Democrats for Donnelly as a Campaign Strategy?

Some Democrats fervently believe that Tim Donnelly as Republican Party standard-bearer could further damage the Republican brand and hurt Republican candidates in other races. Under the top two primary, voters can cast a ballot for any candidate. With Jerry Brown’s commanding lead in all polls in the governor’s race might Democrats concoct some mischief to make sure Donnelly faces Brown in November?

A whispering campaign urging some loyal Democrats to vote for Donnelly in the open primary to assure Donnelly a place on the November ballot wouldn’t work according to Allan Hoffenblum, a keen observer of the California political scene and publisher of the California Target Book which tracks candidate elections. “It would have to be out in the open, you would need to use persuasion techniques and that couldn’t be kept secret. And it would cost money.”

However, Hoffenblum says that it might be possible for a mischief effort to boost the Donnelly campaign by running ads against Donnelly’s opponents in the primary, particularly his best-funded opponent, Neel Kashkari.

It’s been done before, Hoffenblum reminded me, although he didn’t have to since I was involved on the receiving end of such mischief. When former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan was seemingly running away with the Republican nomination for governor in 2002, Garry South, Gov. Gray Davis’s campaign strategist hit Riordan with negative ads during the primary. I was on the Riordan team. The shots hit their mark and Riordan’s huge lead in early polls vanished as Bill Simon bested him on Election Day.

Hoffenblum suggested that Democrats eager to see Donnelly as the Republican facing Brown might try to help pick the Republican nominee with negative ads against Kashkari.

Hoffenblum said such a strategy could alter the results of down ticket races in the November election.

He specifically noted that Donnelly’s history with the Minutemen organization might energize Latino voters in November to come out and vote for Brown. In turn that could put in jeopardy some Republican congressional incumbents like Jeff Denham and David Valadao who face tight races.

Mischief campaigns have been rumored often over the course of the state’s political history and rarely do they happen or make a difference. But in the Riordan case it certainly did work. Something to watch out for.

(Joel Fox is the Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee. Posted on Fox and Hounds.)

Toyota Leaving CA for TX

In another major blow to the California economy, Toyota is moving its headquarters from Torrance to Dallas after 57 years here. The excuse is that it wants to be near its manufacturing plants in the Southeast. That itself is telling. Toyota shut down its last Golden State plant in Fremont in 2009.

The plant now makes Teslas, a car that wouldn’t exist without massive government subsidies and credits. It’s the only car plant left in California. It’as basically a high-tech Trabi.

On the Toyota move, the L.A. Times reported about Occidental Petroleum and other companies fleeing California:

Like these other companies, Toyota could also save money in an environment of lower business taxes, real estate prices and cost of living.

Frank Scotto, Torrance’s mayor, said he had no warning of Toyota’s decision. He said he did know that the automaker planned a corporate announcement for Monday.

“When any major corporation is courted by another state, it’s very difficult to combat that,” Scotto said. “We don’t have the tools we need to keep major corporations here.”

The mayor said businesses bear higher costs in California for workers’ compensation and liability insurance, among other expenses.

And remember, almost all those several thousand Toyota jobs are middle-class jobs on which to raise a family. This is another indication that the middle class just isn’t welcome in California.

To change that, what’s needed, for starters, are: massive tax cuts, massive cuts in government waste, repealing AB 32 and the California Coastal Commission, strong pension reform and reducing the government workers’ unions’ lock-grip on government power.

That is, it’s not going to happen.

(John Seiler is the managing editor of CalWatchdog. Originally published on CalWatchdog.)

Keystone Alternatives

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Another Obamacare Enrollment Delay

From The Daily Caller:

The Obama administration will allow patients in a federal high-risk pool slated to end next week to select an Obamacare exchange plan at HealthCare.gov through June 30.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services insisted in a late Thursday announcement that they were not extending the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) for what would be the fourth time. The $5 billion temporary program for those suffering from pre-existing conditions was slated to end Dec. 31, 2013, but has been repeatedly extended.

