Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thank You, Councilman Englander

The Los Angeles City Council just raised the rate of business closures and unemployment in their municipal environs.


By forcing up the minimum wage.

Fourteen of the fifteen  members of LA City Council signed off on the feel-good city ordinance, requiring a record number of businesses to start raising their minimum wage.

Only one City Councilmember had the courage to vote against forcing the minimum wage:

Mitchell Englander

Mitchell Englander.

The Los Angeles Times was the one source so far which I found that reported on his brave decision to vote against this foolish ordinance:

Councilman Mitchell Englander, the council’s only Republican, cast the lone opposing vote. In a statement, he said the council action could “make it impossible for entire industries to do business” in Los Angeles.

City leaders were not thinking about what the entire industries would need.

“The very last thing that we should be doing as a city is creating a competitive disadvantage for our businesses with those in neighboring cities,” said Englander, who represents the northwest San Fernando Valley.

While the Los Angeles Times goes out of its way to shame conservatives and Republicans, this report affirms that the Republicans in local office are thinking about the short and long term.

Forcing the wage does not help minimum wage workers. The appearance of wealth will not generate more purchasing power.

It's just that simple.

So, why did the city councilmembers vote for this? To get votes. They know that this measure will not help working people. More people will be out of work, and who knows where they will go afterwards.

So far, Mr. Englander, the only Republican, articulated the true and correct position about the minimum wage hike.

Let us hope that his tribe increases in the Los Angeles area.

Until then, thank you, Mr. Englander!

Emerson College: California in Play for GOP

Last month, Emerson College released an intriguing poll, one which should buck up otherwise discouraged conservatives and Republicans in California.

Emerson College reports:

Hillary Clinton holds a commanding 46-point lead over Senator Elizabeth Warren, her nearest potential rival for the Democratic nomination. However, in head-to-head matchups with the top two GOP contenders, Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, Clinton's 53% to 47% edge is within the poll's margin of error of +/- 3.2%.  

California Republicans are split on who their candidate will be. Among those who plan to vote in the GOP primary, Bush and Walker are tied at 17%, physician Ben Carson trails by two points at 15%, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz is at 11%. Nearly 1 in 5 are undecided.
One month later, a few more points worth taking into account include:
1. Hillary Clinton is imploding as a Presidential prospect.
2. Ultra-liberal US Senator Elizabeth Warren is getting a stronger following, including her keynote speech at the California Democratic Party convention. She had a strong showing, in spite of her repeated insistence that she is not running for President.
We heard the same thing from a number of elected officials, whether Republican or Democrat, and they have changed their minds without difficulty.
3. Scott Walker has solidified a stronger base of support throughout the country, and Jeb Bush is losing stock as a viable candidate.
The margin of error will be a moot point a year from now, whether Hillary Clinton lasts that long as a viable candidate or not. Despite the best efforts of Clinton's handlers, including the mainstream media and academia, these institutions are losing power and credibility in an increasingly micro-media world, where the mistakes of the past, whether politician or press agent, come to the forefront.
Emerson College of Boston, MA declares that California is in play.
Other issues worth noting:
4. The water issue is plaguing everyone in the state of California, and Big Green is at the forefront of it. The cruelty of this unthinking elitist agenda affects everyone, whether home-owners in suburbia or agrarian communities in the Central Valley.
5. The US Senate race is not nearly as certain as it was a month ago. One reason? Loretta "Whoop-Whoop" Sanchez has jumped in, with her hands out, her mouth open, yet not exactly landing on her feet. This divide will almost certainly bring in another Democratic contender, and the bitter divisions which follow between North and South, between business and labor, among the different ethnic groups long exploited by Democratic political machines.
Whatever a liberal poll considered likely one month ago, the shifting dynamics have without a doubt brought California back to its swing state status. California Republicans in particular, and conservatives in general, should chin up, hope for the better, and bring a restored, constitutional conservative order back to Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Run, X-Man, Run!

So, the California Democratic Party is in a tussle over who will succeed Barbara Boxer in the US Senate.

X symbol from X-Men logo.svg
The X-Men logo

Like a Hollywood Franchise full of well-endowed superheroes, filled with strength and flawed character, Democrats brimming with ambition are coming out of their comfort zones and looking for a national stage.

Attorney General Kamala Harris seemed like the inevitable candidate, announcing early in January, 2015.

She has fumbled and mumbled, and all the dirt is coming out against her. Like Superman struggling with Kryptonite or Wolverine fighting with his petty temper and bruised past life, Harris is getting harried.

Long Beach Comic Expo 2012 - Wolverine (7186647586).jpg
Wolverine for US Senate? (The Community)
More vulnerable than invincible, Harris now has a contender: Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez.

Is she like Rogue or Jean Grey? Will she absorb the good and the bad of everyone around her, or can she predict the future and read the minds of would-be supporters?

Unscripted and unfiltered, she attracts controversy, and a better legislative record; well, slightly better.

Playing a more centrist, pro-business card, Sanchez. could bring in the dwindling business interests in the state, corporate or Mom-and-Pop.

