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Archive for August, 2015

Partisan Hypocrisy Sacramento Style In Full Display

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on August 26, 2015

Yesterday was a banner day for Hypocrisy by the majority party in Sacramento.

As has been written in this blog by myself and others, Democrat Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez has been pushing for the State Auditor’s office to “audit the audit” by the City of Irvine into the mismanaged $200 million plus taxpayer dollars that were squandered by the prior City Council majority lead by then councilman Larry Agran.  The City’s audit (spearheaded by City Council persons Christina Shea and Jeffery Lalloway) has already shown that millions of dollars have been wasted on no bid contracts with firms like Gafcon, Inc. – with whom Assemblywoman Gonzalez has close ties.   Apparently Ms. Gonzalez, afraid that the audit will continue and find reveal more bad actions by Gafcon, Inc. (one of her political supporters), got the Joint Legislative Audit Committee to vote along partisan lines to order the State Auditors office to audit not the Great Park financial mismanagement by Larry Agran, but the audit itself.  Here is the link to the article in the Orange County Register:  State to Investigate Great Park Audit. This audit will occur despite the opposition of many Orange County elected officials lead by Assemblyman Don Wagner.  The State Auditor’s office is to determine if the Irvine audit was “too political.”  Lets see if the State Audit itself is “political” or not.

At the same meeting of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, the Democrat majority killed a request by Republican Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (with support by Republican State Senator Jean Fuller) to audit how state funds are being spent by Planned Parenthood in California.  Please keep in mind Assemblywoman Melendez was not asking the committee to “defund” Planned Parenthood, just to audit them to make sure the taxpayer funds being given to PP were being spent as intended.  Given the overwhelming evidence of Planned Parenthood selling baby parts / organs and now whole baby cadavers themselves (often apparently in violation of federal laws) via the videos being released by the Center for Medical Progress, there is more than good reason to audit Planned Parenthood to make sure taxpayer dollars are not being misspent.  The vote was, again, completely along party lines to deny the request.  Here is a link to the full article in the Flashreport (written by eye witness Katy Grimes): Partisan Lawmakers Kill State Audit of Planned Parenthood’s Public Funding.

Once again our State Legislature has proven to be partisan overall.  An audit of the auditors trying to find out what happened to millions and millions of taxpayer dollars regarding the Great Park and no audit of Planned Parenthood in spite of overwhelming evidence of misconduct and perhaps even criminal conduct.  O I forgot, both Gafcon and Planned Parenthood are Democratic party supporters!

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

Education Revolution in Orange County: Part III of III – OC Teachers Lawsuit Against Unions Reaches Supreme Court

Posted by Chris Nguyen on August 6, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Justices

This is the third in my series on the education revolution brewing in Orange County.  The first piece was on the growth of charter schools in Orange County to catch up to the number of charter schools in the rest of California.  The second piece was on the use of the Parent Trigger Law at Palm Lane Elementary School.  Today, in the final piece, we turn to an Orange County case that has reached the United States Supreme Court seeking to overturn the “agency shop” rules for California school districts and to overturn the opt-out procedure for the “nonchargeable” portion of union dues.

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association is the most sweeping part of the education revolution in Orange County.  The plurality of the teachers, unions, and school districts in the case are from Orange County.

The growth of charter schools in Orange County is just OC playing catch up to its neighboring counties.  The Palm Lane Elementary School case is Orange County being one of the early adopters in the efforts around the Parent Trigger Law.  Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association is Orange County seeking to pave the way for the nation.

If the petitioners (Rebecca Friedrichs, et al.) prevail in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, collective bargaining in this country changes forever and the influence of public employee unions in elections, particularly California elections, will wane significantly.

Public employee unions’ enormous sums of money for political campaigns are fueled by the dues they collect from their members.  For an individual employee to opt out of contributing their dues for political purposes, that employee must during a six-week period each year send a letter to the union stating they wish to opt out (there’s even a confusing box on the CTA’s regular dues form that implies employees can opt out entirely but is actually a box that accomplishes a far narrower task).

If the Supreme Court simplifies the opt-out system or switches opt-out to opt-in, you will see a precipitous fall in the amount of union money in politics.  With this fall in union money, it will be much tougher for union allies to win elected office in Congress, the State Legislature, and local government.  Fewer elected officials will be beholden to teachers unions.

If the petitioners prevail, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association will represent a sea change in American and California politics and governance.

What does “agency shop” mean?  What are “nonchargeable” portions of union dues?

(The petitioners describe describe “agency shop” rules as: “The State of California empowers school districts to require public-school teachers, as a condition of employment, to either join the union representing teachers in their district or pay the equivalent of dues to that union.”)

(California Government Code Section 3546(a) describes “agency shop” rules as: “the employee shall, as a condition of continued employment, be required either to join the recognized employee organization or pay the fair share service fee,” and the “nonchargeable” portion of union dues are the part of the “fee that is not devoted to the cost of negotiations, contract administration, and other activities of the employee organization that are germane to its function as the exclusive bargaining representative.”)

Who are the petitioners and the respondents?

Led by Orange County teacher Rebecca Friedrichs, ten California teachers and the Christian Educators Association International filed suit against the California Teachers Association (state teachers union), the National Education Association (national teachers union), and ten local teachers unions, including four from Orange County:

  • Savanna District Teachers Association
  • Saddleback Valley Educators Association
  • Orange Unified Education Association
  • Santa Ana Educators Association

Also among the respondents are the Superintendents of the Savanna School District, Saddleback Valley Unified School District, Orange Unified School District, and Santa Ana Unified School District.

Posted in Orange Unified School District, Saddleback Valley Unified School District, Santa Ana Unified School District, Savanna School District | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »