Dozens of lawmakers donate to Gov. Brown's tax initiative
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 08:51
July 31, 2012
More than two dozen Democratic state legislators have contributed thousands of dollars apiece to help pass Gov. Jerry Brown's multibillion-dollar tax initiative, according to disclosure documents filed Tuesday.
Twenty-eight legislators donated amounts ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 from their campaign or ballot measure committees between April and June 30 to bolster prospects for Brown's Proposition 30, which would raise sales taxes slightly on everyone and income taxes sharply on high-income Californians.
The lawmakers' contributions were garnered by a committee named Californians Working Together to Restore and Protect Public Schools, Universities and Public Safety, sponsored in part by Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, teachers and labor unions.
"This is an important priority for California to protect our schools and local public safety, and (Perez) has actively encouraged people to contribute to support the governor's campaign," said Doug Herman, Perez's political strategist.
Californians Working Together collected $6.5 million in cash or in-kind contributions during the three-month period, and about $3.3 million earlier in the year, bringing its grand total to $9.7 million in 2012, records show.
Numerous other groups also are collecting money for or against Proposition 30.
Senate Democrats who contributed to Californians Working Together between April and June 30 were Alex Padilla of Los Angeles, $25,000; Kevin de Leon of Los Angeles, $20,000; and Ellen Corbett of San Leandro, $19,000.
Among Assembly Democrats, $10,000 contributions were received from Tom Ammiano of San Francisco, Toni Atkins of San Diego, Wes Chesbro of Arcata, Nancy Skinner of Berkeley, Norma Torres of Pomona, Luis Alejo of Watsonville, Bill Monning of Carmel, Isadore Hall of Compton, Holly Mitchell of Los Angeles, Roger Hernandez of West Covina, Bob Wieckowski of Fremont; Rich Gordon of Menlo Park, Susan Bonilla of Concord, Das Williams of Santa Barbara, Mike Gatto of Los Angeles, Nora Campos of San Jose, and Felipe Fuentes of Sylmar.
Contributions of $5,000 came from Assembly Democrats Roger Dickinson of Sacramento, Alyson Huber of El Dorado Hills, Fiona Ma of San Francisco, V. Manuel Perez of Coachella, Wilmer Amina Carter of Rialto, and Mary Hayashi of Castro Valley. Assemblyman Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, and Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, each chipped in $2,000.
Earlier in the year, Perez, D-Los Angeles, contributed $100,000 from his ballot measure committee to the pro-Proposition 30 effort. Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, donated $20,000.
Californians Working Together's highest donors have been labor groups: California Teachers Association, $1.5 million; American Federation of Teachers, $1.2 million; Service Employees International Union Local 1000, $1 million; and the California State Council of Service Employees, $1 million; United Domestic Workers of America, $800,000; and the California Federation of Teachers, $800,000, state records show.
Dodging The Bullet Train
Friday, 27 July 2012 13:26
Moment of Clarity July 19, 2012
A first-class round-trip airline ticket from Los Angeles to San Francisco costs $393.60. And what, you may wonder, does that have to do with you? Here's what: It would be cheaper for you – the taxpayer - to buy first-class tickets for the first 112 million High Speed Rail (HSR) passengers than it will be to build the first phase of California's HSR. Let that sink in for just a moment.
The taxpayers of the nation ($3.3 billion) and the state of California ($1.4 billion) will pay more than $4.7 billion to build a rail line that 99% of Americans (and over 70% of Californians surveyed for that matter) will never use. But wait – that is just the tip of the iceberg. You see, that $4.7 billion only covers a tiny little stretch of the total system – Step 1, they call it. The California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) tells us that this first leg is vital because it closes the rail gap between Bakersfield and Palmdale. The punch line writes itself.
The cost to build the entire 520 mile length of California's HSR is now estimated to exceed $98 billion. That is not a misprint. If you need a little perspective, there are 119 countries whose GDP is less than $98 billion. $98 billion would buy 249 million first-class airfares. That's right - 249 million rides from Los Angeles to San Francisco and back, twice as fast as the bullet train, free drinks, and you don't have to stop in Palmdale.
And $98 billion is only the initial construction cost for California's HSR; it does not include the annual operating and maintenance costs once the system is built. The California High Speed Rail Authority projects operating costs of $453 million per year; they say they will sell the 6 million fares it will take to break even and avoid a taxpayer subsidy.
