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Live from OC GOP Central Committee on Stopping the Gas Tax

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 10, 2017

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We are live from the special meeting of the OC GOP Central Committee where the OC GOP is considering the Endorsements Committee’s unanimous recommendation to officially endorse the effort of Assemblyman Travis Allen’s proposed ballot initiative to repeal the gas tax.

Due to the late release of title and summary less than one hour before the Central Committee meeting by the office of Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles), the committee does not have the text of the title and summary, so your blogger reads the title and summary of the measure.

The committee jeers portions of the title and summary due to biased language written by the office of the Attorney General.

Committee Member Scott Peotter moves and Committee Member Tim Whitacre seconds to endorse the measure.

There is no debate.

OC GOP UNANIMOUSLY ENDORSES ASSEMBLYMAN TRAVIS ALLEN’S MEASURE TO REPEAL THE GAS TAX.

After a few quick announcements, the special meeting adjourns after 22 minutes.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Live from OC GOP Endorsements Committee on Stopping the Gas Tax

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 28, 2017

We are live from the OC GOP Endorsements Committee where they are considering a recommendation of the gas tax repeal measure proposed by Assemblyman Travis Allen.

Endorsements Committee Members present are Chair Peggy Huang and Members Gene Hernandez, Leroy Mills, and Erik Weigand are present. Members on the phone are Laurie Davies and Tyler Diep. 

Your blogger missed the opening statement due to traffic.

Central Committee Member Tim Whitacre speaks in support of Assemblyman Travis Allen’s effort to repeal the gas tax since the GOP should support tax repeals and Allen is a member of the Orange County delegation.

Endorsements Committee Member Leroy Mills asks about the possibility of endorsing multiple tax repeal measures.

Emmanuel Patrascu on behalf of the tax repeal ballot measure argues that there is nothing wrong with endorsing all gas tax repeal measures.

Endorsements Committee Member Gene Hernandez argues this is the only repeal measure that exists.

Endorsements Committee Chair Peggy Huang notes that they are not precluded from doing so, but they have not done so historically in candidate races.

Endorsements Committee Member Erik Weigand asks about the ballot measure’s fundraising plan.

Mike Johnson on behalf of the gas tax repeal ballot measure says the campaign plans to raise $1,000,000 to qualify the measure.

Weigand asks what signature gathering firm will be hired for the ballot measure.

Johnson names various well known signature gathering firms.

The committee asks about the language of the measure.

Patrascu goes into a lengthy explanation about the various sections added and repealed.

Yours truly wearing his Central Committee hat jumps in and explains that SB 1 (the gas tax) adds various sections and repeals various sections, and that the tax repeal measure simply reverses SB 1.

Weigand asks if the ballot measure committee money can be transferred to Allen’s gubernatorial campaign money.

Patrascu and Johnson state many such transfer would be illegal. They also note that the ballot measure committee is named according to state law.

Weigand moves and Hernandez seconds to recommend endorsing the gas tax repeal measure.

Central Committee Member Thomas Gordon speaks in favor of the motion noting the gas tax repeal is a “no-brainer” because it goes to core Republican principles.

The committee approves 6-0 to recommend the full Central Committee endorse the gas tax repeal measure at its July 10 meeting.

ENDORSEMENT OF GAS TAX REPEAL BALLOT MEASURE RECOMMENDED UNANIMOUSLY TO FULL CENTRAL COMMITTEE.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

SB1 and a Ruse for a Recall

Posted by Brenda Higgins on May 9, 2017

In April the California legislature passed, and the Governor signed a new gas tax that adds 12 cents per gallon to gas purchased in California. This legislation passed the state Senate with 27 votes. This was the minimum number of votes needed to pass a new tax. Senators voted along party lines, except for Republican Senator Anthony Canella.

A recall effort is now underway, to recall a Senator who voted for the tax, but it is not the one Republican Senator. The recall effort targets freshman Senator Josh Newman. Last fall, Josh was only a second time candidate but a first time elected. The initiators of the recall have indicated that they targeted Senator Newman merely because he was vulnerable. His election went into eleventh hour counting and was what they have termed a “slim margin”.

Without getting to the substance or merit of the tax, there is no ethical or behavioral allegations that Senator Newman has acted unbecoming his office or outside the scope of his authority, the only issue appears to be, that he seems “vulnerable.”

Once again, the recall procedure is being abused to effect political gamesmanship at the expense of the citizens of California. If only conservatives could focus on fiscal responsibility that they claim to espouse.
There is no indication of whom they intend to replace Senator Newman in the event that the recall gets off the ground. Their short memories and lack of insight have lead to this place. Much like Hillary Clinton and her tone deaf blame game without any personal responsibility, the conservatives in California fail to acknowledge that the Republicans-in-Name-Only, and demographic gamesmanship, caused voters to substantively seek out, anyone else.
Yet at least one of those failed candidates from 2016 is already being rebooted for a Supervisor race.

