Sacramento Loses Its Finest Legislator

On November 13, ten days after the election, and facing final counts that made any chance of victory impossible, California State Senator John Moorlach (R-37) conceded defeat to his challenger, Democrat David Min.

Reached for comment, Moorlach said “we worked hard on fundraising, the ground game, the phone calls; we worked hard, and we had a great team, but the Democratic party in Orange County is very organized.”

Moorlach is being polite. His defeat is because the prison guards union spent nearly one million dollars to back the campaign of his opponent. How Moorlach lost exemplifies the political power of public sector unions in California, and how their agenda is inherently in conflict with the public interest.

A revealing article just published by the Sacramento Bee goes through the political spending by CCPOA this election. The pattern is clear: CCPOA supports strong law and order candidates and initiatives, unless they are in conflict with their primary objective, which is to expand their membership and increase the pay and benefits of their members.

The article also explains how the CCPOA’s new president, Glen Stailey, has embarked on a “push to regain the union’s former political might.” But to do that, in this new era where literally scores of newly minted leftist billionaires in Silicon Valley are willing to spend whatever it takes to establish their political might, CCPOA needs allies.

For this reason, it might have served CCPOA’s purposes better if they’d focused more on helping Los Angeles County […] Read More

Why is the Prison Guards Union Targeting Senator Moorlach?

In a tight race, incumbent Republican state senator John Moorlach has been targeted by the prison guards union. In a report filed on October 1, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association Independent Expenditure Committee disclosed spending $910,705 on cable television ads and mailers opposing Moorlach.

Running to unseat Senator Moorlach is Democrat David Min, whose campaign website leaves no doubt as to how he’s going to vote once he gets elected. His endorsements constitute a revealing list of who really runs California; public sector unions representing teachers, firefighters, nurses, AFSCME, the SEIU and dozens of others. While other special interests, in particular, powerful environmentalist pressure groups and high tech billionaires, exercise significant influence over California’s Democrats, the government employee unions are the senior partners.

It is nonetheless inexplicable why the CCPOA would oppose Moorlach in favor of an orthodox California Democrat who is much more likely to support Newsom’s intention to close two of California’s prisons. What could possibly override that very real threat to the interests of a union representing prison guards?

Understanding this apparent contradiction is key to understanding the priorities of public sector unions in California. Perhaps CCPOA is banking on public backlash to the anarchy overwhelming California’s cities to ultimately preclude prison closures. On the other hand, perhaps the CCPOA sees Moorlach’s ability to work with Democrats to enact pension reform as a genuine threat.

Senator John Moorlach is the most financially literate, articulate and outspoken champion of fiscal responsibility in […] Read More

How Can California Reduce the Costs of Incarceration?

California Governor Gavin Newsom has agreed to give state prison correctional officers a 3 percent raise. According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, there is “no evident justification” for this raise.

A recent article in the Sacramento Bee summarizes portions of the LAO report, writing “The last time the state compared state correctional officers’ salaries to their local government counterparts, in 2013, state correctional officers made 40 percent more than officers in county-run jails, according to the LAO analysis,” and, “Since 2013, salary increases for state correctional officers have increased by a compounded 24 percent, according to the LAO.”

Within the LAO report, it is made clear that the rising cost for pensions is a major factor in escalating compensation costs for California’s prison guards. In theory, the cost to provide pension benefits is reasonable. The so-called “normal cost” of a pension is how much you have to pay if your pension system is fully funded. Unfortunately, that’s a big if. Today, the normal cost is only a small fraction of total pension costs. Most of the money going to CalPERS is to pay down their unfunded liability, built up over years of insufficient annual payments, along with lower than projected investment returns, and benefit enhancements that were justified using overly optimistic financial projections. CalPERS, the pension system that serves the California Correctional Officers, is underfunded by at least $138 billion. It is only 71 percent funded.

To see how this translates into the cost of individual pension […] Read More