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Ken Starr Luncheon
Saturday, May 17, 2003
Chapman University Law School
Hosted by Claremont Institutute and Chapman University School of Law
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Latest Column:
"The Litigation Lottery"
Trial Lawyers and the UCA

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$71.6 million: The amount needed per day through June 30, 2004, to balance budget.
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Issa Explores: The congressman starts the clock ticking. In the Bee ["Five years of Gray Davis and one-party government has given us the worst fiscal crisis in our state's 153-year history, record deficits, higher taxes, rising energy costs and lost jobs," Issa said in a prepared statement. "As a businessman and public servant, I know that Californians deserve better."] | Contracting Chaos: The Wall Street Journal takes Lord Gray to task for his Progressive view of contracts. [Telling companies that legal contracts are worth as much in California as they are in Cuba isn't exactly the way to lure new investment and jumpstart an economy. But then again, this isn't about fixing California's budget and energy woes so much as it is about fixing the Governor's poll numbers. With a 24% approval rating and a recall effort under way, Mr. Davis is desperate to wiggle out of an energy mess that was largely of his own making.] WSJ (subscription required)
more at CRO Blog

“The policies that turned a $9 billion surplus to a $24 billion deficit in just 18 months are continued and expanded in a state budget which, though just three weeks old, is already unraveling before our eyes."
-Tom McClintock 2/23/02

California has a spending problem. As State Senator Tom McClintock likes to point out, population and inflation combined have grown at a rate of 21% the past four years; revenue has grown 25%. Yet California government spending has grown 40%. The result is an unprecedented state budget deficit expected to exceed $35 billion.
- Thomas Krannawitter 5/2/03

In defense of Proposition 13. If keeping it intact is unfair, how fair is an $8,400 property tax bill?

The plea to save police and fire services is a disinformation scam to let loose the Car Tax.
A history lesson: raise the sales tax and watch retail sales plunge.
go to Shadow Controller

The Litigation Lottery

California's Unfair Competition Act and the Depradations of Unscrupulous Trial Lawyers
by Carol Liebau 5/16/03 | Anyone who truly wants to understand the legal concerns of everyday Americans can take a few minutes to tune into a Saturday morning Los Angeles radio program, where weekday morning drive time host and attorney Bill Handel offers what he flippantly characterizes as "marginal legal advice." Sometimes, of course, the callers are defendants -- but the really instructive calls are the ones seeking advice about whether to sue. | Last week, Handel took a call from a would-be plaintiff who had visited a 99-cent store and saw a lovely rug there . . . costing $24! He intended to sue. The call drove home a point: For too many Americans, undertaking a lawsuit has become tantamount to buying a lottery ticket . . . just another way to hope for a windfall. | Most sadly of all, if the caller really does decide to file suit, there will surely be a lawyer to help him. Over the past several decades, law school attendance has risen, and we are now confronted with a glut of lawyers who simply need a way to make a living. | Unfortunately, many of them have made their homes in California. And donated generous sums to the Democrat-controlled legislature. That's why there are laws like the California Unfair Competition Act (UCA). [more inside]

From Weekly Standard

Bad Times at the Other Times
The spotlight is on the New York Times today, but things aren't going so well at the Los Angeles Times, either.
by Hugh Hewitt 5/16/03
| Those professing surprise at the public collapse of credibility at the New York Times haven't been paying attention to Mickey Kaus or Andrew Sullivan. They haven't been reading the descent into fevers of Paul Krugman or the bitter stridency of Maureen Dowd. The deep sickness at the Times had many symptoms. Believers in the "mission" of the paper just chose to ignore those symptoms. | The very same symptoms are evident at the Los Angeles Times. The ideology of the newsroom is reflexively left. The reporters, as a group, are anti-Israel, anti-Evangelical, anti-free enterprise, and virulently anti-Bush. The editorial page boasts regular contributors Robert Scheer, Arianna Huffington, and John Balzar, reliable voices of the left, though lately Balzar has retreated into the pose of hand-wringer about the direction of society. | The columnists who deal regularly with politics outside of the editorial pages come in two varieties: left and farther-left. There is more diversity at a militia meeting than at a party of Los Angeles Times columnists. What happens when a newspaper becomes an echo chamber? Obvious errors and over-the-top biases go undetected. That's what happened in New York. It is happening in Los Angeles as well. [more at Weekly Standard]

From Sacramento Bee

In Full Retreat
Davis waves white flag on budget realism
by the Editors 5/16/03
| Gov. Gray Davis says he was happy with the budget he offered California in January, and there is no reason he shouldn't have been. His plan tackled the state's enormous deficit with a strenuous combination of spending cuts and tax increases. It was a real, if unpleasant, solution, one that would have largely put California back into long-term fiscal balance. | But Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature, afraid of angering their voters and their special-interest contributors, hated it. Seemingly every group in the state trooped to the steps of the Capitol to protest their share of the pain. And while everyone yelled, the governor, instead of barnstorming to sell his plan, huddled out of sight and watched his poll numbers tumble. [more at Sacramento Bee]

