California Redistricting could have been much worse for GOP

Many in the California GOP aren’t happy with the outcome of the redistricting process. Some have even gone as far as to suggest that Republicans would have been better off letting the legislature draw and approve their own lines instead of adopting a citizen commission. They’re dead wrong, and I can prove it. Redistricting is […]

Get a handle on CA State Government by reading the LAO’s CalFacts

Want to get your arms around California state government? Doesn’t seem possible, does it?

Maybe not, but you can get a good start by reviewing the Legislative Analyst’s Office’s latest publication, a 68-page pamphlet called CalFacts that the LAO hopes will "provide the reader with a broad overview of public finance and program trends in the state."

Essentially a list of Frequently Asked Questions, CalFacts does surprisingly good job of laying out and summarizing the specifics of how California government operates. Some of the more useful sections include a list of ballot measures that have affected the budget, and numbers on what services cost and where the money comes from.

Antiquated Computers Managing State Payroll? There’s an App for That

Reading the headlines on Rough & Tumble this week has sparked a bit of déjà vu on my part. Just as in 2008, the governor has ordered that pay for most state workers be reduced to the federal minimum wage during the budget impasse. And just as in 2008, the controller is refusing to comply – once again claiming that the computer system used by his office isn’t capable of processing the request.

Apparently he ignored my advice about buying himself a Mac back in ‘08.

I still stand by my recommendation, but I can understand why the controller decided not to head in that direction. The state is in a fiscal crisis, after all, and Mac’s aren’t exactly cheap.

Fiorina responds to SF Chronicle Story

Many of you likely read the story in this past Friday’s SF Chronicle, accusing possible US Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina of a lack of compliance with government filings in reference to two entities she owns – Carly Fiorina Enterprises and the Fiorina foundation.

Deborah Bowker, Fiorina’s Chief of Staff, contacted us with a brief response:

Carly Fiorina gives of her time and money to help alleviate poverty around the world, empower women, advance freedom of the press, and help the needy throughout the Bay Area. Her activities are fully in compliance with California and federal law and she has fulfilled her tax obligations.

Regarding Carly Fiorina Enterprises (CFE), like many small business owners, she is a sole proprietor and files her taxes as such in the state of California. State registration is not required as CFE is not a separate legal entity. Regarding the Fiorina Family Foundation, it is not a private foundation and there are no required legal filings with the State of California or the IRS.

Poizner denies application to increase workers’ comp cost benchmark

Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced via teleconference this morning that his office has denied a petition by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau for a 23.7% increase in the Workers’ Compensation Cost Benchmark.

In response to the request, Poizner convened a cost efficiency hearing, from which he determined that “the amount of efficiencies left to be implemented by insurers is substantial.” Poizner pointed to bodies such as the University of California, which provides its own workers’ compensation insurance, as examples of insurers who have seen costs decline by implementing such efficiencies.

“You all need to focus on making the workers’ comp system much more cost efficient,” said Poizner, who vowed to not include any avoidable costs in the benchmark.

Developing: State Capitol Evacuated due to Bomb Scare

I just heard from multiple Assembly staff this morning that the State Capitol has been evacuated due to a bomb scare. I’m told the evacuation interrupted an Assembly floor session. Developing…

UPDATE: Same sources claim that a bomb squad robot has been brought in.

UPDATE II: A just-posted SacBee article by Steve Wiegand provides some further details

UPDATE III: Hearing reports of an explosion, most likely a safety detonation. 1PM: Bomb experts detonate package on Capitol grounds (SacBee)

In the News — April 9, 2009

Assemblyman Anthony Adams was served with recall papers yesterday at a fundraiser with Governor Schwarzenegger. Former GOP Chairman Mike Schroder, who chaired two successful legislative recalls in 1995, did the honors outside the event in Glendora.

Adams’ crossover vote appeared out of character, as the San Bernadino assemblymember is only in his second term – legislators generally don’t expend their political capital so early in their career. If the GOP activists backing this recall prove successful in unseating Adams, I would think the precedent being set might scare others away from doing the same thing in the near future.

Tom Campbell’s been getting a lot of attention from the papers lately. In addition to today’s LA Times article, the San Francisco Chronicle has taken a look at the gubernatorial candidate twice this week (Debra Saunders and John Wildermuth).

Odds & Ends – March 19. 2009

Some Odds&Ends from the past week:

  • John Fund speculates on possible candidates for the congressional seat that will presumably be vacated by Obama appointee Ellen Tauscher, republished at FlashReport.
  • CEO’s have ranked California as the worst state to do business in and the worst state for job growth in 2009, as reported on Jan Norman’s blog at the OCRegister.
  • Politico is reporting that President George W. Bush has inked a book deal.
  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi took a stand against the enforcement of immigration laws, calling such actions ‘un-american’ (

Can a radio ‘fatwa’ lead to a change in Republican leadership?

Radio hosts John and Ken are anything but happy about the budget’s recent passage. In the public eye, they led the charge to oppose any new taxes in a budget deal, and did their best to pressure Republican legislators throughout California to oppose the compromise that was reached between the Governor and legislative leaders.

The ouster of Senator Cogdill as minority leader by the Senate Caucus struck them as a step in the right direction, but clearly had little effect on the actual budget process as new leader Dennis Hollingsworth was unable to stop his three colleagues – Cogdill, Ashburn and Maldonado – from crossing the aisle to vote for the Democrat budget. One might think this is all history now, but heads are still being placed on a stick down in Los Angeles. The newest target – Assemblyman Jeff Miller.

Confused yet? No, Jeff Miller was not one of the so-called six losers who voted for the Democrat budget. At face value, Miller, a freshman Assemblyman from Corona, would appear to be a solid conservative in line with the radio hosts’ views on the subject. But nonetheless, a fatwa has been issued, and a drive to recall the legislator has been launched.

GOP State Convention: Who were the winners?

By all accounts, the California Republican Party State Convention this past weekend was a successful one – Republicans from throughout California packed into the Sacramento Hyatt to do their part in setting the direction of a party that was thrust into a rebuilding mode after getting trounced in the November elections. This past weekend was a stark contrast from the September convention in Anaheim – one of the most uneventful and under-attended conventions in a long while according to a number of party veterans.

Most visible throughout the weekend was the conservative wing of the party, out in full force to voice their disapproval of those legislators who broke their anti-tax pledges to join Democrats in passing a budget laden with tax increases. Attendees at the convention’s general session overwhelmingly voted to discipline those who broke ranks, denying them any party funding in the 2010 election cycle. Whisper campaigns spread about possible primary challengers for those who would be up for reelection.