Ponder This:

Real public servants are free enterprising individuals who, inspired, embrace challenge, take risks, and create, sometimes big, and often, they create jobs in the process, all out of their ideas, and self initiative...

Friday, February 25, 2011

How the Government Controls, Ruins Our Lives by John Seiler

It was just last June in this space that I reviewed Nullification, by Thomas Woods. It showed how, over the course of American history, states and citizens successfully thwarted federal usurpations of power. It since has become a guidebook used in many state capitols.

Now comes the prolific Woods' latest: Rollback: Repealing Big Government Before the Coming Fiscal Collapse. It's broader in scope, taking on the whole government that minutely controls, and ruins, our lives.
How the Government Controls, Ruins Our Lives by John Seiler

Battlelines are drawn: In CA and Wisconsin, the substantial disparity between public and private sector retirement benefits rip open the debate! Also, grotesque abuse of power by Steve Cooley's L.A. Prosecutorial Agency and the L.A.S.P.D., Saturday Night at 11 PM on 870AM KRLA

Saturday Night February 26 at 11PM
You can listen live at 870AM KRLA, or 
on line at http://KRLA870.com/
To call us during the show dial 1-866-870-5752
Martha Montelongo with CAL WATCH DOG  presents: 

As one veteran follower of teacher unions remarked this week, the battle lines are clear. Like it or not, reformers of every political persuasion will have to pick sides.
Podcast Part 1 & Part 2


In light of the standoff between the unions and their supporters in Wisconsin's state legislature, the brave warriors hiding out in amusement parks and cheap hotels, using doctor's note's so they can claim medical leave, and excused absence so as not to miss a paycheck, to avoid dealing with Governor Walker's proposal to eliminate collective bargaining, a USA Today/Gallup Poll came out early this week that found that 61% would oppose a law in their state similar to such a proposal in Wisconsin, compared with 33% who would favor such a law.
Almost two-thirds of those polled say their states face budget crises, but respondents oppose or are split on potential solutions, from tax hikes to spending cuts.
Key results:
— 71% oppose increasing sales, income or other taxes while 27% are in favor that approach.
— 53% oppose reducing pay or benefits for government workers while 44% are in favor.
— 48% opposed reducing or eliminating government programs while 47% were in favor of cuts.
"This underlines the difficulty of solving these problems," Jeffrey Jones of Gallup says. "It's hard to find a consensus on what to do."
The poll has a margin of error of +/-4 percentage points.
Dick Morris did a poll on Wisconsin, in which he concludes, "voters back the principal of collective bargaining.  But they are also willing to limit these negotiations so that they would not impede education reforms."
[Voters] support many aspects of the proposal by significant numbers:

VOTERS SUPPORT CHANGING THE BENEFITS TO STATE WORKERS, PAY, AND AUTOMATIC DEDUCTION OF UNION DUES

• By 74-18, they back making state employees pay more for their health insurance.
• By 79-16, they support asking state workers contribute more toward their pensions.
• By 54-34, Wisconsin voters support ending the automatic deduction of union dues from state paychecks and support making unions collect dues from each member.
• By 66-30, they back limiting state workers’ pay increases to the rate of inflation unless voters approve a higher raise by a public referendum.

VOTERS OPPOSE CHANGING COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS

On the issue of limiting collective bargaining to wage and benefit issues, however, they break with the Governor, opposing the proposal by 41-54.

If the issues to be taken off the bargaining table are related to giving schools flexibility to modify tenure, pay teachers based on merit, discharge bad teachers and promote good ones, however, they support such limits on collective bargaining by 58-38.

Bring it home to California, which is in deep trouble over the State's unfunded public employee pension liabilities and retirement benefits and to add fuel to this fire, a union in California is now  targeting city management.

With Wisconsin's Governor and Republican legislators trying to repeal the state's collective bargaining law for public-employee unions, as well as requiring state workers to pay some of their pension costs, Sacramento's former head of labor relations, Dee Contreras, is now trying to organize a labor union of city managers and other highly-compensated administrative workers.

The practice of former city managers and upper management city executives crossing over to the other side of the negotiating table is growing, despite the strong push back by voters and private sector.

Here to talk about this battleline, your CalWatchdogs, John Seiler and Steven Greenhut.   John posted his analysis of the report released Thursday by The Little Hoover Commission, regarding California's Public Employee Pensions, with an in depth analysis of how we got here.

The Commission report makes recommendations for how to deal with the critical situation in California.  Who is The Little Hoover Commission?  Is the report comprehensive? Are the recommendations enough?
What say John Seiler and Steve Greenhut regarding:
  1. Gallup's national poll concerning voters support for government employees having collective bargaining?
  2. Dick Morris's poll concerning Wisconsin's voters support for collective bargaining and reforms?  
  3. The latest developments in California with Dee Contreras, Sacramento's former head of labor relations, now trying to organize a labor union of city managers and other highly-compensated administrative workers?
  4. The Little Hoover Commission Report? 

Related Links:
George Skelton, the house liberal Icon Columnist weighs in on the issue:
SKELTON: Reality behind pension debate - National Voices - Modbee.com
"...in the eyes of many in private enterprise. It's sort of an American civil war between government and nongovernment families.
"A key question that we think needs to be asked," Assistant Legislative Analyst Jason Sisney said in a recent report, "is this: Can the substantial disparity between public and private sector retirement benefits be sustained much longer? We think that it probably cannot."

But, does Skelton's opinion carry water? The folks at The Democratic Strategist don't think liberals matter so much to the Democrats, as much as do moderates!
Is the Center Still Vital?
This item by TDS Contributor and Progressive Policy Institute senior fellow and managing editor Lee Drutman is cross-posted at Democratic Strategist from Progressive Fix.
Third Way's Bill Galston and Elaine Kamarck have published a new analysis about the role of moderates in American politics, "The Still-Vital Center: Moderates, Democrats, and the Renewal of American Politics."
Posted by staff on February 24, 2011 6:43 PM
"...moderates are more likely to support Democrats. Since 1980, the U.S. electorate has hovered around 20 percent liberal, 33 percent conservative, and 47 percent moderate. This means that Democrats need moderates more, since liberals make up only one-fifth of voters. Conservatives outnumber liberals by a substantial amount, so Republicans need fewer moderates to establish a winning coalition. This is the kind of simple math that liberals keep forgetting. Obama, like every Democrat before him, couldn't have won without strong support among moderates."
Bottom line, according to Democratic strategists, liberals can drop dead. The Democratic strategists are going for the moderates, a group the same study describes as "less-educated, less-engaged citizens who don't know or care enough about politics to pick a side."

