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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:
"Recalling Our Principles"
reconsidering the recall

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$70.8 million: The amount needed per day through June 30, 2004, to balance budget.
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contributor commentary
Kuhl Round 1: The judge has made it out of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee. But there’s still a rocky road reported in the NY Times [All 10 of the committee's Republicans voted in her favor today while all 9 Democrats voted no. But Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, said he had not decided whether he would vote for Judge Kuhl's confirmation when her nomination comes to the floor because he was troubled by her record.] Thanks a lot. Ain’t he up for reelection? | Miller Time: The Washington Times profiles comedian Dennis Miller ["I am portrayed as the big anomaly in the community. But if you can't get behind your country at a time like this, what are you thinking? War in Iraq has only increased my patriotism," Mr. Miller said in an interview yesterday.] So weird that practical patriotism is virtually invisible within the ranks of California's Celebrity Brigade.
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

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]

From LA Times

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
| Next month marks the 25th anniversary of Proposition 13. Because then-Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature failed to deal with the growing revolt against soaring property taxes, voters approved the Jarvis-Gann initiative, slashing property taxes by nearly two-thirds and imposing strict limits on future increases. In the quarter-century since, that failure of state leadership has only been compounded. No serious attempt has ever been made to deal with Proposition 13 and put in place a fair and stable system for paying for California's public services. All we've had is crass opportunism, crisis management and unintended consequences. | In January, facing an unprecedented fiscal crisis, Gov. Gray Davis promised he would veto any budget that didn't fundamentally reform state finances. "Every crisis presents an opportunity for change," Davis noted. "We would be failing in our duty to those who elected us, however, if we pass on the tough decisions and do nothing to permanently fix what we know to be broken. As California leaders address the fiscal crisis now before us, we must seize the opportunity to develop a new fiscal blueprint for California." | But with the state now literally about to run out of cash, what happened to the serious talk about serious reform? [more at LA Times]

From SF Chronicle

A Homeless Plan Can't End Now
by the Editors 5/9/03 | San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors is back on the spot on homeless policy. | Will it heed an overwhelming public vote to fix failed policies -- or let a legal ruling and political rivalries fill the city streets with addicts, alcoholics and lost souls? | Superior Court Judge Ronald Quidachay ruled that the changes contained in Proposition N must be approved by the Board of Supervisors, not voters. But it would be a mistake to think that the ruling rejects the substance of the "Care Not Cash" measure: replacing cash grants with a guarantee of services to homeless welfare recipients. [more at SF Chronicle]

From LA Times

Cashing In at the Capitol
by the Editors 5/9/03 | In 1990, the authors of California's strict legislative term limits law promised voters that the measure would "put an end to the Sacramento web of special favors and patronage." In fact, now Sacramento insiders say lawmakers seem to base their votes more than ever on political factors and the sources of campaign funds. With every legislator's exit date known in advance, new lawmakers often start raising cash for their next office — or fishing for a fat private job — as soon as they arrive in town. Certainly the nexus between votes and campaign funds often is more visible. [more at LA Times]

From OC Register

A Dubious 'Novel Tax'
by the Editors 5/9/03 | In a mail vote announced on Wednesday, Irvine property owners approved by 64 percent what the Register headline aptly called a "novel tax for schools." It's novel in that it may be challenged in court as a violation of the Proposition 218 tax limitation that voters passed in 1996. | The vote, in the words of our sister paper, the Irvine World News, was for "a special assessment district that would provide $2.4 million" for the Irvine Unified School District's "general fund for the 2003-04 school year." The cost would be about $49 a year for homeowners and $33 for condo owners. The money will go for school recreation building and property maintenance, such as ball fields. | The vote was not by each registered voter, but property ownership weighted by the value of property owned. [more at OC Register]

From Sacramento Bee

Surplus Gone, CalPERS Needs More from Taxpayers
by Daniel Weintraub 5/8/03 | The bad news coming out of the nation's largest pension fund is about to get worse. | The numbers crunchers over at the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) have just completed their annual calculations to determine how much the state and school districts owe the retirement fund on behalf of their employees and retirees. | Buffeted by a third straight year of declining investment returns and still absorbing a package of boosted benefits, the system now needs a record amount from the taxpayers: more than $3 billion in the coming fiscal year. That's more than double what was owed in the fiscal year ending June 30. | The rates taxpayers will now be handing over, measured as a percentage of the public payroll, are not the highest ever. But they are a shock to the system after several years of low or zero contributions made possible by huge earnings in the investment fund during the 1990s bull market on Wall Street. [more at Sacramento Bee]