Or could she?

She has gaffed twice within one week, first with her non-announcement, then her full announcement at the Santa Ana train station. Different media sources wavered with Sanchez, wondering if she was going to declare her candidacy or not. Then her War-Whoop at the California Democratic Convention has already put her on the defensive.

Like the mutant Morph, shot and killed early in the X-Men comic book series, Sanchez may be killing her own chances, running away from reporters, or trying to hide her past follies.

Local voters in the South Bay, many of whom do not pay attention to national politics, learned about Sanchez' mocking Indian-Americans. When the local news is not reporting good things about a Democratic, nothing but hard times remain ahead.

The same thing happens every time the news reports on the X-Men. They never talk about the good that superheroes accomplish. Only the bad, and everyone reads about it for at least a week, or years on end if the superhero is a Republican.

What will happen next? Prone to mistakes, and a growing fight between North and South, Latino and Establishment Liberals in California, a mutation of communistic indulgence and socialist influence, the Democratic Party should be searching for another candidate to run for US Senate, one who could unite the progressives and the Latinos, who will give credibility as well as stability, experience with action.

With delegation of 38 Democratic Congressional representatives, surely someone else besides Sanchez can step in and make the most of this once-in-a-generation Senate opportunity.

Why not Professor Xavier, i.e. Xavier Becerra?

He has taken to the national stage a number of times. He has stood against his own colleagues, when they were trying to amend Obamacare. He is a forefront leader on executive amnesty, no matter how unconstitutional, let alone immoral the action may be.

He is the cool, calm, and collected political type, though, willing to stand for principle, even if unfounded on facts and figures.

Becerra has represented the Downtown Los Angeles section for over two decades, with token opposition, if any. Major left-wing millionaires and billionaires have been working hard to gentrify Downtown for the past five years, with some successes, and the feudal takeover will reach its apex by 2020, as the city forced a $15 minimum wage hike.

File:SDCC13 - The original X-Men (9348050080).jpg
The Original X-Men (not really, from William Tung)

No doubt Los Angeles Big Labor and Big Dem donors will get behind Becerra, since he has wheeled and dealed on their behalf all these years. He has the brains, if not the brown, much like Professor X. He could bring unity as well as diversity to a fraying Democratic ticket.

Now, let's get to the nittier-grittier of an X-Man Becerra run.

Republicans, the real superheroes, need at least three Democrats to run for US Senate so that one of them can make it into the Top Two. While some conservatives remain optimistic about two Republicans sliding through because of the widening rift among Democrats, Republican activists are looking at the math and voter registration. Democrats need to pull their support three different ways in order for the diminished GOP candidates to have a chance.

Besides, with Professor X Becerra aggravating the Hispanic vote as well as the working class constituencies fed up with amnesty at the expense of local businesses, workers, and taxpayers, more disaffected Democrats may find themselves holding their noses for a Republican in 2016. Plus a strong Presidential contender who can draw Independents out for a better-than-Obama, and Republicans will find themselves riding a red wave backlash against Obama, regressive statism, and arrogant Democratic elitism.

All of which we find symbolized in Xavier Becerra, a wannabe policy wonk who thinks he has the ESP and the GOTV to win in 2016.

So, repeat after me, California GOP:

Run, X-Man, Run!

Paul Chabot: Fighting the Good Fight

Naval Officer, law enforcement officer, and businessman Paul Chabot is fighting the good fight.

In a Congressional District once held by Gary Miller, the most endangered incumbent in the country according to national sources, Paul Chabot stepped in and won the jungle primary to fight against Peter Aguilar, the mayor of Redlands.

From the outset, the Democratic Party through all their money and immorality at the seat, doing everything they could to prop up a relatively week candidate.

How weak was Aguilar? On election day, he lost his own city by eight points .

Unfortunately, Aguilar won the seat by three points because of support in San Bernardino, Colton and Rialto.

Paul Chabot, conservative Republican fighting for a + 5 Democratic seat (in a constituency which had gone for Obama by 15 points in 2012), lost the 31st Congressional district by a  slim margin, and with no money from the National Republican Central Committee.

Did Chabot sit on the sidelines and whine about his lack of funding from the National Party? Did he give up, collect what little he had, and go home?

No way.

He got up and started the fight again.

He has been writing editorials to the local paper, blasting Aguilar's out-of-touch liberal policies, including the former mayor's unfounded support for President Obama's unconstitutional executive amnesty.

Chabot has reached out to small donors, not pandering to Big Labor or Big Business for easy money and easy favors in return. He even exceeded his fundraising goals in the last quarter.

John Bolton, the former US Ambassador to the United Nations, endorsed and support Chabot in 2014, and he is putting his name and resources behind this police officer and public servant.

Sheriff David Clarke (left)
with Paul Chabot
Lately, Chabot has been visiting key leaders and policy makers throughout the country, including Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, where he stood with Sheriff David Clarke, a firm advocate in strong families and strong communities.
Like Chabot, Clarke faced heavy national opposition, but was able to prevail and won reelection as the top law enforcement officer in Milwaukee County.

