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Pay to Play – Turns Out To Be A Very Good Return On Investment

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on December 7, 2016

A few weeks ago, just prior to the election, I posted about California Policy Center’s study of some local Orange County school bond tax measures and who is financing the yes campaigns (Pay to Play in School Bond Measures in the OC).   Of the 10 school bond tax measures on the ballot in Orange County, 8 passed.  Only 2 failed.  That means the organizations (architectural, engineering and construction firms that build projects for the Districts) and the attorneys who support those efforts will be awash in bond tax money as they get contracts from these local districts.

But Orange County is not unique in voters giving mismanaged school boards bail outs in the form of bond tax measures. Californian’s have just voted overwhelmingly to place themselves, their children and grandchildren in debt for many years to come.  The amount: approximately $5 Billion additional taxes per year.  All. Voter. Approved.

In California Policy Center’s Union Watch web site’s latest article Californians Approve $5.0 Billion per Year in New Taxes, Ed Ring notes that:

“With only a couple of measures still too close to call (TCTC), as can be seen, 94% of the 193 proposed local bonds passed, and 71% of the proposed local taxes passed. Two years ago, 81% of the local bond proposals passed, and 68% of the local tax proposals passed.”

I am sure on election day in the offices of these yes on bond tax measure supporters (as well as on Wall Street for bond issuers) the champaign bottles were being uncorked to celebrate the passage of billions of dollars in bond tax measures.  They will reap the benefits in the form of millions of dollars of contracts from their small $1,000 and $1o,000 yes campaign investments for many years to come – all at the expense of the citizens who will be paying these bond taxes for 30 or 40 years to come.

Mr. Ring goes on to note that this is a house of cards and financial reality will set in when market corrections eventually occur.

“Despite the increase in consumer confidence since the surprising victory of Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election, the stock and asset bubble that has been engineered through thirty years of expanding credit and lowering rates of interest is going to pop.”

When that happens who will be left holding the bag of debt?  Naturally the taxpayers who must foot the bill for this debt spending spree.  The school board politicians who passed these taxes?  Since they will have moved on by that time, probably not.  The bond issuers / holders?  Only if the school board is not able to pay its debts and files Chapter 9 bankruptcy – that is what happened to most of the bond issuers / holders in the City of Stockton bankruptcy.  They received much less than 100 cents on the dollar owed them. I have no sympathy for them.

But the entities that financed the yes campaigns – the architects, engineers and attorneys who made huge profits from these projects?  Nope – they will be happily counting their profits from their multimillion dollar contracts for these projects.  All from their small yes campaign investments.

Not a bad return on your investment!

I commend this article to you and suggest you subscribe to Union Watch’s e-mail list.

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Pay to Play In School Bond Measures in the OC

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on November 2, 2016

Ever wonder who finances the campaigns to pass school bond measures in Orange County? A study performed by the California Policy Center of five school districts has shown that many of the same attorneys, construction contractors and design firms have contributed to the campaigns to pass these measures.  In Construction Firms Fund Orange County School Bond Campaigns CPC reviewed the funders of school districts in Anaheim, Orange, Ocean View, Brea and Fountain Valley school districts.  Of course this pay to play campaign contributions is not confined to these five districts.  In Capistrano Unified School District’s Measure M (the Billion Dollar Bond Tax), many of the same players have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the yes on M campaign.  Who is heading up the Yes campaign?  CUSD Trustee Gary Pritchard.

As the report found (partial quote):

“Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Rudd & Romo (AALRR) is a law firm with eight offices across California. AALRR has donated $2000 to Anaheim Elementary School District’s bond measure, $12,000 to Orange Unified School District and $1000 to Fountain Valley School District. AALRR claims to represent nearly half the school districts in California and has previously represented both districts.

Bernards Builders Management Services is a general contractor located in San Fernando. Bernards has donated $2000 to Anaheim Elementary’s bond measure and $5000 to Brea-Olinda Unified School District’s measure. Bernards has worked with Brea-Olinda before on the Brea-Olinda High School and Olinda Elementary School. The subcontracted architecture firm for the Brea projects, LPA, has donated $10,000 this election cycle to Orange’s bond measure.”

These attorneys, contractors and others stand to make millions of taxpayer funded bond tax money if these measures pass.  The same is true of Proposition 51 – the $9 Billion school facilities bond tax before the voters next week.  The report notes:

“The California Building Industry Association has donated over $1,500,000 to Proposition 51, a statewide measure that would allow the state of California to issue $9 million in bonds for the State School Facilities Fund. The builders are the second-largest contributor in support of the proposition.”

