Archive for the ‘unions’ Category

Texas vs. California Update for October 14, 2015

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Time for another Texas vs. California update:

  • Texas is the best state for small businesses.
  • Supreme Court to hold hearing on mandatory union dues in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association.
  • “Transparent California, a watchdog website provided by the Nevada Policy Research Institute, revealed 19,728 former government retirees across California received monthly stipends of $8,333.34 or more — adding up to at least a $100,000 a year for each person.”
  • [Orange County] government workers receive an “average full-career pension of $81,372 for miscellaneous [employees], which includes all nonsafety retirees, and $99,366 for safety [mostly police and fire] retirees of all Orange County cities enrolled in CalPERS.”
  • Republicans manage to defeat California tax hikes.
  • California politicians excel at corruption and self-dealing. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “If money and household wealth follow people, then Texas is doing better than any other state in nearly every way.”
  • San Francisco drives last existing gun store out of the city with burdensome regulations.
  • Judge strikes down law requiring landlords to pay up to $50,000 in relocation fees to evicted tenants.
  • Texas continues to earn the highest possible credit ratings.
  • New law mandates that CalPERS and CalSTARS must stop investing in coal. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Stockton update: “After only one full budget year, the city has already broken three fundamental promises and is destined to return to insolvency within four years.”
  • Bankrupt supermarket chain Haggen has found buyers for some of its California stores.
  • This story is so strange I suspect it could only happen in California. (Playboy link, so it may be blocked at your place of work.) Despite the large number of guns. ($5 million for 1,200 guns? I call BS. That would mean each gun was slightly more expensive than the list price for a bolt-action Barrett .50 BMG sniper rifle. The photos mostly show pretty common hunting rifles.)
  • Kevin Johnson vs. Deadspin

    Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

    I had previously reported on the coup of Sacramento’s Democratic Mayor Kevin Johnson in taking over the National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM), though at the time the reasons behind it seemed murky.

    But I missed this follow-up in Deadspin, because it’s pretty far from my regular reading list, plus the Gawker ickiness factor.

    But there does seem to be enough smoke there to suggest some sort of fire:

    Johnson is a youngish, attractive Democrat with a reputation as a national leader on education issues, a gift for making powerful friends, and a superficially impressive background—UC Berkeley, a long run as a top NBA star, a successful business career. He’s just the sort of politician a lot of people want to believe, and a lot of people have done so. His mayoralty will even soon be the subject of a laudatory entry in ESPN’s acclaimed 30 For 30 documentary series.

    The scandals didn’t much matter in 2008, when he easily won election in the face of credible accusations that he’d molested teenage girls, defrauded the federal government of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and lorded over an empire of slum holdings. And they haven’t much mattered since, as he’s gone from success to success, his star rising ever higher in the Democratic Party firmament through most of his career.

    As mayor, he’s incurred sexual harassment charges in the course of waging a bizarre war on an obscure non-profit organization; soaked taxpayers in his hometown for hundreds of millions of dollars to build a new arena for the Sacramento Kings; and used public employees to do his own private political work while attempting to hide the evidence by keeping email records off the books, Hillary Clinton-style.

    Deadspin lays the cause of Johnson’s recent actions to his desire to profit from private charter schools.

    Johnson’s latest scandal involves:

