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Buried in our California water bills are the inflated salaries and benefits of our public water works “public servants.”  The examples in the article below are instructive — and not that unusual.

It includes a chart that compares the pay of water department employees with the average pay for such work.  BTW, included in that average are our government workers, which thus skews the figure higher than the true private sector average.

The superiority of government pay can be breathtaking, contrary to what the public employee labor unions tell the press. And this example doesn’t plumb the depths of the benefits disparity, which is much greater.


Breitbart: Trump says he’ll face Biden in 2016

Friday, August 14, 2015
posted by Thor's Assistant


Should billionaire and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump win the Republican primary in 2016—as he certainly wants to do—he expects he will face Vice President Joe Biden in the general election since he thinks the current email scandal plaguing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will eventually knock her out of the race.

Read it all.


The California public employee labor unions have a set of talking points they go to whenever the subject of reforming our taxpayer-backed pensions comes up. One major point they love to present boils down to this:  “Employees can’t invest money as smartly as CalPERS [or other pension agencies] can. CalPERS will make a higher return, and will do it for less cost.”

In California, we fiscal reformers will always be swimming vertically up Niagara Falls until we break the back of public employee labor unions. We can do it, but only through the initiative process. NEVER will we achieve success through the legislature.
“Paycheck protection” — ending government payroll deduction of union dues — is is an initiative that should be put before the voters as often as possible. If nothing else, the union will be forced to spend $30-$50 million to block it.
Another initiative should FORCE state and local governments to put government functions out for competitive bid — “managed competition.” No option (except for police, perhaps). Unfortunately it’s hard to keep labor from crippling such a mandate, as happened in San Diego. Still, we know managed competition is a way to reduce union clout and dues — and the proof is the unions’ apoplectic response whenever such a contracting out option is suggested.
Even better would be to return to the 1970’s situation (when everything was great in California, according to liberals), when there were toothless public employee labor unions — before Governor Brown changed the law to essentially mandate that government employees must join labor unions. Again, this change can only happen by initiative, and would be a tough battle, to put it mildly.
All these initiatives would be difficult to pass. But compared to what? Every legislative session, labor will push through numerous laws blocking or crippling reform efforts and solidifying their stranglehold on state and local government. In this day and age, they can pretty much get any legislation passed that they desire. Occasionally a governor will veto it, but not often.
We simply CANNOT win those legislative battles — the unions OWN the state legislatures. We are doomed if we don’t gut the public employee labor unions.

I was asked to write the following column for the “Fox and Hounds” website as a rebuttal to some nonsense published by a CalPERS booster who claimed we all profit from the stimulus of government pensions.  My column wrote itself in a record 65 minutes — I just did the typing.


Chuck Beckwith’s column competently lays out all the usual public employee arguments justifying their opulent pensions.  A cursory review of the logic reveals just how breathtakingly flawed this reasoning is.


Last night my wife and I watched two coyotes in our back yard, diligently sniffing and pacing, looking for something to eat.  It immediately caused me to think of the Spanos family — owners of the San Diego Chargers.  But not for the reasons you’d think.

This morning (Sunday, 9 August, 2015) there’s an insightful op-ed in the SAN DIEGO U-T, further verifying that the owners of the Chargers want to move the team to Los Angeles — a far bigger and more “big corporation” market than “branch office” San Diego.  While the piece makes many good points, the article takes the low road when this assertion is highlighted — “it is all about ego and greed.”


The article below cites an objective study of energy improvements homeowners have been doing to their existing homes — comparing cost with “investment return” — the savings received from the improvements.  BOTTOM LINE:  Even when accounting for the broader societal benefits of energy efficiency investments, the costs still substantially outweigh the benefits; the average rate of return is approximately -9.5% annually.  Just to restate the obvious, that’s a NEGATIVE 9.5%annual return on energy improvement investments.

That being said, obviously there are different steps that a homeowner can take to improve energy savings.  Some make sense, some are a joke.


A 2015 U-T survey of home water bills for the 30 largest U.S. cities found that for 200 gallons a day usage, San Diego has the 3rd highest cost – 73.7% higher than the median city surveyed. At 600 gal/day, San Diego was again 3rd highest – 81.7% higher than the median city.