Lydia Grant, an LAUSD student safety activist and community liaison, joins us to talk about the Los Angeles School District Police Department, or L.A.S.D.P, and Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley's active role in an horrific case of abuse of power concerning Jeremy Marks "Attempted Lynching" Case.  This is about a black teen who filmed an LAUSD campus cop hitting a student and for that faces bizarre charges and years in prison.
Lydia Grant is disgusted by the piling-on of accusations against Jeremy Marks, the student observer with a cell phone camera, and the severe charges that could send him to a California prison for 14 years.

Lydia Grant is also a Parent Representative, who helped pass the Parent Trigger Law in California last year, that empowered parents in chronically failing schools to force change at their child's school by getting 50 percent plus 1 of the parents at the school to sign a petition. 

Lydia will give us an update on the  Parent Trigger Law and the stymied efforts of parents at McKinley Elementary to get the change they are demanding.  Their petition has been denied based on a "wrong cover letter" and "the board felt the parents didn't vet their charter selection with enough rigor."   This battle is far from over.  We'll get from Lydia, what's next?

  Lydia also sits on the, Sunland–Tujunga Neighborhood Council and is a board member of L.A. Clean Sweep, the PAC that is giving some grief to the political hacks who rule City Hall, and who serve Big Developers and the public employee unions who run City Hall, at the expense of everyone else who lives and works in Los Angeles.  

We'll meet two candidates, Kelly Lord, and Brad Smith, who are running for City Council in L.A CD 12, are both endorsed by L.A.Clean Sweep PAC, are friends, and talk like team players. Who are they, and who is L.A. Clean Sweep and why did LA Clean Sweep endorse both of them? Who are they running against? What are the odds for bumping the anointed successor to the retiring sitting council member?
Clean Sweeps Key Platform Issues:
Issue No. 1: Clean Up City Hall
Issue No. 2: Fix the Budget
Issue No. 3: Focus on Core Services
Issue No. 4: Power Sharing

Gallup: Strong Support for Collective Bargaining for Public Employees-- Repost from the Democratic Strategist (Read Dick Morris's poll on same issue, posted below.)

Gallup is not infrequently accused of conservative bias in survey methods,(Gallup may be accused of conservative bias, but it doesn't make it true) which makes this lede from Dennis Cauchon's USA Today article, "Poll: Americans favor union bargaining rights" all the more interesting:

MADISON, Wis. -- Americans strongly oppose laws taking away the collective bargaining power of public employee unions, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll. The poll found 61% would oppose a law in their state similar to such a proposal in Wisconsin, compared with 33% who would favor such a law.

The 28 point advantage favoring public employee unions in this controversy is impressive, but Independents were even more opposed to limiting public employee bargaining rights, with 62 percent opposed vs. 31 percent favoring limits. Wisconsin voters can't be all that different from this nationwide survey sample in their views on the topic.


Gallup: Strong Support for Collective Bargaining for Public Employees--Democratic Strategist

THE DICK MORRIS POLL ON WISCONSIN at DickMorris.com

[Voters] support many aspects of the proposal by significant numbers:

VOTERS SUPPORT CHANGING THE BENEFITS TO STATE WORKERS, PAY, AND AUTOMATIC DEDUCTION OF UNION DUES

• By 74-18, they back making state employees pay more for their health insurance.
• By 79-16, they support asking state workers contribute more toward their pensions.
• By 54-34, Wisconsin voters support ending the automatic deduction of union dues from state paychecks and support making unions collect dues from each member.
• By 66-30, they back limiting state workers’ pay increases to the rate of inflation unless voters approve a higher raise by a public referendum.

VOTERS OPPOSE CHANGING COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS

On the issue of limiting collective bargaining to wage and benefit issues, however, they break with the Governor, opposing the proposal by 41-54.

If the issues to be taken off the bargaining table are related to giving schools flexibility to modify tenure, pay teachers based on merit, discharge bad teachers and promote good ones, however, they support such limits on collective bargaining by 58-38.

ANALYSIS: Voters back the principal of collective bargaining. But they are also willing to limit these negotiations so that they would not impede education reforms.

It seems to me, the voters don't understand what is collective bargaining. They're for it, but they support reforms that address the unsustainable costs and excessive influence public employee unions hold over their state legislature.

THE DICK MORRIS POLL ON WISCONSIN at DickMorris.com

Little Hoover: Cut Current Pensions-- CalWatchDog

John Seiler:

It’s not Wisconsin — yet. But today the Little Hoover Commission released a new report on California pensions that pushed forward the serious cutting of government-worker costs on the state budget.

“Public Pensions for Retirement Security” is 106 pages of well-reasoned analysis of what got the Golden State into a sinkhole of budget trouble — and some reforms that can help get us out.

Click to read the article at CalWatchDog

Union Targeting City Management

February 23, 2011

Originally posted at Fox and Hounds Daily

With Wisconsin's Governor and Republican legislators trying to repeal the state's collective bargaining law for public-employee unions, as well as requiring state workers to pay some of their pension costs, Sacramento's former head of labor relations, Dee Contreras, is now trying to organize a labor union of city managers and other highly-compensated administrative workers.

The practice of former city managers and upper management city executives crossing over to the other side of the negotiating table appears to be growing, despite the strong push back by voters and private sector.


Click to read article

Hornberger's Blog - Democratic Tyranny

"Did I mention that the Mubarak dictatorship justified its anti-terrorist legislation by both the war on terrorism and the war on drugs?

When it comes to freedom, the world is desperately in need of leadership. Who better to lead the way than the American people, whose heritage of liberty was born in centuries of resistance to tyranny?"


Click to read more

SKELTON: Reality behind pension debate - National Voices - Modbee.com

"...in the eyes of many in private enterprise. It's sort of an American civil war between government and nongovernment families.

"A key question that we think needs to be asked," Assistant Legislative Analyst Jason Sisney said in a recent report, "is this: Can the substantial disparity between public and private sector retirement benefits be sustained much longer? We think that it probably cannot."

Click here to read more on SKELTON: Reality behind pension debate - National Voices - Modbee.com

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I am the host of the Martha Montelongo Show with CalWatchDog.com on 870AM KRLA on Saturday nights at 11 pm.

Update, March 5, 2011: Change of Venue: 870AM KRLA on Saturday nights at 11 pm to LA Talk Radio, Tuesdays at 8 PM, PT. I'm new to LA, sort of. I grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, graduated from UCLA, and then moved to Santa Cruz in my late 20s and stayed there until my boys were well into their college years. I've just returned to L.A. and my show is new and I hope to grow it and have it move up in ratings and number of listeners.  number of days, but 
In the mean time, I am enjoying the surge of energy, the synergy and momentum I have discovered is happening here.
I've been involved in politics on the periphery since high school, a quixotic journey, on and off through a maze of adventures. I thought I was going to move to Fullerton when I moved back here at the end of last year.

