Why the recall of Josh Newman is justified

Candidate for the US Senate Josh Newman speaks with supporters at his campaign rally Tuesday at Yardhouse in Brea.  - ADDITIONAL INFO/// - ROD VEAL/CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER - 110916.Elex.Senate29 - 11/8/16 -  Candidate for the US Senate Josh Newman hangs out at his campaign rally Tuesday at Yardhouse in Brea.

State Sen. Josh Newman, who has been in office less than six months, is the target of a credible and well organized recall election. The recall effort was instigated by reform and taxpayer interests over the passage of Senate Bill 1 which imposes a permanent $5.2 billion annual tax on gasoline and vehicle registration. That tax increase, never approved by voters, has generated vocal public criticism.

But why Josh Newman? Shouldn’t all legislators who cast a yes vote for this regressive tax on California’s middle class be held accountable? That is arguably true and there may be more recall efforts launched in the near future.

Nonetheless, there are several legitimate reasons why Sen. Newman deserves to be at the top of the list.

Opponents of the recall have suggested that a recall is only justified in cases of gross malfeasance or corruption. While those are certainly good reasons to target a legislator in the middle of a term, they are not exclusive reasons. It wasn’t that long ago when Gov. Gray Davis’ attempt to increase the car tax — one of the very taxes at issue here — led to his successful recall. His opponent, Arnold Schwarzenegger, actually dropped a car from a crane in an illustration of how unpopular the car tax hike was. In short, some actions justify a severe political response.

Second, it is readily apparent that Josh Newman is a bad fit for the Senate district he represents. Yes, he was duly elected, but only by the slimmest of margins. This is a district that should have been relatively easy win for a fiscal conservative. However, as we know from the statewide vote, many voters expressed strong negative feelings for the Republican at the top of the ticket — Donald Trump — and even those Republicans and independents who weren’t thrilled with Hillary Clinton, many still couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Trump. But Donald Trump won’t be on the ballot in a recall election which vastly increases the chances for success.

Third, the 29th Senate District has a large contingent of middle-class voters. Much different from the West Side of Los Angeles or San Francisco, a lot voters in the 29th District have seen their housing costs and other cost of living items increase without a matching increase in their incomes. For them, a huge increase in the gas tax and vehicle registration tax hits the family budget hard. Coastal elites don’t care how much the cost of gas is — most don’t even bother looking at the price — but working Californians do. A recall election will make Newman explain to the voters of his district why he voted against their interests.

Fourth, in addition to sending a message to other tax-happy legislators about the consequences of big middle-class tax hikes, replacing a progressive with a fiscally responsible individual would deprive Democrats of the two-thirds supermajority they need to impose even more tax hikes without voter approval. The California Taxpayers Foundation has calculated that, in the first four months of the new legislative session, progressives have proposed $155 billion in new taxes. Depriving Democrats of the two-thirds supermajority they need to pass tax hikes is more than a legitimate policy objective — it is critical for saving the state from liberal lunacy.

Fifth, the anger among California voters has not subsided from the day Senate Bill 1 was jammed through the legislature. If anything, the more citizens learn about this attack on their pocketbooks, the more incensed they get. Grassroots taxpayer groups have legions of members who are angry drivers reaching for their pitchforks and torches. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association alone has several thousand active members in Senate District 29 and they haven’t been shy about wanting something done and done now.

It would have been preferable for the Legislature as body, and Sen. Newman in particular, to have not imposed a punishing tax hike on California drivers. But they did, so they have only themselves to blame for political retaliation.

Jon Coupal is the president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

This piece was originally published by the Orange County Register

Jerry Brown’s New Budget Includes Millions to Defend Illegal Aliens from Deportation

Jerry Brown state of the stateLast week, California Governor Jerry Brown unveiled his May revisions to the state budget proposal he rolled out in January. Buried deep among billions of dollars in proposed new spending are millions of dollars for the state to provide criminal defense for illegal immigrants in California who are facing deportation to their home country by our own federal government.

Apparently the governor is proposing to put taxpayer money where his mouth is, following up on his bold statement last January in his State of the State speech to the California legislature: “Let me be clear: We will defend everybody — every man, woman and child — who has come here for a better life and has contributed to the well-being of our state.”