From Sacramento Bee

Will Davis Ever Learn Why He's the Most Unpopular Governor?
by Dan Walters 5/16/03 | Does Gray Davis ever lie awake at night wondering why he's the most disliked and mistrusted California governor in recorded history and is facing a potential recall election? | And if he does, does he have the intellectual honesty to admit to himself that his own passivity and penchant for taking what he considers to be the easy way out of problems are at the root of his poor public standing? Or does he really believe the propaganda his minions disgorge about his being the victim of wretched fate and the shortcomings of others? | If Davis does have an objective sense of his own shortcomings, he appears not to have learned any lessons from it because his latest response to the state's budget crisis exhibits the same characteristics that got him into trouble in the first place. [more at Sacramento Bee]

From SD Union Tribune

Scandal May Paralyze City Hall for Months
by the Editors 5/15/03 | Regardless of how the federal corruption probe of three City Council members turns out, grievous damage already has been inflicted on City Hall. | After a phalanx of FBI agents descended on Ralph Inzunza, Charles Lewis and Michael Zucchet, work on city business in the 10th floor offices of every City Council member ground to a virtual halt. But the U.S. attorney's investigation is far more than a one-day distraction. The troubling reality is that the criminal inquiry is likely to paralyze Mayor Dick Murphy and the council for months to come. [more at SD Union Tribune]

From American Spectator

Miramax Moore
by The Prowler 5/16/03
| Left-wing Hollywood is mounting its crusade to take down President Bush. Miramax Studios has stepped in to provide financing to gonzo documentary filmmaker Michael Moore so that he can complete his film currently entitled "Fahrenheit 911." Moore's film intends to prove that the Bush family continued its financial ties to the Bin Laden family months after the attacks on New York and Washington. | Initially, Moore had received financing from Mel Gibson's Icon Productions, but when the content and purpose of the film leaked out, Gibson pulled his financing. "Gibson didn't want anything he is involved in to be tainted by Moore's work," says an Icon staffer in Los Angeles. "This just isn't something we want to be associated with. But [Moore] got his money, he'll make his film, and the market will decide. That's what great about America." | Miramax, whose founder Harvey Weinstein is one of Hollywood's biggest and most liberal Democratic backers, jumped at the chance to back Moore's latest effort. Traditionally so-called documentaries are comparatively inexpensive to produce, and Miramax already has a plan to make its money back. According to several Miramax sources in New York, they have already entered into agreement with a French-based company called the Wild Bunch, which will be selling overseas distribution rights. Once again, the French come to the aid of America's enemies. [more at American Spectator]

From OC Register

'Smart Growth' Types' Dumb Rhetoric
Linking suburbs to obesity just another silly attempt at social engineering
by Chris Fiscelli 5/16/03
| Is moving to the suburbs bad for your health? The American Dream of owning a home where you can raise a family is under attack because it doesn't mesh with new "smart growth" plans for dense cities where everyone lives downtown and walks or rides light rail. | The dream house that we work so hard for is being blamed for everything from obesity to air pollution. Now, instead of parents blaming fast-food restaurants for their kids' weight problems, "smart growth" groups are blaming the suburbs for our nation's obesity and health woes. Some of the anti-suburb sentiment is downright ridiculous, not to mention highly unscientific. [more at OC Register]

From OC Register

Budget Revision a Huge Disappointment
by the Editors 5/15/03 | No new taxes. That refrain is needed now more than ever after Gov. Gray Davis' release Wednesday of his much-anticipated 2003-2004 budget revision to deal with California's gaping budget hole. According to the revision, the state's deficit now stands at a jaw-dropping $38.2 billion, up from $34.6 billion previously projected by the governor. | Although the governor's proposal includes some alternatives proposed by Republicans - budget cuts and borrowing money to roll over the debt - the governor relies too heavily on new taxes to fix the problem. | And his proposal, which includes some minor "realignments" to deal with structural problems, doesn't come close to fixing the fundamental reason that the state is busting its budget: excessive state spending. If the Legislature passes the governor's plan, nothing will stop legislators from spending the state into a similar deficit in four more years. | If the governor thought he would have an easy time gaining GOP support for the proposal, he was mistaken. [more at OC Register]

From Sacramento Bee

Davis Budget Pushes Problems into the Future
by Daniel Weintraub 5/15/03 | The revised budget Gov. Gray Davis proposed Wednesday represents a risky leap into the world of deficit financing, relying on an off-the-books $11 billion loan and a prayer that the economy will revive to bail out the state. | It's bad enough that Davis is proposing to pay for our recent consumption of government services over the next five years, a move that might be unavoidable now that the hole is too deep to crawl out of without a ladder. But the governor is compounding that problem by declining to offer a plan that rids the state of its multibillion-dollar structural deficit. | In lay terms, that means California's government is spending more than it's taking in, and remains on a path to do so again in the near future. If nothing is done to change course, by this time next year the state will be confronting a brand new, $8 billion shortfall. And that's probably the best-case scenario. [more at Sacramento Bee]

From SF Chronicle

Governor No
by Debra J. Saunders 5/15/03 | Even partisans who oppose the effort to recall Gov. Gray Davis are fascinated at the possibilities: With no primary, a cheaper price tag on campaigns and the likelihood that (if the governor were recalled) a candidate could win with as little as 20 percent of the vote, a recall would turn California into a political petri dish. | "It's going to be great theater," noted David Gilliard, the GOP political consultant running Rescue California, the latest addition to the recall movement and largely funded by Rep. Darrell Issa. | For what it's worth, conventional wisdom says that if Republicans can raise up to $2 million, they'll get the 897,158 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot -- and once recall is on the ballot, voters will give Davis the boot. | The latest Field poll found that two-thirds of state voters don't like the governor. And the mechanics work against him: On the very day voters go to the polls to vote up or down on Davis, they also vote on his possible replacement. By law, Davis can't run to replace himself. | Top Demo officials may say they oppose a recall "on principle." That's nice. | That principle will go bye-bye because Democrats have to run to retain the state's top office. [more at SF Chronicle]