Back in 2006, I worked on Proposition 90, a statewide ballot initiative on the November General Elections ballot.  It lost 47.53 to 52.47.   Prop 93, to legalize Marijuana on the ballot in November of 2010 lost 46.4% to 53.6% and that was considered close and worthy of coming back again.

Prop 90 would have grandfathered in current renters but phased out rent control. The land grabbers were able to whip up panic and frenzy with the apartment renters who feared the owners would throw them out rather than wait for them to die or move away so the apartment would be free of rent control.

They didn't seem to connect that the danger to their dwelling and what has done in so many renters and home owners is the REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY AND THEIR LOCAL CITY OR COUNTY GOVERNMENTS.   That abuse of eminent domain would have been put to rest had Prop 90 passed. It would have stopped eminent domain for commercial development. Many apartment building owners want nothing more than to care for their rentals and to have a nice and steady income and maintain their properties.

I discovered Chris Norby, then O.C. Supervisor in Orange County, and Bruce Whitaker, now City Councilman in Fullerton, but then working as political adviser to Norby during the Prop 90 campaign. Chris was a co-founder of M.O.R.R. Municipal Officers for Redevelopment Reform. He saw the injustice of Redevelopment as an excuse to steal people's property and committed to doing something about it.

Besides the M.O.R.R. Conferences that happen twice a year, where you meet people who are fighting the political machines in their communities, and you hear them tell their stories--some win and many lose, and the battle goes on, he wrote a 38 page, 8 1/2 inch by 11 1/2 inch book with lots of cartoon illustrations, called Redevelopment: The Unknown Government--What it is. What can be done.
The last version published was in 2007. You can download it for free on line in older versions or track down the M.O.R.R. people on line and ask for a copy for a small cost to cover printing and shipping.

I'll tell you thrill seekers and adventurers, it's a lot more powerful to sit through and experience these heart wrenching stories that happen right here among us, than to go check out at Burning Man or any other transformational experience. You understand profoundly that it's us against the political establishment and their well connected partners and none of us little guys are safe and we could be next on the chopping block if "they" decide.
Bob Blue, one of the activists now part of LACleanSweep.org, which I've just discovered, has been going to M.O.R.R. conferences every year, for several years. He lost his luggage store, and the burn converted him and his colleague, Ziggy, into fiery activists against the abuse of Government using Redevelopment.

I met Tony Bushala who admins Friends For Fullerton's Future and is a very effective gorilla campaigner, very focused, and very grounded on moral principles around property rights and other civil liberties and also at holding elected officials accountable in Fullerton.

Jack Dean of Pension Tsunami lives down there too. He's been a favorite guest for all the time I had a show on CRN Digital Talk Radio. He has done a lot, like John the Baptist, only instead of foretelling, he was forewarning and his database mailing list just grew and grew and grew, and a lot of people were alerted by his efforts about the coming of the public employee pension crisis we are now critically facing.

Steven Greenhut was the Deputy Editor for the Opinion Section at the OC Register. I met him in 2006 during the Proposition 90 campaign.  In 2004 he published a book called Abuse of Power: How Government Misuses Eminent Domain [i like to add, "to steal your land."]
"Abuse of Power is must read for anyone interested in understanding the pervasive plundering committed by governments across this nation." -- James Bovard - Author, Terrorism and Tyranny Feeling Your Pain, Freedom in Chains & Lost Rights
I wanted to live in Fullerton and become part of the synergy of activists and writers for freedom, but, fate would have it, I ended up in L.A. instead.  It was a blessing.  I am grateful for the reason I ended up choosing Whittier instead.  But I had no idea whom I would coalesce with politically. I can't believe how excited I am to have discovered what is going on here. There is a formidable movement. It's fledgling but it's comprised of individuals who are experienced in their respective ways. They've all been warriors fighting good fights for liberty--property right, school choice, fiscal accountability, transparency in government, and calling for a balance of power.

The political establishment has behaved as if they were untouchable and impenetrable. But bloggers, including two formidable former L.A. newspaper editors, and local News Magazines and website publications are all reporting. They're organizing themselves. There is momentum and vitality coalesced around LA Clean Sweep's mission and their White Papers, their defining principles, their platform including key issues.

The board of L.A. Clean Sweep is of former newspaper editors but also, of activists including one Ms. Lydia Grant, recognized as organizer of the month in November of 2010 by The Parent Revolution fighting for charter schools in LA.   Ron Kaye, former editor of the LA Daily News publishes RonKayeLA.com blog.  Bob Blue who was a victim of Redevelopment in the City of Hollywood when he lost his Bernard's Luggage Store near Hollywood and Vine, but not without a fight and then he turned activist,  and Jack Humphreville  both write at CityWatchLA.com.   

Bill Boyarsky, former City-County Bureau chief, city editor and columnist at the LA Times, publishes at LA Observed.  Kevin James, talk radio show host on 870AM, KRLA on Monday through Friday nights covers the stories these bloggers and reporters with the LA Weekly and even the L.A. Times Blog write about, from midnight to 3 AM.  I know I'm in good company being up at this hour of the night.  He was formerly at KABC 790 AM.  

John McIntyre who is on 790 AM KABC from Midnight to 3 AM Monday through Friday used to cover the local beat in L.A., but now he's mostly national now from 1 to 5 AM.  Yesterday, Tuesday night, he had Steve Greenhut on his show talking about what is happening in Wisconsin, and public employee unions and Steve's book called  Plunder:  How Public Employee Unions are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation. 

This Saturday night, we'll hear from two candidates who are endorsed by LA Clean Sweep in the upcoming LA City Council elections coming up on March 8th and the core issues that earned them endorsement from this coalition,  LA Clean Sweep.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

(Video) of Unions Badgering Wisconsin

Anthony Randazzo
February 22, 2011, 1:26pm
Last night I went on RT to discuss the union collective bargaining rights issue in Wisconsin and where the national debt issue stands in Congress.
..."the fact remains true that Wisconsin overspent its growth rate during the past decade, assuming that the large tax revenues yielded from economic expansion would continue in perpetudity. And that is not to mention pension system mismanagement that relied on unrealistic return on investment expectations. Those are reasons why Wisconsin's budget is in trouble. It is not because Alan Greenspan missed the housing bubble."
Click here to watch the (Video) about Unions Badgering Wisconsin and read the rest of Randazzo's short pithy report.

