LAO questions legality of plan to use cap-and-trade $ on bullet train

January 14th, 2014 By Katy Grimes.

The governor’s just-released 2014-15  budget proposes to spend $850 million from cap-and-trade auction revenue on various projects -- including the state’s high-speed rail project. That would defy the very purpose of cap-and-trade. In a new report on the spending plan, the Legislative An...

Brown: No teachers' pension fix until after November election

January 14th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

Gov. Jerry Brown has a basic problem when it comes to the California State Teachers' Retirement System: the most powerful forces in state politics oppose the standard fix for an underfunded pension system, even if it is now enshrined in state law. The Legislature sets the contribution rate...

Stunning verdict in Fullerton case: Rodney King, the sequel

January 14th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

I was as stunned by a verdict Monday afternoon as I have been my whole life. An Orange County jury cleared police officers of all charges in the beating death of homeless Fullerton resident Kelly Thomas. It's impossible not to see the parallels with the Rodney King beating case, but this jury&...

Schools chief already wants to extend Prop. 30 taxes

January 13th, 2014 By Katy Grimes.

Only one year into Proposition 30's five-year life, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has already called for an extension of the 2012 ballot initiative. Set to expire in 2018, it was sold to voters as a temporary tax. "’We need to renew Prop. 30,’ Torlakson, the stat...

Sacramento’s Russians, Sochi and the homophobia double standard

January 13th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

One of the biggest storylines leading up to next month's Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, is the Western world's stern disapproval of Russia's homophobia and the fear that it could cast a pall over the event and lead to problems for gay Olympians and gay tourists coming to Sochi for the games....

U.S. fracking changes global balance of power; can’t CA join fun?

January 12th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

Anti-fracking forces are gearing up in California, aided by our pathetic state media, which never mention that the Obama administration considers hydraulic fracturing to access natural gas and oil reserves to be just another heavy industry that can be made safe with routine regulation. But what's...

Bullet train fans learn CA enviros’ clout trumps building, trades unions

January 11th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

A few years ago, I began to think about how California's state government operated in terms of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, a famous 1943 paper about how humans prioritize what's important in their lives, starting with the basics -- the physical requirements for survival -- and moving up a list to t...

Twitter is atwitter over Gov’s budget

January 10th, 2014 By Katy Grimes.

Gov. Jerry Brown just released his budget for 2014 Thursday. Claiming fiscal restraint, the governor’s $155 billion spending plan increases the general fund, as well as significant spending in education and social services. Text Your Ex Back By Michael Fiore Free Pdf Following the budget pre...

Jobs crash endangers Brown budget

January 10th, 2014 By John Seiler.

Uh oh. Just a day after Gov. Jerry Brown's budget spending splurge proposal, the latest U.S. jobs numbers came in. Unemployment in December dropped to 6.7 percent, which is good. But only 74,000 jobs were created, which is really bad. That was way below expectations of 200,000 jobs created. ...

Brown still on loony, increasingly lonely bullet-train bandwagon

January 10th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

Cal Watchdog managing editor John Seiler and I were among the pundits who got a telephone budget briefing from Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday afternoon. I was disappointed but unsurprised to hear that the governor is still 1,000 percent on the bullet-train bandwagon. In the aftermath of Sacramento ...

How government really works

January 9th, 2014 By John Seiler.

Politicians and government bureaucrats always paint a wonderful picture of how great their policies and programs will work. Just give them more money, and nirvana will arrive. But sometimes, the government functionaries tell us what really goes on. Here's former Secretary of Defense Robert G...

West Covina public school allegedly bans Jesus

January 8th, 2014 By John Seiler.

Isaiah Martinez is just a little kid. But he's quickly learning about what is and what is not allowed in California public schools. KTLA reported: "A religious liberty advocacy group has threatened legal action against the West Covina school district because a first-grade student was allegedly...

Robert Gates scorns the RINOs who don't get ripped enough

January 8th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

One of the wonderful things about the rise of Ron and Rand Paul and the increasingly libertarian tone of some of the young Republicans elected to Congress is that they are shunning the mindless embrace of military spending that has been the GOP norm forever -- whether when it was vaguely justifiable...

