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Archive for the ‘California’ Category

Education Revolution in Orange County: Part I of III

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 23, 2015

An education revolution has been brewing in Orange County.  We’re seeing massive change in Orange County thanks to charter schools, the Parent Trigger Law, and litigation against compulsory union dues by the California Teachers Association.  I’m going to do a three-part series on this.

Charter schools are a recognition that one-size-fits-all does not work for all students.  There needs to be competition because some students need a different kind of school, just like there are many different types of colleges and universities.

Despite Orange County’s conservatism, the education community has long known Orange County as an anti-charter school county.  It’s not the voters who were anti-charter school.  It was the school board members.

The 2007-2008 Grand Jury even issued a report where they recommended, “The chartering authorities should follow the intent of the legislature by encouraging the establishment of charter schools by granting more charter school petitions provided they meet the State requirements.”

At the time of the Grand Jury report, there were 11 charter schools in Orange County.  Over the next six years, just three new charters were approved.  Keep in mind there are 29 chartering authorities in Orange County: the Orange County Board of Education and the 28 local school districts.

Here’s what the state of charter schools looked like in May 2014.  This shows Orange County’s four neighboring counties, plus tiny Humboldt County.

County Number of Charter
Schools in 2014
Population
Orange 14 3,010,232
Humboldt 15 134,623
Riverside 26 2,189,641
San Bernardino 37 2,035,210
San Diego 120 3,095,313
Los Angeles 341 9,818,605

Then in June 2014, with assistance from the California Charter Schools Association, South County voters tossed the County Board of Education’s most virulent anti-charter school member, 32-year incumbent Liz Parker, who to the surprise of many, was a registered Republican.  By a 57%-43% margin, the voters sent in Linda Lindholm to replace Parker.

Things have changed significantly for charter schools in Orange County since Lindholm replaced Parker.  We have overtaken Humboldt County.  Local school districts got the message and approved two more charter schools in the latter half of 2014.  In the first half of 2015, the Orange County Board of Education approved another two charter schools.  Orange County has grown its charter schools to 19, still a bit behind Riverside and far behind San Bernardino, and way, way behind San Diego and Los Angeles Counties (even when adjusting for population).

 

As I noted in a post a month ago:

Trustee Ken Williams, elected in 1996, has a voting record generally supportive of charter schools.  Trustee Robert Hammond, elected in 2012, has a voting record consistently supportive of charter schools.  Between 2012-2014, Williams and Hammond often found themselves on the losing ends of 3-2 votes on charter school applications.  Lindholm’s victory in unseating Liz Parker shifted the Board to a pro-charter school majority.  To their credits, Trustees Jack Bedell and David Boyd, along with the Orange County Department of Education staff, recognized the sea change delivered by the voters.  Staff reports for both Vista Heritage and CCPA have recommended approval of the charter schools.  Bedell and Boyd joined a unanimous vote in favor of Vista Heritage’s application and are expected to join a unanimous vote for CCPA.

The Orange Unified School District provisionally approved a charter school in May by a 5-2 vote.  Unfortunately, due to absences, the OUSD Board’s vote on final approval was 3-2, one vote short of the necessary four votes.  That charter school, Unity Middle College High School, has appealed to the County Board of Education with a vote expected in August.  Considering OUSD’s rejection wasn’t a real rejection, and was more of a fluke, we should expect Orange County’s 20th charter school before the close of summer.

Next in the series: the Parent Trigger Law and Orange County’s 21st charter school…

Posted in Anaheim City School District, California, National, Orange County, Orange County Board of Education, Orange Unified School District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Assembly Labor Chair Cuts Off Vice Chair Matt Harper’s Microphone

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 9, 2015

I go on one vacation, and Fullerton agrees to election districts, the Governor signs SB 277 (Vaccination bill) into law, and the U.S. Supreme Court declares same-sex marriage a constitutional right, rules redistricting commissions constitutional, and accepts an Orange County case challenging the constitutionality of mandatory union dues.

More on those at a later date.  In a fun hearing yesterday on SB 3 by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) to raise the minimum wage, a clearly irritated Assembly Labor Committee Chair Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina) cut off the debate and forced a vote on the bill and even ordered the sergeant-at-arms to “please remove the mic” of Committee Vice Chair Matt Harper (R-Huntington Beach).

