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Latest Column:
"Slap the Greedy Hand"
[A reprint - Carol Liebau is on vaction this week.]

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  • Perkins... Gray must go
  • Dillow... recall momentum
  • Buchanan says Conan... current tally
734,930 out of 898,157 petitions

74 days to go
[go to the Recall Follies weblog]

a weblog of
contributor commentary

[Streetsweeper] 7:11 am
Spend and Stall: The Times mentions that if the Republicans stop the car tax increase the lack of revenue will shut down the government. John Campbell, Vice Chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, sees it a different way. ["We don't believe it will be us that shuts down the state government," he said. "If [Democrats'] insistence upon having tax and spending increases in this budget drives the state to the point of some shutdown or whatever, that will be a decision they choose to make."] And the Register reports that Campbell and other Republicans proceeded to sign onto a lawsuit to stop the Car Tax ["This is an abrogation of the responsibility of the Legislature and governor," said Assemblyman John Campbell, R-Irvine, who signed a statement of support for the lawsuit, along with virtually all of the Assembly's Republicans. "The Legislature lowered this tax. It can't assign the duty of raising it to an administrator."]
[Streetsweeper] 7:49 am
A Big Ole Car Tax Tomorrow? Lord Gray is about to get his poison pill. In the Bee [State finance officials are preparing to "pull the trigger" Friday to raise the state's vehicle license fee and pump billions of dollars into the California treasury, as a new fiscal year approaches with lawmakers locked in a budget battle.] Senator Tom McClintock has promised he’ll file an initiative to stop the car tax within minutes of that trigger. Kerosene for the recall fire.

more at CRO Blog

being Tom McClintock


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

go to Shadow Governor

INSIDE CRO Campbell's Capitol Communication
An Immaculate Tax Increase

The Car Tax and its phantom trigger

[John Campbell] 6/20/03 |
Car Tax: Some months ago, the Governor and the State Controller announced that the car tax could triple under a "trigger mechanism" in the law which would allow this tax increase without any vote and without anyone "pulling" the trigger. It has been called the "immaculate tax increase" since it will just happen with no human action. | Many people have questioned the legal rationale in this tortured ruling. In early April, a columnist from the Sacramento Bee [see below] asked me "if certain circumstances make the tax trigger up, what circumstances make the tax trigger back down?" Good question, I thought. So, I wrote a letter on April 4th asking the Governor's Director of Finance, the State Controller and Legislative Counsel (the attorneys for the Legislature) that very question. | To date, neither the Governor nor the Controller have responded. But the Legislative Counsel did. And what they had to say is a bombshell. [more inside]

FABULOUS BUDGET/From Sacramento Bee
Legislature's Lawyer Casts Doubt On Car Tax Hike
[Daniel Weintraub] 6/19/03 [reposted 6/20/03 see Campbell above] | The biggest mystery around the state Capitol these days is how and when the Davis administration intends to follow through on its threat to triple California's car tax without a vote of the Legislature. | Gov. Gray Davis has a legal opinion from his lawyers and from state Controller Steve Westly saying he can do this in times of fiscal distress. Essentially, it says that anytime the Legislature and the governor agree to spend more money than they expect the state to take in from general taxes, the car tax, or vehicle license fee, goes back to where it was before a series of reductions that began in 1998. | The opinion has several holes in it. One is that it appears the state met its rather low standard a year ago, and perhaps even two years ago, as California's budget began its steady slide into a permanent deficit condition. Yet the tax wasn't increased back then. Why not? | The opinion also fails to address the crucial question of when the tax, once raised, might go back down again. If the tax is automatically increased in bad fiscal times, will it automatically be reduced again when the balance in the treasury has stabilized? | Several weeks ago, I ran that question by Assemblyman John Campbell, a Republican from Irvine and vice chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. Campbell, a strong opponent of the car tax increase, was intrigued, and sent letters to the governor, the controller and the Legislature's own lawyers asking the same question. Not surprisingly, Davis and Westly never replied. [more at Sacramento Bee]

Car Taxation Without Representation

[the Editors] 6/20/03 | Taxation without representation was the spark that ignited the American Revolution. The administration of Gov. Gray Davis now is trying the methods of British tyrant George III to raise revenue - even as Gov. Davis himself stares down a possible recall election this fall. | "State finance officials are preparing to 'pull the trigger' [as early as today] to raise the state's vehicle license fee and pump billions of dollars into the California treasury, as a new fiscal year approaches with lawmakers locked in a budget battle," the Sacramento Bee reported on Thursday. "Sources said state Department of Finance officials would determine by Friday that the state's financial condition dictates that the tax should rise, a move that would affect motorists whose registrations come due in 90 days." | If it actually is imposed today, the tax increase would triple the existing car tax, costing drivers an average of $124 more a year per vehicle. It would raise $4 billion a year to help reduce the budget deficit of up to $38 billion over the next year. [more at OC Register]

