Join me on Talk Back with Chuck Wilder, while I guest host a cast of friends of liberty, on CRNTalk.com, 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 CalWatchDog.com will talk about his Special Report just recently published up at CalWatchDog.com, 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!

 

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 CalWatchDog.com, 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 CRNtalk.com 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 | Watchdog.org

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

 

Police Unions Bullying City Council Members–This is the Hammer, Jerry’s Pension Reform is the Puppet Show

How serious are the Legislators, to real pension and retirement healthcare reform for public employees? The two houses have passed and sent to the Gov for signing, AB 2451, which extends the number of years a claim may be filed for a work related fatal injury or illness, from 4 years to 9.
Katy Grimes reports on this bill here.
The Calfire Blog has a softer spin on the bill here.

Why don’t the politicians just say no, and stand up to the abuse of the public trust? Well, many of those who do are facing the wrath and fury of the Police Union.

PublicCEO.com today has posted a story today, Council Members Allege Widespread Police Union Bullying, linked to the story reported Tuesday in the Voice of OC.

Members of a handful of Orange County city councils Tuesday told stories of attempts by police unions to bully them into voting for generous labor contracts and said a flood of similar revelations is yet to come.

And,

The common thread, the council members said, was controversial law firm Lackie, Dammeier & McGill, which does labor contract negotiations consulting work for police unions. The law firm had posted on its website a slew of bullying strategies to secure lucrative labor contracts, the Orange County Register reported earlier this month.
Shortly thereafter, the Costa Mesa Police Officers’ Association fired the law firm.

 

Marcia Fritz, Fix Pensions Now: “We Can’t Afford to Party Like it’s 1999,” Joins Gadfly Radio to talk Dollars and Sense

Tuesday, June 19, on Gadfly RadioMarcia Fritz, C.P.A., and an active voice for Fix Pensions First | FixPensionsFirst.com, joins Martha Montelongo, with CalWatchDog‘s managing editor, John Seiler, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal.

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

Related links for the show:
Viewpoints: When it comes to pensions, we can’t afford to party like it’s 1999 | Fix Pensions First

April 16th

By Marcia Fritz

The Legislature has until June 28 to put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would require all state and local government employees to contribute one-half the cost of their pensions. Future employees would be eligible for a hybrid plan that includes a defined benefit (pension) component, but with limits. The balance of the governor’s plan can be enacted through legislation.

Paying half of pension costs won’t be a shock to teachers and state employees – most pay half or close to half today. But thousands of local government employees retire at 55, collect six-figure pensions and lifetime health care benefits, and contribute nothing to their retirement plans.

Voters douse most tax-increase fires | CalWatchDog
June 15, 2012

By Dave Roberts

“…Despite fire tax proponents spending $177,000 (to zero spending by opponents), the tax hike failed to gain a majority of the vote, let alone the two-thirds required to pass.

It was always going to be a tough sell asking for an additional $2,200 per home over 10 years when most people have lost 39 percent of their net worth in the last three years and many are still staggering from the aftershocks of the Great Recession. But the district board decided to go for it anyway, doing the bidding of the firefighters union as it seeks to increase salaries, benefits and jobs.

Fire tax hikes were not that popular throughout the state. In addition to the failure of the East Contra Costa tax hike, a $100 tax hike in Higgins, a $40 hike in North Auburn-Ophir, a $79 tax in Placer Hills and a $59 tax in Crest all failed.

There were two successful fire tax measures: a $150 tax in Newcastle and a four-year extension of a $65 tax in San Mateo County.

Steven Greenhut: ‘Reforms’ will raise California taxes | The Orange County Register
June 16, 2012
By Steven Greenhut

SACRAMENTO – God help California from its current crop of wealthy “moderates” who believe that the only thing that will save our state is a dose of higher taxes. They continue to embrace electoral rule changes that ultimately will undermine the Republicans’ supposedly hard line against tax hikes.June 5 saw was the first election to use the “top two” primary system, a form of open primary designed specifically to elect more candidates who resemble former state Sen. Abel Maldonado and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the two politicians most responsible for its implementation. These are two of the least-effective and least-principled Republicans to attain higher office in recent years, so let this serve as a warning about what is to come.

The emerging California Fusion Party | CalWatchDog
By Wayne Lusvardi
June 18, 2012

Political fusion is an arrangement where two parties on a ballot list the same candidate. Fusion has been outlawed in many states.

A version of fusionism emerging in California is this under the new Top Two system, which voters approved under Proposition 14 back in 2010. The majority party floods election ballots with at least two of its candidates. Then it only allows the minority party to influence election results by endorsing one of the major party’s candidates. Another name for political fusion is cross-endorsement…

Now, the Union Pushback: Following big victories for public-pension reform in California, the union empire takes to the courts.
by Steven Greenhut – City Journal
June 12, 2012

The nation’s public-sector unions have become so emboldened by years of political victories, and so insulated from voter concerns, that they apparently never considered the possibility that voters, given a clear choice, would turn against them. Last Tuesday was as close as the nation gets to a clarifying election, the result of union overreach in Wisconsin and union intransigence in California. “Election results in California and Wisconsin this week are being viewed as a turning point for organized labor—to its detriment,” reported the Los Angeles Times, echoing a story line repeated nationwide.

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 CRNtalk.com, 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 CalWatchDog.com 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.

 

 

Al Ramirez, U.S. Senate Candidate, and Wayne Lusvari, Are Hispanics Up or Down in CA?

Tuesday, April 24, on Gadfly Radio, ‎Al Ramirez,  Republican, candidate for U.S. Senate in CA joins us to talk about his unique candidacy, and story.   Wayne Lusvardi, regular contributor at CalWatchDog.com join Martha Montelongo, John Seiler, managing Editor at CalWatchDog.com, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal on CRNtalk.com, CRN1. Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on CRNtalk.com or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

Wayne Lusvardi has a new article published at CalWatchDog in which he responds to Heather MacDonald of the Manhattan Institute who believes California is doomed due to dysfunctional Hispanic families who are trapped in downward social mobility.  His article is not a rebuttal but a rejoinder -an expansion of her topic, in “California’s Demographic Revolution.”

Relaed Link:
Are Hispanics moving up or down the social scale?
Commentary
April 24, 2012
By Wayne Lusvardi
The ongoing economic malaise of the past half decade has slammed most social and economic groups in California. How are Hispanics doing here, especially in light of the bursting of the Housing Bubble?
For example, consider Riverside County, which according to the 2010 U.S. Census is 46 percent Hispanic. Housing prices therehave dropped 30 percent. Worse, construction work, a mainstay of Hispanic family income, has crashed 70 percent.
This matter was considered recently in the City Journal by Heather Mac Donald in her article, “California’s Demographic Revolution.” She wrote that, “unless Hispanics’ upward mobility improves, the state risks becoming more polarized economically and more reliant on a large government safety net.”
But she (click here to read the whole of Wayne Lusvardi’s article).