 There are ten school bond measures on the November 8th ballot in Orange County alone.  If only a few pass, these firms stand to make millions on contracts to build these projects.  Not a bad return on their campaign contribution investments – at taxpayers’ expense.

Posted in Anaheim City School District, Anaheim Union High School District, Brea Olinda Unified School District, Capistrano Unified School District, Fountain Valley School District, Ocean View School District, Orange Unified School District, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Free Voter Guides Available at Robynnordell.com

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on October 21, 2016

Are you looking for voter recommendations from people that do not get paid from politics (i.e. consultants and slate cards)?

Are you looking for voter recommendations from people that do not accept money to give a proposition, a ballot measure or a candidate the thumbs up (or down)?

Are you looking for advice on national, state wide and local races that include all of the state wide and local ballot propositions / measures?

Then you should go over to Robyn Nordell’s web site for Voter Recommendations from Robyn and some of her friends like myself.

Her general web site is: Robyn Nordell.

Her Orange County page is: Robyn Nordell Orange County.

Finally my favorite page at her site is Craig’s Pics my voter recommendations which Robyn kindly allows to be published there.

She also has information on some other counties in California.

Who is Robyn Nordell?  She is an Orange County homeschool mother and advocate, a pastor’s wife, a tireless advocate for open and transparent government, a social and fiscal conservative and one of the most talented, honest, brightest and kind persons I know.  Robyn does not get paid one penny for her work in researching candidates and ballot propositions / measures, putting together her voter recommendations and publishing them on her web site.  Plus she is gracious to publish others voter recommendation lists (like my own) even when we make recommendations different from her own. She is a Patriot!

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The Sacramento Leftist Elite’s Culture War Against All Dissent Continues – SB 1146

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on June 25, 2016

Meanwhile off the Presidential campaign trail, the California legislature continues to prove it is controlled by people who will not stand for any dissenting opinions even from religious colleges.  Recently the State Senate passed SB 1146 (Lara – D) the so called Equity in Higher Education Act (at the time of this post, SB 1146 is pending in the Assembly).  This bill vastly trims down exemptions from anti-discrimination laws for private religious colleges from, among other things, the LGBT agenda.  In other words, a religious college cannot require students and employees to adhere to a code of conduct that is in conformity with its faith based belief system unless that school is only a seminary preparing students to be ministers.  While this law is currently tied to Cal. Grant funds, the real issue is the heavy hand of government attempting to stamp out any dissenting opinions or beliefs.  Constitutional protections like Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Assembly, etc.?  Nope those are all subservient to the demands of liberal elite’s to agree with their viewpoints – which in this instance is the LGBT agenda and practices.

Andrew T. Walker of the National Review has an excellent article on this: California’s Culture War against Religious Liberty

Here is an excerpt:

“Tacked onto existing law, the proposed amendment to the state’s Equity in Higher Education Act attempts to stigmatize and coercively punish any religious belief system that might dare to offer a difference of opinion about sexuality and gender. The bill strong-arms religious schools into an untenable position: Either compromise their religious identity or risk losing access to grants and government-backed financial assistance like Cal Grants. How so? According to the legislation, any religious school that made admission decisions or laid out student-conduct expectations based on religious criteria that were at odds with the bill’s protected classes would risk losing access to state funds unless they affirmed the highly contestable categories of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” – categories at odds with views about marriage and sexuality in many religious traditions.”

I commend the rest of Mr. Walker’s article to your reading.  Another very good and short read on the implications of SB 1146 is by John Gerardi of California Family Council (See Update).

There is an argument that Christian schools should not take Cal. Grants and other government monies.  There are two problems with this argument. First if our tax dollars can go to schools that the government says it approves of its message but not those that do not, that is viewpoint discrimination by a government entity.  Plus that is forced public funding of one viewpoint over another.  Another problem with this argument is it is a ruse.  Today it is the application of this law to schools that accept Cal. Grant and similar college funding programs.  Tomorrow it will be to remove their tax exempt status for not conforming to the demanded viewpoint of the legislative majority (in other words the right to exist as a religious institution). And that logic can be applied without pause to churches. No room for dissent allowed and the U.S. and California Constitutional protections for Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Association will be rendered historical footnotes.

Of course, the legislature also goes out of its way to state that the bill does not seek to impair any student’s right to file a lawsuit against the college for discrimination.

Will these Christian colleges and the churches whose pulpits they fill engage the culture and stand against this publically?  The colleges are expressing their opposition to the legislature now with the help of organizations like the California Family Council and Pacific Justice Institute.  But if Senator Lara (the bill’s author) and his fellow travelers in Sacramento pass SB 1146 and the Governor signs it, will they file lawsuits and organize a referendum campaign to stop it?  Will they engage the voters in a healthy debate over the role of religious belief and practice in public life, in education and the proper limits under the U.S. and California Constitutions on a government that tries to dictate belief systems?  Or will they just engage real estate agents in Texas to find new locations for their campuses?

