What Makes Califoria So Crazy?

Crazifornia, “the most insightful book on California’s perilous condition – ever,” (Hugh Hewitt) is available on Amazon!

Be among the first to hold a copy in your hands! This is a preview announcement, preceding the larger marketing effort that will kick off after the Kindle version is launched … which should be any day.

To buy your own copy of Crazifornia, just click here for its Amazon page.

“Liars Can Figure, But Figures Can’t Lie”

John Moorlach, the Orange County supervisor and crusader against unsustainable public employee pensions, provided this chart to his email following today.  “OCERS” is the Orange County Employees’s Retirement System and “UAAL” is short for Unfunded Actuarial Accrued Liability.  In other words, if all the county’s employees live as long as the actuarial tables say they will, this is how much in the hole we’ll be as of today.

You’ll notice that until 2001, the liability hovered around half a billion dollars or less. It started climbing in 2002 and now has grown about eight fold and is approaching $5 billion – or about $1,650 dollars of debt hanging like a rotting albatross around the necks of every man, woman and child in Orange County.  What happened?

That’s an easy one. In 2001, the Orange County Board of Supervisors granted retroactive pension increases to public safety employees – a move that made their post-9/11 hearts go putter-pat, but was about as stupid and consequential as not dodging icebergs with the Titanic. Payments into the county pension fund for these employees were being made at an amount determined by the actuarial projections for how long they’d live and how much they’d take out of the system before they died. When the Supes upped the payout without jumping into the Way-Back Machine and upping the contributions throughout the many years of the employees’ careers to pay for it, they locked in the increasing UAAL you all see here.

Mororlach forced the OC Supervisors to sue the OC Sheriffs to get the retroactive increases killed.  I tell the inside story in Crazifornia, complete with what Moorlach said during closed sessions. It’s great stuff.  Too bad a couple judges – state employees waiting for their own retirement pensions – threw out the lawsuit in a most arbitrary and self-serving manner.

Moorlach closes his constituent email by saying, “As the old expression goes, liars can figure, but figures can’t lie.  The County’s pension offerings are in dire need of an overhaul.  And this overhaul needs to be addressed by some paradigm-shifting actions on the part of current employees.”

In other words, Orange County’s public safety employees have to admit that they’re shamelessly sticking it to us by benefiting off the hurt one stupid action by five stupid supervisors has caused all us taxpayers, and voluntarily dial back their pensions to pre-2001 levels.

Think they’ll do it?

No. In Crazifornia, I pose a possible solution: a RICO lawsuit brought under the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act. Most people I’ve talked to, including Moorlach, think this little idea of mine could work by ruling that insanely unsustainable pensions be thrown out even though they’re contracts because the contracting process was “racketeer influenced.”

The Villaraigosa Dossier

Image hat-tip: Latina Magazine

Just in time for L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s big spotlight at the Democratic National Convention – as the #2 speaker, just before fellow womanizer Bill Clinton – the Daily Caller ran my opinion piece The Villaraigosa Dossier. Here’s an excerpt:

 

The Democratic Party gave one of its best speaking slots at this week’s Democratic National Convention — the slot immediately before former President Bill Clinton’s — to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. That’s a sign that Villaraigosa’s career is on an upward trajectory despite his dismal record as mayor. The city of Los Angeles is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and is expected to run a $1.4 billion deficit over the next four years.

In addition to being a bad mayor, Villaraigosa has issues with his zipper. Already the father of two illegitimate children from his college years, Villaraigosa was busted by his wife in 1994 for philandering while she was struggling with thyroid cancer. The mainstream media has been slow to draw parallels between Villaraigosa and Newt Gingrich. In 2007, Villaraigosa was caught having yet another affair, this time with Telemundo news anchor Mirthala Salinas, who covered his administration.

Despite the scandals (or maybe because of them), the mayor is said to have “impeccable progressive credentials.”

Villaraigosa is a product of the Los Angeles Unified School District, where he landed after being expelled from Catholic schools for fighting. He then latched onto an Upward Bound program and attended East Los Angeles College, where Chicano studies has its own department but history and African-American studies are tucked away in the school of social sciences.

Please go to the Daily Caller to read the rest of the piece. Besides it being fascinating reading, they track the traffic their authors generate, you know.

The Daily Caller piece is excerpted from Crazifornia – and you’ll be able to read the whole thing later this month. I have one more proof to check, then it goes live.

Crazifornia in CalWatchdog: Snips, Not Cuts

CalWatchdog picked up a column by me this morning: “Crazifornia: Dramatic car fleet cuts aren’t dramatic enough.” It covers Gov. Brown’s recently announced cuts to the state’s vehicle fleet.

When I heard Brown’s executive order brought the axe down on 7,112 cars, my first thought wasn’t about how great that was; instead, I thought, “Good Lord, how many cars does California have?” A lot, it turns out.

Here’s an excerpt; please click through an read the whole piece here.

Gov. Jerry Brown didn’t cut any beat up old Plymouths from the state’s car fleet this Tuesday, but that enduring symbol of his Moonbeam years aside, he did give the fleet a bit of a trim, issuing an executive order requiring the state to dump 7,112 vehicles.

 Will that include the 50 Toyota Priuses the California Department of General Services bought in 2009, then left on the roof of a parking garage for eight months? Or the 51 vans the California Highway Patrol purchased, then let collect dust in lots for two years as Californians paid out $90,385 in interest payments on them? Probably not, although in a press release, Brown did acknowledge that a lot of the cars to be cut “aren’t even driven.”

 The Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation’s fleet got the biggest whack, as 2,263 vehicles will be pared from its fleet. If you’re wondering how big the Dept. of Corrections’ fleet had to be if the state could so easily eliminate 2,263 vehicles from it, the answer is 8,940. Post-reduction, the department is left with a mere 6,677 vehicles for the members of California’s powerful prison guards union to tootle around in as they count down the days until the start of their lucrative retirements.

In My Mitts!

What an exciting day! A box arrived just after lunch with the first five printed copies of Crazifornia. Real books! Somehow this seemed much more real than when I got my first look at the Kindle edition a couple weeks ago.

These are proofs.  We have found a couple little glitches we want to correct, but Crazifornia is very, very close to being on sale. Watch for an announcement soon.

Since you can’t see the back cover, here’s what it says:

When the agency responsible for California’s roads spends $4 million on new cars and trucks, then parks them, unused, for two years, that’s Crazifornia. When cancer warnings are required on buildings because they may contain estrogen and testosterone, that’s Crazifornia. And when a full-frontal governmental assault on jobs and business drives enough people out of a state in ten years to double the population of Oregon, well, that’s Crazifornia too.  Through tale after outrageous, funny, tragic tale, “Crazifornia, Tales from the Tarnished State” explains why California is crashing, making it a must-read for all Californians and anyone who fears California may be coming their way soon.

 

Chronicles of the Unnecessary – BBS

Chronicles of the Unnecessary looks at branches of the California bureaucratic tree that should be pruned.

The Bureau of Behavioral Sciences (BBS), a part of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, regulates several professional designations:  Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Licensed Educational Psychologists, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors, MFT Interns, Associate Clinical Social Workers and Professional Clinical Counselor Interns.  It does it ostensibly to protect consumers.

I’m not so sure.  If the BBS is out to protect the consumer, why is it going about suspending the license of any of these professionals if they fail to pay their state taxes?  Yep. That threat is the big news on the home page of the BBS website.  If the BBS were protecting consumers, they wouldn’t be brown shirts for the tax collectors, they’d be champions of consumers who just might die if they are denied access to their tax-dodging marriage counselor or educational psychologist.

Which brings me to the larger point. If this agency weren’t here and some clinical counselor or associate clinical social worker went off the reservation and told their client to ignore his or her inner voice instead of listening to it, or they said “And how does that make you smell?” instead of “And how does that make you feel?” would anyone die?

Of course not. So why do we need the state licensing these people? Let the good ones advance and the bad ones fail based on the recommendations of their supervisors or the sharp judgments of the free market. Or, if the profession really feels a need to certify its members, let their professional association handle it, without taxpayer support.

Of course, cutting BBS wouldn’t do much to remedy California’s $20 billion budgetary nightmare. It received a paltry $7,775,000 in the 2011-2012 state budget. But indicative of Gov. Brown’s inability to put a fiscal lap band on Sacramento, he’s recommended $8,153,000 go to the BBS in the 2012-2013 budget, a five percent increase.

The increase is particularly suspect because BBS is supposed to be merged into Brown’s new mega-anti-business agency, the Business and Consumer Service Agency, which is supposed to make government more efficient. Since when is needing five percent more to run a place a sign of greater efficiency? Oh, that’s right. This is government. It defines efficiency a bit differently.

Here’s what I wrote about Brown’s new Business and Consumers Service Agency in Crazifornia:

A new motivation for companies to leave California lies about as well hidden as a body in a very shallow grave in Gov. Brown’s 2012-13 budget proposal.  It is the governor’s latest reaction to California’s business exodus:  a new mega-agency, the Business and Consumer Services Agency.  Brown hyped it as an effort to downsize government through consolidation, but it’s really something much more sinister:  a consolidation of anti-business attitudes into a new mega-agency.  One look at its structure and it’s evident the Business and Consumer Services Agency will “service” businesses in the way male farm animals “service” female ones.