The Pillage People

Band in Sacramento is bent on big addition to state's already-high taxes
[K. Lloyd Billingsley] 6/20/03 | Californians hand over 33 percent of their income to government at all levels, the fourth-highest tax burden in the nation. Yet the state Assembly is worried that the people are not taxed enough. | Under AB 1690, which passed the Assembly 41-35, California cities could impose a tax of as much as 8 percent of the amount a worker owes in state income tax. The bill would also allow counties to levy a tax of up to 2 percent. Mark Leno, the San Francisco Democrat who introduced the measure, believes it would cost Californians earning less than $100,000 annually a meager $70 per year. | City voters would have to approve the measure, co-written by John Burton, president pro tem of the Senate, but AB 1690 allows cities to use a supermajority or simple majority. | Assemblyman Leno, a former San Francisco supervisor, portrays his tax escalation as a simple extension of local control that would help cash-strapped cities provide emergency services. That is clever marketing but also misleading. | Proposition 13, it might be recalled, requires that a supermajority of voters approve any tax for specific purposes such as public safety. [more at OC Register]

RECALL FOLLIES/From SD Union Tribune
Why Davis Deserves To Be Recalled
[Joseph Perkins] 6/20/03 | Gray Davis is a dead man walking. The most unpopular governor in California history very well could become the first occupant of the state's highest office to be recalled by the voters. | Davis suggests that the recall campaign – which he previously dismissed as quixotic – is nothing more than a nefarious attempt by Republicans to overturn the result of California's last gubernatorial election. | "It's being organized and financed by a bunch of rich losers," Davis told The Orange County Register. "Nothing but a bunch of losers running around talking to one another. | His Grayness is particularly ticked off at Rep. Darrell Issa, the Vista Republican, the multimillionaire car-alarm magnate, the prospective gubernatorial candidate, who has ponied up more than $800,000 to gather signatures for the recall petition. | "He just wants to run for governor on the cheap," Davis sneered, in recent remarks to a San Francisco radio station. | But the Davis recall would not be headed to the California ballot – either this fall or next spring – were it supported exclusively by the state's Republican minority. No matter how many hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars Issa spent on signature gathering. [more at SD Union Tribune]

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/From National Review
Mexican Standoff
A congressional hearing on “matriculas.”
[Jim Geraghty] 6/20/03 | A House pan
el is beginning to take a hard look at the newest wrinkle in the immigration debate — identity cards distributed by Mexican consulates in the United States to illegal immigrants. | A little more than a year ago, Mexican consulates began widespread distribution of "matricula consulars" — identification cards issued by the Mexican government to illegal immigrants in the United States. Consular cards have been around for more than 140 years, but were primarily used by expatriates for identification purposes at their embassies and consulates abroad. | Today, illegal immigrants are finding them useful at banks that are increasingly accepting the cards as legitimate identification to open bank accounts and, in some cases, obtain driver's licenses. [more at National Review]

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/ From American Spectator
Casino Country   
[George Neumayr] 6/20/03 | Indian gaming "benefits us all," say the industry's public relations flaks. An Indian gaming television advertisement running in California pictures a group of upstanding citizens in a barbershop enumerating its many civic blessings. Gambling lords are apparently the sturdiest pillars of a community. | Pols from both parties are loathe to challenge this obvious scam, lest they appear "anti-Indian." The result is a racket of staggering proportions. | Last year in California, where Indian tribes pay no state or local taxes on gaming, five new casinos opened, bringing the total to over 50. Indian gaming revenue is now in the ballpark of $4 billion. Much of this money flows to a small network of hucksters who live not on poverty-stricken reservations but in gilded mansions. And millions of these profits go back to the politicians who let these casinos clog and corrupt the state. | Time magazine reported last December the outrageous case of Maryann Martin. She is a Californian who formed a three-person "tribe" with her two brothers, then started up a casino last year by moving a trailer onto an old Indian reservation near Palm Springs. Martin discovered that her mother had been the last surviving member of the Augustine Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians. This not only allowed her to start up a casino but also qualify for federal aid. "In 1999 and 2000 alone, government audit reports show, she pulled in more than $1 million from Washington -- $476,000 for housing, $400,000 for tribal government and $146,000 for environmental programs," reports Time. The tribe soon consisted of one adult -- Maryann Martin -- after her drug-dealer brothers got shot. [more at American Spectator]