Final Thoughts

Chabot faced uphill odds in his 2014 fight for the 31st Congressional District. He had an amazing team of volunteers as well as widespread outside support. Democratic contender Aguilar had to pull in ten times the amount of money, plus personal visits from Vice President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton. With all that time and money, Aguilar barely won.

And the National Republican Congressional Committee has finally paid attention, and they are targeting Aguilar for defeat in 2016.

Chabot's example should inspire dispirited California Republicans, who feel that no matter what they do, they cannot win blue California. Communities like the San Bernardino region should remind pundits in Sacramento and pollsters all across the country that the only poll that counts is. . . the final vote. The statistics on the ground do not determine how a district will go in any election, and more Democrats are fed up with their own party, catering to limited interests at the expense of working men and women struggling to get by.

Some conservatives constantly complain: "I need more money, I need more help." Chabot didn't sit and wait for someone else to come to his rescue, nor did he rant and rave for the lack of resources or resolve from certain groups. He stuck to his principles, built up his base of volunteers and contacts, and now he is exceeding the expectations of local as well as national political commentators.

Paul Chabot, fighting the good fight, is in it to win the 31st Congressional District in 2015. His work should embolden Republicans, whether in California or elsewhere, and they need to follow his example.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Election 2016: Scramble for CA-46

Now that Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-Santa Ana) has announced her bid for US Senate, the Democrats have two problems:

1. A bitter primary will divide the Democratic Party between Attorney General Kamala Harris and Rep. Loretta Sanchez. Another Democrat will probably declare for the seat in the next few months.

2. Democrats must defend another House Seat in expensive media-market California.

Just to recap, the National Republican Congressional Committee has already identified five 2016 "Donkey Awards" for vulnerable Democratic incumbents:

1. Scott Peters

2.  Raul Ruiz

3. Peter Aguilar

4. John Garamendi

5. Ami Bera

They left off one name, Julia Brownley of Ventura, who will find herself still facing heated challenges against her incumbency. Jeff Gorell nearly unseated her in 2014, and the district still has enough swing for a Republican to win.

Make that six seats for the Democrats to defend

With the retirement of Lois Capps in CD-24, Democrats will have to fight off another challenge, and the Santa Barbara sit is in prime position for Republicans to take another seat back into their dwindling caucus.


With Loretta Sanchez announcing her bid for US Senate this past week, Congressional District 46 has opened up. A more Democratic-leaning seat, one which Congresswoman Sanchez fought to keep three times, the Santa Ana seat takes in Anaheim, Orange, and Garden Grove.

Eight! (if the NRCC pays attention, they would also target Jim Costa, who nearly got ousted in 2014 against dairy farmer Johnny Tacherra: Nine.)

Unlike other swing seats, there is a deep bench from which Orange County Republicans can draw talent to capture the seat in 2016.

CD-46: Anaheim, Garden Grove, Orange, Santa Ana

Let's look at the current partisan elected officials:

State Assembly

Travis Allen

Travis Allen could run for the Congressional seat, as his current assembly seat includes Garden Grove, although his representation veers toward the West, and not nearly as central as another assembly member. .
Young Kimg

Young Kim

She was just elected last year, and she unseated a one-term wonder Democratic incumbent Susan Quirk-Silva, herself the quirk of an unprepared political machine that turned out the vote more strongly than the Republicans in Orange County. Her district covers more area in the 46th Congressional District, as well, making her a better contender.

Kim has weathered a number of storms already, and she is a major part of the growing GOP  minority outreach which solidified conservative politics in the OC County Board of Supervisors.

If she wanted to seek higher office, she has the ground game and support to make that happen.

State Senate

Janet Nguyen

Janet Nguyen

Her state senate district neatly overlaps the Congressional District, and like Young Kim her rise in the OC Republican Party follows on the wings of the new outreach GOTV which has engaged Asian-American voters, many of whom ideologically and culturally identify with conservative, limited government, local control, pro-family values. Her influence in Santa Ana could help persuade otherswise disaffected Democratic voters to endorse and elect her in 2016, too.

The only question, however, is whether Nguyen, now elected to a four-year term, would give up a seat of greater size and influence for a smaller Congressional seat, and after serving only half of her first term. Recently-elected state senator Jim Moorlach would face similar questions about political mountaineering if he sought the Congressional seat, too.

City Council

If the above partisan officials are not interested in replacing Loretta Sanchez, then perhaps one of a number of local city council members would be interested. Unlike other embattled regions of the state of California, Orange County local leadership is brimming over with a deep bench of political contenders.

The Sanchez Seat covers four major cities: Anaheim, Garden Grove, Orange, and Santa Ana. Could a local official, with minority status, possibly vie for and win Sanchez' seat?

Anaheim City Council

None of the members of the city council are minorities, yet that alone should not preclude any one of them from being competitive.

Garden Grove City Council

Photo of City Council Member Christopher Phan
Christopher Phan
Christopher Phan was elected in 2016, and would have to decide if he wanted to run for reelection or run for Congress. He has served one term already.

