If You’re an Independent Voter Don’t be AIPrl Fooled

Mark Vargas
Small Business Owner, Advisor for the Burbank YMCA’s Youth & Government program, and Former Member of the Little Hoover Commission

This April 1st, let’s protect voters from being AIPrl Fooled.

What if an annual prank placed a half-million voters into a political party they didn’t want to be in?  What if that prank was played on 130,000 Latinos, Asians and African Americans, who were tricked into registering for a political party that was formed to advance segregation and eliminate all immigration?

You’d have to be a fool to think that was funny.  An AIPrl Fool.

Today I’m launching Don’t Be AIPrl_Fooled, a grassroots campaign to bring awareness to the fact that hundreds of thousands of Californians are accidentally registering as members of the American Independent Party (AIP) based on their assumption that checking off the AIP designation means that they are now registered as “independent” of any party.  Previous attempts to remedy this situation have focused on either legally challenging the way the AIP party is presented on the ballot or by getting them to change their name.  But these efforts have had limited results.

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Value-Added Tolling: Getting to “Yes” on Interstate Tolling

Robert Poole
Director of Transportation Policy and Searle Freedom Trust Transportation Fellow at Reason Foundation

The Interstate highway system is wearing out. Over the next two decades, nearly all of its 47,000 miles will have to be rebuilt, to make it serviceable for another 50+ years. In addition, several hundred major interchanges are horrible bottlenecks and need to be replaced with more modern designs, and some corridors need additional lanes to cope with growth, especially in truck travel. A major Reason study last year estimated the cost of Interstate reconstruction and modernization at $1 trillion.

That sum is far beyond what current federal and state highway funding can provide. Congress some years ago created a pilot program to let states reconstruct three aging Interstates using toll finance. Those pilot projects would be exceptions to current federal law that bans tolling on existing non-tolled Interstates. Three states won slots in the pilot program, but so far none has gained political consensus to proceed with any toll-financed reconstruction.

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Main Street Menace of the Week: Assembly Bill 1522 (Gonzalez)

John Kabateck
California Executive Director, National Federation of Independent Business

While the legislature is in session, the National Federation of Independent Business/California will be profiling anti-small business bills and initiatives and the adverse effect they would have on California’s job creators.  This is the second column of the 2014 series.

Sometimes the proposals that the legislature comes up with are enough to make small employers feel ill.  Such is the case with Assembly Bill 1522, the proposed mandatory paid sick leave bill authored by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez.  AB 1522 mandates that all employers provide paid sick leave to all employees after only seven days of work in a calendar year.  This bill requires that employers provide all employees with paid sick leave at a rate of one hour per thirty hours worked regardless of size of employer or ability to compensate for the loss.

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Cesar, The Brand

Luis Alvarado
Strategic Advisor to Revolvis Consulting and a Political Analyst for CNN Español and Telemundo

Today students in selected schools will either have the day off or will hear of the achievements of Cesar Chavez and his movement in California’s Central Valley in the late 60’s.  They will hear a narrative about the struggle against grape farmers in Delano, CA.  They will hear about the insurmountable obstacles Cesar Chavez and his team of leaders had to overcome, oppression by the farm owners and their government agents, Legislators and police.

Outside the schoolroom we hear and also celebrate the accomplishments in political proclamations as we cut ribbons at new schools, streets, a USS ship and USPS stamp-naming ceremonies.  As with many other historical narratives, the unsavory parts of the story is sniped a little here and there as the cool parts are amplified for dramatic effect.

For Latinos who feel that they are always swimming against the tide, the battle cry of “Si, Se Puede” (Yes, It Can be Done) holds a special sense of pride.  Kind of the same way “Don’t Tread on Me” did during the War of Independence.

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When Constituents and Small Business Owners Speak, Legislators Listen

Tom Scott
Executive Director, California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

Recently, I wrote a blog post titled, “The World Is Run By People Who Show Up,” about how constituents can greatly affect the positions of their elected officials – but only when they speak up. California CALA recently held our fourth annual CALA/Civil Justice Association of California Day at the Capitol where we talked to legislators and their staff members about lawsuit abuse, and WOW, did our supporters show up.

When we started this event three years ago, about 30 people attended. This year, we had nearly 200 people – a fantastic number, especially considering that CALA is comprised solely of grassroots supporters. These people show up because they’re sick of our legal system putting greed before justice and they want our legislators to know it.

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Whom do you trust: ‘Shrimp Boy,’ the FBI or neither?

Debra Saunders
Columnist, San Francisco Chronicle

Observers have likened the federal case against state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, and 25 others to the film “American Hustle,” about an FBI Abscam-like sting that used a small-time con man to win corruption convictions against public officials.

I hope it is not like another Hollywood film, “The Departed,” about a well connected FBI informant who was also a homicidal crime boss fashioned after Boston’s politically wired gangster Whitey Bulger.

The 137-page criminal complaint against Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, Yee and company on firearms-trafficking, drug-trafficking, money-laundering, murder-for-hire and fraud charges, starts with Chow pleading guilty in 2000 to federal racketeering charges involving murder for hire, conspiracy to distribute heroin and arson. Chow also had prior state felony firearms convictions.

To Continue Reading the Full Commentary in the San Francisco Chronicle please go here.

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Political Scandal–Is it the Culture, Leadership or is that the Way it Always Was?

Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

“Nowadays, people think ‘House of Cards” is a documentary.” John Pitney, Claremont McKenna College professor.

Professor Pitney’s quote in the Los Angeles Times was BEFORE the arrest of Sen. Leland Yee on corruption charges. He was referring to the conviction of Senator Rod Wright and the indictment of Senator Ron Calderon.

Three Democratic state senators in legal trouble shakes whatever faith is left in the government and reaffirms people’s suspicions about government. It also changes the Capitol’s political equation. As Sacramento gallows humor put it, the FBI did what the Republicans could not — end the Democrats’ supermajority.

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Looking from the Inside Out as Gov. Schwarzenegger’s Speechwriter

Gary Delsohn
Former Sacramento Bee Reporter now working for the Chancellor at UC Davis

During the 30 years I worked for newspapers, I twice had the opportunity to spend time inside one of the institutions reporters cover from the outside looking in.

In 2001, I took a year leave of absence from the Sacramento Bee and was allowed to be a fly on the wall inside the Sacramento District Attorney’s Office and wrote a book about it. It was a fascinating and rewarding experience.

The next time was in 2006, when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asked me to be his chief speech writer. I knew if I took the job my newspaper career was probably over, but the opportunity was too interesting to pass up.

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Questioning Sen. President Steinberg’s Leadership

Jon Fleischman
Publisher of the FlashReport

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Much has been written and will be written about the now-unsealed indictment of State Senator Leland Yee. Much has been written and will be written about the upcoming trial of State Senator Ron Calderon. And much has been written about the now completed trial of State Senator Rod Wright, who as we know was found guilty by a jury of his peer of eight felony crimes. It is unprecedented, as far as I know, that three different State Senators have been simultaneously serving under these extreme circumstances.

Darrell Steinberg didn’t sign up to be the President of the Senate in this kind of unprecedented “season of corruption” in the California legislature’s upper house.  That having been said, the institution has needed a Pro Tem who can provide a bright, clear line between ethical, law abiding legislators, which we can hope number 37 – and this criminal element in the Senate, who clearly do not understand the distinction between right and wrong.  Steinberg has fallen far short of the mark.

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Why are D.C. Politicians Sweet on California?

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

Dear Washington, D.C.,

I know that your politicians will say anything to get elected and your wonks are perpetually grasping at straws. But I find it hard to believe how many people in your town are saying that I, the great state of California, am some sort of model for you and the country you govern.

Strangely, this recent D.C. swoon is not about my good looks. (I still look great, whether you’re gazing up at Half Dome or down the block at a sidewalk full of Southern Californians.) No, it’s about my less flattering side: governance. And still more peculiar is that the compliments headed my way are coming from people across your political spectrum.

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