From OC Register

An Initiative with a Silver Lining
Race-privacy measure would challenge scientists' obsession with skin color
by M. Royce Van Tassell 5/15/03
| At the behest of University of California President Richard Atkinson, the UC Board of Regents will today consider whether to oppose the Racial Privacy Initiative (RPI) scheduled to go before state voters in March. Atkinson argues that the initiative would harm one of UC's core missions by limiting the faculty's ability to use race and ethnicity as a factor in its research. | Atkinson is wrong. The initiative will make UC a better university by forcing the faculty to focus on the real causes of economic and educational success. | If adopted by California voters, the initiative would become an amendment to the state Constitution that would prevent state agencies and universities, including UC faculty, from classifying individuals by race. The initiative includes a variety of exemptions, for example, for classifications required by federal law or those used in enforcing state civil rights laws. However, the thrust of RPI is that race and ethnicity have no more to do with the government than religion does. | Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with that seemingly obvious statement. [more at OC Register]

From Washington Times

California's Problem
by the Editors 5/15/03 | Today, a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) panel is expected to hear arguments on whether or not to allow California's politicians to back out of about $17 billion worth of power contracts. It shouldn't. Allowing politicians to break contracts and short-change power companies would not only be wrong, it would set a terrible precedent. | The problem started at the peak of California's energy crisis, when Gov. Gray Davis was desperate to lock in energy prices cheaper than the $330 per megawatt hour that the state was then paying. Mr. Davis eventually signed about 40 long-term contracts, calling them "the bedrock of a long-term energy solution." For instance, Mr. Davis signed a contract with Allegheny Energy for power priced at $61 per megawatt hour. Now that the power crisis has passed, Allegheny sells power in the $30 range. So the state wants out of what at the moment seem highly overpriced contracts. | However, allowing California to abrogate its good-faith agreements would undermine the contract process. Both sides of a deal are expected to live up to the terms they've agreed to. Besides, canceling the contracts would set a terrible precedent. If FERC sides with California now, then will it allow power companies to negotiate for better contracts when prices go up? Probably not. In the meantime, why would companies invest in California with no certainty of an investment return. [more at Washington Times]

From LA Daily News

Liberating Schools
The school board backs real reform by committing to charters
by the Editors 5/15/03
| The Los Angeles school board did away Tuesday with its old practice of making excuses. | Instead, it made a commitment, and in the process, it made history. | After much controversy and debate, the board settled on a compromise plan for granting a one-year charter to Granada Hills High School. | With that, the 3,800-student campus will become the largest conversion charter in the country, and the Los Angeles Unified School District will move forward with the most valuable educational reform in decades. [more at LA Daily News]

From FrontPage

How Ford Funds the Left
by William Bacon 5/15/03 | One of the most disturbing realities in American society today is that the Ford Foundation, which is supposed to represent the love of America and of American values, finances the far Left. Ford is especially financially generous, for instance, to radical entities such as the anti-War, neo-Com movement. It also provides substantial grants to the Tides Foundation and its sister non-profits: The Tides Center, Thoreau Center for Sustainability,, the Tsunami Fund, Tides Canada Foundation, and Highwater, Inc., a for-profit real estate firm that manages Tides’ properties including its home office in San Francisco’s Presidio. | The story of what Tides actually does with its wealth is one that is rarely told or heard of. [more at FrontPage Magazine]

From Town Hall

You're Suing Los Angeles
by Terence Jeffrey 5/14/03 | This may be the first that you've heard of it, but the fact of the matter is you're suing Los Angeles -- and you're winning. | But that's not good news. Winning may cost you money. It definitely will cost people in Los Angeles some freedom. | This is a story that began at the ballot box. | In 1994, Californians voted 59 percent to 41 percent for Proposition 187. "Essentially," the Los Angeles Times reported then, "the proposition would bar illegal immigrants from public schools, and prohibit public agencies from providing them with non-emergency health and social services." | An illegal alien showing up at a California hospital with a medical emergency would still get care -- courtesy of the taxpayers. But an illegal alien who sought non-emergency care would have to pay for it himself. | Prop. 187 was immediately challenged in federal court -- the supposition being that the Constitution required Californians to pay the education and non-emergency health care costs of foreign nationals illegally in the state. In 1995, a federal judge struck down the proposition. California appealed. But Democratic California Gov. Gray Davis dropped the appeal in 1999. Prop. 187 was voided. [more at Town Hall]

