A Slate of Citizen Initiatives to Transform California Overnight

AUDIO: Using citizen ballot measures to bypass a legislature controlled by special interests; what initiatives to propose, how to get the signatures, and how to communicate their value to all of California’s voters – 23 minutes (in two segments) on Conservative Commanders Radio – Edward Ring with Rick Trader and Sharon Angle.

http://civfi.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/2019-07-01-Edward-Ring-on-Conservative-Commanders-23-minutes.mp3

 

San Diego’s 2012 Pension Reform at Risk

“The ruling is also an implicit endorsement of the state Public Employment Relations Board’s conclusion that the employees hired since the measure took effect must be made whole and get a pension equivalent to what they would have received pre-Proposition B.” – Editorial, San Diego Union Tribune, March 18, 2019

The ruling in question is the California’s Supreme Court’s August 2018 decision which found that “San Diego’s six-year-old pension cutbacks were not legally placed on the ballot because city officials failed to negotiate with labor unions before pursuing the measure.” It’s in the news again this week because the U.S. Supreme Court has just announced they will not hear the City’s appeal of the California ruling.

What’s going to happen now is uncertain. Back in 2012, a super-majority of San Diego voters, 65 percent, approved pension cuts for new employees, putting all but police hires onto 401K plans. The union immediately appealed, claiming that since one of the proponents of the ballot measure was the mayor, it was necessary to “meet and confer” with the unions before asking the voters to change the pension benefits that new employees would receive.

The trajectory of this case is complex. Back in 2012, the unions challenged the voter approved reforms before the union-stacked Public Employee Relations Board, which in 2015 ruled in their favor. Then the City of San Diego got PERB’s ruling overturned in 2017 in state appellate court. Which brings us to round three, back in August, won […] Read More

Defining American Nationalism

The Make America Great movement confronts hostility from nearly every establishment sector in American life; legacy media, social media, academia, entertainment, big corporations, big labor, big government, all Democrats, and a sizable percentage of the Republican elites.

Decrying the movement as “nationalism,” the establishment offers endless cautionary comparisons to nationalistic movements in history, condemning nationalism as tribal, racist, reactionary, hateful. The response to this relentless condemnation is an understandable belligerence, manifested all the way from Presidential tweets to Tea Party Facebook pages.

Belligerence is a justifiable reaction. The establishment has imposed a double standard that should infuriate any member of MAGA. Imagine if black-clad flash mobs of “nationalists” took over the streets of Portland, while police did nothing? Substitute hundreds of Antifa thugs and their sympathizers for nationalists, and that’s life in Portland today. Why isn’t that, and topics like that, the top story on ABC nightly “news,” night after night, forever?

The reason may be as simple as this: The Left invariably speaks with moral authority, whether they deserve it or not. The Left has managed to rhetorically out punch the MAGA movement because they’ve been able to associate MAGA with hate. In response, MAGA complains bitterly, instead of focusing on the optimistic, positive, inclusive, practical, solutions-oriented, wondrous hopeful future it imagines for America and the world. Until that alternative is presented, relentlessly, with enthusiasm and attention to detail, the establishment will continue to condone if not actively support the American Left. They will do this despite the contradictions […] Read More

The University of Diversity Will Destroy America

America’s educational system is breaking, and the primary culprit is the diversity bureaucracy, now an industrial strength special-interest group that grows more powerful and more expansive every year. For years they have dominated America’s social sciences and humanities, and now they’re launching an assault on the hard sciences. If they are not stopped, they eventually will destroy America as a first-world democracy.

They’re well on their way. But it isn’t “racism”—the currency of the diversocrats—that is denying opportunities to “people of color.” It is failures in the social culture of the inner cities, even more than aggregate economic disadvantages, or the lousy, unionized public schools, that result in the chronic academic underachievement of their children.

There’s no money to be made, or votes to be had, however, in telling this tough truth, even though it might do a lot of good if enough people said it or heard it. The commitment to “diversity” in American university enrollment is absolute and all-powerful, despite the incessant barrage of lavishly funded charges to the contrary emanating from the grievance industry. To achieve diversity, university admissions offices strive to achieve proportional representation by race, and to do that, they downgrade the significance of the single most predictive indicator of academic potential, the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).

