GOP seeks to flip O.C. district

Two years ago, Harley Rouda defeated longtime Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher as part of a blue wave sweeping across Orange County.

Sentiment against President Trump is still strong in a county that was once a bastion of conservatism but whose politics have evolved as it becomes more racially diverse and highly educated voters rebel against the Republican Party.

But with the Nov. 3 election less than a week away, Rouda faces a much different opponent in Michelle Steel and a landscape vastly changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, as he fights to continue representing the 48th Congressional District, which includes much of Orange County’s wealthy coast. …

Click here to read the full article from the L.A. Times.

California Ballot Initiatives: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and the Ugliest

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

From the California Globe:

There are twelve ballot measures certified to appear on the November 3, 2020 ballot.

California Globe has broken them down as the Good, the Bad, the Ugly and Uglier, with the analysis and recommendations of Assemblyman Kevin KileyBallotpedia, the California Chamber of CommerceHoward Jarvis Taxpayers Association, as well as our own reporting on these issues.

The Good Ones

Keeping Uber in California (Prop. 22)

California Proposition 22, App-Based Drivers as Contractors and Labor Policies Initiative (2020)

Kiley: “Liberates drivers from AB 5, one of the most disgraceful laws in state history (which is saying something). If this fails, get excited about riding taxis again as hundreds of thousands of rideshare drivers will be out of work. I will be proudly voting YES.”

CA Globe: “Assembly Bill 5, the bill authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) has greatly limited Californians’ ability to work as independent contractors and freelancers. The bill has impacted more than 300 industries in California.”

“The governor budgeted $20 Million for AB5 enforcement in the budget. ‘That’s 20 million $ to turn California’s Employment Development Department into the KGB,’ Sen. Shannon Grove said.”

CalChamber Supports.

HJTA: “Proposition 22 was put on the ballot by Uber, Lyft and DoorDash. It would create an exemption from AB 5 for the companies’ drivers, while providing them with basic benefits and protections. Without this exemption, the companies would likely stop offering their services in California, depriving state residents of convenient and affordable transportation and delivery services. VOTE YES ON PROPOSITION 22.”

Making Crime Illegal Again (Prop. 20)

California Proposition 20, Criminal Sentencing, Parole, and DNA Collection Initiative (2020)

Kiley: “Partially reverses both Prop. 47, which empowered calculator-wielding thieves to repeatedly steal up to $950 of merchandise; and Prop. 57, which prematurely released ‘non-violent’ domestic abusers, sex traffickers, and arsonists. I will be enthusiastically voting YES.”

CalChamber: Restricts Parole for Non-Violent Offenders. CalChamber Supports.

Proposition 20 fixes four specific flaws contained in recent criminal justice reforms — addressing violent crime classification and serial theft, as well as parole reform and DNA collection.

Prop. 20 is supported by:

Crime Victims United President Nina Salarno Besselman

Crime Survivors, Inc. Founder/CEO Patricia Wenskunas

Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove)

Assemblymember Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield)

Organization for Justice and Equality President Frank Lee

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer

California Police Chiefs Association Imm. Past President Ron Lawrence

Whittier Mayor Joe Vinatieri

California Grocers Association President Ron Fong

California Retailers Association President Rachel Michelin

The Bad Ones

Tweaking the Classic Prop. 13 (Prop. 19)

California Proposition 19, Property Tax Transfers, Exemptions, and Revenue for Wildfire Agencies and Counties Amendment (2020)

Kiley: “Makes property tax protections more portable but less heritable: will lower your taxes if you move, but potentially raise them for your kids when they inherit your home. I will be ambivalently NO.”

HJTA: “Proposition 19 takes away important taxpayer protections that have been enshrined in the State Constitution since 1986. Proposition 19 eliminates Proposition 58, which allows parents to transfer a home and limited other property to their children without an increase in property taxes, and a similar measure, Proposition 193, which gives the same protection to transfers between grandparents and grandchildren if the children’s parents are deceased. Proposition 19 would require property transferred within families to be reassessed to market value as of the date of transfer, resulting in a huge property tax increase for long-held family homes.”

“This is a billion-dollar tax increase on California families. VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 19.”