From OC Register

Tinkering Won't Solve a Deficit This Massive
by the Editors 5/14/03 | We'll save the specifics for Thursday, so that we're dealing with real projections and not just hearsay. But there's little question that something fundamental has gone wrong in state government - and we're not talking about the Davis administration's explanation, which is that the national economy has gone soft. | Certainly it has, but state government spending has increased $37 billion in the last four years. One can't blame the economy for such a wanton display of fiscal recklessness. | "I heard they're awful," said Assemblyman Todd Spitzer, R-Orange, referring to the forthcoming budget projections. "Look at this institution. Look at this place, at this building. It's an impressive monument. It carries all this weight in making critical decisions. Yet people are paralyzed." | The paralysis, he said, stems from a fundamental difference in outlook between most Democrats who want to continue spending and Republicans who know the frenzy has to end. |"We have to change people's behavior," Mr. Spitzer added. "There's a fundamental philosophical debate about government that has to occur, and it hasn't." He's absolutely right, and as he spoke with a Register editorial writer on the Assembly floor, additional new bills adding costs to government and new regulations passed one after another. [more at OC Register]

From OC Register

A Sober Era in Sacramento? Hardly
Vast deficit hasn't chastened the state's reckless and feckless lawmakers
by K. Llyoyd Billingsley 5/14/03
| Massive deficits are normally times for fiscal sobriety and prudent policies, but California seems determined to prove that budgetary sinkholes constitute an opportunity to make bad government worse. | Estimates of the deficit range as high as $35 billion, easily the worst in California history. That means there is no money for new spending projects, a reality that has not stopped proposals for a massive system of government health care. The prime backer, Sen. Sheila Kuehl, former TV actress and Santa Monica Democrat, bills this as "single payer" when it would cost every Californian a lot of money. It would increase already high taxes and add a Mt. Whitney of bureaucracy. Based on residency, the plan would generate fathomless fraud, degrade quality and leave Californians with fewer health-care alternatives. [more at OC Register]

From LA Daily News

They Fail; We Pay
City Hall bungling produced and perpetuates the LAPD consent decree
by the Editors 5/13/03
| What excuse could L.A. city leaders have for their apparent failure to get Los Angeles Police Department into compliance with the federal consent decree they created to cover up their failure of leadership? | It's not as though the consent decree were some foreign imposition that they might have a hard time understanding. Just look at its architects: Mayor James Hahn negotiated the decree back when he was city attorney to conceal his failure to use his authority to stop the LAPD's excesses. | At that time, Gerald Chaleff, who now heads the LAPD's Consent Decree Bureau, was Police Commission chairman. | And before becoming LAPD chief, William Bratton served as a consultant in helping to write the terms of the consent decree that is costing $50 million this year alone -- which is why the public is facing higher taxes and lower services. | Thus, three of the people directly responsible for obeying the consent decree also played an instrumental role in putting it together. They were well aware of their obligations, their responsibilities and the decree's time frame. | So what's gone wrong? [more at LA Daily News]

From National Review

Oil for Illegals?
Mexico, and the Democrats, have a fit over House vote.
by Mark Krikorian 5/13/03
| Last Thursday, the House International Relations Committee narrowly passed a resolution introduced by Rep. Cass Ballenger of North Carolina (R.) requiring that any amnesty deal for the five million Mexican illegal aliens in the United States be linked to an opening of Mexico's state-controlled oil industry to investment by U.S. companies. | Then the fun started. | The Mexican press exploded in outrage. "Blackmail!" cried the archbishop of Mexico City. "Stupidity!" said a representative of the oil workers' union. A plot to "annex Latin America," intoned Nobel peace-prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel. An example of U.S. lawmakers' "ignorance," "arrogance," and "imperial vision," according to a Mexican senator. The head of the leftist PRD called on President Vicente Fox to "put on his pants" — act like a man — and oppose the proposal. Fox finally joined the tsunami of criticism on Sunday and categorically rejected any privatization of Pemex, Mexico's state oil monopoly. [more at National Review]

From Town Hall
My Week at Stanford
by Dennis Prager 5/13/03 | I spent last week at college. And not just any college. Stanford University. | And this is what I thought. | If you wish to learn facts, the university can be a great place. If you wish to study the natural sciences, the university is a great place. But if you want to acquire wisdom or to become a mature adult, the university is usually an impediment. | By and large our major universities are located on gorgeous land, isolated from the real world. The university, for a tenured professor in particular, is closer to a socialist utopia than any place on earth. He does little work, is relatively well paid, has extended time off, is surrounded by adoring young men and women (more about that later), and alone among wage earners, can be wrong all the time and pay no price. | This isolation is a major reason why most of society's stupid ideas, and few of its better ones, come from professors. You have to live on campus, as I did (at Stanford's Faculty Center) to appreciate just how isolated you are. Everything is campus based. You eat there, socialize there, study there for four years, read the college's newspaper, and rarely watch television or listen to the radio. In fact, for more than a few students, the university environment is not all that different from that of a cult. As a student, you are well fed and live among fellow impressionable young people. The only adults you encounter are there, for the most part, to shape your thinking. Other adults and other ideas are largely kept out. | As for the faculty, the university is one of the only places in society where it is actually a challenge to grow up (Hollywood is another). [more at Town Hall]

