collecting valid signatures from parents representing at least half of the 642 students at Desert Trails Elementary.

The petition drive has been fraught with acrimony as the two sides accused each other of fraud and forgery in trying to meet the 50-percent threshold or in presenting rescission affidavits from parents who claimed they were misled into initially giving their support.

“I could care less if I don’t get elected to office again, but today I stand for all of Adelanto in saying we will not be duped by anybody,” school board member Jermaine Wright said in explaining her vote against the petition. March 28, 2012

Even after a second rejection, it appeared the debate in Adelanto, a community of about 31,000 people made up predominantly of low-income minorities, was far from over.

California Parent Trigger Law: Adelanto School Board Blocks Takeover Bid

California college students protesting budget cuts miss the mark

According to Stanford and California Common Sense studies, over the past 12 years state spending on higher education has increased just 30 percent. Spending on the retirement benefits for government employees has grown more than 10 times as fast, tripling, and spending on prisons has more than doubled. The message is clear: Despite revenue growth, cash has not gone to fund higher education. So on this the students are right.

Click here to read the article

Being Bilingual May Boost Your Brain Power : NPR

Research suggests that the growing numbers of bilingual speakers may have an advantage that goes beyond communication: It turns out that being bilingual is also good for your brain.

Being Bilingual May Boost Your Brain Power : NPR

A play on Atlas Shrugged, this piece tags the 33% who pay the load of taxes that support Government on all levels, the Atlas Generation.

America’s Atlas Generation – The Forgotten 33%
By Editor, on January 9th, 2012

Pull Quote: America’s forgotten 33%, those who are neither entitled to avoid all taxes, nor members of the political class who pay no taxes, nor the super-rich, might be called “The Atlas Generation.” They carry the world on their shoulders. Their challenge is daunting – they must convince the political class to support sustainable taxpayer funded benefits under formulas that apply equally to ALL workers, public or private, without relying on Wall Street speculative investments to pay for this. Equally challenging, they must convince the entitled class that there is an alternative to identity politics, the politics of envy, and the cycle of government dependency. And they must convince a critical mass of the politically influential super-rich to embrace and advocate a political economy that nurtures competition instead of crony capitalism.

To Read the article and see the dramatic graphic, click here.

Some of the hottest on CA News concerning public policy and Fiscal sanity, or insanity, depending on how you see it.

State & Local – POLITICS
Cash-strapped California city gears up for battle with unions over pension reform
By William Lajeunesse
Published March 14, 2012

Facing an ocean of debt, San Diego is offering voters in June a potential lifeboat: public employee pension reform.

“Taxpayers have had it,” former Mayor Roger Hedgecock said. “A huge portion of the city budget is going to fund these pensions far beyond anything in private sector.”

The initiative would force new city workers into private-sector style 401(k)s. Current employees would pay more, and their retirement payments would be based solely on base salary – not accrued sick leave and vacation time, often used to inflate pension pay.

To read more and check out the video report: Click here

CalPERS reduces investment forecast – How will California cover the difference?
March 14, 2012

n the midst of massive budget deficits and recent heat over pension reform, the Board of Directors of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, known as CalPERS, voted today to lower its assumed rate of return for the first time since the recession dragged down stock and real-estate prices.

They’re readjusting from 7.75 to 7.5 percent, which might not sound like a lot, but in actual dollars, it means finding an additional $167 million in the state budget to pay pensions, for which California spent $3.5 billion in 2011. The new rate will take effect on July 1, although CalPERS has been asked to phase the change in over two years, hopefully sparing cities from more cuts.
To read more and to listen to the audio with Pat Morrison, Click here.

The Union War on School Volunteers
By Editor, on March 13th, 2012

There are so many facets to the problem of public sector unions that one of their most outrageous abuses, their war on volunteerism, is barely covered by the media. But it happens all the time, especially in public education. If any volunteer does work that could be done by a unionized worker, even if no funds exist to hire that worker, the union is likely to use all their power to stop that volunteer from providing their services.

In Culver City, a suburb of Los Angeles, the union war on school volunteers has taken a new twist. In order to maintain supplemental language programs, as well as adequate staffing of classroom helpers in the Culver City Unified School District, a few philanthropic individuals have funded the payment of modest stipends to people to assist the teachers. They are essentially volunteers. But that’s not ok with the Culver City Association of Classified Employees – translation, the local union – who has threatened to file a complaint with the powerful, union-friendly Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), a “quasi-judicial administrative agency that is charged with upholding and administering collective bargaining statutes that cover employees working in California schools.” For more on this, refer to the following reports: “Parents lodge strong opposition to unionizing of CCUSD language school employees,” and “Parents Attracting Name Allies in Dispute with Union.”

To read more Click here.

More on the Future of Education:

With the backing of Gates and Google, Khan Academy and its free online educational videos are moving into the classroom and across the world. Their goal: to revolutionize how we teach and learn. Sanjay Gupta reports.

The future of Education

“The future of higher education is online. This is an opportunity for the best professors to reach a global audience. Meanwhile, prices will collapse.”__David E. Shellenberger

#1 Sebastian Thrun, a former Stanford computer science professor, gave a talk on his experiment in teaching a course on artificial intelligence. In parallel with his usual lecture format, he offered the same course online in a sort of interactive tutorial format that made use of the latest research about how we learn  most effectively — basically in small batches followed by quizzes and exercises at certain intervals that, once mastered, mean the student is ready to move on. By the end of the course, most of his students were not longer coming he the lecture and he had 160,000 people around the world taking the course online. You read that right. 

You can watch his presentation here. There is a slightly long intro, which ends after 2 minutes if you want to jump ahead.  (click here to read more at One Last Question–Ned Desmond on What’s up in online media

Check out Udacity University at! It is so exciting! The possibilities are infinite!

Tues March 6th, on Gadfly Radio, Katy Grimes joins the gang, and the phone lines do not cooperate but the show goes on.

Gabe Rose of the Parent Revolution joined  us to talk about the unfolding scandal at Desert Trails in Adelanto, CA.   Evidence of forgeries and other criminal acts show the union is dead set against parents having any say over their children’s education, if they can’t afford to move and or pay for a private school.

Grimes talked with us about some of her recent posts at CalWatchDog, including:

Capitol Protest: Occupy vs. Teachers

Students Protest Ed Entitlement Cuts



I love what Michelle Rhee stands for. I thank her for her leadership, inspiration, and courage.

Bob Bowdon asks Michell Rhee a pointed question and she responds with a resoundingly clear and powerful statement.   I love her for it!   She is a brave warrior woman!


On Bob’s FB Group page for Choice TV I posted my response to Michelle’s answer to Bob’s question.   I hope I can stomach it in the morning when I’m not exhausted and in much discomfort from this flu I’ve suffered since Sunday.


“That was perfect! As a mother of two boys, and a person with the spirit to teach and cause children and people of all ages to learn, in my heart, I loved her answer…”

“Thank you Michelle Rhee. You speak for mothers who care about their children and need to count on the integrity of the school administration and program, that excellent teachers are supported, and ineffective teachers are identified and supported to transform in the areas they are lacking, or supported in choosing a new carreer if it’s not the right path fo them. But her priorities are the correct priorities. The chlidren and their learning and well being is the primary objective and must never be sujugated to the interests of adults over the children. She calls it like it is. They hate her for it. They seeth about her and invect smears and slander, but they also carry out dispicable actions against poor defenseless minority parents, initmidating them, and telling them lies to scare them into recinding their signatures for a Parent Trigger Law drive at Desert Trails, and Compton before that…”

“So many examples across the country… women being locked up, or mothers I should say. Mothers being locked up because they find themselves with the choice between lying to get their child into a performing school, or they have to be doscile obedient ones and allow the system to demand their child goes to one of those miserable failing schools where they are left behind and and future cemented in bleakness or a lot of struggle to survive. I love Michelle Rhee. I’ve yet to hear her udder words that don’t move me in a way that inspires, comforts, and compels me…”



Gadfly Radio with Martha and CalWatchDog: Tonight, Ben Boychuk, John Seiler, with special guests Arun Ramanathan on teacher quality & Diane Goldstein on drug wars in LA County and what does Obama snack on?

Gadfly Radio Tonight, at 8 PM PT

Live Call in number: 1-818-602-4929
Jan 31, 2012:  Tonight live at 8 p.m. PT on Gadfly Radio, Martha Montelongo along with Ben Boychuk of CA City Journal and John Seiler of

Arun Ramanathan from Education Trust West speaks to us about a recent report they just published on the findings of a two- year-long study of data from the second largest school district in the nation, revealing profound inequities in access to effective teaching.  In Learning Denied: The Case for Equitable Access to Effective Teaching in California’s Largest School District, The Education Trust—West finds that low-income students and students of color in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) are less likely to be taught by the district’s top teachers – the very teachers capable of closing the district’s achievement gaps. These inequities are exacerbated by teacher mobility patterns and quality-blind layoffs.

YouTube Ignores LAPD Cop’s First Place Question for Obama About Legalizing Marijuana  
 WASHINGTON, DC — “Yesterday YouTube ignored a question advocating marijuana legalization from a retired LAPD deputy chief of police (watch that video at the link above) that won twice as many votes as any other video question in the White House’s “Your Interview with the President” competition on the Google-owned site. They did, however, find the time to get the president on record about late night snacking, singing and dancing, celebrating wedding anniversaries and playing tennis.”
Retired LAPD deputy chief of police Stephen Downing asks President Obama about the growing support for marijuana legalization among voters. Stephen is a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which anyone can join for free at

I invited Chief Downing to join us but he was already booked, but we do have Diane Goldstein, also a retired law enforcement officer with LAPD and member of LEAP, to speak with us on this slight to American Voters’ pressing concerns, and the assault on the state passed laws to legalize Medical Marijuana in Los Angeles, CA.

More links to hot stories:

by Joel Fox
A couple of months ago, at a discussion on the initiative process at a Zocalo Public Square meeting in Los Angeles, the panelists were asked what one thing they would change with the initiative process…

We’ll take your calls, questions and comments on the air at 1-818-602-4929, on FB instant chat or Twitter. 

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CalWatchDog’s team of government policy watch dogs and the great investigative work they produce! 

Tuesday nights live, on Gadfly Radio in Southern California or where ever you are. California, the land of beauty and unlimited possibility because of the abundance of our greatest capital resource, our human resources, when we get it right. Join us. 

Or you can listen to a podcast later, if you miss the live call-in show by clicking on the white player to stream or the orange player to download and or subscribe to Gadfly on iTunes:

Dan Walters: School advocates talk more dollars than sense – Press-Telegram


…The California Budget Project, a liberal group that advocates for more spending, continues the money obsession with a new report contending that public education is being woefully underfinanced.

The CBP calls it “a decade of disinvestment” that has “left public systems and programs ill-equipped to cope with the ongoing impact of the Great Recession and the challenges of a growing population and an ever-more-competitive global economy.”

The report, citing data from the National Education Association and federal agencies, declares that California is 46th among the states in per-pupil spending at $8,908 per year, nearly $3,000 under the national average; 47th in school spending as a percentage of personal income; 50th in the number of students per teacher, and so forth.

It’s a selective array of data, perhaps chosen to support a proposed tax increase for schools. It does not, for example, include the fact that California teachers are very nearly the highest-paid in the nation.

Moreover, it paints a much darker picture than data from other sources.

The Census Bureau, for instance, surveys all forms of school spending and pegs California’s per-pupil number at $11,588, just $662 under the national average and 27th-highest in the nation, not 46th.

And it’s much higher in some big-city school systems, such as Los Angeles Unified, which has more than 600,000 students, spends $14,100 per pupil and has about a 50 percent high-school dropout rate…
Read more here.

Disrupting Class by Larry Sand – City Journal

The “beta” what? You probably say that if you’re younger than 27 years old. Even then, you’d have to be one of those kids with powerful memories of your first three years alive. By 1987, they were a disappearing option in the world of video rentals. VHS beat Betamax because of better marketing. Problem with Larry’s choice for comparison, is that the Betamax was actually a better format, quality and picture than the victor, the VHS.

But Larry Sand’s point is very well taken here. If you have kids, grand kids or friends with kids that are stuck in failing public schools, this is a great model, and viable option about which you need to know!

Disrupting Class by Larry Sand – City Journal

Anthony Krinsky blogs, ‘Don’t Hold Us Back’ Coalition Widens

“There is more encouraging news from the ‘Don’t Hold Us Back’ coalition.” He’s got two links to hot stories on the coalition and the widening. And then he writes, “I’m anxious to see if they have the resolve to stand up to the teacher unions and help Los Angeleans distinguish friends from foe when the UTLA widens their “protest,” strikes, and shuts down the schools. I am also anxious to see…” Click to read the post.

