The fun and drama never seems to stop. The first piece below is an opinion piece written by two titans in the fiscal conservative community and appears in the Metropolitan News Enterprise and on the Flashreport. They are echoing many of the concerns that I have raised, so it is great to have such credible voices get the message out there.
The second piece is from the Orange County Breeze and discusses a recent announcement from someone who visited me at my District Office last fall. The author of the piece reflected on my personal journey a couple of years ago (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Governor — February 23, 2013 february 23, 2013 john moorlach and MOORLACH UPDATE — June not April — June 14, 2013 june 14, 2013 john moorlach). John Cox is doing a little of the same research.
The third piece has been covered before, but this time we have it going national (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Oops! — January 19, 2017 january 19, 2017 john moorlach). EAG News and FOX News have the fun details.
Time for a Major Change in Course
By LEWIS K. UHLER and JON COUPAL
Governor Brown, California Attorney General Becerra, legislative and other government officials are fixated on battling the new administration in Washington with almost total disregard for California’s major problems and unmet needs. Failure to address these pressing problems threatens the viability of a state whose status is rapidly being transformed from “golden” to “tarnished.”
To help the political class refocus on the important, here is a list of the most exigent problems accompanied by modest solutions, as compiled by a couple of veteran taxpayer advocates who speak with, and hear from, thousands of California taxpayers.
Roads & Highways – Just about any road trip one drives on in California confirms that we have gone from a world leader in highway capacity and quality to barely a third world contender. Major changes are in order. Our gasoline tax must be dedicated to roads and highways alone, not to other general fund uses like paying off state general obligation bonds, as is now the practice. Also, Senator John Moorlach’s demands to reform CALTRANS should be a top priority. California spends 4.7 times as much per mile of state highway than the national average, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and a 2014 government report concluded the transportation agency was over-staffed by 3,500 positions. Additionally, we should end the practice of requiring “prevailing wages” on public works projects, which are estimated to add up to 20% on every road and other public improvement.
Energy Costs—Gasoline formulation requirements, “Cap and Trade” and other responses to climate change must be revisited with demonstrable science and hard-headed realism to help low and middle income Californians who struggle with the costs of transportation and household energy. This is not climate change denial, but rather a recognition that it is patently unfair to burden the citizens of one state with the entirety of a global problem.
Business Regulations and Lawsuit Abuse – Manufacturing restrictions, wage and salary rules, Worker’s Compensation standards, frivolous lawsuits and “sue and settle” standards have driven the aerospace and most other manufacturing industries out of California. Time for tort and regulatory reform to establish a business-friendly climate that will encourage refugees to return and lure others to relocate here. Note: The Nestle Corporation has just announced it is moving its U.S. headquarters from Glendale to Rosslyn, Virginia taking hundreds of high paying jobs with them.
Land Development and Housing Costs – The mid ‘70s pioneering California Environmental Quality Act (SEQA) has created a nightmare for those seeking affordable, conveniently located housing, workplaces and shopping centers. It has been used as a weapon by environmentalists, competitors, “NIMBYs” and labor organizations to limit—and dramatically drive up the cost of homes, apartments and other needed facilities. Fortunately, despite the best efforts of some in Sacramento, Proposition 13 remains on the job protecting homeowners from runaway property taxes that could force them from their homes.
Public Transit—Governor Brown’s “Bullet Train to Nowhere” is in a death spiral due to lack of public support, refusal of the federal government and the private sector to provide additional funds, and out of control costs due to mismanagement, malfeasance and insurmountable engineering hurdles. But fixed route/fixed rail transit remains part of the liberal social planners’ mantra. Other than in highly congested urban areas, public transit is unjustifiable in terms of both capital and operating costs. With the advent of Lyft, Uber, self-driving cars and even Elon Musk’s Hyperloop—that, within a few years, could move passengers at a fraction of the cost of rail—private companies and entrepreneurs are offering answers to the mobility problem. This justifies placing renewed emphasis on fixing and expanding our highway system.
Education Improvements and Cost Control—“School choice” is the answer to improving K-12 student learning results. The political clout of the California Teachers Association and other teacher unions has blocked progress. Properly framed ballot initiatives may be the only realistic avenue to reform as we must stop the automatic and mindless Proposition 98 commitment of nearly half of general fund revenues—regardless of need —to K-12 and community colleges.
Public Employee Wages, Benefits and Pension Reforms—Public sector compensation costs for California, at both the state and local levels, are now clearly unsustainable. According to the Department of Labor, California state and local employees are the highest compensated in all 50 states.
Pay, benefits and pensions of public employees have become disproportionate to their private sector counterparts who foot the bill. Adding to the approaching calamity is mismanagement—which has included criminal bribery—at CalPERS, the state’s largest public employee pension fund.
Politically motivated investment strategies and fanciful predictions of return on those investments have left taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars in unfunded liability for current and future retirees. Consideration must be given to shuttering CalPERS and fairly allocating to each current employee their share of the retirement funds, arranging for the public employer to make up the difference for what has been promised to date, and move from “defined benefit” to “defined contribution” plans for all existing and future employees. Otherwise, this pension burden has the potential to grow so large that California will not be able to fund the most basic services and as residents flee to other states, the last one out will be asked to turn out the lights.