A 2015 Princeton study examined “how preferences for different types of applicants exercised by admission offices at elite universities influence the number and composition of admitted […] Read More

Social Security Taxes and the “Gig Economy”

It is fashionable to refer to the job market of the future as “the gig economy.” In this enlightened, technology enabled wonderland, everyone will be free to balance work and leisure as they see fit. When they want to earn more money, they get online, find a “gig,” and when the job’s performed the money flows into their checking account. Not quite the utopia of Galt’s Gulch, but tantalizingly closer. The problem with the “gig economy” is the troublesome intervention of reality. Tell an Uber driver who has two hungry children, a wife home with the flu (unable to “gig”), who makes $20 per hour and has no health insurance that he’s living in utopia. You may have to duck.

In 2017, the opinion section of the New York Times ran a guest editorialthat included a graphic entitled “Our Broken Economy, In One Simple Chart.” That chart was drawn from data gathered by a team of economists that included Thomas Piketty, author of the 2014 bestseller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Each dot on the chart below represents an income percentile. They form two lines, the grey line showing income growth by income percentile between 1946 and 1980, and the red line showing income growth by income percentile between 1980 and 2014.

As can be seen, during the 34-year post-World War II period, the lower income groups actually increased their income (on an annual percentage basis) more than did the higher income groups. In stark contrast, during the […] Read More

California’s Climate Agenda Sets an Impossible Example for the World

We will never waver on achieving the nation’s most ambitious clean energy goals.. – Excerpt from Gavin Newsom’s State of the State Address, January 12, 2019

California has long been proclaiming itself the leader in fighting “climate change,” and incoming governor Gavin Newsom promises to continue the efforts. The big push began over ten years ago, with Gov. Schwarzenegger, who pivoted left after failing to reform public employee unions in 2005. Schwarzenegger promoted, then signed, AB 32, in 2006. This so-called “Global Warming Solutions Act,” set the initial targets for greenhouse gas reduction, empowering the California Air Resources Board to monitor and enforce compliance with laws and regulations aimed at achieving these reductions.

Other significant legislation followed. SB 107, also passed in 2006, mandated a “renewable portfolio standard,” wherein by 2010 at least 20% of California’s electricity would come from renewable sources.

The legislation has been unrelenting. SB 1, 2006, mandated utilities pay rebates to homeowners that installed photovoltaic panels on their roofs. AB 118, 2007, funded the “Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program,” the first step towards mandating a minimum percentage of electric and hybrid vehicle sales. SB 375, 2008, the “Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act,” directed cities and counties to increase the housing density of their communities.

When Jerry Brown took over as Governor in 2010, legislation accelerated. SBX1-2, 2011, raised the renewable portfolio standard to 33% by 2020. AB 1092, 2013, mandated electric vehicle charging stations […] Read More

Why America’s “Minority Majority” Will Never Happen

In America today, the phrase “It’s ok to be White” is considered “hate speech.” Last week, in trend setting California, that was the clear message coming from Sacramento’s leading local television news network, KCRA. Watching this top story on November 3rd, you would think co-anchors Gulstan Dart and Kellie DeMarco were reporting on another synagogue massacre, instead of an incident at a local college where some anonymous “racist” had taped a few pieces of 8.5″ x 11″ copy paper to campus bulletin boards that read “It’s ok to be White.”

What happened in Sacramento wasn’t an isolated incident. “It’s ok to be White” flyers have been printed and posted elsewhere in the U.S. You can even buy “It’s ok to be White” t-shirts on Amazon Prime. The posters have appeared at Duke University, Tufts University, the University of Delaware, the University of Denver the University of St. Thomas, and elsewhere.

The reporter on the scene in Sacramento, Walter Makaula, dutifully pointed out that “messages of inclusion and diversity” were posted “everywhere” on the Sacramento’s American River community college campus. “Black Minds Matter.” “Womyn & Femmes Circle.” But posting “It’s ok to be White” was apparently hateful. As Dean of Student Services Joshua Moon Johnson reassuringly stated for the camera: “Quickly we addressed the situation and made sure campus police were called and made sure we had those removed.”