Photo of Council Member Phat Bui
Phat Bui

Councilman Bui has lived Garden Grove longer than Phan. He has business as well as mathematics/engineering background. Would his prior experience make him a suitable contender for Congress? Does he want the job?

Orange City Council

Mike Alvarez
 Mike Alvarez has served two full terms on the Orange City Council. He has extensive local experience based on his resume. Surely he could relay his local victories into a Congressional win in 2016. He will have finished his third term in 2016, and with his strong record in Orange City, could he build on the machine laid out by Young Kim and Janet Nguyen, plus aggressive outreach to Santa Ana Hispanic votes, and win the CD-46?

 Santa Ana City Council

At this time, there is no present knowledge regarding whether any members of the Santa Ana city council are Republicans. Chances are that none of them at this time would run under the GOP ticket The city had a 70% Latino population earlier last decade, and the demographics have certainly changed since then. Now that Republicans have made major inroads with the Asian-Pacific Islander communities in OC, perhaps they can start working on their outreach with Latinos, particularly in Santa Ana. For that reason, in part, Mr. Alvarez would be a welcome candidate for Congress, if he was interested in the position.

Final Remarks

California Democrats will have to fight to hold or retain eight to nine Congressional seats in 2016. Even though the higher turnout may favor their chances, the fact that the party, whether at the state or federal level, must spend some much time and treasure should give CA Republicans, already gaining a small yet steady foothold back in state politics, more space to grow.

CD-46: Anaheim, Garden Grove, Orange, Santa Ana
One possibility which cannot be overlooked, of course, is CD-46. Sanchez has already gaffed twice in the past week (hesitant on her US Senate announcement, and then the famous war cry at the CA Democratic convention). Republicans with a stronger hand and presence in Orange County should not miss this open seat.

The CA US Senate Race Heats Up

Like a small replica of the United States Presidential election, the race of California’s US Senate features another inevitable nominee: Democrat Attorney General Kamala Harris.

"Inevitable" Kamala Harris

A picture of the shifting demographic changes defining California, Harris represents the resurgence of Northern California-Bay Area politics reaffirming its preeminence in the Golden State. Her rise in California Democratic ranks has been just as mixed as her heritage, starting in 1994 with help from the influential yet controversial Willie Brown, forty-year Assembly Speaker who clutched power for another year by forcing a moderate Republican to tip his hand and vote for him for another term.

Harris as Attorney General has fomented more controversy and consternation. Before statewide lawless law enforcer, she relied on her San Francisco connections to unseat another incumbent and become the City’s District Attorney. not just for her arbitrary discretion in choosing which cases to file and which judgments to appeal, including the offensive remark that illegal aliens are not criminals.

Hillary Clinton has faced fire for mismanaging email accounts between public and private, then the numerous records of purported pay-for-play among international activists, diplomats, and the Clinton Foundation. Clinton Cash is not only damaging Hillary’s chances, but has put pressure on the not-so-unbiased mainstream media (George Step-on-all-of-us losing credibility, and fast!)

For the same intents and purposes, Korrupt Kammy is not so inevitable. Within months of Harris’ announcement for US Senate, allegations of corruption and cronyism have dogged her campaign, including her efforts to kill the sale of six hospitals to a for-profit company. She has proffered misleading initiative statements to remove caps on civil judgments. Prosecutors in the Attorney General’s office have falsified confessions, and an aide to AG Harris was arrested for her role in falsely impersonating a police officer in connection with an underground cult.

 With so much controversy swirling around Harris, Southern California centrist Democrat Loretta Sanchez announced her bid for US Senate last Thursday (May 14, 2015).  A representative from the heart of Orange County, Republican-turned-Democrat Sanchez first defeated high profile incumbent Republican B-One Bob Dornan (who had represented Torrance in the late 1970s, early 1980s.) Losing in a stunning yet close upset, despite allegations of voter fraud, Dornan lost a comeback opportunity in 1998.

Loretta Sanchez (

Like Dornan and Harris, Sanchez has been no stranger to controversy, from hosting a fundraiser at the Playboy mansion, to quirky Christmas Cards, to her more business-friendly politics, representing a conservative-leaning district). For her latest gaffe, within days of announcing her bid, she made a war-whoop, mocking Native Americans. She apologized, yet now has made herself vulnerable as well as embarrassing.

With 2.68 million more Democratic than Republican registered voted in California, why should ambition liberal denizens sit out the Senate race, especially during a Presidential year, with their chances growing in line with a near-certain rising voter turnout? Sanchez has broadened some room for other Southern California Democrats to jump in, and no doubt liberal lawmakers in the background are mulling a bid.

This bottleneck of political envy should surprise no one. For nearly two decades, ambitious Democratic Congressmen, who now dominate California Delegation 38-14, have longed for a US Senate retirement. With Boxer out, their chance had arrived, until Inevitable Kammy stepped up. Her missteps have prompted Sanchez to step in, and now her faulty stepping off may induce other Democratic lawmakers to reconsider their considerations and chase the US Senate seat.