The agency will combine habitually anti-business state departments handling consumer affairs, “fair” employment practices and various business licensing and inspection functions, creating a concentration of the state bureaucracies that are most inclined to make things harder for business owners.  Into this fetid anti-business environment Brown plans to drop, quoting from his budget summary, “the newly restructured Department of Business Oversight.” Restructured from what? The department doesn’t currently exist, so it appears that Brown is creating an entirely new arm of government, surrounding it with anti-business zealots and charging it with increasing the amount of oversight directed at California businesses that are already suffering from acute oversight poisoning.

So, let’s cut the BBS BS and make California a teeny bit more efficient.  How does that make you feel?

Only in San Francisco

This would probably be the most astounding newspaper correction of all time, if it weren’t for the fact that it ran in the San Francisco Chronicle, the paper that covers the city where such things are commonplace:

C.W. Nevius’ column about Most Holy Redeemer banning drag queen performers incorrectly stated that entertainer Peaches Christ appeared at an event at the church’s hall with a dildo shaped like a crucifix. He did not appear at the event, nor does he use the prop.

I’m sure glad we straightened that out.

Next up:  Holy Redeemer Church will no doubt face charges that it’s “homophobic.” Never mind that drag queens aren’t necessarily gay … or so I’ve been told, anyway.

Fortunately for folks elsewhere, this definitely can be filed under “Only in San Francisco.” Also fortunate is that I’ve chosen not to illustrate this post.

Thanks to Tweeter @cmarinucci for the heads-up.

Great Moments in California Legislation – Not

Stupid but still alive in Sacramento: Senate bill 1221, which makes it a crime for civilians to use dogs to hunt bears or bobcats. Government officials still can hunt with dogs, just not civilians.

I’m having just a wee bit of trouble seeing the justification for spending time and money processing a bill like this when there are real issues – budget shortfalls, corruption, an exodus of businesses, over-regulation, the need to drive a stake through the heart of high speed rail – that have a great deal more immediacy.

Wait a minute … let me rethink all this.  It just might be better to keep the Legislature busy with bills like this that really don’t hurt anything. Their record with legislation that matters is pretty abysmal, after all. How about a bill designating a State Bacteria, or maybe one prohibiting Mongol hordes from attacking without a permit?

And yes, in case you were wondering, SB1221 is the work of Democrat legislators (Lieu and Steinberg), not Republicans.

LA: Starting a “Chalk-pocalypse?”

Despite all the odds, it looks like Los Angeles has pushed itself to the top of the heap once again.

Yup. The City of Angels is leading the nation … in arrests for writing on public spaces in chalk. In fact, it’s become the tip of the spear in a growing nationwide confrontation between “chalkers” and law enforcement officials determined to erase the rising tide of chalking.

Photo: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

According to a Mother Jones article forwarded me by my incredible daughter (Yes, I do have questions about why my daughter is reading Mother Jones), Occupy LA is the instigator of law enforcement’s new-found interest in chalking:

The war on chalk’s most active front as of late has been Los Angeles, where police have arrested numerous chalk-wielding Occupy LA members on vandalism charges. Last month, the occupiers fought back during the city’s popular Art Walk by staging their own Chalk Walk, decorating walls and sidewalks with slogans such as “Arrest corrupt bankers, not chalkers” and “When chalking is a crime, only criminals will play hopscotch.”

Nice rhetoric, that, but rest assured that the law enforcement community isn’t going around cuffing little girls who play hopscotch:

I asked if this meant that children could be arrested for making hopscotch courses. “The children in your scenario would not be committing a misdemeanor because they have no malicious intent,” [DA spokesperson Frank] Mateljian replied. “Therefore, they would not be arrested.”

Occupy is malicious to its core, but really, expending police manpower to contain periodic incidents of unwanted exposure to chalk? Recently, one no doubt perfectly reasonable Occupier attracted a couple cops and was arrested for chalking one word – Crooks – next to a Citibank logo. This is a good use of the city’s plunging bank account balances?

It also looks like California’s leadership in exporting left-wing laws, policies and social movements to the rest of America also has been reinforced by chalking.  “The recent chalk arrests might just be a warmup for a chalk-pocalypse at the upcoming Democratic and Republican national conventions,” writes Mother Jones’ Josh Harkinson.  Like it or not, California is headed your way.