It is certainly controversial, to say the least, for a state government, within the United States, to start providing taxpayer dollars to fight efforts by the United States to deport people who have entered the country, or overstayed their visas, in violation of the law.

To find this controversial spending proposal, just in the summary document of the budget, you have to comb through to the Department of Social Services section, and then read all of the way through to page 38, in the Health and Human Services subsection – where you find under “Immigration Services” an increase of $15 million to $30 million “to further expand the availability of legal services for people seeking, “…deportation defense…”.

President Donald Trump ran and was elected on a platform of cracking down on illegal immigration. Trump’s Attorney General, former Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), has been carrying out the President’s promises by focusing federal law enforcement resources on cracking down on illegal immigration.

The Trump administration’s focus on this issue, conversely, has been a rallying cry for the progressive Democrats that control the levers of political power in California. Legislation authored by State Senate President pro Tem Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles) to make California a “sanctuary state” is rapidly advancing through the legislative process. In addition, the state legislature has produced stinging anti-Trump resolutions. Last week, it was announced that the California legislature extended a controversial contract for former Obama-era Attorney General Eric Holder and his law firm, at $25,000 per month, focused on taking an aggressive posture against the Trump administration.

Sacramento Democrats are not the first to engage in this very aggressive funding of efforts to stymie federal immigration enforcement. Several large cities around California with Democratic mayors and city councils have already entered into this space.

Last December, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the creation of the “L.A. Justice Fund” to include $5 million in taxpayer funds, saying that the city would fight for and, “…reach out to people who are American by every measure except the papers they hold…”.

(Earlier this year, the Los Angeles City Council also unanimously passed a resolution calling on the President to be impeached.)

In February, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee allowed the city’s Public Defender’s Office to use more than $200,000 in savings from the city’s budget to hire additional staff attorneys for the defense of illegal immigrants facing deportation.

Most recently, earlier this month, at the request of Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, the city council of California’s capital voted unanimously to make $300,000 of city funds available to assist a network of legal, education and non-profit groups help illegal immigrants facing deportation.

In yet another example of the high priority that Governor Brown places in “taking on” the policies of the federal government and President Trump, he has also proposed increasing the budget of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to support a stream of lawsuits challenging executive orders of the President. The revision to the Attorney General’s budget includes funding for 19 attorneys and 12 other staff members.

There is no doubt that Democrats in California are on the “tip of the spear” in taking on the policies and directives of the newly elected Republican president. Frankly, in and of itself, that is not so surprising.

But what is controversial to say the least is the fact that tens of millions of dollars are being spent, so far, by the State of California and some of the state’s largest cities to  wage public relations and legal battles against the federal government.

Jon Fleischman is the Politics Editor for Breitbart California. His columns appear regularly on this page. Jon has been chronicling public policy and politics in the Golden State for nearly three decades. You can follow him on Twitter here.

This piece was originally published by Breitbart.com/California

Bay Area companies paying employees to protest Trump

While many conservative claims about paid protesters demonstrating against President Trump have been met with skepticism and dismissal — in the Bay Area — some of them might actually be getting money for being there.

Companies in the region are increasingly offering their employees paid time off to participate in protests, marches and other demonstrations as part of civic engagement policies.

“Democracy is a participatory institution; it’s not just something that takes place every four years when you have a candidate in a race,” Adam Kleinberg, CEO of San Francisco ad firm Traction, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

The company gives its workers two paid “Days of Action” per year.

Furthermore, tech giants like Facebook recently allowed their employees to take a day of paid leave to participate in the May Day immigration rights demonstration in San Francisco — a rally that was largely a protest of Trump’s agenda.

“At Facebook, we’re committed to fostering an inclusive workplace where employees feel comfortable expressing their opinions and speaking up,” a spokesman explained in an emailed statement. “We support our people in recognizing International Workers’ Day and other efforts to raise awareness for safe and equitable employment conditions.”

Major tech figures like Facebook COO Sharly Sandberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and co-founder Sergey Brin have all spoken out against the president, illustrating this administration’s frosty relationship with the industry.

And even those who showed a willingness to work with the White House have faced a wave of scrutiny. For example, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigned from the president’s business advisory council earlier this year after facing intense backlash, seeing #DeleteUber trend at the top of Twitter over his decision to offer guidance on a job growth agenda.