Who else could throw their proverbial hat in the ring?

Congressman Adam Schiff of Burbank was a considering a run for the upper chamber. A considerable candidate who had unseated a vulnerable Republican in 2000 (James Rogan, who prosecuted Bill Clinton in 1999, with full knowledge that he would lose his seat for standing on principle), Schiff recently featured prominently on a number of Sunday news programs, where he took bold positions opposing the White House. He has decided not to run.

Who else could declare to replace Boxer?

Jackie Speier)
Bay Area nonentity Congresswoman Jackie Speier may put her foot in. Never heard of her? Most Californians haven’t either, another curse of easy incumbency in liberal California.

John Garamendi
Background sources have also suggested that former Lieutenant Governor and current NorCal Congressman John Garamendi (Yuba City) could launch a bid. He faced a close win in 2014, and the National Republican Congressional Committee will actively target his seat in 2016. Why sit under the pressure of another major local onslaught? A statewide figurehead until his election to the House, Garamendi could pull some strings and raise some money throughout the state (including San Pedro, CA, where he made a key visit toward the end of his tenure).


Then there are the SoCal Hispanic Democrats, still feeling snubbed, unhappy with Shaky Sanchez. Are they  still looking for a Liberal Latino to carry their cause? One likely contender for that mantle is Congressman Xavier Becerra of downtown Los Angeles.

Xavier Becerra

A vocal liberal on national talk shows as well as in the House, Becerra has irked his own caucus and the opposition while pushing progressive politics. He stands out also because of his routine jabs at once-inevitable Kamala Harris, including demands on the media to probe her stances on key positions. Incidentally enough, he voiced these concerns the same day Sanchez declared her candidacy. Serving in Congress since 1992, Becerra has a longer pedigree than many of his colleagues, and deep connections in one of the strongest (and staunchest) Democratic machines in California. Could he announce any time soon? His campaign office indicated he would not decide until July, after key votes in the House have been taken up. Why rush an announcement when Kammy and Loretta are already tearing each other up. This early infighting will assist a third candidate to take up the disillusioned elements on both sides of the Democratic Party and win the nomination.

Contrary to the best intentions of California Democratic Party bosses, the race for the Golden State’s US Senate seat is heating up, and not for the better for the Democratic Party or its affiliates.

COIN Ordinance for Torrance, CA

Costa Mesa, California and the entire Orange County governing Board of Supervisors implemented this transparency and labor reform a few years ago The Civic Openness in Negotiations ordinance.

Otherwise known as COIN, this charter amendment requires more transparency between city councils and their constituents before voting on labor contracts, many of which have contributed to rising pension, benefits, and other liability costs now bankrupting cities or hurting their long-term financial stability.

State Senator John Moorlach
Flash Report offered the following points on why the COIN ordinance was needed, according to Orange County supervisor (now state senator) John Moorlach:

Eight years ago, then Orange County Register reporter Norberto Santana opened his piece, “The Art of the O.C. Deal (Orange County Register, August 6, 2006),” with the following observation: “When people see the board of supervisors vote on a labor deal, what they don’t know is that most often, an agreement has already been reached in private. And it’s perfectly legal.”

City leaders voting for a deal based on private agreements made public: does any of this sit well with local leaders or taxpayers? Elected officials rule in the public interest, yet private or special benefits get voted on in this practice. Torrance residents have complained to me about their frustration with city leadership making decisions behind closed doors, and how they arrive at those decisions, only to present an array of choices publicly, even when the final vote has been tallied and ready before the  meeting.

Moorlach echoed this frustration in his article:

Can you imagine a private sector business allowing a third-party to negotiate contracts on its behalf with no say in the process? Of course not. Yet, when dealing with labor negotiations, the general public, whose tax money is being spent, allows their elected officials to negotiate without any real say in the process.

Reform governors like Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Rick Snyder of Michigan recognized this conflict of interest, where labor unions and elected official struck lavish, generous deals for employees, at the expense of the very people paying the bills: the taxpayers. Of course no one would approve a deal they have to pay for without their input.

Yet this outcome occurs frequently in public sector labor negotiations all the time.

Moorlach then introduced and outlined the COIN ordinance:

These negotiations, which happen behind closed doors, are shrouded in secrecy, with the general public only being able to give input after a deal is already agreed upon.

For this reason, I have introduced the Civic Openness in Negotiations (COIN) ordinance for consideration by the Orange County Board of Supervisors at its June 17, 2014, meeting.

Independent Negotiator – As is current policy, the County will hire an independent negotiator that is not impacted by any outcome in the negotiation process. Past practice had county staff, who were subject to the same provisions as the bargaining unit they were negotiating with, negotiate on behalf of the Board of Supervisors. Independent negotiators remove this conflict.

Finally, real independence in contractual negotiations. Everyone should approve this provision, whether a member of a labor union, a city official, or a resident.

Cost of Contracts – Current practice has the county budget office analyze the costs of any contract proposal. Under COIN, the independently elected Auditor-Controller will take on this responsibility. This ensures an equal playing ground for both labor organizations and the county as both will be given the ability to comment about the analysis.

