Archive for Changing How California is Governed

Bill Introduced in State Senate to Suppress Authority of California’s Charter Cities to Establish Their Own Policies on Government-Mandated Construction Wage Rates

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California State Senate Majority Leader Darrell Steinberg issued a press release on February 19, 2013 announcing the introduction of Senate Bill 7, which would impose a financial disincentive on any of California’s 121 charter cities that establish their own policies concerning government-mandated construction wage rates (so-called “prevailing wages”). See Bi-Partisan Bill by State Senators to Require Prevailing Wage Jobs in California Charter Cities.

At least 53 of the 121 charter cities in California establish their own policies concerning government-mandated construction wage rates, with 43 of them providing for a complete exemption. (See page 18 of this guidebook and add two for Newport Beach and Bakersfield.)

Most recently, the charter city of Newport Beach established its own policy concerning government-mandated construction wage rates in January 2013, and the charter city of Bakersfield established its own policy concerning government-mandated construction wage rates in October 2012.

(For more details, see Newport Beach Is Latest California Charter City to Establish Its Own Prevailing Wage Policy: 7-0 Unanimous Vote for Fiscal Responsibility and Common Sense and Bakersfield Becomes Latest of California’s 121 Charter Cities to Free Itself from Government-Mandated Construction Wage Rates – So-Called “Prevailing Wage”)

In July 2012, the California Supreme Court (in State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, AFL-CIO v. City of Vista) upheld a longstanding practice among charter cities to use their local authority to implement their own policies concerning government-mandated construction wage rates (so-called “prevailing wages”). These policies can apply to public works projects receiving public funding only from the city or private projects receiving public assistance with monetary value that only comes from the city.

State-mandated construction wage rates can be 5%-30% higher than actual market wages in a locality, depending on the geographic region and the trade. Under current state law, the state does not conduct surveys of contractors or workers to determine “prevailing wages.” Instead, the California Division of Labor Statistics and Research collects union collective bargaining agreements, adds up all of the employer payments in the agreements (including payments to trust funds that are not employee wages or fringe benefits), and declares the total to be the prevailing wage.

The State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (an umbrella lobbying group for construction unions) detests charter cities that establish their own policies concerning government-mandated construction wage rates. Unions want all local governments to submit to state law, which imposes these political demands of unions (1) broadly define public works to encompass many private projects; and (2) calculate so-called prevailing wage rates using union collective bargaining agreements.

Construction unions have also aggressively opposed proposed charters and have recently stopped movements for charters in Elk Grove, Redding, Rancho Palos Verdes, Auburn, Costa Mesa, Escondido, and Grover Beach.

For a comprehensive, authoritative guide to the status of policies concerning government-mandated construction wage rates in California’s 121 charter cities, see Are Charter Cities Taking Advantage of State-Mandated Construction Wage Rate (“Prevailing Wage”) Exemptions?

Also, see general information about Charter Cities from the League of California Cities.

A Former Mayor of a Southern California City Provides an Intellectual Argument for City Charters and Local Government Authority

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In today’s San Diego Union-Tribune (February 19, 2013), former Murrieta Mayor Doug McAllister calls for California cities to enact charters for local home rule and protection from intrusive centralized state government. See Reasons to Consider Becoming a Charter City.

I like McAllister’s philosophical approach based on federalism. He writes the following:

One of the main debates defining the distinction between the ideological left and right is the positioning of power in governing…the left believes the power to reach that goal radiates from top to bottom, while the right reverses that flow.

Then he explains the practical policy consequences of centralized, top-down governance:

…the ability of local government to protect the best interests of its residents has been consistently undermined…Today, the ability of local cities to enhance their quality of life is at significant risk.

McAllister reports correctly that numerous general law cities in California are planning to ask their citizens to enact a charter in the 2014 elections:

Many cities in our region are serious about finding ways to protect us all from a centralized government gone wild. One avenue their leaders are seriously pondering is the possibility of becoming a charter city. Most municipalities are born as general law cities. It appears that by reorganizing as a charter city, a practice not uncommon as cities mature, not only could there be certain protections against Sacramento’s agenda, but city leaders will perhaps have significantly more tools in their economic development tool belt with which to enhance our quality of life.

McAllister also warns against a defensive, campaign-oriented strategy of trying to include too many provisions in a proposed charter to try to neutralize specific attacks (from the Left, of course) against the concept:

It is said that a camel is a horse put together by a committee. If any city wants to become a charter city, they need to avoid the temptation to build a committee-created camel, cramming protections against every contingency, real or perceived, into the charter, inviting the crisis of unintended consequences. Less (camel) is more (horse). The focus of this effort should be to see how short they can make the document, not how long.

I agree with this approach. The Left (that is, unions and every other organization that wants to centralize and concentrate political power at the state capitol) will attack a charter proposal no matter what it contains. For example, they will always cite a mismanaged charter city (such as Bell) as an example of home rule failure while ignoring solid, responsible local governance in most of California’s other 121 charter cities. (They want all cities to submit to the governance of the mismanaged state government, which they control!)

For example, see how a Twitter account portraying itself as “MOTR Politics” (Middle of the Road Politics) suggests that the bankrupt City of San Bernardino needs to repeal its charter and operate instead under the wise, steady hand of the California State Legislature:

The only way to remove personalities & politics is for SB City to follow the same laws as most other cities. …

It’s possible the City of San Bernardino could actually use its charter authority to help extract itself from its financial difficulties, if its elected city council had the political will and skill to challenge public employee unions. The Manhattan Institute’s City Journal reported in an August 17, 2012 article The Problem and Promise of Charter Cities that charter authority for cities such as San Bernardino can be beneficial or harmful, depending on who is in control:

Just as charters can make cities worse, they may be able to make them better—it all depends on who’s in charge. [Mayor Patrick] Morris and some other city leaders have tried to put charter reform on the local ballot, hoping to abolish the sections that inflate city workers’ pay and empower the city attorney to battle the mayor.