Massive Stem Cell Funding – Again (Prop 14)

California Proposition 14, Stem Cell Research Institute Bond Initiative (2020)

Kiley: “Borrows $5.5 billion more for California’s stem cell agency. Stem cell research still has promise, but after 14 years and $3 billion, this conflict-of-interest-plagued agency has little to show for it. I will be regretfully voting NO.”

HJTA: “In 2004, voters approved $3 billion for a publicly funded stem-cell agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, to support research into new treatments and possible cures. The money has been spent, and the backers of Proposition 14 want voters to approve $5.5 billion more. But CIRM has been widely criticized for inefficiency and insider dealing. Moreover, the federal government and private enterprise are now funding stem-cell research. Proposition 14 fails to address issues of accountability and oversight in the spending of previously approved public funds. These new bonds will cost taxpayers $2.3 billion just in interest payments, drawing $260 million out of the budget every year for three decades. Proposition 14 is not necessary and it’s especially unwise at this time, when there are so many demands on taxpayers. VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 14.”

The Ugly Ones

Voting Rights for the Kiddies (Prop. 18)

California Proposition 18, Primary Voting for 17-Year-Olds Amendment (2020)

Kiley: “Lets some (but not all) 17-year-olds vote in some (but not all) elections. Perhaps a precursor to voting booths in nurseries. For the time being, get ready for furious campaigning at Dave & Buster’s. I will be bemusedly voting NO.”

HJTA: “While some states allow this, California is different than other states because under Prop. 13 and Prop. 218, tax increases must go on the ballot for voter approval. These proposed tax increases are frequently on primary and special election ballots. Proposition 18 would allow high school students to vote on tax increases. This is unwise. The voting age in California should not be changed. VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 18.”

Voting for Convicted Felons (Prop. 17)

California Proposition 17, Voting Rights Restoration for Persons on Parole Amendment (2020)

Kiley: “Makes active voters out of active felons, letting them cast a ballot (or even run for office) before they complete parole. Such individuals would be eligible to vote on, say, Prop. 20 above. I will be disbelievingly voting NO.”

CA Globe: “Restores voting rights to convicted felons immediately upon release from prison. Many law enforcement and citizens groups have come out against ACA 6, citing that it would not reduce former prisoners rates of going back to prison, and that a felony is a large enough crime to not allow someone to vote.”

“Election Integrity Project California, one such group opposing ACA 6, has argued fastidiously against the bill.  “A period of parole gives the former criminal powerful reminders of what true liberty is by withholding just enough of it to incentivize further appropriate behavior so as to earn the rights just beyond the fingertip.” EIP said.”

The Uglier Ones

New Tools for Big Brother (Prop. 24)

California Proposition 24, Consumer Personal Information Law and Agency Initiative (2020)

Kiley: “Unites the ACLU and Republican Party in opposition with 52 pages of confusing ‘data privacy’ rules enforced by an Orwellian new government agency. In fairness, Andrew Yang is for it. I will be warily voting NO.”

HJTA: “In 2018, the Legislature passed, and the governor signed the California Consumer Privacy Act, which gave state residents more rights and control over how their data is shared when they go online. The CCPA took effect this year, and businesses have worked to learn the new legal requirements and comply with them. Proposition 24 is a new privacy law to replace the CCPA. It changes the rules before we even know if they’re working well. Worse, it creates a new state agency to write and enforce regulations that have the effect of new laws, but that no elected official will vote on. This new agency will cost taxpayers $10 million a year, but it will cost California businesses far more. Companies will be effectively forced to hire lawyers to review every technological change or upgrade in order to show the new agency that they are in compliance. This will be a great advantage to the largest companies, because many small start-up companies will not be able to afford the legal bills to file the compliance documents, or the cost of defending themselves from complaints, even meritless complaints. The regulatory burden will strangle technological innovation in California and protect tech giants while hurting small businesses. VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 24.”

CA Globe: “The law was modeled after a similar overarching law adopted by the European Union in May 2018, and appears to be a tremendous expensive and time-consuming burden on businesses of all sizes, but particularly small and medium sized businesses, giving attorneys predatory opportunities similar to California’s thriving ADA lawsuit business.” (Read more HERE)

According to John Kabatek of the National Federation of Independent Business California:

  • Only about one-third of California businesses are prepared to comply with the CCPA costs.
  • An independent analysis conducted for the state Attorney General’s office estimates the initial compliance costs at $55 billion, affecting 75 percent of the state’s businesses.
  • Initial compliance costs for affected small businesses with fewer than 20 employees will be about $50,000 per company this year alone. For companies between 20-100 employees, expect double that amount. Those with more than 100-500 employees face $450,000 for the CCPA, and large companies can expect to pay $2 million or more.
  • The analysis estimated up to $16.9 billion to comply with the implementing rules over the next decade. These ongoing costs are related to software and website modifications, updated data inventories and collection (as the law fails to define “personal information”), new consumer interface processes to respond to consumer requests, employee retraining, legal counsel, and security protocols.

