national opinion

Monday Column
Carol Platt Liebau

[go to Liebau index]

Latest Column:
Stopping the Meltdown
What Beltway Republicans Need To Do

Subscribe to CRO Alerts
Sign up for a weekly notice of CRO content updates.

Jon Fleischman’s
The premier source for
California political news

Michael Ramirez

editorial cartoon

Do your part to do right by our troops.
They did the right thing for you.
Donate Today

CRO Talk Radio
Contributor Sites
Laura Ingraham

Hugh Hewitt
Eric Hogue
Sharon Hughes
Frank Pastore
[Radio Home]
















OC Register Deficit Index
$78.7 million: The amount needed per day through June 30, 2004, to balance budget.
OC Register

Subscribe to CRO Alerts
Sign up for a weekly notice of CRO content updates.

Look for the
CRO Monday Column
from Carol Platt Liebau
[go to Liebau index]

Latest Column:
"California Screamin'"
Why Residents of the Golden State Are (and Should Be) Angry

a weblog

  • Hewitt... doomed
  • Quinn... incompetence
  • Perkins... a dead man walking current tally
892,430 out of 898,157 petitions

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

a weblog of
contributor commentary

[Streetsweeper] 7:19 am
Cutting Monday: The Bee reports that Senate Republicans are strategizing to force a Monday debate about spending cuts. The are going to have a line by line proposal on cuts to force the issue to the light of day. Well, now... That should be sorta interesting – Hmm, sounds like a good idea, but how is that going to be reported and Op-Eded in the Times, Bee and Chronicle? Probably something like “rather than take the simple and sensible route of a half-cent sales tax hike, GOP members propose crippling the state’s vital services and education infrastructure for their own ‘no new taxes’ hubris.” [How did you like that ‘hubris’ part? Not bad huh? Maybe I could get a part-time gig with the Times?] Like We're Surprised: The FBI testified against the matricula consular cards that our Progressive legislators like so much. In the Times ["The Department of Justice and the FBI have concluded that the matricula consular is not a reliable form of identification," said Steven McCraw, assistant director of the FBI's intelligence office. "There are major criminal threats posed by the cards and [a] potential terrorist threat."] Come on, don't the Feds know that sort of stuff doesn't fly here?

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

Sign Up for McClintock's

INSIDE CRO/Fabulous Budget
Politicians In Bond-Age

If bonds are part of the budget, voters must have a say
[Harold Johnson] 6/27/03 |
For all the rancor in Sacramento over how to fashion a budget, Gov. Gray Davis and Republican leaders are in accord on one element: big borrowing. Both sides favor floating more than $10 billion in bonds, to be paid off over five years or longer, to shrink the state's mammoth deficit. The two sides differ only over the source of the funding for this new debt. The GOP would use existing revenues; Davis proposes a hike in the sales tax. | But even if this difference is reconciled, another, more significant obstacle to closure exists, courtesy of Democratic Sen. Eugene Casserly. | If the name doesn't ring a bell, it's because Casserly died more than a century ago. His influence extends across the decades, however, through a plank he added to the California Constitution at the drafting convention in 1879. The rule he sponsored -- Article XVI, section I of the Constitution -- prohibits the state from borrowing more than $300,000 unless voters approve in a statewide election. | Unlike many of the blithe spenders in Sacramento today, Sen. Casserly and other delegates to the 1879 Constitutional Convention were no-nonsense folks, deeply skeptical of the idea of government paying its bills by saddling future generations with debt. Accordingly, the Constitution is quite restrictive in the purposes for which multi-year borrowing is allowed. Under Article XVI, debts of more than $300,000 are permitted only for a specific, "single object or work." Borrowing to buy parks or build schools passes this test. But long-term debt to meet payroll and to keep government buildings open, does not; clearly, the general operations of government do not constitute a "single object or work." | Not surprisingly, the players in Sacramento don't seem eager to acknowledge the electorate's role in the process. [more inside]

INSIDE CRO/Fabulous Budget
Real Courage Means Cutting Spending

[Jon Coupal] 6/27/03 |
Last week, Assemblyman Keith Richman became the first Republican legislator to propose tax increases to "solve" the current budget crisis. Taxpayers have a right to be disappointed. Along with Democrat Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla, Richman is proposing a 5-year sales tax increase as well as conceding an increase in the dreaded car tax, also known as the VLF. The good news is that only these two legislators support the proposal and it is unlikely to garner any support from other Republican members who are serious about their "no tax increase" pledge. | There will be some who will rush to praise the "courage" of these lawmakers who have stepped forward, in contradiction of their party leaders, to offer a compromise. After all, Richman has said that it is the "extremes" of both parties that are driving the current budget debate. | However, the self-congratulatory air of Richman and Canciamilla ignores a very basic fact: it is lawmakers themselves, who, with considerable help from the governor, put the state in dire straits and it is the citizens of California who are being coerced into paying for the Legislature's deliberate and irresponsible actions. [more inside]