Such change apparently does not appeal to MOTR Politics, which seems to favor the public employee unions that apparently absorb more than 75% of the city’s general fund, as shown by these Tweets:

SB City Police & Fire unions claim SB City has abused bankruptcy & will ask bankruptcy court for permission to sue. …

Another group – it’s police officers – will oppose SB City’s eligibility for bankruptcy protections. …

SB City returns to U.S. Bankruptcy Court today at 1:30 PM where it will battle CalPERS. Is the city serious? …

Instead of responding to the arguments from advocates of oppressive and intrusive government, charter supporters need to base their arguments on the benefits of local control and the need for appropriate checks and balances against a state legislature under one-party supermajority control.

For more information on why your city should enact a charter and free itself from the grip of the state legislature and the special interest groups entrenched at the capitol, see these resources:

Charter Cities – League of California Cities

Are Charter Cities Taking Advantage of State-Mandated Construction Wage Rate (“Prevailing Wage”) Exemptions?

My Article on Unions Defy CEQA Reformers with Taunting Resolution

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The web site has posted my February 12, 2013 article entitled Unions Defy CEQA Reformers with Taunting Resolution. It reports on union involvement in a coalition to oppose changes to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Despite their reputation as effective and extensive abusers of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to pursue economic objectives unrelated to environmental protection, California union leaders are strategically choosing to be vocal activists against CEQA reform.

Union leaders are obviously quite confident that corporate executives and the news media will hesitate to make them accountable for their practice.

…the resolution also reveals that unions know the psychology of their opponents. From their experience in union corporate organizing campaigns, union leaders recognize how business executives strive to protect their professional reputations and corporate images. The resolution is a warning to any corporate executive advocating for CEQA reform who might be tempted to explain publicly why unions oppose it.

Read more at Unions Defy CEQA Reformers with Taunting Resolution.

San Joaquin Valley Farmers Funded Their Own Destruction! November 2008 High-Speed Rail Proposition Funded in Part by Committee Supporting March 2000 Water Bond

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I’ve been researching the sources of campaign support for Proposition 1A, the November 2008 statewide ballot measure (“Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century”) that authorized the California High-Speed Rail Authority to borrow up to $10 billion by selling bonds to investors.

Not surprisingly, self-interested construction industry corporations, organizations, and unions comprise all of the top ten donors to the main campaign committee, Californians for High Speed Trains – Yes on Proposition 1A – A Coalition of Taxpayer, Business, Environmental and Labor Groups and People from Across California Tired of Being Stuck In Traffic. (See list below.)

But the #11 donor is mysterious. Something called Californians for a Safe & Reliable High Speed Rail contributed the oddball amount of $53,487.86 to the campaign to pass Proposition 1A.

Here’s the list of the top eleven donors, including in-kind (non-monetary) campaign contributions, to Californians for High Speed Trains – Yes on Proposition 1A – A Coalition of Taxpayer, Business, Environmental and Labor Groups and People from Across California Tired of Being Stuck In Traffic:


California Alliance For Jobs Rebuild California Committee Union-Affiliated Labor-Management Cooperation Committee



International Union of Operating Engineers Construction Union



Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3 (Union & PAC) Construction Union



California State Council of Laborers Issues PAC Construction Union



Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG) Public Employee Union



Parsons Brinckerhoff Americas Inc. Construction Design/Engineering



AECOM Tech Corporation Construction Design/Engineering



International Union of Operating Engineers Local No. 12 Construction Union



Members Voice of the State Building Trades Construction Union



HNTB Corporation Construction Design/Engineering



Californians for a Safe & Reliable High Speed Rail Remnant of $80,800 transferred from “Californians for Clean, Safe, Reliable Water – Yes on Propositions 12/13”


It turns out that Californians for a Safe & Reliable High Speed Rail obtained all of its money from the leftover campaign funds of Californians for Clean Safe Reliable Water – Yes on Propositions 12/13, a committee meant to pass two statewide ballot propositions in the March 2000 election. Over the next five years, it spent some of that money on administrative fees and a few travel expenses for someone. It then terminated after transferring its remaining money to Californians for High Speed Trains – Yes on Proposition 1A – A Coalition of Taxpayer, Business, Environmental and Labor Groups and People from Across California Tired of Being Stuck In Traffic.

Here’s the historical record, in chronological order:

Californians for Clean Safe Reliable Water – Yes on Propositions 12/13 was formed in January 2000 to support two water-related bond measures on the March 2000 ballot: the $2.1 billion (not including interest) Safe Neighborhood Parks, Clean Water, Clean Air, and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2000 (Prop 12) and the $2 billion (not including interest) Safe Drinking Water, Clean Water, Watershed Protection, and Flood Protection Bond Act (Prop 13). Voters approved both statewide ballot propositions.

This campaign committee did not spend all of the money it raised. At the end of 2000 – ten months after Proposition 12 and Proposition 13 appeared on the ballot – Californians for Clean Safe Reliable Water – Yes on Propositions 12/13 still had $86,067.09.

In February 2003, the Californians for Clean, Safe, Reliable Water – Yes on Propositions 12/13 campaign committee was terminated. The leftover $80,800 was transferred to another campaign committee, Californians for a Safe Reliable High Speed Rail.

Californians for a Safe Reliable High Speed Rail appears to have been formed in the first three months of 2003, with the $80,800 contribution recorded as received on February 21, 2003. Initially, the campaign committee was making payments directly to James M. Costa for consulting and travel, as well as a $3,645.95 American Airlines bill and a $607.35 charge from the Fairmont – Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec, Canada and also a $1,321.02 charge at the Manhattan Country Club in Manhattan Beach, California. But after 2003, the money trickled away almost exclusively as fees to Olson Hagel & Fishburn LLP, a law firm that specializes in campaign and political law for Democratic Party operations in California and for many construction unions. The treasurer was listed as Charlene Chessum with an address at the Fresno zip code of 93711 and a phone number of (559) 264-3078. This phone number appears to have been related in some way to Jim Costa, and Ms. Chessum held various positions in association with Jim Costa.

In 2008, Californians for a Safe & Reliable High Speed Rail rose from dormancy and dumped its remaining funds through a contribution of $53,487.86 in June 2008 to a new campaign committee called Californians for High Speed Trains – Yes on Proposition 1A – A Coalition of Taxpayer, Business, Environmental and Labor Groups and People from Across California Tired of Being Stuck In Traffic.

Californians for a Safe & Reliable High Speed Rail was then terminated on June 10, 2008 (even though the election date for Proposition 1A wasn’t until November 2008).

The Irony: Campaign Contributions from San Joaquin Valley Farm Interests Ultimately Transferred to the Campaign to Shoot the High-Speed Rail through That Farmland

As you can see from the contributor list to Californians for Clean Safe Reliable Water – Yes on Propositions 12/13, agriculture interests in the San Joaquin Valley were a significant portion of the campaign funding for Proposition 12 and Proposition 13. The Fresno County Farm Bureau and the Kern County Farm Bureau contributed to “Californians for Clean, Safe, Reliable Water – Yes on Propositions 12/13,” along with numerous farms in Fresno, Madera, Kings, and Kern County.

The “Californians for a Safe & Reliable High Speed Rail” money bridge between “Californians for Clean Safe Reliable Water – Yes on Propositions 12/13” and “Californians for High Speed Trains – Yes on Proposition 1A” appears to be the work of Congressman Jim Costadescribed in this July 13, 2012 Wall Street Journal article as “the project’s godfather”. An August 2003 article from the Los Angeles-based publication The Planning Report identified Costa as the “campaign chair” for Californians for Safe, Reliable High-Speed Rail.

San Joaquin Valley farmers who contributed to the campaign to pass the water bonds in March 2000 may want to ask Congressman Jim Costa why some of their money ended up in November 2008 supporting the high-speed rail project now cutting through their farmland.

Proposed Changes for the California Republican Party in 2013-2014: A Compilation of Advice from Party Leaders

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UPDATE (January 15, 2013): My post Jim Brulte’s Three Objectives as California Republican Party Chairman: Start a Party Fundraising Program, Encourage Local Grassroots Activism, Recruit Candidates Who Reflect the People of California

UPDATE (January 12, 2013): While prospective California Republican Party chairman Jim Brulte has not published any commentaries on the web about his plans, an article in the January 12, 2013 San Diego Union-Tribune (GOP Leader to Lay Out Agenda) reports a few priorities:

Brulte told the U-T the party needs to be rebuilt from the ground up, starting with wiping out a roughly $500,000 debt. He also bemoaned the fact the state party has only three full-time employees, all of whom work from their homes.

“We also have great ground operations in some areas, but there’s other places that we don’t, so we have also have to rebuild that,” he said. “And we’ll also have to redouble our efforts at recruiting candidates at the local level and training them so they have the best possible chance.”

I realized in the last week of December that California Republicans lacked a centralized web site that compiled and summarized the advice coming from party leaders about how to reverse the increasing irrelevance and ineffectiveness of the California Republican Party.

My Collection of Commentaries

As of January 14, 2013, I have found these useful commentaries on the web:

  1. Congressman Devin Nunes
  2. State Assemblyman Jeff Gorrell
  3. State Assemblyman Rocky Chavez
  4. Outgoing California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro
  5. Former California Republican Party chairman Duf Sundheim
  6. Former California Republican Party chairman Ron Nehring
  7. Former San Diego City Councilmember and San Diego Mayoral Candidate Carl DeMaio
  8. Yolo County Supervisor and professional political consultant Matt Rexroad
  9. The general counsel for the California Republican Party Chuck Bell.
  10. publisher Jon Fleischman

Three of the commentaries were posted on the web site for Eureka, a publication of the Advancing a Free Society project of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

I was unable to locate comprehensive recommendations from Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway, or Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff. I’ll add these commentaries if and when they are published.

A grassroots activist in the San Francisco Bay Area named David Salaverry has written about the California Republican Party for the Fox & Hounds web site and for He formed a group in 2011 called the California Conservative Action Group. I don’t know Mr. Salaverry or his organization (no web sites, no Twitter accounts), but his commentaries get responses from readers, so I’ve included his recommendations below.

I would like to add commentaries from other informed and influential people – please alert me to them by using the contact form on the Labor Issues Solutions, LLC web site.

As this is my web site, I include a summary of my own recommendations at the end of this list.

Overthrowing or Supplanting the California Republican Party

Obviously some people on the Right identify party “insiders” as the source of the problem. They point out correctly that politicians and party officials sometimes yield to the temptation to pursue and maintain wealth, fame, position, power, and pleasure at the expense of principles. These party leaders sometimes compromise to make a deal, sometimes show inconsistency in their positions, and have only been mildly effective as an impediment to increased government power.

I’ll be pleased to post specific, useful perspectives from any person or party that is able to transcend the nature of humanity and be pure, yet effective, within the American system of governance. Especially useful would be perspectives from people who have actually served in elected office and experienced the consequences of holding fast to those principles.

In the meantime, I’m assuming that everyone cited below generally wants to see the Republican Party protect individual liberty and free markets and serve as a check and balance against the 150-year incremental advance of “progressivism” (democratic socialism).


1. Carl DeMaio: former think tank director and San Diego City Councilmember who narrowly lost the November 2012 race for Mayor of San Diego despite a horrible election night for California Republicans.

The November 16, 2012 Orange County Register published DeMaio’s opinion piece Building ‘New’ Republican Party in California. He proposed a five-point strategy:

  1. Become the party of reform (focus on fiscal responsibility)
  2. Commit to making government work again (better performance of existing programs)
  3. Move beyond “no” and offer real solutions (offer credible alternatives for governance)
  4. Become a party of inclusion (specifically address diverse groups beyond the typical older white voter base)
  5. Court the next generation (adopt to new methods of communication)

2. Matt Rexroad: Yolo County Supervisor and professional political consultant.

The December 27, 2012 Sacramento Bee published Rexroad’s opinion piece Reform GOP by Showing It Cares about People. He focuses on three ideas: acknowledging the attraction but rejecting the viability of pure libertarian philosophy, finding qualified candidates to speak on issues, and focusing on the causes and solutions to poverty from a distinctive Republican approach.

Rexroad does not see the Libertarian Party as a viable alternative for Californians interested in issues of individual liberty and freedom, because modern society wants a government that provides some security and protection from disasters, epidemics, and monopolies in commerce. He suggests the Republican Party recruit people who are “capable of actual governance” to present a fact-based, experience-based, broadly-appealing dissenting view to the Democratic Party’s idea of government. These “qualified representatives” would be ready to lead the state when voters are finally ready for an alternative kind of governance.