Here’s the 94-second video, with the mic removal toward the end:

On Facebook, Harper wrote:

Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, keep your hands off my microphone!  ‪#‎SB3‬ ‪#‎MinimumWage‬ ‪#‎CALEG‬ ‪#‎CAPolitics‬‪ #‎OffWithTheirMics‬

Here’s a more extensive statement from Harper’s office:

During a routine bill presentation today in front of the Assembly Labor and Employment committee, Chairman Roger Hernández (D-West Covina) used bullying tactics to stop any opposing comment from his Vice-Chairman and colleague, Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach).

The erratic behavior began when Hernandez first cut off a witness testifying mid-sentence. Although Hernández had already recognized Harper as the next speaker, instead, Hernández cut Harper off before he was able to say one word.

Hernandez then began frantically calling for a vote to quickly silence Harper. When Harper insisted to be heard, Hernandez physically reached over another person to personally turn off Harper’s microphone. The spastic behavior continued with Hernandez demanding capitol security to remove Assemblyman Harper’s microphone from the dais.

Assemblyman Hernández blocked discussion on a hot topic, SB 3 (Leno), a minimum wage increase bill that would have major implications to businesses and workers throughout the state of California.

From Assemblyman Matthew Harper:

“Blocking discussion in this manner is unfair, undemocratic and soils the decorum of the Assembly. I was sent here to represent the concerns of the voters of my district and chairman Hernández shut down my ability to speak for who I represent.

“Our state’s underemployment rate is overwhelming and the bill being rammed through our committee would make it harder to hire. We are sent here to debate policy that impacts the lives of Californians, not shut down dissenting points of view.

“The chair’s actions were offensive and disrespectful today, not just to me, but to Californians who want jobs and deserve to know the impacts policy will have on their chances of employment. The good people of the San Gabriel Valley deserve better from their representative and Californians as a whole deserve more from those who serve them.”

Hernandez won 54% of the vote in November against an underfunded Republican in the 48th Assembly District.

Posted in 74th Assembly District, California, State Assembly | Tagged: , | 8 Comments »

Taxes Due Today, But California’s Tax Freedom Day Isn’t Until May 3

Posted by Chris Nguyen on April 15, 2015

Tax Freedom Day in Each State – California is 47th Latest on May 3 (Graphic Courtesy of the Tax Foundation)

So if you’re like me, you’ll be finishing filing your income taxes sometime tonight.  I’m glad e-file has existed since I started filing income taxes.  It’d probably be a disaster driving to one of those postmarking-until-midnight Post Offices if I had to mail in my income taxes.

In fact, there’s only one Post Office in all of Orange County that will still be postmarking mail until midnight tonight: 3101 Sunflower Ave. in Santa Ana (the retail portion closes at 7:00 PM, but they’re still postmarking mail received by midnight). For those in northwestern Orange County, you can drive into LA County before 10:00 PM because the Post Office at 2300 Redondo Blvd. in Long Beach will be postmarking mail until then.

While today is the day we literally pay our income taxes, the figurative day in which we finish paying our taxes is still nine days away nationally and eighteen days away for California.

The Tax Foundation annually calculates Tax Freedom Day, which is the day in which people have earned enough money to pay all their taxes (income, payroll, sales, property, etc.) for the year, assuming no change in income level during the course of the year.  Any income earned after Tax Freedom Day will belong to the taxpayer (again assuming no change in income level during the course of the year).

National Tax Freedom Day for 2015 is April 24, though Tax Freedom Day varies by state.

The earliest Tax Freedom Day is in Louisiana on April 2, followed by Mississippi (April 4), South Dakota (April 8), and Tennessee and Alabama (both April 9).

The latest Tax Freedom Day is in Connecticut and New Jersey (both on May 13), New York (May 8), California (May 3), and Massachusetts (May 2).

That’s right: not only is California 47th in the nation, we’re also worse than Taxachusetts.

To look at this another way, the average Louisianan celebrates Tax Freedom Day on April 2, which is 92 days into the year, or 25.2% of the way into the year.  In other words, the average Louisianan pays 25.2% of their annual income in taxes.

The average Californian celebrates Tax Freedom Day on May 3, which is 123 days into the year, or 33.7% of the way into the year.  In other words, the average Californian pays 33.7% of their annual income in taxes, 8.5% more than the average Louisianan.

All of California’s neighbors celebrate Tax Freedom Day before California does: Arizona celebrates it today (17th in the country), Nevada on April 20 (26th in the country), and Oregon on April 22 (33rd in the country).