Hillary's Hollywood Flimflam Man
[Michelle Malkin] 6/20/03 | If Hillary Rodham Clinton is so smart, so savvy, so razor sharp, how did she allow celebrity scam artist Aaron Tonken to dupe her and her husband? | And if she denies being duped -- nobody can pull the wool over those steely blue eyes -- then what exactly did Hillary know about Tonken's fraudulent charity schemes and when did she know it? | Federal investigators are now probing Tonken's involvement with a $1 million Hollywood political event for Hillary's 2000 Senate campaign, according to the Los Angeles Times.[more at Town Hall]

DC-CA/From American Spectator
Gun Control, Waxman-Style
Pop goes the weasel 
[The Prowler] 6/20/03 | Rep. Henry Waxman has been railing at the Bush administration for months, criticizing its war on terrorism, its lack of information sharing with Congress, the economy. So it shouldn't come as surprise that Waxman is doing his part to keep people working. Unfortunately for the American people, the jobs that he's creating are all at the General Accounting Office. | While the number and nature of requests that a congressman makes of the GAO are considered confidential, often times congressmen openly share their requests because it makes them like as if they were actually doing something. Waxman, though, isn't one of those. Nonetheless, every once in a while one of Waxman's wild-eyed conspiracy theory-based requests gets out. | For example, several weeks ago Waxman asked GAO investigators to give him a full report on the effect that toy guns have on children. Yes, toy guns. Precisely, Waxman wanted to know how many deaths each year result from toy guns. | "He's always sending these kinds of things over here," says a GAO staffer. "He's kind of become a one-man GAO project manager. We think that if he had his way, he'd have us all working for him. Actually, given the number of requests he makes to us, we probably do." | Waxman, according to the staffer, currently has at least 25 requests pending with the GAO. Most of them deal with various Bush administration actions -- or perceived actions in Waxman's mind -- that Waxman believes could potentially embarrass the administration once the reports were released. [more at American Spectator]

Welcome To The Monkey House

Chinese imports live the good life, L.A.-style
[the Editors] 6/20/03 | These are tough times to live in Los Angeles -- unless you happen to be a Chinese golden monkey. | We humans have to put up with a city government that makes no effort to reach out to its constituents. | The monkeys get royal treatment from City Hall that usually is reserved for lobbyists, contractors and unionists. The mayor and 22 of his closest associates spent $440,000 in taxpayer money to travel to Asia, break bread with tyrants and secure a deal to bring the monkeys to the L.A. Zoo. | We humans face drastic cutbacks in funding for vital city services. | The monkeys know no cuts. [more at LA Daily News]

FABULOUS BUDGET/ From Sacramento Bee
Schools Accept Pain

Above all, now they want certainty
[the Editors] 6/20/03 | It is a sign of our dark budgetary times. The Education Coalition -- a lobbying group representing the state PTA, teacher unions, school boards and administrator groups from San Diego to Redding -- has been running ads in newspapers and on radio, virtually begging the state Legislature to do the following: Give the schools their lumps, and do it quickly. | Schools are pleading not for spending increases but for pain, the swift and merciful kind. Who'd have thought it would come to this? [more at Sacramento Bee]

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/From Weekly Standard
The Orange County Baron Flies Again

Marty Baron would be a fine choice to replace Howell Raines at the New York Times. He learned long ago that sometimes conservatives can be trusted.
[Hugh Hewitt] 6/19/03 | Before his award-laden tenure at the Miami Herald, which included coverage of Elián González and the 2000 election, a Pulitzer, and being named "Editor of the Year" by Editor & Publisher Magazine, Baron had a short stint at the New York Times. That was a rebound move after a disastrous run as editor of the Orange County Edition of the Los Angeles Times. | Baron joined the Times shortly after his graduation from Lehigh University and a brief stint as a business and state reporter for the Miami Herald. He spent two decades with the Los Angeles paper, during which he absorbed all that editor Shelby Coffee had to teach--especially Coffee's brand of noblesse oblige towards Los Angeles's minority communities, disdain for its middle class and suburbs, and contempt for almost all conservatives. When Baron was promoted to editor of the Orange County edition, he brought with him a generous attitude towards his reporters but an almost perpetual sneer towards the community he was supposed to serve--white, affluent, and Republican Orange County. [more at Weekly Standard]