Letting Siri Release Criminals (Prop. 25)

California Proposition 25, Replace Cash Bail with Risk Assessments Referendum (2020)

Kiley: “Replaces cash bail with a ‘risk assessment’ algorithm for pre-trial release. In the best hands, this is not ready for prime time; in the technologically challenged hands of California government, it’s a disaster in the making. I will be soberly voting NO.”

CA Globe: “For the past several years, advocates for change have championed the use of risk assessment tools.  Based on algorithms, they claimed their use would allow us to predict which defendants would be a danger to not appear and/or a threat to commit further offenses.”

“The bonding industry provides a high level of supervision.”

“The past two years has seen the bottom fall out for support of these risk assessments.  Twenty-seven leading university academics from Harvard, MIT, Princeton, UC Berkeley and Columbia signed a joint statement last July, declaring that inherent problems with risk assessments could not be remedied and that these tools should not be used as a part of criminal justice reform.”

The Ugliest Ones

Equality Is So 20th Century (Prop. 16)

California Proposition 16, Repeal Proposition 209 Affirmative Action Amendment (2020)

Kiley: “Repeals a 1996 voter initiative that outlawed discrimination on the ‘basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin’ in state universities and public hiring. An attempt by politicians to duck responsibility for failed K-12 education policies that have widened achievement gaps. I will be indignantly voting NO.”

CA Globe: “Proposition 16, on the November ballot, would repeal Prop. 209 and divide Californians by making discrimination legal in California.”

“‘The effort to repeal Prop. 209 totally fails to recognize that the true culprit for the difficulties of underrepresented minorities gaining entrance into the University of California system lies not with Prop. 209’s anti-discrimination language, but with the failure of the California’s public K-12 system to adequately prepare these students for higher education,’ Education scholar Lance Izumi said.”

“If legislators, policymakers, and educators truly want to improve the chances for success for underrepresented minority children, then they should avoid divisive identity politics and get to the hard work of offering better education alternatives for all children in California.”

Death to Dialysis Patients (Prop. 23)

California Proposition 23, Dialysis Clinic Requirements Initiative (2020)

Kiley: “Another attempt by a large union to swell its ranks by endangering the lives of dialysis patients. Imposes senseless mandates that will raise costs and close clinics. Medical groups and patient advocates are unanimously opposed. I will be disgustedly voting NO.”

No on Prop. 23: “Approximately 80,000 Californians with kidney failure rely on dialysis to stay alive. Proposition 23 would put dialysis patients’ lives at risk and hurt all Californians by making us wait longer to see our doctors and increasing health care costs by hundreds of millions annually.”

Ballotpedia: “Proposition 8, like this year’s dialysis-related ballot initiative, had the support of the SEIU-UHW West, a labor union for healthcare workers. Proposition 8 established a new front in the conflict between the SEIU-UHW West and the state’s two largest dialysis businesses, DaVita and Fresenius Medical Care. The SEIU-UHW West said workers at dialysis clinics have been attempting to unionize since 2016, but that their employers were retaliating against pro-union employees. Kent Thiry, CEO of DaVita, argued that “Proposition 8 puts California patients at risk in an effort to force unionization of employees.”[3] Sean Wherley, a spokesperson for the SEIU-UHW West, contended that dialysis workers “want these [initiative] reforms regardless of what happens with their union efforts.”[4]

From the Ash Heap of History (Prop. 21)

California Proposition 21, Local Rent Control Initiative (2020)

Kiley: “Rent control has failed miserably everywhere it’s been tried – including as an initiative on our 2018 ballot. But Bernie Sanders and company are back, with a new measure to further deplete our already feeble housing stock. Even Gavin Newsom is opposed. I will be *again* voting NO.”