Reckless Spending By Thomas Sowell (Looking beyond our fantasies about High Speed Rail)

Nothing more clearly illustrates the utter irresponsibility of Barack Obama than his advocacy of "high-speed rail." The man is not stupid. He knows how to use words that will sound wonderful to people who do not bother to stop and think.

High-speed rail may be feasible in parts of Europe or Japan, where the population density is much higher than in the United States. But, without enough people packed into a given space, there will never be enough riders to repay the high cost of building and maintaining a high-speed rail system.

Building a high-speed rail system between Los Angeles and San Francisco may sound great to people who don't give it any serious thought. But we are a more spread-out country than England, France or Japan. The distance between Los Angeles and San Francisco is greater than the distance from London to Paris-- by more than 100 miles.

Click here to read more.
Bookmark and Share

Jacob Hornberger is passionate about freedom. He's a Romeo for freedom! Here he rips on Wisconsin statists and goes on a riff about all the other agencies that should be cut now, asap. It's interesting and it makes sense and it's passionate and loving. It's spirited. It is compassionate.

Monday, February 21, 2011 A Solution for Wisconsin
by Jacob G. Hornberger
The controversy with public schoolteachers in Wisconsin proves, once again, that there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference in principle between Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals. This time, the big battle between the statists is whether state schoolteachers should be allowed to collectively bargain. The conservatives say no. The liberals say yes.
Yawn. Click here to read more.
Bookmark and Share

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cyclist Activist joins forces with Small Business and Clean Govt Advocates to Viably Challenge the Political Machine in LA./ Steve Greenhut & Robert Vaughn on Public Employee Unions, Pensions and Phony Conservatives Saturday Night at 11 PM 870AM KRLA

Saturday Night February 19 at 11PM
You can listen live at 870AM KRLA, or 
on line at http://KRLA870.com/
To call us during the show dial 1-866-870-5752

Podcast Part 1 Pensions, LA City Council Races, RDA, Collective Bargaining, Greenhut, Box, and Vaughn & Part 2 Greenhut, Box and Vaughn



Public employee salaries, benefits and pensions are hot news items, finally. Taxpayer guaranteed contracts exploded into a new and unsustainable realm a decade ago with little notice by the average voter. The formulas sound so innocuous--an increase to three percent up from two percent or the like. But the overall results are taking a toll on governments from local to state to Federal.
Groups like Californians for Pension Reform have been effective at exposing the current course we are on. Among other tactics, they fought and won important lawsuits for the right to publish a whose who list of "members" in what they dub the $100,000 Pension Club, where $100,000 is the minimum to qualify for "entry" into the club. The $100,000 Pension Club of CalPERS, CalSTRS and UC members now enjoys over sixteen thousand members and growing.

Steven Greenhut, the editor in chief at CalWatchDog--Your Eye on California Government, is the author of Plunder: How Public Employee Unions are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation.  He's been on national news talk stations all over the country underscoring the critical need for reform and the burden and costs these runaway plans have on basic public services.

He has been so effective that he's now at the center of a media campaign in defense of the public employee union packages in question, by the firefighter's union, and as part of this defensive campaign, Greenhut is dismissed as a right wing extremist whose out to hurt workers. We'll talk about it.  Robert Vaughn, Co-State Chair of the Campaign for Liberty, Director of LA's Republican Liberty Caucus and a public employee union member himself joins the discussion.

Next week Steve reports at CalWatchDog on the Dumbest New Bills to address the budget crisis. But this week I want to talk with him about some phony conservatives who offer up phony bills to pretend they are for reducing regulations and keeping taxes lower but are in fact well, phonies.

Stephen Box  joins us in the studio tonight as we continue our coverage of this heated election campaign in Los Angeles, where citizen activists are coalesing around principles of civil liberties and small business survival protection to take on the steamroller political machine which Bill Boyarsky, former LA Times editor says "...is run by land developers and unions." He left out their political lackeys-- the targets of this campaign. 

An LA Weekly story on Stephen Box profiles his rise to viable candidate to do the impossible and unseat an incumbent LA City Council member.
"It took Box 46 years to become a U.S. citizen, which he did in 2010 for a specific purpose: to run for Los Angeles City Council."
"...One of the most damning criticisms of the 15 council members, the highest paid in the U.S. at $178,789 a year — 400 percent of the average L.A. household income — is that they oversee their districts like feudal lords, with more than 300 personal staffers, while their time is largely occupied by parochial minutiae instead of, say, developing citywide policy or planning new infrastructure."

"If you have a pothole on your street" your best to "jump ahead of others by seeking a favor from your council member..."if the council member thinks you can help — say he or she faces a development battle and needs to fill seats with 'stakeholders' — your potholes stand a good chance of being filled in a city that admits it's about 50 years behind on road repairs."
Box says... "This'll be a great city when we stop reacting to complaints and start addressing standards."

"...Box is running against LaBonge, 57, who is widely seen as an energetic, likable booster for L.A. — and, like many of the 14 other council members, an intellectual lightweight."

"Seven incumbents running for City Council on March 8 enjoy countless advantages, not least of which is delivering these special personal favors to constituents, including cash gifts drawn from a $90,000 annual slush fund controlled by each council member. A new candidate like Box could never tap such riches..."
Box, as a result of his ascent as an effective activist for bicyclists in LA, played "a featured role in the grassroots citywide campaign against 2009's Measure B, the controversial bid by the Department of Water and Power to control much of the solar power–installation industry in L.A.

Remarkably, bloggers, activists and neighborhood council leaders convinced normally disinterested L.A. municipal voters to reject the DWP power play. The little-guy opponents stopped Measure B, while being outspent by $1.5 million to just $65,000.

The victory cemented an alliance between Box and a group of budget-restraint advocates and City Hall watchdogs, such as Jack Humphreville, who blogs at CityWatchLA.com, and former newspaperman Kaye, who blogs at RonKayeLA.com.

Humphreville and Kaye are far different from bicycle advocates — they're older, less liberal and, for the most part, skeptical of a vision of Los Angeles that isn't car-centric. But Box has won them over on the issue of making allowances for bicycles by finding common ground."


Related Links:

The Bikeroots
City Council candidate Stephen Box and L.A. bicyclists roll into the halls of power
By Hillel Aron Thursday, Feb 10 2011


CityWatchLA - Times of Crisis: Think Small CityWatch, Feb 15, 2011
Vol 9 Issue 13 LA NEEDS TO SUPPORT SMALL BIZ by Stephen Box. This piece underscores the coalition bond between the likes of Ron Kaye, Bob Blue, Jack Humphreville, and Bill Boyarsky "...one of the simplest strategies for jumpstarting LA’s local economy would be to retool the current “bigger is better” approach to business development in favor of a model that supports small businesses."