Internet Puts the 'e' in Recall
Gov. Davis championed technology as a tool of governance. Now that tool may rear up and bite him.
[Nick Schulz] 6/19/03 |"We live in a remarkable moment when technology is turning the impossible into the commonplace. Just as computers and the Internet have transformed the way we shop, communicate and work, it is a matter of time before these innovations transform the way we govern ourselves" | Who was that techno-enthusiast? California Gov. Gray Davis, writing in a newspaper article he co-authored with New York Gov. George Pataki in 2000. The governors were hopeful that citizens could be empowered to vote electronically one day. | But when the power of a technology is unleashed, its effects are unpredictable. Davis is finding that out as the technology he championed — and defended against taxation and other burdens — is being harnessed in an effort to remove him from office. [more at LA Times]

Recall Campaign Is Gaining Momentum

[Gordon Dillow] 6/19/03 | If Gov. Gray Davis has any doubts that he's in deep, deep political trouble, he should spend a few hours with Burt Pronin. | I ran into Burt outside an Albertsons supermarket in Brea the other day. An affable, silver-haired 73-year-old wearing shorts and a Hawaiian-style shirt, Burt was relaxing in a lawn chair near the store entrance, next to a tiny sign that said "Recall (Remove) Governor Davis," holding a sheaf of blank recall petitions in his lap. | And passers-by were eagerly lining up to fill in the blanks. | "Where do I sign?" one guy walked up and demanded. "Can I sign more than once?" a woman asked. "Can I sign it, like, a million times?" a store checker on break wanted to know. | And so on. In 15 minutes, with virtually no effort on his part, and without ever stirring from his lawn chair, Burt collected seven signatures – along with a dozen expressions of support from passers-by who said they had already signed a recall petition. | "This is not a hard sell," Burt said, chuckling. "I don't even have to approach them; they come to me!" [more at OC Register]

Two Men Alone in a Boat
[the Editors] 6/19/03 | Two California legislators are all alone, with no one else jumping aboard, after daring to propose a compromise budget plan. Like any realistic budget in this hard-times year, the proposal by Assembly members Keith Richman (R-Northridge) and Joe Canciamilla (D-Pittsburg) is full of pain and demands for sacrifice — yes, including tax increases and program cuts. At least it's a plan that aims to get the state through this black period and into economic recovery. | Richman and Canciamilla certainly get points for political courage. After them, the drop-off is steep. The so-called Big 5 — Gov. Gray Davis and four top legislative leaders — met for two hours Tuesday without progress. Assembly Democrats were framing a proposal for a vote and their leaders were planning a road trip to promote the plan of cuts and tax increases. Overall, Davis seems out of gas and lawmakers are stuck in place. | Party orthodoxy rules: The Republicans reject all tax increases and Democrats won't consider budget cuts beyond those already made. In hewing to the demands of their parties' special-interest constituencies they are paralyzed. [more at LA Times]

An Economy In 'Delicate Balance'
[the Editors] 6/19/03 | Orange County and California in general are beginning to experience an economic recovery, yet that recovery is far less robust than it should be due in large part to the state's increasingly hostile climate toward business. | That was a key conclusion of Chapman University's economic forecast, released Wednesday by its A. Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research. The report, which included analysis of county, state and national economic indicators, didn't paint a bleak scenario. But it argued that the "economy is in a delicate balance now." | In California, that delicate situation can turn gloomy unless legislators and the governor wake up to budget and regulatory problems. [more at OC Register]

Stop The Giveaways

[the Editors] 6/19/03 | To Los Angeles residents facing higher taxes and fewer services, it must come as a shock the city has cut a deal with its architects and engineers on a new contract that allows these public employees to make out like bandits. | Recession or not, these are good times to be in "public service." | The new three-year contract includes pay raises worth 2 percent of the employees' salaries for every six-month period going back to 2001 -- twice the rate of inflation. | In total, the contract represents a 13 percent hike that will cost taxpayers $86.3 million out of a cash-strapped city treasury -- not bad at a time when pink slips have replaced pay raises in the private sector. | But that's typical for city workers, the only people in all of Los Angeles seemingly immune to the recession, the tight city budget and impending cuts from Sacramento. [more at LA Daily News]

Help Charter Schools Bloom
Local districts shouldn't be only organization allowed to run campuses
[Patricia Bates] 6/19/03 | True reform in public education requires innovation, accountability and flexibility. Yet many parents, teachers and administrators lament that our public school system is drowning in a sea of bureaucratic red tape that kills the very innovation, accountability and flexibility that is so desperately needed. As a result, California's pupils rank close to the bottom of nearly all nationally standardized tests. True, many public schools in California are doing well. But the many schools that are not, located predominantly in urban areas, are dragging down overall achievement levels and failing the students they serve. | The charter school movement, however, is a bright spot in public education, especially in our most disadvantaged communities. It is predicated on the belief that if we inject choice and competition into the public school setting, and allow for flexibility and innovation, improved academic performance and accountability will follow. [more at OC Register]

FABULOUS BUDGET/From Sacramento Bee
More Pension Bloat?

Davis, lawmakers should call a halt
[the Editors] 6/19/03 | By now, you know that local governments are facing a long-term crisis as pension costs for public employees soar. You probably aren't aware that another retirement giveaway to already lavishly pensioned firefighters and police is sailing through the Legislature. | Meet AB 80, by Assemblyman Russ Bogh, a Southern California Republican. His bill would allow firefighters and cops in 20 of California's largest counties, Sacramento among them, to purchase up to 10 years of extra credit for service performed in fire and police departments outside California. | It works like this: If you're a firefighter with San Joaquin County or a deputy at the Sacramento Sheriff's Department who previously served five years in law enforcement or firefighting out of state, under the Bogh bill you can tack that five years onto your service record in Sacramento to boost retirement pay here. | The firefighter or deputy who takes advantage of this buy-in plan would have to pay the employee share of the retirement costs plus interest, but that's pennies compared to what the employer -- county taxpayers -- would be obligated to pay. [more at Sacramento Bee]

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/From Claremont Institute
California's Coming 100-Year Political Storm
[Tom McClintock] 6/18/03 | I believe we are about to take a quantum leap in the public policy debate. I think that we have now entered the fourth quarter of a contest that began in this state many decades ago and is now coming to fruition. [more at Claremont Institute]

Gov. Schwarzenegger by October?
[Pat Buchanan] 6/18/03 | California, spawning ground of the great anti-tax revolt that vaulted Ronald Reagan into the White House, appears pregnant with yet another populist rebellion. Hundreds of thousands of Californians have now signed petitions for an election to recall Gov. Gray Davis. [more at Town Hall]

RECALL FOLLIES/From SD Union Tribune
Recall Fever

Political chaos may ensue from oust-Davis bid
[the Editors] 6/18/03 | For the first time in history, California is hurtling toward an election in which voters could recall the governor. Events are moving swiftly behind the scenes. It's time to sit up and pay attention. [more at SD Union Tribune]

FABULOUS BUDGET/From Sacramento Bee
Two Adults Offer Alternative To Adolescent Plunge Off Fiscal Cliff
[Dan Walters] 6/18/03 | A dramatic highlight of the 1955 James Dean movie, "Rebel Without a Cause," is a game of "chicken" in which two teenagers drive jalopies toward a cliff. The last one to jump out of his car wins. The James Dean character bails out first and is, therefore, the "chicken," but the "winner" dies as his car plummets over the edge. | Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla was born the year "Rebel Without a Cause" was first shown but, perhaps unconsciously, referred to it Tuesday as he described the increasingly rigid partisan stalemate in the Capitol over the deficit-ridden state budget. [more at Sacramento Bee]

Budget Mess Marks Turn for Worse -- or Better
[James Flanigan] 6/18/03 | It's easy to scoff at the current budget impasse in Sacramento as little more than a sordid political circus.| But, in fact, the mess in the capital could well signal something of historic significance: a turning point that will mark either the decline of California's $1.4-trillion economy or a new era of reform comparable to the launch of the Progressive era in 1911 or the post-World War II building of the modern state. [more at LA Times]

Exit-Exam Delay No Surprise
As long as teachers union maintains clout, real school reform is unlikely.
[Dr. Alan Bonsteel] 6/18/03 | On June 13, state schools chief Jack O'Connell made an unsurprising announcement: He would seek to postpone California's high school exit exam, due to become mandatory in 2004, by at least two years. Even though the exit exam is really set at about an eighth-grade level - not the reported 10th-grade level - initial test results suggested that well over one-third of next year's seniors would flunk the exam. O'Connell said disadvantaged kids currently getting a substandard education needed more time to prepare. [more at OC Register]

RECALL FOLLIES/From Ventura Star
Desperation Drives Davis To Another Unprecedented Tactic
[Thomas D. Elias] 6/18/03 |Desperate times can breed unique tactics. It's happened before with Gov. Gray Davis and it appears to be happening again. [more at Ventura Star]