The policies appear to reflect a growing discontent in the heavily liberal region that Trump presents more than just policy differences — but an existential threat to their well being and daily life.

“It’s a recognition of the fact that civic engagement is something that we should be doing not just as individuals but as a company,” Buoyant CEO William Morgan told CS Monitor about his software company’s policy. “I wanted to make it more clear that we could not be passive citizens in this world.”

While the policies aren’t new — as companies like Comcast have been offering such leave for years — they appear to be taking on new life in the Trump era.

“People were wishing that I was dropped off in an (Islamic State) territory, calling me an idiotic libtard, candy-ass, saying they hope we’ll go out of business. Really nasty stuff,” Kleinberg told the Chronicle about the backlash to the policy.

Overall, Trump’s policy proposals have been met with a particularly strong response in Silicon Valley due to his stance on issues like the controversial H-1B visa program that tech companies say they rely on to recruit top talent — but one critics say comes at the expense of American workers.

And the president’s rhetoric may be having some effect, as the number of H-1B applications dropped to under 200,000 in 2017 — a 15 percent decrease from a year earlier.

This piece was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

California Tax Increases Have Consequences

May Revise 2017This is the 30th California state budget I’ve written about after I drove out here in 1987 to write editorials for the Orange County Register. Looking over the years, my theme has been the same: The state’s taxpayers can only bear so high a burden of taxing and spending. When that burden gets too large, the economy as a whole suffers, the tax base erodes – and massive deficits ensue.

So it’s not surprising that in Gov. Jerry Brown’s May Revise to his budget for fiscal year 2017-18, which begins on July 1, revenue expectations are dampened. That is despite the national Trump Boom for the economy which in April produced a surprise $182 billion surplus in federal revenues, instead of the deficit economists expected.

As Brown pointed out in his press conference revenues are up by $2.5 billion from his January budget proposal – but $3.3 billion less than what he projected a year ago. Of that extra $2.5 billion, about $1.1 billion will go to schools (following the Proposition 98 formula that around 40% of new income must go to schools). The rest will go to restore some funding, such as to child care, that had been cut in January.

The general fund total will be $124 billion. By contrast, that first budget I wrote about three decades ago was just $33 billion. And the state was better run.

Brown cautioned of the economic recovery, “Moreover, by the time the budget is enacted in June, the economy will have finished its eighth year of expansion – just two years short of the longest recovery since World War II.”

“Make no doubt about it,” he said, “cuts are coming in the next few years, and they’re going to be big. It would be imprudent not to prepare for it.” He also fingered potential cuts in Obamacare and other federal spending, depending on what is done by President Trump and Congress.

Strangely, he also ridiculed Trump’s tax-cut plan to boost the sluggish economic growth of recent years by cutting the top income tax rate to 35% from the current 39.6%. There would be two other tax brackets, 10% and 25%. The corporate tax rate would be cut to 15% from 35%. And the mind-bogglingly complex Alternative Minimum Tax would be axed.

Although not a “flat” tax plan, which would levy one rate for all types of income, the Trump plan would be flatter than the current system, and much simpler.

“The idea we’ll have a massive tax cut and spend $1 trillion on infrastructure doesn’t make sense,” Brown said. “You need real money to do real things.” Actually, Trump’s infrastructure plan reportedly “is expected to be more about regulatory reform and alternative financing than a federal spending spree.”

And in his own 1992 run for president, Brown crafted an even bolder tax-cut plan, a flat tax of just 13% for everything, calling it “a silver bullet solution for the economy. With one stroke, the major source of venality and graft will be eliminated and the Byzantine strictures of the Internal Revenue Code made so simple that even a sixth-grader will understand them.”

His 1992 plan was designed by famed economist Arthur Laffer, who helped design the 1978 Proposition 13 tax cuts in California that undergird state growth since then, Ronald Reagan’s 1981 tax cuts that boomed the 1980s economy – and Trump’s new plan.

Indeed, the current national economic boom is an anticipation of the Trump tax cuts – albeit the final numbers aren’t yet in place.

So, why is California lagging the federal boom? The reason is simple: California keeps heaping higher costs – taxes and regulations – on its citizens and businesses, discouraging the higher production that broadens the tax base. Consider just the tax increases since November:

  • The Proposition 55 extension of the Proposition 30 “temporary” income tax increase. Even Brown conceded in his press conference, “We already are taxing at 13.3%. Nevada is 0%. So you have to be careful.” Apparently there’s still some of the 1992 Jerry Brown around who knows taxes can get too high.
  • The Proposition 56 tobacco tax increase of $2 a pack, which especially will hit poor people; the wealthy now seldom smoke.
  • The Proposition 67 plastic bag tax of $300 million a year.
  • The gas tax of $5.2 billion a year. Brown said it just restores the equivalent purchasing power of the gas tax as it existed under the Deukmejian administration in the 1980s. The proportion had been eroded by inflation. But what about the money going to “mass transit”? How do we know the gas tax won’t be siphoned off to the general fund during a recession, as have past gas-tax increases? And how about an equivalent cut in other taxes to balance the new slam on taxpayers?

State Controller Betty Yee’s revenue estimates a day earlier, on May 10, were close to Brown’s. “April personal income tax (PIT) receipts of $12.76 billion lagged by $707.6 million, or 5.3%,” she estimated. But the big blow came from sales taxes, “April retail sales and use tax receipts of $696.7 million fell short of projections in the governor’s proposed 2017-18 budget by $106.7 million, or 13.3%.  For the fiscal year to date, sales tax receipts of $18.99 billion are $453.5 million below the revised estimates released in January.”

More study will be needed. But I think what’s happening is Californians are reacting to the massive new tax increases listed above – and are anticipating getting hit with yet more new tax increases from the revenue-deluded Legislature, with its 2/3 supermajority. So they’re spending 13.3% less.

Although I’m not a smoker – except for a stogie every four months – friends of mine are. A pack a day means $2 less a day, or $730 less a year – after income taxes. That means they have to cut down in other areas of spending, and are. Less spending means less sales tax revenue. Just for that tax.

Said state Sen. John Moorlach, D-Costa Mesa, of the May Revise, “California’s unrestricted net deficit, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, remains at $169 billion. That’s $4,374 per person. This marks almost no improvement from the previous year.”

On the positive side, the governor adopted Moorlach’s proposal to prepay CalPERS by $6 billion. As the May Revise document explained, “The additional $6 billion pension payment will be funded through a loan from the Surplus Money Investment Fund. Although the loan will incur interest (approximately $1 billion over the life of the loan), actuarial calculations indicate that the additional pension payment will yield net savings of $11 billion over the next 20 years.”

And the Rainy Day fund will increase to $8.5 billion, or 66% of the funding mandated by Proposition 2.

In other areas, in the journalists’ conference call later with Budget Director Michael Cohen, I asked how much the governor was willing to contract out for engineers for the new infrastructure projects. A report by the Legislative Analyst’s Office found 3,500 featherbedding jobs at Caltrans.

Cohen said there would be such contracts with private firms, but only in the short term. Because these are long-term spending projects, Caltrans will do the construction. “We scheduled 240 positions to be downsized, but now will keep them for the time being,” he said.

On the University of California and California State University spending controversies, Cohen said, “At UC, we hold $50 million from them until they implement” reforms in the recent auditor’s report that criticized them, and in an agreement with the governor. And on the recent UC tuition increase, he said more money will be given to Cal Grants.

Brown himself, in his earlier press conference announcing his budget, had attacked “university salaries that are way too high, particularly for their administrators.” But essentially, nothing is going to change in systems where, for UC, the high-paid administrators have doubled their numbers the past two decades and now outnumber professors. It’s like an army with more generals than privates.

If Republicans want to have some fun, they should take up my recommendation to put on the ballot an initiative that a) cuts tuition and b) pays for it by cutting the number of UC and USC administrators in half.

In sum, as Jerry Brown’s penultimate budget, the May Revise pushes the state’s out-of-whack finances into the future of whatever governor succeeds him. Although Brown has been more frugal than spendthrift predecessors Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who left office with massive deficits hanging over the heads of Californians, he has not solved the state’s endemic fiscal problems, but once again has kicked the can down the road.

He likely was the last governor with the experience, savvy and clout to advance both needed pension reform and comprehensive state tax reform, such Laffer’s proposed flat tax of about 6.5% for California. Instead, Brown can say with Louis XIV, “Après moi le deluge.”

