Tag Archives: pension reform

CA, WI Join the Common Sense Brigade:Election Wrap-up

June 6, 2012   Today seems brighter. It was a big election night last night. Governor Scott Walker becomes the first governor in history to survive a recall effort. It wasn’t even close. In one of the most heated and important political battles in recent history, voters overwhelmingly approved of Walker’s reform efforts, handing a big loss to the heavily funded unions. Not to sound overdramatic (oh who am I kidding? I’m an actress; it’s my thing) but Walker’s victory has now become the official battle-cry of a spending-weary American electorate. The message has been sent. Voters can no longer tolerate being the sole support for bloated public pensions and Cadillac healthcare plans when they themselves are out of work and cutting back in all areas of daily life. Have no doubt, union bosses around the country are shaking in their boots. The bell cannot be unrung. The people mean business. The tea party is not dead – it’s just come to mean something else. It’s come to mean…Americans.

If you need more proof that the tidal wave against big government is gaining momentum, look no further than the biggest of big government states, California. Two cities – San Jose and San Diego- had pension reform on their ballots last night. They both won big. Also, new taxes were pretty much uniformly voted down across the state, including Prop 29, which imposed a new $1 per pack tax on cigarettes. It was a very close vote, but in the end voters decided they just couldn’t tolerate another tax, especially one that projected to raise $750 million without any of the revenue being allocated to pay down the state’s massive debt and pension liability.

As Jon Fleischman at the flashreport.org coined it, Tuesday night was V.U. Day – Victory Over Unions!

Other important ballots I was watching in California were:

Los Angeles District Attorney: In an unexpected upset, perceived frontrunner Carmen Trutanich was denied a spot in the top two. The heavily funded L.A. City Attorney was beat out by Deputy District Attorney Jackie Lacey (endorsed by outgoing D.A.Steve Cooley) and Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson (endorsed by law enforcement). Lacey and Jackson will head to the runoff.

Three Fullerton City Council members were successfully recalled in response to their handling of the beating death of Kelly Thomas at the hands of Fullerton police. Fullerton residents charged that the members covered for police during the investigation.

Todd Spitzer handily won the race for Orange County Supervisor, marshaling 68% of the vote over tea party favorite Deb Pauly. The controversy surrounding the race seems over for now.

Senator Diane Feinstein will run off against Republican Elizabeth Emken. Feinstein receive 50% of the vote, while Emken reached only 13%. Emken has seen weak fundraising compared to Feinstein – hundreds of thousands as compared to Feinstein’s millions. This will be a key race to watch in the coming months. Emken could get closer if the GOP decides to throw some money and support behind her.

Proposition 29 would levy another $1 per pack tax on cigarettes to “support cancer research”. This horribly flawed proposition is projected to raise $750 million in revenue with no provision for the money to be spent within the borders of California. As of this post the vote is still being declared to close to call, even with 100% of districts reporting. The “No” vote has edged out the approval vote so far by 65,000 votes out of more than 3 million cast and with absentee ballots still arriving. This verdict could stretch out for days or weeks. I’ll update as I receive information.

Proposition 28 is a stellar example of how the wording of a proposition on the ballot and in advertising is so absolutely vital. The proposition was billed as term limits, and it asked voters to reduce the number of years lawmakers could serve in legislature from 14 years to 12 years. Currently a lawmaker can serve two 3 year terms in the House and two 4 year terms in the Senate. Prop 28 shortens the total time one can serve, but allows lawmakers to serve those 12 years in either of the houses. This leaves our capitol at even greater risk for even more entrenched, corrupt politicians. Californians instinctively know they can’t trust their representation. Most people are in favor of term limits. Who would vote against them? The wording of the Prop on the ballot was such that anyone who had not properly done their research beforehand would have most likely been inclined to vote in favor. Prop 28 passed overwhelmingly and now it will be even harder to prevent entrenched cronyism.

The “top-two” system seemed just fine. We’ll have to wait to see the real effects in the coming months. I heard few complaints about it while I was out and about talking to voters.

In all, it was a great day for America. Wisconsin showed up big time and public sector unions across the country are looking over their shoulders at the fed up tax payers. With San Diego and San Jose also voting to reform their pension systems, could it be that common sense is making a comeback in California? I won’t hold my breath for that, but it’s a start.

UPDATE: June 7, 2012 It looks like Prop 29 has been narrowly defeated. No new cigarette taxes in California.

 crossposted at kiradavis.net

Wisconsin and California: Big labor on the decline

Most of America is aware of what happened in Wisconsin. Governor Walker’s recall win was about balancing budgets and keeping care of the public treasury. Wisconsin is not the only place that happened last night.

California voters also screamed out to unions “this far and no further”. In San Diego, voters approved by wide margin (69-31%) cuts to city pensions and San Jose voters accepted (71-30%) a measure that would force city workers to either pay more into their pensions or accept more moderate benefits.

In both cases, perhaps the voters are fed up with overly-rich benefits eating up taxpayer money. Retiring at 50 or 55 then double-dipping at the cost of the taxpayer is no longer acceptable.

What could be more disconcerting for the Obama camp is whether the unions have overspent in these losses giving them less money to spend on the presidential re-election. Big labor may also be less willing to organize considering the lack of enthusiasm the White House exuded in dealing with the Wisconsin race. Obama’s only act was to tweet Mayor Barrett the night before the election.

So while the talking heads are telling America that the major reason the recall failed was the Wisconsin was tired of the politics and just wanted it to be over .. think about that. Wouldn’t the recall be just as over if the union-enslaved Democrats had won? Where was the recall exhaustion when San Jose and San Diego voted for reforms similar to Governor Walkers?

This election was about fiscal sanity and realistic choices.  It would seem that more Americans have decided that Utopia, unicorns and progressive success are very similar. They just don’t exist – except in fairy tales.

Californians Face Primary Voting Today: Races to Watch

Tuesday, June 5

Californians head to the polls today to vote in primary elections and the ballots will be longer than voters have seen in the past. That is because new ballot rules goes into effect this election cycle. Under the new “top-two” system, party affiliations are removed from candidates and voters will have the opportunity to choose from any candidate from any party. The top two winners will then square off in the November elections. This applies to all races except the Presidential race.

There are only two propositions on the ballot this cycle:

Prop 28 has been billed as “term limits” legislation but technically lengthens the amount of time legislators can serve. Currently legislators are limited to two 3-year terms in the Assembly and two 4-year terms in the Senate. That’s a total of 14 years a politician can serve in the legislature. Prop 28 reduces that limit to 12 years but allows lawmakers to serve that 12 years in either house.

Prop 29 levies a new $1 per pack cigarette tax to raise money for “cancer” research. Opponents say it creates a new bureaucracy and doesn’t allocate taxes to be spent within the borders California. So far polling on the measures shows Californians in favor of passing both.

A couple of other races to watch in California today:

In Orange County the heated, controversial race for County Supervisor between “establishment” Republican Todd Spitzer and “Tea Party” candidate Deb Pauly will come to a head. Both Spitzer and Pauly have thrown out contentious, serious allegations of misconduct against each other. Pauly was ousted as vice-chair of the OC Republican Party just days ago and Spitzer has been running from a record in which he increased pensions.

The Senate race, where Republican Elizabeth Emken will join 23 other candidates to take on the heavily funded Diane Feinstein

The race for District Attorney in Los Angeles, where Republican Alan Jackson will try to force a run-off against Carmen Trutanich. Trutanich (D) has faced accusations of corruption and bullying, but has raised twice the funds of Jackson.

Two local elections are mirroring what is happening in Wisconsin today. In San Diego and San Jose voters will be asked to decide on pension reforms in order to reign in the city budgets. Predictably, unions have been fighting the measures in both cities. The results will have a ripple effect throughout the rest of the state, as California faces an $85 billion unfunded pension liability in the coming years.

California currently does not have any of those pesky, racist voter identification laws so vote early, vote often.

You can follow election results live at the Orange County Register . I’ll also be doing a live, remote show from a special location to be disclosed at showtime, so tune into the Dark Side with Kira Davis at 7:00 p.m. Pacific.