Control not Conservation
A local little guy vs. the California Coastal Commission
[John Campbell] 6/17/03 | He is an unusual and atypical warrior in the fight against the tyranny of government in California. His name is Rodolphe Streichenberger. The unusual name and the heavy accent a testimony to his upbringing in the long disputed Alsace/Lorraine provinces of what is now France. But now, he lives in Balboa and is President and Founder of the Marine Forests Society. This group is a charitable organization dedicated to restoring, replenishing and growing underwater marine habitat off the Coast of Orange County and elsewhere. [more inside]

FABULOUS BUDGET/From Sacramento Bee
Assembly Comes Close To A Real Debate About State Economy
[Dan Walters] 6/17/03 | The state Assembly came dangerously close Monday to having a real debate about a vital public policy issue -- whether California is unconsciousl killing its chances of economic recovery -- but pulled back from the brink in the nick of time. [more at Sacramento Bee]

Budget Treachery

State and city leaders pass their deficits down
[the Editors] 6/17/03 |
Wherever you look, be it Sacramento or downtown Los Angeles, budget treachery abounds. | Earlier this year, Gov. Gray Davis warned that in light of lean times, the state could no longer afford to make "backfill" payments to cities and counties to offset lost revenue from the 1998 cut in the state's vehicle license fee. | The warning set off a panic among local government officials across the state, who lobbied furiously for maintaining the backfill. [more at LA Daily News]

FABULOUS BUDGET/From Sacramento Bee
New Federal Money Helps State Avoid Tough Choices
[Daniel Weintraub] 6/17/03 | The $2.4 billion the federal government just dropped on California is a gift that might be booby-trapped. It will likely relieve the pressure to cut spending in the coming year, easing life for the poor and for the doctors and hospitals that care for them. But it will also make it that much harder to eventually bring the state's budget back into balance. [more at Sacramento Bee]

Exit Exams: Don't Give Up Now

There's nothing compassionate about gutting school accountability measure
[Lance T. Izumi] 6/16/03 | In one of his first major acts as California's top education official, new Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell has decided to raise the white flag. Nervous that a minority of students in the class of 2004 may not pass the state's high school exit exam and thus not receive their diplomas, O'Connell on Friday moved to put the test on hold - even though a new study shows that the exit exam has improved the quality of classroom instruction. [more at OC Register]

Postponing Draduation Tests Would Be Gutless

[Gordon Dillow] 6/17/03 | It's becoming pretty obvious that the high school exit exam idea was a shuck and a sham from the outset. Because making it work requires leadership, and guts. | And those are qualities that the California Board of Education is sorely lacking.
[more at OC Register]

Higher Sales Tax Is The Wrong Way To Raise Revenue

[Scott Otto] 6/16/03 | It may be too late to derail the Legislature's plan to increase the state's sales tax, already one of the highest in the nation, by a half-cent from a minimum base (before local add-ons) of 7.25 percent to 7.75 percent. | But maybe we can still reason with legislators who think that raising taxes during an economic slowdown is the way to bring in more revenue to the state treasury. [more at SF Chronicle]

INSIDE CRO/Fabulous Budget
Slap the Greedy Hand
[Reprint 6/16/03]
Authorizing Local Taxes Is Just Plain Wrong
[Carol Platt Liebau] 6/9/03 | California’s greatest governor, Ronald Reagan, once observed that a government with the power to give the people anything they wanted was also a government with the power to take away everything they had. | Without having done the former, the California legislature seems hard at work on the latter. Just last Wednesday, the Assembly approved AB 1690, which will authorize cities and counties to join the state and federal authorities in placing a clammy, grabby governmental hand into every taxpayer’s pocket. [more inside]

Redevelopment: The Myths Persist
If these projects are so valuable, how come their debts never get paid off?
[Allan Pilger] 6/16/03 Imagine for a moment Orange County 2003 with only clusters of small stores here and there. County residents drive to Los Angeles for all major purchases, like autos, home furnishings, appliances and apparel. Now think statewide. Fresno residents drive to San Francisco or Sacramento for these goods. | In a May 27 Register article ("Tax limits spur cities to redevelop"), city officials ask us to believe malls, mega-retail stores and auto centers have sprung up just about everywhere not because of population growth, but only through the process of redevelopment. [more at OC Register]

Southern California's Airport Mess
[James O. Goldsborough]
6/16/03 | Los Angeles is on the march again. California's imperial city, which already controls San Bernardino, Mono, Inyo, Kern and Ventura counties, has its eye on Orange County, which it used to own. | Los Angeles wants the Bush administration to give it Orange County's former El Toro Marine Base to use as a civilian airport for the region. | Having spent $90 million on four referendums to finally defeat a civilian airport at El Toro, the Orangers are irate. [more at SD Union Tribune]

