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U.S. Congressional Candidate Mia Love Visits the Lincoln Club in Orange County

Posted by Walter Myers III on July 19, 2014

MiaLove_16-240x300It was truly a privilege, inspirational, and wholly refreshing experience to meet U.S. Congress hopeful Ludmya Bourdeau “Mia” Love this week when she visited the Lincoln Club in Orange County. As you may recall, Mia was a relative unknown who lost to Democrat Jim Matheson in Utah’s 4th congressional district in 2012 by just 768 votes. Mia is back again in 2014, and I couldn’t be more pleased as it is people such as Mia that give me hope for the Republican Party and even more, hope for our country that if we put the right leaders in place we can change government for the better. Mia is the child of Haitian immigrants who came legally to the United States with virtually nothing, but took full advantage of the American dream. Their attitude was not to come looking to the government for anything, but simply looking to prosper and give back to a country that provided them with the opportunities they were denied in their own home country. Mia’s parents instilled in her an attitude of hard work, personal responsibility, and love of country, which she has demonstrated in her own career, in her time as City Council member and Mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, and has passed on to her own children.

Mia has an impressive record of achievement as a council member and Mayor, known for cutting taxes, expenses, and putting her city on a sound financial footing while serving as Mayor. Mia told a compelling story of the building of a library that highlights her refreshing view on how government is supposed to work. Some residents of Saratoga Springs wanted a library with the usual story about how great it would be and how many people it would serve. Before committing any public funds, however, Mia asked the library supporters to demonstrate just how much the community wanted a new library. The community came together, putting on bake sales and various kinds of rallies, raising all of the money needed to build the library with no public funds. You see this rarely, as most politicians (including some Republicans here in Orange County) seize on every opportunity to use public funds to “do something for the people” instead of being prudent with taxpayer money and challenging all efforts to take hard earned money out of people’s pockets. Granted, Saratoga Springs had only a population of 21,000 as of 2012, but the principles of fiscal constraint and limited government stand no matter what the population. If a politician doesn’t believe in limited government at the City Council level, they certainly won’t believe in it as they move to the state and federal levels where there is even greater impetus to spend other people’s money. This quality is imperative and Mia certainly possesses it.

Mia is a black woman who fully embraces and values what she is, but she will not allow others to place her in any predefined categories about what a black woman should be or do. Mia forcefully argued how the “hope and change” that Barack Obama promised was nothing more than a false campaign promise. While Obama believes that more and bigger government can make people’s lives better, Mia argues that the best government is the most local government. First, the federal government has limits as imposed by the Constitution, yet involves itself in things it was not designed to do and simply cannot do effectively. That’s why we have so much debt that we are passing on to the next generation. Second, when government does things for people that they can and should do for themselves, people lose the incentive to make their own lives better through self-reliance and thus become more dependent on government. Third, when you look at situations where people’s lives are actually made better, you see this at the local level where people are using their own resources and meeting each other at the point of need. To the degree that government is limited, those resources can stay local and be used locally to make people’s lives better, instead of being funneled up to a fat, bloated bureaucracy that cares little about how people’s hard earned money is spent since they are so far away from everyday problems.

So Mia gets it right, while Obama gets it totally wrong. But it’s not just Obama. It’s the other socialist/Marxist Democrats and unfortunately, many establishment Republicans. That’s why we desperately need a new generation of leadership that respects the Constitution and truly believes in limited federal government (i.e., giving the power the federal government has already unconstitutionally amassed back to the people). Mia would have a few like-minded colleagues in Congress such as Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, but what I think is unique about her is her method of communication. Mia recognizes, as I have been arguing for some time, that the biggest problem with Republican politicians is communication. Regretfully, most Republicans today in Washington, D.C. can’t communicate well enough to defend almost any policy position. What we hear are lots of numbers and statistics about debt and deficits, but most American people can’t translate that into something that is meaningful to their lives. That’s why Democrats have effectively brought the “War on Women” back this campaign cycle and Republicans have no idea how to respond. What Mia brings is a personal touch to her communication looking to speak to people’s hearts, and she only then goes after the mind once she has their attention to explain why a particular conservative policy will make their lives better. In so doing, that policy will not be what the government can do for a given person, but how the government can facilitate them doing for themselves at the most local level. Though Mia didn’t mention the term, it’s the powerful Catholic principle of subsidiarity. This principle holds that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization which can be done as well by a smaller and simpler organization. It particularly applies to government as a bulwark against centralized bureaucracy and tyranny.

