The Blog

$11 Million in Masked Political Contributions Could Land Someone in Jail

The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), the state’s political watchdog agency, and Attorney General Kamala Harris are reportedly considering whether to file charges against a shadowy Arizona Super PAC that funneled $11 million into a California business political action committee in efforts to defeat Proposition 30, the governor’s revenue measure to aid schools, and boost Proposition 32, the cynical “political reform” measure that would exempt – among other entities – Super PACs from its strictures. The story is reported by Kevin Yamamura in a CapitolAlert posting.

Meanwhile, the attorney for the Arizona Super PAC -- Americans for Responsible Leadership and The Center to Protect Patient Rights – claims that the PAC’s “settlement” letter width the FPPC does not represent an admission of guilt in civil or criminal proceedings:

"While these letters relate to Cal. Gov. Code § 84302 and 2 CA ADC § 18432.5, we want to make it clear that they have been sent pursuant to a settlement agreement width the California Fair Political Practices Commission and that neither ARL nor CPPR admit any wrongdoing or that the letters are required by applicable law," Attorney Michael D. Bopp wrote. "Further, ARL and CPPR reserve the right to contest any further proceedings that relate to the contributions discussed in the aforementioned letters."

Read the entire post at California officials consider civil, criminal action in mystery donation case.

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Schools Chief Torlakson Joins Callers Urging Yes on Proposition 30

(Photo above) From right, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and a volunteer take a breather from making phone calls to voters Monday evening at the Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) phone bank.

Both hit the phones to help secure votes for Proposition 30, the only measure on the November 6 ballot that will protect K-12 public education, the community colleges, and the state university systems against another $6 billion in devastating funding cuts.

(From l.) Supt. Torlakson was calling voters Monday evening along width many volunteers. Teacher Stacey Willet  of Luther Burbank and her son were among them.  Stacey is  SCTA’s most dedicated phone-banker. She has made more than 1,200 phone calls herself, Chapter leaders report.

(Photos by Seth Bramble)

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Governor Rallies Educators for Prop. 30, Denounces Stealth Contributions by Wealthy Trio Aimed at Hurting Californians

Cheered on by CTA President Dean Vogel and a hundred educators, firefighters, nurses, and other working women and men who gathered at the Sacramento City Teachers Association, Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday afternoon urges voters to approve Proposition 30.

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Prop. 30 "Best Option"; Prop. 32 "Reeks," LA Times Columnist Declares

Looking for sage advice on how to vote Tuesday on California’s ballot measures? One need look no further than Monday’s offering by LA Times Columnist George Skelton.  Skelton (pictured at left) is the award-winning journalist who’s been covering political shenanigans for decades from his perch in Sacramento.

Skelton has looked over each ballot measure closely and critically. Most importantly, he’s summed it all up quickly and succinctly, particularly Prop. 30, the governor’s revenue measure to aid public education, and Prop. 32, the cynical Special Exemptions Act aimed at silencing the voices of union members and other middle class voters while boosting the political power of wealthy special interests.

Writes Skelton about Proposition 30: “It isn't about "Sacramento politicians. It's about whether to cut $5.9 billion more out of public education, from kindergarten through the universities. A yes vote means no cuts. A no vote brings out the machete….The measure isn't perfect, but it's the best option for now.”

Opines Skelton about Proposition 32: “The measure is cynically billed as ‘The Stop Special Interest Money Now Act.’ It's actually about one crowd of interests on the right attempting to cripple a rival interest, labor, using $11 million in secret laundered money. It reeks.”

Read the entire column at Last Minute Advice on State Ballot Measures.

 

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Ballot Opportunities, Threats Unite Teachers, Other Working Women and Men

Photo above:  (from r.) Backed by California Labor Federation Leader Art Pulaski, Elementary Teacher Toby Boyd and SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker, CTA Pres. Dean Vogel thanks phone bank volunteers on Saturday at the Sacramento City Teachers Association for their efforts to pass Proposition 30, the governor’s revenue measure for schools, and to defeat Proposition 32, the Special Exemptions Act that would increase the political power of wealthy special interests.

Photo left: (from l.) CTA Pres. Vogel, SEIU President Walker, SCTA President Scott Smith, and California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer and Chief Officer Art Pulaski spearheaded the phone banking at Sacramento City Teachers Association Saturday morning.

During their remarks Saturday morning to volunteers at the Sacramento City Teachers Association.CTA Pres. Dean Vogel, SEIU Local President Yvonne Walker, and California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski cited a positive result of the challenges facing working women and men:   The opportunity to secure desperately needed new state revenues offered by Proposition 30 and the dire threat to working women and men posed by Proposition 30, the Special Exemptions Act, have solidified labor in California.

CTA President Vogel said that those who have attacked unions width ballot measures such as Proposition 32 won’t stop their efforts, and it would be “insane” for labor not to maintain the close ties that have been forged in this campaign.

SEIU President Walker noted that labor had not worked this closely together ever before.