CA Globe: “According to a Legislative Analyst’s Office study made public earlier this week, the ballot initiative expanding rent control, Proposition 21, would lead to more severe repercussions for Californians, including a reduction of available rental units and a drop in housing values.”

“Prop. 21 would ‘allow local governments to enact rent control on housing that was first occupied over 15 years ago, with an exception for landlords who own no more than two homes with distinct titles or subdivided interests.’ If it’s rejected, the current law of prohibiting rent control in rentals built in 1995 or after would stand.”

“The LAO study found that, if Prop. 21 is passed, cities would receive less in overall property taxes due to a decline in rental property tax payments. The huge drop in revenue would lead to close to $100 million in lost state and local revenue per year. The LAO also found that many landlords would sell rentals as a result, leading to a reduction units, most notably, affordable units, in favor of houses and buildings going on the market.”

HJTA: “Proposition 21 would repeal the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act and allow unelected rent boards (or elected rent boards) to impose radical rent control and regulations, even on single-family homes. VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 21.”

Biggest. Tax Increase. Ever. (Prop. 15) Prop. 13 Split Roll initiative

California Proposition 15, Tax on Commercial and Industrial Properties for Education and Local Government Funding Initiative (2020)

Kiley: “Takes a sledgehammer to the classic Prop. 13, tearing down California’s one pillar of fiscal sanity. Raises taxes $11.5 billion per year. Kills even more small businesses. Destroys even more jobs. Further spikes the cost of living. And make no mistake: your home is next. I will be prayerfully voting NO.”

HJTA: “This is the treacherous ‘split roll’ property tax, a direct attack on Proposition 13. Proposition 15 would repeal part of Prop. 13 and require reassessment to market value of business properties. It would raise taxes on supermarkets, shopping malls, office buildings, factories, movie theaters, hotels, restaurants, sports stadiums, warehouses, self-storage facilities, major retailers and other businesses where Californians work or shop. Even the smallest businesses that lease space will face higher rents, or will have to pay the higher property taxes as part of their ‘triple net’ lease agreement. Those higher costs are passed on to consumers. Proposition 15 would raise prices, increase the cost of living and put countless jobs at risk as companies cut back or leave the state. The proponents of this measure are seeking to weaken Proposition 13, and we can guess why. They could come after homeowners next. Protect Prop. 13. VOTE NO on PROPOSITION 15.”

CA Globe: “Under the split roll ballot initiative to split residential and commercial/industrial properties, tax increase proponents recently admitted that they will redefine commercial and industrial structures to include barns, food processing structures for eggs, broccoli, citrus, lettuces, wineries, almonds, and just about anything that grows in the ground and that Californians and the rest of the country eats.”

“Milking barns, packing houses, processing facilities, and wineries would all be reassessed annually at current market value. But what these tax increase proponents miss is that almonds, fresh eggs, lemons and oranges and broccoli don’t just get picked in the field and end up on your plate – it takes many processes to make the food ready to sell in a grocery or neighborhood market.”

“Under Proposition 13 in 1978, the specificity of the property tax initiative defined real property as: land, fixtures, improvements. The new initiative is redefining these three steadfast definitions of real property, and what is taxable.”

“Backers of the property tax split roll include labor unions, social justice groups, teachers unions, environmental groups, housing advocates, Democratic Mayors of California cities, Democratic Presidential candidates, and Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area philanthropic organizations: The Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, East Bay Community Foundation, Liberty Hill Foundation, Northern California Grantmakers Association, The San Francisco Foundation and Silicon Valley Community Foundation.”

Read more from California Globe HERE.

L.A. Dodgers win first World Series since 1988

Photo by Mat Weller on Unsplash

All year long, from February when they reported for spring training and the coronavirus outbreak was a concept beyond imagination until Tuesday night, the Dodgers believed this was the year. It became an unprecedented year with unparalleled circumstances, but this was the year those hovering ghosts — produced by annual anguish the last seven years — would vanish. This was the year they would add another round of World Series highlights to the reels that grow grainier each passing autumn. This was the year and this was the team to finally end a championship drought going on 32 years.

It happened Tuesday night inside Globe Life Field, a cavernous, new building 1,400 miles away from their home, in front of 11,437 people after a 60-game regular season and expanded postseason that delivered a year unlike any other. It happened when Julio Urías struck out Willy Adames looking to end Game 6 of the World Series and spark a celebration millions of children, teenagers and adult Dodgers fans — now mothers and fathers and aunts and uncles — had never experienced.