From SF Chronicle

Do-Nothing City
by Debra J. Saunders 5/13/03 | San Francisco is doomed. | While leaders of New York and other big cities have demonstrated the resolve to do something about their homeless population -- San Francisco pols have decided it's better to look as if you care about the homeless than to do something about the homeless. | Woe to the civic figure who goes for results. | In 1994, then-San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan sponsored an initiative to require homeless recipients of General Assistance to accept housing vouchers and smaller cash grants instead of a cash stipend only. | San Francisco voters approved the measure, but the supes never implemented it. City voters never made the supes pay for their betrayal; to the contrary, city voters chose not to re-elect Jordan. | In 2002, Supervisor Gavin Newsom introduced a similar measure to replace most of General Assistance cash grants with city-supplied food, shelter and treatment. Voters approved the measure by 60 percent. | On this go-round, the supes didn't get a chance to gut the homeless reform. Superior Court Judge Ronald Quidachay beat them to it. Quidachay issued a ruling May 8 that overturned the measure on the grounds that voters aren't allowed to determine homeless policies; only the supes can do that. | Yes, this is America. Yet, this judge felt free to rule that voters should be powerless with their own government. I guess only judges have power. | Now what? [more at SF Chronicle]

From Sacramento Bee

Jerry Brown Battles the Unions He Once Nurtured
by Daniel Weintraub 5/13/03 | Poor Jerry Brown. The former governor, now Oakland's mayor, is like some character from "The Twilight Zone." He's been granted what seems to be an eternal life in politics. The only catch is that he has to live it under the laws he signed as governor. | First was an ethics measure he championed in his first campaign for governor, which later was interpreted to prevent him from voting as mayor on issues affecting his Oakland property. Then came the criminal sentencing reforms he signed in the mid-1970s, which he now believes have resulted in the premature release of dangerous felons who prey on his fellow citizens. | Now Brown is getting religion on teachers unions, which he unleashed on California by signing legislation requiring local school districts to negotiate with teachers through collective bargaining. While the mayor says he continues to support the concept of collective bargaining, he's frustrated as can be by the unions' opposition to education reforms that would give poor kids more choice in the kind of schools they attend. [more at Sacramento Bee]

From WorldNetDaily

Why California's Gov. Davis May be Facing Historic Recall
by Eric Hogue 5/13/03 | History happened last week, but if you didn't have your radio tuned to a select few talk hosts in California – you heard nothing about it! | Last Monday, May 5, the combined efforts of the state's two main recall organizations announced the collection of over 100,000 signatures – well over 10 percent of those needed to recall Gov. Gray Davis. Since California's creation of a "Constitutional Recall" in 1911, this is the first time a recall campaign aimed at a statewide elected official has reached even 10 percent of the needed signatures, elevating it to a historical event. | Now, under California law, the secretary of state has to "officially offer the count each month" to the citizens and media alike – a new reality for California's most despised governor in state history. | Combine this news with evidence that additional 200,000-plus signatures are in the pipeline headed for Sacramento's "belly of the beast" and you have a nervous governor's office and state Capitol. One must now remember, all of this outrage has been orchestrated by the grassroots, volunteer efforts of simple taxpayers and the common citizens of California through talk radio and the Internet. [more at WorldNetDaily]

From LA Times

Make 'Balanced Budget' Myth a Reality for State
by Fred Silva 5/13/03 | You see it in editorials and letters to the editor and hear it in discussions by talking heads on TV. Even newly minted legislators say it: The California Constitution requires a balanced state budget, so choose your poison — raise taxes or cut spending. | This, alas, is a myth. There is no balanced budget requirement, and these are not the only choices to keep the state running. Indeed, there is an even more toxic option — borrowing money to finance deficit spending — and it is being proposed in this year's budget debate. | Defying the conventional wisdom, the Constitution requires only that the governor introduce a balanced budget. The Legislature does not have to pass a balanced budget, the governor need not withhold his signature if the budget isn't balanced and the state is not obligated to maintain a balanced budget. [more at LA Times]

From LA Daily News

Paying More for Less
Hahn's budget slugs taxpayers to fatten City Hall paychecks
by the Editors 5/13/03
| The practical effect of Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn's proposed budget for the next year can be summed up in one sentence: City workers produce less and earn more, while city residents pay more and get less. | What a deal! | And what an outrage for L.A.'s taxpayers and residents! | That's the upshot of Hahn's proposed budget for the next fiscal year, which hikes fees and slashes services, while jacking up salaries and benefits for the people paid to perform those services. | Somehow, despite a slumping economy and anemic tax returns, Hahn has managed to put together a budget package that boosts spending by 6.6 percent. But little if any of that spending actually goes toward making life better for the city's average residents. | On the plus side, there's Hahn's plan to hire 320 new cops. The officers will be a valued addition to the Los Angeles Police Department, even though they'll barely make a dent in its massive manpower shortage. | Then there's the minus side. [more at LA Daily News]

From World Magazine

X2 Marks the Spot
by Andrew Coffin [posted 5/13/03] 5/17 issue | Watch enough movies and the temptation will arise to revile everything that appears crass, commercial, big, and dumb—especially the typical summer blockbuster. But then there's a peculiar pleasure in seeing a summer blockbuster that isn't so easily dismissed: commercially viable but not (too) crass, suitably "big" but not (too) dumb. | Last summer's pleasurable surprise was Spider-Man, and this year another comic-book adaptation, X2: X-Men United, comes close to filling its shoes. Last week, X2 set a worldwide box-office record for a single weekend, taking in $154.8 million. (It earned $85.6 million in the United States.) | X2 (rated PG-13 for sci-fi action/violence, some sexuality, and brief bad language) is, by far, bigger than its predecessor, 2000's X-Men. It has more characters, more special effects, and much, much more of a plot. And for the most part, it works. (On the downside, it also has more violence, more sensuality, and more screen time for a female mutant named Mystique, who is covered only by her scaly blue skin.) | For some, X2's beefed-up plot, involving shifting allegiances, unlikely alliances, and more subplots than probably necessary, may seem a barely comprehensible mess. But there are fascinating themes here, and a few characters developed well enough to make the expertly executed action scenes enthralling. [more at World Magazine]