Posted in California, U.S. Politics | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Correa Recount Highly Unlikely to Succeed, Based on Recent Cases, Do to Be Sworn in This Morning

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 3, 2015

Supervisor's Chief/Businessowner Andrew Do (R-Westminster), California State Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), Councilmember/Deputy DA Chris Phan (R-Garden Grove), Television News Anchor Chuyen Van Nguyen (NPP-Garden Grove), and Office Specialist Lupe Morfin-Moreno (R-Santa Ana)

Supervisor’s Chief/Businessowner Andrew Do (R-Westminster), California State Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), Councilmember/Deputy DA Chris Phan (R-Garden Grove), Television News Anchor Chuyen Van Nguyen (NPP-Garden Grove), and Office Specialist Lupe Morfin-Moreno (R-Santa Ana)

Last night, former Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) submitted an official request for a recount to the Orange County Registrar of Voters.  Judging by recent recount efforts, it is highly unlikely that Correa will be able to overturn Supervisor-Elect Andrew Do’s 43-vote lead.

  • In the 2014 general election for the North Orange County Community College District’s Measure J, measure opponents needed to flip 34 votes to block the 55% supermajority to overturn the measure.  Realizing a recount would be unlikely to prevail, the opponents went with the unique method of using the recount as an opportunity to examine the provisional ballots, then ended the recount to instead file suit in court to get the provisionals tossed.  This case is still pending.  However, since provisionals overwhelmingly favored Correa, it is unlikely he would use this method (nor would adding the uncounted provisionals help since there were just a handful of those, so it was far short of 43).
  • In the 2014 general election for Mayor of Garden Grove, then-Mayor Bruce Broadwater (D-Garden Grove) sought a recount to overturn his 15-vote re-election loss to then-School Board Member Bao Nguyen (D-Garden Grove).  Broadwater threw in the towel when the first day of the recount failed to change a single ballot despite 2,500 ballots being recounted, and Nguyen became Mayor.
  • In the 2014 primary election for State Controller, then-Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles) sought a recount to overturn his 481-vote loss to then-Board of Equalization Member Betty Yee (D-San Francisco). Perez gave up after one week when he only managed to change 8 votes in approximately 400 precincts.  Yee advanced to the general election against Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin and won that race to become State Controller.
  • In the 2007 special election for the First Supervisorial District (i.e. the election for this same seat eight years ago when none other than Lou Correa resigned the seat to become a State Senator), then-School Board Member Trung Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) led then-Councilwoman Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) by 7 votes.  Janet Nguyen then sought a recount and netted 14 votes, thereby changing her 7-vote deficit into a 7-vote lead.  Trung Nguyen then went to court and widdled Janet Nguyen’s lead down to 3 votes.  Janet Nguyen, of course, went on to serve eight years in the seat before resigning in 2014 to become a State Senator, triggering the 2015 special election.  One important caveat in this story, state laws regarding recounts were much more generous in allowing ballots to be tossed back then, and even that was only a 14-vote (or 11-vote if you consider the judge’s rulings) switch.

Do’s 43-vote victory is simply too large a margin for Correa to overcome.  I don’t blame Correa for trying, because 43 votes out of 48,626 cast in 101 precincts is tantalizingly close, but he just won’t be able to pull it off.

Do will be sworn in as Supervisor this morning.

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, California, Garden Grove, North Orange County Community College District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Moorlach Enters SD-37 Race Against Wagner

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on November 30, 2014

Supervisor John Moorlach made a brief bid for Governor in February 2013 and dropping out four months later (Jerry Brown was re-elected to that seat), announcing a bid for the 45th Congressional District in December 2013 and dropping out three months later (Mimi Walters won that seat), and then flirted with bids for the 74th Assembly District (Matt Harper won that seat) and Auditor-Controller (Eric Woolery won that seat).

Today, Jon Fleischman at FlashReport reported on Supervisor John Moorlach’s entry into the 37th Senate District race against Assemblyman Don Wagner to replace Mimi Walters, who will vacate the seat to head to Congress.  Here’s an excerpt of Fleischman’s report

Both Moorlach and Wagner are conservatives, the former being a bit more iconic because of his prediction of the County of Orange’s bankruptcy back in the 90′s.

Neither Moorlach nor Wagner are known as being prolific fundraisers — though Wagner has had his eye in this seat for some time and starts with a head start.

One big question is whether the presence of two conservative foreshadows a more moderate entry into the race.

If Moorlach can raise (or self fund) 200k or more he would be very formidable for anyone, including Wagner, to beat. But that’s a big if. Moorlach floated a bid for Congress last year and dropped it largely as a function of fundraising challenges. Although he was trying to run against the aggressive Mimi Walters, who is a strong fundraiser.