In his press conference on the budget, Brown derided Lafferesque supply-side tax cuts as “voodoo economics” and “what Bob Dole called the plan of a ‘riverboat gambler.’” But what does the history show? The “voodoo economics” crack came from George H.W. Bush against Reagan’s economic plan during the 1980 campaign. The voters picked Reagan over Bush in the 1980 GOP primaries, then Bush became vice president. Reagan cut taxes. The economy boomed.

Bush became president in 1988 because he solemly pledged, “Read my lips! No new taxes!” But as soon as he got a chance, he repudiated both his pledge and Reagan’s “voodoo economics” tax cuts by increasing taxes in 1990. The economy tanked; the deficits got worse, not better. Bill Clinton was elected in 1993 on a pledge of a “middle class tax cut.”

In 1993, Bill Clinton broke his pledge and increased taxes, which Democrats now still wrongly maintain was behind the 1990s economic growth. But as Paul Harvey would say, here’s the rest of the story. After Clinton lost both houses to Congress to Republicans in 1994, he flipped. In 1995 he cooperated with Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich on massive capital gains tax cuts that boosted the economy – and derided Dole as “the tax collector of the welfare state.”

In Clinton’s ’96 campaign, he ran a great ad touting his tax cuts while deriding Dole’s $900 billion in tax increases. Voters re-elected Clinton. Then Clinton and Gingrich passed more tax cuts, which boosted the economy so much the federal deficit ran a surplus for a couple of years, the only time that has happened the past 50 years.

It’s too bad, but except for Silicon Valley billionaires, Californians are going to miss the Trump Boom.

John Seiler is a former Editorial Writer at the Orange County Register

This piece was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

Will California be the first state to tax space launches?

spaceX launchOne of the world’s leading experts on the commercialization of space questions the California Franchise Tax Board’s move to make the Golden State the first to impose state taxes on private space launch and tourism firms.

John Logsdon, co-founder of George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the commercial launch business was heating up, with private “spaceports” as well as leased military facilities being use to send cargo and – before long – tourists in the state.

The $2 billion in revenue that launch firms generated in 2014 worldwide is expected to continue to grow and make it a lucrative niche industry. Elon Musk’s Hawthorne-based SpaceX company is one of the world’s best-known space firms; a recent launch is pictured above. Vandenberg Air Force Base on the Santa Barbara County coast is considered a superior launch facility.

Against this backdrop, Logsdon questioned why California would seek to lead on space taxation: “States that don’t levy taxes would have that competitive advantage over states that do. If California puts in a tax and Florida or Texas doesn’t have a similar tax, I’m not sure that helps California in a competitive way.”

But Thomas Lo Grossman, the Franchise Tax Board official interviewed by the Chronicle, contended that the tax regulatory framework would actually make private launch firms more comfortable being based in California.

As a recent Quartz.com analysis noted, the state framework is what space companies prefer as the overall basis for taxation and hope it is copied by governments around the world.

“The complicated new formula … sets a tax rate based on how often rockets are flown from California. It uses the 62-mile trip to space as a standard, and reduces the levy on revenue earned in launches from other sites,” wrote space business reporter Tim Fernholz. “The new rules, based on formulae used for terrestrial transport industries, appear to ensure that a California-based company like SpaceX won’t be excessively taxed for revenue generated by launches in other states, while Colorado-based ULA pays its fair share for using California spaceports.”

Florida has already lured away California space venture firm

But unlike Quartz, the Chronicle report addressed Logsdon’s point about the business-friendliness of California becoming the first to levy a state tax in a nation in which a half-dozen states already have launch sites and many more are interested in building them. It noted that Moon Express – a well-financed venture capital firm that hopes to mine the moon for valuable natural resources – had relocated from Mountain View in the Bay Area to Florida. Company CEO/founder Bob Richards cited incentives proved by Space Florida, the state’s ambitious space economic development program.

California’s state efforts to promote space economic development are based with the Office of Strategic Technology in Los Angeles County – but space is only one industry the office seeks to help, unlike Florida’s more specific approach. Project California’s Council on Science and Technology also does some related work.

The Franchise Tax Board will consider adopting the rules after a public hearing on June 16. The board is taking comments on the FTB proposal until June 5.

This piece was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Laguna Beach becomes first city in Orange County to ban smoking in town

As reported by the Orange County Register:

LAGUNA BEACH — The only place people will be allowed to smoke in this resort town will be inside their homes and cars.