From LA Times

You Can't Judge These Books by Their Covers
Many school texts distort history, slamming the U.S. and glorifying despotic regimes.
by Diane Ravitch 5/12/03
| Fifteen years ago, I helped write the guidelines for teaching history in California public schools. Those guidelines — drafted by a committee of teachers and historians and approved by the state Board of Education — won national praise for their insistence that students should learn the importance of democratic institutions, human rights and the rule of law. | Last year, while doing research for a book, I read two dozen leading textbooks in world and American history, including many of those used in California's schools, and I was surprised to find that the spread of democratic ideas is no longer a central theme. | Instead, the textbooks reflect the relativistic views that permeated higher education during the last decade: All cultures are equal; none is better than any other; we are not to judge other cultures' ways of life. [more at LA Times]

From LA Times

A See-No-Evil Parole System
by Jonathan Turley 5/12/03 | This week, Gov. Gray Davis is contemplating the ultimate Zen paradox: If an ex-con violates his parole and no one is around to see it, does it still count? | For Davis, this is not just some metaphysical mind-teaser for an afternoon in the lotus position. It may be the long-sought solution to a growing crisis in the California criminal justice system. | California has the highest recidivism rate of any state, with an estimated 70% of released prisoners returning to prison within three years. With a budget shortfall and rising recidivism, someone in the Davis administration had a brainstorm for instant crime reduction: No parole supervision means fewer parole violations. [more LA Times]

From Stanford Review

Rabble-Rousing: Will We Ever Be Free of the Chaos?
by the Editors [posted 5/12/03] 5/8/03 | "But every time you say the word racism my kneejerk reaction is ‘What do you propose we do about it?' That is the question that each of us must ask ourself every time we raise a fist, chant a slogan, or march in a protest. Then, and only then, will we make significant change for the better." - By 1987, Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition had motivated the development of a Rainbow Agenda at Stanford University that, through tactics of sit-ins and insistent rabble-rousing, had forced the University to confront allegations of racism and ethnocentrism both in its employment practices and in its curriculum. Chants of "Hey hey, ho ho, Western Civ has got to go" may still be fresh in the minds of a number of readers of the Review. | Indeed, the rabble-rousing of the Rainbow crew at Stanford was one of the key motivations for the founding of this paper, to insure that an alternate viewpoint would exist to prevent the Rainbow radicals from monopolizing the public eye of the University administration. The above quote contains the closing lines of "A closer look at the Rainbow Agenda," a poignant article by Scott Lyon from Volume I, Issue 1 of the Stanford Review. | This is where it all began: the Review as a rational, theoretically grounded, practically tested field of alternatives to fallacious leftist conceptions of "diversity" espoused by hypocrites. The Review created some profoundly thoughtful discourse by going after the good Reverend Jackson, and we have tracked him doggedly ever since over the numerous occasions on which he's returned to this favored stomping ground. | And yet, he's still here. [more at Stanford Review]

From OC Register

State Budget Deficit: Is It Getting Larger?
By the Editors 5/12/03
| This week the Big Time Budget Wrestling match begins in earnest in Sacramento. On Wednesday, Gov. Gray Davis releases his May revision of his January budget proposal for fiscal year 2003-04. "Some conservatives say they expect the Democratic governor to declare a $40 billion deficit when he releases his revised budget plan Wednesday, up from the $34.6 billion previously predicted," reported the Stockton Record on Friday. The numbers are for the next 16 months. | One thing is for sure: The bad ideas to make up the shortfall just keep coming. [more at OC Register]

From Sacramento Bee

California National Guard Still a Mess
by Dan Walters 5/12/03 | It's been well over two years since this column first reported that the California National Guard -- the largest such organization in the nation -- was being ripped apart by feuding within its upper-level officer ranks, threatening its readiness to respond to national or state emergencies. | The centerpiece of the initial report was a letter written to Gov. Gray Davis by Frank Schober, who commanded the California Guard in the 1970s when Davis was Gov. Jerry Brown's chief of staff. Schober told Davis that under the current commander, Adjutant Gen. Paul D. Monroe Jr., the state's military arm had deteriorated into a "very sorry condition." [more at Sacramento Bee]

From SF Chronicle

Exit Ignorant
by Debra Saunders 5/11/03 | State Board of Education member Suzanne Tacheny has heard students wail that the requirement to pass the state's high school exit exam could ruin their chances of getting into college. They are so wrong, she said. If high school seniors can't pass this test, they aren't likely to get into college. | Folks, the exit exam is not a difficult test. [more at SF Chronicle]

Democrats: Enhance This!
"Revenue enhancers" to enhance their revenue by taking more from you.
by Ray Haynes 5/10/03 |
Those high placed government types, the ones who prepare budgets, and then try to sell them to the public, and the people who make money off of the budgets by convincing politicians to give them (and not someone else) your tax dollars, are right now thinking of new ways to get more of your money. These government honchos know that you are onto them, and so they change their words from time to time, just to confuse you, and enable themselves to get more of your hard-earned money through taxes. | One of my favorite words currently in use in Sacramento is “revenue enhancers.” My leftist friends tell the press and the public that we “have to balance” reductions in budgets with measures designed to “enhance revenues” to the government. By this they mean they have to raise your tax rates, to make you pay more taxes tomorrow than you do today. Then they can continue to spend the money you are sending them. [inside]

From LA Times

The After-School Puzzle
by the Editors 5/10/03 | A seminal new study on a federally funded after-school program reached some surprising conclusions. Contrary to the findings of previous studies that credited enriched after-school care with everything from keeping kids safe to improving their test scores, the report by Mathematica Policy Research found that the $1-billion 21st Century Community Learning Centers provided few educational benefits and did not reduce the number of latchkey children. Children at the school-based centers did not feel safer and were more likely than a control group to report that they had been exposed to drugs. [more at LA Times]

Recalling Our Principles

Why the Davis Recall is Worth Reconsidering
by Carol Liebau 5/9/03 | It’s hard to like Governor Gray Davis. Like the stereotype of a bad politician, he is self-righteous, cynical, manipulative and grasping – without possessing any of the typical politician’s compensating traits of charm, humor or even sheer entertainment value (think Rev. Al Sharpton). | So it’s no wonder that the movement to recall Davis has caught on like wildfire. For the first time in memory, it seems at least possible that a sitting California governor could actually be removed from office. In fact, as of April 30, recall supporters reported that more than 100,000 of the roughly 897,000 signatures needed to place a recall on the ballot had been collected. | The success of the “Recall Davis” movement is thanks largely to the grassroots. Over 400,000 recall petitions are currently in circulation, with tens of thousands having been sent out in response to citizen requests, and the “Recall Gray Davis” web site estimates that it has logged over 8 million hits since it went online on February 4, 2003. The California Republican Party has endorsed the effort only cautiously, and no single big donor has yet stepped forward to bankroll the campaign entirely, although Rep. Darrell Issa recently indicated that he would offer a six-figure contribution to the recall. | But in an era when recall petitions can be downloaded on the internet, and given the governor’s 56% disapproval rate even within his own party (according to a recent Field poll), a grassroots effort may be enough. Even in the San Jose area, a stronghold of support for Davis (he defeated Bill Simon there last November, 55% to 32%), a full 36% would support recall, with 46% opposing, according to Democratic pollster David Binder. Statewide, a recent Field poll reveals that if a recall initiative were actually placed on the ballot, 46% of voters would dump Davis, with only 43% being willing to retain him in office. | The thought of handing Davis his walking papers is, frankly, an intoxicating one. [more inside]

Front Page Index
The Week: 5/3/03 – 5/10/03

Recalling Our Principles Why the Davis Recall is Worth Reconsidering by Carol Liebau 5/9/03 | Short-Term Fixes Only Delay Fiscal Train Wreck State has to come to terms with Prop. 13's legacy. by David Abel and Rick Cole 5/9/03 | A Homeless Plan Can't End Now by the Editors 5/9/03 | Cashing In at the Capitol by the Editors 5/9/03 | A Dubious 'Novel Tax' by the Editors 5/9/03 | Surplus Gone, CalPERS Needs More from Taxpayers by Daniel Weintraub 5/8/03 | We Can All Just Get Along A major hate-crimes backlash against Muslims and Arab Americans failed to materialize despite ominous warnings. by Richard J. Riordan and David A. Lehrer 5/8/03 | Picking Patronage Plums Appointment process needs reform by the Editors 5/8/03 | Dropping the Ball on Drop-Outs California educators mishandle figures on those who quit school early by DR. ALAN BONSTEEL 5/8/03 | Pay as You Go Hahn's new vision for city government by the Editors 5/8/03 | A Foregone Forecast Stop me if you've heard this one: The recovery could come later this year, but it will be a modest one. by John Seiler [posted 5/7/03] 5/4/03 | Zero Tolerance, Zero Sense by the Editors 5/7/03 | Tussle Over Loss of Manufacturing Jobs Focuses on Tax Credit by Dan Walters 5/7/03 | Dangerous Liaisons by the Editors 5/7/03 | Suspense About Expense A costly bill to strengthen union control of UC contracts comes back by LARRY PETERMAN 5/6/03 | $10 Billion Debt Plan Lesser Evil by Chris Weinkopf 5/6/03 | Romer's Big Discovery LAUSD superintendent sees the wisdom of smaller is better by the Editors 5/6/03 | California's Next Crisis Gov. Davis sets his sights on workers' comp reform by the Editors 5/6/03 | No Holes in Holes A smooth move from bookshelf to silver screen. by Thomas Hibbs 5/6/03 | Something New is 'Blowing in the Wind' at University of California College Republicans Now Biggest Group on Campus by John Gizzi 5/5/03 | Another San Francisco Democrat by Terence Jeffrey 5/5/03 | Fascists, Communists Unite Against President Bush Radical follies in Santa Clara by Brian Sayre 5/5/03 | Perverting Megan's Law Democrats work to limit, not expand, Internet posting of sex-offender data. by TODD SPITZER 5/4/03 | A Budget Solution That Works Our budget solution works. Nothing the Governor has done has worked by Assemblyman Ray Haynes 5/3/03 | Recalling Governor Davis Will California voters give him the boot? by the Editors 5/3/03 | Separating God from Country by Joseph Perkins [posted 5/3/03] 5/2/03 |
[go to Front Page Archive Index]