I pray it is the former and not a retreat to Texas.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Why I am still voting for Ted Cruz for President of the United States

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on May 9, 2016

2016-05-08 18.50.45

Today (Monday, May 9, 2016) vote by mail ballots will be sent to voters in California. I will be voting for Senator Ted Cruz for President of the United States for the Republican primary of June 7th. I am also encouraging other Republicans to do the same. Why am I doing this when Sen. Cruz suspended his campaign? The reasons are several fold:

Senator Cruz (who will be listed first on our ballots) is still in my opinion the best candidate for President of the United States due to his long history of fighting for the U.S. Constitution and his willingness to take on the Washington, D.C. establishment on both sides of the isle. Ted Cruz is a proven and tested Constitutional leader. I recommend you go to: Senator Cruz’ web site to find out more.

In addition, Donald Trump has not earned my vote or support. His positions on issues (as much as can be understood of any position he may take) such as supporting transgender bathrooms and locker rooms, eminent domain abuse by having government take other people’s property then selling it to developers for them to build private property projects for their own profit and many other causes over the years are on the opposite side of what I believe in. Another example is he still loves Planned Parenthood. In addition, his tactics during the campaign including, but not limited to, going after people’s wives and children, alleging Ted Cruz’ father was in league with Lee Harvey Oswald in the assignation of JFK and other similar personal attacks have not convinced me The Donald has the temperament to be President. It is Mr. Trump’s job to sell me on supporting him and he has not do so.

Some have said a vote for anyone but Trump is a vote for Hillary Clinton. I disagree. June 7th is a closed Republican Primary not the general election. No matter who any Republicans vote for in the primary that will have zero effect upon the Democrats nominating Hillary Clinton or any other person as their candidate for President. Also, in the general election in California we Republicans will be outnumbered by Democrats and others who will vote for the Democratic nominee so our votes for anyone in the general election will likely not matter in liberal California (and there is no way I will vote for the Democratic nominee).

Some might argue that if enough people vote in the primary for Ted Cruz rather than Donald Trump, Mr. Trump might not get the necessary 1237 delegates to achieve the Republican nomination on the first ballot resulting in a contested convention. Then someone like Ted Cruz could still obtain the nomination on the second, third or a later ballot. If this were to occur and Ted Cruz became the nominee my response would be that old Christian hymn / doxology:

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen!

That would be a result I would be very happy with. Now if Mr. Trump does obtain the 1237 delegates to lock up the nomination, then he should be the nominee even if I do not like the result. That does not mean I will vote for or support him in the general election for all of the reasons above. But he will have won the nomination by doing obtaining 1237 delegates and maybe he can convince me he is a better candidate than I have seen to date before the November 8th election.

If you wish to see my “Craig’s Pics” voter recommendations go to: Craig’s Pics. I also recommend going to Robyn Nordell’s site and review Robyn and other conservatives’ excellent voter guides.

The sign in my front yard for Ted Cruz in the picture above I just put up last night (Sunday, May 8, 2016).

For those that may disagree with my recommendation I ask one thing: Please state facts for your arguments, not emotion, guilt or insults.

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

Letter: Vote No on Dana Point Measure H, the Empty Lots Initiative

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on May 9, 2016

Recently the Dana Point Times published my Letter to the Editor.  In it I stated my opposition to Measure H which I call the Empty Lots Initiative.

Below is a part of that Letter:

By Craig Alexander, Dana Point

I have lived in Dana Point since 1999. One of the first things I realized is property development is a hot button issue. Another thing I noted in 1999, which continues to today, are the numerous empty lots and sometimes rundown buildings in downtown Dana Point. Over the years, there have been several studies and many public meetings about how to create a better downtown Dana Point to attract visitors and make it a nice place for residents to enjoy a wonderful shopping and dining experience.

A few years ago, a prior city council led by now Assemblyman Bill Brough, spearheaded the city finalizing what is now called the Lantern District plans after dozens of public hearings at which all citizens of Dana Point were allowed to participate. The plan passed via city council votes, and the city has already spent over $18 million, plus millions of ratepayer dollars from the South Coast Water District, to implement the Lantern District improvements. Part of the Lantern District plan is to recoup part of those funds via development fees and increased property taxes.