Offers and Counteroffers – This ordinance would require that all offers and counteroffers be disclosed to the public within 24 hours.

Disclosure is a good thing, especially for the party paying the fees and furnishing the funds for

Board Disclosure – Each member of the Board of Supervisors will be required to disclose any and all verbal, written, or electronic communications they have had with an official representative of a recognized employee organization.

This measure would be modified so that every member of the city council or school board would be required to reveal their contact information.
Contract Approval – This ordinance will require that, before the final proposed contract is placed on the Board agenda, the Memorandum of Understanding will be posted to the County website.

A memorandum of understanding is:

 a bilateral or multilateral agreement between two or more parties. It expresses a convergence of will between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action. It is often used in cases where parties either do not imply a legal commitment or in situations where the parties cannot create a legally enforceable agreement.

The key word is "intended", but the agreement would not be realized until final approval by the city governing board, whether city or school board or other agency.

Why are all these steps necessary in labor negotiations? Accountability is crucial, as well as providing time and resources for individual residents to review the upcoming contracts and ensure that city funds are properly allocated, with considerations for the future as well as present fiscal needs in place.

Last year, the Torrance City Council approved retroactive pay increases for one municipal employees union, and without any lengthy transparency or responses from voters.

Some of the remarks from the article were telling:

Details of the proposed deal won't be publicly available until the day of the meeting, creating some suspicion of a behind-the-scenes pact.

A COIN ordinance would prevent this appearance (or reality) of impropriety, especially on the part of a relatively new and inexperience city council.

On a more general note, why does any city continue entering into expensive labor agreements, even while businesses struggle in the Balanced City, or leave altogether. Working families are tightening their belts, controlling their spending habits. City governments should be expected to do  the same.

A month before the June 2014 elections, Torrance labor unions even complained and picketed after the city offered an 8.1% salary increase. The prior mayor offered the same increase to every union, contingent on allowing the city to choose insurance providers. These are reasonable requests, but one of the unions still pushed back. When will city residents shout back: "Enough!"?

In the Costa Mesa Daily Pilot, Costa Mesa Charter Committee member Gene Hutchins reported the following benefits of the COIN ordinance in their city:

At the last Costa Mesa City Council meeting, I was pleased to see savings of more than $1 million result from negotiations with employees. The transparency of COIN confirmed this success.

COIN, the Civic Openness in Negotiations ordinance, requires public disclosure of traditionally closed labor negotiations between the city and its public employee unions. COIN allows the public to see and comment on formal proposals before the council votes on them.

Had COIN been in place from 2000 to 2010, residents would have learned that the city's three public employee unions were pushing through major increases in employee pensions. Pensions were increased as much as 50%, and increases were "retroactively applied" to each employee's hire date.

These massive increases in public entitlement spending had gone unnoticed for years, but because of COIN, residents could question and block these increases, and force their representatives to renegotiate in the best interests not of special interests, but the public interest.

Now is a good time for municipalities like Torrance to push for transparency and greater input from residents in all city labor negotiations. Instead of relying on cuts and tax increases, reforms like COIN could invest cost-saving measures and improve community-council relations.

George Skelton: Say No to Prop 30 Extension

LA Times columnist George Skelton

George Skelton of the LA Times shared some well-placed conservative wisdom this week.

The only problem is that he is reporting these economic verities three years after the fact, when fiscal watchdogs and taxpayer advocates had pointed out the potential fallout from Prop 30's tax hikes.

In the May 18 edition of the LA Times, Skelton's article "Tax hike once made sense" makes economic sense not just for letting the increases expire, but also for why introducing them in the first place was never the right idea to solve the Golden State's long-term structural debt and financial woes.

If Gov. Jerry Brown's revised budget plan proved anything last week, it is that his 2012 tax increase should quietly fade into history as he promised.

There's no justification for continuing to sock the highest income earners — the people who can most easily move to a low-tax state — when Sacramento is wallowing in surplus money.

As CA GOP Chairman Jim Brulte asserted many times to supporters and willing participants seeking to restore fiscal and moral solvency to the Golden State, the most conservative political figure in Sacramento with any power is. . .Governor Jerry Brow.

Scary thought, and scarier still that he is the only politically viable stalwart against extending the Prop 30 tax hikes.

Now, a couple of corrections are in order.

First of all, the revised budget should be cutting spending and reforming expensive entitlements, a la Scott Walker's Act 10, which limited public sector union collective bargaining to the rate of inflation, along with enacting paycheck protection and mandatory annual recertification for the same bargaining units.

Brown's pension reforms have not been the panacea which tax advocates and fiscal watchdogs expected either. As for the reams of regulations, when will anyone in the legislature stop putting all these burdensome demands on the shrinking business class?

Furthermore, the argument that Sacramento is "wallowing in surplus money" is misleading. The wall of debt remains, and the hundred-billion dollars of pension liabilities loom large over a state top heavy with well-connected political power and a growing base of middle class/working class poverty. By the way, the money comes from the pockets of taxpayers, and thus belongs to them. Why not allow California residents to wallow in their own money?

Skelton reminds readers who is behind the Prop 30 extension:

Yet, the teachers union and some liberal Democrats — not Brown — are plotting to extend the tax hike that was advertised to voters as temporary.

The teachers union and "some" liberal Democrats, another stunning tautology. The teachers unions and the California Democratic Party are practically synonymous. Who rules who is no longer a question in Sacramento. State Senator Ben Allen admitted as much when he advised me that promoting local control for communities of interest depended on the support of the CTA. "Plot" is a perfect word to describe what these liberal interests do to public education and private citizens.

Skelton brings up a larger issue, one which has aggravated the fiscal crises in the state for decades:

And with surplus money rolling in, good luck trying to make a case for keeping those tax rates in the stratosphere without the governor's support.
Brown's budget revision also made another thing clear, or should have: There's a pressing need for real tax reform. We need a more stable tax system, one that doesn't exaggerate the natural ups and downs of the economy.

California government is too dependent on the unreliable super-wealthy and their seesawing investments, plus an outdated sales tax that exempts the new economy: services.

The boom and bust of the economy has boomed and busted California's revenue streams, and the volatile nature of this up and down can end when taxes like Prop 30 die out and never resurrect. After the 2012 hikes, not only did the not-so merry-go-round of California funding persist, but the otherwise reliable sources of tax revenue, small businesses, pulled out of the state. Nineteen companies announced their move within weeks of Prop 30's passage: Nineteen!

And the business flight has not ended. Three major companies here in Torrance, CA are leaving the state for better economic climates, including Toyota and Panasonic. No doubt Prop 30 made the move easier to make.

The last few remarks deserve more consideration, too:

The governor added that when people see the income gap between rich and poor, and there's talk of lowering the highest tax rates while burdening "the ordinary folk out there, that may be logical [to] some green-eyeshade accountants, but I don't know from a political point of view that it's very viable."

This argument is a non-starter. Lowering taxes on "the wealthy" means just that -- lowering taxes on people who have money and make money. There is nothing immoral about that. Why not discuss scrapping the income tax altogether, or expecting everyone to pay a nominal flat tax? Yes, that would mean low and working class residents would pay something, but one could combine this flat tax with an elimination of the sales tax.

Bob Hertzberg

The final remarks from state senator Bob Hertzberg and Skelton were priceless:

Here's what Brown needs to get, Hertzberg added: In 2008, California's domestic product fell 3.7%. But state tax revenue plummeted 23%.

Yes, and why? Precisely because of the tax hikes. When Hertzberg understands what Brown gets, then legislators will move on solutions to the funding problems and the unfair tax structure in the state.

"Come on, guys. We have to fix that problem," the former Assembly speaker said. "I'm trying to find an honest, realistic way to run a government in this new economy."

But that would require political courage. And there's rarely a surplus of that in Sacramento.

Wow. How true that is. Political courage is in short supply, to put in mildly. Who has it? So far, the minority Republican caucus, and their numbers have only increased enough to prevent easy tax hikes. Will Californians offer the opposition more help and increase their numbers in Sacramento in 2016?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Lydia Gutierrez Blasts Vladovic's Desperate, Hateful Attack Ads

Teacher, humanitarian, and local activist Lydia Gutierrez is giving incumbent LAUSD School Board member Richard Vladovic a run for his money, and has forced him into a fight for his political life.

Gutierrez released the following press statements following three outrageous attack ads from the Vladovic camp, which political consultant Basil Kimbrew (himself a staunch and outspoken support for Gutierrez) called outrageous and offensive.

Gutierrez' press release will appear in italics, and comments will appear in the current type.

Campaign of HATE is Vladovic's tactic against Lydia Gutiérrez

“Is creating and condoning a Campaign of Hate toward one’s opponent the right answer for Vladovic in attacking Lydia Gutiérrez?”

After a recent poll conducted by the Charter School Association in LAUSD District 7 that showed Lydia Gutiérrez leading 37% to Vladovic’s 34%, the Vladovic “Money Machine,” already spending half a million dollars, has resorted to more aggressively attacking Lydia Gutiérrez with distortions of the truth and making her personal religious beliefs an issue—just another indication that Vladovic’s campaign is in trouble.'

No one should feel intimidated by large campaign war chests, union machines, or political peddling. A well-known name and Democratic political machine in deep blue Rhode Island failed to carry another  member of a legacy into a general election.

Character and consistent count just as much as campaign cash, and even if Vlad outraises and outspends Gutierrez, the over-the-top petty attacks cannot cover up the welcome and rewarding record of a life-long teacher who wants the best for LA kids. Gutierrez cares, she knows what counts, and she deserves to be the candidate who wins!

