Tags: California

Rough Justice For High School Bondage Textbook


Bay Area parents have given given a sound thrashing to a sexual education textbook that featured information on handcuffs, sex toys, bondage, and other topics best left in the hands of an experienced dominatrix.

As National Review Online’s Molly Wharton reported last week, the Fremont Unified School District planned to introduce the textbook entitled Your Health Today, without so much as a mutually agreed-upon safe word from parents, at the beginning of the school year:

Teachers unanimously chose the explicit book in June to replace an earlier one that was ten years old. “Our high-school students today need all the tools they can have to arm themselves to make the best-informed decision,” the school district’s Board President, Lara Calvert-York, said.

Authors of the textbook told Today that the book is meant for college freshmen. They added, though, that they believe the material is appropriate for younger readers.

Parents, and even students, say the book goes too far.

“It’s a bit much for me, I’m not comfortable with my child — I mean, wow, that’s, the graphics are extreme — oh my gosh,” one parent told CBS as she was shown some of the images in the book. “They are very pornographic. The pictures are very explicit.”

Clearly a decade-old textbook would not be suitable for a modern readership, given that until 2004 babies were still made through a crude process — involving labor-intensive horticulture and ritual incantations to the sun — that differs radically from today’s sophisticated methods. But old-fashioned Fremont parents hogtied the school district with a petition demanding the book be removed. And according to the Los Angeles Times, Fremont Unified has submitted:

Supt. Jim Morris will ask school board members Wednesday to place the book, “Your Health Today,” on hold until it’s fully vetted following concerns from the community that it would expose teens to topics on sexual fantasies, sex games, as well as themes that include ropes, handcuffs, sex toys and vibrators.

The book’s publisher, McGraw-Hill, will work with school officials to modify the textbook so it meets the district’s needs and address concerns about “the appropriateness of its content for high school students,” according to a district statement.

The land of the nuts and the fruits has lately seen several instances in which parents escaped the chains of public school bureaucracies. In June a Los Angeles judge threw out teacher tenure rules, and a lawsuit is threatening compulsory dues for teacher unions. But the teachers still often end up on top: In July Los Angeles Unified School District passed a hefty minimum wage increase.

Tags: California , sex , Education

California Judge Rules Teacher Tenure Unconstitutional


A judge in Los Angeles ruled Tuesday that public school teacher tenure rules are unconstitutional, a stunning reversal that could pave the way for broad changes to public education monopolies all over the country.

In a case brought by nine students in the Los Angeles Unified School District, L.A. County Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu ruled that “both students and teachers are unfairly, unnecessarily, and for no legally cognizable reason (let alone a compelling one), disadvantaged by the current Permanent Employment Statute.”

The case, Vergara v. California, argued that by blocking the firing of bad teachers, tenure denied L.A. students their constitutional right to a quality education. The suit was organized by the Silicon Valley reform group Students Matter on behalf of 10th grader Beatriz Vergara and eight other students. The defendants included Governor Jerry Brown, Superintendent of Public Education Tom Torlakson, and the behemoth teacher unions California Teachers Association (CTA) and the California Federation of Teachers (CFT). The defendants tried three times to dismiss the suit.

Treu’s ruling is preliminary, but if it’s upheld it could pave the way for similar changes in California and possibly throughout the United States.

Among the witnesses for the plaintiffs were L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy, who has been trying to reform the district for several years.

“Today’s decision is a call to action to begin implementing, without delay, the solutions that help address the problems highlighted by the Vergara trial. Every day that these laws remain in effect is an opportunity denied. It’s unacceptable, and a violation of our education system’s sacred pact with the public,” said Tuesday.

“With today’s rulings we can rectify a catastrophe,” Deasy added during a press call after the ruling. He spoke of capitalizing on the Vergara ruling to institute further reforms to the state’s notoriously dysfunctional public school system.

