California Pushes the Frontiers of Woke

“Christopher Columbus is a deeply polarizing historical figure given the deadly impact his arrival in this hemisphere had on indigenous populations. The continued presence of this statue in California’s Capitol, where it has been since 1883, is completely out of place today. It will be removed.” —Official statement from the California State Legislature, June 16, 2020

And just like that, the legislative leaders of California’s one-party state are going to remove an inspiring symbol of exploration, discovery, and courage, as well as a beautiful work of art.

Calls to the Capitol have confirmed that California’s legislators have no idea, of course, what may replace the statue of Columbus and Queen Isabella, which, for now, still sits in the exact center of the State Capitol rotunda. Expect something that pleases everyone and no one, some bland and mediocre product of a committee whose primary qualifications will be the “diversity” of the members.

Also this week Sutter Health removed a statue of California Pioneer John Sutter from one of their medical campuses. Will they also change the name of their corporation? Surely if a statue of John Sutter is unacceptable, the name “Sutter Health” is also unacceptable. As one of the agitators for the statue’s removal said, “He’s a racist, he’s a murderer, and he enslaved thousands of Native Americans.” This act generated less controversy in California—who reads history anymore?—than it did in Sutter’s native Switzerland.

All this hate. Such an exaggerated, negative interpretation of history. Christopher Columbus and […] Read More

Firefighting in Orange County – Part One, Firefighter Pay and Benefits

In June 2019 the City of Placentia, in a 3-1 council vote, decided to leave the Orange County Fire Authority and build their own fire department. The reasons for this decision, and the means to accomplish it, will be explored in greater detail in a follow up article. But the decision came down to this: a majority of members of the city council believed that they could build a fire department of equal or greater effectiveness, at an equal or lessor cost.

The consequences of this decision are significant. How Placentia manages their independent fire department could inspire other cities currently being served by OCFA to withdraw from their contracts and also build their own fire departments. Placentia’s experience may also inspire cities in Orange County that already have independent fire departments to renegotiate the terms of the collective bargaining agreements they’ve made with their firefighter unions.

The Orange County Fire Authority, or OCFA, originally served the cities of Cypress, Irvine, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Placentia, San Juan Capistrano, Tustin, Villa Park, and Yorba Linda, along with unincorporated areas of Orange County. Since then, new cities have incorporated, and existing cities have decided to choose OCFA services over managing their own fire department. These additional client cities are Aliso Viejo, Buena Park, Dana Point, Garden Grove, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.

So how […] Read More

The “Seattle Autonomous Zone” is Coming to America

Over the past week, protesters have established the “Capital Hill Autonomous Zone” (CHAZ) in an area encompassing roughly 10 square blocks and 500 local residents. Less than one mile northeast of the downtown core, the enclave includes an 8 acre park, easily big enough to encamp hundreds of activists.

The fate of CHAZ is uncertain, but with a sympathetic mayor, a sympathetic governor, and funds pouring in from enthralled leftist supporters all over America, it is possible this experiment will linger for a long time, relatively undisturbed by reality. If you happen to live in CHAZ, a place that was up until June 8, merely a hardcore liberal precinct of a hardcore liberal city, buckle up.

If the consequences of leftist activism were confined to isolated enclaves sprinkled across a handful of Blue cities in Blue states, apart from the existential disruption these “autonomous zones” would impart to those residents who were unsympathetic to the invasion and occupation of their neighborhoods, America would survive. But “CHAZ” is just the tip of the leftist spear. It is part of something much bigger, and far more dangerous.

Seattle’s Capital Hill Autonomous Zone is an extreme caricature of what the mainstream Left is slowly institutionalizing across America. The project is most advanced on the Blue West Coast, but is rapidly proceeding through Blue cities and states everywhere. Moreover, because Republicans barely recognize the phenomenon, or what is at stake, much less have alternatives, the project is stealthily creeping into Red […] Read More

The Destruction of the Upper Klamath River Economy

Ever since the heinous killing of an unarmed black man by four rogue police on May 25, protests and riots have consumed America’s cities. These mass protests have mobilized millions of so-called progressives, incited to destructive fury by well organized provocateurs. The groups behind this extremism are well known, as is the leftist and anarchist ideologies that propel them. But there is another movement growing in the United States.