And some
Lingering Observations

A Holy Mess

Why Do Catholic Politicians Get Away With Ignoring Church Teachings?
by Carol Liebau 5/2/03
| The great American humorist Will Rogers once observed that there were a hundred things that single one out for recognition in party politics besides ability. For Congressmen Loretta (D-CA) and Linda Sanchez (D-CA), perhaps it’s because they are the first sisters to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. | And now, they have been invited – together – to deliver the graduation address at Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles, a school that defines itself as a “Catholic college primarily for women.” According to Mount St. Mary’s own statistics, the student body is indeed overwhelmingly female, and also predominantly Latina – so from a gender and ethnic standpoint, the Sanchez sisters would seem to be an excellent choice to address the new graduates. | But the “fit” is less perfect when it comes to religion. The Sanchez sisters consider themselves to be “Catholics.” But that view is difficult to support, in light of the Catholic stand on abortion – one of the topics about which the Catholic Church speaks unequivocally. A “Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life,” approved by Pope John Paul II on November 21, 2002, states very plainly that laws concerning abortion “must defend the basic right to life from conception to natural death.” | Yet the Sanchez sisters are openly, vocally and proudly pro-choice. [inside]

A Bad Attitude
Hostility to Private Enterprise Impedes California’s Economic Recovery
by Carol Liebau 4/25/03 | Even Hans Blix and his gang of merry inspectors wouldn’t have any trouble finding evidence that California’s economy is in a mess. The signs are everywhere. Last year’s budget deficit – $23 billion – was staggering, especially given that the combined deficit nationwide of all state governments totaled $40 billion. And this year, of course, California’s projected budget deficit is set at $35 billion. | The reasons are many, including the impact of a slow national economy and the bursting of the tech bubble. But occasionally, the simple act of reading the newspaper can shed light on more than just the events of the day. Take two headlines from last week. Up north, in The Sacramento Bee, the headline read, “Capitol staffers get pay raises”; down south, a San Diego Union-Tribune piece was titled “Plan would push exec pay reform.” [more inside]

Governor Davis: Smarter than He Looks!

I'm sorry, I thought he was destroying the state through mere incompetence.

by Assemblyman Ray Haynes 4/19/03
| It appears I owe Governor Gray Davis an apology. Over the last four years I’ve been accusing him of recklessly destroying our budget, our business climate and our power system with no strategy or concern for long term costs. A recent report from the California Independent System Operators (Cal-ISO, our state’s incredibly effective energy managers) has now led to me to believe that I haven’t been giving our governor enough credit—he’s smarter than he looks! | In our state budget, we’ve gone from a $12 billion surplus to a $36 billion deficit in four short years. The system of tax and fee increases and some of the budget cuts the Governor has proposed seem designed to deliver the coup de grace to our ailing economy, almost like he’s putting it out of it’s misery. [more inside]

Just Another Face in the Crowd

Barbara Boxer and the Perils of Internationalist Group-Think
by Carol Liebau 4/18/03 |
One of the first lessons my father ever taught me was based on the classic “The Oxbow Incident,” a tale illustrating the tragedy that can result from mindless mob rule. The moral of the story, according to my father, was “Always think for yourself – never go with the crowd.” | It’s a lesson that stuck – which is why Senator Barbara Boxer’s decision repeatedly to criticize the President for being willing to “virtually go it alone” in Iraq seems inherently mindless. Of course, Boxer is a knee-jerk liberal, and her jibe fits neatly into the left’s current obsession about the opinions of France, Germany, Russia and “the world” more generally (conveniently defined to exclude our extensive “coalition of the willing”). But the reasoning of so-called “internationalists” like Boxer has been bewildering for a while – apparently, for them, it’s perfectly legitimate for our troops to die to prevent Saddam Hussein from obtaining weapons of mass destruction he might use against the United States . . . but only if France (or Cameroon, or Guinea, or Syria) says so. | Never one to “go it alone” herself on behalf of any unpopular principle, Barbara Boxer has been a prominent member of the chorus of liberal naysayers. [more inside]



Kuehl-Care is wrong Rx for Californians
Sally C. Pipes
Pacific Research Institute

Boycott Jim Hahn's L.A.
by Arnold Steinberg
The Washington Times

Feds Shouldn't Bail Out State
Aid from D.C. would only prompt lawmakers to overspend even more
by Richard Vedder
OC Register


Why Hollywood Hates Conservatives III
by Steve Feinberg
more at FrontPage Magazine

Saving Democracy in California
by Ken Masugi

A Boy Catches a Terroist Gang
SLA brought to justice
by Adam Sparks SF Gate

Eight Ways To Solve The Budget Crisis
by Adam Sparks SF Gate

Why Simon Lost
From the beginning, and in the end.
By Arnold Steinberg National Review

The Authoritative Guide to Why Bill Simon Lost
What Really Happened in California
By Arnold Steinberg Human Events

Simon Should Have Won
The state GOP has lost track of its responsibility to voters, letting extraneous concerns crowd out attending to political basics.
by John Kurzweil
California Political Review


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