That sentiment has been echoed by other reformers. “The law was on our side and the evidence was overwhelming,” Marcellus McRae, the trial attorney for the plaintiffs, told the Los Angeles Times. “Whatever happens, we can’t go backward. The time of defending the status quo and business as usual — those days are over. We have to re-create a system that focuses on placing children’s interests at the forefront.”

In a post-ruling press call, McRae, said “Quality education is not a privilege limited to a few. It is a right that must be extended to every student in California.”

Parties to the case have 15 days to file objections to the ruling, and CTA has vowed to appeal. But McRae urged the unions to “lay down their swords.”

“The evidence at this trial was overwhelming, the ruling unequivocal” McRae said, “We need to move forward on a system that no longer places the burden of apathy on the backs of our most vulnerable students. We have a defining moment today in California.”

Ted Boutros, who represented the students, said laws establishing permanent teacher employment should be allowed to wither away. “We’d be in a brighter world today if those laws don’t exist,” Boutros said in press conference.

Tags: California , Teacher Unions , Education Reform

Jerry Brown Slams Republicans Over California Wildfires


California governor Jerry Brown took the opportunity of the San Diego wildfires to assail Republicans over global-warming dissent, noting that the state is now “in the third year of a very dry season.”

“The state’s climate appears to be changing, the scientists tell us that definitely,” the three-term governor told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week Sunday. He added that the state’s future would be “radically different” from its past.

“There’s virtually no Republican who accepts the science that is virtually unanimous,” Brown said. “There is no scientific question. There’s just political denial for various reasons best known to those people who are in denial.”

Brown also called for heavier regulation on how residents “live, how they build their homes, and what kind of vegetation is allowed to grow around them.”

The Golden State already has by far the heaviest environmental regulations in the country. The region appears to have been prone to wildfires since before the formation of the California territory, and in fact this year is not even the state’s driest of the last 20 years. Republicans hold no statewide offices in California, make up less than a third in both houses of the state legislature, and only have gained partial clout against the Democratic supermajority this year because three legislative Democrats have been criminally indicted or convicted.

Brown, who challenged Bill Clinton in the 1992 presidential primary (running on a flat-tax platform), also denied that a Hillary Clinton presidential nomination would be the “coronation” he accused Bill Clinton of receiving 22 years ago. He cautioned that Hillary’s front-runner status puts her at risk of a challenge.

Tags: California , Global Warming , Jerry Brown , Sunday Shows May 18 2014

California Stars ‘n’ Bars Update


The California Assembly sponsor of a bill to outlaw sales of the Confederate flag by state agencies got back to National Review Online Friday, days after the bill began to blow up in the face of the Golden State’s leading Republican candidate for governor.

“This has nothing to do with one’s individual rights,” says Compton Democrat Isadore Hall III. “The bill would not mean schools have to get rid of Confederate flags in school books. It means that the government itself shall not sell on state property a symbol of hatred.”

Hall points out that the language of the bill contains an exemption that “clearly states it does not affect textbooks and things of that nature.” It seems to me the bill could unnecessarily prohibit sales of, for example, prints showing the battle of Gettysburg; but as noted previously, California’s Civil War history was pretty uneventful, so even that wouldn’t exactly be gutting a crucial part of state history. My objection remains that the time the state spends on this kind of legislation would be better spent repealing thousands of pages of California’s vast legal code or winding down a few hundred of its nearly 400 state agencies. (Mysteriously, that option doesn’t seem to be in play.)

A more direct impact of AB2444 is being felt however. All of the state’s legislative Republicans were savvy enough to avoid getting suckered into defending the Stars and Bars on the floor of the Assembly — all except one, and he’s the Republicans’ leading candidate for governor. Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who is leading the party-favored candidate Neel Kashkari by 6 to15 percentage points in polls, voted against Hall’s bill. He was the only assembly member of either party to do so.