It finally happened. The Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-1, to win the series, four games to two, and claim their first World Series championship since 1988, the franchise’s seventh title and sixth since moving to Los Angeles. …

Click here to read the full article from the L.A. Times.

More than 100,000 flee Southern California wildfires under evacuation orders

Wildfires continue to spread in Southern California amid strong land-to-sea winds and bone-dry air, forcing nearly 100,000 people to quickly evacuate from two growing blazes in Orange County. Red flag warnings blanket the entire state for “critical” fire conditions, as relative humidity stays in the single digits to low teens and winds gust to hurricane-force in some higher elevations.

Nearly a million Californians were without power on Tuesday morning because of deliberate power cuts that utilities, mainly Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., made to reduce the risk of sparking a major blaze. Some outages were also caused by wind knocking down trees and power lines.

The two main fires prompting evacuations are the Silverado Fire in Irvine and the Blue Ridge Fire in Yorba Linda. …

Click here to read the full article from the Washington Post.

NeverTrump – Doing Nothing in the Face of Evil

It was Irish statesman – and one of the conservative movement’s philosophical godfathers – Edmund Burke who said “all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Though written in the late 1700s, his thought is relevant today, most specifically in regards to the attitude of NeverTrump diehards to the many and obvious evils that would result from a Kamala Harris presidency. Okay, okay – technically it would be a Biden presidency – but would be that in name only. Biden would have as much input on policy as the White House pastry chef, and I expect will be the target of a 25th Amendment coup by “Heels Up” Harris and her fellow Stalinists who will infect the cabinet in short order.

There are a few – a very, very few – folks I know who still cannot bring themselves to vote for Trump who are good people. I disagree vehemently with their conclusion, but don’t doubt the sincerity of their thoughts, as irrational as they are. The national leadership of NeverTrump and most of its remaining members, however, represents a horse of a different color – and in fact not the entire horse, just the hind quarters. These folks are mainly political operatives, and as such are not blind to the evils that lurk after next January 20th  if Kamala and the Stalinists waltz into the White House.

But they can’t overcome their smug moral narcissism in order to do what is right for the country by defeating Biden. It has become clear that for NeverTrumpies, assuaging their grotesquely inflated egos is more important than saving the country and conservatism. They have become the Vidkun Quislings and Marshall Petains (look them up!) of 2020.

It is clear that the Biden/Harris presidency would be a Stalinist nightmare for the country. They would weaponize the federal judiciary filling it with Elena Kagans and Steven Breyers and the bureaucracy with Lois Lerners.  These folks would then proceed with the persecution and prosecution of all things conservative – institutions, individuals and thought. NeverTrumpies know this – and don’t care.

We had a preview of that during the Obama autocracy.  The Christian bakers in Oregon who chose not to participate in a gay wedding (they were happy to bake the cake, just not to decorate it with pro-gay slogans) were not only fined $150,000 but also ordered to attend mandatory – mandatory – “sensitivity and diversity” classes. A student at the University of Texas, committing the sin of having an “all lives matter” sign on the door of his dorm room was suspended and ordered to attend mandatory – mandatory – “sensitivity and diversity” classes. Joe Stalin was more honest than our modern thought police, correctly labeling calling such session “re-education camps.” NeverTrumpies know this – and don’t care.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued an official ruling against a worker who had a Gadsen Flag – “Don’t Tread On Me” – hanging in his office, saying it was “prima facie” evidence of racial discrimination. He was ordered to remove the flag or face prosecution. Obama’s Chairman of the EEOC stated that we needed to “purge” – his word – from our language the phrases “religious liberty,” “religious freedom” and “religious tolerance” because they were “synonymous with racial and sexual discrimination.”

The Democrats on the Federal Elections Commission make no secret of their desire to “bring fairness” to talk radio and the internet, which in their definition means controlling content for Rush Limbaugh, Fox, Breitbart, OneAmerica, NewsMax and anyone deviating from the liberal party line. They would have a majority in a Biden/Harris Administration with which to do this. The NeverTrumpies know this – and don’t care.