If conservatives are to ever have a voice in California again, they need a Monday morning quarterback meeting, at a minimum. The OCGOP Chairman laughing off Democrat promises to bring all their forces to bear on the congressional races is also an ominous sign. The coming election cycle never goes well for a losing party who fails to learn any lessons.
The thing that is clear is that none of this recall effort has anything to do with Senator Josh Newman. He is a convenient scapegoat. The scapegoat for a GOP that is disconnected and avoiding doing the real work, whose bench is a mile wide and an inch deep. The time would be far better spent taking seriously the challenges to our congressional seats.

Instead we get, gamesmanship, at the expense of the voter. As long as conservatives continue to behave as though the voters are stupid, they will continue to be subject to a supermajority in Sacramento and will be the cause of a shift in the balance of power in DC.

Recalls are expensive and an extraordinary measure to be used in extreme circumstances of wrongdoing.  The public will not be fooled by this, but the ‘brand’ that the county central committee has lamented about preserving, will certainly be damaged, yet again.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

March 2, 2017 – A Very Important Day for Californians

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on March 18, 2017

While not getting front page news status – on March 2, 2017 two very important decisions were handed down by the Courts affecting Californian’s right to obtain documents from their government.

Two California courts on a single day broadened the public’s access to government documents via a California Public Records Act (“CPRA”) request.

In one case (City of San Jose v. Superior Court (Smith)), the California Supreme Court unanimously declared on March 2 that public officials’ e-mails and texts are in fact public documents, even when they are sent over personal devices.

In a related case on that same day, a state appeals court in Los Angeles declared that the public is allowed to seek “discovery” in lawsuits filed by requestors of public documents to enforce their rights in Court under the CPRA statute.

Both cases are widely seen as a victory for transparency, and a reaffirmation of the state’s Watergate-era California Public Records Act.

To read the rest of my post on this go to this link: One One Day in Two Decisions…

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Speaking Truth To Power – Teacher Union Power

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on March 12, 2017

In Sunday’s OC Register  (Unions to Blame) is a powerful opinion piece by Cecilia Iglesias, one of the five Trustees for the Santa Ana Unified School District.  Recently the Board of Trustees voted 4 to 1 (with Trustee Iglesias as the sole dissenting vote) to send layoff notices to 287 teachers.  Why?  As Trustee Iglesias points out, the District has had declining enrollment since 2002 and is continued to have this for years to come.  What did the teachers’ union and their paid for board majority do in response to this situation: raise teacher pay and ignore basic mathematics.  Over the last four years teacher pay in SAUSD has risen over 16% while the projected enrollment figures continued to slide.

Remember – schools receive their money from the state (and the federal) government based on enrollment.  So even using Common Core math could not save the teachers’ union and their paid for Trustees from fiscal reality – they don’t have enough money to pay all of their teachers (and other staff too) at the current levels.  So they voted to lay off 287 teachers (the actual figure may be less come this fall – but still a significant number).  What will happen from this lay off?

First there will be fewer teachers to staff the classrooms.  Result: pack the children into more crowded classrooms putting more pressure and responsibility on those teachers that remain.  So for example a class with 25 students will grow in size to 30 or 35 students with one teacher.  And which teachers will be laid off?  The union contract with the school has a “last in, first out” clause – meaning the younger teachers will lose their jobs while older ones keep theirs.  And there is absolutely no ability for the District, under this contract, to take into account a teacher’s performance (or lack thereof) in choosing which teachers to lay off.

So who wins in this situation?  Obviously union bosses who keep their positions. Older teachers who may be great teachers but there is still no way to judge if all of them are the best performers or not.  The four union elected (paid for) Trustees who owe their seats to unions who underwrote their election efforts.

Do parents and students win – Not by any reasonable measure.  In fact it can be correctly argued that the District and the union are balancing the books on the backs of the children.  The teachers who are laid off?  The only way they “win” in this situation is if they find a job in another District that has Trustees that look out after students and parents more than teacher union bosses.  Only if that District cares more about teacher performance than seniority.  I wish all those teachers who are laid off well and that they find better replacement employment quickly.

How will the parents win in this situation?  Very simple – put better Trustees on the board to join Ms. Iglesias to form a pro-student, parent and teacher majority that returns the focus of the District to the best education possible rather than catering to the desires of union bosses.

Posted in Santa Ana Unified School District, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Freedom Foundation Hires Sam Han as California Director

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on January 27, 2017

As initially reported by our media partner OC Daily, the press release below came over the wire earlier this week from the Freedom Foundation announcing their hiring of Sam Han, who recently finished a term on the Fullerton Planning Commission and who was also formerly District Director to Assemblyman Don Wagner (until Wagner termed out of the Legislature and became Mayor of Irvine)…

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. – The Freedom Foundation announced today that Sam Han has joined its leadership team to guide the organization’s latest expansion to California.

Han will serve as California director, ensuring local and state governments are accountable to the voters rather than public-sector unions. Specifically, he will work to free government employees from union tyranny and provide guidance to legislators and citizens on ways to combat union influence.

“We’re pleased that Sam decided to join our team. He has the skills necessary to quickly advance our mission in California,” said Tom McCabe, Freedom Foundation CEO.

As a California native, Han has been involved in local, state and federal races and previously worked for the California State Legislature as a district director.