Brea's Bogus Survey
[the Editors] 6/16/03 | Orange County continues to suffer under the weight of a housing crunch, as prices soar in response to low supply, high demand and record-low interest rates. Yet city officials continue to obstruct plans by builders who want to meet that demand with high-quality, low-density projects. | For instance, the city of Brea is engaging in a campaign against a developer that has plans to build several thousand houses outside the city's limits, in unincorporated land in Orange and Los Angeles counties. [more at OC Register]

Governor, Lead Or Get Out Of The Way
[the Editors] 6/15/03 | Not long ago, the effort to recall Gov. Gray Davis could easily be dismissed as a shot in the dark, given fund-raising and signature-gathering difficulties and a general sense that other issues were of more pressing importance. After all, the governor had recently been re-elected to another term and it was time to move on. | But in recent days, those attitudes have changed. The recall effort has gotten a big boost from U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, who has the money to underwrite an effective recall campaign. And now a poll from the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California shows that 51 percent of likely California voters support removing the governor from office, with 43 percent saying they want him to stay. One-third of Democrats support the recall effort, according to the poll. | This is an astounding thing. PPIC pollster Mark Baldassare told the Contra Costa Times that "We're on the verge of creating more history involving direct democracy." [more at OC Register]

Davis Supporters Don't Discuss Him
[Chris Weinkopf] 6/15/03 |"We're serving notice that we're going to make this campaign about Darrell Issa's record -- both in and out of Congress." | So said the aptly named Democratic strategist Ace Smith, in speaking to a San Francisco reporter about his party's plans to derail the increasingly potent campaign to recall Gov. Gray Davis. [more at LA Daily News]

FABULOUS BUDGET/ From Sacramento Bee
Tax-Hike Advocates Are Pushing Public Opinion Ball Uphill
[Dan Walters] 6/15/03 |…As the stalemate continues in the Capitol, contending political factions -- and outside interest groups with stakes in the outcome -- are vying for public opinion. The Education Coalition, dominated by the powerful California Teachers Association, has, for example, launched a public campaign to pressure Republicans into voting for Davis' budget, which includes new sales and income taxes and higher property taxes on cars. | It appears, however, that the advocates of new taxes inside and outside the Capitol are pushing the ball uphill because Californians are not enamored of giving government more from their paychecks in a period of economic uncertainty. [more at Sacramento Bee]

Energy regulation... Legislature Should Hold Off For Now
[the Editors] 6/15/03 | It's hard to argue that California's fractured energy deregulation has been anything but a dismal failure. It's also clear that California still needs to design policies for electricity production and distribution that are fair to consumers and businesses. | But the current attempt in the Legislature to reregulate energy is too hasty, and might lead to unintended consequences similar to the disastrous move by the Legislature seven years ago to deregulate energy. [more at SD Union Tribune]

FABULOUS BUDGET/From Sacramento Bee
In Electricity, Choice Is Still Either Smart Or Dumb Regs
[Daniel Weintraub] 6/15/03 | The California Senate's nostalgia for monopoly utilities continues. The prospect of saddling residential customers with high-priced electricity for a generation weighs hardly at all on the senators' collective conscience. Only a round of squeals from the Silicon Valley, where cutting-edge tech execs are rising in protest, might save the state from a return to the bad old days. [more at Sacramento Bee]

New Clout for Ol' Boys
The term limits disaster
[the Editors] 6/15/03 | One seasoned Sacramento lobbyist predicted in 1990, just before voters approved term limits, that lobbyists would lose their good ol' boy clout among the new citizen-legislators and learn to "argue issues on the merits, rather than on friendship." It was a nice idea. [more at LA Times]

In Serious Need of Adult Supervision

A Legislature out of control
[Ray Haynes] 6/14/03 | Two years ago, if you had asked me my opinion on term limits, I would have told you that I support them. I am not happy about losing my job (I was then a Senator), but, by and large, term limits, I thought, have been beneficial. They brought new faces to the Legislature, and broke up old roadblocks to good government. | Today, my mind has been changed. [more inside]

INSIDE CRO Campbell's Capitol Communication
A Budget Consensus?