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Ballot Measures Have Become Game of Hide-the-Pea

From The Sacramento Bee:

Writing California ballot measures has evolved – or degenerated – into a game of hide-the-pea.

The trick is to write a measure that contains the main thing its sponsors want, but encase it in other stuff that, they hope, will sway enough inattentive voters to win approval.

Examples abound, but a classic was the 2010 ballot measure, backed by Democratic politicians and their allies, especially public employee unions, that lowered the legislative vote requirement for state budgets from two-thirds to a simple majority.

Photo courtesy of secretlondon123, flickr

Photo courtesy of secretlondon123, flickr

 

Hayes’ Rebellion

From The Daily Caller:

Ever have an argument and think of a good comeback too late?

It happened to me once on the old MSNBC early show “Up with Chris Hayes.”

Having your best rejoinders occur to you after the moment has passed is especially embarrassing in front of other people (even if it is not that many other people).

The discussion unexpectedly shifted into the real and imagined sins of conservative journalism. Hayes read something from a writer who compared his work to fighting in a war — or, more precisely, #war — and asked the panel how anyone could possibly trust this person’s reporting.

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Local Govt Tax Competitions

As reported in the Los Angeles Times, a battle is brewing between Los Angeles City authorities and county transportation leaders both of whom want a shot at dipping into the taxpayers pocket for transportation needs. This battle could portend future clashes of multiple agencies reaching for tax dollars at the same time, especially if state law is changed making it easier to raise local taxes.

The Los Angeles scenario pits the city’s search for funds to improve roads and sidewalks versus the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s desire to increase funding for countywide transportation projects. Both are eyeing a sales tax increase to reach their fundraising goals.

If the tax measures are constructed for the express purpose of funding transportation they require a two-thirds vote of the people to pass.

The transportation district sees a tax on the 2016 ballot but those behind the city sales tax plan are looking at 2014. Countywide transportation officials think the second measure to come before voters will have little chance of success if the city tax has been approved. After all, city voters make up 40-percent of the transportation district. It is unlikely they would vote twice in a short period of time to raise the sales tax.

Now consider multiple agencies interested in more tax money— even within the same jurisdiction–not  a hard thing to imagine. They have often held back because of that tough two-thirds barrier needed to pass special taxes.

However, a number of measures have been introduced in the legislature to lower the two-thirds vote to 55-percent; a couple dealing directly with transportation. If these measures are successful, taxpayers could be facing a plethora of tax proposals from different agencies seeking to grab hold of new tax dollars.

Which raises the interesting possibility of not only local governments fighting amongst themselves for the opportunity to hit up the taxpayers, as the L.A. situation attests, but different agencies within one government entity requesting funds via tax increases.

A multiple agency rush for taxes could backfire. Numerous “asks” for new tax revenue could turn off voters just as the Los Angeles Metro authorities fear.

The key may be who gets to the taxpayer/voters first. In other words, a local government tax strategy would consist of a simple plan: first one to the water hole gets to drink.

(Joel Fox is the Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee. Posted on Fox and Hounds.)

San Francisco’s Battle over Green Power

It’s green power vs. greenbacks.

A political power battle is brewing in San Francisco over which entity of government is going to carry out the local implementation of the mandate by the state of California for 33 percent renewable energy by the year 2020. The battle stems from San Francisco being California’s only consolidated city-county. According to SF311, that means, “The mayor is also the county executive and the county board of supervisors acts as the city council.”

The battle pits Mayor Ed Lee on one side and county Supervisors John Avalos and David Campos and progressive activists on the other side. The battle is over whether San Francisco needs CleanPowerSF to accomplish its clean energy goals. CleanPowerSF is a new municipal electric utility authorized under the state’s Community Choice Aggregation law. The CCA law allows cities to unplug from monopoly utilities such as PG&E and form a cooperative to buy power or build their own power plants.