Rexroad cites Jack Kemp’s focus on the causes of poverty as a model for California Republicans to consider. Republicans can propose strategies to reduce poverty based on self-sufficiency, personal responsibility and government efficiency, as opposed to the Democrat strategies that tend to be based on government dependency. Such an approach would “give Republicans the opportunity to break the stereotype that they are only for the rich.” It would also transcend “any specific language group, ethnicity, country of origin, sexual orientation or gender…It is just about people, and all people deserve more than they are currently getting from their government.”

UPDATE: On January 18, Rexroad sent this tweet, apparently in response to the national story GOP Pledges Outreach to Minorities, Women:

Matt RexroadMatt Rexroad ‏@MattRexroad

When you have a public meeting about “outreach” for your group it tells everyone what’s not currently in your group.

3. Devin Nunes – Congressman from the San Joaquin Valley, Portuguese-American dairy farmer

Nunes had his recommendations in A Reform Agenda, a Path Forward for California Republicans, posted on the web on December 6, 2012 as a commentary in Eureka, a publication of the Advancing a Free Society project of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Nunes contends that the California Republican Party (and to some extent the national Republican Party) has failed to effectively communicate a principled, yet specific “path to prosperity” focused on individual liberty. This creates a vacuum that allows influential opponents of the Republican Party to portray Republicans in negative terms while ignoring the shortcomings of the Democratic Party (such as its failure to advance immigration reform). Nunes also notes two practical problems for Republicans: the ability of public employee unions to spend huge amounts of money on politics, and the willingness of the American people to support government programs and payments without considering the cost.

Here is Nunes’ suggested message for Republicans:

Republicans believe in the supremacy of individuals, their families, and their local communities – not the government. The government should not be revered, nor should it be expected to guarantee our happiness – it is a necessary evil that should exert authority over limited realms, especially national defense and international trade, as specified in the Constitution. Republicans oppose the centralization of power. Instead, Republicans support a republic in which power is devolved to the most local level possible. To the greatest extent, federal officials should allow states to conduct their own affairs, while both state and federal leaders should allow counties, cities, school boards, and town councils to run their own communities as they see fit.

Local control and fiscal responsibility are necessary to avoid ruinous debt on future generations. This debt is immoral and will devastate “family values.”

Nunes also sees that technological change requires the Republican Party to turn away from TV and radio advertising as the focus of its campaigns and develop localized grassroots structures. (This will not be well-received by professional consultants who make commissions off media advertising.)

Finally, Nunes lists some specific issues for California Republicans to pursue on the federal and state levels.

4. Jeff Gorell – member of the California State Assembly, 44th District (includes cities of Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Oxnard)

The January 6, 2012 Sacramento Bee published Gorell’s opinion piece GOP Still Relevant to California’s Fiscal Future. Gorell writes that Republicans in the California State Legislature can play an important role in making sure that taxpayer money (including the new Proposition 30 tax increases) are spent (1) as voters intended; (2) efficiently; and (3) effectively. He points out that Democrats are proposing many additional tax increases, and therefore Republicans “must ensure that families, students and small businesses understand and appreciate the real-world impacts of Sacramento’s tax ideas.” He wants Republicans to promote a “rainy-day fund” if budget surpluses develop, so that Democrats won’t simply increase the size of government. And he encourages Republicans to look for opportunities to work with Governor Jerry Brown and moderate Democrats in the legislature.

5. Rocky Chavez – newly elected Assemblyman, former Oceanside City Council member

In his January 11, 2013 op-ed Reaching Out to Latino Voters through Education in La Prensa San Diego, Assemblyman Rocky Chavez expresses his concern about polling that indicates Latino voters feel that “Republicans do not respect or value the needs and interests of the Hispanic community.”

Chavez asserts that “education reform is the best way for the Republican Party to reach out to California’s Latino community.” From his experience in education, Chavez sees that “Latino parents want their children to have access to good schools and quality teachers. They believe they should be able to choose where their children attend school, and they believe no one should be stuck in a low performing school just because of where they live…Latino families felt that transfers between school districts should be easier to obtain, and there should be greater access to public charter schools.” Chavez claims that “instead of actively campaigning on these issues, the Republican Party tends to avoid them,” even though the Republican Party has an ideological and historical foundation of educational choice and individual opportunities.

6. Ron Nehring – chairman of the California Republican Party from 2007 to 2010, chairman of the San Diego County Republican Party from 2001 to 2007, and a former board member of the Grossmont Union High School District.

In his November 8, 2012 blog post Four Areas For GOP Growth: Latinos, Organization, Training, Preparation, Nehring makes the following observations:

  1. Republicans need to better understand and discuss conditions in the home countries of immigrants. They need to support policies that can help improve conditions there, such as trade and fighting drugs. Immigrant groups aren’t fooled by trite and boring “outreach” programs with no substance.
  2. Republicans need to provide better training for their candidates in order to avoid destructive gaffes. (I’m guessing Nehring would recommend The Leadership Institute for training. So would I.)
  3. Republicans need to constantly maintain basic, data-oriented local campaign infrastructure and continually raise and spend money, instead of raising and spending big bursts of money just before elections and then throwing valuable campaign data into the trash.
  4. Republicans need to engage in direct voter contact instead of relying on phone banks.

7. Tom Del Beccaro – outgoing chairman of the California Republican Party (2010-2013)

Not running for re-election as party chairman, Tom Del Beccaro has proposed a couple of specific tactics since the November 6, 2012 election. In his December 10, 2012 Forbes magazine blog post California Republicans Need To Cooperate With Latinos On Border Issues, Del Beccaro writes that Latinos see the Republican Party as defined by immigration positions. He suggests “actually sitting down with Latino leaders in America, listening to their concerns and working out a solution to the issue” of “border violence,” that is, a solution that meets Latino’s (sic) concerns for safety and the Nation’s concerns for border security.” He also suggests the following tactic in a November 28, 2012 Forbes magazine blog post Forget the Whining, Here’s a Plan for Republicans to Seize the Agenda:

Congressional Republicans should pick out significant government programs that are not working…Then they should lay out specific cost savings from those failed programs. For the next two years, the Republicans should hold a monthly press conference on the Capitol steps wherein they explain:

  1. The original purpose of the Non-working Program
  2. Who was originally supposed to have benefited from the Non-working Program
  3. The GOP’s Reformed Program
  4. Why the Reformed Program is better for the Nation
  5. How much the Reformed Program will save taxpayers, and
  6. How many teachers per year could be saved if Democrats would join Republicans in saving taxpayers this money

Republicans should then dare the President and Senate Democrats to reject these savings. Republicans should keep the pressure on the Democrats through the alternative Media including websites and social networking where younger voters live.