L.A. council's salaries are highest among 15 key cities, new study finds
February 2, 2011 7:04 pm

Rudy Martinez Versus Los Angeles City Hall
Flip This House reality TV star hopes to push out Councilman Jose Huizar

By David Futch Thursday, Dec 2 2010

L.A. City Council Spends Thousands of Your Money on Top Restaurants, Clubs, Hotels (Even for a 'Personal Fiesta')
By Dennis Romero, Thu., Feb. 10 2011 @ 9:28AM
City News

Fight for Council District 12
Valley citizens try to crack open L.A. City Hall
By Beth Barrett Thursday, Feb 17 2011

New CalWatchdog Radio Show
FEB. 13, 2011
Steven Greenhut: Stay tuned to 870 am KRLA in Los Angeles every Saturday night at 11 pm for the Martha Montelongo Show with CalWatchdog. Various CalWatchdog writers will join Martha every Saturday night and we will soon have the podcast included on our Web site. We’ll be talking about state issues, of course, and Martha always features interesting guests and provocative subjects.
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Shout out to Reason for this post: Farewell, My Lovely How public pensions killed progressive California

by Tim Cavanaugh from the March 2011 issue



...“This year we’re spending 10 percent less on higher education than we did 10 years ago, parks and recreation 40 percent less, environmental protection 80 percent less,” Crane told me in the fall of 2010, “while spending on pensions is up 2,500 percent. So when Democrats realize what is happening and act in the interest of the people they represent, they will address the pension problem in California.” Like so many other reformers, Crane is a registered Democrat who supported Jerry Brown.

The Democratic Party has folded Sacramento into one of the tightest one-party grips in contemporary American politics. In November, bucking the national trend, Democrats in California won not just the governorship but 51 Assembly seats to Republicans’ 29, 24 state Senate seats to Republicans’ 14, and every statewide office. With the passage of a referendum lowering the number of legislative votes required to approve a state budget (from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority), California is that rarest of land masses for the 2011 Democratic Party: conquered territory. State Democrats have freedom to rule virtually unchallenged by the scattered, rusticated Republicans. Click here to read more.
Bookmark and Share

Friday, February 11, 2011

Saturday Night at 11 PM on 870AM KRLA: The New Martha Montelongo Show with CalWatchdog--OC and Pension Lawsuit, Parent-trigger is suspended, Super Sized Developers & Redevelopment v. Local Business Owners and Residents

Saturday Night February 12 at 11PM
You can listen live at 870AM KRLA, or 
on line at http://KRLA870.com/
To call us during the show: 1-866-870-5752
Podcast Part 1 Greenhut on OC Pension lawsuit, Linda Serrato on Parent Trigger& Part 2 Rudy Martinez, Bob Blue, Greenhut on LA and Glendale Redevelopment


Rudy Martinez, local resident, born and raised in East LA is fighting to curb the looting of Los Angeles by titan developers and their enablers and assistants at LA City Hall.   Star of Flip this House, LA, he is a successful local small business owner, and independent real estate developer who cultivates good local businesses, environment and good neighbors.    He poses a formidable challenge to sitting council member, Huizar in up coming City Council races in March.

Rudy Martinez joins Bob Blue, local LA blogger, reporter and champion property rights activist, and Steven Greenhut, to discuss Bob Blue's recent column on why Glendale and Los Angeles are the poster children for why the CA Redevelopment Agency CRA should be abolished, including the most recent looting of millions of dollars and attempted looting of one billion dollars by CRA/LA and the battle between Ray Patel, owner of the Golden Key Hotel in Glendale and Los Angeles resident billionaire and developer, Rick Caruso, who is seeking and getting CRA/Glendale's  support to obtain ownership of  Patel's property that is not for sale!

Public Employee Pensions is a steaming hot topic particularly in California!
Steven Greenhut
, editor in chief at CalWatchDog and the author of Plunder: How Public Employee Unions are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation, talks with us about the Orange County Board of Supervisors sending their legal battle over a retroactive compensation increase up to the State Supreme Court--an act that  pushes  for decisive resolution on the issue statewide.   How significant is this development?

Linda Serrato, Communications Director with the Parent Revolution, joins us to talk about the unjust scene at the Capitol on Wednesday, between impassioned parents and the political class of servants to the teacher's union lobby. Parent Caroll Turner will also speak with us.

The Parent-trigger, which we covered on this program last Saturday is suspended until the adversaries who fought it, can revise it and make it to their liking.   The trouble is, the parents have tasted the power and responsibility that is inherent in having say over important matters like the education for their children, and they are not rolling over.   Meet one of the parents and Linda Serrato, Communications Director with Parent Revolution for an update on this epic battle for the future of our children. 

RELATED LINKS:


Poster Children for Abolishment
LA & GLENDALE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCIES
Bob Blue

Citizen's Legal Action Halts LA City Council's $1 Billion CRA Steal
By Ron Kaye on February 9, 2011 6:12 PM
REPRINTED FROM PRESS RELEASE
Contact Miki Jackson 323-855-0764 mikijackson@sbcglobal.com

Rudy Martinez Versus Los Angeles City Hall
Flip This House reality TV star hopes to push out Councilman Jose Huizar
By David Futch Thursday, Dec 2 2010

State Board of Education puts the brakes on parent-trigger law A group will be appointed to study how to implement the measure, which lets parents petition for sweeping reforms at low-performing schools. Critics see it as an attempt to derail the law.

Parents: Don’t gut ‘parent trigger’
Unknown: Will lawmakers clarify (undo) law?
Posted on 2/10/11

Shocker: California Superintendent Tom Torlakson Plans to Re-Write Parent Trigger Law, Education Reformers Stunned
By Patrick Range McDonald, Wed., Feb. 9 2011 @ 3:41PM

Fox News 11 flew out to Sacramento to film a segment on the Parent Trigger hearing and they nailed it on the head, how confusing the process was and how passionate these parents are.

My recent post on the Parent Trigger developments as of Thursday, Feb 10, 2011

My mission for this radio program is (and I quote here the mission statement of  The Future of Freedom Foundation, with whom I have no affiliation other than that I agree with their stated mission,  by which I am inspired and for which I stand, to the best of my ability), "to advance freedom by providing an uncompromising moral and economic case for individual liberty, free markets, private property, and limited government."

Make us your nightcap on Saturday nights in Southern California or where ever you are. California is a land of beauty and unlimited possibility because of the abundance of our greatest capital resource, our human resources.   Join us.