Here’s an excerpt of Moorlach’s announcement…

In the last week I have been making calls when possible, as there were OCTA and Board of Supervisors meetings and the Thanksgiving holidays.  These calls have been extremely positive and I’m putting a campaign team together for the sprint that is called a special election.

Before I officially announce, I wanted you to know first.  There is only one other announced candidate at this time.  In fact, we did lunch a month ago and he is aware that I’ve been mulling this decision over.  I still need to connect with him to let him know that I am even more strongly leaning in running for this seat.

If you’re happy to endorse or support me, that would be great news.  With your permission, I may even include your name in my official announcement, which I hope to release sometime this week.

Thank you for allowing my wife and I to serve you as a County Treasurer-Tax Collector for nearly twelve years.  Thank you for allowing us to serve in the position of a County Supervisor for eight years; where I had a ball achieving numerous significant accomplishments.  Thank you for being a friend and for being on my e-mail tree.

After I make a formal announcement, I hope to engage you in some form or fashion in achieving a successful result next spring.  Together, let’s shake it up, again.

 

Posted in 2nd Supervisorial District, 37th Senate District, 45th Congressional District, 74th Assembly District, California, Orange County, Orange County Auditor-Controller | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

What Little We Know About the Justices on the Ballot

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 4, 2014

GavelWell, if you’re like me, you already figured out who you’re going to vote for in most races on the ballot and which ballot measures you’re voting for and against quite some time ago.  However, you’re probably thoroughly confused about the justices on the ballot since they don’t campaign, and they don’t have ballot statements.  We’re literally staring at names on a ballot.

I realize the justices are usually retained by 70%+, but I still prefer to try to be informed with my vote, rather than blindly picking.  I also have to keep in mind, that if a “No” vote prevails for any justice, Governor Jerry Brown picks the replacement.

In my 11th hour research, I tried to learn more about the justices, so I figured since I had the info, I might as well share with our readers Election Morning:

Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court

  • Goodwin Liu
    Official Biography
    Law School Biography
    Wikipedia Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Supreme Court Justice Since 2011, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    U.S. Senate Republicans filibustered his nomination to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by President Barack Obama (D)
    Professor of Law at UC Berkeley, 2003-2011
    Private Practice, O’Melveny & Meyers, 2001-2003
    Law Clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 2000-2001
    Special Assistant to the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education, 1999-2000
    Law Clerk for U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge David Tatel, 1998-1999
    Juris Doctor, Yale University
    Master’s in Philosophy and Physiology, Oxford University
    Bachelor’s in Biology, Stanford University
    Registered Democrat
  • Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar
    Law School Biography
    Wikipedia Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Supreme Court Justice Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D), Will Take Office in 2015 if Approved by Voters
    Professor of Law at Stanford since 2001
    Special Assistant to the President for Justice and Regulatory Policy, 2009-2010
    Co-Chair, Immigration Policy Working Group for Obama-Biden Transition Team, 2008-2009
    Law Clerk for U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Schroeder, 2000-2001
    Senior Advisor to the U.S. Undersecretary of the Treasury, 1997-1999
    Bachelor’s in Government and Political Psychology, Harvard University
    Master’s in Political Science, Stanford University
    Juris Doctor, Yale University
    Ph.D. in Political Science, Stanford University
    Registered Democrat
  • Kathryn Mickle Werdegar
    Official Biography
    Wikipedia Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Supreme Court Justice Since 1994, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    California First Circuit Court of Appeal Justice, 1988-1994, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco
    Senior Staff Attorney, California Courts of Appeal and California Supreme Court
    Director of Criminal Law Division for Continuing Education at the California State Bar
    United States Department of Justice
    Bachelor’s, University of California, Berkeley
    Juris Doctor, George Washington University (Began Law Work at UC Berkeley)
    Registered Republican

There’s a lot less info out there about the appellate justices than the Supreme Court justices.