On Tuesday, May 9, the City Council voted unanimously to expand its ban on smoking that already covers beaches and parks.

The new ordinance bans smoking throughout the city, including on sidewalks, bike paths, alleys and in parking structures. The ordinance is the first such restrictive ban in Orange County. It will go into effect after a second reading in 30 days.

The ban also applies to vapes and e-cigarettes. Last summer, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a package of tobacco bills that included these devices in the state’s smoking ban restriction. The ban would also apply to smoking marijuana in the same places tobacco smoking is prohibited. …

Click here to read the full article

Academia and the media have learned nothing since the L.A. riots

Los Angeles riotsAnother five-year anniversary of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, another opportunity for media glorification of racial mayhem. The New York Times outdoes itself this year with a fawning profile of one of the sadists who stomped and bludgeoned trucker Reginald Denny nearly to death on April 29, 1992, as Denny tried to maneuver his truck through the already anarchic intersection of Florence and Normandie in South Central Los Angeles.

Henry Keith Watson, an ex-con who had just assaulted an Asian man, stood on Reginald Denny’s neck and head as others kicked him. Watson never served any time for his participation in this grotesque explosion of racial hatred. The Times notes admiringly that Watson apologized to Denny on a talk show.

That forced contrition — an apology was a condition of his probation sentence as well — was short-lived. “Now, 25 years later, Mr. Watson is not in the mood to say sorry,” Times reporter Jennifer Medina writes. Of course not. Why should he be? Watson “called himself ‘an angry black man’ one afternoon this week as he sat on the porch of his home,” Medina reports. “As he has done each anniversary, he is selling Florence and Normandie T-shirts and throwing a block party on Saturday” — a natural way to commemorate a conflagration that took over 50 lives and caused an estimated $1 billion in property damage. The Times does not bother speaking to any of the thousands of victims of that racial mayhem, instead foregrounding Watson’s complaints about ongoing “oppression.” “Nothing has changed, nothing,” Watson grouses. A friend of Watson’s, Nathan Smith, who was on parole in 1992, predicts that another riot is likely. Back then, Smith says, “We all felt like, ‘We’ve been telling you we’re angry and you’re not listening, so now we’re going to show you.” “Showing you” consisted of burning down businesses that have struggled to survive constant robberies and assaults on their employees and have only succeeded due to a fierce work ethic. “Showing you” also consisted of pulling drivers from their cars and mutilating them. Even if there were some legitimate “you” that is responsible for the social chaos of the ghetto, it is certainly not a Korean convenience store owner or a construction worker returning from work.

The familiar “nothing has changed” complaint embodies the entitlement mentality. Its logic is the following: “We destroy the businesses that have served us for decades; we unleash savage violence against every ethnic group other than our own. So why aren’t things better now in our neighborhoods? Government and society owe us reparations in response to our feral rage against other people’s livelihoods and lives.” But a riot is inevitably going to make the local situation worse. Mainstream businesses will be even less willing to move into a riot zone; property values, already depressed by high crime, will plummet further. Though governments usually do respond to riots with cash and programs, such intervention is not going to make any difference unless individuals in the community make better personal choices: paying attention in class, studying, not committing crime, staying in a job, and not having children out-of-wedlock.

The University of California’s massive diversity bureaucracy also got into the game of riot whitewash. UCLA’s Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Jerry Kang, is sponsoring a student art competition to commemorate the “social rebellion.” Students can submit performance art, poetry, or visual art to “critically examine the root causes of this historic event … and its relevance to contemporary issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.” Do not expect any installations featuring the charred remains of torched business. To gain “inspiration” for their art works, the competitors had to attend at least one panel in an April 28 conference on the “Los Angeles uprisings,” also organized by the Vice Chancellor of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. That conference assembled ethnic studies professors and racial activists; no first responders were included.

One victim of the riots did squeak in, but only because she adopts the mandatory view of racial violence. Carol Park’s memoir of helping to operate her widowed mother’s gas station in Compton, “Memoir of a Cashier: Korean Americans, Racism, and Riots,” frankly describes the anti-Korean racism regularly directed at her and her mother. Park’s mother barely escaped unharmed from the gas station on the first night of riots. When she returned home, she told her children to do their homework but otherwise said nothing about the spreading violence. That admonition tells you everything you need to know about the “oppression” that allegedly lies at the root of ethnic economic differences. Park attributes anti-Korean hatred and rioting, however, to widespread “racial discrimination” and “governmental neglect.”