Bookmark and Share

Poster Children for Abolishment: LA & GLENDALE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCIES

Rudy Martinez, Candidate for 14th District Los Angeles and Challenger to Huizar, incumbent, Princeton Graduate, and friend of the public employee unions and Redevelopment, 

Bob Blue, Vice President of the Hollywood Highlands Democratic Club, founding member and past chair of the Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council and activist against the abusive use of eminent domain for Redevelopment.  

Steven Greenhut, editor in chief of CalWatchDog.com, author of Abuse of Power: How Government Misuses Eminent Domain, talk with us on Redevelopment in Los Angeles and Glendale, on the radio program, this Saturday night at 11PM on 870AM KRLA and on KRLA870.com 
Bob Blue, City Watch LA
Many Californians were not aware of the Redevelopment Law that allows (but does not mandate) the creation of a Redevelopment Agency (RDA) in order to eliminate “blight.” But Governor Jerry Brown upset the serenity of Redevelopment in California by focusing a beam of light on RDAs, their massive burden of debt on the State and local budgets, and one of RDA’s draconian powers, Kelo-type Eminent Domain.

With a bright light on Los Angeles’ Redevelopment Agency (CRA/LA), the biggest in the State, and its neighbor, the City of Glendale, and their Redevelopment Agency, the Glendale Redevelopment Agency (GRA), both Agencies became poster-children for abolishing all RDAs in California.

A hastily prepared plan was first hatched in Los Angeles to shield almost $1 Billion in unused Property Tax increment funds from Brown’s plan to return them to “...schools, counties, special districts, and city general purposes.”

Glendale quickly followed its “Big Brother” one week later with the same short 24-hour Special Meeting notice which had a hyperlink that was supposed to link to a detailed report, but instead lead to single a page with only the following text: “REPORT FOR SPECIAL JOINT CC GRA HA[D] TO BE POSTED SOON.”

Then with all of California watching, the RDAs of Los Angeles and Glendale stepped up to the plate to protect and nurture an often misunderstood species, LA’s Billionaires. Click here to read the rest of Bob Blue's article.


Bookmark and Share

State Board of Education puts the brakes on Parent-trigger Law, one of two miraculous laws that passed in CA's Union Dominated Legislature Last Year.

A group will be appointed to study how to implement the measure, which lets parents petition for sweeping reforms at low-performing schools. Critics see it as an attempt to derail the law.--LA Times Local Section

By Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times

February 10, 2011

The state Board of Education, in its first full meeting with a majority of members appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown, moved Wednesday to put the brakes on a landmark law that gives parents the right to force major reforms at low-performing schools.

The board took no action on proposed regulations to implement the law but instead will set up a working group to help determine the procedures. The panel will include those who had complained that the previous board was rushing the process without sufficiently considering their input. The board will reconsider the issue in March.
Read more here.


Does this mean they will also kill the other law that passed by a thread, and that has real teeth?  The one that made it legal to use childrens' test scores as part of a teacher's evaluation, because prior to this miraculously hard won law, before, it was illegal to use a teacher's students' test scores as part of a teacher's evaluation. 

That means if a teacher is  incompetent,  that every year when the incompetent teacher's children leave her with far lower proficiency scores than when they came into his class, same results, year after year, this teacher never was held accountable for this correlation, for it was illegal to speak of it!  It was illegal to do such an analysis!  

So why would they not eliminate both powerful laws that are explosively driving real reform?

They are set to take the power back from the parents, whom up until the parent-trigger, had none, no choice but to leave their children at home, alone, or to send them to a failing school, with generations of failure.   They offer no solutions but the same empty promises of committees to study the matter.

They are taking away from the parents this short lived power to have say over standards, quality, and curriculum.  They claim these parents are not qualified to say what is the difference between a school that fails their children and one where their child is learning to read and write and do math and language arts.  And they blame the parents for not being educated themselves, as if the parents are not discerning.  As if they cannot judge a quality program by the result, i.e. their child is learning or not to read and write and love learning!  

I would be surprised if it were not the very second item on the State Board of Education's agenda after they have completed to take away this powerful tool from the parents who have no other power, recourse or options.

Linda Serrato, Communications at Parent Revolution, joins me this Saturday night at 11 on 870AM KRLA, to talk about the unjust scene between impassioned parents and the political class of servants to the teacher's union lobby at the Capitol this past Wednesday. Parent Caroll Turner will also speak with us briefly.

In case you missed it, you should hear about the brave and enduring parents that rode all night in a packed bus to appeal to the State Board of Education as they had their eighth hearing on the Parent Trigger law. These parents made emotional pleas requesting that the Board ensure that any permanent regulations empower parents, not district bureaucrats or well-paid Sacramento lobbyists.
Education writer, John Fensterwald, wrote the dedicated words of the parents and posed the question parents across the state are asking: how much will legislature alter the law?

LA Weekly highlighted with skepticism how State Superintendent Tom Torlakson expresses concern that the law is too sloppy and how all he wants to do is to “clean up” the Parent Trigger law along with fellow Parent Trigger opponent, Assembly member Julia Brownley.

Even the LA Times reported critically on the State Board and how they “moved Wednesday to put the brakes on a landmark law that gives parents the right to force major reforms at low-performing schools.” Pretty difficult considering the passion and earnest effort of the parents who came and testified before the Board.

Fox News 11 flew out to Sacramento to film a segment on the Parent Trigger hearing and they nailed it on the head, how confusing the process was and how passionate these parents are.

They made it clear: the lobbyists cross N St. to give their well-paid spin but parents will organize, speak eloquently and passionately, and they will defend the rights of their children for the long run. Parents are organizing and working together to ensure that every next step from Sacramento will have parents involved, organized and working together. 
The teacher's union lobbyists, and former lobbyists who sit on the Board of Education want to keep the status-quo and not allow these parents to upset their lock hold on their racket.   At stake are the children.

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Libertarian Left: Free-market anti-capitalism, the unknown ideal

[Found this piece by way of Future of Freedom Foundation's e-letter yesterday. I clicked on a link to Sheldon Richman's blog, where he had a new post with a link to his essay which I am posting here, and which is published and linked to, from Richman's blog as well, at The American Conservative, whom I applaud for its publication. Fascinating essay, and very important for my own perspective, and the discussion following the essay is hearty and spirited.]

Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign introduced many people to the word “libertarian.” Since Paul is a Republican and Republicans, like libertarians, use the rhetoric of free markets and private enterprise, people naturally assume that libertarians are some kind of quirky offshoot of the American right wing. To be sure, some libertarian positions fit uneasily with mainstream conservatism—complete drug decriminalization, legal same-sex marriage, and the critique of the national-security state alienate many on the right from libertarianism.