No Swaps For Tax Hike
[the Editors] 6/27/03 | As the California Legislature continues to grapple with a fiscal 2003-04 budget set to begin July 1, a lot of proposals are flying around the Capitol. | One potential deal holds that Republicans would compromise partly on their opposition to tax increases by allowing a half-cent boost in the sales tax; in return, the Democratic majority would compromise partly by going forward with a cap on spending and/or solid reforms of runaway workers' compensation costs. But those two proposals, although seemingly attractive, aren't really workable, Assemblyman John Campbell, R-Irvine, told us in an editorial board meeting this week. Mr. Campbell is a member of the Assembly budget committee. | He is sponsoring Assembly Constitutional Amendment 6, which would limit annual state spending to the increase in the cost of living multiplied by the percentage increase in state population. | It essentially would return the state to the Gann limit, which existed from 1979 until it was effectively repealed by voters in 1990. | Why not swap the Campbell limit for a modest tax increase to resolve the budget impasse? Because the spending limit "is the right thing to do and it can stand on its own," Mr. Campbell told us. "It is not trade bait for tax increases." [more at OC Register]

FABULOUS BUDGET/ From SD Union Tribune
'Compromise' Is Not In Legislators' Vocabulary
[the Editors] 6/27/03 | California's budget crisis is stranded in a fiercely partisan cul-de-sac. The Democratic-controlled Legislature needs eight Republican votes to pass a spending plan that addresses the state's $38 billion deficit. But GOP lawmakers adamantly oppose any tax increase, urging deeper spending cuts, while Senate President Pro Tempore John Burton, D-San Francisco, adamantly declares his colleagues are "drawing the line" against any further spending reductions. | On the Assembly side, Speaker Herb Wesson, D-Los Angeles, still hopes to get a budget passed today. Wesson is dreaming. The budget proposal contains even higher taxes than the twice-defeated Senate version. [more at SD Union Tribune]

Clueless GOP May Blow Advantage
[Jill Stewart] 6/27/03 | In chaotic Sacramento, few seem to realize that the strategy to defend Gov. Gray Davis from recall will probably parallel the Democrats' 2002 fight to stop the San Fernando Valley from "throwing the bums out" by seceding from the city of Los Angeles. | If recall advocates don't wake up to this fact, I predict Davis will be ensconced until 2006, and the recallers will end up with a huge omelet all over their faces. | San Fernando Valley voters were disgusted with misuse of their taxes by flagrant overspenders at Los Angeles City Hall, 20 miles away. By 2002, secession fever was so strong that the possible loss of 1.36 million valley residents -- and the resulting slippage of Los Angeles to third-largest city in the nation -- sent L.A.'s power elite into a controlled panic. | A coalition of unions, racial identity groups, downtown businesses and highly partisan Democrats used every legal trick to keep valley cityhood off the ballot. Once secession made the ballot, the Democrats launched a campaign of fear and race-baiting. | Talk about your eerie similarities to the Gray Davis Recall Defense. [more at SF Chronicle]

Lights Out, Gray
California keeps paying for Davis' energy blunders
[the Editors] 6/27/03 | The energy crisis of 2001 seems to be one political failure that Gov. Gray Davis just can't shake. | First, he was paralyzed by a surge in power prices, and did nothing as the state burned billions of dollars keeping the lights on. | Then, he attempted to stabilize the situation by committing the state to billions of dollars more in long-term contracts at precisely the moment that rates were the highest. | Since then, he's tried to wiggle out of those contracts, blaming everybody but himself. Meanwhile, he's been praying that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission would bail out California's ratepayers and taxpayers, and save him from being held accountable for his mistakes. | No such luck. [more at LA Daily News]

FABULOUS BUDGET/From Wall Street Journal
Gray Davis's Word

[the Editors] 6/27/03 | Kudos to Pat Wood and Nora Brownell, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission members who voted Wednesday to uphold California's energy contracts. They withstood waves of pressure from politicians who wanted to be let off the hook for their mismanagement of the state's 2001 energy crisis. | The pols, notably Governor Gray Davis, had signed the long-term contracts in full control of their faculties. As evidence uncovered by FERC showed, Mr. Davis thought he was getting a steal at the time, locking in more than $12 billion in contracts when energy supplies were uncertain. But when prices later fell, Mr. Davis did his typical buck-passing routine by trying to weasel out of the deal. | More than politics, the issue at stake is whether property rights mean anything. It takes billions of dollars to invest in new energy production, and no company is going to spend a dime if governments can declare contracts null and void every time prices change. | Mr. Davis could have signed long-term contracts for much less months earlier, but for political reasons he preferred to buy all of his electricity through the short-term spot market. [more at Wall Street Journal - subscription required]

Straight Talk About Immigration
[Mona Charen] 6/27/03 | Victor Davis Hanson should be cloned so that his erudition, wisdom and humane enlightenment could illuminate every important national question. But wait, he already does address most of the pressing issues of the day. | In his books, his commentaries for National Review Online and Commentary, and his television appearances, Hanson seems to have been cloned already. | I once emailed a column he had written after Sept. 11 to a friend. It began, "As I was walking through my orchard, I was thinking ..." My friend emailed back, "He's had more thoughts in one stroll through his orchard than I've had in my entire life." | Hanson teaches classics at California State in Fresno. He is also a fifth-generation California farmer, and he has turned his considerable intellectual powers to the most vexing question facing California -- illegal immigration. | Hanson grew up among Mexicans and Americans of Mexican ancestry. Hispanics represented the overwhelming majority of students in his Selma, Calif., public elementary school, and his friends, colleagues, employees, students and relatives have always been Hispanic. Though Hanson makes an excellent case that immigration policy is badly out of whack, not to say insane, in California, part of the strength of his new book Mexifornia: A State of Becoming, is his deep compassion for Mexicans and other immigrants. | Everyone knows that illegal immigrants come to America for a better life. Hanson fills in some of the blanks that most Americans may not know -- for example, the inflexible racism and two-tiered nature of Mexican society. Their country is so poor, and so backward, that most Mexicans have more in common with Egyptians and Indians than with Americans. They flee north because they can, and the Mexican government offers a wink and a nod, and often more, to facilitate this flow. Why? Hanson argues that it serves as a safety valve for Mexico itself. If the discontented could not flee north, pressure would build within Mexico for reform. And reform is exactly what the power elite in Mexico wishes to avoid.
[more at Town Hall]

From Sacramento Bee
Is There Political Buyer's Remorse -- Or Are Our Decisions For Keeps?
[Dan Walters]
6/27/03 | ...
Davis fudged on the budget, recall advocates contend, and wouldn't have been re-elected had the facts been known at the time. Therefore, they say, voters are entitled to express their remorse by throwing him out of office less than a year into his second term. | The counterargument being voiced by Democratic figures on Davis' behalf is that the recall should be used only when there's clearly been malfeasance on the part of the politician involved -- some higher threshold than mere remorse. In essence, they are saying, the politician should be a real lemon, not merely unpopular. | As Davis, or at least those mounting his defense, make that anti-recall argument, the governor finds himself taking the opposite position on another political question. Should the state be allowed to wiggle out of $12 billion in long-term energy supply contracts that the Davis administration signed a couple of years ago as the state's utilities' credit ratings cratered and blackouts loomed? [more at Sacramento Bee]

INSIDE CRO/Recall Follies
Booting Davis

The unGovernor appears doomed.
[Hugh Hewitt] 6/26/03 |
Gray Davis, the unGovernor of California, managed to survive last November's vote by proclaiming the California budget crisis solved. He lied, of course, and with a $38 billion sinkhole staring the state in the face, voters are flocking to to sign up to help toss Davis from the train. | Congressman Darryl Issa has financed the largest portion of the effort to place the recall vote before the electorate – which probably will occur in the early fall barring mischief by Davis allies or the Democratic Secretary of State. | Thus far a few office holders who could have challenged Davis have issued tepid, "how can it get worse" condemnations of the recall, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein and state Attorney General Bill Lockyer, but these declarations have an air of "my fingers were crossed" about them. If Davis loses the up or down vote, the bottom of the ballot asks who replaces him, and the plurality winner is the new chief executive. Will California's power hungry Democrats risk not having any candidates below the line? | Davis appears doomed. [more inside]