  • “He got a major national law firm to sue both the city of Sacramento and the Sacramento News & Review simply because the tiny weekly newspaper had filed a public-records request.”
  • He’s claiming attorney/client privilege for any records related to the NCBM.
  • He’s asserting that “40 people besides Johnson whom they claim are covered by attorney/client privilege, including 10 lawyers from the firm who worked for Johnson on NCBM-related matters,” also including “every member of his official mayoral staff—including communications director Ben Sosenko, chief of staff Daniel Conway, and advisors[sic] Patti Bisharat, Cassandra Jennings, Helen Hewitt, and Adrianne Hall.”
  • “Lots of folks who used Sacramento city government titles and worked out of City Hall while doing Johnson’s dirty work in the NCBM fiasco were in fact not employed by the city government. They were instead charter school advocates, funded by charter school ideologues, who kept their true allegiances and mission hidden.”
  • “Johnson has a history of not abiding by disclosure rules. In 2012, the California Fair Political Practices Commission (CFPPC), a panel charged with enforcing state financial disclosure laws, found that Johnson had failed to report at least 25 donations totaling $3.1 million made at his direction to his non-profits…To settle the case, Johnson agreed to pay a fine of $37,500, the largest penalty ever handed down to a public official in the state for non-disclosure violations.”
  • One need not embrace Deadspin’s, er, spin, which seems to be an attempt to keep money keep money going to failing unionized public schools (which I take to be their real reason in going after Johnson) to see many of Johnson’s actions as unethical and probably illegal.

    All of this may go a long way to explain why ESPN has shelved an installment of their acclaimed 30 for 30 documentary series about Johnson.

    Now, I happen to be a lot more pro-charter school than Deadspin evidently is. So if Kevin Johnson’s people want to contact me and explain his side of the story, I’d be happy to run a follow-up…

    Texas vs. California Update for October 1, 2015:

    Thursday, October 1st, 2015

    Ah, that October chill…is not evident yet here in Austin. It’s supposed to hit 94° today.

    Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • The joys of working in Los Angeles: a $30,000 tax bill on $500 worth of freelance income.
  • California nears passage of another trial lawyer full employment act.
  • Texas had five of the ten fastest growing metropolitan areas in 2014. Austin isn’t on this list, but Midland and San Angelo are numbers one and two. (San Jose, California’s lone entry, checks in at eight.)
  • 72% of Californians polled thinks the state has a pension crisis. Too bad this thinking doesn’t seem to influence their voting patterns yet… (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • And yet a new bill would exempt some new hires from paying their fair share of pension costs. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • New pension accounting rules are about to show that a lot more California municipalities are insolvent.
  • “Instead of building freeways, expanding ports, restoring bridges and aqueducts, and constructing dams, desalination plants, and power stations, California’s taxpayers are pouring tens of billions each year into public sector pension funds.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Stockton’s bankruptcy didn’t solve it’s pension crisis.
  • Texas had a net gain of 103,465 people in 2014, the largest number of which came from California.
  • San Francisco wants to keep housing affordable…by restricting supply. Looks like somebody failed Economics 101…
  • Pension reform initiative to be refiled?
  • Unions are trying to undo San Diego’s voter-approved pension reforms. Because of course they are.
  • Texas is like Australia with the handbrake off. There is no individual income tax and no corporate income tax, which explains the state’s rapid economic and population growth. A recent downturn has sparked some concern, however. Apparently Texas will only create another 150,000 jobs during 2015 – about the same number as Australia, from a population only a few million larger. In a good year, that number of jobs is easily generated by a single Texan city.” Also: IowaHawk’s illegal human organ trafficking!
  • Texas ranks 13th in budget transparency. California? Dead last.
  • Even some California Democrats balked at increasing the state’s already high gas prices.
  • As part of the bankruptcy of northwest supermarket chain Haggen (which bought a bunch of Albertson’s stores just six months ago), they’ll be closing all their California stores. And if you guessed that Haggen is unionized, you would be correct.
  • Jerry Brown revives the state’s redevelopment agency…and its potential for eminent domain abuse.
  • Reminder: Texas is enormous.
  • A scourge spreads out upon California. Crack gangs? Illegal aliens? Try “short term rentals.”
  • Historical note: 105 years ago today, three union guys bombed the Los Angeles Times, killing 21 people.
  • Texas vs. California Update for September 8, 2015

    Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

    Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • Why Texas is awesome:

    First, there is no state income tax in Texas. Some people know this and some don’t—few really grasp what it means practically. It means that if you make decent money and decide to move here and rent something affordable, it’s essentially free to live in Texas. If you make $150,000 a year, your state income taxes in California are roughly $12,000 per year (in NYC it’s closer to $15,000). Or, you can put a thousand bucks a month toward your rent here. If you decide to buy, property taxes are high—but what you get for the money more than makes up for it. My editor at the Observer recently tried to cajole me into coming back to New York. Our house now—which has its own lake and is 29 minutes from the airport which never has lines—costs less than the rent we were paying for our lofted studio apartment in Midtown. Are you kidding?