Huffington Post is now calling Donnelly “the next Todd Akin.” The Wall Street Journal calls him a “crank” on a “Kamikaze mission.” Prominent state Republicans have a clear shot at Donnelly on other issues as well. Congressman Darrell Issa of North San Diego County blasted Donnelly Thursday for claiming Kashkari supports Sharia law.

To a great extent, this is a non-issue. The California GOP candidates are basically competing for the honor of getting vaporized by Governor Jerry Brown in November.

As Hall points out, Donnelly is also responsible for his own predicament. “I love Tim Donnelly, but Tim Donnelly is wrong,” Hall says. “He’s wrong on the issue. There should never be an instance where the state of California as a government is selling a symbol of hate. And he is the lone ranger on this bill. Even his fellow Republicans say he’s wrong. Even the most conservative Republicans say so.”

To support his point, Hall noted that he tweeted a photo of Donnelly and himself hanging out like buds on the Assembly floor:

Hall assured National Review Online that he was not wearing jeans in the people’s chamber. His light-colored slacks are in fact made of weather-appropriate cotton.

Tags: California

Never Too Busy To Do the People’s Business: California Moves to Ban Confederate Flag Sales (Under Some Circumstances)


True justice for all took a step forward Monday as the California Assembly passed a bill to prohibit state agencies from selling Confederate flags.

Assembly Bill 2444 originally aimed to ban all sales of the Stars and Bars on state grounds, but the bill’s sponsor, Compton Democratic Assemblyman Isadore Hall III, amended it to avoid First Amendment conflicts. The bill passed the lower house on a 72-1 vote.

Hall’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

Lest you think Confederate flag sales were some kind of rogue operation by the Horse Racing Board, the Board of Chiropractors, or one of the other 369 government agencies maintained in the nothing-left-to-cut Golden State, Hall avers that his own mother discovered novelty Confederate dollars for sale in a gift shop at the state Capitol. And according to Los Angeles CBS 2, state functions are a hotbed of Reb sympathizers:

Hall noted a sign sold at the state fairgrounds depicting a Confederate flag with the phrase “It’s still my American flag.”

Confederate activity in California during the actual Civil War was pretty limited. Though Hall’s fellow Democrats joined with disgruntled Californios to make some trouble in Los Angeles and managed to form a pro-Southern militia, nothing came of it, and the Golden State remained solid Union territory. The next big Civil War re-enactment in the state will be in late August, at Huntington Beach’s Central Park.

Tags: California

Charges Show Leland Yee, Shrimp Boy Plotting Illegal Gun Deals With Islamist Militants


Leland Yee, the Democratic California state senator arrested Wednesday on federal corruption charges, plotted to obtain illegal guns for a Chinatown gangster less than a year after pushing wide-ranging bills to require micro-stamping, restrict magazine choice, and regulate private handling of legally owned weapons, according to an affidavit in support of his arrest.

If you only read one 137-page affidavit of support of a complaint this week, make it FBI Special Agent Emmanuel V. Pascua’s riveting journey into the heart of a truly astounding conspiracy involving Yee, San Francisco political consultant Keith Jackson, alleged Chee Kung Tong Dragonhead Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, dozens of other alleged conspirators, and so many “UCE” undercover agents that the story ends up sounding like a Man Who Was Thursday-style parable set in a universe in which every character is really an undercover agent. It’s interesting to this reporter to learn that Yee is something beyond the dullard he always seemed to be, but the narrative will prove gripping even for first-time Lelanders.

Pascua argues that Yee — who earned rightful hatred from supporters of the right of self-defense with his tireless work to restrict gun ownership in the Golden State — was eager to help convicted felon Chow in an illegal gun deal:

In a further attempt of KEITH JACKSON and SENATOR YEE to gain more money from UCE 4599, in August 2013, KEITH JACKSON told UCE 4599 that SENATOR YEE, had a contact who deals in arms trafficking. This purported arms dealer was later identified. JACKSON requested UCE 4599 to provide a campaign donation on behalf of SENATOR YEE, for SENATOR YEE to facilitate a meeting with the arms dealer with the intent of UCE 4599 to purportedly purchase a large number of weapons to be imported through the Port of Newark, New Jersey. During a meeting with UCE 4599, SENATOR YEE, and KEITH JACKSON, SENATOR YEE discussed certain details of the specific types of weapons UCE 4599 was interested in buying and importing.