Kern Raises $100,000+

Monday, July 27, 2015
posted by Jerry Kern


(Oceanside) – Oceanside Councilmember Jerry Kern has announced that he has raised more than $100,000 during the first campaign finance reporting period, providing yet another indicator that his race for the 76th Assembly District is off to a strong start.

“The show of community support for my campaign has been humbling,” said Kern. “Whether it’s the endorsements of well-respected elected officials throughout the district, or contributions from leading community voices, it’s clear that my campaign has a strong foundation for success.”


Some weekend reads…worth reading

Saturday, July 25, 2015
posted by Thor's Assistant

RNC scheme to block candidates from debate should be repealed

When someone asks me to name the seven dwarves invariably I fall short. Let’s see, there’s Grumpy, Bashful, Sleepy, Happy, Dopey….Darn it, there are a couple more.

That’s kind of how it is when I try to actually write out a list of the 16, 17 (or is it 18?) legitimate Republican candidates running for the Republican nomination for president.

Read it all, by Jon Fleischman in Breitbart


Proposition 13, Lady Godiva and historical tax facts


One hazard of the LA TIMES now owning the SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE is that my paper now mindlessly publishes LA TIMES stories.  It’s a ballyhooed “efficiency” of one paper buying the other.  But the hazard is that the fabled LA TIMES liberal news bias now regularly appears in my previously right-of-center San Diego paper.


KPBS: Maienschein opts out of Supe race

Tuesday, July 21, 2015
posted by Thor's Assistant

From Joe Yerardi of inewsource…

Republican state Assemblyman Brian Maienschein will not challenge embattled Democratic County Supervisor Dave Roberts for his Third District supervisorial seat in next year’s election.

Read it at KPBS


This is a textbook example of how a public employee labor union elects the very people with whom it “negotiates.”  In this case, it’s a firefighters union electing firefighters to the fire district board!  Here’s a summary of the disastrous results:

*  44 of these full-time firefighters, 37 percent of them, made over $300,000 in total compensation in 2013.

*  75 of these full-time firefighters, 63 percent of them, made over $200,000 in total compensation in 2013 (but less than $300K).

*  1 of these full-time firefighters, ONE OF THEM, made less than $200,000 in total compensation in 2013 – that person made $179,025.


Rostra nearing 20,000 comments

Thursday, July 9, 2015
posted by Thor's Assistant

The very first SD Rostra comment was posted August 29, 2009, from Greg Larkin…

“Great stuff. I like the new site.”


Well, ok, since then there have been a few comments somewhat more compelling.

At any rate, nearly six years later, Rostra has accumulated 19,980 comments on 4,730 article postings, averaging over four comments per post.  Some posts receive no comments, others go on and on (and on) with the reaction and debate.

Sometime in the next few days the site will exceed 20,000 comments.


As I’ve noted before, the progressives have latched on the fact that California is the 7th (or 8th) largest economy in the world.  It’s a “so there” rebuttal, intended to prove that all the bad economic policies in our Golden State have had little or no negative effect.  But of course, this grand assertion is accompanied by zero analysis.

I’ve ripped this this misleading fact apart before — adjusting our state’s GDP for population and COL in other states.  But now we have new, updated GDP state figures (mid-2014) to consider:


Again and again we hear the usual laments from the uninformed gun haters about concealed carry — how it would transform — DOES transform — a civilized society into the Wild West. You know  the mantra — shootouts at fender-benders, bars ablaze with gunfights, etc.

It’s always fun to inject a dose of reality into such gun haters — it’s toxic to their wellbeing.  Here’s a sharp needle-full of facts for your favorite anti-gun friends. They never actually check the empirical results of people legally carrying firearms — that just arrogantly assume that they know what the results are.  


Below is a pretty good summation of the major potential California tax increases now being proposed by Sacramento politicians.  Here’s a link to even more proposed CA state taxes.  And there’s a link below to “Californians AGAINST Higher Taxes” — seeking funds, of course.

While my grassroots taxpayer group San Diego Tax Fighters has joined their coalition opposing this potential avalanche of higher taxes, we take no position on this taxpayer group’s effort vs. other fine tax fighting outfits in our state.   This is not a fundraising pitch.