8. George “Duf” Sundheim – former chairman of the California Republican Party (2003-2007)

Sundheim had his recommendations in Looking For New Ways To Lead, Under A Bolder GOP Banner, posted on the web on December 4, 2012 as a commentary in Eureka, a publication of the Advancing a Free Society project of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Sundheim sees opportunities for the California Republican Party because of voters’ widespread dissatisfaction with education and debt. He recommends broadening the Republican message beyond the traditional nuclear family. He asserts that Republicans have a compelling message for Latinos concerning education (charter school alternatives) and family-owned small business, but it instead focuses on an aggressive, harsh message against Latino illegal immigrants. He also asserts that younger voters are not that interested in criticizing homosexuals and illegal immigrants – they care more about the skyrocketing cost of education and the debt burden that governments are accumulating to be paid off by future generations.

9. Chuck Bell – longtime counsel to the California Republican Party.

Bell had his recommendations in Prescriptions for California Republicans, posted on the web on December 3, 2012 as a commentary in Eureka, a publication of the Advancing a Free Society project of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Here are his recommendations:

  1. Politically Savvy Leadership: Republicans need to pick a respected and politically savvy leader who brings credibility to the state party, so that significant Republican donors and business interests will provide funding for party operations.
  2. New Technologies to Revitalize the Base: To develop a more-effective turnout operation, the state GOP needs to engage its younger, tech-savvy generation to help build effective political networking through social media and the internet and “help train its elders how to use these tools effectively.”
  3. Bring the Message to Republican Voters in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area: These voters never hear the state and local message of Republicans anymore (as there are virtually no Republican elected officials in Congress or in the state legislature from these areas). The State GOP needs to team up with local GOP groups (such as the Los Angeles Lincoln Club and the Lincoln Club of Northern California) to focus on electing promising Republicans to local non-partisan offices and supporting ballot measures such as San Jose’s successful June 2012 pension reform measure.
  4. Thinking Strategically, More Nimbly: Two bad strategic decisions may have been most responsible for the crushing defeat of California Republicans at the polls in November: not taking advantage of the voters’ May 2009 rejection of tax increases to make a deal, and allowing Proposition 32 on the November 2012 ballot.
  5. Engaging with California’s Latino and Asian Communities: Use the Republican group Grow Elect as a model to help elect Latino Republicans to non-partisan local offices. Focus on education reforms important to Latinos. Adopt the immigration reforms supported by some Texas Republicans: temporary, renewable visas to expand the H-1B program for foreigners to fill high tech job openings and for agricultural workers and immigrants in other fields where there is a certified need for workers. Encourage a path to citizenship with the DREAM Act and for foreign nationals who serve in the military.

10. Jon Fleischman – publisher of

On January 8, 2013, Jon Fleischman posted his commentary Jim Brulte for Chairman of the California Republican Party on his web site. Fleischman writes that Brulte, a former Republican leader of the California State Assembly and Senate, is a “solid conservative,” a “stalwart Republican” and has “conservative credentials” – including a voting record – on positions concerning “taxation and regulation, freedom and liberty, the sanctity of human life, or the importance of the traditional family.” Fleischman notes that Brulte has a “track record as a smart politico with a knack for winning elections,” and that Brulte does not believe “Republicans are losing market-share in California because of these policy positions, but rather how we communicate our positions, and of course how we engage in the science of politics.” Fleischman also vouches (from personal experience) for Brulte’s character.

Fleischman also lists some of the challenges for the California Republican Party:

  1. Democrats get an endless fountain of campaign funds, courtesy of public employee unions.
  2. The number of taxpayers is shrinking while the number supported by government grows.
  3. California’s growing “ethnic communities” are not inclined to vote Republican.
  4. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger compromised the Republican image with his support for tax increases, more regulation, and growth of state government.
  5. The California Republican Party has been dysfunctional for many years, with internal problems related to divergent interests of chairmen and distrust between major donors and grassroots activist leaders.
  6. While “Vast sums of money” have flowed through the California Republican Party for the purposes of trying to win elections, that money has not been used to build a permanent campaign structure (as developed by the Democrats, unions, and the Obama presidential campaign).

Editor’s note: One of the comments posted in response was from a committed Republican activist who asks “Is he a Conservative or Left-leaning R? I will only support Conservative R’s because the LL R’s have thrown Conservatives under the bus for the last time.” It’s great to be passionate, but the Facebook work identification for the poster is “Stop Compromising and Start Impeaching!” Will public proclamations from Republican activists to impeach President Obama restore the credibility of the California Republican Party among ordinary voters?

11. David Salaverry – grassroots activist from Berkeley and a small business owner (cabinetry); redistricting activist; founder of California Conservative Action Group.

In his November 20, 2012 Fox & Hounds article Remedies for the CA Republican Party, David Salaverry makes five recommendations:

  1. Elect a smart, capable, dedicated woman as state party chair.
  2. Make the party more appealing for Latinos by distancing itself from strong critics of illegal immigration, develop a conservative Hispanic talk radio, and get Latino Republicans elected to local office. Salaverry expands on these ideas in his January 9, 2013 op-ed The CRP and Latinos, A General Staff Proposal.
  3. Discourage religious conservatives from using the Republican Party as a political agent to fight against the immoral secular culture.
  4. Turn away from policies focused on imprisonment of non-violent offenders, and try to reform unfairness in the judicial system that work against the poor and minorities.
  5. Speak to all young people about education and debt issues – don’t limit the message to the traditional stereotypical Young Republicans.

12. Kevin Dayton – President & CEO of Labor Issues Solutions, LLC

On November 26, 2012, I posted A Proposed Strategic Plan for the California Republican Party in 2013-2014. In addition to recommending How Conservatives Can Win in Blue-State America: Lessons from South Africa’s Opposition, I classified my ideas into four categories:

  1. Promote a Specific Alternative Program of Governance: How Republicans Would Govern California Differently Than Democrats (this includes a specific twelve-point agenda)
  2. Establish or Cultivate a California Intellectual Policy Center (Think Tank)
  3. Expand Republican Speech – Overhaul the Use of Web and Social Media
  4. Focus on Federalism: Local Government Should Serve as the Base of Opposition

[Additional commentaries to be added here!]

Other Recent News Articles on California Republican Party Travails, Hopes, and Plans

Jim Brulte’s Path Now Clear to be California Republican Party LeaderSan Francisco Chronicle (blog post by Joe Garofoli) – January 9, 2013

A Grim GOP Ponders Sparse Registration, Donors’ DoubtsCapitol Weekly – December 20, 2012

YOU Can Help Advance a Specific, Defined Plan to Defend Economic and Personal Freedom in California in 2013

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You’re Not Alone in California (Although It May Feel Like It Right Now) If You Answer YES to These Three Questions:
  1. Are you concerned about how the State of California and its regional and local governments excessively interfere with commerce and inappropriately intrude on your household affairs?
  2. Are you looking for someone with a specific, defined plan to hinder some of the costly utopian dreams and schemes of elected and appointed officials in what is now essentially a one-party state?
  3. Do you seek pro-active opportunities to make financial contributions or provide advisory support in the quest for economic and personal freedom, without squandering your money or time on professional firms that are parasites on the conservative/libertarian movement? 
Consider Financial Sponsorship or an Advisory Role for a Specific Piece of the 2013 Strategic Plan for Labor Issues Solutions, LLC:

I have more than 15 years of experience in California opposing, deterring, and often stopping the political agenda of special interest groups that see ordinary taxpayers as an easy victim.

I focus on the unglamorous grunt work of research, analysis, strategy, and implementation. You won’t read flattering profiles about me in the Sacramento Bee or Los Angeles Times, but you can read about my recent work via links on my home page and in my 220 comprehensive Dayton Public Policy Institute blog posts written during the past eight months.

In 2013, I’ll be testing the potential of neglected checks and balances in our federal, state, and local constitutions to derail plots for more government control of your money, your business, and your lifestyle.

Obviously there isn’t much market demand in California right now for advocates of free markets and minimalist government. PRINCIPLES motivate me in my vocation.

None of the items in my 2013 strategic plan (below) involve professional campaign consultants. Labor Issues Solutions, LLC is efficient, nimble, and frugal.

My 2013 Strategic Plan for Labor Issues Solutions, LLC
I. Exercising the Power of City Charters: A Check and Balance Against the State
  1. Encourage and help California cities to ask their citizens to enact charters that free municipal affairs from costly state mandates.
  2. Encourage and help California’s 121 charter cities to maximize their potential to circumvent costly state mandates and control their own municipal affairs.
  3. Develop and circulate a model charter more aggressive than any charter now in existence.
II. Improving Accountability of Government to the Taxpayers
  1. Help educate Californians about bond measures and how they authorize governments to borrow money that must be paid back – with interest – to investors. Emphasize the dangers of Capital Appreciation Bonds.
  2. Offer assistance to improve professionalism and collaboration among California’s legitimate regional and local taxpayer groups.
III. Exposing Crony Capitalism Run Amok in California

Research, compile, and expose the following:

  1. All financial contributions to campaigns to pass K-12 school district and community college district construction bond measures, in a presentation that is accessible and understandable to ordinary citizens, since the passage of Proposition 39 in 2000 reduced the voter approval threshold to 55%.
  2. All assessed financial transaction fees for the sale of bonds by K-12 school district and community college districts, in a presentation that is accessible and understandable to ordinary citizens, since the passage of Proposition 39 in 2000 reduced the voter approval threshold to 55%.
  3. All private and government financial contributions and expenditures to support the campaign for the California High-Speed Rail, in a presentation that is accessible and understandable to ordinary citizens.
  4. All sources of campaign contributions to state and local elected officials during the past ten years, in a presentation that is accessible and understandable to ordinary citizens.
IV. Revealing the Astonishing Debt for Future Generations of Californians to Pay Off

Research, compile, and expose the following:

  1. The total amount of bond debt for California’s K-12 school district and community college district construction bond measures, in a presentation that is accessible and understandable to ordinary citizens.
  2. The total amount of all debt for the state and all 5000+ local governments in California, in a presentation that is accessible and understandable to ordinary citizens.

V. Documenting the Exploitation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for Purposes Unrelated to Environmental Protection

Research, compile, and expose the following:

  1. Law firms, organizations, and individuals that abuse CEQA in pursuit of economic objectives.
  2. Common strategies used to abuse CEQA.
VI. Improving the Accuracy of State-Mandated Construction Wage Rates (“Prevailing Wages”)

File petitions with the California Department of Industrial Relations to do the following:

  1. Clarify the accuracy of prevailing wage determinations.
  2. Adopt regulations clarifying the procedure for prevailing wage determinations. 
VII. Establishing a New Free Market Think Tank Oriented Exclusively for Californians
  1. Promote a think tank with a vision statement similar to this: The people of California will enjoy unprecedented prosperity and peace because they recognize, seek, and act to implement a proper role of government as minimal, non-intrusive, and fully accountable and transparent to the people when engaging in its limited functions.
  2. Promote a think tank with a mission statement similar to this: Recognizing that all significant events in history are a reflection of intellectual ideas, the Institute will educate the people of California to understand that a prosperous and peaceful state depends on a proper conception of government as minimal, non-intrusive, and fully accountable and transparent to the people when engaging in its limited functions.
How to be a Financial Sponsor of an Item in the 2013 Strategic Plan:

1. Make out a check to Labor Issues Solutions, LLC.

2. Choose the item in the 2013 Strategic Plan (above) and indicate in the check memo line. I will email and call you with regular updates on my progress with your chosen item.

3. Mail to the following address:

Kevin Dayton
President & CEO
Labor Issues Solutions, LLC
3017 Douglas Blvd., Suite 300
Roseville, CA 95661-3850

4. Note: a contribution to Labor Issues Solutions, LLC is not tax-deductible. It is a payment for services.

5. Questions: contact Kevin Dayton at (916) 439-2159 or via the contact form here.

How to Have an Advisory Role for an Item in the 2013 Strategic Plan

1. Do you have special interest or expertise in one of the items in the 2013 strategic plan? Would you like to help Labor Issues Solutions, LLC to fulfill this plan?

2. Would your organization enjoy a presentation about one or more of the items in the 2013 strategic plan? 

3. If so, contact Kevin Dayton at (916) 439-2159 or via the contact form here.

Quest for the Presidency: San Diego Union Leader Lorena Gonzalez Announces Run for California State Assembly

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Lorena Gonzalez (@LorenaSGonzalez) is the Secretary-Treasurer and CEO for the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO. When I first started seeing the tweets about her campaign for California State Assembly, I figured it was some good-natured ribbing from her San Diego chums, probably inspired by the Sunday, December 2, 2012 San Diego Union-Tribune profile of her. (See Democrats’ Not-So-Secret Weapon: Labor Leader Lorena Gonzalez Made Her Mark as a Key Player in November’s Election Victories and my December 2, 2012 blog post Another California Union Leader on the Way to Confirming the Ancient Proverb: The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall.)

I was wrong! She is ready and eager to join her Democrat friends in the state legislative supermajority. See the campaign web site for Lorena Gonzalez for Assembly 2016. There is already a donation page for your convenience, as she expects to be in the Assembly in 2013.

The 80th Assembly District is likely to be vacant next spring if Assemblyman Ben Hueso (who was elected to the Assembly in 2010 while on the San Diego City Council) wins a special election for the State Senate seat being vacated by Juan Vargas, another former San Diego City Council member who was just elected to the U.S. House of Representatives to replace Bob Filner, who is now Mayor of San Diego.

Lorena Gonzalez barely lost a special election in January 2006 against Republican Kevin Faulconer for a vacant seat on the San Diego City Council. (Faulconer is still on the city council.)

Please continue to recognize that Lorena Gonzalez earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Stanford University, a Master’s Degree from Georgetown University, and a Law Degree from UCLA.

News Media Coverage:

Labor Leader Gonzalez Aims for Assembly: Her Announcement Is the Latest Domino in a Democratic ShuffleSan Diego Union-Tribune – December 5, 2012

Labor Leader Gonzalez Aims for Assembly – North County Times – December 5, 2012
Lorena Gonzalez to Run for State Assembly – KNSD Channel 7 News – December 5, 2012
Morning Report: Lorena Gonzalez Seeks Assembly Seat – Voice of San Diego – December 6, 2012
Vargas DominosSan Diego Rostra – March 27, 2012 (an accurate prediction)

A Proposed Strategic Plan for the California Republican Party in 2013-2014

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Like many Republican activists, I’ve read just about every opinion piece and news article published on the web since November 6, 2012 about how the California Republican Party or the political Center-Right can become “relevant” in California.

Many of those pieces were useless or insulting, but apparently they were effective in convincing some Republican politicians that people need to give more of their money to the government in the form of taxes. (These tax increases are referred to as “investing.”)

In contrast, the most valuable piece I read was How Conservatives Can Win in Blue-State America: Lessons from South Africa’s Opposition. It lists ten strategies that have allowed the Democratic Alliance opposition party to build a diverse coalition of supporters and win elections without compromising Center-Right principles. The first strategy: Do not compromise basic principles; instead, show how they are relevant to all.

The commentary within California that has probably generated the most debate among Republican activists was in the November 16 Orange County RegisterBuilding ‘New’ Republican Party in California by San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, who narrowly lost the race for Mayor of San Diego on November 6. Regrettably, activists seem to be more concerned about whether or not this piece indicates DeMaio is going to run for statewide office than about whether or not his proposed five-point approach is correct:

  1. Become the party of reform (focus on fiscal responsibility)
  2. Commit to making government work again (better performance of existing programs)
  3. Move beyond “no” and offer real solutions (offer credible alternatives for governance)
  4. Become a party of inclusion (specifically address diverse groups beyond the typical older white voter base)
  5. Court the next generation (adopt to new methods of communication)

I have developed my own ideas, which generally match DeMaio’s proposals and the proposals in the South Africa article.

1. Promote a Specific Alternative Program of Governance

As of November 26, 2012, the California State Assembly Republican Caucus has issued two press releases since the day after November 6 election: (1) Connie Conway was unanimously re-elected as Assembly Minority Leader on November 8; and (2) Connie Conway issued a statement on November 20 about the Israel-Hamas conflict.

This is not a promising start toward ending the era of legislative irrelevance. Many California Republicans are wondering if the party remnant in the state legislature is ever going to explain its vision for governing the state differently than the Democrats. Why is this so difficult? Is it a lack of principles, a lack of leadership, or a lack of cooperation?

Here’s a sample alternative program I developed without help from professional consultants:

How Republicans Would Govern California Differently Than Democrats

Reform the workings of the state legislature so it serves the People of California and not special interest groups

1. Put the Legislature under the same employment laws, contracting laws, and public records access laws as apply to the rest of the people of California.

2. End the disorder and lack of accountability at the Legislature by allowing the people of California to adequately review proposed laws, end the notorious “gut-and-amend” process, end vote switching after votes are closed, require legislators to be present in committee for votes to count, and alternate annual legislative sessions between budget sessions and general sessions.

3. Strictly limit the ability of special interest groups, including lobbyist employers, to give gifts to members of the Legislature.

Slow the growing debt burden on future generations

4. Require the ballot language of bond measures to indicate the current bond debt of the government entity, estimate the total debt from the proposed bond measure (including financial transaction fees and interest), and explain that selling a bond means borrowing money and paying it back with interest through tax increases.

5. Pass a Taxpayer Information Act – similar to the Social Security annual reports, annual reports would be provided by the state in early October to households, corporations, vehicle owners, and property owners indicating the total amount paid for the past five years in taxes and fees to the State of California and California local governments.

6.  Require the executive branch to report annually to the Legislature and the People of California about the state’s financial liabilities, require the executive branch to provide proposed budgets for the upcoming two fiscal years that honestly establish the amount to be collected from taxes and fees and amount to be saved by spending reductions, and ensure that revenues equal expenditures in proposed and enacted budgets.

Encourage economic growth and job creation by stopping schemes that impose excessive and unnecessary costs when doing business in California

7. Reform the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to the pure intent of Governor Ronald Reagan by ensuring public involvement is strictly confined to legitimate environmental impacts.

8. Freeze all new regulations for six months and enact a package of reforms that allow a reasonable amount of time for regulatory compliance, properly evaluate regulatory costs to businesses and taxpayers, and end regulations that are ineffective or show an absurd disparity between costs and benefits.

9. Discourage foolish, frivolous, and harassing lawsuits by enacting a measured and reasonable “loser pays” rule for the courts.

Bring more accountability to powerful government entities with appointed boards

10. Restrict the number and power of joint powers agencies and other regional government entities to which board members are appointed.

11. Reduce the number of state boards and commissions and establish a system for greater legislative oversight of regulations enacted by these boards and commissions.

12. Set reasonable minimum standards for joint powers agencies and other regional government entities concerning meeting notices and public information on the web.

2. Establish or Cultivate a California Intellectual Policy Center (Think Tank)

At this time, the most visible and influential free market-oriented policy institute for California governance is based in Manhattan. As long as California lacks a homegrown, aggressive, relevant policy institute to develop and promote Center-Right principles and applications for the state, professional political campaign consultants will fill the vacuum and set the policy agenda for the California Republican Party.

3. Expand Republican Speech – Overhaul the Use of Web and Social Media

Why did the California Republican Party web site focus on the shortcomings of President Obama, when California was never expected to be a competitive state in the presidential election? Why is there virtually no presence of state and county Republican Party officials on Twitter? Why are many county Republican Party web sites so amateurish?

Many activists in the California Republican Party are traditionalists who are wary of the triviality and foolishness posted on the web and circulated through trendy social media. But earlier generations recoiled against radio and then television, and then they adopted to the new ways of communication.

The Republican Party of San Diego County is going in the right direction in effectively using the web and social media as a communications tool. Someone needs to establish web sites for all of the state and local Republican Party organizations, keep them updated regularly with relevant and factual state and local content, and inform the public through social media when there is fresh content. And impose a moratorium on bashing President Obama – even Republicans are tired of it.

4. Focus on Federalism: Local Government Should Serve as the Base of Opposition

The California Republican Party should encourage Republicans in local government to develop, propose, and implement standards and models of governance that provide the best quality public services to citizens at the best price for taxpayers. This will create a dramatic contrast with local governments run by Democrats that will file for bankruptcy in 2013 and 2014.

In addition, Republicans should encourage cities to seek or exercise their constitutional right to govern their own municipal affairs through a charter, thus freeing themselves from the costly mandates of the state legislature. There should be 30 proposed city charters on the June 2014 ballot for California voters to consider. Republicans in California’s current 121 charter cities should use their local governing authority in innovative and creative ways.

Construction Unions Demand Recount to Prevent Charter Supporter from Serving on Redding City Council

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UPDATE: The recount determined that Gary Cadd won the Redding City Council seat by nine votes. Cadd’s original eleven-vote margin of victory (15,382-15,371) stands as the official record. The “Full Count for Redding 2012” organization spent $7,750 on the recount.

Construction trade unions of the Northeastern California Building and Construction Trades Council have filed paperwork with the Shasta County Clerk/Registrar of Voters office and established a Political Action Committee to prevent candidate Gary Cadd from being seated on the Redding City Council on December 4, 2012. Cadd defeated union-backed incumbent Dick Dickerson in the November 6, 2012 election by eleven votes: 15,382 to 15,371.

Although Redding voters would not know from local news media coverage why construction trade unions are spending $10,000 or more for a recount to try to overturn a city council election, this union challenge is related in part to an ongoing grassroots effort in Redding to ask voters to enact a charter. A charter would free the city from the costly mandates of the union-controlled California State Legislature, including state-mandated construction wage rates (so-called “prevailing wages”). See Are Charter Cities Taking Advantage of State-Mandated Construction Wage Rate (“Prevailing Wage”) Exemptions?

In 2011, Cadd was part of a local group involved in promoting a charter, which union officials ultimately derailed through a Charter City Exploratory Committee appointed by the city council. Councilmember Dickerson had appointed a Carpenters Union representative to the committee. If Cadd is seated in place of Dickerson, there will be a 3-2 council majority in support of a meaningful charter to propose to city voters.

Union officials know they can’t allow this to happen. Considering that Democrats now have a veto-proof, unchecked two-thirds control of both houses of the legislature, the relatively conservative voters of Redding (a inland city of 90,000 near the Oregon border) will surely be eager to shake off the yoke of the Los Angeles union machine running the state capitol by the time they get the opportunity in the June 2014 election.

The union Political Action Committee funding the recount is called “Full Count for Redding 2012.” The chairman is Andrew Meredith with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union No. 340, and the treasurer is Bob Vanderpol with Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3, District 70. Meredith used to be a city council member in Galt and tried unsuccessfully in 2009 to pass a “local hire” ordinance there giving a competitive advantage to unionized construction companies. He resigned his office in 2010.

The recount will begin on Tuesday, November 27. The Cadd campaign is seeking contributions to pay the expenses of people overseeing the recount so that union lawyers are unable to manipulate it. If you’re interested in helping the Cadd campaign to ensure the recount is free of union mischief, please see the campaign web site:

News Media Coverage

Redding Council Race Headed for a RecountRedding Record-Searchlight – November 21, 2012

Redding Trade Council Demands City Council Race Recount – KHTL – November 21, 2012

Group Files for Re-Count of Redding City Council Votes – KRCR – November 21, 2012

City Charters: A Check and Balance Against Overzealous Lawmaking in a One-Party State: My Column Featured Today in

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Today’s (November 16, 2012) features my column entitled “City Charters: A Check and Balance Against Overzealous Lawmaking in a One-Party State.”

I introduce the issue in this way:

California’s Left has attained its long-desired supermajority in the California State Legislature and solidified its power by effectively nullifying structural checks and balances. Now it’s time for citizens who support economic and personal freedom to start using previously overlooked constitutional protections embedded in the federalist structure of our republic. One of these protections is Article XI of the California Constitution, which allows a city to enact its own mini-constitution, called a charter.

See my extensive reporting on the charter city movement in California.