We call on our representatives to stop pursuing discretionary causes and pet projects and come to grips with these real problems facing all Californians.
Room with a view: San Diego businessman John Cox mulling a run for California governor
According to an article by Christopher Cadelago in the Sacramento Bee, wealthy San Diego businessman John Cox is on a listening tour to find out whether he has a snowball’s chance in the 2018 election to replace Jerry Brown as governor of California.
The article says that San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is also eyeing the governor’s race.
Given that California provided most of Hillary Clinton’s margin of victory in the popular vote in last year’s Presidential election, any Republican who chooses to run will face threadbare prospects.
The so-called Calexit ballot measure, now collecting signatures to qualify, may receive more votes than a Republican candidate for governor. That measure proposes that California exit, stage left, from the United State of America. Not a new idea, secession, but one with historical roots that taste foul when chewed on. Also unlikely in the extreme to succeed.
In the lead-up to the 2014 election, I remember California Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), then Orange County Supervisor for District 2, went on a similar listening tour. He decided that his chances were little or none. As a CPA, he listened to the numbers.
Mr. Cox is also a trained CPA, and attorney. We’ll see if he listens to the numbers.
An embarrassing surplus of Democrats have expressed interest in the seat left open by Jerry Brown under California term limits. The Sacramento Bee article lists former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, current Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom (former mayor of San Francisco), former state schools chief Delaine Eastin, and current State Treasurer John Chiang.
I would prefer John Cox to any of the listed Democrats, though perhaps John Chiang would be least painful.
However, the spectacle of Sharon Quirk-Silva beating Young Kim for State Assembly, Josh Newman beating Ling Ling Chang for State Senate, and Orange County as a whole voting for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, speaks volumes for the grassroots groundwork needed to rebuild conservative strength in California.
Even should a Republican be elected governor, he would still likely have to work somehow with a legislature dominated by (very liberal) Democrats.
Republicans and conservatives (not the same thing) cannot retreat to their strongholds. They will have to sally out to meet the arguments of their opponents head on. They must make the case for conservative policy.
CA lawmakers push to require schools to teach about Russia election ‘hack’
FEBRUARY 7, 2017
BY VICTOR SKINNER
California state lawmakers want to mandate schools teach lessons about Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 election and other politically charged issues to high school students.
Assemblyman Marc Levine, a Democrat from San Rafael, is pushing legislation to task the state’s Instructional Quality Commission with developing a lesson about the role Russian hackers allegedly played in the 2016 election and recommend the state board incorporate the lesson into new history and social studies standards.
Levine appeared Monday on Fox News’s Tucker Carlson Tonight to defend the measure against critics who oppose lawmakers injecting political bias into school lessons.
“To me, the most important thing is we need to understand our history to have a sense of what foreign policy we have in the future, so looking back decades from now, why are we on the course that we’re on,” Levine said, comparing the issue to the War of 1812, the Monroe Doctrine, and the Marshall Plan.
“These are moments in history that help us really understand where American leadership has come from,” he insisted. “We need to understand Russian interference in the 2016 election and its impacts on foreign policy …”
National Intelligence Director James Clapper alleged in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee in January that Russian hackers meddled in the 2016 election, but acknowledged that the alleged hacking “did not change any vote tallies” and the “intelligence community can’t gauge the impact it had on the choices the electorate made,” according to the Associated Press.
Despite the many unknowns, Clapper declared Russia “an existential threat to the United States.”
Carlson pointed out to Levine that “we don’t understand the effect of Russia right now” and questioned his motivation for injecting the issue into school history books before that’s clear.
“The War of 1812 was 200 years ago, the Marshall Plan was 70 years ago, we have an advantage. We sort of get it now. We have perspective,” he said. “We have no perspective on what happened (in 2016), and basically what you’re suggesting is adding propaganda from a politician into text books, and why should I be in favor of that?”
Levine then attempted to shift the conversation to President Donald Trump.
“Well, the intelligence community had an assessment where they agreed that the Russian government and Vladimir Putin himself, had the boldest move ever in the interference in our election. And this will have an impact on American foreign policy, but we have a president who is the least curious man on the planet about this issue,” Levine said.
“Usually the winners write the history books,” he said, “and we need to make sure the truth is in our history books and it’s not papered over by the president.”
“No, what you’re doing is trying to get losers to write the history books,” Carlson shot back. “I just want the historians to write the history books.”
“You know as well as I what you’re suggesting is the addition of political propaganda into text books, there’s nothing to substantiate your claims, we don’t know Russia’s intent, we don’t know the extent to which they influenced this election,” he continued. “Those are unknowable right now, and you know that as well as I do.”
Levine’s efforts follow a bill introduced by California state Sen. Bill Todd, a Napa Democrat, to teach students “media literacy” and how to differentiate “fake news” from the real deal, The Mercury News reports.
“During the final, critical months of the 2016 presidential campaign,” according to the bill, “20 top-performing false election stories from hoax Web sites and hyperpartisan blogs generated 8,711,000 shares, reactions, and comments on social media.”
Republican state Sen. John Moorlach described Levine’s efforts as a “petty” example of “showmanship,” and condemned both lawmakers’ efforts to inject political bias into public school classrooms.
“I’d just be happy if we taught kids how to read and write and do arithmetic,” he said.
This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District.
If you no longer wish to subscribe, just let me know by responding with a request to do so.