He is a graduate of UC San Diego and holds a business certificate from the Harvard Business School.

The Freedom Foundation is a 501c(3) nonprofit think and action tank with offices in Washington, Oregon and California.

Founded in 1991 by Bob Williams and Lynn Harsh as the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, the Oregon today is a national leader in winning the fight for freedom at the state and local level.
The Freedom Foundation is working to reverse the stranglehold public-sector unions have on government. There is no path to expanded freedom, opportunity or prosperity until collective bargaining is transparent, government employees have a choice to join an employee’s union or not, and taxpayer’s money is prohibited from being unwillingly used to influence the political system. The Freedom Foundation has the will and skill to take on those who attack freedom.

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

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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Results from City Selection Committee

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 10, 2016

The City Selection Committee met tonight. Yes, they are having one just two days after the elections, but waiting much longer would collide with the holiday season.

Thanks to Placentia Councilman Chad Wanke and the staff at the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors for filling in OC Political on the results.

California Identification Remote Access Network Board

This seat remains vacant.

City Engineers Flood Control Advisory Committee 1st District

Marwan Yourself of Westminster reappointed by acclamation.

City Engineers Flood Control Advisory Committee 3rd District

Doug Stack of Tustin appointed by acclamation, succeeding Mark Carroll of Irvine.

City Engineers Flood Control Advisory Committee 4th District

Luis Estevez of Placentia appointed by acclamation, succeeding James Bier of Buena Park.

Commission to End Homelessness

Tita Smith of Orange reappointed by acclamation.

OCTA 1st District Population Weighted Seat

Miguel Pulido reappointed by acclamation. After all, Pulido single-handedly holds the majority of the votes for this seat.

OCTA 2nd District One City One Vote

Gary Miller of Seal Beach is termed out from his City Council seat.

Mike Varipapa of Seal Beach gets 2 votes, which are from Newport Beach and Seal Beach.

Richard Murphy of Los Alamitos wins with 7 votes, which came from Costa Mesa, Cypress, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, La Palma, Los Alamitos, and Stanton.

OCTA 2nd District Population Weighted

Jim Katapodis of Huntington Beach did not seek reappointment.
Barbara Delgleize of Huntington Beach is appointed by acclamation.

OCTA 3rd District Population Weighted

Jeff Lalloway of Irvine opted not to seek reappointment.

Craig Young of Yorba Linda gets the votes of 12.17% of the population, which came from Yorba Linda.

Mark Murphy of Orange wins the seat, with the votes of 87.83% of the population, which came from Irvine, Orange, Tustin, and Villa Park.

OCTA 4th District

Tim Shaw of La Habra reappointed by acclamation.

OCTA 5th District One City One Vote

Lori Donchak of San Clemente reappointed by acclamation.

OCTA 5th District Population Weighted

Frank Ury of Mission Viejo is termed out from his City Council seat.

Laurie Davies of Laguna Niguel appointed by acclamation.

Senior Citizens Advisory Committee

Both 1st District seats and both 4th District seats remain vacant due to lack of applicants. No 3rd District seats are up.

In the 2nd District, only one seat is up, and Don Gray of Huntington Beach is appointed by acclamation.

In the 5th District, only one seat is up, and incumbent Shari Horne of Laguna Woods is reappointed by acclamation.

Waste Management Commission 1st District

There are no nominations made for this seat, currently held by Michele Martinez of Santa Ana.

Waste Management Commission City Manager Representative

Bret Plumlee of Los Alamitos is appointed by acclamation to succeed Doug Chotkevys of Dana Point.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Hillary – So Pragmatic She Appeared to Have No Bedrock Principles

Posted by James Madison on November 10, 2016

Shortly after Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992, a book by the name of Primary Colors was published. Written anonymously (the author was later revealed as reporter Joe Klein), it was a fictional treatment of the Clintons as Bill ran for president in 1992. The novel showed how the Clintons had descended from idealists active in the 1972 McGovern campaign to the pragmatic, tawdry, couple they came to be. In one revealing paragraph, the author captured the essence of the Clintons: “‘Libby, you said it yourself,’ Susan [the Hillary character] said coolly. ‘We were young. We didn’t know how the world worked. Now we know.'”

That was the image that plagued Hillary throughout the 2016 campaign. Everybody knew that she was so pragmatic that she appeared to have no bedrock principles. So when she announced she was switching from supporting the TPP trade treaty to opposing it, nobody believed her.

They certainly didn’t believe her in the Rust Belt. They were convinced that as soon as she was elected, she’d make some superficial changes and sign the TPP. That’s what cost her Wisconsin-Ohio-Michigan-Pennsylvania, and with them the election. When voters don’t believe what you’re saying about things that affect their livelihood, you get WOMPed.

Don’t be taken in by the fact that Hillary won the popular vote. She won big in states where Donald Trump didn’t campaign. In those states, she was still Secretary Clinton. Where Trump did campaign, she was Corrupt Hillary. If Trump had campaigned, Corrupt Hillary would have gotten far less votes than Secretary Clinton did.

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

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 »