Associate Justices of the California 4th District Court of Appeal, Division 1

  • Terry B. O’Rourke
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Since 1998, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    San Diego County Superior Court Judge, 1987-1998, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge, 1984-1987, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    Private Practice, 1973-1984
    Bachelor’s, Claremont McKenna College
    Juris Doctor, Harvard University
    Registered Republican
  • Gilbert Nares
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Justice Since 1988, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    San Diego County Superior Court Judge, 1978-1998, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    San Diego County Municipal Court Judge, 1976-1978, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    Private Practice, Daubney, Banche, Patterson & Nares, 1968-1976
    Bachelor’s in Economics and Philosophy, University of San Diego
    Juris Doctor, University of San Diego
    Registered Republican
  • Alex C. McDonald
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Since 1995, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    Private Practice, 1963-1995
    Law Clerk for California Supreme Court Justice Raymond Peters
    Bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering, Stanford University
    Bachelor of Laws, University of California, Berkeley
    Master of Laws, University of Virginia
    Registered Republican
  • James A. McIntyre
    Official Biography
    Wikipedia Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Justice Since 1996, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    San Diego County Superior Court Judge, 1993-1996, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    Private Practice, McInnis, Fitzgerald, Rees, Sharkey & McIntyre, 1963-1993
    Bachelor’s in Philosophy, Brown University
    Bachelor of Laws, Stanford University
    Registered Republican

Associate Justice of the California 4th District Court of Appeal, Division 2

  • Thomas E. Hollenhorst
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Since 1988, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    Riverside County Superior Court Judge, 1981-1988, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    Riverside County Municipal Court Judge, 1981-1981, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, 1972-1981
    Bachelor’s, San Jose State University
    Juris Doctor, University of California, Hastings
    Master of Laws, University of Virginia
    Registered Democrat

Presiding Justice of the California 4th District Court of Appeal, Division 3

  • Kathleen E. O’Leary
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Since 2012, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice, 2000-2012, Appointed by Governor Gray Davis (D)
    Orange County Superior Court Judge, 1986-2000, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    Orange County Municipal Court Judge, 1981-1986, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    Private Practice, 1975-1981
    Bachelor’s, Loyola Marymount University
    Juris Doctor, Southwestern University
    Registered Democrat

Associate Justices of the California 4th District Court of Appeal, Division 3

  • William F. Rylaarsdam
    Official Biography
    Wikipedia Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Since 1995, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Acting Presiding Justice, 2011-2012, Appointed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye
    Orange County Superior Court Judge, 1986-1995, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge, 1985-1986, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    Private Practice, 1964-1985
    Bachelor’s, University of California, Berkeley
    Juris Doctor, Loyola Law School
    Master of Laws, University of Virginia
    Registered Republican
  • Richard M. Aronson
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Since 2001, Appointed by Governor Gray Davis (D)
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Pro Tempore, 2000-2001
    Orange County Superior Court Judge, 1996-2000, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    Superior Court Commissioner, 1989-1996
    Senior Staff Attorney, California Courts of Appeal, 1988-1989
    Supervisor of Writs and Appeals, Orange County Public Defender’s Office, 1980-1988
    Deputy District Attorney, San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, 1976-1979
    Private Practice, 1964-1985
    Bachelor’s, University of San Diego
    Juris Doctor, University of San Diego
    Master of Laws, University of Virginia
    Registered Republican
  • David A. Thompson
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Since 2012, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    Orange County Superior Court Judge, 1998-2012, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    Private Practice, Morrison and Foerster, 1988-1997
    Private Practice, Rutan and Tucker, 1984-1988
    Staff Attorney, California Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Three, 1983
    Superior Court Commissioner, 1989-1996
    Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Georgetown University
    Juris Doctor, University of California, Los Angeles
    Registered Republican
  • Richard D. Fybel
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Since 2002, Appointed by Governor Gray Davis (D)
    Orange County Superior Court Judge, 2000-2002, Appointed by Governor Gray Davis (D)
    Private Practice, Morrison and Foerster, 1981-2000
    Private Practice, Nossaman, Guthner, Knox & Elliot, 1971-1981
    Bachelor’s in Business Administration, University of California, Los Angeles
    Juris Doctor, University of California, Los Angeles
    Registered Democrat

Posted in California | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Celebrities, Veterans and suicide

Posted by Thomas Gordon on August 13, 2014

IMG_5273.JPG

TV, radio and water cooler chatter is non stop talk about the suicide of Robin Williams.

Anytime someone takes their own life, heartbroken onlookers often ask a simple question.

Why?

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States accounting for roughly 40,000 lives lost every year.

But while we all take to Facebook and Twitter to remember Robin Williams, we should never forget our Veterans.

Roughly 22 Veterans take their own lives every day. Studies show that of those who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, nearly half know someone who has attempted suicide.

If you or someone you know needs someone to talk to, the National Suicide Prevention number is 1-800-273-8255.

Posted in California, National | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

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 »

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 »

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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