Now, unhappy with a few development decisions by the City Council, some members of our community want to implement a ballot box zoning law called Measure H that would have the effect of halting development in the Lantern District. I call this the “Empty Lots Initiative,” because it would make development there so restrictive that no project could financially work, thus the empty lots would stay empty. An obvious result would be the city not receiving back many of the millions of dollars it spent under the Lantern District Plan from development fees and increased property tax revenue. This ballot box zoning measure is like taking a sledge hammer to a problem that needle nose pliers can fix. You might get the result you want but you will also destroy the object you are trying to fix.

If you do not like the City Council and their property development decisions, change the City Council. That is why we have elections every two years in November and term limits as well.

At the very least, before making such a drastic decision, I encourage my fellow Dana Point residents to go to the city’s website (http://www.danapoint.org/) and click on the link to the Town Center Initiative Impact Report. You will find valuable information in that report, which I recommend you seriously consider prior to casting your vote for or against Measure H.

Here is the link to the full Letter to the Editor (Vote No On H, the Empty Lots Initiative)

Posted in Dana Point, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Freedom and Liberty = Public Charter Schools

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on May 3, 2016

As a follow up to my post of last week (Anti-Choice Teachers Unions Want to Take Control of O.C. Board of Education), former State Senator Gloria Romero has penned another excellent op-ed piece in the O.C. Register.  In Celebrating National Charter Schools Week Senator Romero not only noted that this week is a time to celebrate the tremendous success of public charter schools but the continued voracious opposition to public charter schools by unions and the local Boards of Trustees the unions pay to elect.  

Here is part of her op-ed piece:

“Increasingly, parents understand that charter schools were precisely given the flexibility to be independent of the many constraints under California’s Education codes, allowing them to be more innovative while simultaneously being held accountable for improved student achievement. Several studies confirm that charter school students do better than their traditional school peers. Stanford’s Center for Research on Educational Outcomes found that charter schools do a better job teaching low-income students, minority students and English language learners than traditional schools. The Center for Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school and go to college.”

Yet despite public charter school successes unions and school boards fight parent’s desire to start and continue great public charter schools.  No example of this is the fight by the parents of children at Palm Lane Elementary School, a currently traditional public school that has been failing for over a decade.  The District’s response when the parents attempted to use the Parent Trigger law to convert the school to a public charter school? Sue them in court and spend an estimated million taxpayer dollars to stop the parents’ efforts.  In effect spend over a million in taxpayer dollars to keep children in a failing school.  Who are these deniers of parents’ rights to a quality education for their children?  Trustees Jeff Cole, Ryan A. Ruelas, Bob Gardner, David Robert H.R. Heywood and Jackie Filbeck. (Board of Trustees) And lets not forget their enforcer Superintendent Dr. Linda Wagner. (Superintendent) If liberty, freedom, parents’ rights and quality education (not to mention fiscal responsibility) were grades these trustees and the superintendent needed to earn: they would receive an F grade.

And the ongoing battle of the parents of Palm Lane students: the Superior Court judge ruled against the District and in favor of the parents. See Parents and Children Win The Right to State a Public Charter School. District responded with an appeal that is still pending.  Who is among those filing legal briefs in support of the school district to deny parental choice and a quality education for their children?  You guessed it, the California Teachers Association.

I commend Senator Romero’s op-ed to your reading.

Posted in Anaheim City School District, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Anti-Choice Teachers Unions Want to Take Control of the OC Board of Education

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on April 27, 2016

Everyone agrees that education for our children is a critical pathway for those children to grow into adults who are ready to earn a living and become responsible members of our society. Unfortunately labor unions including teachers unions have a different focus – to benefit their union bank accounts with your tax dollars more than the quality and success of students in those schools.  Often to balance a school district’s books the union elected Board of Trustees will give raises to District employees and increase class sizes (with layoffs of younger teachers with less seniority).  How does this help children in these schools?  Not at all.  In fact classroom overcrowding and teachers kept due to seniority instead of quality and student progress is detrimental to their education.

Let me pause and say there are many great teachers in the public school system.  It is not their actions that are the problem.  It is their unions who want to hold onto power who are the problem.

Many parents choose to send their children to private schools or choose to homeschool their children to assure that they are doing everything they can to provide a quality education for their child. But there is another route parents can take: public charter schools.  The success of public charter schools is beyond refutation. The fact is that public charter schools, with the freedom to not unionize their staffs and focus on children’s academic progress rather than just seniority in teacher evaluations, have resulted in long waiting lists for children to gain entrance into good public charter schools.  What is the response to this by government employee unions?  To block public charter school applications at every turn.  First via the Board of Trustees at the local level.  Then with a rubber stamp Orange County Board of Education that denied charter school application appeals routinely. That changed two years ago when Linda Lindholm joined Trustees Robert Hammond and Ken Williams to form a pro public charter school majority.  Since then charter schools that formerly were routinely denied appeals have had their appeals granted and more charter schools opened to the benefit of children, parents, teachers who work there and ultimately all of us as these children graduate with a quality education.

