The Don, Career Politician Exposed in Proposition 29

            While Proposition 29 proponents trot out charities like the American Heart Association and celebrities like Lance Armstrong, there’s a far more ominous force behind its drive to create a brand new tax of about $1 billion per year.      

            Don Perata, a career politician and failed candidate for Oakland Mayor, has just been outed by the Oakland Tribune in an investigative report that ran Friday. As the Tribune reports:

            Perata’s “Hope 2012” ballot-measure committee began raising money for what’s now known as Proposition 29 way back in 2009, and has transferred $488,500 to Californians for a Cure – the primary committee backing the measure… Now Perata himself has received $5,792.17 since July from Californians for a Cure, including $2,607.19 for “meetings and appearances” and $2,508.36 for travel expenses.

            Digging through campaign disclosure forms, the Tribune finds, “The rest of Californians for a Cure’s expenditure list reads like a who’s-who of former Perata aides and consultants.”

            It seems the self-dealing that will no doubt flow if Proposition 29 is passed has already started. By creating a brand new spending commission staffed with political appointees, it’s almost guaranteed to excel at taking money from taxpayers and placing it into the pockets of special interests. With Proposition 29’s 15 year lock-box on funds, not even the Governor nor the state Legislature can step in even in cases of waste, fraud and abuse.

            The same sort of ugly political self-dealing that’s sure to result if California voters were to pass Proposition 29 has already begun within its campaign. It’s one thing for them to do it with their own money, but something entirely different if they’re allowed to get their hands on ours.

Richard Rider calls Prop 29 a new high speed rail

California’s high-speed rail is a massive spending boondoggle from the 2008 ballot.  Its cost nearly doubled to about $100 billion while not a single mile of track has yet been laid?

Well, if you liked high-speed rail, you’ll love Proposition 29, coming to the California ballot this June.
High speed rail, said Richard Rider, Chairman of the San Diego Tax Fighters, at a recent appearance on San Diego’s NBC affiliate, “promised in writing that it was going to operate under certain restrictions and now does not.”

That’s because special interests, with no accountability to voters or to taxpayers, hijacked the process doling out favors to political cronies and driving up the cost. It’s a reminder, Rider explained that “the idea that we should be budgeting money at the ballot box has not worked well for us.”

Like high-speed rail, Prop 29 creates an unaccountable commission packed with political appointees. The decisions this commission makes over the nearly $1 billion in annual new taxes it will administer are untouchable for 15 years, not even in cases of waste, fraud or abuse. That means that even though California schools are laying off teachers, this special interest spending commission can dole out favors as it pleases, with no strict controls over spending. The fact is Prop 29 does nothing to fix California’s $10+ billion budget deficit but does everything to make sure that the reckless spending that got California into the fiscal mess it’s in will continue unabated.

Californians have a choice this June. Hopefully they’ll come to realize that decades of unsustainable spending on questionable projects put California in the sorry state it is today. Prop 29 is just more of the same for California—something the state just can’t afford.

Richard Rider calls Prop 29 a new high speed rail

California’s high-speed rail is a massive spending boondoggle from the 2008 ballot. Its cost nearly doubled to about $100 billion while not a single mile of track has yet been laid? Well, if you liked high-speed rail, you’ll love Proposition 29, coming to the California ballot this June. High speed rail, said Richard Rider, Chairman of the San Diego Tax Fighters, at a recent appearance on San Diego’s NBC affiliate, “promised in writing that it was going to operate under certain restrictions and now does not.”
That’s because special interests, with no accountability to voters or to taxpayers, hijacked the process doling out favors to political cronies and driving up the cost. It’s a reminder, Rider explained that “the idea that we should be budgeting money at the ballot box has not worked well for us.” Like high-speed rail, Prop 29 creates an unaccountable commission packed with political appointees. The decisions this commission makes over the nearly $1 billion in annual new taxes it will administer are untouchable for 15 years, not even in cases of waste, fraud or abuse. That means that even though California schools are laying off teachers, this special interest spending commission can dole out favors as it pleases, with no strict controls over spending. The fact is Prop 29 does nothing to fix California’s $10+ billion budget deficit but does everything to make sure that the reckless spending that got California into the fiscal mess it’s in will continue unabated. Californians have a choice this June. Hopefully they’ll come to realize that decades of unsustainable spending on questionable projects put California in the sorry state it is today. Prop 29 is just more of the same for California—something the state just can’t afford.

Boondoggle Projects Threaten California with Third World Status

Gov. Jerry Brown has an interesting definition of “third world.”
 

In an interview with a San Francisco radio station last week, Brown said California would become “a Third World country” unless the state builds a ghastly $100 billion high-speed rail line that’s been fraught with mismanagement, cost overruns and shaky ridership projections.

It’s an odd claim, considering many third-world nations are characterized by crumbling infrastructure, failed boondoggle projects and constant budgetary trouble. In much of the third-world, a new leader will pour massive amounts of a nation’s fortune into a single prestige project, only to have it fail when poor planning, bureaucratic incompetence and malfeasance slowly eat up all the funds.

By this definition, California seems currently on track to become America’s third-world state. Just like high-speed rail, the same spending lobby is promoting a nearly $1 billion per year tax hike so that a politically appointed panel can dole out favors to cronies. The $1 billion in new taxes under Proposition 29 goes into a lockbox that only this politically-influenced commission can access. Not even in cases of waste or abuse can the Governor or the Legislature make any changes! Proposition 29 sounds like it was plucked straight from the playbook of some Latin American dictator or Middle Eastern sheikh.

Jerry Brown ought to find the nearest dictionary. Pouring money into boondoggle projects while neglecting vital services like education and public safety is the surest way for California to join the third-world. Until California can figure out how to pay for what it already has, voters need to say no to more new spending.