Let's stop laughing for a minute and give them the benefit of the doubt that a government public works program will come in on budget (snort), cost what they say to operate (involuntary passing of gas) and achieve the ridership they claimed in order to sell DOT on the project (milk through nose).
$98 billion would buy those 6 million California train dudes and dudettes first-class round-trip airfare from LAX to SFO and back for the next 41 years. 41 years is a long time - we will have forgotten the next two generations of Kardashians by then; Lindsay Lohan's granddaughter will be in rehab. And flying them all first class will save over $18 billion of train operating costs - money that can be used for other liberal priorities, like feeding hungry children, insuring the uninsured, building spy drones to buzz tea parties, suing states, or invading Syria.
This is what happens when people with no clue where money comes from decide what to do with yours. Economic absurdity requires a level of ignorance not easily maintained over the course of normal living. These ideas do not spring up in places like Bakersfield and Palmdale; they are hatched in reality deprivation chambers like Washington, Madison, and Berkley.
Actually, I am a fan of high-speed-rail - just not the public variety. If HSR was economically viable, private investment would develop it; there is enough cash on corporate balance sheets to build the California system four times over, to say nothing of the capital available in private equity firms.
HSR is built in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost in China, where advanced construction technology is utilized and the business climate favors economic development. But California is not China; California's business climate favors Nevada - there's your moment of clarity.
The irony is that many of the same people who worked to kill mining in Wisconsin are out pushing for High Speed Rail in California. Perhaps no one has explained it to them, but there isn't one single part in that whole system that is woven out of hemp. It will take millions of pounds of iron, copper, nickel, silver, cement, aluminum, rare earth metals, and plastics refined from petroleum to make this bullet train they seem to think Providence owes them. And guess what - coal and nuclear power plants will furnish the power that will make it go fast. Trains do not run on good intentions.
Construction of the rail line will take thousands of diesel-powered machines and there will be belching black puffs of carcinogens every time a piece of dirt is moved. Those dozers and graders and excavators will be polluting the air in California and heaving greenhouse gasses up into the atmosphere for 20 years before the first green ride on that bullet train ever takes place.
The FAQ page of the California High Speed Rail Authority points to Spain as its role model. Yes, that Spain - the nation that had to borrow money from France to pay its portion of the Greek bailout to keep Portugal from falling next and taking Italy with it. Thank goodness we didn't copy their health care model, too… oh, wait… never mind.
The California High Speed Rail project would be stupid even if we had money. But since the nation is broke, and California has to look up to even see the bottom of broke, the project is certifiably insane. That's why all the grownups said no.
Wisconsin dodged a high-speed bullet when Governor Walker killed HSR here, and Florida's Governor Rick Scott was smart enough to pass on it, too - as were dozens of other sober governors with calculators and a lick of common sense. It took the combined moon-battery of Jerry Brown, Ray LaHood, and Barack Obama to place the nation's dumbest public works project on the nation's most active fault line.
It was inevitable that this HSR project would end up in California; it is the only state in the union with enough weed to make it seem like a good idea.
Moment of Clarity is a weekly commentary by Libertarian writer and speaker Tim Nerenz, Ph.D. Visit Tim's website www.timnerenz.com to find your moment.
Golden Goosie Award
Friday, 20 July 2012 11:48
Golden Goosie Award
Something to really quack about…
Guest Column--Karen Kenney Wednesday, July 18, 2012
(1) Comments | Print friendly | Email Us
I’ve decided to create a new award for California that violates at least two Constitutional or Tea Party principles: the “Golden Goosie”, Willie Brown, eminent domain mortgages, San Bernardino County
Ah hem. Drum roll please. And the winner is…Willie Brown, former mayor of San Francisco!
(Brown’s back-room deals in San Bernardino County violate both the Founders’ intent of eminent domain and the rule of law—contract law, that is!)
Willie Brown and friends are behind “eminent domain” mortgage bailout in San Bernardino County that “sticks” it to loan issuers—those “big, bad banks”. (First heard about the story on KKLA-AM’s Frank Pastore Show at 6 p.m., Tuesday, July 17, 2012).