But the dominant strain of libertarianism still seems at home on that side of the political spectrum. Paeans to property rights and free enterprise—the mainstream libertarian conviction that the American capitalist system, despite government intervention, fundamentally embodies those values—appear to justify that conclusion.

But then one runs across passages like this: “Capitalism, arising as a new class society directly from the old class society of the Middle Ages, was founded on an act of robbery as massive as the earlier feudal conquest of the land. It has been sustained to the present by continual state intervention to protect its system of privilege without which its survival is unimaginable.” And this: “build worker solidarity. On the one hand, this means formal organisation, including unionization—but I’m not talking about the prevailing model of ‘business unions’ … but real unions, the old-fashioned kind, committed to the working class and not just union members, and interested in worker autonomy, not government patronage.”
Click here to read the essay in full and to join in the discussion in the comments section.
Bookmark and Share

Friday, February 4, 2011

Saturday night on 870AM KRLA, Two Titan Developers Battle The Labyrinth of Insider Politics Over Land Use & Subsidies to Build An NFL Stadium In L.A. Also, What About the Parent Trigger as Empowerment for Parents over Failing Schools?

Saturday Night February 5 at 11PM
You can listen live on line at http://KRLA870.com/
To call us during the show: 1-866-870-5752

Podcast Part 1 Ben Austin, Larry Sand, Norberto Santana & Part 2 Ron Kaye, John Seiler

Ben Austin, Executive Director of The Parent Revolution joins me to talk about the Parent Trigger, What is it? What does it do? How does it work? Why do opponents say among other things that it is a scheme to destroy public education and is supported by far right wing factions who want to privatize education? Larry Sand of the CA Teacher's Empowerment Network also joins us.
And on Billionaires' Playgrounds and their visions, using taxpayer subsidies and land give-aways to bring NFL Stadiums to the City of Angels, Ron Kaye of Ron Kaye L.A. Blog, and John Seiler of CalWatchDog.com.


Antonio Gonzalez, host of Strategy Session at KPFK said he'd join us. And we should hear from Blogger Reporter Norberto Santana of Voice of OC, on a story he broke here, regarding a story previously covered on Friends for Fullerton's Future Blog here, alleging Former State Senator Dick Ackerman had lobbied his former Orange County colleagues in the CA State Legislature in violation of State law, concerning the sale of the OC Fair Grounds, but which was lacking records or a smoking gun, until now. Santana uncovers both records that are certainly compromising to Ackerman and to O.C. DA Tony Rackauckas, who looks like he covered for Dick.

Related Posts in the News & on the L.A. Bloggosphere:

Signs of Hope: Can L.A. Come Together for Everybody's Benefit?
By Ron Kaye on February 4, 2011 6:40 AM
EDITOR'S NOTE: The CRA action Thursday in locking up $930 million included attaching a supplemental agenda that wasn't previously included, one that was not made available online, leading to complaints of lack of transparency. Here's the list you can  download in PDF.
A series of events on Thursday offered hope for the future of Los Angeles.

Coverage in the media of AEG's "greed is good" NFL stadium extravaganza caught the wretched excess of it with the mayor and other city officials lying down on the artificial carpet and kowtowing to Tim Leiweke.  Click here to read the post

Here Are the Rules for an NFL Stadium in the City of Greatness:
THE SCORE AT FARMER’S FIELD by Stephen Box
Note: (Stephen Box is a grassroots advocate and writes for CityWatch.  Disclosure: Box is also a candidate for 4th District Councilman.)
Essence of Stephen's post is that he's for it, with certain conditions which he enumerates here...Click here to read more.

L.A. City Council takes cooler view of football stadium plans
By Patrick J. McDonnell and David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times
February 3, 2011
Click here to read more

Examiner’s owner wants stadium, has spread $$$
By Josh Richman Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011 at 6:07 pm
Reacting to today’s Los Angeles Times story about how “developer Philip Anschutz’s plan to build an NFL stadium in Los Angeles may now hinge on whether state lawmakers will allow him to bypass some environmental rules so the 64,000-seat project can quickly get underway,” Berkeley-based bloodhounds MAPLight.org quickly uncorked a long list of lawmakers to whom the Denver-based billionaire businessman has made contributions.
[You've got to check out this list of who's who in elected legislative office.] Click here to read the story.

Roski: Only room for one stadium
Posted: 02/02/2011 07:37:40 PM PST
INDUSTRY - Billionaire real estate developer Ed Roski Jr. said Wednesday there can only be one National Football League stadium in the Los Angeles area.


Roski's plan to build a 75,000-seat stadium in Industry is in competition with Anschutz Entertainment Group President and CEO Tim Leiweke's idea to build a 64,000-seat stadium in downtown Los Angeles....
AEG spokesman Mike Roth declined to comment for this story.  Click here to read the article.

Will Farmers Field Feed LA's Hunger?
By Ron Kaye on February 2, 2011 5:49 AM
In announcing his full and undivided support for AEG's takeover of the LA Convention Center and erection of an NFL stadium, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appointed a Blue-Ribbon Commission (BlueRibbon.rtf) headed by Austin Beutner to thoroughly examine what is already a done deal...


What could be more natural than to call it Farmers Field in a city where so many fortunes were made bulldozing farmland and paving paradise, where even a vital community asset like the South Central Farm was bulldozed for no reason at all. Click here to read more.

City borrowing for NFL stadium may cost taxpayers millions
Why should Los Angeles borrow $350 million to tear down a perfectly good convention center building and rebuild it on another expensive downtown location? Click here to read more.


Grannan: Powerful “Parent” Trigger operators target vulnerable school; attack misfires Guest post by Caroline Grannan -- P.P.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
The current hot story in education reform is California's Parent Trigger law and its deployment against high-poverty McKinley Elementary school in disadvantaged Compton, near Los Angeles. Click here to read more.

Head to Head: Should state support its 'parent trigger' law? A resounding 'Yes!'
Published: Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 - 12:00 am 
Last Modified: Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 - 8:33 am
On Tuesday, in the SacBee, Pia Lopez, a Sec Bee Columnist and Ben Boychuk of the Heartland Institute wrote this very instructive op-ed on California's Parent Trigger Law, what it is, what does, and why it should be supported.
Posted on this blog here.

Have Trigger Law – Will Organize
By Larry Sand 12/14/10 3:01 PM EST

Shoot out in Compton is the beginning of a gun fight that promises to rival anything the Wild West has ever seen.

