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CalWatchDog.com Blog

 

Modest-seeming CalSTRS pension estimate lacks key context

November 11th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

The California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers do a good job of promoting the narrative that state teacher pensions are very modest at best. It's true that there aren't the same type of outrageous stories that we see in local and state government about police chiefs,...

Mexico also having high-speed rail problems

November 10th, 2014 By John Seiler.

California isn't the only place having problems building high-speed rail. So is Mexico. The Times reported: Bowing to intense criticism, the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto yanked a contract worth nearly $4 billion from a Chinese-led consortium to build a bullet train, billed as one of ...

Think tank explained CA’s affordable housing debacles long ago

November 10th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

A weekend story about the gross failure of affordable housing policies in San Francisco contained plenty of public frustration and official consternation. But it also is one more example of the very shallow way this issue is almost always covered by California journalists, which means they are part ...

CA faces stiffer competition from more GOP-led states

November 8th, 2014 By John Seiler.

The 50 American states are the "crucibles of democracy," where new ideas are tried out. The states all compete against one another, with the best ideas winning the day. Although Democrats won almost everything Tuesday in California, the state still can't go hog-wild with higher taxes, more regula...

Berkeley imposes soda tax

November 7th, 2014 By John Seiler.

Berkeley has done all Californians a favor by voting for a demonstration of how taxes drive away business. Its citizens just passed Measure D, a soda tax amounting to 12 cents on a can of Coke or other sugary beverage. The vote was overwhelming, 75 percent to 25 percent. For Sixties survivors l...

Teachers win Torlakson battle, but does Brown want them to win war?

November 7th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson's defeat of reformer and fellow Democrat Marshall Tuck on Tuesday prompted analysis pieces that outlined how California's union-dominated education establishment had rang up another win. While Tuesday night was grim for liberals, embattled t...

Prop. 2 victory upgrades CA credit

November 6th, 2014 By John Seiler.

It has yet to be seen whether voter passage of Proposition 2 actually will improve California's "rainy day fund." Or whether it will go the way of Proposition 58 in 2004. The latter was then-new Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's attempt to control state spending. Like everything else in his administrati...

Silicon Valley firms, Asian voters edging away from Democrats

November 6th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

The 2014 midterms have already been dismissed by President Obama as irrelevant because of low turnout. This isn't entirely self-serving sour grapes. Not just partisans but analysts who have little nice to say about the Obama administration wonder how a Republican candidate can cobble together 270 el...

GOP blocks super-majority in State Senate

November 5th, 2014 By John Hrabe.

With impressive showings in Orange County and the Central Valley, Republicans have succeeded in blocking a Democratic super-majority in the State Senate. Republican Senators Andy Vidak and Anthony Cannella easily won reelection in their Central Valley districts, while Orange County Supervisor J...

State Senate: OC Supervisor Janet Nguyen wins in 34th Senate District

November 5th, 2014 By John Hrabe.

Janet Nguyen, who won her seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors by seven votes, doesn't have to worry about a lengthy recount this election. The first generation Vietnamese-American immigrant, who withstood a barrage of negative attacks, has defeated former Assemblyman Jose Solorio by a ...

State Senate 26: Sandra Fluke losing to Ben Allen

November 5th, 2014 By John Hrabe.

Sandra Fluke, the women's rights activist who became a darling of the left after her national spat with conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, is expected to lose her campaign for State Senate. Shortly after midnight with 35.8 percent of precincts reporting, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified Sch...

Early Returns: Democrats could lose super-majority in State Assembly

November 4th, 2014 By John Hrabe.

It's going to be a very long night for California political observers. Just eight months after corruption scandals cost California Democrats their super-majority in the State Senate, a combination of low voter turnout and an anemic gubernatorial campaign effort could cost Democrats their supe...

Statewide seats surprisingly close

November 4th, 2014 By John Seiler.

Aside from Gov. Jerry Brown's victory, 58 to 42, which I wrote about earlier, the other statewide races are surprisingly close in early returns, with 31.1 percent counted. Democrats probably will win them in the end. The national GOP tide has had some effect in California, albeit not enough for vi...

Statewide propositions end predictably

November 4th, 2014 By John Seiler.

The statewide propositions ended predictably, with the side spending the most money on TV ads winning. The preliminary numbers: Prop. 1, water bonds. Winning 68-32. The $7.5 billion in water bonds will cost $15 billion to pay off. For that, only $2.5 billion will go to dams and reservoirs to hel...

Races to decide California Democrat Supermajority

November 4th, 2014 By Brian Calle.

Nationally, Republicans have already taken the majority in the United States Senate and now the question is whether the Republican wave will hit California. In California, the GOP is attempting to block a Democratic supermajority in the state Legislature. To do so the GOP must net a single seat in t...

Union-backed Torlakson beating reformer Tuck

November 4th, 2014 By John Seiler.

It looks like the state's ultra-powerful teachers unions won another one. Early returns show incumbent State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson defeating reformer Marshall Tuck, 55-45. The unions' strategy of spending tens of millions of dollars -- all of it ultimately snatched fr...

Brown wins 4th term as gov.

November 4th, 2014 By John Seiler.

Bucking a national Republican trend, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown easily won re-election tonight, with early returns indicating a 58-42 win over Neel Kashkari. If the numbers hold, that would top his 53-41 victory over Meg Whitman in 2010, when Third Party candidates grabbed 6 percent. The new Top Tw...

CTA pours extra money into Torlakson-Tuck race

November 4th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

Polls have shown the race between Superintendent of Public Schools Tom Torlakson and fellow Democrat Marshall Tuck to be within the margin of error, but I'm hearing there was a big infusion of CTA funds to run attack ads Monday night. That suggests internal polls have the Torlakson camp worried. ...

Live-blogging the election

November 3rd, 2014 By John Seiler.

At the CalWatchdog.com blog, we'll be live-blogging the election this evening. So tune in. The main races to watch are: Superintendent of public instruction, between union ally Tom Torlakson and reformer Marshall Tuck. Several California races for U.S. Congress, which will help decide the s...

Mercury-News report on mass CA poverty may change coverage

November 2nd, 2014 By Chris Reed.

The pack mentality of the Sacramento beat reporters is striking. No one wants to point out that the Obama administration says fracking is safe. No one wants to point out that the Local Control Funding Formula turned out to be a barely disguised UTLA ploy to get more money for L.A. Unified so it coul...

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