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Thoroughly Modern Bob – Coming to a Legislature Near You!

Paul Hatfield
PERSPECTIVE-Thoroughly Modern Millie was a Tony Award winner. State Senator Bob Hertzberg is rolling out his own sequel. The only problem is the production cost. Actually, the real problem is we will be the ones bankrolling it if Bob gets the green light. It is the most expensive tax scam concocted, more than California HSR. I’m talking…

Elite Girls School Has Brentwood Up in Arms … Over Traffic

John Schwada
INSIDE LA-Hairdresser Mikell Powell is walking her two dogs in Brentwood along Sunset Boulevard just across the street from the Archer School for Girls (photo left). “I’m opposed to anything that would make driving on Sunset here anymore hellish than it already is,” Powell says as her dogs tug on their leashes. No question: there’s a 1.2 mile…

Homeless LA: Safe Havens, Not Sidewalks

Mike Bonin
WHO WE ARE-In recent years, Los Angeles has seen more progress in combating homelessness than it ever has – yet the problem is still getting worse. Since 2011, the region has housed more than 23,000 people – a record number even by national standards. Yet homelessness is on the rise. Encampments are proliferating in our neighborhoods throughout…

Can LA Afford Another Olympics?

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Boston bailed on hosting the 2024 Olympics when Mayor Martin Walsh refused to sign a host city contract with the United States Olympic Committee (“USOC”) that would have put Beantown (and possibly the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) on the hook for any cost overruns associated with this 17 day extravaganza. But Walsh’s refusal to…

The Petty Hypocrisy of Mandatory Ethics Training

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-As a member of a neighborhood council board, I am required by state law to do 2 hours of ethics training every 2 years. Elected officials such as members of the City Council are also required to take this training. The curious thing about our California ethics rules is that they prohibit the small stuff while looking the other way…

Los Angeles: Brown lives Matter!

Fred Mariscal
LATINO PERSPECTIVE-According to the Los Angeles Times, over the last five years in LA County, coroner's data show that Latinos, who make up about half of the county's population, also represent about half the people killed by police. Of the 23 people fatally shot by law enforcement in the county this year, 14 were Latino. The Times raises an…

Grading the LA Times: Mike Feuer’s B+ Leaves Something Out

Noel Weiss
OTHER VOICES-Reading the LA Times’ Report Card grade of B+ for City Attorney Mike Feuer, it was good to see at least a 'hat-tip' to the issue of whether the City Attorney really is the “attorney for the people.” But their conclusion seems to be that he is not, and I believe that is wrong. Exactly who does the City Attorney represent? Certainly, he…

Beverly Hills Pounds Final Nail in Bike Lanes Coffin

Mark Elliot
GETTING THERE FROM HERE-If you expected that Beverly Hills might install bicycle lanes on our segment of Santa Monica Boulevard when reconstructing it next year, you will be sorely disappointed to know that City Council just pounded the final nail into the bike lanes coffin. City Council split on the Blue Ribbon Committee recommendation to expand…

Helter Skelter, Murder and the Looming Race War

Tony Castro
TONY CASTRO’S LA-In one of our last conversations before his death earlier this year, author and prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi lamented that while he had successfully imprisoned Charles Manson, he feared he had only made a dent in the threat of an apocalyptic race war that the mass murderer had hoped to ignite. “Madness and mad men,” said Bugliosi,…

 

Reynolds Rap Video: Joey has hope for the pope in Philly.





You’re gonna cry! Kids sing to teacher with cancer

Scarrrry! The Flying Gun

Kid Stuff! Full of chuckles


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Jerry Brown Pulls a Nixon

CALIFORNIA FINANCIALS - “Only Nixon could go to China” is a political metaphor referring to the ability of a politician with an unassailable reputation among his supporters for staunchly representing and defending their values, to take actions that would draw vicious criticism and fierce opposition if taken by someone without those credentials.
With California’s financial condition in free fall, ultra-union friendly Gov. Jerry Brown demanded public-employee unions cut  compensation by 10 percent.  If the People’s Republic of California is adopting fiscal responsibility, perhaps America can too.

For unions, Jerry Brown has been the governor who always kept on giving.  In 1977, he approved the Dills Act, collective bargaining for California government workers.  Last November, he signed SB 922, protecting “project labor agreements” that force non-union workers to apply for union membership, and pay dues, in order to work on public projects.

While predicting a $9.2 billion budget deficit in January, Brown sought to protect public service union jobs by cajoling private sector retailers to support a voter initiative to raise sales taxes. As state tax revenue had fallen by $4.9 billion in February, Brown focused on raising $630,000 in contributions for his tax increase initiative from unions, Indian tribes and crony capitalists.  As revenue continuing to fall last month, Brown extended union contracts representing tens of thousands of workers that increased the state’s health benefits by 9.5 percent.

Brown’s good-old-boy support for his union brothers and sisters may have come to a screeching halt as California State Controller John Chiang published a devastating April Financial Statement showing monthly income, sales and corporate tax revenue came in 20.2 percent below the governor’s latest projections; and sales tax collections fell by an astounding 61 percent below last year.

Looking closer into the numbers, California missed the national economic recovery.  As U.S. Gross Domestic Product grew by 2.2 percent, California employment grew by only 1.3 percent.  Given that the workforce expands by 1.5 percent annually as more young people begin looking for jobs, this explains why California unemployment rose to 11 percent in March from 10.9 percent in February — as U.S. employment fell to 8 percent.  Chiang ominously stated:

“Without a timely, financeable budget plan, the State will be unable to access the working capital needed to pay its bills later this year.”

This is bureaucratic speak for: We are insolvent, our credit rating should be junk and we will default when we can’t borrow any more money!

Standard & Poor’s, in a new credit report last week, warned that California lawmakers’ resistance to steep cuts in welfare and health care programs is to blame for failure to balance the state budget:

“As the most important month of the year for [income tax] collections, April receipts are not only failing to solve part of the state’s projected problem, they are deepening the estimated budget gap.”

With the state needing to borrow $20 billion in July to finance operations until collecting property payments in mid-December, this is S&P speak for: We will cut your rating.

California rolled over an $8.2 billion deficit from last year’s budget disaster and this year’s growing deficit has forced the state to increase borrow another $7.7 billion.

The state did cut $1.8 billion, or 8 percent, from operations; and school funding was flat this year. But spending on health and human services jumped by a stunning $3.7 billion, or 6.2 percent.

President Richard Nixon had a reputation as the leader of hardcore Republican anti-communists when he announced he was going to improve relations with China by personally visiting the country in 1972.  No Democrat at the time could have absorbed the political blowback of such a spectacular change in America’s foreign policy.  Over the next 40 years, America and China have become each other’s most important trading partners

Just as Richard Nixon was the strongest ally of anti-communists, Jerry Brown has been the strongest ally of public-sector unions.  Chief Executive Magazine’s survey of best and worst states for business ranks California dead last.  According to one CEO:

“The leadership of California has done everything in its power to kill manufacturing jobs in this state. As I stated at our annual meeting, if we could grow our crops in Reno, we’d move our plants tomorrow.”

Given that high taxes and onerous regulatory enforcement were championed by Brown in California and then spread out across the nation, Brown is best positioned to unwind these job killers.  When Jerry Brown told state employee union leaders his next budget would include a 10% cut in state worker compensation, there has been little opposition.  

Perhaps California’s financial distress may require Jerry Brown to be America’s pro-business governor.

(Chriss Street is nationally recognized financial writer. His latest book, “The Third Way,” now is available on  www.amazon.com Read more of Chriss Street and reach him at chrissstreetandcompany.com)

-cw

Tags: Chriss Street, Richard Nixon, Jerry Brown, China, John Chiang






CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 39
Pub: May 15, 2012

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