Back in the 50s, like many kids, I was a huge fan of TV Westerns. I could not let a Gunsmoke, Have Gun-Will Travel or The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp go by unwatched. Good guys and bad guys in white hats and black hats filled my TV landscape on a daily basis.
Click here to read more

GOVERNOR BROWN: DROP RACE TO THE TOP
Doug Lasken February 4, 2011 on Flashreport.org
[I post this as related only because Ben Austin was on the State Board until Jerry promptly booted him and supporters, upon taking office last month, and replaced them with what many would describe as very friendly and sympathetic to the CA Teacher's Union.]
In spite of California’s $25 billion deficit, we are about to pour $1.6 billion down the drain.

That’s the estimated cost of replacing the California education standards with President Obama’s Common Core Standards (CCS). The Schwarzenegger appointed State Board of Education voted last summer to make the switch in pursuit of Obama’s Race to the Top (RTTT) education grant. Our RTTT application was rejected and we will not receive a dime of the grant, but as all eyes are focused on California’s dire budget options, we are still blithely planning to spend $1.6 billion of state money on testing companies, publishers, and school staff training, for no apparent reason.
Click here to read the post
Bookmark and Share

L.A. City Council takes cooler view of football stadium plans Though some members expressed enthusiasm for AEG's proposed $1-billion NFL facility, the City Council voted to have a financial analyst study the stadium's costs and benefits.

A day after Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and others warmly embraced plans for a $1-billion football stadium downtown, the idea received a far more sober reception Wednesday at a City Council hearing.

Though some council members waxed enthusiastic, others voiced concern that that city might end up giving too much away to the developer, Anschutz Entertainment Group, or cut a deal that aggravates the city's ongoing fiscal crisis.

"We're already on a tightrope," Councilman Paul Koretz said. "One wrong step and we could push the city into bankruptcy."

Get the monthly that has L.A. talking. Subscribe to Los Angeles Times Magazine at a special introductory rate.

During its initial floor debate on the proposal, the council voted to recruit a financial analyst to study the costs and benefits of a new stadium.Click here to read more.
Bookmark and Share

Examiner’s owner wants stadium, has spread $$$ around (and check out the list...)

By Josh Richman
Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011 at 6:07 pm in Assembly, California State Senate, campaign finance.

Philip Anschutz (photo by Denver Post)Reacting to today’s Los Angeles Times story about how “developer Philip Anschutz’s plan to build an NFL stadium in Los Angeles may now hinge on whether state lawmakers will allow him to bypass some environmental rules so the 64,000-seat project can quickly get underway,” Berkeley-based bloodhounds MAPLight.org quickly uncorked a long list of lawmakers to whom the Denver-based billionaire businessman has made contributions.

Among Anschutz’s many holdings is the Clarity Media Group, which owns the San Francisco Examiner and other Examiner newspapers across the country. You’ll notice that very little of Anschutz’s political generosity has reached Bay Area lawmakers.

See where Anschutz has been spreading his money around, after the jump…

Below is a list of the $92,582 in contributions from 2003-2009 from companies and employees tied to Anschutz to state lawmakers serving in the 2009-2010 and 2011-2012 sessions of the California State Legislature:
Click here to read more.
Bookmark and Share

City borrowing for NFL stadium may cost taxpayers millions--From LA Observed Blog

Bill Boyarsky • January 26 2011 4:52 PM

Why should Los Angeles borrow $350 million to tear down a perfectly good convention center building and rebuild it on another expensive downtown location?

Because if the arrangement is approved by the City Council and mayor it’s a terrific deal for Anschutz Entertainment Group, the developer and owner of Staples Center and L.A. Live, which wants to build a football stadium in the downtown complex. That would permit AEG to land a National Football League franchise and make many more millions.

It’s definitely a case of misplaced priorities. We taxpayers would be going further into debt for a stadium when the city is so broke it slashed library hours. Library supporters are pushing Measure L on the March 8 city ballot, which would provide neighborhood libraries with enough money from current city revenues to help restore library service hours to at least six days a week, purchase books and support literacy and afterschool programs. Click here to read more.
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Head to Head: Should state support its 'parent trigger' law? A resounding 'Yes!'

On Tuesday, in the SacBee, Pia Lopez, a Sec Bee Columnist and Ben Boychuk of the Heartland Institute wrote this very instructive op-ed on California's Parent Trigger Law, what it is, what does, and why it should be supported.

Ben Austin, Executive Director of The Parent Revolution joins me on Saturday night on KRLA, 870AM at 11PM Pacific Time for a conversation on this issue!

THE ISSUE: California enacted the nation's first "parent trigger" law last year, giving parents the right to petition their school board to transform schools that are underperforming. Pia Lopez and Ben Boychuk share uncommon agreement: This law should be preserved.

The assault on California's year-old parent empowerment law – better known as the "parent trigger" – offers liberals and conservatives a rare opportunity to defend a unique reform that advances the common good, promotes freedom of choice, and uses a time-honored democratic process to force the public education system to adopt changes it would otherwise reject.

The parent trigger is a modest law – fewer than 600 words – but it has the potential to upend the public education status quo. Simply, if at least half of eligible parents at a persistently underperforming school sign a petition, school district officials must undertake one of four options prescribed by state and federal law.

The first test will come in the Compton Unified School District, in southern Los Angeles County. On Dec. 7, 62 percent of parents at McKinley Elementary submitted a petition requesting that the school board convert the school to a charter school.

Meanwhile, a group of parents at Mount Gleason Middle School in the Los Angeles suburb of Sunland are circulating a petition to replace the school's principal.

Click here to read more.
Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Federal Judge: Individual Mandate Unconstitutional, Health Care Overhaul "must be declared void" --His reasoned argument "is a tour de force!"

Those were the words used by Manny Klausner, co-founder of The Reason Foundation.  And he accompanied his advisory with a link to the actual ruling which you can read for yourself, and further comments pointing to the points in the argument he found to be profoundly insightful about the importance of complying with constitutional limitations in the opinion and the authorities cited by Judge Vinson.  Vinson opinion

*Update: U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson ruled that because the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's individual mandate to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional, the entire law "must be declared void." Judge Vinson cites this Reason.tv video on page 47 of his decision.
---

The Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to "regulate commerce . . . among the several States," and for more than 100 years federal lawmakers invoked it for a very narrow purpose—to prevent states from imposing trade barriers on each other. But today members of Congress act as if it gives them the authority to do just about anything—including forcing you to eat your vegetables.
Click here to watch the Reason TV Video that was cited in Judge Vinson's ruling and read the complete update posted below the video.
Bookmark and Share

Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database

Key

Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

Blog Archive