Teachers’ Road Map to Nowhere by Larry Sand – City Journal

A new study shows deep flaws in the Los Angeles Unified School District, but the local teachers’ union will resist any meaningful reform.
25 August 2011

A major study on teacher quality makes clear just how sclerotic the Los Angeles Unified School District has become—but while the diagnosis and prescriptions are clear, the prognosis is far from certain. The National Council on Teacher Quality’s 58-page report, “Teacher Quality Roadmap: Improving Policies and Practices in LAUSD,” was commissioned by the United Way and several civil rights groups and paid for by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. While the report focuses on Los Angeles, many of its findings are applicable to other school districts around California, where collective bargaining agreements have hamstrung administrators and state laws supersede local policies.

Such studies are vital because…

Click here to read more…

Children Belong to the State — (1860s « Blog) Here, I will call it “In the Beginning” or “The Spawning of Public Education”

March 13, 2010
Children Belong to the State — 1860s
Posted by Christopher Manion on March 13, 2010 01:44 PM

Butler, it goes back further than that. Few Americans today realize that the public school movement began 150 years ago as part of an attack on the Catholic Church.

In the mid-nineteenth century, Protestant “Know-Nothings” railed against the millions of newly-arrived Catholic immigrants — “criminals” who had a lot of kids and were starting their own schools, complete with armies of foreign nuns and papist priests. According to Rousas Rushdoony’s history, Horace Mann, the founder of the public school movement in Massachusetts, believed that “the [public] schools are the means, instruments, vehicles, and true church by which salvation is given to society.” Given that goal, Mann “changed the function of education from ‘mere learning’ or religiously-oriented education to ‘social efficiency, civic virtue, and character” (by the twentieth century, character “ceased to be a concern” in the public schools, Rushdoony notes). Mann also demanded that control of community schools be transferred into state hands.

Click here to read the rest of this illuminating blog post at Lew Rockwell.

To understand further influences in the conversion of Education from what it was, free and privately delivered, read Temple of Man: Freemasonry, Civil Religion, and Education here.

D.C. teacher performance evaluations – The Washington Post (The reforms are working)

The school system announced Friday that 309 employees, 206 of them teachers, were being dismissed for poor job performance. No pleasure can ever be taken from people losing their jobs. But there is cause for celebration if the rights of children to a quality education trump the self-interest of adults. Friday’s dismissals are a departure from recent practice when typically only a handful of teachers would be fired and then only because of gross misconduct.

Click to read the story.

Why is the NAACP fighting African Americans? – The Washington Post

By Kevin P. Chavous, Published: June 3

The images are jarring. Photos of children with signs saying “NAACP, drop the lawsuit” and “NAACP, unite us, don’t divide us.” Video clips of parents, teachers and community leaders urging the NAACP to put the education of children first and to stop supporting the status quo.

It was so jarring because these children, parents and community leaders were black. Thousands of black Harlem residents rallied in the street May 26 protesting the NAACP.

Click here to read more…

Khan Academy: A Name You Need To Know in 2011

– Bruce Upbin – Tradigital – Forbes

This is one of those why-didn’t-anyone-think-of-that stories about what is rapidly becoming the most influential teaching organization on the planet. Salman Khan was a hedge fund analyst educated at MIT and living in Boston in the summer of 2004. The job was okay but he so much more enjoyed recording Web videos to tutor his younger cousins in New Orleans in math and science. Other people started asking him for tutoring help so started putting math videos up on YouTube. He’d put 70 videos up in a row on algebra, geometry and calculus. Soon a lot of people started watching the Khan Academy–our Name You Need to Know in education.

Since Khan started putting videos up, his Khan Academy videos have been watched 24 million times. You Tube told him he has the most popular open-course video library on its site, with more views than MIT, Stanford or UC-Berkeley. Khan has produced 1,600 videos so far, all simple 8- to 20 minute takes on subjects such as torque, ebitda, debt loops, probability, exchange rates, the Paulson bailout, binomials and the battle of Trafalgar. Khan records each himself. You never see him. You only hear his baritone and watch the trail of his track pad pen scribbling on a black screen.