Either neglected or misrepresented by the media as right-wing extremism, this movement has its heart across rural America, but increasingly makes common cause with every beleaguered business owner or overtaxed household in America’s cities. There is nothing extremist about this movement. It is founded in common sense, a desire for justice and equal treatment. As millions of productive Americans find it harder than ever to survive the onslaught of progressive government policies, the movement grows.

The biggest political wild card in American politics today is which of these groups, productive citizens of rural areas and their urban counterparts, or urban progressives, will claim the ultimate allegiance of undecided voters. It is convenient that climate activists wish to depopulate rural areas and concentrate Americans into dense urban cores. Because the more predominant the urban vote becomes in elections, the less likely the average voter will understand what’s happening in rural America.

Using regulations pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and countless other laws and regulations including an exploding body of new regulations designed to […] Read More

Ban Police Union Money in Politics, or Ban ALL Public Union Money in Politics?

“Before we give someone a gun, uniform, badge and the power to put handcuffs on someone’s wrist, we need make sure they are the best and the brightest…police unions are making it impossible.” – Chesa Boudin, San Francisco District Attorney, on The Appeal, June 5, 2020

It is hard to imagine a public figure whose ideology is more toxic to the future of California and America than Chesa Boudin. But politics can make for strange bedfellows.

Chesa Boudin epitomizes San Francisco’s failure as a city and, increasingly, California’s failures as a state. Boudin is part of a political movement that has created criminal friendly cities, where thieves and drug addicts cannot be arrested and prosecuted, where cash bail is about to be abolished, where citizens are slowly being denied the means to protect themselves.

The policy agenda promoted by politicians like Chesa Boudin has released tens of thousands of dangerous inmates from California’s jails and prisons. And if downgrading drug and property crimes, trying to eliminate bail, and emptying the prisons didn’t do enough to make it nearly impossible for police to keep Californians safe, the California legislature passed AB 953 which requires police to report the race and gender of every person they interact with in order to monitor possible disparate impact.

Which brings us to the issue of the day; the alleged disproportionate targeting of black people by police in America. Like so many emotional issues that are shamelessly exploited by ideologues and […] Read More

Leftists Are Destroying Black Upward Mobility, Not Racism

The rioting and looting across the United States is universally condemned. The “peaceful protests,” on the other hand, are universally praised. But is this appropriate? Wouldn’t a broader and more balanced discussion be more constructive, rather than praise without reservations?

Obviously people have the right to peacefully protest injustice, and obviously incidents of murderous police brutality are more than sufficient justification for protests. But that’s as far as it goes. The scope of these protests is disproportionate to the offense, not because it isn’t hideously wrong, but because there are far worse challenges facing black Americans. The biggest challenge of all; leftists who indoctrinate blacks to think they are victims of racism.

Debunking this narrative of racism can start with the allegation that a disproportionate number of blacks are victims of police brutality, which itself is extremely rare.

To put this into context, there are over 800,000 sworn police officers in America, authorized to make arrests and use deadly force. Over 50 million Americans have at least one encounter with a police officer per year, usually for something minor such as a traffic stop. Police make over 10 million arrests each year. On average, just over 1,000 Americans each year are killed by police, but nearly all of them were armed. In confrontations with unarmed people over the past decade, only between 50 and 100 have been shot per year by police, about the same number as police who are killed in hostile encounters per […] Read More

The Progressive Destruction of Venice Beach

Make no mistake about it, behind the lawless mentality that has informed rampages across this nation over the past week, there are progressive roots. Because these riots aren’t about what remains of racism in America, or nurtured by pugnacious tweets from President Trump. Instead the root cause of the anarchy we are seeing are decades of progressive indoctrination which has corrupted a generation.