The mood at the SCTA campaign headquarters was upbeat, just days before the election.

California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski put it this way: “You can’t defeat the heart and soul of the people who are fighting for justice.”

 

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School Supporters Take to Phones, Streets, Airwaves for Prop. 30, Against Prop. 32

Photo above: CTA President Deal Vogel (c.) joins more than 60 educators at the Sacramento City Teachers Association making phones calls to voters to secure the passage of Proposition 30, the only measure on the ballot to stop $6 billion in trigger cuts to schools, and to defeat Proposition 32, the Special Exemptions Act that will increase the political power of wealthy special interests.

Photo left: Educator Carlos Rico tells a reporter for Channel 19, the Spanish language station in the Sacramento media market, why passing Proposition 30 is so vital for schools, students, and their families.

Throughout California on the last weekend before Election Day, thousands of dedicated educators are making phone calls, walking precincts, and giving media interviews – all urging voters to approve Proposition 30 and defeat Proposition 32.

For public education and its nearly one million students, the passage of Proposition 30 is crucial.  It will stop $6 billion in automatic or “trigger” cuts from taking effect.  Additional cuts of that magnitude will hit schools hard, schools that have already been slammed by more than $20 billion in cuts.

For middle class voters and working women and men, the defeat of Proposition 32 will ensure that their voices will be heard in the state Capitol and not be drowned out by the unfettered political contributions of wealthy special interests.

Wealthy special interests are hard at work, trying to defeat Proposition 30 and pass Proposition 32.  To counter potentially illegal activities, the state’s political watchdog agency, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), has gone to court in hopes of forcing one out-of-state Super PAC to reveal the sources of the $11 million it has given for Prop. 30 and against Prop.  32.

Polls are open from 7:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. on Tuesday, November 6.  Persons who have received vote-by-mail ballots are urged to consider dropping them off at polling places on Tuesday instead of putting them in the mail and risking that they do not arrive in time.

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Educators throughout State Intensify Efforts to Pass Prop. 30, Stave off $6 Billion in New Cuts

(In photo above, from  r.) Backed by Gov. Jerry, faculty and college students in Chico on Monday afternoon, California Faculty Association Treasurer Susan Green (at lectern) urges voters to approve Proposition 30, the only measure on the November ballot that will protect K-12 public schools, the community colleges, and the state’s university systems.

(CHICO, Calif.) 29 October 2012 – With the election slightly more than a week away, educators, nurses, firefighters, and college students are redoubling their efforts to secure the passage of Proposition 30, the governor’s revenue measure to protect schools.

They are reminding voters Prop. 30 is the only measure on the November ballot that will protect schools against $6 billion in automatic or “trigger” cuts in the 2012-2013 state budget.  Without its passage, schools will be hit by cuts in addition to the $20 billion in cuts that have already harmed students.

In addition, Prop. 30 is the only measure that will prevent additional cuts to the community colleges and cuts and tuition increases at the state’s universities.

In the coming week, Proposition 30 supporters will be walking precincts, calling voters, and writing voters seeking their “yes” vote.

The supporters will be emphasizing that Proposition 30 will also provide future funding to schools, all of which will be allocated to schools in line width the constitutional guarantees for schools put into the state constitution by voters when they passed Proposition 98.

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Taxes Aren’t Driving Millionaires from California, Stanford Study Finds

A newly released study by two Stanford professors debunks assertions by tax foes that California’s “high taxes,” including past increases and those pending on the November ballot, are leading millionaires to leave the state in droves.

“Millionaire Migration in California: The Impact of Top Tax Rates,” by Stanford Professors Charles Varner Cristobal Young, concludes that the number of millionaires in California fluctuates not because of “net migration,” but because the flow of money results in some rising into millionaire status one year and falling out the next.

The researchers conclude that those who become millionaires are “having a good year” and are reluctant to move out of state.

Further, neither tax increases nor tax cuts had a significant effect on the number of millionaires entering or leaving the state, the researchers conclude:

“Using difference-in-differences models, which compare migration trends of the group experiencing the tax increase to a group of high-income earners not facing a tax change, neither in-migration or out-migration show a tax flight effect from the introduction of the 2005 Mental Health Services Tax. In fact, out-migration has a “wrong-signed” estimate: out-migration declined among millionaires after the tax was passed (both in absolute terms and compared to the control group). In other words, the highest-income Californians were less likely to leave the state after the millionaire tax was passed.”

The issue of whether a millionaires’ tax is counterproductive is one that has been raised by opponents of Proposition 30, the governor’s revenue measure that would provide billions for schools by raising income tax rates on the state’s top 1% wealthiest residents and temporarily boosting the sales tax by 0.25%.

For more information about the study, see Millionaire Migration in California.

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Educators in all-out effort this weekend to GOTV on Nov. 6

We're PUMPED! This is who we're fighting for on election day!

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Governor making rounds to garner support for Prop. 30

Gov. Jerry Brown and Senate leader Darrell Steinberg

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