Although Yee at points makes “exculpatory” statements such as noting that one FBI asset is requesting an obviously illegal “pay-to-play” arrangement, his flesh proves weak in the hurlyburly of losing a race for San Francisco mayor, running for California secretary of state, and incurring $70,000 in campaign debt on a state senate salary of only $95,291 per year plus $163 a day expenses (which, given the state senate’s official 106-day calendar, works out to at least another $17,278).

Despite complaining about UCE 4180’s tendency to speak frankly and tie payment to performance, and threatening to cut off contact with UCE 4180, SENATOR YEE and KEITH JACKSON continued to deal with UCE 4180 and never walked away from quid pro quo requests made by UCE 4180. In fact, SENATOR YEE provided the introductions sought by UCE 4180 and accepted cash payments which UCE 4180 expressly tied to the making of the introductions.

Yee is accused of multiple felonies including Wire Fraud of Honest Services as well as Conspiracy to Deal Firearms Without a License and to Illegally Import Firearms. At one point in Pascua’s narrative, Yee offers to travel to the Philippines, apparently to help secure a weapons deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. In all, Yee allegedly received more than $42,000 in cash and campaign donations from the FBI’s undercover agents, in exchange for services.

Yee is out on $500,000 bail. His state senate term ends this year. Democratic State Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has called for Yee to resign.

Photos of the FBI’s raid on the Chinese Freemason headquarters in San Francisco.

Tags: California , Democratic Party , Culture of Corruption , Crime , San Francisco

Man vs. Wild: California Water Crisis, Parts 1-3


National Review’s Law and Disorder Debate, “Man vs. Wild: California in Crisis,” took place in Washington, D.C., on February 28, 2014. The keynote speakers were Representatives David Valadao (R., Calif.) and Jim Costa (D., Calif.), and panel members included William Yeatman (of the Competitive Enterprise Institute), Maria Guiterrez (from the Central Valley), and Aubrey Bettencourt (a California almond grower). The moderator was National Review senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru. Watch it here, in three parts.

Tags: California

California: We Won’t Reveal Enrollment Numbers Until Mid-November


The exchanges and navigators aren’t failing everywhere . . . but there are enough places where the rollout is simply disastrous. Here’s Minnesota:

Southside community worker, Miguel Rivera, who MNsure certified to provide help as a so-called “navigator” only last week said that confusion about the Affordable Care Act championed by the president is common among the people he sees.

As a MNsure navigator, Rivera can help if they can’t manage alone. But when the five-hour clinic ended, he hadn’t signed up anyone for a plan on MNsure.

. . . and here’s Maryland:

Four weeks since it began selling health insurance on the state’s new marketplace for the uninsured, Evergreen Health Cooperative Inc. has signed up only five people.

That’s a long way from the nonprofit health insurance provider’s first-year goal of 15,000 people, so Evergreen is already shifting focus.

. . . and here’s California, suddenly announcing the state won’t reveal the number of enrollees at the end of the month, as many expected:

Peter Lee, the head of the state’s new health insurance exchange, said Monday that he will not reveal how many Californians have enrolled in health plans until mid-November.

Tags: Obamacare , Minnesota , Maryland , California

Why Obama’s Margin in California Matters


We all know President Obama will win California this year.

But in 2008, the bottom fell out for Republicans in the Golden State — chalk it up to a lack of money for the McCain-Palin ticket, the housing markets tumbling, gas prices, or the sense in the final days that Obama was a sure winner. Whatever the reasons, Obama thrashed McCain in California, 61 percent to 37 percent, about 8.2 million votes to 5 million.

Thus, about 3.2 million of Obama’s 9.5 million national vote margin came from California.

This morning, Survey USA puts Obama ahead, 53 percent to 39 percent; a PPIC poll in mid-September had identical numbers, while the Field poll had a bigger lead for Obama, 58 percent to 34 percent.

Presuming that California’s turnout is in the 13 to 14 million range, and that Romney loses by something closer to the current 14-point margin instead of 2008′s 24-point margin, that puts the Romney-Ryan ticket about 1.3 million votes closer to a popular-vote win. Of course, the presidency is determined by the Electoral College, but the popular vote is an important psychological marker, key to establishing a mandate after the election. Finally, Republicans will be sighing great relief if what we see in California is emulated everywhere else: Obama is running 10 points behind his 2008 totals.

Tags: Barack Obama , California , Mitt Romney

Perfect: $8.5 Billion Tax Hike on the Ballot in California in November


The chances of California being in play in the presidential election are close to nil – but if I wanted to ensure GOP turnout was as high as possible in all of the down-ticket races, I would want something like a referendum on a giant, giant tax hike.

Thank you, Governor Jerry Brown:

Gov. Jerry Brown is pleading with Californians to raise their taxes as part of his solution for solving the state’s budget deficit, but it’s uncertain whether voters will be in an accepting mood come November.

Polls show voters want more money for schools but don’t want to tax themselves to pay for it. They continue to be pessimistic about the economy in a state with one of the highest jobless rates in the nation. And they distrust the Legislature, which oversees the budget.

Brown is facing a tough environment after announcing over the weekend that the state’s deficit had risen to $15.7 billion, much larger than he said a few months ago, said Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College in Pomona.

“When the governor says devastating things are going to happen, people will say, ‘Look, you said the shortfall was going to be a lot smaller than it was. You were wrong then; why should we believe you now?’” Pitney said. “The governor is facing a trust deficit as well as a fiscal deficit.”

…Brown said the size of the tax is fair given that California’s economy is nearly $2 trillion and the measure would mostly impact the wealthy. When he released his $91 billion revised spending plan Monday, he did so with a plea, asking voters to “please increase taxes temporarily.”

Under Brown’s tax plan, California would temporarily raise the state’s sales tax by a quarter-cent to 7.5 percent for four years and increase the income tax for seven years on individuals who make more than $250,000 and joint filers who make more than $500,000.

The article notes the last seven tax increase proposals have been turned down, including a “temporary” sales and vehicle tax extension in May 2009 by a margin of nearly two-thirds, and that a recent poll indicated that 65 percent of likely California voters support taxing the rich, but a 52 percent oppose raising the state sales and 57 percent oppose raising personal income taxes.

As Margaret Thatcher said, the problem with Socialism… as well as California’s model… (perhaps I repeat myself) is that at some point, you run out of other people’s money.

Tags: California , Jerry Brown , Taxes

That Never-to-Be State of ‘South California’


It will never happen, but if you’re wondering what that proposed state of “South California” would look like, geographically and politically . . .

(Map courtesy of this cartographic program.)

"South California," made out of the state's southern and western counties.

Those blue counties have about 13 million people, which would make it the country’s fifth most populous state, behind Texas, New York, Florida, and what’s left of California. It would have roughly 20 congressional districts and 22 electoral votes. It would also be heavily Republican.

Again, it will never happen; Congress and the state legislature would have to agree . . . but I wonder how many Republicans will dream of taking 22 electoral votes out of the Democrats’ column in presidential races and into the GOP one.

Tags: California

Another Great Moment in Democratic Outreach to Minorities


From the last Morning Jolt of the week:

‘I’m a Democratic Congressional Candidate, and I Approved This Race-Baiting.’