This June 7th voters in Orange County will have an opportunity to re-elect Trustees Hammond and Williams to keep that pro-charter school majority in place.  The teacher unions are running Tustin Councilmember Rebecca Gomez and Irvine School Board member Michael Parham against Hammond and Williams to replace the current majority with a board majority that will bring the OC Board back to the days when charter school application appeals are routinely denied no matter the quality and demand by parents for a viable alternative to sometimes failing public schools their children are enrolled in.

Former State Senator Gloria Romero has an excellent opinion article in the Orange County Register (Teachers unions trying to take back O.C. board). Follow the link to her article where she has set forth how this is a deceptive campaign by the unions to smear Trustee Hammond and Williams to place their handpicked Trustees on the board.

Here is a part of her article:

“The name “Teachers for Local Control” undoubtedly was poll tested and determined to be a resonant mantra with Orange County voters.     What backers probably won’t reveal is that Teachers for Local Control is a chameleon group for the Santa Ana Educators Association, a local affiliate of the powerful Sacramento-based California Teachers Association, which has fought virtually every public education reform and law granting parental school choice in California.

In fact, the legal phone number for Teachers for Local Control provided to the California Secretary of State’s Office is the same number as for the Santa Ana teachers union office.

Whoops.”

Teacher unions what to give parents less choice in the education of their children by opposing public charter schools. Trustees Hammond and Williams want to preserve choice and excellence in education.   Voters will have an important choice regarding education in Orange County on June 7th.

Re-elect Robert Hammond and Dr. Ken Williams to the Orange County Board of Education.

For more about former Marine Robert Hammond go to: http://www.robertforocbe.com/

For more about Dr. Ken Williams go to: http://www.williamsforocbe.com/

For more about public charter schools in general go to: http://www.ccsaadvocates.org/ and Parents Advocate League.

 

 

Posted in Orange County Board of Education, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

68th Assembly District Candidate Forum This Tuesday, Feb. 2nd

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on January 31, 2016

As noted in my earlier post Mark Your Calendars! the California Republican Assembly is holding a Candidate Forum for the 68th Assembly District.

All four announced candidates have committed to participating.  They are ALEXIA DELIGIANNI-BRYDGES, Trustee with the Orange Unified School District, DEBORAH PAULY, former City Councilperson for the City of Villa Park, STEVEN S. CHOI, Mayor of the City of Irvine and HARRY SIDHU, former City Councilperson for the City of Anaheim.

The Forum will be held at the City of Orange, City Council Chambers located at 300 East Chapman Ave., Orange, CA 92866 starting at 7:00 p.m.  The Forum will be recorded and all are invited to attend.  This forum is being organized and presented as a community service by the California Republican Assembly.

The CRA will be conducting an endorsement convention that will include consideration of the 68th Assembly District in March.  The seat is currently held by Assemblyman Don Wagner who is not seeking re-election due to term limits.

For more information about this forum contact CRA Executive Vice President Craig Alexander at cpalexander@cox.net or CRA Vice President Dale Tyler at mailcoll@tylerent.com.

Posted in 68th Assembly District, Anaheim, Irvine, Lake Forest, Orange Unified School District, Tustin, Uncategorized, Villa Park | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Mark Your Calendars! Candidate Forum: Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on January 9, 2016

CANDIDATE FORUM – FREE AND OPEN TO ALL!

MEET THE FOUR REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES FOR ASSEMBLY RUNNING IN THE 68th ASSEMBLY DISTRICT

SPONSORED BY THE CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN ASSEMBLY

68th Assembly District includes all or part of the communities of Anaheim, Orange/Villa Park, North Tustin/Tustin, Irvine, and Lake Forest, including the former Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro.  The seat is currently held by Assemblyman Don Wagner who is termed out this year.

The Candidate Forum will be held on Tuesday, February 2nd starting at 7:00 p.m. at Orange City Hall (the Council chambers) located at 300 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, CA. The event will be recorded and the media will be invited. This forum will be free and open to the public as a service to the community by the California Republican Assembly. For more information about CRA go to: http://cragop.org/

For further information, please contact CRA Executive Vice President, Craig Alexander at cpalexander@cox.net or CRA Vice President, Dale Tyler at edt@tylerent.com.

Posted in 69th Assembly District, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »