Archive for the ‘B-Daddy’ Category
I got a call today from the Bilbray campaign, dialing me up from Del Mar (858-617-XXXX according to the caller id). A young man asked me something that was hard to understand because the voice quality of the call was garbled. I thought he asked if I was supporting Brian Bilbray, but in hindsight, I think he must have been asking if I would like to hear a message from the Congressman. Then a recorded message from Bilbray started, again very garbled, although I could still tell it was Bilbray, having heard him in person. I just hung up, a little frustrated.
Without taking a position on the wisdom of sequestration, I have it on good authority that it is the official policy of the Department of Defense not to plan for the eventuality; despite widespread belief that it will. In my opinion, this is because the word has come down from the administration to ignore what is happening so that defense contractors who might vote Democrat won’t change their minds. Of course, its junior enlisted who might be hurt worst, but here is how the administration is protecting them; answer, not much.
Well, that’s not what Jerry Brown and legislative Democrats claim their bill would do, but how can we doubt that wouldn’t be the effect. Here is what they are claiming, as reported in the SacBee:
The goal is to create a savings program in which workers who have no access to a pension can count on a guaranteed rate of return for contributing about 3 percent of their salary.
Sounds laudable? But who will control the money? Who will guarantee the rate of return? According to the article, private insurers would, because:
The news that a police officer was struck in the head by a screw driver yesterday, likely thrown by a bicyclist participating in Critical Mass, isn’t really surprising to me nor to many others. While the goals of the Critical Mass bike movement appear laudable, raising awareness of the unfriendly nature of the urban street environment to bicycles, the mob nature of the event and flaunting the rule of law inevitably lead to instances of violence.
The U-T is reporting that Democratic sponsored polls are showing a dead heat in my home district, the CA-52, in the race between Brian Bilbray, incumbent Republican and Scott Peters, former City councilman and Port commissioner. One poll was at 40-40 and another at 45-45. While these are polls of likely voters, the real question will be what actual turn out will look like between Republicans and Democrats. With two huge tax hike initiatives on the state ballot, I predict that Republican turn out will be higher because tax hikes tend to bring out conservatives; anger motivates voting. Democrats will have less incentive to vote as Obama is a shoe in to take California’s electoral votes. Additionally, Carl DeMaio’s campaign will be emphasizing pension reform. Bilbray’s campaign will be attacking Peters on that issue for his votes during the time he was on the council. I believe this tilts the field against Peters. From the U-T:
Peters has acknowledged that his vote to underfund the pension system was a mistake but said he’s the only candidate in the race to do any meaningful pension reform. He has pointed to negotiating a new pension plan to save the city $23 million a year.
As a tea partyer in deep blue California, it may seem that we have limited ability to influence elections. Gerrymandering keeps almost all House, Assembly and State Senate races non-competitive. However, ballot measures and local races still provide an opportunity to make our voices heard and to beat the entrenched labor/big-government establishment. Temple of Mut has provided a public service by previewing the November ballot issues; but I wanted to add a few thoughts on issues and races that matter in San Diego in particular.
I attended the Anti-Tax Rally today in downtown San Diego held in front of the County Administration Building. Brian Bilbray was clearly the most famous speaker invited. He is in a competitive district, as I have previously discussed. The rally started with doctors in white lab coats speaking about the harm done to health care under the law. Doctor Gary Gonsalves led off the doctors’ segment. (It seems that Obama’s stunt at the White House has made it de rigueur to put the docs in lab coats.)
In the 2010 San Diego City Council race, and in previous mayoral campaigns, the idea of bankruptcy for San Diego has been proffered. However, neither Vallejo, which survived bankruptcy, nor Stockton, now going through bankruptcy have demonstrated that public employee pensions can be discharged in bankruptcy court, at least in California. In California, after the Vallejo experience, the state passed laws requiring that cities contemplating bankruptcy enter into a mediation process. This requires that the city negotiate in good faith with creditors prior to entering bankruptcy proceedings. One group for whom there is no negotiation are the labor unions pensions. From Reuters:
In a little noticed report from the AP, Proposition 29, the Tobacco Tax initiative has narrowly been defeated. Although anticipated, this is the first news announcement I have seen on the issue.
With about 5 million ballots cast, opponents of Proposition 29 led by about 28,000 votes. The Associated Press analyzed areas where the roughly 105,000 uncounted votes remain and determined Friday there were not enough places where “yes” was winning to overcome the deficit.
Noted doping suspect, Lance Armstrong, was a key supporter.
Re-posted with permission from the author at W.C. Varones blog, regarding mass at Mission San Diego de Alcala, Wednesday evening.
First they came for the Catholics, and I did not speak up because I was not a Catholic…
The W.C. Varones Blog stands squarely with American Catholics as they defend their religious liberty from unprecedented assault by the Obama regime.
Thanks to KT Cat for notifying me of this event at the historic Mission San Diego de Alcala — California’s first church.
Two unrelated articles show how the education of children comes last when dealing with the government education bureaucracy and the labor unions representing teachers. In San Diego, the unions and the district struck a deal yesterday to avoid 1,481 layoffs, according to the U-T.
. . . anyone but themselves. I’m not going to waste time searching out all of the left wing excuses for yesterday’s taxpayer victories in Wisconsin, San Diego and San Jose. The tried and true playbook will be to turn to the courts to defeat the will of the voters in the California elections and to blame money and a bad message in Wisconsin. I watched the President of the San Diego firefighters union, Frank De Clercq, on KUSI on election night telling the voters that he would be heading to court to thwart their will. His basic argument is that the taxpayers were only allowed to change his benefits through negotiation. My answer is, tough, your unions have helped elect patsies who have promised pension benefits that were unaffordable. Those promises were made on my behalf, but not in my best interests as a taxpayer. For me this is personal, to De Clercq and Michael Zucchet, my message is that you were work for us, we don’t work for you. As your employer we should have the absolute right to change the conditions of employment when economic circumstances require. There is no inherent right of government employees to be allowed to bargain for wages and benefits. As I have pointed out before:
I played high school football and tonight feels like Thursday night before an important Friday game, not the big game, but an important one we need to win. Team taxpayer is favored to win two important contests tomorrow, the Wisconsin governor’s recall and Proposition B in San Diego.
The U-T is reporting that Proponents of Proposition B have spent $1.8 million on the measure against $227K by those opposed. That doesn’t prove it will win, but it makes me smile nonetheless. A bit of Schadenfreude came from this quote in the Voice of San Diego.
“From a political standpoint, it’s pretty likely that this is going to pass in June,” labor leader Michael Zucchet said in April. “And when I say pretty likely, I mean we’re [expletive].”
My fellow SLOB, W.C. Varones, has posted tea party recommendations for this June’s ballot. Since there is no official tea party position, and everyone can claim a leadership role in the tea party, I am following suit. I am a resident of the city of San Diego, so I am not covering propositions in El Cajon, Oceanside or other areas. On to the props – I am using my own shortened and more accurate versions of the titles. Don’t like my characterizations? Tough, get your own blog; free speech rocks.
Proposition 28 – The Faux Term Limits Initiative – NO
He hit on all the topics you’d expect – the war on drugs, the debt and deficit, central planning, the TSA, big government destroying the economy, the Dirty Fed, global imperialism, etc. And of course the solution to all of this: restore the Constitution,
Here is some video from the event.
As a matter of fact, if there was some real pension reform, there wouldn’t be any need for tax increases. California is drowning under the burden of employee pension costs. Even the modest reforms offered by Jerry Brown are making no progress in the
Democrat union controlled legislature. A couple of key parts of his proposal:
- Equal sharing of pension costs: Require all new and current employees to contribute at least 50 percent of their retirement costs, shifting the burden from public employers, some of whom currently make the entire contribution.
An issue that had completely disappeared from my view was thrust in front of me this morning when I opened the U-T to find that a repeal of the death penalty had qualified as a California ballot initiative for November. I am not in the mainstream of conservative thought in my opposition to the death penalty; but my reasons that should resonate with tea party and conservative thought.
I got a call this evening from a number in Ogden, UT 801-823-XXXX purporting to be a poll about the San Diego mayor’s race. After asking me who I was supporting for Mayor of San Diego, and learning that I was supporting Carl DeMaio, I was asked a series of follow on questions. It didn’t take me long to figure out that this was just some push-polling from the Fletcher campaign. A sample of some questions:
-Would it make you more likely to vote for Nathan Fletcher if you knew that he had sponsored legislation to allow unemployed Californians to keep their health insurance during the recent recession?
As we close in on the June 5 primary that will most likely determine the two candidates to compete in November for mayor of San Diego, media interest is heating up. My complaint? Lack of focus on the key issues for the campaign; how will we reform pensions and in general control spending in the city. Here on Rostra, most of the recent posts have been about the race, but in my view only peripherally. Instead the discussion has been dominated by “insider” discussion about who is working for whom, the role of SD GOP chair Tony Krvaric and the education plans of the would-be mayors. A reminder to San Diego residents: The mayor has no voice over the school system. All the polling I have seen, leads one to conclude that we are headed for a run off in November between Republican Carl DeMaio and Democrat Bob Filner, in the officially non-partisan race. So a little about the race as I see it.
I went to the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally last Friday in downtown San Diego. I was struck by how impassioned both the speakers and participants were. The President’s policies are uniting people of faith against him. The speakers all spoke of the importance of freedom and conscience to the proper functioning of government. They spoke of the continued assault on religious liberty. They spoke of the laughable accounting shell game of the administration: “Religious associations don’t have to pay for birth control, only their insurers will be required to provide that.” My personal estimate was that about 700 people turned up. We got honks of support throughout the rally.
Sgt. Gary Stein created the Facebook page “Armed Forces Tea Party” in 2010. He has been stationed here in San Diego. As you might expect, he eventually made comments critical of the President on Facebook. He is now facing discharge from the Marine Corps (pronounced “core” for the pronunciation challenged) for Conduct Prejudicial to Good Order and Discipline. He argues that he has merely been exercising his free speech rights. However, those rights are not absolute. A member of the Armed Forces may not participate in partisan political activity nor appear in uniform while endorsing a political candidate for office. These are sensible rules that keep the Armed Forces from unduly influencing or being drawn into partisan politics. The subordination of the Armed Forces to the civilian control of the President and the Congress have served our nation well.
The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) has sent out layoff warnings to over 1,600 teachers and other employees for the next school year. The math behind the problem is simple. Part of the reason for the layoffs has to do with promises made in the past with the bill coming due now. From City Beat:
Roughly $39 million of San Diego Unified’s $122-million deficit is the result of a deal the district struck in 2010 with the San Diego Education Association (SDEA), the union that represents teachers. The teachers agreed to cut one week off the school calendar for two years (reducing pay by 2.7 percent each year); in exchange, the district agreed to raise pay a little more than 4 percent for the upcoming school year (2012-13) and another 3 percent in 2013-14 and add that week back to the calendar.
I have blogged my outrage a couple of times over local crony capitalism of Jerry Sanders giving away city naming rights to Qualcomm by allowing the temporary name change to Snapdragon. The U-T posted a treasure trove of emails that paint an unflattering picture. I have excerpted two of them here. Here is the city’s CFO wondering why the city isn’t getting a cut of the value of the advertising, hooray for Mary Lewis.
Here is Jay Goldstone, the Mayor’s Chief Operating Officer, deciding that he has a license to practice law and that this whole signage thing is really all about how fast he can please his corporate buddies at Qualcomm.
That seems to be the position taken in a lawsuit filed by the Municipal Employees Association of San Diego. From the U-T:
The Municipal Employees Association, San Diego’s largest public employee union representing white-collar workers, has accused Mayor Jerry Sanders of violating state labor laws by refusing to negotiate the elements in the initiative while at the same time using the power of his public office to generate public support for it.
If successful, the complaint, filed last week with the state Public Employment Relations Board, could prevent the initiative from appearing on the ballot and essentially nullifies the nearly 116,000 signatures collected to trigger a public vote.
Budget “cuts” for the Department of Defense proposed by Obama are fairly responsible as far as I can tell. But Republicans are already criticizing the administration’s proposals. Predictably, John McCain called the cuts unacceptable. So what are the facts? Most of the spending cuts come from winding down the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The base budget of the Pentagon actually increases beyond fiscal year 2013. Base spending is the spending not going to support the wars. Further, the ground troop strength of the Army and Marine Corps is reduced to somewhat above levels of 2001. Finally, and more controversially, Secretary Panetta called for another round of base closures, setting up a new Base Re-alignment and Closure (BRAC) commission in 2013. Parochially, speaking the BRAC process has been very good to San Diego, in spite of the closing of the old NTC, now Liberty Station. The move of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) from DC in the mid-1990s, Mine Warfare Command from TX in the 2000s and additional ships homeported here have added federal spending to the local economy. Locally, Carl DeMaio has called for a task force to prepare for a possible BRAC round in 2013. I think that is wise, but I would advise DeMaio that the best tack to take would be to ask our California delegation to oppose any BRAC round until we have reviewed and closed bases overseas, see my discussion below.