FABULOUS BUDGET/ From SD Union Tribune
Desperate Gambit

Governor's car tax hike faces court test
[the Editors] 6/26/03 | We'll stipulate right from the start that resolving California's budget debacle demands give-and-take by both sides. As matters now stand, Democrats stubbornly oppose deep spending cuts and Republicans stubbornly oppose tax hikes. | All the same, Gov. Gray Davis' unilateral maneuver to triple the car tax, costing average families hundreds of dollars a year, is a desperate gambit which only underscores how deplorably dysfunctional Sacramento has become. | In bypassing the Legislature and imposing the tax increase by administrative decree, Davis has virtually guaranteed a costly court battle challenging the levy. Opponents are now preparing a lawsuit to overturn it. And the nonpartisan Legislative Counsel has issued an opinion questioning the legality of the governor's action. [more at SD Union Tribune]

JURISIMPRUDENCE/From Opinion Journal
Bush Eyes Brown
The California jurist who may replace Justice O'Connor.
[John Fund] 6/26/03 |
...But my view is that should Mr. Gonzales not be the nominee for any Supreme Court vacancy, the frontrunner would be Justice Janice Rogers Brown of the California Supreme Court. | Justice Brown, the daughter of a Alabama sharecropper, is a respected jurist with a compelling life story. Born in 1949, she arrived in California as a child and worked her way through college at Cal State Sacramento and law school at UCLA. She went to work in the state attorney general's office, and in 1991 Gov. Pete Wilson tapped her as his legal-affairs adviser. In 1994 Mr. Wilson appointed her to a state appeals court; two years later he elevated her to the state's highest court. | While on the court she has not shied away from controversy. She has said some of her colleagues have "an overactive lawmaking gland" that compels them to second-guess legislators. A clear expression of her frustration with judicial activists came in 1997, when she wrote a dissent in a case where the court majority struck down a state law stipulating that minors had to obtain parental consent for an abortion. "This case is an excellent example of the folly of courts in their role of philosopher kings," she concluded. | Her most controversial legal writing will surely be her opinion in a 2000 case that struck down a minority contracting program in San Jose. She found that it ran afoul of Proposition 209, the 1996 state initiative approved that abolished racial preferences by state and local governments. Justice Brown described preferences as an "entitlement based on group representation" and said they have had pernicious effects on society. Her opinion led some liberals to tag her as "a female Clarence Thomas." [more at Opinion Journal]

Californian Food Fight
[Kevin Beckman] 6/26/03 | For five days, radical leftists throughout the country converged on Sacramento, California, to protest the International Ministerial Conference and Expo on Agricultural Science and Technology, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The agriculture ministers from over 100 WTO nations gathered to discuss the latest advances in biotechnology and how these techniques can be used to feed the 800 million starving people of the Third World. But now that the war in Iraq is over, the radical Left saw the Conference as an opportunity to get their old comrades together again. These radicals sought to portray themselves to the media as a collection of harmless, homespun, grassroots activists concerned about small farmers and the poor. After spending three days embedded with these people, I found out the reality: they were a motley crew of anarchists, socialists, and well-paid activists. [more at Front Page]

'Save California' -- But For Whom?
Dilemma is which promises must we keep: to recipients or taxpayers?
[Gary M.Galles] 6/25/03 | Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson, D-Los Angeles, announced that Democrats are hitting the road this week to tell Californians "the truth" about state budget woes. | The "Save California" blitz is designed to energize everyone whose incomes depend on state spending to push for increased taxes rather than the "dire consequences" of sharper spending cuts, in preparation for an Assembly budget vote. | This campaign is not about the truth, however. It is, as Yogi Berra would say, "like deja vu, all over again." It repeats the same strategy as a bogus series of state town hall meetings held just months ago. | Then, Wesson announced that the town hall meetings were to give real people a voice in the budget crisis. | However, an internal party memo revealed that to be false. Rather than soliciting input from the public, it spelled out the goal as to "advance the Democratic Caucus message," with witnesses hand-picked to "convey the desired message." They were just a strategy to tar any attempt to cut government spending as unfair, to move public opinion toward the tax increases Democrats want instead. [more at LA Daily News]

FABULOUS BUDGET/ From Sacramento Bee
Senate Budget Stalemate Underscores Depth Of Partisan Rancor
[Dan Walters] 6/25/03 | The once-staid yearly process of fashioning a new state budget has evolved into a more or less perpetual crisis, sometimes because Capitol politicians have too much money to spend but more often because they face a gap between revenues and spending desires. | The stickiest aspect of the process is that a final tax-and-spending plan must pass by two-thirds votes, which gives minority Republicans rare opportunities to wield political clout. | Traditionally, the partisan fires have burned more intensely in the Assembly than in the Senate, so budget squabbles have often been resolved in the upper house first. But two years ago, when the latest budget crisis first began to emerge, the pattern was broken. Rather than forge a bipartisan deal with Republican senators, the Senate's Democratic leadership and Democratic Gov. Gray Davis adopted a pickoff strategy. With 26 Democrats in the Senate, they needed just one Republican to break ranks for a two-thirds margin. That one was Maurice Johannessen, a Redding businessman who, after leaving the Senate, was named by Davis as the state's veterans affairs secretary. | The internal dynamics of this year's budget stalemate are far different. Johannessen is gone, and the Republicans gained one Senate seat in last year's elections. That means Davis and Democrats now need at least two GOP budget votes in the Senate. Republican leader Jim Brulte is playing with a much stronger hand as he demands greater spending cuts and opposes new taxes. | Just how strong was demonstrated Tuesday, when every Republican stood with Brulte in rejecting a Democratic version of the budget that, while making billions of dollars in spending reductions, also would impose $8 billion in new taxes and fees. [more at Sacramento Bee]

A Tale Of Two Brattons

Chief regrets his consultant handiwork
[the Editors] 6/25/03 |
It's hard to shed many tears for Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton, who can't stand the limitations of the federal consent decree that governs the Los Angeles Police Department. | That's not to say he doesn't have reason to complain: The consent decree binds the the LAPD's hands. It ties up valuable resources. And it subjects the LAPD to micromanagement at the whim of a federal monitor and judge. | Too bad for Bratton. Maybe he should have designed the decree differently! | That's because the consent decree that Chief Bratton now bemoans is the same one that high-priced, independent consultant Bratton once helped to engineer and implement. [more at LA Daily News]

A Border Incident
[Terence Jeffrey]
6/25/03 | When Border Patrol officials in San Diego learned last June about circumstances surrounding a dead body deposited at the county medical examiner's office, they sent over an agent with a radiation detector. | "It was an out-of-the-ordinary situation, where you had an individual from the Middle East who was found along our border," said Raleigh Leonard, spokesman for the Border Patrol's San Diego sector. The man had been dropped off at a local hospital, Leonard told me, "by people who said that he had crossed illegally into the United States and was subsequently found . . . throwing up blood." | He was 21-year-old Youseff Balaghi. He had come from faraway Lebanon to the border near Tijuana.
[more at Town Hall]

Reading The Signs
[the Editors] 6/25/03 |
California students continue to score among the bottom states in the reading portion of the test of basic knowledge called the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Only 21 percent of our state's students were considered "proficient and above." After a decade of reform, we had hoped for more. | The NAEP tests a sampling of fourth- and eighth-grade students. The latest results were released June 19. Of 44 states and the District of Columbia, the NAEP ranked California above only Louisiana, Mississippi and Washington, D.C. [more at OC Register]

Gumby vs. Mayor Mike

[Debra J. Saunders] 6/24/03 | Which Politician is more reviled by his own constituents -- California Gov. Gray Davis or New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg?
[more at SF Chronicle]

Yes, Recall Could Open Pandora's Box, But ...

[Gordon Dillow] | 6/24/03 Last week I wrote a column about Burt Pronin of Brea, a guy I found outside an Albertsons store collecting petition signatures to recall Gov. Gray Davis. The gist of it was just how easy a time Burt was having finding people who want to give the guv the bum's rush. [more at OC Register]

RECALL FOLLIES/From Washington Times
California Tremors

[Jack Kelly] 6/24/03 | A political earthquake is shaking the ground in California. Its tremors could extend across the nation, influencing next year's presidential election, and changing the national debate about government spending. [more at Washington Times]

FABULOUS BUDGET/ From Sacramento Bee
California Earned Its Ranking As Worst-Performing On Budget
[Dan Walters] 6/24/03 | "I intend to resist the siren song of permanent spending whether it comes from the left or the right," Davis said, "and I will stand up to anyone who tries to convince the Legislature that they should spend most or all of this money on ongoing expenses." [more at Sacramento Bee]

"Triggering" A Revolution

Davis and Westly will regret car-tax treachery
[the Editors] 6/24/03 | According to state officials, the California car tax is tripling itself all on its own. No one in Sacramento is actually responsible for the increase; it amazingly "triggers" itself when the state is low on cash. [more at LA Daily News]

Ninth Circus Court
[Michael P. Tremoglie] 6/24/03 | On May 21, 2003, the United States Ninth Court of Appeals issued another one of the bizarre rulings for which it has become notorious. This time, the court reversed the conviction of an armed California bank robber, Deshon Rene Odom, because he “never intentionally displayed the gun.” [more at Front Page]

Blowing Smoke

Anti-cigarette TV ads unfairly demonize tobacco executives
[Doug Gamble] 6/24/03 | If financially beleaguered California is sincerely looking for ways to save money, it should stop spending $21 million a year on misleading TV ads that demonize tobacco- company executives. | Before going any further I want to be on record as a nonsmoker who believes smoking is an awful habit and an obvious threat to health. [more at OC Register]

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/ From Sacramento Bee
News Of A Butterfly's Demise Greatly Exaggerated
[Daniel Weintraub] 6/24/03 | The monarch butterfly is alive and well, flying proudly over Midwest cornfields. But that hasn't stopped the beautiful black and orange insect from becoming the poster child of the movement to stop the spread of genetically modified agriculture. [more at Sacramento Bee]

From The 'Dear Pippy' File

[the Editors] 6/24/03 |
Of all the many reports in the past year suggesting costly disarray in Orange County's government, perhaps the most striking was the grand jury's documentation last month of how the county's Performance Incentive Program - far from being a motivational tool to inspire good work by public employees - ended up showering bonuses equal to 2 percent of annual pay on 95 percent-plus of all county workers. [more at OC Register]

INSIDE CRO/Fabulous Budget
California Screamin’

Why Residents of the Golden State Are (and Should Be) Angry
[Carol Platt Liebau] 6/23/03 | Shakespeare once wrote, “What’s in a name?” As it turns out, there’s quite a lot. California Democrats have begun a “Save California” campaign to persuade police, firefighters and local officials to support higher state taxes to help balance the state budget. The campaign’s name is unintentionally revealing of the mindset that has simultaneously driven California to the edge of bankruptcy, and Governor Gray Davis to the precipice of the political abyss. Apparently, our Democratic leaders believe that California will be saved through the imposition of higher taxes. | The absurdity of this concept would be funny if its proponents weren’t actually in charge. But they are. And with a state mired in tough times, their only concern seems to be just how many costs they can pass on to California’s steadily eroding tax base. Last year, Californians paid $130 billion in taxes to state government. Apparently, that’s not enough. More must be extracted, and the Democrats are hot on the taxpayers’ trail. Of course California was hit hard by the bursting of the tech bubble from the late ‘90’s. But that’s not the explanation for the fact that California lost 21,500 jobs last month – more than the other 49 states combined. No, the state economy continues to struggle because of the choices made by the governor and the Democrat-controlled state legislature, and the philosophy underlying them. [more inside]

More Hackery

The Los Angeles Times puts a Progressive spin on the Car Tax
[Hugh Hewitt] 6/23/03 |
Saturday's Los Angeles Times is a study in partisan hackery. Editor John Carroll promised to keep bias out of his news columns, but he has failed to deliver on that problem, or even on the equally important but easier to spot neutrality in story placement and headline. | The Saturday Times carries a half-dozen front page stories, and three plugs for more stories "Inside." The biggest story of the day --the Gray Davis-ordered tripling of the state car tax-- is not on the front page, and it isn't even an "Inside" story though a new golf resort in Newport Beach is a plugged feature. The car tax hike is in the second section, and its headline is "State Triples the Vehicle License Fee." The "vehicle license fee?" Later in the story, the very neutral reporter begins the fifth paragraph: "The so-called 'car tax' increase represents the first tax hike enacted by state officials to deal with California's huge shortfall." Except it wasn't "enacted" at all --there was no law passed, and it is not until paragraph 11 --on the jump page, B-11-- that the reader discovers that Republicans assert that the car tax is illegal. Incredibly, the story nowhere mentions that the State Legislative Analyst issued an opinion on Thursday concluding that the tax could not in fact be raised at this time. [more inside] [Hewitt's site]

TIMESGRINDER/From Claremont Institute
Why We Hate the LA Times
[Ken Masugi] 6/23/03
| With its burial of a major story on Governor Gray Davis's tripling of the annual car tax, the LA Times demonstrates once again why thoughtful southern Californians disdain it. The drastic increase likely means the termination of Davis's governorship, in the impending recall election. Though front page news in many California newspapers, the Times chose to run it as a one-column story barely above the fold in its California section, p. B-1. I won't bore readers with what the Times regards as real front-page news, but included was an item about a Utahan who offers to turn people into mummies. Perhaps he and the Times can trade tips on the burial business. [more at Claremont Institute]