A Biden-Harris presidency would be staffed from top to bottom with empowered, radical leftists who have already shown their Stalinist roots. A full scale pogrom of persecution against conservatives is absolutely certain.  Also absolutely certain is that a judiciary full of activist ultra-leftists will give the green light to any and all search and destroy missions aimed at conservative ideas, conservative institutions and conservative leaders. The NeverTrumpies know this – and don’t care.

In the face of all this palpable evil, NeverTrumpies continues to put their own selfish, priggish, holier-than-thou attitudes above the interests of the country. Billy K, Georgie W, Jonah Goldfinger and the rest of the residents of the NeverTrump cesspool continue their 5 year long orgy of political Onanism. Will – who remember opposed Ronald Reagan when he ran for president because Reagan had “too many wrinkles in his neck” (he really said that) – opined on a Sunday talk show in 2016 that Trump needed to “lose massively” in order to “free the GOP from talk radio.” In other words, free the GOP from opinions other than those of Will and his fellow effete, impudent snobs – free the GOP from its conservative base. John McCain and George Romney ran campaigns that did exactly that. How’d that work out?

The smug elitists of NeverTrump, are a  D.C. to New York corridor snake pit of self-appointed, ever so pious and pure guardians of “acceptable” conservative thought. They – and only they – will decide what conservatism is. They – and only they – will determine who is a conservative. They – and only they – will tell us little people who is and isn’t worthy of conservative support. Tens of millions of conservatives voted for Trump in ’16 and have done so again this year. That doesn’t matter. The autocrats of NeverTrump will be the sole arbiters of who and what can and cannot be called Conservative. 

Well guess what? The people, the great unwashed who have never been on one of the cruises put on by the Vichey conservatives of NeverTrump, who can’t tell a Chardonnay from a Sancerre, and who, OMG, buy their suits off the rack, are the heart and soul of the conservative movement. They can decide for themselves who is a conservative. They don’t need direction from the effete, impudent snobs who make up NeverTrump. 

The NeverTrumpies had a pretty good racket going. They would play lap dog and sock puppet for the Left and in return would get fawning treatment from the left wing media, guest shots on news shows and paid gigs as talking heads. Trump ruined their racket, exposed them as empty suits and empty heads, and they have never forgiven him. The animating drive behind NeverTrump has never been about America or conservatism – it has always been about them and their bloated egos. 

But starting in 2015 the conservative grass roots got wise, realizing that instead of political and policy victories the NeverTrump bloviators delivered hot air, pomposity and arrogance. Conservatives supported Trump massively and Trump returned their loyalty with 4 years of accomplishments that are equal – and frankly probably superior to – the conservative record of Ronald Reagan, whom I revere. 

This is the 15th presidential election I’ve witnessed. Never before has the triumph of evil seemed so near at hand, nor so capable of defeat if good men and women would unite to do so. In his book “Witness,” Whitaker Chambers described “the forces of that great socialist revolution, which, in the name of liberalism, spasmodically, incompletely, somewhat formlessly, but always in the same direction, have been inching its ice cap over the nation.” That socialist ice cap threatens to smother the America we know and love. TheNeverTrumpies know this – and they don’t care.

The Stalinist Democrat administration we will get with a Biden/Harris victory will complete the socialist ice cap’s grip on America and bring on a long, dark night of statist repression aimed squarely at all things conservative. If that happens, NeverTrumpers will rightfully be called to account and asked “what did you do to prevent this horror?” Their honest answer will have to be “not only did we not oppose it, we empowered it. Our egos and pomposity caused us to betray conservative principles and American freedoms.” And Burke’s prophecy will have come to fruition.

Bill Saracino is a member of the Editorial Board of CA Political Review.

Poll shows narrow leads for Prop. 22 and Prop. 15

A new statewide poll finds a sharp decline in the number of voters undecided on Proposition 22, an effort to designate drivers who work for app-based companies as independent contractors, but provides no clear hint at the outcome as election day nears.

The poll also offers little certainty about Proposition 15, the plan to loosen California’s long-standing limits on commercial property taxes. A plurality of voters back both proposals in the poll released Monday by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies, but the lead is relatively narrow — and in the case of the tax increase, the level of support remains unchanged since last month.

“It looks close on both of them,” said Mark DiCamillo, the poll’s director. “Voters are deciding on these propositions late.”