Jerry Kang moved over from the UCLA law school to become UCLA’s first Vice Chancellor of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; as a law professor, he studied “implicit bias.” Kang’s starting salary as Vice Chancellor in 2015 was $354,900, undoubtedly socked away in West Side real estate and financial instruments out of the range of looters. Today Kang busies himself with “building equity” for UCLA’s allegedly oppressed students, who, with their access to boundless academic resources, number among the most advantaged people in human history. Kang’s “equity” mission for privileged students is as delusional as celebrating riots as “social uprisings.” Instead, such violence should be denounced as murderous rampages that threaten civilization itself.

What Exactly is the “Rule of Law”?

court gavelPart of the difficulty in finding common ground on the immigration debate in California is a different understanding of a basic governmental concept: the “rule of law.”

California officials have readily used the phrase when it comes to resisting the Trump Administration’s immigration policy.

Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, admonished the administration for stalking courthouses looking for people in the country illegally when she told the state legislature in her annual speech on the courts, “I submit to you today that the rule of law is being challenged.”

California’s Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, in responding positively to a federal court’s injunction halting Trump’s executive order against sanctuary cities, declared, “This injunction is consistent with the rule of law.”

Yet, those opposed to sanctuary cities and California’s effort to become a sanctuary state ask that if people came into the country against the laws on the books, is not that a violation of the “rule of law”?

Some have even compared the efforts to ignore federal immigration laws to the nullification efforts future Confederate states used to challenge federal authority prior to the Civil War.

Differing views on what constitutes the rule of law intensifies the country’s political divide. Ultimately, the United States Supreme Court will determine the law.

Cases before that court on the issue of state sovereignty have occurred in the past, of course. One case cited that may influence the outcome of a new Supreme Court test is Printz vs. United States.

This 1997 case, dealing with the Brady Gun Law, said the state could not compel local officials to execute federal law. The 5 to 4 majority declared that the Tenth Amendment to the constitution allowed the state to ignore a federal mandate, in this case requiring local law enforcement to enforce certain gun laws, because the constitution did not address the specific issue covered by the law.

Interestingly, the court majority, lead by Justice Antonin Scalia, were the conservative jurists on the court. Liberals may now use this decision to argue the Tenth Amendment allows states to declare sanctuary despite federal immigration laws because the sanctuary issue is not in the Constitution.

However, the Printz decision may not cleanly cover the issue of sanctuary cities. The majority opinion in Printz argued that the Framers of the Constitution allowed for federal regulation of international and interstate matters but reserved internal matters for the judgment of state legislatures. It may be argued that border security between nations is an international matter.

Cities can choose to not enforce federal immigration law, but they cannot stop the federal government from enforcing it. This is where the denial of federal funds to sanctuary cities comes into play and will ultimately be tested in court.

Despite the legal battle, it seems a basic understanding of what is meant by “the rule of law” is in order for the on-going immigration debate.

The American Bar Association attempted to frame a discussion of “the rule of law” in a three-page document.

The Bar Association dialogue started with questions:

“The rule of law is a term that is often used but difficult to define. A frequently heard saying is that the rule of law means the government of law, not men. But what is meant by “a government of law, not men”? Aren’t laws made by men and women in their roles as legislators? Don’t men and women enforce the law as police officers or interpret the law as judges? And don’t all of us choose to follow, or not to follow, the law as we go about our daily lives? How does the rule of law exist independently from the people who make it, interpret it, and live it?”

The site contains differing views from two civil rights historical figures.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, an American suffragist, social activist, abolitionist, and leader of the early women’s rights movement, is quoted: “It is very important in a republic, that the people should respect the laws, for if we throw them to the winds, what becomes of civil government?”

But one can respect laws and still resist, The Rev. Martin Luther King wrote in his Letter from the Birmingham Jail. “I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.”

The Bar Association comments, “The rule of law is intended to promote stability, but a society that operates under the rule of law must also remain vigilant to ensure the rule of law also serves the interests of justice.”