The shorthand is CA is taking the devastating SCOTUS eminent domain case—Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005)—to new lows: A municipal mortgage bailout that keeps owners in foreclosing properties, re-evaluates the loans, keeps taxes going into government coffers and “sticks” the loan issuers with a loss that will have the long-term consequences of discouraging business investment in troubled communities.
Imagine what incompetent, Progressive mayors, county supervisors or city councils could do with this to appease over-under constituents and get votes while destroying property rights or free market principles.
So CA citizens, taxpayers and property owners, bend over because Brown’s greedy secret is a pinch-me fantasy for underwater homeowners and bankrupt municipalities in the Golden State to get revenues, be popular and kick future community growth squarely in the buttocks.
Let’s hear it for the “Golden Goosie” and Mr. Brown, a former mayor and assembly speaker, that just keeps on giving taxpayers in the Golden State a poke and a pinch where the sun doesn’t shine.
In California, that’s hard to do.
Karen Kenney is publisher of “The Patriots Almanac”
Fresno Conference June 23/24
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 June 2012 09:39 Sunday, 10 June 2012 12:31
The conference in Fresno is less than 2 weeks away, June 23rd & 24th.
Topics we'll cover:
- Confrontational Politics
- Get Out The Vote (GOTV)
- Social Media (Facebook, Twitter)
- Do You Know USA & Citizen Briefs
- Self Governance
- Defending Rural America
- Operation Swing State Update
- Propositions on November Ballot
We're including more "Break Times" than we had in San Juan Capistrano. We won't feel as rushed and we'll have more time to hang out and chat with each other.
See http://www.tinyurl.com/fresnojune2324 for all the details including link to registration page.
Please SIGN UP ASAP so we can plan accordingly. There's an online payment option or you can pay at the door.
Pre and Post Conference Events:
FRIDAY, 6:00pm - 9:00pm > Pre-Conference Dinner & Drinks
Marie Callender's, 3602 W. Shaw Ave, Fresno, 93711 (west of hotel)
We're in the "Third Room" in the back. Stop by when you get into town, there's no set schedule or agenda.
SATURDAY - BBQ Dinner Sponsored by Central Valley Tea Party
Woodward Park, 6:00 pm - Additional details to follow but it's free dinner with Tea Partiers in a park, what else do you need to know?
SUNDAY, 3:00pm - 5:00pm - Defend Rural America kickstart with Kirk MacKenzie
This will be a follow-up to Kirk's May presentation to Central Valley residents which is similar to what we'll hear from Kirk on Saturday. The strategy/take away here is if you like what Kirk is talking about on Saturday, you can jump right into "Part 2" on Sunday before you leave Fresno. This is a separate, no cost event at a different location, but you are welcome and encouraged to attend if interested.
Calvary Worship Center, 4581 E Dakota Ave, Fresno, 93726
California Democrats ready to send Gov. Jerry Brown a budget that rejects $1 billion in cuts Share
Thursday, 14 June 2012 09:33
Published: Thursday, Jun. 14, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Thursday, Jun. 14, 2012 - 9:51 am
Legislative Democrats are poised to send Gov. Jerry Brown a budget that avoids deep new cuts in safety-net programs while reducing state worker pay and taking funds from courts and counties.
To help bridge a $15.7 billion deficit, the Democratic governor has asked his own party's lawmakers to overhaul welfare-to-work, slash in-home care and require low-income students to earn higher grades for scholarship aid.
But Democrats plan to reject more than $1 billion of those cuts, saying the state has already balanced enough prior budgets on the backs of poor Californians. They lack a deal with Brown, but lawmakers face a Friday constitutional deadline to send him a budget or lose their pay.
Legislative leaders released a proposal Wednesday that instead would nearly halve the size of Brown's $1 billion reserve, recalculate education funding formulas to save $330 million and take $250 million in funds that counties expected to receive.
Democrats would adopt most of Brown's budget proposal, including a 5 percent reduction in state worker pay that still must be negotiated with unions and an overhaul of expensive health carefor low-income Medi-Cal patients with significant needs. They are also counting on voters raising taxes in November on sales and high-income earners to plug more than one-third of the budget gap.
"I strongly believe that the differences between the governor's proposal and our proposal are bridgeable," said Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez. "Frankly, we're not only on the same page as the governor, we're in the same paragraph."
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