TIMESGRINDERFrom National Review
To Shoot or Not to Shoot
Another controversy roils the LAPD.
[Jack Dunphy] 6/23/03 | Just the other day, a boy of about ten approached to ask me a question, one heard often by police officers everywhere: "Have you ever shot anyone?" Though I've had my share of close calls, I was thankful to be able to answer that I have not. But like all cops, I know every day I strap on the gun may be the day I have to use it. And should that awful occasion arise that I am forced to take a life in order to save my own or someone else's, who will sit in judgment of my actions? Will it be police professionals who have been trained in the very same policies and tactics as myself, and who themselves may have faced their own life-threatening situations? Or will it be civilians with no police training or experience whatsoever, civilians whose decisions may be influenced by the ever-capricious shifts in political currents? | These are the questions being asked today in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times reported last Tuesday that an LAPD "board of rights," a disciplinary panel composed of two police captains and a civilian, has absolved an officer in the 1999 shooting of Margaret Mitchell, a slightly built, 55-year-old homeless woman. The news story was accompanied in the same edition by a breathless editorial that called for changes in the way officer-involved shootings are investigated and adjudicated. "The Margaret Mitchell shooting was wrong," the editorial concludes, "and it's indefensible to say otherwise." Here on vivid display was the lordly hauteur regularly found on the editorial pages of the Times and other such liberal papers: We know best, you see, and if you disagree it can only be attributable to some gross defect of character that renders you unfit for polite company. Well, it may mark me as a primitive, but I manage to lift my knuckles up from the floor from time to time, and I have done so if only for as long as required to type these words. And as I do with nearly every editorial that appears in the Times, most especially those pertaining to police work, I do indeed disagree. [more at National Review]

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/ From American Spectator
An Affirmative Action Memoir

[Robert Garcia Tagorda] 06/23/03 | Today's affirmative action debate centers on the University of Michigan's "Selection Index," which gives black, Latino, and Native American undergraduate applicants automatic bonus points. But such systems should never overshadow the deeply personal nature of race-based policies. | In 1996, my high school sweetheart and I ranked atop our class. I had a grade-point average above 4.30 and she just slightly below. As I co-captained the volleyball team and co-founded the poetry club, she entered swim meets and helped coordinate the honor society. After school, she tutored elementary students, and I delivered pizza. We served as student senators, volunteered at local charities, and scored 1270 on the SAT (I later retook the exam and reached the 1300s). Besides enjoying the same education, we lived in comparable middle-class Los Angeles County neighborhoods. With nearly identical records and backgrounds, we applied to the same top schools, including Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and Claremont McKenna College. | The similarities ended there. Though we both had immigrant backgrounds, her family came from Mexico and mine from the Philippines. Eventually, whereas she earned admission to all but one school, I got rejected from all but one school. Of two equal candidates, university officials preferred the Mexican American to the Filipino American. [more at American Spectator]

Time To Get California Back On Secure Footing

[Keith Richman] 6/23/03 | Most Californians expect their leaders to resolve problems by cooperating and keeping their eye on what is best for California. | Those common-sense principles are especially true when the stakes are high and California's fiscal integrity is threatened. [more at LA Daily News]

'Bleak House' II

Water lawsuit may have Dickensian result
[the Editors] 6/23/03 | It's becoming clear why the Metropolitan Water District is fighting the Colorado River water deal, an agreement that would provide Southern Californians with millions of acre-feet of water over the next decade. | MWD President Ron Gastelum may argue that the deal somehow resembles energy deregulation, or that its environmental impacts are too costly, or that it's an improper use of state water bonds. But the real reason Gastelum doesn't want San Diego County buying Imperial Valley water may be that he thinks the Los Angeles-based MWD can get that water – and a lot more – for free. [more at SD Union Tribune]

Incompetence, Unpopularity and Murmurs of Corruption

Why Gray Davis is to blame for the recall
[Tony Quinn] 6/22/03
| It's never happened before but this fall, or no later than next spring, Gov. Gray Davis seems destined to face a recall election that could well end his governorship. | Davis supporters loudly proclaim this is an unjustified right-wing coup to undo last year's election results. They are right about the right-wing part, but wrong about justification. In fact, this recall is exactly what the Progressive reformers had in mind when they added direct democracy, including recall of public officials, to our Constitution 90 years ago. [more at SF Chronicle]

RECALL FOLLIES/From Sacramento Bee
Recall Is No Conspiracy -- GOP Crefers Internal Combat

[Dan Walters] 6/22/03 | State Treasurer Phil Angelides stopped just short the other day of using the infamous phrase "vast right-wing conspiracy" to describe the recall campaign being waged against Gov. Gray Davis. [more at Sacramento Bee]

A Deal Dead On Arrival

[the Editors] 6/22/03 |
California is going down an interesting road as the fiscal year comes to an end with nothing close to a budget agreement in the bitterly divided Legislature. Some commentators are bemoaning the lack of agreement that will keep the state moving forward, but the current stalemate is useful in that it sharpens the distinctions between the parties running the state. [more at OC Register]

FABULOUS BUDGET/ From Sacramento Bee
A Bipartisan Budget Plan That Deserves To Be Passed
[Daniel Weintraub] 6/22/03 | Californians say they don't want to cut services, but neither do they want to raise taxes to pay for the government programs they are getting now. Gov. Gray Davis and the leaders of both parties in the Legislature have pretty much surrendered to the same irrational impulse. Keith Richman and Joe Canciamilla have not. [more at Sacramento Bee]

Just a Pack of Predators
The leaders talked empowerment but were gangsters who abused their own.
[Kate Coleman] 6/22/03 | Huey P. Newton and Eldridge Cleaver may be dead, but the Black Panthers have never really gone away. This bunch of thugs continues to capture the imagination of American intellectuals. [more at LA Times]

Your Car Tax Estimate
posted at OC Register
Say you bought a new Toyota Camry in October 2000 for $20,360.
Here’s how the new vehicle license fee will affect you.

$ 105.87
You paid this in 2002

You’ll owe this in October

Dispelling the Car Tax Myths

A new tax revolt is just beginning
[Jon Coupal] 03/17/03 [a timely reposting 6/21/03] | One of Californians' most hated taxes -- the car tax -- has been spending a lot of time on the front pages of the state's newspapers. Most Californians are aware of the car tax, technically called the Vehicle License Fee, or "VLF." Certainly most drivers are also aware, by now, that the car tax is something that is paid both when you buy a car and also once a year when you reregister. Getting that familiar envelope from DMV once a year is usually the cause of much anguish. But lately, the taxes have been more reasonable because of significant reductions in the last two years. | Now, with California in a budgetary pickle, the tax-and-spend lobby is arguing to -- once again -- increase the car tax. Thus, the debate has been heated on both sides and, in the process, truth is the first casualty. So let's clear up some myths regarding the car tax. [more inside]

California Doesn’t Need Saving, It Needs Rescuing

Legislature's Democrats are in denial
[Ray Haynes] 06/21/03 |
I am going to make a bold prediction—We are two or three days away from a budget solution. The problem? That prediction requires the Democrats to come to terms with the fact that there will be no new taxes this year. Once they realize that, it will only take a couple of days to finish the negotiations. | We are now watching the Governor and the leaders of the Legislature go through the grieving process, a process begun by the fact that they have not been able to threaten, cajole, bribe, or intimidate eight Republicans into voting for a tax increase. It has worked before. They thought it would work again. It is not working this time. Right now, they are in a state of denial, but they are close to anger. Once they reach acceptance, the solution will follow. [more inside]

A RAW Deal?

California's approach to fiscal management is a revolving charge card.
[Jon Coupal] 6/21/03 |
We've all heard "good news, bad news" jokes. Well, the good news is that California convinced Wall Street to lend us $11 billion so that we could pay some bills that are about to come due. The bad news is that, in order to pay this $11 billion back, we'll have to borrow even more money in September. California's approach to fiscal management is a revolving charge card. Unfortunately, this is no joke. [more inside]

Very Social Work
Busted slackers raise questions about county government
[the Editors] 6/20/03 | You've got to hand it to the three recently busted Los Angeles County child-services employees: They put the "social" into social work. | Trips to the gym and the movie theater, lazy mornings around the house -- all on the taxpayers' dime. [more at LA Daily News]


Last Week's Front Page: 6/14-6/20
[go to Front Page Archive Index]

And some
Lingering Observations

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. [more inside]

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. [more at OC Register]

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]

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]

It's The Spending, Stupid
[Jill Stewart] 6/13/03 | 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]

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/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]

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


Blue Collar -  120x90
120x90 Jan 06 Brand
Free Trial Static 02
ActionGear 120*60
Free Trial Static 01
Applicable copyrights indicated. All other material copyright 2003-2005