SAVE SADDAM – The Western Front
From Los Angeles Times

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
| On Friday, Assemblywoman Judy Chu, chairwoman of the Select Committee on Hate Crimes, held hearings "raising awareness about the hate-crime backlash on California residents as a result of the recent war." | On Monday, Mayor James Hahn announced an "anti-hate-crime campaign" with seven citywide hearings because "hate crimes and the use of hate language have increased over the past few months." | But wait a minute. Has there really been a big upsurge in hate crimes? Have you read about many? Heard about them? Most likely you haven't, and that's because, by and large, the big backlash never occurred. There may have been isolated incidents, but those voices predicting that Americans would take out their fears and anxieties on other Americans as vigilantes and bigots got it all wrong. [more at LA Times]

From Sacramento Bee

Picking Patronage Plums
Appointment process needs reform
By the Editors 5/8/03
| Cheryl Peace, a former stay-at-home mom with no experience in waste management or government service, receives $117,000 a year as a member of the California Integrated Waste Management Board. Peace, appointed to the board by Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, is the wife of former state senator and current state Finance Director Steve Peace. | Thomas Calderon, a former Assembly member and failed candidate for state insurance commissioner, receives $99,000 a year for service on the California Medical Assistance Commission. Commissioners meet about twice a month to approve medical reimbursement rates for state hospitals. Calderon was appointed to his position by Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson. | Politicians have always handed out plum jobs to cronies and political backers. But in these days of drastic budget cuts and sacrifice, it's harder to overlook the funneling of big state salaries to friends, family and supporters for service on boards and commissions that require little or no work. [more at Sacramento Bee]

From OC Register

Dropping the Ball on Drop-Outs
California educators mishandle figures on those who quit school early
| California's greatest crisis isn't our budget crunch, serious though it is. Our greatest crisis is the one-third of our kids we lose to dropping out of high school. A budget crunch is temporary, but a high school student who drops out is a tragedy for the next half-century. | One would think, therefore, that once a year, when the numbers come out, we'd take time to reflect on the meaning of this crisis and how we might offer our kids attractive options that would keep them in school. Instead, the low-key press release put out by the California Department of Education on April 23 on our largely stagnant dropout rates received remarkably little attention. [more at OC Register]

LA Daily News

Pay as You Go
Hahn's new vision for city government
By the Editors 5/8/03
| Mayor James Hahn has come up with a new scheme for financing Los Angeles city government. It's the pay-as-you-go plan. | Hahn's proposed city budget contains a number of stiff hikes on "fees" for city services that currently carry a much smaller charge because they're subsidized by the hefty taxes Angelenos already pay. | The idea is to let the people who actually use city services be the ones who pay for them. | To that end, Hahn has proposed upping residential trash fees by 66 percent, raising the greens fees at city-owned golf courses by roughly 20 percent and hiking the admission price at the L.A. Zoo, among other charges. | It's easy to see where this trend could end up. | Want city workers to trim the trees on your block? You pay for it! [more at LA Daily News]

From OC Register

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
| California's major problem remains its dysfunctional state government. Only after the governor presents his May revision of his budget on May 14 will state lawmakers get serious about a budget deficit of up to $35 billion over the next 14 months. | Tax increases, such as Davis' proposed $8.3 billion, would drive away more businesses in a state that has been busy passing "jobs killer" bills like last year's $3.5 billion workers' comp cost increase. | "It's not so much the current budget impasse, but the overall anti-business climate" that is scaring businesses, Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College, told me. "The climate of taxes and regulation does not make California fertile ground for entrepreneurship. If there's light at the end of a tunnel, it's the light of an oncoming train." [more at OC Register]