The online poll of 5,352 likely voters found 46% said they would vote in favor of Proposition 22, while 42% would vote against it. The number of undecided voters fell by 13 percentage points since the institute’s mid-September poll as support and opposition grew in roughly equal amounts. …

Click here to read the full article from the L.A. Times

Prop. 15 Backers Try To Mislead Homeowners

It’s a sign of desperation. When anyone in politics starts making wild claims less than a month before an election, you know something is amiss.

So it is with the proponents of Proposition 15, the “split roll” initiative which would impose the largest property tax increase in California history. Throughout this campaign, proponents have consistently argued that the measure won’t impact homeowners because it just raises property taxes on commercial and industrial properties. But now, they claim that Prop. 15 actually saves homeowners money. This is absurd on its face.

Recent polling suggests that support for split roll is sinking fast, especially among homeowners. This might explain why proponents have, at the 11th hour, countered with the argument that, as corporations have to pay more, the tax burden for homeowners goes down. Nobody believes this.

If Prop. 15 actually reduced  taxes on homeowners, it would be in the text of the initiative. It isn’t. If it were true, the impartial analysis by the Legislative Analyst would have said so. It doesn’t. If this were true, proponents of Prop. 15 wouldn’t have waited until three weeks before the election to assert this claim.

To read the entire column please click here.

Californians see power shutoffs as winds, fire danger rise

Hundreds of thousands of Californians lost power as utilities sought to prevent the chance of their equipment sparking wildfires and the fire-weary state braced for a new bout of dry, windy weather.

More than 1 million people were expected be in the dark Monday during what officials have said could be the strongest wind event in California this year.

It’s the fifth time this year that Pacific Gas & Electric, the nation’s largest utility, has cut power to customers in a bid to reduce the risk that downed or fouled power lines or other equipment could ignite a blaze during bone-dry weather conditions and gusty winds. On Sunday, the utility shut off power to 225,000 customers in Northern California and planned to do the same for another 136,000 customers in a total of 36 counties. …

Click here to read the full article from the Associated Press.

Wokefornia: California’s Cultural Marxism is Flourishing

It’s not surprising that an effort is underway to recall California governor Gavin Newsom, who administers a state with record homelessness, rising crime, and exploding pension debt. He rules imperiously, mandating arbitrary pandemic-related restrictions. In September, Newsom decreed a ban on gas-powered cars starting in 2035 because California is facing “a climate damn emergency.” And he signed a bill mandating the “study and development of proposals for reparations for blacks who live in the Golden State.” Newsom insisted in a tweet that “our past is one of slavery, racism, and injustice.” Is he aware that California was admitted to the Union in 1849 as a free state?

But even broken clocks are sometimes right. Last month, Newsom vetoed Assembly Bill 331. This radical legislation would have made taking an ethnic-studies class a requirement to graduate high school in California. “There is much uncertainty about the appropriate K‒12 model curriculum for ethnic studies,” Newsom wrote in his veto statement. “The latest draft, which is currently out for review, still needs revision.”

Bills like AB 331 promote victimology and anger and come with a political agenda that emboldens the woke wing of the Democratic Party. While an improvement over last year’s more radical 2019 version of the bill, the 2020 model curriculum still endorses classes that stress “modern day movements and intersectional struggles for social Justice (sic) like the Immigrant Rights Movement, The Black Lives Matter Movement, the Environmental Justice Movements, Feminist Movements, LGBTQIA Queer Movements, and others.”

Newsom’s veto was just a speedbump in the road for California’s cultural Marxists. The bill’s disappointed author, Assemblyman Jose Medina, promised that he would reintroduce it next year, insisting that the governor’s veto amounted to “a failure to push back against the racial rhetoric and bullying of Donald Trump.” California Teachers Association president E. Toby Boyd was “surprised” by the veto; Theresa Montaño, a professor of Chicano Studies at Cal State Northridge, called it “painful” and added, “White people in this society can still with the stroke of a pen say to children of color in this state that your history doesn’t matter and that the only way your history will be told is if we get to sanitize it, scrutinize it and approve it before it gets to you.”

Other woke initiatives are moving forward. Days before Newsom’s veto, the California Department of Education released a “Covid-19 update,” in which Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced the “Education to End Hate” initiative, referencing the disease only to rant against President Trump. “COVID-19 is not the only virus affecting our society today. The man-made viruses—the ones of racism, hate and bigotry—are also gaining a foothold. Increasingly, I see heartbreaking stories of anti-Semitic behavior, bullying of Asian American students because of our President’s rhetoric, Islamophobia, discrimination of our LGBTQ neighbors, and violence directed at people of color.”

