April  2010  

California's Triple Threat

Posted by CotoBlogzz 05-24-2010 07:30 PM

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA We assert that the sucking sound you hear are all the jobs California is losing to Nevada, Texas and Utah, in large measure do to what we refer to as California's Triple Threat:   1) Public sector organized labor,  2) un-elected, un-checked parasitic bureaucracies and 3)  lobbyists. 

Unfortunately, OCGOP Chairman Scott Baugh is not too familiar with the Triple Threat:  " the bureaucracy and the unions are hand in hand.  Any real reforms to the bureaucracy will be blocked by the Democrats in the legislature. " he says, echoing Assemblyman Chuck DeVore previous "I can't do anything" statement.  "It is my fundamental belief that until you break the grip that unions have on the legislature, you will not make much progress on busting the bureaucracies.  The Citizen Power Initiative is one excellent idea.  The pension reform initiative that was being circulated is another excellent idea.  In addition to these initiatives, there is an effort underway to provide education to local elected officials in the art of negotiations and the pitfalls of the MOU’s that are presented to them."  Chairman Baugh added.

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Organized labor

When president Obama assures organized labor that its agenda is his agenda, that the Most Frequent Visitor (MVF) to the White House, SEIU’s president Andy Stern likes to boast to choose your poison: the persuasion of power or the power of persuasion and that the California Teacher's Association puts Don Corleone to shame, you know something has to be done to reign in the union.  Not to mention President Reagan's assertion that organized public sector labor is an anachronism in the 21st century

But wait, there is more:  In 1934, governmental entities in California have been allocated most public works architectural and engineering contracts because courts have interpreted Article VII of the California Constitution and its predecessor, former Article XXIV, to give civil servants a first right to these projects. The Legislature attempted to circumvent Article VII in 1993 by drafting legislation that provided exceptions to the constitutional provision, however the California Supreme Court criticized the legislation as "inartfully drafted" and affording " no  legitimate basis for disregarding the constitutional restriction on private contracting." (Professional Engineers In California Government et. al., v. Department of Transportation, 15 Cal. 4th 543, 553 [1997]- this is akin to Andy Stern's  Heaven, or the oxymoronic Congressional Ethics:  California Civil Servant Law - a case of Institutionalized Parasitic Generation at best.

Parasitic Bureaucracies

Parasitic bureaucracies are simply un-registered taxpayer funded lobbyists, such as LAFCO, CLRC, AQB, EPA, EEOC - In most cases, once created, bureaucracies focus more on self-preservation than on their initial mandate.  Take for instance the Frankeistanequese EPA:  Earlier this years, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, introduced sort of like a congressional veto to stop the EPA from controlling greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. Murkowski, the top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, argued that Congress, not EPA, should determine federal climate change policy. Not to mention the Law of Unintended  Parasitic Bureaucracies as exemplified by Orange County State Sen. Lou Correa's (D-Santa Ana)  Senate Bill 1406, dealing with glaucoma treatment.

Lobbyists

Consider that lobbyists outnumber lawmakers in Sacramento 8-1.  Add to that the un-elected, unchecked bureaucracies, such as the CLRC, LAFCO and AQB, which are in essence tax-payer funded un-registered lobbyist.

The report titled  Big Money Talks published by the  Political Practices Commission (FPPC), FPPC details how special interest groups spend funds on candidates, ballot measures and lobbying efforts.  Included in this list are six corporations, three Indian tribes, two labor unions and four business associations.  According to FPPC Chairman Ross Johnson.  “This tsunami of special interest spending drowns out the voices of average voters, and intimidates political opponents and elected officials alike"  

The top five interests groups are responsible for over half of the $1 billion spent by the top 15 as follows:

  1. ·         California Teachers Association—$211,849,298

  2. ·         California State Council of Service Employees—$107,467,272

  3. ·         Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America—$104,912,997

  4. ·         Morongo Band of Mission Indians—$83,600,438

  5. ·         Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians—$69,298,909

 

To be clear, the Triple Threat is not just a regional or state issue, but also a national one.  For example, there are 13,000 registered lobbyists in Washington spending close to $3.5 billion in 2009 alone.  Money is the most corrosive thing about vote-buying, influence peddling masquerading as political discourse.  Even worse, when candidate Obama pledged a public discourse televised on C-SPAN, the discourse moved to a smoke-filled back room deal-cutting marathon far from any semblance of discourse.

 

Any ideas what sort of influence the money is buying? - Not too many know, but if you said that a great portion went to a smoke-filled back room where Health Care Reform deals were cut not unlike the Louisiana Purchase, the Cornhusker kick-back, the union deal and the purchase of Bart Stupak's Soul, you could be right.  With this backdrop, is it any real surprise that lawmakers are the least trusted profession, particularly when  the  relationship between lawmakers and lobbyists is portrayed as a hallmark of the First Amendment protection.?

 

Going forward: 

 

Unions:

The disruptive nature of the information age implies that only the most agile, flexible and adaptable will survive a bruising globalization battle.  It also implies that organized public labor in the public sector is an anachronism.  Consider that because of the union, it may take years for a team of specialized attorney to terminate an incompetent teacher, if ever.  Or consider the Los Angeles DWP employees caught infraganti drinking, driving and carousing, and yet, these employees cannot be terminated on the spot.  The union-way may be right in its own rights, but leads to the expanding Digital Divide- which just happens to be closely correlated to the Economic Divide:  Take for instance the cost of  Internet access in Bangladesh is something like 200% the average monthly income.  How is  the average person in Bangladesh going to respond to the Information Age?

 

OCGOP Chairman Baugh's  (Rhymes with "Mao") Initiative to ask candidates to choose between the union or the party is a good start, but the best way to get rid of California's Roach Motel is through legislation.

 

Parasitic Bureaucracies

 

We have long advocated a Bureau Realignment and Closure Initiative (BRCI) patterned after the Base Closure and Realignment Commission. The Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) recommended military bases for closure in 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1995.  Just like in the private sector, Dr. Pareto Reigns Supreme, and this is no different in the public sector. Over 80% of the bloated bureaucracies can be dispensed off and the state and the country would be much better off.

 

Lobbyist

 

The issue is not First Amendment rights but about transparency and accountability.  If you say you want to see public discourse on C-SPAN, make it happen - do then turn to the smoke-filled back room and cut deals. Cynicism can be reduced by simply disclosing lobbyists contacts.  Citizens should be able to easily see  the money trail tracking lobbyist meetings in the run-up to hearings and floor votes.  When following up on a story, the California Law Revision Commission (CLRC) had a six-month black period, claiming that because it was leasing offices, the leased facilities simply had a defective telephone system, which just happen to have malfunctioned during the period of interest!

 

Legislative contact should be reported with 24 hours of any meeting. In the Internet Age, the requirement that lobbyist contributions be reported semiannually, quarterly or even monthly, is an anachronism - contributions should be reported within 24 hours - if your failed and bailout financial institution can post a financial transaction in seconds, a lobbyist contribution should not be much different.

 

Now, many special interest groups and large corporations lobby indirectly. through trade associations that reveal little about their sources of funding, in efforts to influence legislation and public opinion and perhaps misinform.  Unlike President Obama, however, an iPod or technology may not fall in this category.

 

Perhaps OCGOP Chairman Baugh  can extend his single hit The Baugh Initiative, into a triple, as in Baugh's Triple Threat? We suggest that Chairman Baugh and others  take a serious look at our "theoretical" Triple Threat as he called it, and demand that politicians take a stand - is the right time and the right thing to do.  

 

 

 

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