The destruction of the Venice Beach community in Los Angeles typifies how the progressive agenda has evolved from trying to save the disadvantaged to trying to destroy those who are not disadvantaged. In the process, the progressive movement has been taken over by plutocrats and tyrants, finding personal advantage in the corrupt parody of what was once an ennobling ideology.

In just a few years, progressive power, abetted by big money and co-opted bureaucrats, has turned Venice Beach from a bohemian gem into a lawless hellhole. The streets are overran with drug addicts, drunks, sexual predators, petty (and not so petty) criminals, and psychotics.

Worst of all, Venice Beach is also overran with otherwise normal youth who have made a rational choice to go on a perpetual rampage because there is no accountability, no expectations, no law and order, and, wherever possible, the government provides them free food and shelter. While the citizens endure a COVID lockdown, the “unhoused” of Venice Beach continue to go anywhere they like, anytime they want. It’s gotten so bad that even when the lockdown eventually ends, these residents will remain besieged […] Read More

Who Runs the City of Santa Ana, Anyway?

With rare exceptions, most cities in California are ran by public sector unions. There is the appearance of democracy, with public employees accountable to elected officials, who in turn are accountable to voters, but appearances can be deceiving. Because political campaigns to attract voters require money, and public sector unions have money. Lots of money. In California alone, public sector unions collect and spend over $800 million dollars per year.

Through slick advertising and public relations campaigns, money buys votes, and voters elect politicians. Especially in California’s big cities, public sector unions have perfected the art. Ask any local California politician why they have agreed to support another tax increase to pay for the latest pay and benefit increase to which they have also agreed. If they’re honest, their answer will be swift and unequivocal: Because if I don’t do what they tell me to do, the unions will spend whatever it takes to defeat me in the next election.

Cecilia Iglesias, former councilwoman for the City of Santa Ana, just learned this lesson the hard way. She wasn’t just defeated in the next election, she was recalled in the middle of her term. According to the Orange County Register, the Santa Ana Police Officers Association spent $341,000 on the campaign to oust Iglesias, and the city had to spend an additional $710,000 to conduct the special election.

The reason for the recall effort will vary depending on who you ask. According to the unions who backed the […] Read More

Why Newsom Can Be Recalled and How to Do It

AUDIO – How nonprofit developers and their corporate partners are wasting billions of taxpayer money by building affordable housing and homeless housing on some of the most expensive real estate on earth, and destroying established communities in the process – 18 minutes on KABC Los Angeles – Edward Ring on the Larry O’Connor Show

http://civfi.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/2020-05-24-Edward-Ring-on-Larry-Marino-12-minutes-KRLA-Los-Angeles.mp3

Elon Musk is the Greatest American Industrialist of the 21st Century

It has been fashionable to criticize Elon Musk as lacking the qualities of a true entrepreneur, or not being a genuine free market capitalist. His primary transgression: his companies have taken advantage of government subsidies.

Before considering whether or not these criticisms are fair or justified, or even terribly relevant, it might be a good idea to examine Musk’s body of work. Because so far, 20 years in, this 48 year old immigrant from South Africa is arguably the greatest American industrialist of the 21st century.

Musk’s early work, back in the 1990s, focused on software and online financial services, including PayPal. The sale of his stakes in these companies made Musk wealthy, but what he’s done since then is what already secures his place in history.

Tesla, Musk’s best known affiliation, has brought electric cars into the mainstream. It’s easy to forget the risk Tesla’s founders endured, Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, when back in 2003 they literally bundled laptop batteries into a storage package capable of powering an electric sports car. Recognizing the potential, Musk invested millions in the company and eventually took over as CEO.

Today, seventeen years later, Tesla is valued at $151 billion. In 2019 Tesla reported sales of $26 billion and an operating cash flow of $2.6 billion in 2019. Its 2019 “levered free cash flow” (surplus cash after paying interest on debt) was $1.6 billion. According to investors, to whom all that matters is economic data, Tesla is the most […] Read More