Good job, Mr. Moon-Johnson. Such […] Read More

How Trump Challenges Establishment Truths

Once upon a time, The New Yorker indisputably was the finest magazine in the English-speaking world. It’s still awfully good. In its November 5 issue, house music critic Alex Ross treats readers to a wonderful essay on the life and work of Claude Debussy, who died 100 years ago. Although the editors have been reliably liberal from the start, the magazine abandoned its partisan neutrality in 2003 when it took the unprecedented step of endorsing a presidential candidate, John Kerry. Since 2016, the place has succumbed entirely to Trump Derangement Syndrome.

The New Yorker may cover music and the arts with commentary that is as luminous as ever. But when it comes to politics, they’re just a high-brow version of a left-wing alt-weekly—you know, the ones they give away outside liquor stores and dive bars that used to support themselves with the back pages filled with sex service ads and, now that sex ads have migrated to the internet, with page after page of marijuana ads.

David Remnick, who has been The New Yorker’s editor for more than 20 years, opens the November 5 issue with a 1,081-word editorial, a partisan and very predictable screed attacking President Trump. But in his choice of a title for his rant, Remnick gets it right. He writes: “The Midterm Elections are a Referendum on Donald Trump.”

Yes, as a matter of fact, they are. But what are the core criticisms of […] Read More

Beware of Fool’s Gold: Democratic California’s Cautionary Tale

It’s become fashionable among certain conservatives, libertarians, and assorted free-market types to claim that Republicans are no better than Democrats. Both parties, according to the disenchanted, have lost their way. Both parties are controlled by establishment cronies, who support big government of one sort or another.

But conservatives who are disillusioned with Republicans need to remember just how much is at stake if Democrats take over. To indulge in understatement, California offers a cautionary tale.

In the name of saving the planet, and helping the poor, Democrats win votes in California. Assisting these Democrats is the most powerful coalition of leftist oligarchs in the history of the world. But the planet is not better off and California’s poor get poorer. How can this be?

Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely Since at least 2006—the year Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a moderate Republican, totally capitulated to the Democratic establishment—Democrats have exercised absolute power in California. Their ongoing agenda, much of which has already been implemented, offers insight into just how different Democrats are from Republicans—even those watered down Republicans who struggle to earn votes from true conservatives.

California’s Democrats, in pursuit of environmentalist perfection, have legislated artificial scarcity of everything necessary to civilized life: land, housing, electricity, gasoline, water, transportation, and quality education—you name it. California has the most expensive homes, the highest utility prices, the worst roads, and failing schools. Behind the high-minded environmentalist rhetoric stand oligarchs who profit from scarcity; established corporations, public utilities, large landowners, and “green” entrepreneurs.

[…] Read More

How to Make California’s Southland Water Independent for $30 Billion

The megapolis on California’s southern coast stretches from Ventura County on the northern end, through Los Angeles County, Orange County, down to San Diego County on the border with Mexico. It also includes the western portions of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Altogether these six counties have a population of 20.5 million residents. According to the California Department of Water Resources, urban users consume 3.7 million acre feet of water per year, and the remaining agricultural users in this region consume an additional 700,000 acre feet.

Much of this water is imported. In an average year, 2.6 million acre feet of water is imported by the water districts serving the residents and businesses in these Southland counties. The 701 mile long California Aqueduct, mainly conveying water from the Sacramento River, contributes 1.4 million acre feet. The 242 mile long Colorado River Aqueduct adds another 1.0 million acre feet. Finally, the Owens River on the east side of the Sierras contributes 250,000 acre feet via the 419 mile long Los Angeles Aqueduct.

California’s Plumbing System The major interbasin systems of water conveyance, commonly known as aqueducts

California’s Overall Water Supplies Must Increase

Californians have already made tremendous strides conserving water, and the potential savings from more stringent conservation mandates may not yield significant additional savings. Population growth is likely to offset whatever remaining savings that may be achievable via additional conservation.

Meanwhile, the state mandated water requirements for California’s ecosystems continue to […] Read More