Click here to read more

Layoffs come to L.A. Schools and the losers are the poor minority children, the kids who need great teachers the most. We cannot save our Republic if we don’t have an educated electorate.

When layoffs come to L.A. schools, performance doesn’t count
After the budget ax fell, hundreds of the district’s most promising new instructors were laid off. Campuses in poorer areas — such as Liechty Middle School in the Westlake neighborhood — were disproportionately hurt.

December 04, 2010|By Jason Felch, Jason Song and Doug Smith, Los Angeles Time

John H. Liechty Middle School opened in 2007 in Los Angeles’ impoverished Westlake neighborhood with a seasoned principal, dozens of energetic young teachers and a mission to “reinvent education” in the nation’s second-largest school district.  Click here to read more.

Whitney Tilson, a national education reform activist wrote in his newsletter regarding this article: The LA Times just published the best article/research I’ve read to date on the impact of layoffs purely by seniority (last hired, first fired), focusing on one school in LA, and the results are exactly what one would expect: such an utterly insane policy destroyed the promising turnaround at the school and has been DEVASTATING for the school’s poor and minority students (who else? This kind of sh*t doesn’t happen to wealthy or white kids):
But when budget cuts came in the summer of 2009 — at the end of the school’s second year — more than half of the teachers were laid off. Among those dismissed were Gascon and 16 others who ranked in the top fifth of district middle school instructors in boosting test scores, The Times’ analysis found. Many were replaced by a parade of less effective teachers, including many short-term substitutes.

By the end of the last school year, Liechty had plummeted from first to 61st — near the bottom among middle schools — in raising English scores and fallen out of the top 10 in boosting math scores.

“Everything we worked those two years to instill is gone,” said Amanda Uy, a math and science teacher who was laid off and now teaches part time at a private school. “It’s really tragic.”

Quality-blind layoffs are just one vestige of seniority rules introduced decades ago to promote fairness and protect teachers from capricious administrators. Enshrined in state law and detailed in teachers’ union contracts, the prerogatives of seniority continue to guide many of the key personnel decisions made in public schools across the country, including pay and assignments. The effects are most keenly felt by students during layoffs.

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CA’s Education Budget and Results & Wine Grower, 4th Generation Native of Central Valley, Expert on Clean Water Act on Water Wars: Sat, Aug 1, 2009

New Time and New Channel on CRN Digital Talk Radio

Join me on the air, Saturday at 10 AM PT on CRN, on Channel 1

Call in number: 1-800-336-2225
This Saturday on the program Dr. Alan Bonsteel, President of California Parents for Educational Choice CPEC, joins us on the CA Budget battles and the impact on education funding, politics, policy and possibilities. CPEC is to thank for the push and progress to expose the real drop-out rates in California’s Public School System. With the fiscal disaster in Sacramento, the political and public education class are scrambling to cover up the numbers. California has the 37th worst graduation rate (68 percent).

“…And what have Golden State taxpayers gotten for nearly $70 billion spent on K-12 education and the behemoth educational bureaucracy? Test scores in reading, science, mathematics, and writing massively lag the national averages. Morgan Quitno Press ranks California 47th place in the country based on its proficiency results. And California has the 37th worst graduation rate (68 percent).” (World Magazine Aug 09 issue)

Also, Brad Goehring, born in 1965 in Lodi, is a fourth-generation San Joaquin Valley farmer. He has owned and operated Goehring Vineyards, Inc. since 1989. He is recognized nationally as a leading expert on the Clean Water Act and has been called to testify and submit written testimony to Congress, and is a Congressional Candidate for the 11th District of CA.

He joins us to talk about the radical environmentalist politics destroying the Ag industry in CA. We’ll talk about water and California’s Cap and Trade Legislation, AB32, signed into law by Gov Schwarzenegger in Sept 2006, and the impact it has had on CA’s jobs and economy.

We’ll also ask him about a recent interview he did with Debra Saunders of the SFChronicle, in which his experience with and perspective on immigration policy was trivialized and distorted. The favored bias, argued by Mark Krikorian in that piece, advocates zero tolerance for immigration of workers, and expects farmers to mechanize harvest jobs or we should instead import our food from foreign Countries–i.e. Be dependent on foreign food, just like we are on foreign oil. Not a good idea.

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