Category: Articles & Op-Eds

Immorality in California Politics

It goes well beyond sexual harassment. Sexual harassment by elected officials in California is all over the news but less visible forms of political immorality are just as prevalent. One example is that of state legislators who sell students, families…

CA’s Next Budget Will Not Tell The Truth

On January 10 Governor Jerry Brown will present his proposed budget for the 2018–19 fiscal year. That budget will not reflect financial reality. That’s because state and local governments operate under accounting rules that enable untruthful financial reporting. For example,…

More Pension Math

The real reason CalPERS hasn’t recovered. Many legislators don’t understand why massive gains in the stock market have barely improved the Funded Ratio of California’s principal pension fund, CalPERS. The answer is simple: massive growth in liabilities. See for yourself.…

Misunderstanding Citizens United in CA

California already had Citizens United rules. Recently an acquaintance complained about the Citizens United (CU) decision in 2010 by the US Supreme Court that held governments may not prevent corporations or unions from engaging in political spending. When I pointed out…

Courage: The Most Overused Word In Politics

Does it take political courage for a California Democrat to attack Donald Trump? Obviously not, just as it didn’t take political courage for a red-state Republican to attack Barack Obama. To qualify as courageous, a political act must threaten the…

Jerry Brown Steps Up For Citizens

But CalPERS lets down local government employees. California Governor Jerry Brown has filed a legal brief with the state’s Supreme Court arguing that pensions for government employees should work no differently than pensions for non-government employees. Students, citizens, taxpayers and…

Future Firefighters Beware!

Local government budgets need protection too. California’s recent fires reminded citizens that robust fire and police staffing levels are critical for public safety, including the safety of the brave Californians willing to serve in those roles. Fortunately for our society,…

Hickenlooper Channels Raimondo

More governors need to show similar courage. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has proposed a budget calling on existing government employees and retirees to bear the costs of proposed pension reforms because citizens and taxpayers have already contributed enough to the retirement…

You Have More Power Than Facebook

Stop howling at the moon. Start spending on good politicians. Do you believe everything you read? Of course not. While it’s true that corporations, unions, Russians and plutocrats spend money on elections and employ misleading posts on Facebook and other…

A Tale Of Two Public Pension Plans

Same recession, same stock market, different outcomes. Two public pension plans started off in the same spot before the Global Financial Crisis and went through the same investment markets since then but ended up in very different spots. The plans — let’s…