‘Arena derangement syndrome’ afflicts Sacramento

January 7th, 2014 By Katy Grimes.

Call it "arena derangement syndrome," or ADS. It afflicts cities trying to use taxpayer money for new sports arenas or stadiums. It's now threatening the validation of 35,000 ballot initiative petition signatures that would halt the proposed subsidy of a new arena for Sacramento's Kings basketba...

Spendaholics Anonymous?

January 7th, 2014 By John Seiler.

State legislators are pledging they won't spend all the windfall of new revenue produced by the economic recovery and the Proposition 7 tax increase. AP reported: State lawmakers returned to the Capitol on Monday for the second half of their two-year session, one that is expected to be marked ...

Pipes: Obamacare devours itself

January 6th, 2014 By John Seiler.

Sally Pipes writes today in Forbes an article titled, "The Obamacare Law Devours Itself With Exemptions Amid 5 Million (And Counting) Cancellations." She is the president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute,'s parent company. She has written three books on Obamacare. ...

Brown seeks to prop up doomed bullet train with AB 32 $

January 6th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

As warned in this spot, Gov. Jerry Brown is conflating two of the state's worst programs: "Brown plans to propose spending millions of dollars in fees paid by carbon producers to aid the state's controversial high-speed rail project. "The proposal - and the prospect of additional funding from the ...

As with fracking, Obama shuns green cultists on GMO foods

January 5th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

One of the most puzzling phenomena I've seen in years of watching the California media is how they simply won't report that the Obama administration considers fracking to be just another heavy industry that can be made safe with routine regulation. This refusal to discomfit the greens who think frac...

Media spiked stories on ice-stuck ship carrying global warmers

January 5th, 2014 By John Seiler.

Ya gotta love it. Global warmers boarded a ship to Antarctica to prove global warming was melting the ice caps, but this happened: A group of climate change scientists were rescued by helicopter Jan. 2, after being stranded in the ice since Christmas morning. But the majority of the broadcast ne...

Background: UFW lost battle to Gerawan in Superior Court

January 4th, 2014 By Katy Grimes.

Note: This is additional backround to the series of stories has been running on the court battle between Gerawan Farms and the United Farm Workers union. The following is from late November, but has not been reported elsewhere. An order issued by a Sacramento Superior Court judg...

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Know Your Bloggers

Joseph Perkins
Joseph Perkins, now assistant editor of the Orange County Register Opinion Pages, started his career as an editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal. After serving on the White House Staff of former Vice President Dan Quayle he wrote for the San Diego Union-Tribune where he authored a nationally-syndicated column. Before writing for, Mr. Perkins was also Business Editor for San Diego Magazine.
Chris Reed
Chris Reed is a regular contributor to Cal Watchdog. Reed is an editorial writer for U-T San Diego. Before joining the U-T in July 2005, he was the opinion-page columns editor and wrote the featured weekly Unspin column for The Orange County Register. Reed was on the national board of the Association of Opinion Page Editors from 2003-2005. From 2000 to 2005, Reed made more than 100 appearances as a featured news analyst on Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate KPCC-FM. From 1990 to 1998, Reed was an editor, metro columnist and film critic at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario. Reed has a political science degree from the University of Hawaii (Hilo campus), where he edited the student newspaper, the Vulcan News, his senior year. He is on Twitter: @chrisreed99.
Brian Calle
Brian Calle is Editor-in-Chief of and the Opinion Editor for the Orange County Register. His work has appeared in Bloomberg, Fox News, Forbes, Real Clear Politics, Human Events, Real Clear Markets and City Journal, among other websites and publications. Find him on Twitter: @briancalle
John Seiler
John Seiler has been writing about California for 25 years. That includes 22 years as an editorial writer for the Orange County Register and two years for, where he is managing editor. He attended the University of Michigan and graduated from Hillsdale College. He was a Russian linguist in U.S. Army military intelligence from 1978 to 1982. He was an editor and writer for Phillips Publishing Company from 1983 to 1986. He has written for Policy Review, Chronicles,, Flash Report and numerous other publications. His email:

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