The civil war over clean power in San Francisco flashed to the public’s attention on March 31 when Lee dramatically whited-out the renewable energy goals to be carried out by CleanPowerSF from the city’s Climate Action Plan. Instead of merely deleting the text, the mayor apparently wanted everyone to know that CleanPowerSF was not going to carry out the compliance of the state’s 33 percent clean energy goals for the city.

San Francisco voters repeatedly have rejected ballot measures to take over the city’s private regulated electric monopoly, PG&E. As recently as 2008, voters pulled the plug on local Proposition H, which would have required the city to get 51 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2017.

Under the CCA law, all electricity customers would be automatically transferred to SFCleanPower unless they specifically choose to opt out.  PG&E would continue to handle the billings, maintenance, transmission and distribution of electricity for the entire city and county of San Francisco.  In other words, CleanPowerSF would be the power provider and PG&E merely the power conveyor, distributor and biller.

SFCleanPower advertises that it can buy electricity and build power plants cheaper than PG&E.  San Francisco has a population of 825,000, while PG&E has 5.1 million customers statewide.

In 2010, then-Mayor Gavin Newsom, now California’s lieutenant governor, set a goal for the city to be powered by 100 percent by renewable energy in 10 years.  Even current Mayor Lee has issued directions to achieve this goal. This would essentially mean solar and wind power.

Fog Power

This is in a city that has 106 cloudy days per year on average and where fog is a regular feature of San Francisco summers.  A well-known quote mistakenly attributed to Mark Twain is, “The coldest summer I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”

And as Carl Nolte wrote in the title to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle on Aug. 2005, “Fog Heaven: The Fog Will Come Out Tomorrow or Maybe Not – It’s Summer in the City and That Means Gray Skies.”

San Francisco windmillsWind speeds in the bay reach 20 to 30 miles per hour, enough to power wind turbines. But ugly, giant wind machines would have to be placed around the Golden Gate and on the Coastal Range hills to generate wind energy. This would be a virtual impossibility with opposition rising from the California Coastal Commission, environmentalists and the tourist industry.

Currently, the only wind machines in the mouth of the bay are located on federal land at the Golden Gate National Park (shown in the image nearby).

After spending $4.1 million on planning over the last 10 years to launch an alternative electric buying cooperative to PG&E, the program still remains in the fog and up in the air.

CCA electric cooperatives are already in place in Marin County and in the San Joaquin Valley.  Sonoma County, Berkeley, and San Diego are in various stages of approving such cooperatives.

A recent opinion poll conducted in the liberal university town of Davis by the electrical worker’s union concluded that a plurality was pleased with continuing service from PG&E rather than forming an electricity co-op (no longer posted online – see here).

And the City of Hercules, population 24,060, is moving toward a private solution. The city council approved an agreement on May 28, 2013, for PG&E to take over the Hercules Municipal Utility, rather than form an electricity co-op or join another co-op.   Hercules is located north of the San Francisco Bay.

So the examples of what to do are before San Francisco. But for now the electricity policy fog remains.

(Wayne Lusvardi is a contributor to CalWatchdog. Originally posted on CalWatchdog.)

California Drought Seal

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Anti-Business Obama Strikes Again

From The Daily Caller:

When President Obama holds back approval of the Keystone pipeline, for the umpteenth time, it’s bad enough that he’s politically pandering to Tom Steyer, the hedge-fund billionaire and manic radical opponent of fossil fuels. If he gives in to Steyer by blocking the pipeline, Steyer gives $100 million to Democratic candidates this fall.

Obama’s transparent political cynicism is incredible. But it’s more than that. It shows his disregard for jobs and economic growth for blue-collar union workers who used to be Democrats. It shows his utter disregard for our loyal Canadian ally up north. And it sends the wrong signal to Vladimir Putin, who probably believes the U.S. will not undermine Russia with energy independence and oil and gas exports while Obama is in office.

But perhaps most of all, Obama’s Keystone veto sends a message to American business that he just doesn’t care.

(Read Full Article)

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