    Also note the mention of walk-in gun safes…

    (Hat tip: Borepatch.)

  • 600,000 Californians have moved to Texas since 2009.
  • Another take on that data: “5 Million People Left California Over the Past Decade. Many Went to Texas.”
  • Austin and Houston are the top two relocation destinations in the country.
  • $15 billion for a fish tunnel?
  • “The average full-career California teacher receives a pension benefit equal to 105% of their final earnings. CalSTRS CEO says the plan isn’t generous enough.”
  • In 2012, Los Angeles passed some modest pension reforms for newly hired employees. Surprise! A new union contract undoes those reforms. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California, like Texas, has a homestead exemption built into their bankruptcy laws. Unlike Texas, California’s exemption doesn’t actually protect debtors.
  • The FBI raided Palm Springs’ city hall as part of a corruption probe.
  • Mining company suspends operations at California mine because rare earths aren’t.
  • Chief of tiny California fire district to have his $241,000 pension cut. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Enviornmental idiocy and California’s drought.
  • Texas’ 2016 Fiscal Year started September 1st. “Several taxes that were eliminated on September 1 include the Inheritance Tax, Oil Regulation Tax, Sulphur Regulation Tax, Fireworks Tax, Controlled Substance Tax Certificates, and the Airline/Passenger Train Beverage Tax.”
  • Meanwhile, California’s legislature is trying to raise gas and tobacco taxes.
  • Elderly poverty in California.
  • Evidently California’s Democratic politicians stay up late at night devising ways they can make the state go broke even faster. The answer: Host the Olympics again.
  • Korean-owned businesses in LA consider relocating to El Paso. “Kim makes the case that El Paso, once home to plants for denim companies including Levi’s and Wrangler, has abundant skilled laborers, fewer regulations, much cheaper rent and direct flights from Los Angeles.”
  • A cartoon via IowaHawk’s twitter feed. That is all.
  • Texas vs. California: Cali Goes Batshit Insane Edition

    Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

    California has long had a tenuous grasp of what the rest of us regard as consensus reality. But two new pieces of legislation suggest they’ve gone off the deep end into full Victimhood Identity Politics land:

  • First, they decided that police shootings wouldn’t be subject to the grand jury process, because what’s a little things like two centuries of due process and the fifth amendment to the Constitution when there are policemen to be railroaded to satisfy black protesters?
  • They also decided to purge the words “illegal alien” from state statutes, because what’s mere law when there’s political correctness to be pandered to?
  • Of course, that’s not all that’s new on the Texas vs. California front:

  • “California taxpayers paid out big bucks to state workers in 2014. How much? More than the Gross Domestic Product of 100 countries, according to new data published by the State Controller’s office. In 2014, more than 650,000 state employees earned a total of $32 billion in wages and benefits.” It gets better: “Nine hundred sixty-nine state employees earned more than the President of the United States.” Added irony:

    The lowest paid average workers represented agencies focused on the environment, women and people with disabilities. According to the state’s 2014 payroll data, the average salary for the 11 state employees at the California Commission on Disability Access was just $15,213 per year, slightly more than the $14,494 average salary paid to the four employees at the Commission on the Status of Women.

  • There is no California. Only Zuul…
  • Texas unemployment rate: 4.2%. California unemployment rate: 6.2%. (Hat tip: WILLism’s Twitter feed.)
  • Los Angeles’ new minimum wage has wrecked hotel employment. Or maybe just non-illegal alien employment… (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • Why Public Services in California Decline Even As Revenues Rise. “Until California’s leaders address the three elephants – retirement, healthcare and corrections costs — that are crowding out public services and causing unproductive tax and fee increases, citizens will continue to suffer and inequality will continue to grow.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Chuck Devore on what makes Texas friendly to business: less red tape and lower taxes.
  • Voters to San Jose City Council: We want pension reform! San Jose City Council to voters: Get stuffed! (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • TV’s CHiPS never seemed to be involved in ethics scandals the way the current administration is, including no-bid contracts to European companies. (Bonus: it’s also suitable for Dwight’s Art Acevedo watch.)
  • California’s “Green Jobs Initiative” spent $297 million to create 1,700 jobs.
  • More on the same theme, and Tom Steyer wasting $29.6 million of his own money pushing it, from City Journal.
  • California’s SFX: from billion dollar company to bankruptcy.
  • LinkSwarm for August 7, 2015

    Friday, August 7th, 2015

    Time for the traditional Friday LinkSwarm!

  • Unions represent the main political obstacle to just about every kind of reform: School choice. Entitlements. Pensions. Health care.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Since the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing is upon us, time for a classic reprint: “Thank God for the Atomic Bomb.”
  • Illegal alien pulls gun on police in Pearland, lucky to still walk among the living. (Hat tip: SooperMexican.)
  • Side effect of Seattle’s minimum wage law: workers asking for fewer hours so they can keep getting government money.
  • Once again Dwight is on the DefCon beat.
  • “As I dug the bodies of several women out of the rubble, one of the other rescue workers asked if I’d heard that Cecil the Lion was killed. I froze in shock, dropping part of what I assume was once a human arm on the ground. ‘Not Cecil the Lion!’ I exclaimed. ‘Not him! Truly, is there no innocence left in this world?’ I cried harder than when we discovered my brother was gay and ISIS forced us to throw him off a building.”
  • Why the news media can’t do straight reporting on guns:

    The news, like Hollywood, became trapped in creating and fawning over celebrities. Getting Anderson Cooper publicized became more important than breaking the big story. When you have celebrity reporters telling you how they feel about being in Iraq instead of reporting on how our troops are doing you begin to lose perspective. With guns, instead of going to gun ranges, gun-owner’s homes, instead of interviewing women who’d stopped an attacker, and instead of really trying to understand the world such women live in and what they’re going through, they just tell us how they feel.

  • Respectable Dallas Observer liberal Jim Schutze goes to a Social Security office to get a replacement card for the one he lost. Simple, yes? Eh, not so much.
  • Speaking of the Dallas Observer, here’s one of their writers praising the Tea Party. Dogs and cats sleeping together!
  • Oh boy: Via Mark Steyn comes another story from Rotherham involving children with something to offend everyone.
  • St. Louis judge: Mere taxpaying peasants don’t get to vote on stadium subsidies their betters have decided on.
  • A sinkhole grows in Brooklyn. You can’t really expect Mayor Bill De Blasio to deal with this sort of trivia when there are so many cops to insult…
  • Welcome to the era of the $400 textbook.
  • Speaking of cops, a Taco Bell worker was fired for writing PIG on a policeman’s order (Hat tip: SooperMexican.)
  • Just about all Olympic athletes are doping.
  • Camille Paglia Interview Part 3: Addressing the 2016 Field

    Monday, August 3rd, 2015

    And here’s the third part of that Camille Paglia interview. Here she takes on the 2016 Presidential field. As you might expect from someone who voted for the Green Party in 2012 and who profeses herself a fan of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, her critiques of the Democratic side are a lot more interesting than those of the GOP.


    There are plenty of women Democratic politicians who are too scared to put themselves forward as candidates because of the Clinton machine. There’s something seriously wrong here with Democratic thinking…Given the problems facing the nation, this passive waiting for your turn is simply unacceptable. The Democrats have plenty of solid, capable women politicians who are just too timid to challenge the party establishment. Well, excuse me, that proves they don’t deserve to be president! You sure won’t be able to deal with ISIS if you can’t deal with Debbie Wasserman Schultz!

    More on Hillary:

    Hillary has accomplished nothing substantial in her life. She’s been pushed along, coasting on her husband’s coattails, and every job she’s been given fizzled out into time-serving or overt disaster. Hillary constantly strikes attitudes and claims she’s “passionate” about this or that, but there’s never any sustained follow-through. She’s just a classic, corporate exec or bureaucrat type who would prefer to be at her desk behind closed doors, imposing her power schemes on the proletariat. She has no discernible political skills of any kind, which is why she needs a big, shifting army of consultants, advisors, and toadies to whisper in her ear and write her policy statements.


    She’s not a fan of Ted Cruz: “Ted Cruz–oh, lord! Cruz gives me the willies. The guy is a fanatic! He’s very smart, clever and strategic, and he has a fine education from Princeton, so people have to watch out for him. But I think he is self-absorbed and narcissistic to a maniacal degree.” Paglia also says that “In the primary debates, Cruz will benefit from having a tall and commanding physique.” Commanding presence, yes, but Cruz is around my height (5’10”-ish), which is not generally considered tall for a Presidential contender.

    She’s high on Scott Walker:

    I think that liberals are dangerously complacent about Scott Walker. They’ve tried to portray him as a madman, an uneducated rube, a tool of the Koch brothers. Right now, Walker seems to be the true GOP frontrunner, but I also feel he lacks gravitas. He’s not ready for his close-up. What is this oddity about so many of the GOP candidates–their excessive boyishness, as if their maturation stalled? But Walker is a very talented and combative politician, with far more substance than liberals are allowing for.

    The union issue is huge–because as governor of Wisconsin, Walker went to war with unions and won. Liberals are caught in the past right now in their rosy view of unions, which were heroically established during the progressive era that reformed the abuses of the industrial revolution. But the union battle in Wisconsin had nothing to do with exploited working-class miners or factory workers. In his push to balance the state budget, Walker took action against the middle-class public sector unions, whose negotiations with municipal and state governments outside the arena of private competition have become an enormous drain on local budgets as the economy has worsened. There has been a history of rampant corruption in the public sector unions, coming from their cozy quid pro quo relationships with politicians. Liberals need to wake up about this! All they have to do is read the obituaries of the smaller newspapers in metropolitan New York to see how the early retirement and lavish pensions of the public sector unions have grotesquely drained taxpayer dollars. Obituary after obituary–so-and-so, aged 75, worked for fifteen or twenty years as a policeman or city sanitation worker, retired in his late 40s, and spent the rest of his life on the taxpayer’s dime, pursuing his hobbies of fishing, boating, and golfing. Great work if you can get it!

    And then the teachers’ unions! What a colossal tactical error American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten (a longtime Clinton friend and donor) made several weeks ago in unilaterally declaring her union’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton right in the middle of the Bernie Sanders surge. Probably for the first time ever, American liberals woke up to the corrupt practices that have become way too common in the political maneuverings of the big unions. The point here is that Scott Walker, in his defeat of the public sector unions, drew the roadmap for struggling municipal and state governments everywhere to balance their budgets, as he did in Wisconsin. Because who ends up suffering the most? It’s the kids. All that money outrageously pouring into inflated pension plans has been gutting public education and community arts programs.

    Good to see at least one liberal wake up to the destructive nature of bloated public sector unions. But it’s rather naive of Paglia to express surprise over part of the corrupt wing of the Democratic Party (unions) endorsing the designated candidate of that wing (Hillary) over the candidate of the Party’s insane wing (Bernie Sanders).

    “I thought that Mitt Romney was an excellent choice by the GOP four years ago.” Can’t really say we in the GOP are happy with the way that turned out…

    LinkSwarm for July 24, 2015

    Friday, July 24th, 2015

    Today will be full of Stuff. And Things. So enjoy a LinkSwarm!