Let's just spend a little more while we're at it.
[John Campbell] 6/14/03 | Budget: For the next few weeks, this report will dwell entirely on the subject of the California State Budget and the progress, or lack thereof, towards achieving consensus on one.The budget conference committee met almost every day for the last 8 days. | This was a valueless exercise this year wherein Democrats attempted to achieve consensus with other Democrats relative to items in the budget. [more inside]

It's The Spending, Stupid
[Jill Stewart] 6/13/03 | Not long ago the Assembly Appropriations Committee, facing California's $38.2 billion budget deficit, shelved one proposed spending bill after another, spending being a pointless topic. I watched as committee chairman Darrell Steinberg noted the only good news was that President Bush was sending Sacramento $2.4 billion in relief. | Hearing news of the inbound $2.4 billion, a member of the committee declared, "Well, maybe now we'll be able to fund some of these programs we are talking about!" | I'll admit, I snorted reflexively. Then I perched forward to see who had uttered such a thing. But my view was blocked as a curious contingent of citizens craned their necks at the same time. | We in the peanut gallery glanced in amazement at one another. These Sacramento politicos have driven California to the brink of financial collapse with their gross overspending, and some assemblywoman with a microphone glued to her lips still doesn't get it? [more at SF Chronicle]


Last Week's Front Page: 6/7-6/13
[go to Front Page Archive Index]

And some
Lingering Observations

Wannabe the Next Governor?
[Streetsweeper] 6/13/03 | Well, you need to get your paperwork in at least 59 days before the election, whenever that is… You should be a registered voter – that should be easy ‘cause the state’s made it oh, so convenient even dead pets can vote. Lived in the state for 5 years. Be a U.S. citizen [not that we want to be judgmental or nativist or anything like that but it’s just one of those things]. Get 65 of your friends [who must be registered to vote – you can all go to the DMV together and handle it all at once] to sign your filing. Pony up $3,500 for the processing fee. Presto! You’re in the race! [go to CRO Recall Follies]

Gray's Attack Hack

Interviewing Bob Mulholland on the radio
[Hugh Hewitt] 6/12/03
| If you google the name Bob Mulholland, you will find a number of interesting references to this brass knuckled political operative. He's the Yosemite Sam of the California Democrats, and among other things, a consultant to Britain's Labor Party on knock-down campaigning, American style. [more inside]

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/From National Review
Such a Lovely Place
Talking with Victor Davis Hanson about the future of California — and the United States.
An NRO Q&A by Kathryn Jean Lopez 6/11/03 | Regular readers of National Review Online are no strangers to Victor Davis Hanson. He writes a weekly column for us, as well as writing for City Journal, lecturing, and book composing, among other things. A professor of classics at California State University, Fresno, he is the author of Carnage and Culture, The Western Way of War, and the upcoming Ripples of Battle: How Wars Fought Long Ago Still Determine How We Fight, How We Live, and How We Think. His most recent book, just published by Peter Collier's Encounter Books is Mexifornia: A State of Becoming. He talked to NRO about Mexifornia, immigration, and his beloved California on Tuesday.
[more at National Review]

The Governor's Enron-style Accounting
Davis' definition of frugal: $2 billion in new spending, $17 billion in loans
by Tom McClintock 6/10/03 | Gov. Gray Davis' May budget revision at least answers one question: Whatever happened to Enron's accountants? By every indication, they're alive and well and hard at work on the state budget crisis. [more at OC Register]


INSIDE CRO/ Recall Follies
People Must Demand Recall

After the Damage Davis Has Caused In One Term, Can State Afford to Go Through Another?
by Shawn Steel 6/2/03 | At the beginning of the 20th century, a progressive revolt added the rights of initiative, referendum and recall to the state constitution in order to give citizens recourse against the powerful special-interest groups that had made state government their handmaiden. | As we begin the 21st century, we again find ourselves faced with corruption, incompetence and the paramountcy of special-interest influence, this time centered in a single individual: Gov. Gray Davis. His continuously scandal-plagued, calamitous administration has brought our state to the brink of disaster, and it's time to take those tools of democratic accountability in hand and recall Davis. [more inside]

INSIDE CRO the Shadow Governor
Memo to My Wife
by Tom McClintock 5/29/03 | Hi Honey --Since you've let me take over our household finances, I'm happy to report that our family budget is balanced, I've saved thousands of dollars, and I've kept us in the style to which I would like to become accustomed. | You might wonder how I've been able to do all this. I just followed the easy steps that Gov. Gray Davis outlined in his May Budget Revision. [more inside]

RECALL FOLLIES/From Weekly Standard
Wild and Wooly in California
The prospect of a recall vote on Governor Gray Davis has the state's political establishment in an uproar.
by Hugh Hewitt 5/21/03
| The strangest season in California's long, strange political trip has begun with a declaration of candidacy for a governorship that isn't vacant, a withdrawal from a Senate campaign that hasn't really begun, and a rumor mill spinning out of control. [more at Weekly Standard]

Recalling Our Principles

Why the Davis Recall is Worth Reconsidering
by Carol Platt 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. [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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