Uber Ruling Illustrates How Government Ruins Good Things

Friday, June 19, 2015
posted by Steve Rider

With the recent ruling from the California Labor Commission declaring that Uber’s drivers must be treated as W-2 employees, California residents will have front-row seats to watch government ruin innovation and a thriving market. While many costs created by government go unnoticed, the inevitable hike in prices and decline in services will be an eye-opening experience for millions of Uber customers.

Uber’s rise in popularity is a textbook example of how free markets can improve society. For decades, citizens simply assumed expensive and elusive taxis were an inevitable way of life. This paradigm shifted in 2008 when two gentlemen, frustrated by a cab ride in Paris, envisioned something better. Fast forward to today and their idea is now one of the world’s most successful startups with valuations as high as $50 Billion.


Historically Japanese executives and their companies has been much more comfortable concentrating in California on the Pacific Rim rather than the “inland” and East Coast states.  We have a small but successful Japanese population dating back generations.  CA is not considered a prejudiced state for Asians.  The Japanese have surely felt particularly out of place in the South.

Apparently that undeniable Golden State preference has given way to economic reality.  Texas (among other states) is FAR better for a company’s bottom line than Taxifornia.

EXCERPT: “At least 175 Japanese projects have translated into $19 billion in direct investments in Texas since 2003, according to the Texas governor’s office. Some recent investments include:


The Brookings, South Dakota volunteer fire department

(“Click” photo to enlarge)

California’s overpaid, overpensioned firefighters love to claim they merit their astronomical compensation packages because of the risks they take.  They have no answer when I point out that the average California firefighter is paid 60% more than paid firefighters in other 49 states. Meanwhile the CA 2011 median household income (including government workers) is only 13.4% above the national average.


Abed may announce supervisor bid

Saturday, June 6, 2015
posted by Thor's Assistant

From KPBS…

Escondido Mayor Sam Abed is expected to announce Monday that he’ll run next year for San Diego County SupervisorDave Roberts’ seat.

Here’s the KPBS story.


Earlier this week I addressed the troubling revelation that the Convention Center defaulted on a $13 million deal that would allow for the expansion space we need to keep events like Comic-Con.

This is a BIG deal.

I covered this on my radio show on Monday, and then started getting numerous calls that the situation is even worse. So I penned the commentary below that is running in the Voice of San Diego.

Read the commentary and listen to the interview – and if you are also concerned, now is the time to raise your voice to city leaders!


When the dramatic drop in oil prices occurred starting in mid 2014, liberals were conflicted.  They hated the fact that low oil and gas prices increased the attractiveness and use of fossil fuels. But they took solace in the fact that at least the irritating Texas economic boom was finally reversed — that a hick state’s economy built on their lucky abundance of natural resources would now be the Lone Star State’s undoing.  The progressives were actually gloating about the resulting economic bust the hated Texans would experience.

Only one problem for liberals. It didn’t happen.  Texas is still chugging along, with hardly a hiccup from the plunge in petroleum prices.

This ain’t our grandparents’ Texas.  No-sir-re-bob.


Daily Video Blog – Last Thought with Carl

Wednesday, May 13, 2015
posted by Carl DeMaio

I’m having a blast with the radio show on NewsRadio 600 KOGO. We’re launching a new video feature called “Last Thought with Carl.” Here’s our first one – on the crisis in teachers’ pensions and our confrontation with the media rep for CalSTRs. Video Link

Keep sending in your news tips and we may use them on a show soon!Final Thought with Carl – Teachers\' Pensions


I’ve posted on this topic before. But the numbers have been updated, with the vaunted post-recession “housing building boom” in California fizzling out.  It’s a sobering graphic.



Chart of the Day. More permits for single-family homes have been issued in Houston than in the entire state of California both: a) this year through March (9,184 in Houston vs. 9,081 in California) and b) from 2011 through March 2015 (133,462 vs. 132,915).

Related: The one-way rental rate for a 26-foot U-Haul truck from Los Angeles, CA to Houston, TX in mid-May is $2,371, which is about 3 times the $806 rental rate going in the opposite direction from Houston to LA.

Comments Off on UPDATE: Houston STILL has more housing starts than ALL of CA

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