Yard_Sign.JPGIn a continued act of desperation, his campaign supporters recently sent out 3 mailers hoping to ignite hateful anti-religious extremists against Lydia Gutiérrez. These vicious attacks are just another indicator as to how low his campaign feels it must go to undermine Lydia’s lead in the polls. These actions by his campaign and his supporting organizations have only helped to further unite Lydia’s supporters in their resolve to get Lydia elected. Her grassroots campaign dealing with the issues, without using personal attacks against Vladovic, has given Lydia the lead. That 37% to 34% lead is expected to widen by May 19th.

No question about this: supporters are fully and firmly planted in the Gutierrez camp. Many political insiders have dismissed or condescended to her ambitions for higher office, convinced that without the well-oiled political machine chicanery, Gutierrez would not have a chance.

Her campaign for LAUSD School Board has turned into an opportunity, not just for her, but for all LAUSD parents and students who want an education as opposed to the failed, statist status quo.

Every student, parent, teacher, administrator and Board member of LAUSD is FREE to choose their religious beliefs, and no harm or fear of reprisals must come to them in any of our schools. Hatred of religion will not be tolerated in our schools once Lydia Gutiérrez is elected.  Freedom of Religion is our RIGHT as Americans under the 1st Amendment.

Finally, there is a political candidate who is a proud defender of the First Amendment. While governors in otherwise conservative states have caved

The Vladovic Campaign and the organizations listed below are being singled out for using “Freedom of Religion” as an issue, and attempting to inflame radical anti-religion Vladovic supporters in a last-minute effort to avoid coming in 2nd on May 19th.

Lydia is requesting an IMMEDIATE RETRACTION from all three organizations:
  • Service Employees International Union Local 99
  • United Teachers of Los Angeles
  • California Charter Schools Association
Not only does Lydia stand for liberty, but she is pushing back at bullying interest groups and their leaders, many of whom are making decisions and releasing offensive mailers without the opinion or approval of the individual members. These three organizations should recuse themselves from funding or promoting hatred, bigotry, and misleading campaign ads riddled with fraud.

Lydia is firmly admonishing the Vladovic Campaign for its tactics of trying to hide the mistakes made under his term in office—BAD decisions, poor leadership and costly lawsuits that could have been prevented; mistakes that cost the district MILLIONS of dollars. They are all in the record of LAUSD. We will inform the CCSA, the SEIU Local 99, and the UTLA of Vladovic’s futile actions to divert attention from the key issues of mismanagement of public funds and costly lawsuits, and his attempt to turn this race into an “Anti-religion” battle.

Lydia Gutierrez for LAUSD School Board, District Seven

It is disturbing to Lydia’s Campaign supporters to see her fellow union members of SEIU Local 99 resort to futile efforts in an attempt to undermine Lydia’s Campaign.  She has served as the Union representative in the school where she teaches, and has twice been elected as a delegate to the National Education Association.  Having stood side by side with her fellow union members to fight for fair wages, Lydia, too, is perplexed by this behavior of her union colleagues.

Impressive! Lydia understands the struggles of working education professionals, and more LA voters need to know. No one should ever confuse the general pronouncement of union leadership with the individual interests and concerns of the several and diverse members of teachers unions and other professional organizations throughout LAUSD. Gutierrez has the widespread support of individual professions, but more importantly the parents and pupils whom she will represent once elected on the School Board.


Lydia has been a member and served on the executive board of the NAACP of Compton, and has been a former member of LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) and participated with the Latino Congreso. Lydia has not received any financial support from these organizations, nor has she received any form of help from large groups of volunteers. For anyone to arrive at the conclusion that she is carrying the banner of any of these organizations simply because she cared more about students and their academic success is beyond logical understanding.

This record of accomplishment is really inspiring. Gutierrez is all about serving the public, rather than the public serving her. She supports the best interests of many minority communities, rather than exploiting their concerns for limited personal, political gain.

Lydia’s supporters include Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, and they will not be intimidated by her opponent’s last minute acts of desperation.

Now more than ever, Los Angeles Schools need leadership and representation which respects the good will of all people, regardless of ethnicity or party affiliation. Beholden to no one, yet holding onto values which treat all people with respect and honor, Gutierrez is the right person to represent LA Harbor and South Los Angeles at 333 South Beaudry.

On May 19th, Vote for Lydia Gutierrez for LAUSD School Board District Seven!

LA Times Race-Baiting against Republicans

Once again, The Los Angeles Times engaged in subtle Republican race-baiting in a heavily editorialized title “Republicans block young immigrant 'dreamers' from military”. The article slams the near-unanimous vote of the conservative House majority barring legal status for illegal aliens who serve in the United States military. News Photo 060822-N-0555B-168.jpg
A naval officer taking oath of citizenship
(Christopher Blachly)
The Times’ headline implies that Republicans are blocking all immigrants from the military. No, they are not.  There are millions of young immigrants who obey the law and serve this country. The issue has never been immigration, but illegal immigration. The press should respect the dreams of residents born and naturalized in this country.
For the record, the huddled masses yearning for freedom seek the rule of law, which will mean absolutely nothing if Congress routinely passes piece-meal amnesties. Ironically, President Obama wants to welcome migrants to this county, yet his lawless, unconstitutional executive orders are undermining the very liberty which they seek.