I am supporting Mia and I hope you will take a look at her candidacy and support her as well. The incumbent Jim Matheson is not running again so she is the favorite to win. Nonetheless, while her fundraising has been outstanding, she needs much more support to ensure victory in November. Aside from the fact that she would be the first black Republican woman ever elected to the U.S. Congress, which is historical, what should get you really excited are her conservative principles, her energy, and her excellent ability to communicate which will be critical to growing the reach of the Republican Party. Mia breaks all of the stereotypes, and my hope is that she will break the mold of what the Republican Party looks like when she steps into Congress in January 2015 representing Utah’s 4th Congressional District. But not only is she representing Utah, she’s also representing the hopes and dreams of all of the grassroots conservatives who are clamoring for change in Washington. Ludmya Bourdeau “Mia” Love, I believe, will do just that and pave the way for a new, revitalized, Republican Party. Godspeed to you Mia!

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Unaccompanied Children: Why are they here?

Posted by Brenda McCune on July 18, 2014

“The breakdown of social structures and services accompaying a major crises means that communities and states themselves may not be in a position to provide the necessary protection and care for children without families. it is therefore imperative that humanitarian organizations ensure that the most vulnerable children are protected.”  

(Interagency Guiding Principles on Unaccompanied Children, 2004 report of Displaced Children.

 

So.  How are we doing with that?

 

In 1993 the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption was concluded.  It was ratified by Guatemala in 2002.   Countries whom are signatories to this convention were required to have a dedicated government agency to handle all international adoptions.  One of the principles underlying this Hague Convention was the theory that it is in the best interests of children to be raised within the culture of their birth.  the problem arises in the blind manner in which that goal is pursued.  UNICEF has been actively involved in and monitoring the progress and implementation of this Hague Convention in countries like Guatemala.

 

In 2007, after pressure from UNICEF, the Guatemalan National Adoptions Board (CNA is the abbreviation of the spanish title)stopped all international adoptions in order to cease the outflow of Guatemalan children to the U.S..  Private adoptions were outlawed, and a moratorium was imposed on international adoptions that remains to this date.  The private intermediaries, lawyers, who arranged and negotiated private international adoptions, were characterized as a large part of the “problem” and were prevented from doing any further adoptions.  All adoptions had to be approved and handled through the governmental agency.  

 

As of an April 2013 report, there are at least 5,800 Guatemalan children whom have been abandoned by their parents and left in institutions, orphanages.  Because of the moratorium, that is where they stay, indefinitely.

 

In Guatemala, re-unificaiton is compulsory.  That means, they search for and find the mother, force her to submit to DNA testing to prove maternity, and compel her to take the child back.  The wishes, or the financial means, of the mother are largely disregarded.  The mothers in the program report being coerced and threatened to take their unwanted children.  The government agency continues the illogical process of compulsory reunification because it crunches their adoption numbers down to satisfy the constant UNICEF monitoring.  The goal of UNICEF is the preserve the children in their home country and culture.   It seem little thought is given the whether that is a culture of abject poverty, starvation, disease, violence and in general marginallization of the health and safety of the children. 

 

Up to the imposition of the  moratorium on international adoptions, it is estimated that 5,000 Guatemalan children were adopted outside the country each year.  With that estimate, and several years now since the imposition of the moratorium, it is hard to believe that the estimate of 5,800 in orphanages now. Still a staggering and heart breaking number. 

 

To serve a goal of cultural preservation, children are being permanently institutionalized, or replaced with parents who did not want them.  Although another stated goal was to eliminate the possibility of sex and slave trade and other abuse of internationally adopted children, it hardly seems this wholesale warehousing of them is the most efficient means to have accomplished the childrens best interests.

 

All of this illuminates the current circumstance and plight of the thousands of unaccompanied children whom have recently flooded across the gossamer southern border of the U.S..

Children who were not available to be adopted by loving families in the U.S., were either warehoused in Central America or returned to parents who did not want or could not care for them, and are now being warehoused here.  Arguably in nicer warehouses, but still herded like cattle, having faced a long uncertain and treacherous journey, all because they or their parents heard and beleived something about a “Dream Act” or a better life north of the border, and because UNICEF and the Hague didn’t want them to miss out on their own culture.

 

The moratorium on International Adoptions has to be stopped.  It is another twist of the chicken or the egg debate, the “secure the border first” or start with “immigration reform”.  The flood will likely continue or surge again.  Why, in the face of the utter failure of the cultural maintenance policy, can UNICEF and the governments not see the obvious answer.  Do something at the source. Lift the moratorium is such a simple and immediate remedy.   Still we must address the situation we are sitting on north of our border now, but we can no longer allow the overwhelming presence of these unaccomplained children to cloud the significant policy flaw, and adopton moratorium that has contributed significantly to the problem.  

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Harris v. Quinn, an Important Limitation on Forced Unionization

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on July 1, 2014

On Monday, June 30, 2014 the United State Supreme Court issued its ruling in the important case of Harris v. Quinn. While the case is limited in its ruling and scope, it is a critical one where the Court boxed in the ever expansionist reach of government employee unions.

Background:

Mrs. Pamela Harris is the mother of a severely disabled adult son who needs constant care due to his disabilities.  A federal Medicaid program funds many state run programs that provides financial assistance by paying caregivers for these individuals who reside at home rather than in a more expensive nursing care facility.  Most often it is a family member who is providing this care and who is being paid to do so under this program.  The State of Illinois has such a program and by law declared these caregivers to be state employees but without any right to benefits, not subject to any control as to their time, place or methods of provision of care services (and provides that the caregiver is solely responsible to and is an at will employee of the customer (the disabled person)) and the State is immune from any liability to the disabled customer for any home caregivers negligence or intentional conduct.

In 2003, first by executive order then legislation, the caregivers were forced to join a union, the SEIU, and pay dues, which the State withheld from their Medicaid payments.  Mrs. Harris and others challenged this forced unionization via this case.  She lost at the federal trial court and intermediate appeals court levels with those courts relying on a past U.S.S.C. court case Abood v. Detroit Bd. Of Ed. 431 U.S. 209 (1977).  The Supreme Court, noting the importance of the factual situation described above, ruled in Mrs. Harris favor.

Limited Ruling:

The Court (Justice Alito) performed a detailed analysis of the reasoning behind the Abood case, which upheld the unionization of full time government employees (there teachers) who were directly the employees of the Board of Education.   Justice Alito and the rest of the majority found that full time direct state employees are vastly different factually to what I would call akin to in-home independent contractors and limited the extent of the Abood ruling to full time direct government employees.  Further to extend the finding in Abood upholding required union membership (or agency fee paying) to this situation was a reach to far.  The Court stated:

“If we allowed Abood to be extended to those who are not full-fledged public employees, it would be hard to see

just where to draw the line, and we therefore confine Abood’s reach to full-fledged state employees.”

Once the Court found the holding in Abood was not controlling in this situation, it then did an analysis of the facts of this situation under “generally applicable First Amendment standards.”  Relying on cases like Knox v. Service Employees 567 U.S. ___ , 132 S. Ct. 2277 (2012), the Court ruled that the justification of preventing “free riders” benefiting from union negotiations for its members applying to those not paying for union dues / expenses, did not apply in the context of the Harris facts (in-home workers as described above).

Once again, the Court noted several significant differences between the regular full time government employee and the in-home caregivers the Illinois statute attempted to force unionization upon.   For example, one justification cited by the unions is “labor peace” in not having conflicting unions vying for membership in the same union shop locations.  The Court noted that in-home caregivers are not in one place but always in the customers’ homes (which are often the caregivers homes’ as well).  Space does not permit me to go through all of the Court’s reasoning here.  The Court ordered that union dues and agency fees can no longer be withheld from a home caregivers’ Medicaid payments if they object.

Implications from this Ruling:

1. The Court effectively blocked forced government unionization of recipients of funds under government programs like Medicaid where the person receiving the payments is not a true “government” worker where the state agency controls the time, method and means of employment.   This is especially true where the legislature declares the “employee” is not entitled to any typical government employee benefits like pension rights.  The Court was very specific about the limited nature of the “employment” between the State of Illinois and the home caregiver.

2. The Harris decision is not banning forced union membership (or agency payments to a union by those who do not join the union) for traditional full time government workers such as public school teachers, CHP officers, firefighters, etc.   This is not a “right to work” decision for all government employees.

3. However, a close reading of the Harris majority’s analysis of the Abood decision notes the current majority’s concerns that the policy and practical implications of Abood’s approval of closed shop laws for government employees.  Thus the majority justices may be open to a challenge from a more traditional full time government employee.

