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Water bond deal reached

August 13th, 2014 By John Seiler.

Writing Wednesday afternoon, a deal just was reached among Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic and Republican leaders in the Legislature on a water bond for the November ballot, costing $7.5 billion. It would replace Proposition 43, the $11.1 billion bond currently in place. The Bee reported: Negot...

Petty corruption all too common at CA special districts

August 12th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

The California government agencies that provide water, sewage, trash and other special services are often oblivious to ethical norms and tone-deaf to how their actions look to the outside world. Part of it may be these agencies don't get the same scrutiny as City Councils and county Boards of Sup...

CA middle-class jobs shrinking

August 12th, 2014 By John Seiler.

Life is good in California for the rich, who enjoy the most beautiful place on earth. And for the poor, who enjoy the country's best welfare benefits. Not so much for the middle class. The Times reported: On the surface, California's job market is booming. The state has now recovered all the jo...

Minimum wage boost already killing jobs

August 11th, 2014 By John Seiler.

California's minimum wage jumped to $9 an hour from $8 on July 1, and further will rise to $10 in 2016. People who still have minimum-wage jobs are enjoying a raise. But the imposition is slamming others. reported: In a survey of 163 restaurant owners in San Jose, 66 percent sai...

Groundwater takeover would prove costly

August 11th, 2014 By John Seiler.

In 2010, I did some freelance work for Susan Trager, one of California's top water lawyers. Unfortunately she died in 2011. Even though I had been writing about California since 1987 and had a general idea of state water policy, until I worked for Susan I had no idea how complex, developed and ev...

Unlike Brown, Hawaii gov took on teachers — and paid

August 11th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

As someone who went to college in Hawaii and spent eight years there as a journalist, I know the state's politics pretty well. It is so solidly Democrat that it only has one Republican in its state senate. This monolithic hold on state government in turn empowers the party's base of public employee ...

High-speed rail without federal money?

August 10th, 2014 By John Seiler.

Last week Gov. Jerry Brown said he would continue building the high-speed rail project without federal money. It's commendable he doesn't want to burden U.S. taxpayers. But it's hard to see how the project can be built without federal money, which has funded every recent major mass-transit projec...

Scam exposed: UTLA wants $ for troubled students to fund 17.6% raise

August 8th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

When Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Local Control Funding Formula for state schools into law in the summer of 2013, it was billed as the biggest education reform in California in decades. The premise of the law -- and the mainstream media coverage of the law -- was that this advanced Brown's goal of ge...

Legislature returns for last month

August 7th, 2014 By John Seiler.

“No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session," Mark Twain supposedly said. That certainly is true in California, where the last month of the legislative session, which we're now in, always sees a frenzy of bill passing -- meaning few legislators have read ...

Prop. 26 shows teeth, kills San Diego hotel tax hike

August 7th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

One of the few recent big triumphs of the small-government, low-tax movement in California came in 2010, when state voters approved Proposition 26.  The constitutional amendment cleared up loopholes that allowed governing bodies to pass tax hikes on simple majority votes if they asserted the taxes ...

CA on sidelines as brown energy revolution unfolds

August 6th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

In the 41 years since the OPEC cartel begin throwing its weight around, U.S. consumers have gotten used to fluctuations in the price of gasoline. The dynamics have gotten pretty stable in recent decades as OPEC has deradicalized. In the summer, the price goes up because demand increases. And when th...

LA, CA still avoiding pension reality

August 5th, 2014 By John Seiler.

The ultimate pension reform is Detroit-style bankruptcy, with retirees getting less than what they are owed by contract. As the NY Times reported on July 22: "DETROIT — Coming to terms with what came to be seen as inevitable, this city’s public-sector retirees have voted to lower their expected...

San Onofre decommissioning: $4.4 billion wasted

August 4th, 2014 By John Seiler.

According to the U-T, the decommissioning of the San Onofre nuclear powerplant will cost $4.4 billion. The money, of course, will be paid by ratepayers. It is owned mainly by Southern California Edison and SGD&E. Even if stockholders are hit with the bill, that only would cut the stock prices...

Behind push against truancy/absenteeism: unions’ money hunt

August 4th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

What is by far the single most important factor in how California government functions? I stand by my theory that I wrote up last year for Cal Watchdog: Like Neo figuring out how life was coded to work in “The Matrix,” everything about California politics is much easier to understand once you r...

Gov. Christie: Not all pensions will be paid

August 3rd, 2014 By John Seiler.

Chris Cristie is the governor of New Jersey. But he has given a wake-up call to all states with public pension problems, including California. The latest: BELMAR, N.J. — Pension reform is going to involve breaking some promises, including reducing benefits that public employees were counting on ...

Associated Press blows coverage of bullet-train ruling

August 3rd, 2014 By Chris Reed.

Led by the Associated Press, the mainstream media coverage of the state appellate court ruling overturning two anti-bullet train trial court rulings is somewhat peculiar in that it depicts the ruling as monumental. Read the 49-page decision, and it seems procedural. I wrote about this for the U-T...

Median household income crashed 1/3

August 2nd, 2014 By John Seiler.

Wonder why you feel so poor? Because you are. According to a new study by the Russell Sage Foundation, in the last decade median household income crashed by 1/3, from $87,992 in 2003 to $56,335 in 2013. The crash started during the Republican Bush administration, but has not been made better by...

Kings County attorney: Don’t overreact to pro-bullet train ruling

August 1st, 2014 By Chris Reed.

A state appellate court ruling announced Thursday overturning Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny's 2013 decisions saying the state rail authority didn't have a legal financing plan or adequate environmental reviews to proceed with construction of the initial segment of the state bullet-tr...

Mitch Albom, CWD contributor talk about Silicon Valley, diversity

July 31st, 2014 By Chris Reed.

Jesse Jackson's on-again, off-again campaign against Silicon Valley for the lack of blacks, Latinos and women in its tech workforce is revving up. This is from a USA Today story this week: "There's no talent shortage. There's an opportunity shortage," he said, calling Silicon Valley "far worse" tha...

Big blow to bullet train: Fresno County supes now oppose project

July 30th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

Fresno has long been a hotbed of bipartisan support for the California High-Speed Rail Authority's plans to build a bullet-train network linking Northern and Southern California. The county Board of Supervisors endorsed the project five years ago, the Fresno Bee's liberal editorial page has long bee...

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