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Tax ‘em if you got ‘em

December 3rd, 2013 By John Seiler.

California is inhaling another pack of attempts to increase cigarette taxes. Joe Mathews enthuses about it on Fox and Hounds: This state needs to raise tobacco taxes. For a state as properly focused on health as California, the fact that we have unusually low such taxes is downright weird. We shoul...

Thanks, Dan: Cal Watchdog themes now Walters’ favorite talking points

December 2nd, 2013 By Chris Reed.

For a year, Cal Watchdog contributors and staffers (and a Cal Watchdog alum) have been pretty much alone in pointing out two extremely relevant statistics that demolish Gov. Jerry Brown's and the media's narrative of the Golden State bouncing back from the Great Recession. One statistic, from the...

‘Paycheck protection': CA shouldn’t give up hope on checking unions yet

December 1st, 2013 By Chris Reed.

After the failure of three ballot attempts in the past 15 years to require unions to give their members veto power over the use of their dues for political purposes, Californians hoping for a better balance of power in local and state government might be despairing. But for three reasons, I don't...

Actual state residents would struggle to recognize Paul Krugman’s California

November 30th, 2013 By Chris Reed.

What is it about California that inspires such insistently cheerful happy talk from New York Times columnist/Princeton professor Paul Krugman? This spring he claimed that California was in the middle of a roaring comeback. Has he ever been here? Read coverage of our Legislature? Read the Census B...

Grim LAT: Bullet train $25B short. Dim Sac Bee: What $25B? All soon to be well!

November 29th, 2013 By Chris Reed.

On Monday, a Sacramento judge dealt a devastating setback to the California bullet train. The most serious of several obstacles in two decisions released by Judge Michael Kenny was his ruling that the $68 billion project didn't have a legal business plan and that the state couldn't start constructio...

Rialto police: Inspiration for the nation. Really.

November 28th, 2013 By Chris Reed.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! The city of Rialto is an odd mix of nice new subdivisions, industrial grayness and rundown neighborhoods. When I covered the city as an Inland Empire news columnist in the late 1990s, it had a distinct inferiority complex. How much so? Some residents looked up to Fon...

Sac Bee finally discovers Gerawan-UFW story

November 27th, 2013 By John Seiler.

Since June, Katy Grimes has been covering the struggle between Gerawan Farms and its workers against the United Farm Workers union and Sacramento politicians. Almost two months ago, she profiled Silvia Lopez, the farm worker who was fighting UFW representation being force on Gerawan's workers wit...

Dem Mayors tell Reed to drop pension reform initiative

November 27th, 2013 By Katy Grimes.

Many can agree on the need for thoughtful and serious pension reform measures. Yet labor unions, and now Democratic mayors and city and county officials from around the state, have called on San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed to call off his initiative measure. Reed, also a Democrat, has been a champion o...

Bullet train dead in water — yet state to proceed with eminent domain

November 27th, 2013 By Chris Reed.

Eminent domain is one of the greatest government assaults on individual rights that one sees on a regular basis in the United States. Even in its purer form, in which land is seized for projects with broad general public benefit, such as a freeway or reservoir, it is often abused. But what appear...

End game on bullet train: No $, no project — and no prospects for $

November 26th, 2013 By Chris Reed.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny's issued a double-whammy ruling Monday. He barred the use of bond funds for the state bullet-train project until it had adequate funding and complete environmental reviews for its first 300-mile segment. He also blocked the already-authorized sale of $8....

CA still worst run state in the nation; Sacramento’s stadium obesssion

November 25th, 2013 By Katy Grimes.

For the third year in a row, California has been named the worst-run state in America, by 24/7 Wall Street. Is it any wonder? With at least 10 California cities on the verge of municipal bankruptcy, a $24 billion budget shortfall in 2012, including a mid-year shortfall of $930 million and $8.2 bill...

LAT on Covered CA: No mention of mass cancellations, sticker shock

November 25th, 2013 By Chris Reed.

So Chad Terhune of the L.A. Times does a story on Covered California that notes the state's version of Obamacare: 1) Isn't doing that well signing up young people, who are essential to the economics of the Affordable Care Act, despite a heavy marketing campaign aimed at them. 2) Is having trou...

Would-be San Diego mayor plans to nullify reform approved by city voters

November 24th, 2013 By Chris Reed.

In 2006, San Diego voters took a bold and unprecedented step: They lopsidedly approved a "managed competition" process under which groups of city employees would bid against private companies for the right to provide certain city services. This modified form of privatization was blocked by City Coun...

Southern California country song

November 24th, 2013 By John Seiler.

I was driving around yesterday morning with a country music fan. He had on our local country station, Go Country 105. Up came this song, "Days of Gold," by Jake Owen, about "Southern summers, that sun shinin' down like Daddy's silver dollar." I thought he meant Southern California. Real country...

Fisker $192 million taxpayer investment goes to China

November 23rd, 2013 By John Seiler.

This is the perfect government program. Fisker Automotive got $192 million of our tax dollars for its greenie electric flivver. Then it want bankrupt. Now the Chinese bought it for $25 million. So here's how government works nowadays. 1. The U.S. government borrows $192 million from China, par...

LAO’s cheerfully nutty budget report: Pension crisis? What pension crisis?

November 22nd, 2013 By Chris Reed.

The Legislative Analyst's Office has among the best reputations of any state agency. But after the release of Wednesday's bizarre LAO budget analysis and accompanying press conference by Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor, I don't know why. I groused about it in this U-T San Diego editorial: "Imagin...

Vidak warns: Water water everywhere, nor any drop to drink

November 21st, 2013 By Katy Grimes.

The California Department of Water Resources announced this week that the Central Valley may only get five percent of the water it needs next year. The Central Valley, the heart of California, is the state's top agricultural producing region, often called “the nation's salad bowl” for the gr...

New Aussie PM brands carbon tax ‘socialism’

November 21st, 2013 By John Seiler.

Last month West Coast governors, led by Gov. Jerry Brown, agreed to impose carbon taxes on their people. And California has had a carbon trading system for a year now. But new Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, in an interview with the Washington Post, blew the lid off such schemes: During y...

San Diego mayor’s race: Shape-shifter to ‘leave public life'; GOP candidate favored

November 21st, 2013 By Chris Reed.

CalWatchdog has paid close attention to Nathan Fletcher over the past year, detailing the former union-trashing Republican assemblyman's odyssey across the ideological spectrum. When the local GOP wouldn't endorse him over libertarian crusader Carl DeMaio in the 2012 San Diego mayor's race, F...

The DOW has NOT set new records

November 20th, 2013 By John Seiler.

The so-called economic recovery supposedly is shown by the Dow Jones Industrial Average hovering around the 16,000 mark, the highest ever. It's just below that number as I write. In fact, adjusted for inflation, the DJIA is the same as it was 12 years ago. As other numbers have indicated, such as...

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