4. Elections matter – the Harris decision and the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case (both critically important First Amendment cases decided on the same day) were five to four votes that included the swing vote of Justice Kennedy.  All of the four “liberal” justices voted in the dissent to uphold the forced unionization of the home caregivers in Harris (and to deny religious expression as argued in the Hobby Lobby case).  Thus the outcomes of the elections in the fall for control of the U.S. Senate and the White House in 2016 are critical as the make up of the Court could be the deciding factor on these important issues one way or another in the near future.

To read the Court’s opinion go to: (Harris v. Quinn).

*   *   *

 Craig P. Alexander, Esq. is an attorney at law who practices in the area of insurance coverage, construction defect, business dispute and general civil litigation.  His office is in Dana Point, California. 

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Lisa Bartlett Attacks Robert Ming With False “Facts”

Posted by Greg Woodard on June 30, 2014

Apparently concerned by Robert Ming’s first place finish in the primary for the Orange County Supervisor race in the Fifth District, Lisa Bartlett has started sending around something titled “Ming’s Dings.”  The first installment calls out Ming for his support last year of a city loan to the new City Manager for him to buy a house in the city.  Unfortunately, Bartlett appears more concerned about casting Ming in a negative light than she does about the actual facts surrounding the loan.  (For the record, I supported Ming in the primary.)

Bartlett falsely claims that the median home price in Laguna Niguel is $300,000 and contrasts that with the $925,000 loan that the City Manager was requesting.  In fact, the median home price in Laguna Niguel is actually much higher at anywhere from $650,000 to over $675,000.  Bartlett also falsely states that the loan was approved at a below-market interest rate, yet the story cited in Bartlett’s own hit piece states that the City Council (Ming included) voted to require that the interest on the loan be at market rate.  In addition, the City Manager’s loan payments are taken directly from his paycheck and if he ever leaves the city or is terminated, he must sell his house and pay off the loan.  Finally, the hit piece erroneously inflates the City Manager’s salary and benefits by over $215,000.  In fact, the City Manager’s salary and benefits are slightly lower than the average of Orange County city managers, and actually lower than the City Manager in Bartlett’s city, Dana Point (despite Laguna Niguel having almost 30,000 more residents).  It is ironic that Bartlett, a partner at a real estate and investment firm, would not know the median home price in Laguna Niguel.  Even more ironic is the fact that Bartlett would be calling out (falsely) the Laguna Niguel City Manager’s salary and benefits, when her own City Manager’s package is higher.

People can debate the wisdom of a city offering a loan to a City Manager (other cities offer a similar perk).  However, the debate should begin with the real facts, not those embellished by a political foe who is trying to make up ground in advance of the November election.  I trust Bartlett will be issuing a correction any time now.

Posted in 5th Supervisorial District, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Orange County Board of Supervisors | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Thad Cochran, the GOP Establishment, and Racial Politics

Posted by Walter Myers III on June 29, 2014

CochranIf you weren’t sure who the “establishment” was in the GOP, then if you were following the US Senate primary run-off in Mississippi between incumbent Thad Cochran and Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel, you found out to stunning effect. Sensing his political future was in serious trouble, Cochran, who was supported by the likes of Arizona Senator John McCain, Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, waged a campaign that stooped to the lowest level of tactics rivaling those of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Cochran, who has been in Washington, D.C. since 1978 (that’s 36 years), did not run as a conservative, but as a big government, pork-barrel senator who brought home the bacon for Mississippi. But that’s not the worst part. The worst part was that he reached out to Democrats, particularly liberal black Democrats, because without them he would have most likely lost. His message was that if the Tea Party candidate won, blacks would lose their welfare benefits and the Tea Party would continue their “disrespectful treatment of the first African-American president.” With friends like Cochran in the GOP, who needs enemies in the Democratic Party?

Ostensibly, the establishment backers felt Cochran had a better chance against the Democrat in November, but was it worth it to violate core principles of conservatism and to even further falsely sully the reputation of the Tea Party caucus, who they might have forgotten are Republicans too? The charges of racism are going to stick to the larger party as well, so Cochran may have done himself a favor but he has done no favors for the party. Perhaps some will view his “outreach” to blacks as a good thing for the GOP, but this wasn’t outreach. It was a bribe. In effect, Cochran told black people that he was going to keep bringing big government benefits to them in Mississippi. He owes them now and they will be looking to cash in. So there are no pretenses now that the supposedly Republican senator will fight for smaller government, against Obama’s socialist agenda, and greater opportunity for blacks. His job is to “bring home the bacon” and support Obama from the attacks of racist Tea Party conservatives. Who would have ever expected the Republican Party would devolve to such a shameful state. But then again, this is politics and politics is all too often about personal survival at the expense of the country and our Constitution. And even more tragic is to see blacks across this country place so much faith in government only to be used as a voting block and forgotten when no longer needed (who are notably much worse off under Obama than Bush). The much needed economic opportunity and chance for upward mobility never seem to arrive, and it will be status quo with Republican Cochran.

Thad Cochran and his ilk, in my view, are fundamentally no different from Democrats. This is precisely why the Tea Party came about, which was to revitalize a once-proud grassroots party that has sadly lost its way. The milquetoast, go along to get along politicians such as Cochran simply don’t share the same core values as the conservative base of the Republican Party. To use blacks in such a manner that he has previously paid no attention to in order to keep what he arguably believes is “his” seat, and to spread falsehoods about his opponent as well as the Tea Party sets a new low for Republican politics. And we didn’t hear any protest from McCain, McConnell, Barbour, or political pundit Karl Rove when this man used racial politics as a tool to win. So you know where their loyalties are in what they obviously see as nothing more than a game of hustle. This just shows you where the party is going and what its leadership is truly like. The Republican leadership doesn’t want to turn this country around from its headlong run into a socialist welfare state. They just want to convince us that they will run the socialist welfare state better than Democrats. So much for bold colors or a vision of a city on the hill. This is the wrong prescription for America, and it is why the Tea Party cannot give up but must continue to fight. What I do hope the Tea Party learns from this is that it needs to actively reach out to minority communities with a message of hope, optimism, and economic opportunity. Minority communities cannot be ignored any longer, and what we have learned from this race is that establishment Republicans will pander to minority communities when it serves their purposes. The Tea Party should be on notice.

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June 2014 Post-Election Analysis: Lieutenant Governor

Posted by Chris Emami on June 16, 2014

We now move on to the race for Lieutenant Governor which will see former California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring take on sitting Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom in the November run-off.

The June election was between eight candidates and unfortunately for Republicans Gavin Newsom is teetering close to 50% of the vote despite having one other Democrat on the ballot (ballots are not completely finished being counted).

california_flag

Nehring advances to November after easily finishing ahead of Republicans David Fennell & George Yang. Here are the statewide results on the race:

Candidate Votes Percent
Eric Korevaar (Party Preference: DEM) 224,800
5.5%
* Gavin Newsom (Party Preference: DEM) 2,022,663
49.9%
David Fennell (Party Preference: REP) 348,390
8.6%
Ron Nehring (Party Preference: REP) 949,328
23.4%
George Yang (Party Preference: REP) 324,446
8.0%
Jena F. Goodman (Party Preference: GRN) 94,224
2.3%
Amos Johnson (Party Preference: P&F) 38,307
0.9%
Alan Reynolds (Party Preference: AE) 54,157
1.3%

Turnout in Orange County is slightly concerning if you look at the fact that Newsom finished in first place, However, the vote total for all Republicans in OC totals 56% of the vote and Nehring finished 20% ahead of the closest Republican challenger:

Lieutenant Governor
Completed Precincts: 1856 of 1856
Vote Count Percentage
* GAVIN NEWSOM 110,859 34.7%
RON NEHRING 107,447 33.6%
DAVID FENNELL 41,474 13.0%
GEORGE YANG 31,409 9.8%
ERIC KOREVAAR 15,161 4.7%
JENA F. GOODMAN 5,589 1.7%
ALAN REYNOLDS 5,319 1.7%
AMOS JOHNSON 2,369 0.7%

Despite having multiple Republican opponents Nehring still managed to finish ahead of Newsom in a majority of Orange County cities including Brea, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, La Habra, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Villa Park, and Yorba Linda

Statewide though Newsom had a very large advantage geographically. The most shocking thing for me was noticing that Nehring did not come in first in his home county of San Diego:

June_LG_Map_Fixed

The most shocking thing of all though is that Nehring did as well as he did raising only $23,000 for a statewide race and spending even less than that (expenditures are through 5-17-2014):

Consultants $0
Campaign Literature/Mailings $800
Campaign Paraphernalia/Miscellaneous $0
Television/Cable $0

Newsom raised almost ten times as much as Nehring in this period and spent substantially more (expenditures are through 5-17-2014):

Consultants $122,000
Campaign Literature/Mailings $700
Campaign Paraphernalia/Miscellaneous $9,000
Television/Cable $0

Nehring is not one of the Republican candidates that I would say is in great position going forward. Newsom is likely going to campaign extremely hard in order to show strength for 2018 where it is rumored that he might take on Attorney General Kamala Harris for Governor. Newsom did not come anywhere close to the numbers that Jerry Brown had in spite of the fact that Brown faced more opponents and had two better funded challengers.

I am going to vote for Ron Nehring for the good of the Republican Party and because I think he would make a much better Lieutenant Governor than Gavin Newsom. However, this particular seat will be an uphill battle unless Nehring can raise a lot of money going forward.

Posted in California | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Brown v Board of Education Shamefully Revisited in California

Posted by Walter Myers III on June 15, 2014

Julia MaciasA beautiful thing happened this past week. It was not Barack Obama’s visit to Laguna Beach where, as usual, he was whisked into a private gated community at taxpayer expense where the public had no access to him, where he held a $32,000 a plate fundraiser that only the super-rich could attend. These happen to be the same super-rich that he calls “fat cats” for not paying their “fair share” of taxes while telling the rest of us who have no access to him that he is fighting against them for us. Sure thing, Mr. President. We’re just that gullible and stupid to believe people like you who say one thing and do another while you enrich yourself and those who have sold their souls to jump into bed with big government. I believe it is called crony capitalism. Anyway, this article is not about the injustices of the lawless Obama administration foisted on an American populous that should have known better than to have voted him into office the first time, let alone a second. It is about the astounding legal victory handed to California students and parents, striking down the state tenure and seniority system as unconstitutional that has consigned poor and minority students to less than a quality education.

Those children of California who have been least able to defend themselves due to circumstance of birth have, in effect, been subjected to racist policies driven by the stunning hutzpah, avarice, and greed displayed by the California teachers unions, all the while supported by Democrats in the state legislature who were more than happy to take union campaign contributions and look the other way while California’s children were failing to be educated. The teachers unions continue to defend bad laws and are promising to appeal the ruling handed down by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu, who judged that five statutes of the California Education Code are unconstitutional since they violate the fundamental right of all students to receive a quality education. Notably, and truthfully, Judge Treu compared the Vergara v California case to the landmark Brown v Board of Education Supreme Court case that ordered desegregation 60 years ago in 1954, which ended “separate but equal” educational facilities that everyone knew to be inherently unequal. The Vergara case is based on nine public school students’ claims (the plaintiffs) that “grossly ineffective teachers obtaining and retaining permanent employment… are disproportionately situated in schools serving predominantly low-income and minority students.” The case they made couldn’t be more clear, as the judge noted.

While my view is that the state laws did not have the original intent to be racist, that was their effect. And that has been their effect for a very long time with the full knowledge of both the teachers unions and the Democrat-controlled legislature in Sacramento that is beholden to the California Teachers Association $300 million war chest. Just as Barack Obama has an insatiable desire for the $32,000 a plate breakfast fundraisers populated by coastal gentry liberals and billionaire tech oligarchs, the Democrat Party of California has an insatiable desire for teachers union money since it is easy and plentiful. If a poor education for children other than their own is the consequence, then that’s a small price to pay to stay in office. When these children reach adulthood and enter the workforce unequipped, then they will become easy pickings for government handouts, and thus lifelong Democrat voters to keep the Democrat majority in power. And you know who is going to be asked to foot the bill. It’s just too easy when you don’t care that lives are destroyed in the process when they have barely just begun. The good news is that the parents and their brave nine children who took action over this grave injustice have emerged victorious as have all other parents and their children in California, at least for now. Let’s only hope that governor Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris will come to their senses and cease upholding what are clearly bad laws. Let’s end this injustice now with no more appeals.

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CTA Hypocrisy Exposed by Vergara Ruling

Posted by Mark Bucher on June 11, 2014

The California Teachers Association is the most powerful special interest in California. They often run ads touting how much they care about education and our students, while at the same time steadfastly defending laws that make it virtually impossible to fire grossly ineffective teachers who can have a devastating impact on the education of students. Yesterday a judge in Los Angeles exposed this hypocrisy by ruling that CTA-backed laws protecting ineffective teachers are illegal because they deprive our children of a quality education.

The judge found:

“Evidence has been elicited in this trial of the specific effect of grossly ineffective teachers on students. The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience…There is also no dispute that there are a significant number of ineffective teachers currently active in California classrooms…The number of grossly ineffective teachers has a direct, real, appreciable, and negative impact on a significant number of California students, now and well into the future for as long as said teachers hold their positions.”

“This Court…finds that based on…the evidence presented at trial, Plaintiffs have proven, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the challenged statutes impose a real and appreciable impact on students’ fundamental right to equality of education and that they impose a disproportionate burden on poor and minority students.”

The CTA and their allies set up this system, profit by it, and will fight to keep it this way. But this landmark court case, Vergara vs. the State of California, has been a long time coming. The interests of students are finally being heard.

Vergara claimed that three current statutes violate the civil right to equal education. The first challenge regarded tenure, which requires an administrator’s decision after only 16 months, which the plaintiffs argued is far too short a period of time in which to identify an ineffective teacher. The second concerned dismissal practices, which are costly and time consuming, making it impractical to fire a teacher. The third challenge was to the “last-in, first-out” layoff rules, which force school districts to fire top teachers and retain ineffective ones.

This ruling, which will be appealed by the CTA (of course – why would they put the education of students before the interests of grossly ineffective teachers), is far reaching.

In a mesmerizing 56 minute closing argument, plaintiff attorney Marcellus McRae dissected the objections of the defense. As he repeatedly cited, it was the witnesses for the defense who, withering under cross-examination, provided some of the most compelling testimony. Again and again they admitted that yes, it is impossible to evaluate a teacher for tenure in only 16 months, yes, it is for all practical purposes impossible to fire ineffective teachers, and yes, LIFO layoff rules cause districts to lose some of their finest teachers, while retaining many who are ineffective.

McRae’s argument concerning the disproportionate harm these rules cause low-income and minority communities was impossible to refute. Good teachers accept new job offers and migrate to better schools while poor teachers take advantage of their tenure to remain in place. Vacancies are then filled by poor teachers getting transferred out of good schools because they can’t be dismissed. The few good new teachers who are attracted to poor schools are lost whenever there’s a layoff.

The judge agreed.

In their official response the CTA made this accusation, “Students Matter is supported by Michelle Rhee and Students First, Parent Revolution Executive Director Ben Austin, Billionaire and school privatizer Eli Broad, former lawmaker Gloria Romero, and other corporate education reformers with an interest in privatizing public education and attacking teachers’ unions.” But their logic doesn’t hold up.

If anything, the abolition of current laws that protect ineffective public school teachers will not further the agenda of private education special interests, but rather help to rescue public education. A Machiavellian strategy to push private educational solutions would be to allow the public school system to fail completely. If proponents of private education and charter schools are supporting Vergara, it’s because it’s the right thing to do for California’s students.

The coalition that opposed the Vergara plaintiffs was obvious – the public employee unions representing teachers. Apart from sharing a conviction that California’s students deserve better, the group supporting Vergara defies simple characterization. That they have coalesced on this issue, and are likely destined to fundamentally improve the rules governing California’s public schools, should be cause for great hope to anyone who wants to reform California’s public institutions. All of them.

*   *   *

Mark Bucher is the president of the California Policy Center

Posted in California | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Breaking News: Teacher Tenure Ruled Unconstitutional

Posted by Chris Emami on June 10, 2014

A Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge ruled earlier today that teacher tenure is unconstitutional. We will have a deeper analysis of this ruling later today. H/T to the Sacramento Bee for posting this story.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

June 2014 Post-Election Analysis: Governor

Posted by Chris Emami on June 9, 2014

In my effort to keep our readership happy and provide some interesting content on the blog while we all wait for the filing period for the November General Election to commence, I will be giving an analysis of each race (not including races with a Custom Campaigns client in it) detailing what happened. Each race will be analyzed with an Orange County perspective in mind.

I will be waiting a few weeks on my analysis of the race for California State Controller because the race is ridiculously close between 2nd-4th place and I want to know for sure who is advancing before I analyze this one. On a side note Chris Nguyen has informed me that he will be doing his analysis of different races with heads on the map (he did these in 2012).

california_flag

We will start by taking a look at the race for Governor. Under the  Prop 14 rules the top two candidates advance to number regardless of how high a percentage the top vote getter receives. This is good news for Neel Kashkari who advances to November but faces a steep uphill battle. Here are the statewide results on the race:

Candidate Votes Percent
Akinyemi Agbede (Party Preference: DEM) 30,469
0.8%
* Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown (Party Preference: DEM) 1,970,995
54.1%
Richard William Aguirre (Party Preference: REP) 30,215
0.8%
Andrew Blount (Party Preference: REP) 78,173
2.1%
Glenn Champ (Party Preference: REP) 65,638
1.8%
Tim Donnelly (Party Preference: REP) 543,817
14.9%
Neel Kashkari (Party Preference: REP) 710,881
19.5%
Alma Marie Winston (Party Preference: REP) 39,223
1.1%
Luis J. Rodriguez (Party Preference: GRN) 53,220
1.5%
Cindy L. Sheehan (Party Preference: P&F) 42,731
1.2%
“Bo” Bogdan Ambrozewicz (Party Preference: NPP) 12,204
0.3%
Janel Hyeshia Buycks (Party Preference: NPP) 9,965
0.3%
Rakesh Kumar Christian (Party Preference: NPP) 9,217
0.3%
Joe Leicht (Party Preference: NPP) 7,815
0.2%
Robert Newman (Party Preference: NPP) 36,699
1.0%

These results show Tim Donnelly running fairly closely to Neel Kashkari statewide but surprisingly in conservative Orange County Kashkari had a much wider margin of victory over Donnelly as can be seen by the results:

Governor
Completed Precincts: 1856 of 1856
Vote Count Percentage
* EDMUND G. “JERRY” BROWN 114,481 38.3%
NEEL KASHKARI 92,946 31.1%
TIM DONNELLY 58,715 19.7%
ANDREW BLOUNT 8,031 2.7%
GLENN CHAMP 5,320 1.8%
RICHARD WILLIAM AGUIRRE 3,215 1.1%
CINDY L. SHEEHAN 2,965 1.0%
ALMA MARIE WINSTON 2,941 1.0%
ROBERT NEWMAN 2,700 0.9%
LUIS J. RODRIGUEZ 2,299 0.8%
AKINYEMI AGBEDE 1,946 0.7%
“BO” BOGDAN AMBROZEWICZ 900 0.3%
JOE LEICHT 843 0.3%
RAKESH KUMAR CHRISTIAN 753 0.3%
JANEL HYESHIA BUYCKS 588 0.2%

Looking at results from the different cities in Orange County Neel Kashkari managed to finish ahead of Donnelly in all but one city. I was shocked to see that the city Tim Donnelly finished ahead of Neel Kashkari in was Santa Ana of all places by a margin of over 500 vote (vote counting is not quite over yet).

Statewide though Jerry Brown dominated most counties however it was Tim Donnelly and not Neel Kashkari that pulled off a win in a couple of counties (Modoc & Lassen). Here is a map from the Secretary of States website that shows the winners by county.

Governors_Map

Donnelly ran a more grassroots campaign relying on members of the tea party and other conservative groups to help spread his message spending a grand total of $585,000 on the race including the following major categories of expenditures (expenditures are through 5-17-2014):

Consultants $220,000
Campaign Literature/Mailings $9,000
Campaign Paraphernalia/Miscellaneous $4,000
Television/Cable $0

Kashkari definitely ran a more aerial campaign as can be seen from his campaign finance reports were he spent over $2,500,000 on the race including the following major categories of expenditures (expenditures are through 5-17-2014):

Consultants $340,000
Campaign Literature/Mailings $237,000
Campaign Paraphernalia/Miscellaneous $9,000
Television/Cable $1,000,000

Jerry Brown is clearly waiting for November with his campaign spending less than $100,000 in June.

At the end of the day numbers don’t lie and Jerry Brown is in a very strong position going forward to November. Despite low Democratic turnout Brown managed to capture over 50% of the vote statewide. Kashkari is going to be attacked by Jerry Brown in messaging to conservatives (who already were likely in the Donnelly camp) that Kashkari voted for Obama and ran TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program). With increased voter turnout in November for Democrats and the possibility of some conservative voters sitting out this race Jerry Brown is at a definite advantage going into the November election. Financially Brown has over $20,000,000 cash on hand while Kashkari has just $1,400,000 which is a substantial deficit to start things off.

I am not going to make a prediction on this race though because Neel Kashkari did run a much stronger campaign than Donnelly and despite facing tough odds against Jerry Brown the CRP has been a bit revitalized with Jim Brulte doing an excellent job since taking over. I look forward to seeing Kashkari run a much stronger and more competent campaign than Meg Whitman did in 2010 (he can start by keeping the axe off of future mailers).

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