  • Barack Obama, the MegaBanker’s friend. “Three top Democrats are accusing the Department of Housing and Urban Development of quietly removing a key clause in its requirements for taxpayer-guaranteed mortgage insurance in order to spare two banks recently convicted of federal crimes from being frozen out of the lucrative market.”
  • Companies that continue to fund Planned Parenthood. I believe the American Cancer Society should come in for a particularly hard time for sponsoring an event called “The Race For Life”…
  • And those same companies are scurrying for cover now that the lights have been flipped on.
  • On the New York Times running interference for Planned Parenthood. Which should surprise no one. Of course one branch of the Democratic Party will always defend another.
  • Five examples of that voting fraud Democrats swear doesn’t exist from 2015.
  • 93% unionized A&P supermarket chain files for bankruptcy. Again. Gee, what could be the cause?
  • Republicans chastise their extremists, Democrats pander to them.
  • Salman Rushdie says the world learned the wrong lesson from his fatwa. Namely to cower down in the face of jihad and really lick boot… (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • Not just Israel: Border walls are going up all across the Middle East to help keep out jihadists. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • How Uber is taking on Bull De Blasio. Man, Democrats hate it when you threaten the profits of their favored entrenched monopolies.
  • Return to the joyous heydays of lesbian feminists collective. “Sitting in endless meetings, unable to reach agreements, and taking days to produce one leaflet because someone objected to the word seminal.” Can’t imagine why they didn’t take the world by storm…
  • All the people who should sue Gawker. It’s a lengthy list. Plus this: “Gawker is the kind of place where they hold up pictures of Sabrina Erdely and say: ‘Now this is how you do it!”
  • Guns don’t kill people, Austin policemen bumping off their 7-month pregnant girlfriends kill people. Allegedly.
  • Sorry Instapundit, but I read this piece and I instantly think Grizzly Man 2.
  • Scott Walker Joins the 2016 Presidential Race

    Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

    Just in case you hadn’t heard, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker officially joined the 2016 Presidential race.

    I would say that Walker is the real frontrunner, no matter what some polls might indicate. Facing down unions in the Wisconsin recall election made Walker a hero among conservatives. National Democrats and unions went after Walker with everything they had and Walker built a throne out of their skulls. And the Republican establishment is more likely to acquiesce to his candidacy than that of, say, Ted Cruz.

    It’s a crowded field, but Walker will be a formidable candidate.

    Texas vs. California Update for July 9, 2015

    Thursday, July 9th, 2015

    Time for another Texas vs. California update!

  • “Greece, Puerto Rico show California’s potential future.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • What’s remarkable (or not, depending on your worldview) about the huge disparity in poverty rates between California and Texas is that the states are diametrically opposed in their taxing, spending, and regulatory policies. California, featuring America’s highest marginal income-tax rate, ranks as the fourth-most taxed state in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation, while no-income-tax Texas came in at forty-seventh. In a broader survey of economic freedom that includes labor law and regulation, Canada’s Fraser Institute rated Texas and South Dakota as tied for first with California lagging far behind at forty-third, just ahead of New Jersey at forty-fourth.

  • Yet another fiscal ranking of the states once again puts Texas well ahead of California, though not as much as in some other rankings. Texas ranks 19th, while California ranks 44th. In most rankings, Texas is higher and California is lower…
  • California’s rural poor are among those hit hardest by the drought.
  • Richmond may be the next California city to go bankrupt. (Hat tip: The Ace of Spades Doom Roundup.
  • California sanctuary cities are in the spotlight due to an illegal alien committing a high-profile murder.
  • Strike averted for Santa Clara nurses making an average of $148,000. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Ed Driscoll and wife Nina Yablok are moving to Texas. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Did Sacramento’s Democratic Mayor Kevin Johnson use his aides and volunteers to cement a coup in the National Conference of Black Mayors? And if so, why? What’s his angle?