Thurmond’s plan includes training for teachers in “antiracism and bias”; a “virtual classroom series” designed to teach the “many forms of bias” young people face; and a “round table with leaders,” the purpose of which is to “brainstorm how best to ensure a physically and emotionally safe learning environment that is inclusive for all students.”

Many school districts are pursuing their own efforts. Teachers are enrolled in Critical Race Theory workshops, in which they learn that racism is endemic to American life. Teachers are also told that they should be skeptical about “dominant legal claims of neutrality, objectivity, colorblindness, and meritocracy.” Racism, they learn, has contributed to all “contemporary manifestations of group advantage and disadvantage.”

In case students don’t know what to do with all this newfound knowledge, the California State Board of Education has developed a Seal of Civic Engagement Award. Eligible students must take part in “one or more informed civic engagement project(s) that address real-world problems.” Civil disobedience counts for credit.

California is reaching the point where true civil disobedience would be fighting back against the progressive groupthink that has invaded our schools; truly civilly disobedient students would start a campus Republican club and wear MAGA hats to school. While the state education establishment is committing schools to a radical progressive agenda, only half of California’s students performed at grade level in reading on the most recent state-administered test. Just 30 percent of the state’s eighth-graders scored proficient in reading on the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress.

More than anything, civic-minded parents need to get organized. They must demand that their children get a real education rather than a woke curricula.

Larry Sand, a retired teacher, is president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network.

This article was originally published by City Journal Online.

2021 and Another Minimum Wage Hike Coming

Just like earlier this year, because of the enactment of SB 3 (Leno) in 2016, California’s minimum wage is going up again. On January 1, 2021, the state’s minimum wage will be increased for all sizes of businesses, including “small employers,” who will see their fourth wage hike in recent years.

Under prior state law, the minimum wage for all industries increased to $10 per hour on January 1, 2016. Pursuant to SB 3, the minimum wage for all industries will be increased to $15 per hour by January 1, 2022 for businesses employing 26 or more employees and by January 1, 2023 for businesses employing 25 or fewer employees (referred to as “small employers”).

The current minimum wage for 2020 is $13 per hour, except for “small employers,” in which case it is $12 per hour.

The law does provide that the scheduled increases may be temporarily suspended by the Governor based upon him or her making certain determinations. Additionally, the law requires the Director of Finance, after the last scheduled minimum wage increase, to annually adjust the minimum wage under a specified formula. In the meantime, the wage will go up incrementally each year. However, in late July, Governor Newsom decided against postponing the planned increase in the state’s minimum wage. As a result, it will continue to increase next year.

The following lists the scheduled minimum wage increases for any business that employs 26 or more employees:

  • On January 1, 2021 to $14 per hour
  • On January 1, 2022 to $15 per hour

The following lists the scheduled minimum wage increases for any business that employs 25 or fewer employees:

  • On January 1, 2021 to $13 per hour
  • On January 1, 2022 to $14 per hour
  • On January 1, 2023 to $15 per hour

In February 2014, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued a report regarding the impact of the proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.  The conclusion was that, although some low-wage workers would receive a higher income through the increased minimum wage hike, “some jobs for low-wage workers would probably be eliminated, the income of most workers who became jobless would fall substantially, and the share of low-wage workers who were employed, would probably fall slightly.”

To make matters worse here in California, these scheduled increases in the state’s minimum wage not only increase hourly employees’ wages, but also salaried employees’ compensation. In order for employees to qualify as “exempt” under any of the six exemptions in this state, they must meet the salary-basis test, which is two times the monthly minimum wage (as well as the duties test that is not impacted by the wage hike).

With the enactment of SB 3, there will be an increase of over $15,000 in wages per exempt employee in just a few short years. And, businesses will see their workers’ compensation premiums go up, as well as increased costs for uniform/tool reimbursements and overtime.

While the business community had argued that SB 3 should contain a regional minimum wage, this proposal was rejected. Some can appreciate that certain cities and counties in California may be able to afford an increased minimum wagebut other cities and counties are still struggling with high levels of unemployment. Employers in these areas will find it much more difficult to sustain such a dramatic increase in their labor costs.

Chris Micheli is a legislative advocate with the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily.