Agenda for tomorrow night’s city council meeting

Fullerton SealA number of folks have indicated that they have problems trying to download the council meeting agendas from the city’s award-winning website, so we’re making it simple — just click here to download or open the PDF.

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Teachers’ unions spent over $27 million on state races

By Marc Joffe | In a recent op-ed, California Federation of Teachers (CFT) President Joshua Pechthalt calls out special interests for pouring money into California elections in support of charter schools. He writes:

The charter association spent better than $24 million in relatively few races this year. Oakland, where previously $20,000 was a lot of money for a school board race, was awash in a half-million dollars in contributions, mostly from the charter association and another billionaire-funded committee.

Missing from Perchthalt’s piece is the fact that the CFT and other teacher’s unions are also big-spending special interests. Indeed, they spend considerably more on political donations than charter advocates.

California Federation of TeachersBased on our review on campaign contribution and independent expenditure data reported by the Secretary of State, we find that teachers’ unions spent over $27 million on state-wide races during the current election cycle.  The largest contributions are shown in the chart at the end of this article. Actual teacher union political spending is much higher because the Secretary of State’s data do not include contributions to school board candidates and other local campaigns. For example, according to data available from the Oakland City Clerk, the Oakland Education Association PAC made over $80,000 in donations and independent expenditures in the most recent election.

Read the entire article . . .


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Study misses the point of Prop. 13

By Jon Coupal | A recent study published in Trulia, a website dedicated to housing issues, has raised eyebrows among those who follow Proposition 13. Indeed, the title of the study itself was marginally inflammatory: “The Taxpayer Revolt: Winners and Losers.”

Prop 13The study was written by Trulia’s chief economist, Ralph McLaughlin, a person who clearly has bona fides as a housing expert. Indeed, the study sets forth detailed data that those of us who are tax and housing wonks will surely appreciate. The problem with the study, however, is not the data but rather the conclusions and thinly veiled innuendos about the “fairness” of Proposition 13.

Read the entire article . . .


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California GOP’s final death throes

After this election it might as well close up shop.

Steven GreenhutBy Steven Greenhut, The American Spectator | The final vote tallies are in for a handful of tight legislative races. It’s now clear that California Democrats have gained supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature, meaning they can raise taxes without needing to woo any Republican votes.

The state Republican Party has long abandoned hope of ever gaining majorities, but each year it fights to preserve some semblance of power (or dignity) by maintaining a third of the membership in each chamber. The California GOP — which holds no statewide constitutional offices (governor, lieutenant governor, treasurer, etc.) — hasn’t gone the way of Hawaii (only one GOP state senator), but it’s unlikely anything will stop the slide.

The handful of legislative flips in the Nov. 8 election had to hurt. That’s because the losing legislators seemed to epitomize every strategy the state GOP had embraced in recent years. And they all lost in (relatively) Republican-friendly districts. For instance, the final news involves Senate District 29, where Josh Newman, a Democratic activist, beat GOP Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang by 2,100 votes in a district with a Republican lean and a large Asian population (27 percent).

The district includes fairly conservative edge suburbs of Los Angeles — Diamond Bar in the eastern San Gabriel Valley, Chino Hills in San Bernardino County and some northern Orange County suburbs including Brea and Richard Nixon’s old homestead of Yorba Linda. The district also includes some heavily Latino areas (West Covina, Anaheim), but this is the prototypical district the party has to win if it has any future in the state.

Assemblywoman Young Kim, a Republican who represented the Fullerton area of Orange County, also lost her seat. Her 65th District seat has a slight Democratic lean, but also is heavily Asian. In those central Orange County districts, large Asian voter turnout often benefits the GOP, as do relatively low Latino turnout rates. She was the incumbent and should have been able to hang on.

Read the rest of this article . . .

Posted in 29th State Senate District, 65th Assembly District, Josh Newman, Ling Ling Chang, Political Campaigns, Sharon Quirk-Silva, Young Kim | 1 Comment

Fullerton City Hall is closed today for another three-day weekend

City Hall Closure Dates

January – 1*, 15, 29
February – 12, 15*, 26
March – 11, 25
April – 8, 22
May – 6, 20, 30*
June – 3, 17
July – 1, 4*, 15, 29
August – 12, 26
September – 5*, 9, 23
October – 7, 21
November – 4, 11*, 18, 24*, 25*
December – 2, 16, 24*, 25*, 30, 31*

January –1*, 2*, 13, 27
February – 10, 20*, 24
March – 10, 24
April – 7, 21
May –5, 19, 29*
June – 2, 16, 30
July – 4*, 14, 28
August – 11, 25
September – 4*, 8, 22
October – 6, 20
November – 3, 10*, 17, 23*, 24*
December – 1, 15, 25*, 26*, 31*

*Holiday observed


Posted in City Hall closure dates | 1 Comment

California is still the Golden State for teacher unions

By Mike Antonucci, The 74 | While teachers-union affiliates across the country ponder what went wrong on Election Day, the California Teachers Association and California Federation of Teachers are celebrating another successful year at the polls.

The unions helped deliver Hillary Clinton a 29-point margin of victory in California and backed Kamala Harris in her successful bid to replace U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, who is stepping down.

California teacher unions' attitudeThey could also take credit for helping Democrats maintain a 39–13 margin in California’s delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives.

The two state ballot initiatives they supported with millions in contributions and thousands of volunteers were both passed — one extended a measure raising taxes on top earners in order to direct more funds to schools, and the other reinstituted bilingual education.

They worked for Democrats across the state, helping the party maintain a 26–14 margin in the state senate and pick up three seats in the state assembly, which now has a 55–25 Democratic majority. Of the 112 candidates CTA endorsed, 91 were elected.

That union’s reach extended into local races as well: CTA backed successful measures in 34 of 36 local and municipal races, and 142 of the 218 school board candidates it supported were victorious — an impressive record given the tangles of municipal politics.

Read the rest of this article . . .

Posted in Political Campaigns, Public Employee Unions, Teacher Unions | Leave a comment

The great California breakaway

Jon CoupalBy John Coupal | California breaking off into the ocean as a result of the “Big One” is science fiction fantasy to Hollywood, credible urban legend to citizens of Los Angeles and San Francisco and, perhaps, the secret hope of many Americans residing on the other side of the Sierras. However, backers of a just filed initiative, “Calexit: The California Independence Plebiscite of 2019,” want a different sort of California breakaway. They envision the state as a “free, sovereign and independent country.” Although the effort began several years ago, secessionists have been bolstered by those suffering Trump Derangement Syndrome – a condition where “alt left” adherents lose their minds over the thought of a Trump presidency.

A spokesman for the movement cites California’s different culture, different set of priorities, and different plans for the future as a justification for breaking away from the rest of the country.

While efforts to establish California as a separate country may be a farfetched idea – the issue of state secession was settled in the small town of Appomattox, Virginia when General Lee surrendered to General Grant, 1865 – it is an interesting mental exercise. What would California be like as an independent nation? Who would govern and what would be the impact on taxpayers? And if California could establish independence, would the break-up end there? Drive anywhere in the Sierra foothills or north of Sacramento and “State of Jefferson” signs are ubiquitous.

Read the rest of this column . . .



Posted in Calexit, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Jon Coupal | Leave a comment

Update on Fullerton’s city council race

Vote totals continue to increase very slightly each day. The Registrar says an estimated 27,202 provisional ballots are still to be counted (county wide).

You can see yesterday’s Fullerton update by clicking here. Check back after 5:00 pm at the same link for today’s update.

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When lunatics run the asylum you get Monty Python

More bad pension news for California cities.

Steven GreenhutBy Steven Greenhut, The American Spectator | California’s pension funds continue to face a fusillade of bad news, including new reports showing that retirement benefits consume 20 percent of Los Angeles’ general-fund budget. Put another way, one out of every five dollars the city spends goes to a retired city worker, a percentage that has quadrupled in the past 14 years. That’s an astounding number that is crowding out other public services. Things are even more troubling in San Jose, where pensions and retiree health care now consume nearly 28 percent of the budget.

State officials have been giddy that the budget is “balanced” and are eager to spend more money on new programs. But reports a few months ago show the state deeply in the red ($175 billion) under new accounting procedures that reflect pension debts. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, CalPERS, had investment returns of a measly 0.6 percent last year. Even that union-dominated fund’s top investment officials seem concerned.

During a presentation at the CalPERS Board of Administration meetings earlier this month, Chief Investment Officer Ted Eliopoulos played a video interviewing investment gurus who suggested that CalPERS’ expected rates of return are unrealistically high. In public-pension funds, it’s all about the return rates. For private-sector peons, a rate of return is a rate of return. If I invest in a mutual fund and get a 7 percent rate of return, that’s what I get. If it’s 2 percent, that’s that. I live either with the benefits of soaring investments or the bad news if my investment choices are subpar.

In the public sector, it’s a giant game through which officials can present as rosy an investment scenario as possible. Government employees are guaranteed specific pension benefits based on a formula. Pension funds invest contributions set aside by employers and employees and make a guess at their future returns. If investments outperform, there will be few “unfunded liabilities.” If they underperform, these debts amass and local governmental employers are forced to increase their contribution rates. This means diverting more money from their budgets and, ultimately, taking more from taxpayers.

Public PensionsSo when top investment staff at a pension board provide evidence that assumed rates should be lowered, that’s astounding news. Many California cities already are headed toward “service insolvency” — a fancy term for municipalities that can pay their bills but can’t provide adequate levels of public services. If 20 percent of a city’s budget goes to retirees, it has far less money available for road maintenance and parks, after all.

This is what happens when the lunatics run the asylum, or at least when those who benefit from certain policies (government workers) elect their own bosses.

Read the rest of this article . . .

[EDITOR'S NOTE: In 2012, the city council commissioned a study of Fullerton's funding of its employee pensions and health care obligations. It was conducted by Professor Joe Nation of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) at Stanford University and can be accessed here. More on this later.]

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Update on Fullerton’s city council race

The numbers change slightly each day, but the candidates’ positions on the list have not been changing. According to the Orange County Registrar of Voters there are an estimated 34,680 provisional ballots left to count (county wide). Here is today’s 5:00 pm update:

Fullerton Council - update 2016-11-28

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