Flopped 5 Ignites Meathead Cig Tax

John Seiler:

Smoke ’em if you got ’em.

Flopped5.org is a great new site setting fire to the First 5 California program that taxes cigarettes 50 cents a pack to fund programs that supposedly help kids. First 5 is paid for by Proposition 10, which actor/director Rob “Meathead” Reiner tricked voters into backing in 1998 with Proposition 10.

Flopped5 writes:

Flopped 5 exists to provide an uncompensated and independent view of the First 5 Commissions, also known as the California Children and Families Program….

“Based on wide and deep reviews of available information, it is our opinion that the California First 5 Commission is a ballot initiative experiment that has flopped,  contrary to the 100 percent taxpayer paid marketing that attempts to convince voters otherwise. After over a decade in existence, it is our opinion that the Proposition 10 law‘s commissions have offered little to no evidence that they have ‘made a difference’ to improve the lives of children up to age 5. Moreover, we feel it is a law that is structurally flawed and contains improper incentives for public officials and others who both sit on the boards and receive funds”

Here’s some of the waste and abuse by First 5 honchos that Flopped5 found:

* Jelly Belly Factory tours;

* Camping lessons and at least one overnight trip to Big Sur;

* Overnight stay at  the Four Points Sheraton in Pleasanton, CA where couples from San Francisco took marriage workshops and were given $250 in Target gift cards to spend on whatever;

* Holiday party  space rental and the purchase of a costume;

* Monterey Bay Aquarium field trips;

* Halloween party supplies;

* A play area at a foreign government’s consulate;

* Ice-skating lessons;

* Belly Dancing classes for expectant teenage moms;

* $200 per hour to pay a consultant to listen to the radio;

* $4 million was spent on a national cartoon show (KCRA broadcast 11-18-08); funds are only supposed to be spent to support services in California;

* Large comp packages for people who mainly give away public funds and go to meetings for a living (this is just salary so does not include pension/benefits; thus add $50,000 or more). First 5’s top 5 salary grabbers:

— First 5 LA: $248,178;

— Children & Families Commission of Orange County: $247,227;

— First 5 Alameda-Every Child Counts: $181,310;

— First 5 Santa Clara County: $162,289;

— First 5 San Bernardino: $154,714;

* Kern County‘s problems and the exiting of its Executive Director:

paid $17,000 for a consultant’s new convertible 

They had fun, fun, fun till the taxpayers took the T-bird away.

I’m looking for more great stuff from Flopped5.

All these examples are reason enough to repeal the tax and cancel the whole First 5 program. Let parents, families, churches and other voluntary organizations take care of kids. Government only does harm, beginning with robbing parents through high taxation.

As “Meathead” Reiner’s arch-nemesis, Archie Bunker on the old “All in the Family” show, used to say: We gotta get our prior-orities straight.

(The picture at the top right shows “Meathead” Reiner, the clueless liberal, losing another argument to Archie, the wise conservative.)

— Feb. 22, 2012





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  1. Rex The Wonder Dog!
    Rex The Wonder Dog! 22 February, 2012, 16:57

    Another ridiculous account of gov spending out of control.

    Reply this comment
  2. Bob
    Bob 23 February, 2012, 07:24

    “Belly Dancing classes for expectant teenage moms;”

    Dang, you can’t make this stuff up. And then this:

    “paid $17,000 for a consultant’s new convertible”

    I’m sure Skipping Dog and the other government hacks will tell us there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for this.

    Reply this comment
  3. Bob
    Bob 23 February, 2012, 07:25

    “* $200 per hour to pay a consultant to listen to the radio; ”

    John, how do I become a First 5 consultant?

    Reply this comment
  4. Bob
    Bob 23 February, 2012, 07:26

    Of course none of this can be cut.

    We must vote for Jerry Brown’s (and all the other crooks’) tax increases.

    This is what the liberals who infest this blog will demand.

    Reply this comment
  5. Eric in SR
    Eric in SR 23 February, 2012, 08:46

    I am a non-smoker. I’d wager that California’s smoking rate hasn’t gone down a bit since this ridiculous First 5 cigarette tax got passed a little over 13 years ago.

    Check out http://www.taxadmin.org/fta/rate/cigarette.pdf Though California doesn’t have the highest tobacco tax (yet!), it DOES have the highest gasoline tax (see http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/26079.html), three times Wyoming’s gas tax and over six times Alaska’s.

    Missouri, with a mere 17 cents-per-pack tax on cigarettes, doesn’t pay a consultant 200 bucks an hour to listen to the radio, I think it’s safe to say. Heck, I’ll listen to NPR and KPFA, the left-wing station in Berkeley for just $175 an hour–it’ll help my wife and I move out of state that much quicker!

    Reply this comment
  6. Bob
    Bob 23 February, 2012, 09:54

    “Missouri, with a mere 17 cents-per-pack tax on cigarettes, doesn’t pay a consultant 200 bucks an hour to listen to the radio…”

    True, Eric, but can their pregnant teens belly dance?

    Reply this comment
  7. Eric in SR
    Eric in SR 23 February, 2012, 12:39

    Probably not very well, lol….

    Reply this comment
  8. PJ
    PJ 24 February, 2012, 08:49

    All these task forces and centers for this and that (at the university level) are just highly paid patronage jobs. My “favorite” is the CUIAB Board which has mushroomed over the years too accommodate guys who lost their last election. Jerry Brown even briefly supported abolishing it, but that was a bridge too far I guess.

    But campaign managers and defeated pols need money too!

    Reply this comment
  9. Don
    Don 24 February, 2012, 17:58

    Looks like the iceberg is melting already. Great job Flopped5.org – the $200,000+ per year Lobbyist apparently quit or was forced out. Makes me know there’s more to this First 5 org if all it takes is a website to get them resigning.

    Good work! Can’t say it enough – Damn the arrogant “public servant”.

    here’s that link again: http://www.flopped5.org

    looks like all you really got to do with these people is shine enough light on their crap and they start running for a rock under which to hide…

    Reply this comment
  10. Robert
    Robert 27 February, 2012, 08:41

    Don –

    The website did not push Ms. Novick out the door, though we love your exuberance

    However, when someone leaves just a few months shy of her 10 year pension service anniversary, that may say a whole lot, as for most people that is the required service period in order to get the full pension credit. She may have had other service credit elsewhere, but we think it is noteworthy.

    Our view is that when Fresno First 5 tried to censure Rob Reiner, Ms. Novick probably realized she and Reiner et al could not control the counties anymore, and to someone like her, that probably means the ship is going down, since the PR can no longer generally be controlled in such a situation, hence she left.

    We do agree that there may be an impact for shining a light on their activities. If you have any published information that you think might help us do that, please visit our contact page and let us know at http://www.flopped5.org/contact-us.html

    Reply this comment
  11. Robert
    Robert 4 March, 2012, 13:22

    We have now found a First 5 county that appears to have had a large LEAD contamination problem (3.5 times the federal limit) in 6500 toys it distributed and though they have a web page on it, we can find no evidence of a press release to warn the public or a local newspaper story warning the community. It looks like they announced it on their site and maybe at some child resource centers and that’s it. That was realy “doing something for the kids” huh folks?

    Check it out: http://www.flopped5.org/hot-off-the-press.html

    Reply this comment
  12. George Marx
    George Marx 9 March, 2012, 20:03

    First I would question if these are all the facts are has then been edited to make a point that somebody wants made. Nothing is all good or all bad.

    Secondly, First 5 is not general taxpayer dollars. If you do not smoke you do not pay. So if you do not smoke then you have not contributed a dime to First 5. In fact according to a 2011 report the California smoking rate among adults was down to an all time low of 12% which means 88% of Californians do not pay a single penny for first 5.

    Reply this comment
  13. Robert
    Robert 11 March, 2012, 07:18

    @George – the main point of flopped5 is after is to inform Californians about how these tax funds have been spent, and for many people, they have been spent in ways we did not intend should we have voted for the Proposition. If you actually go and read the entire website, you might understand our concerns more completely… then come back and we can have a dialogue.

    Reply this comment

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