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CalWatchDog.com Blog

 

NEW: Teacher compensation database undercuts CTA claims

September 2nd, 2014 By Chris Reed.

The Transparency California group's database of school district compensation undercuts teacher unions' claims that teacher pay scales are ungenerous and capped at unfairly low levels. When very generous health benefits and good pension benefits are factored in, that doesn't look to be true in the...

Legislature should have heeded Brit regulators on plastic bags

September 1st, 2014 By Chris Reed.

Dubious bills often get passed on the final night of the state legislative session, and 2014 was no exception: A measure to make California the first state in the nation to ban single-use plastic bags. SB270 passed despite fierce opposition from plastic bag manufacturers and after initially failing...

AG’s low-key Vergara appeal has damage-control vibe

August 31st, 2014 By Chris Reed.

Without fanfare, Attorney General Kamala Harris appealed the Vergara decision throwing out state teacher tenure and job-protection laws late Friday at the direction of Gov. Jerry Brown and with the encouragement of state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. Unlike with most major a...

Torlakson says real problem is low teacher pay, not tenure

August 30th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

This was predictable: Friday's announcement that state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson wanted an appeal of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu's ruling that teacher tenure laws are unconstitutional because they funnel the worst teachers to struggling schools with mostly min...

Bill would end Medi-Cal asset seizures

August 29th, 2014 By John Seiler.

"Nothing is certain in this world except death and taxes" is an old saying. California also has seizures after death. Now, the California Legislature just passed a bill to limit the seizure of the estates of Medi-Cal recipients. The Mercury-News reported: Hanging in the balance are the hopes --...

Unions win court round in battle with charter cities

August 29th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

Unions lost round one of their battle with California cities over "prevailing wages" on public works projects in 2012. That's when the California Supreme Court ruled against a law they'd gotten the Legislature to pass targeting charter cities for their refusal to mandate union-level pay on such proj...

Historic Vergara ruling finalized; state has weighty decision on appeal

August 28th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

A court decision that puts the interests of Latino and black students and parents on a collision course with those of the mostly white members of the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers has been finalized: The judge in Vergara vs. California today released his...

Gut and amend time

August 28th, 2014 By John Seiler.

"Laws are like sausages. You should never see them made," is a variant on a saying by Otto von Bismarck. The old Prussian has been dead 116 years, but if he came back he certainly would recognize the California Legislature's "gut and amend" process, which even sounds like making sausages. Except the...

Mexico moves toward free-market oil

August 27th, 2014 By John Seiler.

After its 1994 peso crisis, Mexico could have chosen more socialism -- or move toward capitalism. It chose the latter and has been one of the world's growth success stories ever since. Tax rates actually are lower than in El Norte (although property rights still are not as secure -- for now). N...

Kiplinger: CA taxes highest — and state hostile to retirees, too

August 27th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

Over the years, when I've reported that the nation's CEOs continue to rank California as the most anti-business state in the country, I've gotten some blowback in emails and comments that question whether the ranking was manipulated. This is goofy paranoia -- the suggestion by CA Dems and labor type...

Farm workers protest CA labor bureaucrats

August 26th, 2014 By John Seiler.

Gerawan's oppressed workers are protesting today. For a year we have reported on the farm workers for Gerawan putting up with high-handedness, bureaucratic delay and abuse by state labor officials. The workers entered into a contract with the United Farm Workers 20 years ago. But the UFW faile...

iPad scandal latest in long line for L.A. Unified — but different

August 26th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

The abrupt decision Monday by Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy to suspend the district's $1 billion iPad program after reports that he manipulated the decision that led to Apple winning the big contract is hugely juicy. The program already had been under fire because it used 30-year bor...

Take your pooch out to eat

August 25th, 2014 By John Seiler.

Gov. Jerry Brown just signed a bill legalizing restaurants and bars allowing pets on patios, starting Jan. 1. Given all the animal-rights activists and dog-lovers in this state, it's surprising this took so long. Although in my experience here, this long has been allowed de facto. In Europe, peo...

Vergara appeal decision: Nixon goes to China for Jerry Brown?

August 24th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

To an astounding degree, prominent California Democrats have so far avoided substantive comment on Judge Rolf Treu's landmark -- but tentative -- June 10 ruling in Los Angeles Superior Court that teacher tenure laws are so harmful to minority students in poor neighborhoods that it "shocks the consc...

Trust in govt. drops to new low

August 24th, 2014 By John Seiler.

A new Gallup Poll shows what we all know just from talking to people: Trust in government is at a new low. Just 19 percent say they trust government "Just about always/Most of the time." Must be government workers and their kin. An appallingly low 81 percent trust the government "Only some...

Fact-checking Tom Steyer on climate change

August 23rd, 2014 By John Seiler.

I continue to contend that "climate change" is a meaningless phrase because the climate obviously changes. But how? To what effect? It's like saying "baby change" about an infant. How? Is he well and growing? Is he ill? "Climate change" is useful for political activism because, unlike "global war...

A voting lottery?

August 22nd, 2014 By John Seiler.

Los Angeles is considering turning voting into a lottery. Last year's mayoral election saw a turnout of just 25 percent. The idea is to hold out the potential of winning a cash prize for showing up to do one's civic duty. But why should we care about people who don't care about voting, or are too...

CA editorial boards cool to anti-Uber power play

August 22nd, 2014 By Chris Reed.

The editorial pages of the state's largest newspapers largely agree about Tom Torlakson's being undeserving of a second term as state superintendent of public instruction. Given the breadth of ideological views among these papers, that's pretty rate. Now, rarely enough, we're seeing a second unif...

Chart shows warning on economy, CA budget

August 21st, 2014 By John Seiler.

Since the 9/11 attack almost 13 years ago, the Federal Reserve Board has been inflating the dollar. Everybody has noticed the increases in food, gas and other prices. That's why the supposed "records" set by the stock market are suspect. Instead, look at this chart of the DJIA pegged against gold...

Poll: CA likes insurance price controls, Covered CA

August 20th, 2014 By John Seiler.

A new Field Poll shows strong support for Proposition 45, which will give the state insurance commissioner, Davy Jones, even stronger powers to regulate health insurance. The race is just heating up. And insurance companies are running ads against it. But with 69 percent favoring it already, it's go...

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