From LA Times

Zero Tolerance, Zero Sense
by the Editors 5/7/03 | What do you suppose the children at Orange County's Pyles Elementary School learned last week when a fifth-grader was disciplined for turning in a pocketknife that a buddy had handed him earlier in the day?
| Don't do the right thing if risk is involved. Don't take the time to think through a moral quandary. Whatever you do, don't tell a teacher the truth. | Eight years ago, when zero-tolerance fever was sweeping the nation, this editorial page supported strong rules against campus drugs and weapons but warned against blanket policies that left no room for good judgment. A spate of incidents since then illustrates the folly of absolutism. [more at LA Times]

From Sacramento Bee

Tussle Over Loss of Manufacturing Jobs Focuses on Tax Credit
by Dan Walters 5/7/03
| California lost more than 2,000 manufacturing jobs in March, continuing a decline that has seen more than a quarter-million industrial jobs vanish in the last two years. | It is, in one sense, the continuation of a decades-long trend in California, a shift in the state's economy away from manufacturing and toward the "new economy" of trade, services and technology. The industrial sector that took root in California during and after World War II reached its peak in the 1960s and has been drifting downward ever since, relative to other segments. [more at Sacramento Bee]

From SF Chronicle

Dangerous Liaisons
by the Editors 5/7/03 | WHEN San Francisco officials gather at City Hall tonight to discuss escalating concerns over crystal methamphetamine usage and HIV risk among gay and bisexual men, they should treat it with the urgency of a public health crisis. | The evidence, as documented in a series by Chronicle reporter Christopher Heredia, appears staggering. At one health clinic alone last year, nearly 30 percent of those with new HIV infections reported using crystal meth in the previous six months. | Even more alarming, the state's top AIDS officials found that gay men in California who use the drug are twice as likely to be HIV-positive as gays who don't. And with an estimate that nearly 40 percent of gay men in San Francisco have tried the drug, the potential at-risk population is growing frighteningly fast. [more at SF Chronicle]

From OC Register

Suspense About Expense
A costly bill to strengthen union control of UC contracts comes back
| Once in awhile, the California Legislature, seemingly unaware of it, gives us fair warning that something mischievous - devious? - may be afoot. | This, for example, is presently the case with Senate Bill 160, which would limit the ability of the University of California to contract for services with outside providers such as food service companies and custodial service companies. | On April 28, the Senate Appropriations Committee put SB 160 in its "Suspense File," where it will remain presumably until it is brought back to the committee for a vote sometime early in the summer, and then continue through the rest of the legislative process. This is routinely done with bills that carry a price tag over $150,000, so it is fitting that SB 160, which UC estimates would initially cost between $30 million and $40 million, is "suspensed." | That term usefully warns us that while the bill is out of sight, we need to wonder about what is going on. [more at OC Register]

From LA Daily News

$10 Billion Debt Plan Lesser Evil
by Chris Weinkopf 5/6/03
| There are two ways to look at the plan that Republicans in the California Assembly have presented as a cure to the state's budget woes. | First, there's brutal candor: The plan is a fiscal abomination, an abdication of political responsibility based on an ethically and constitutionally questionable gimmick. | Then there's realism: It's probably the best deal Californians can hope to get. | In a perfect world, the Legislature would learn to live within its means and undo the past few years of astronomical spending increases that produced the $35 billion deficit. But ours is hardly a perfect world, least of all in Sacramento, and imperfect resolutions -- even fiscally abominable ones -- are sometimes the only feasible way out of our own, self-inflicted quandaries. | For the better part of the past year, Republicans have made the case, albeit halfheartedly, for balancing the budget through spending cuts alone. It was a political nonstarter. | Legislative Democrats would sooner eat glass than slash $35 billion worth of spending over the course of 15 months. And the public -- horrified by Democrats' warnings of gloom and doom -- has been cool to the idea. | Republicans had to take a step back and make a practical reassessment of the situation at hand: The state is so addicted to exorbitant spending that, like the most addled heroin junky, it probably couldn't survive the awful shock of trying to give up its nasty habit cold-turkey. | So Republicans have come back with the budgetary equivalent of methadone -- or at least a high-octane nicotine patch: debt. [more at LA Daily News]

From LA Daily News

Romer's Big Discovery
LAUSD superintendent sees the wisdom of smaller is better
by the Editors 5/6/03
| Roy Romer just might be on to something. | The superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second-largest, has embraced a radical notion that education reformers have long cherished: Bigger isn't always better. | That's why Romer is backing an effort to improve the LAUSD's struggling high schools and middle schools by breaking individual campuses into smaller, more manageable academies. The idea is to make big schools more like small ones -- more intimate, more personalized, less one-size-fits-all. | As Romer's friend, former Mayor Richard Riordan, has observed, downsizing schools is the best way to maximize their effectiveness: "You can't manage a school that's more than about 600 kids," he said. "Big schools have layers of bureaucracy, no decisions get made, no one is in charge. It's a total disaster." | San Fernando Valley residents have long said the same thing about the oversize LAUSD. [more at LA Daily News]

From LA Daily News

California's Next Crisis
Gov. Davis sets his sights on workers' comp reform
by the Editors 5/6/03
| In a state with more than its fair share of crises -- like the energy crisis and the budget crisis -- there's now one more to deal with: The workers' compensation crisis. | But unlike some of California's other crises, there appears to be a serious effort in Sacramento to do something about this one, with Gov. Gray Davis taking the lead. | Davis has proposed a series of legal reforms, which, if quickly enacted, could help to slow down the skyrocketing workers' comp premiums that are wreaking havoc on both private- and public-sector employers. | It's a great first step, but a far cry from a permanent solution. | California's 90-year-old workers' comp system has been spinning increasingly out of control for the better part of a decade -- since the last time Sacramento "reformed" the system without fixing it. The problems are many, and they won't be resolved easily. | Abuse is rampant, with employees faking injuries, medical practitioners overcharging the state and lawyers exploiting the system for their own monetary gain. Meanwhile, the state's regulatory apparatus has done a horrendous job of policing the system, and Sacramento has jacked up benefits without making any effort to rein in costs. | The results speak for themselves. [more at LA Daily News]

From National Review

No Holes in Holes
A smooth move from bookshelf to silver screen.
by Thomas Hibbs 5/6/03
| Given the expectations of Hollywood films, Holes was something of a risk. It's a strange cross between a kids' version of Cool Hand Luke and To Kill a Mockingbird. Although it contains sporadic doses of action and a number of very funny scenes, it has little in the way of special effects. Like the book, the movie allows time for the characters and the story to develop. The film seamlessly interweaves its two stories, ancient and contemporary, both of which center on the now-barren lake. The pacing is just right, and the sense of discovery, as viewers join Stanley in piecing together a series of clues, is quite satisfying. [more at National Review]

From Human Events

Something New is 'Blowing in the Wind' at University of California
College Republicans Now Biggest Group on Campus
by John Gizzi 5/5/03
| A campus uprising in Berkeley? Student demonstrators swarming all over Sproul Plaza? Placards waved and slogans shouted? | No, this is not a flashback to 1964, to Mario Savio and the Free Speech movement, when Berkley was the epicenter of far-left campus radicalism. It is what happened April 26, as the College Republicans (CRs) at the University of California at Berkley staged demonstrations in favor of President Bush and Operation Iraqi Freedom. | In an event that topped local newscasts and made the front page of the Los Angeles Times, more than 200 CRs marched to People’s Park—home to many an anti-Vietnam War rally—waving American flags and chanting, “Bush! Bush! Bush!” | As the Times put it, the march “represented a political drift to the right at California’s pioneer state university.” U.C. Berkley CR President Dave Galich told me that with more than 500 active members, the Young Republicans are now the largest registered student club on that campus. | “We are growing because lots of college students look to the organization as a better place to interact and meet people who are going to listen to them,” said Galich, a senior Business Administration major from Huntington Beach, Calif. [more at Human Events]

From Human Events

Another San Francisco Democrat
by Terence Jeffrey 5/5/03 | It ought to be a maxim of Democratic strategy: Never send your presidential candidate to San Francisco. | Walter Mondale floundered there in 1984. Now it might be Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry’s turn. | Nineteen years ago, San Francisco hosted the Democratic convention that nominated Mondale. His acceptance speech included a whining plea to replace President Reagan’s policy of countering Soviet aggression with a renewed policy of appeasement. | “Every other president talked with the Soviets and negotiated arms control,” Mondale told a crowd led by Mario Cuomo and Jesse Jackson. “Why has this administration failed? Why haven’t they tried? Why can’t they understand the cry of Americans and human beings for sense and sanity in control of these god-awful weapons? Why? Why?” | At the Republican convention in Dallas, U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, a Democratic hawk, gave Mondale what for. “When the Soviet Union walked out of arms control negotiations, and refused even to discuss the issues,” said Kirkpatrick, “the San Francisco Democrats didn’t blame Soviet intransigence. They blamed the United States. But then, they always blame America first.” | “The San Francisco Democrats,” she said, “ . . . behaved less like a dove or a hawk than like an ostrich — convinced it could shut out the world by hiding its head in the sand.” | Kirkpatrick’s imagery stuck: San Francisco Democrats were the Party of Appeasement. | Kerry, the current Democratic frontrunner, had a San Francisco moment just before the war. | A decorated Vietnam veteran, Kerry had earlier adopted optimal positioning for a Democratic nominee. He blamed President Bush for failing to restore a boom economy, but voted to authorize Bush to use force against Iraq. | “By standing with the president,” said Kerry, “Congress will demonstrate that our nation is united in its determination to take away Saddam Hussein’s deadly arsenal, by peaceful means if we can, by force if we must.” | But a room full of San Franciscans was too great a temptation for Kerry. [more at Human Events]

SAVE SADDAM – The Western Front
From FrontPage

Fascists, Communists Unite Against President Bush
Radical follies in Santa Clara
by Brian Sayre 5/5/03
| The pudgy, balding man openly waved his protest sign - "Hands off Iraq - No Blood For Zionism!" Below that bit of anti-Semitism, he'd printed the web address of the National Alliance - the openly neo-Nazi, white-supremacist organization founded by William Pierce. That's right, William Pierce, the author of the Turner Diaries, a novel depicting a post-apocalyptic race war against blacks and Jews. The novel that inspired the Oklahoma City bombing, that killed one hundred and sixty eight people. In most situations, the very presence of such a bigot would draw a crowd of counter-protestors. On Friday, May 2nd, I watched this bigot march alongside young people wearing the t-shirts of Anti-Racist Action. It was a strange day in Santa Clara, California, where the remnants of the broken anti-war protests gathered to protest President Bush's appearance and speech at a nearby manufacturing plant. [more at FrontPage]

From OC Register

Perverting Megan's Law
Democrats work to limit, not expand, Internet posting of sex-offender data.
by TODD SPITZER 5/4/03
| The Associated Press reported in January that California had lost track of 33,000 registered sex offenders. If some Sacramento Democrats have their way, learning the location of convicted sex offenders will only become more difficult. | Megan's Law was added to California's statutes July 1, 1995. The law is named after Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old who was raped and murdered by a child molester who lived across the street. While law enforcement authorities knew about the molester, the Kanka family and their neighbors remained unaware. Today, as in most states, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is required to distribute information about sex offenders, including name, photograph, physical description, gender, race, date of birth and crimes for which registration is required. This information is available only by visiting a police or sheriff's department or by calling a DOJ 900 telephone information line. | While an Orange County supervisor, I initiated the posting of sex offender information on the county's Web site. I pushed this initiative to offset the serious limitation of Megan's Law in California, since the address given for sex offenders is presently limited only to a ZIP code. There are over 400 registered sex offenders in my ZIP code alone. I have no idea on what street any of these sexual predators resides. One or several could live on my block. However, when the Board of Supervisors put sex offender location information on the Internet, Alaska's exact address statute had been struck down by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. On the advice of counsel and the Sheriff's Department, until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the Alaska law, Orange County instead began using a Web system in which you could punch in your address to determine if a sex offender lived within 1,000 feet of your home. [more at OC Register]

A Budget Solution That Works

Our budget solution works. Nothing the Governor has done has worked
by Assemblyman Ray Haynes 5/3/03 |
There have been so many times during this budget debate that I want to stand up and yell “I told you this would happen.” My Democrat colleagues said I was wrong two years ago, and again last year, when I told them we were headed for a budget disaster. In May 2001 and in May 2002 I said that we needed to reduce spending drastically to balance our budget. In May, 2000, I said spending had increased too much, and that even the slightest drop in revenue could create a budget disaster. The Governor and my Democrat colleagues didn’t listen. They ended up spending money they didn’t have, and have nearly caused the collapse of our state government. Had they listened then, we would not be in the trouble we are in now. | They, however, don’t want to hear that. They don’t want to hear that their lack of self control started the budget problem, and their economic policies hastened the state’s collapse. | After three years of failed economic policies, the electricity market collapse, skyrocketing worker’s compensation rates, ballooning state government, shrinking private sector employment, and record budget deficits, these same shortsighted politicians say our problems can only be solved by tax increases. They are wrong again. In fact, I will predict, right now, that if their tax increases are adopted, our economic and budget problems will get even worse. [inside at]

From Opinion Journal

Recalling Governor Davis
Will California voters give him the boot?
by the Editors 5/3/03
| If the government of California were a company, it'd be American Airlines. It's nearly broke, and everyone is mad at the CEO. American decided to let its chief go, and soon California voters may be able to do the political equivalent and recall Governor Gray Davis. | The state budget deficit is at an estimated $35 billion and growing by $21 million a day. Yet a paralyzed California legislature has so delayed solutions that the state will have to borrow at least $10 billion this summer just to pay off short-term debts and meet cash flow. "There's a potential for a dramatic downgrading of state bonds," admits Democratic Assemblyman Gene Millin of San Francisco. The state comptroller may soon have to issue IOUs to vendors. | The problem isn't that taxes are too low. The Tax Foundation ranks California's overall tax burden as the seventh highest among the 50 states. Sacramento took in $69 billion in revenue this year, 18% more than four years ago. But state spending increased at almost twice that rate as the politicians soaked up and spent a one-time revenue boom from the Internet bubble. Raising taxes now will only cause more jobs to flee to nearby states and delay any economic recovery--which is exactly what happened after the 1991 recession. | Some political leadership would seem to be called for, yet a recent Field Poll found that only 9% of voters have much confidence in Mr. Davis's abilities to fix things. Nine percent. Saddam Hussein would have done better than that in a Basra secret ballot. [more at Opinion Journal]

From SD Union-Tribune

Separating God from Country
by Joseph Perkins [posted 5/3/03] 5/2/03 | Sandra Banning and her eight-year-old daughter are faithful members of Calvary Chapel, a church in Elk Grove. "In our home we are practicing Christians," the mother related last summer, "and are active in our church." | That is why it is so outrageous that the father of Banning's daughter – who never bothered to marry his baby's momma – filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the child to which he has not even partial custody somehow was injured by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, including the words "under God." | Michael Newdow's lawsuit was thrown out in federal district court. And the Sacramento atheist's appeal would have been dismissed, no doubt, by every federal appeals court in the land save for the one in which it was heard – the notoriously liberal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. [more at SD Union-Tribune]


Front Page Index
The Week: 4/26/03 – 5/2/03

A Holy MessWhy Do Catholic Politicians Get Away With Ignoring Church Teachings? by Carol Liebau 5/2/03 | GOP Should Give Democrats Enough Rope to Hang Themselves on the Budgetby Thomas L. Krannawitter 5/2/03 | Garamendi Finds the Executive Life Fiasco's Hard to Escape by Dan Walters 5/2/03 | Watching a Great Paper Dive Into Pedophilia Chic by Robert Knight 5/2/03 | Plan Shows How to Balance the State Budget Without Raising Taxes Outlines $18 billion in potential savings and calls for reform of state government by Reason Public Policy Institute [posted 5/1/03] 4/30/03 | GOP Plan is a Start, But Doesn't Balance the Budget by Daniel Weintraub 5/1/03 | Borrowing Trouble to Balance Budget by the Editors 5/1/03 | Moral Dyslexia? The insanity in Sacramento is on the rise. by Assemblyman Ray Haynes [posted 4/30/03] 4/25/03 | Bush's One-Two Punch for a California Win by Bill Whalen 4/30/03 | As Budget Crisis Worsens, State's Politicians Finally Get Serious by Dan Walters 4/30/03 | A Fountain of Trouble by the Editors 4/30/03 | The Goal: Schools as Union Halls Teachers press Legislature for law to allow political advocacy on campus by Lance T. Izumi 4/30/03 | California Republicans 'shock and awe' Berkeley Stars and stripes fly over People's Park by Steve Sexton 4/27/03 [posted 4/30/03] | Unfounded Optimism Bad assumptions and poor priorities dog Hahn's budgetby the Editors 4/29/03 | Time for California Republicans to Exercise Partisanship by Thomas Krannawitter 4/29/03 | Blue Shield Puts a Price Tag on Universal Health Care by Daniel Weintraub 4/29/03 | Nobody likes to put a price tag on their dreams. | Riding to Rescue of Recall? Maybe Issa must win over those who loathe Davis but don't want to remove him by DOUG GAMBLE 4/29/03 | 'Hello ... Your Son Has Been Shot' It was the dreaded call that has become all too common in the black community. by Madison Shockley 4/29/03 | Pelosi Acts as Pivot for GOP Campaign by Charles Hurt 4/28/03 | CARB Learns ... A Little by The Editors 4/28/03 | Businesses Belong in Marketplace of Ideas by The Editors 4/28/03 | Sick Pay Costs of California's workers' comp program cripple business, public services by the Editors 4/27/03 | As They Face Huge Budget Deficit, Liberals Switch Tactics by Dan Walters 4/27/03 | Is California Ready for a Re-Pete Next Year? Wilson: He wouldn't be first pol to run against his record by Tony Quinn 4/27/03 | A Roadmap to a Balanced Budget for This State by Daniel Weintraub 4/27/03 | Cuba Libre County supes take in Havana on special interests' dime by The Editors 4/26/03 | California Drowning Initiative is gimmick to avoid tough decisions by The Editors 4/26/03 |
[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]

From The Remedy
Sexcapades the Business of the Day in Sacramento
by Thomas Krannawitter 4/22/03 | With a state debt now in the tens of billions of dollars, with a Democratic governor whose unpopularity has soared to record levels and who may soon be recalled from office, with a host of domestic problems such as embarassing schools, unaffordable housing, and businesses fleeing to other less-regulated, less-taxed states, what is occupying the minds of Democratic California legislators today? Making sure that men who want to dress like women and other perverts cannot be fired from their jobs!
| As reported in today's Los Angeles Times, the California Assembly passed a bill that authorizes the state to fine an employer up to $150,000 for "discriminating against people who have changed their gender or whose gender is not exclusively male or female." So if you own a children's bookstore, and some male employee decides he needs to wear girls' clothes to express himself, you either allow him, or pony up big bucks to the state. | As reported in another story, when California Democrats are not busy endorsing license through legislation, they hold parties to celebrate people who get their private parts medically altered. On March 24 the California State Assembly hosted their annual Woman of the Year ceremony, where they named Theresa Sparks "Woman of the Year." The funny thing is, Ms. Sparks was not always a Ms., being the first transgender woman to receive the award. | Being a midwesterner most of my life, I find this odd, to say the least, as do probably most people. I guess this is why the rest of the nation laughs at California as the land of fruits and nuts. [more at Claremont’s The Remedy]

From Claremont Institute
The Stark Facts
by James R. Harrigan 4/22/03
| For years abortion advocates have presented themselves as "pro-choice," trying to distance themselves from the stigma of supporting the killing of unborn children. NARAL Pro-Choice America—formerly called National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League—parrots this position in its literature, stating, "Pro-choice means respecting and supporting the right of every woman to make personal choices regarding pregnancy, childbearing, and abortion. It is not which choice she makes, but rather that she is free to make the choice that is right for her." But the endless refrain of "pro-choice, not pro-abortion" cannot hide the real agenda of abortion activists. | When the bodies of Laci Peterson and her unborn son Connor washed up on the shores of San Francisco Bay late last week, the defenders of women's rights did not see two murders that cried out for justice. They saw one murder and one problem. The initial comments of the pro-abortion lobby prove that they are indeed pro-abortion, and not pro-choice as they universally claim. [more at Claremont Institute]

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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