Strict adherence to laws on the books in relation to a concept of true justice reflects the current debate over immigration issues in this state. Yet, perception by the public of how laws are enforced is as an important part of this debate as is a finally sliced Supreme Court decision on the law. The public’s understanding of the “rule of law” is the tie that keeps in place the foundation of a civil society. So, it is incumbent on all sides of this debate to make clear what is meant in arguing for the “rule of law.”

Joel Fox is editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily.

Let localities opt out of sanctuary status

Maria Ortiz, at left, a Mexican immigrant has been living in the United States for 23 years. "I am single. I work so hard to stay. I never needed support from the government," Ortiz said. She is not a citizen and works as a janitor, she said during an immigration protest outside Rep. Ed Royce's office in Brea. ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: – MINDY SCHAUER, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER – Shot 111713 – immig.fast.11.19 Advocates for immigration reform will camp our near the office of Rep. Ed Royce for five days, where they will stage a fast. They are asking OC's Republican leaders in Congress to publicly support an overhaul to the nation's immigration laws, including the so-called pathway to citizenship that would create a process for some 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally the right to become citizens.

Grandstanding California politicians seem intent on outdoing each other in finding new ways to appear to be resisting the policies of our new president. Efforts to ban cooperation by local agencies with the federal government on immigration issues include working to make California a “sanctuary state.”

As prominent elected officials beat their chests in defiance of federal law, they ignore the fact that their actions could jeopardize the wellbeing of millions of Californians who depend on the hundreds of billions of dollars Washington provides our state, the majority of which goes to support vital services to our most vulnerable citizens.

While the governor and the majority of the members of the Legislature seem intent on putting California’s share of federal dollars at risk — sort of like playing Russian roulette only the gun is aimed at the heads of taxpayers and the needy — there is an alternative. Assembly Bill 536 (by this column’s coauthor Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez) would protect the billions of dollars California currently receives in federal funding.

Assembly Bill 536 allows counties to opt out of any state laws that may result in a loss of federal funding. By electing not to implement a state law that jeopardizes funding, counties will then work directly with the federal government to receive the allocations to which they would otherwise be entitled.

While the majority of lawmakers may see themselves as heroically standing up for their principles, they don’t speak for millions of California who depend on federal dollars to help them survive. And they do not speak for taxpayers who do not want to pay new taxes to make up for the mistakes of irresponsible politicians and their misguided laws.

This is not a trivial issue, although one might think so after listening to the Sacramento leadership. Approximately 40 percent of California’s budget is allocated through the federal government. California receives $368 billion in federal funding, or about $9,500 for each Californian. The funding is most prominently used for welfare benefits and retirement pensions; however, the federal government spends money in various capacities in California — from infrastructure upkeep and maintenance, to assisting refugees.

Here are a few examples of what is at stake:

  • California’s Department of Health Care Services received almost $54 billion from the federal government in order to provide health care services to millions of low-income and disabled Californians each and every day.
  • California’s Department of Education receives almost $12 billion from the federal government, which include K-12 and higher education.
  • California’s Department of Social Services, which is responsible for the oversight and administration of programs serving California’s most vulnerable residents, receives $7 billion from the federal government. Those programs include food stamps, child welfare and veteran services to state a few.

Average Californians are desperately in need of sanctuary. They are the ones in need of a “safe space” where they are protected from the frivolous yet dangerous actions of the self-aggrandizing political elite who are gladly putting the welfare of so many at risk. Lawmakers should pass Assembly Bill 536 and allow county boards of supervisors to spare their constituents from a disruption of federal benefits.

Jon Coupal is the president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Melissa Melendez is the Assembly representative for California’s 67th Assembly District.

Bay Area demonstrators may be paid to protest, by employers

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

It’s a common accusation lobbed at liberal protesters gathered at town hall meetings, statehouses and in the streets: They’re being paid to protest.

Thanks to a rising trend among tech companies and some Bay Area firms, some, in fact, may be.

Since the beginning of the year, an increasing number of companies have unveiled policies that allow employees to take paid time off work for political or civic activities, such as protesting, canvassing, voting, volunteering or even running for office.

Big corporations like Comcast and outdoor-apparel maker Patagonia have been offering social-justice benefits to their employees for years. But several executives said the election of President Trump, and the backlash that followed, turned them on to the idea of giving their employees time off to express themselves politically. …

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