Apparently the good lefty folks at Talking Points Memo have their limit when it comes to explicitly race-based appeals in Democratic party primaries: The jury’s out on just how seriously Democratic candidate Dan Adler should be taken in the crowded primary to replace departed Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) in California’s 36th district, but the career entertainment executive is drawing plenty of attention for his bizarre — and possibly offensive — ad campaign. In his latest ad, Adler hangs out with a multi-ethnic crowd touting his appeal to Asian voters by pointing out that he’s married to a Korean and that — as a Jew — he can understand what it’s like to be a minority. In a weird and seemingly quite patronizing twist, a heavily accented Korean immigrant woman in a laundromat awkwardly interrupts him throughout the ad, finally asking the camera “What’s a mensch?”

At Hot Air, Allahpundit observes, “For whatever reason, racial demagoguery as practiced by California Democrats seems to be more overt than the usual wink-and-nod sort practiced by their colleagues nationally. Remember Loretta Sanchez warning Univision last year before the midterms that “the Vietnamese” (in the form of Republican Van Tran) were trying to take her seat? She was in trouble for awhile but rallied to win her race comfortably. You may have taken Saigon, “Vietnamese,” but you’ll never take Loretta Sanchez’s district. Adler’s got a tough haul in the primary — among his opponents are California’s secretary of state and progressive favorite Marcy Winograd — so bottom-feeding racial appeals really might be his only shot.”

Over at New York magazine, they’re invoking the has-a-minority-wife-so-it’s-okay! “If Democrat Dan Adler — who is running in a special congressional election for Jane Harman’s former seat in California — didn’t have a Korean wife, this might one of the most racist campaign ads we’ve ever seen. As it is, it still makes us pretty uncomfortable. Also, confused — is it normal to scream out ‘I’m Korean!’ while someone is talking?”

I do like the observations in the comments, including, “What a proud moment for his wife,” and, “What’s worse is that there were at least 19 people (I counted) in this commercial, plus the crew. All those people and nobody thought this was stupid?”

Tags: California , Dan Adler

Palin Will Campaign for O’Donnell in Delaware


In an interview with Sean Hannity last night, Sarah Palin announced that she intended to go to Delaware to campaign for Republican senate candidate Christine O’Donnell.

“She is the right one for Delaware,” said Palin, later adding that she was “excited about” campaigning for O’Donnell.

Palin endorsed O’Donnell five days before the state primary, boosting O’Donnell’s tea-party credentials at a crucial moment.

Calling the new “I am not a witch …I’m you” TV ad “good” and “very positive,” Palin urged O’Donnell “to explain what the real witchcraft and voodoo politics and economics is — and that’s what’s going on in D.C.”

She also expressed sympathy for O’Donnell. “Look at what her opponents are doing to her,” Palin said. “Look at what some in the establishment have tried to do to her and yet they think they saw the light and they’ve come around, too, realizing we need Christine in D.C.”

It’s not clear whether Palin’s presence on the campaign trail will help or hurt O’Donnell in Delaware. In California, another Democrat-leaning state, a recent poll showed that 58 percent of residents had an unfavorable view of Palin. This could prove problematic for Republican senate candidate Carly Fiorina, who was endorsed by Palin in the primary season.

Tags: California , Delaware

Half of CA Voters Want Pelosi Out as Speaker


A full 50 percent of likely voters in California want Nancy Pelosi replaced as Speaker of the House, compared to just 36 percent who want her to stay on, according to a new PPP poll. Granted, that’s if — an increasingly big if — the Democrats retain control of the House after November. With poll results like these, it’s safe to say that, one way or another, most Americans would prefer to hear “former Speaker Pelosi” beginning 2011.

The polling points up a significant shift, with a plurality of Californians saying they’re unhappy with what Pelosi’s high-profile leadership position has gotten the state. All told, 48 percent of likely voters in the state have an “unfavorable” opinion of Pelosi. Not surprisingly, Democrats still solidly back her, with 62 percent of them saying they approve of the job she’s doing. But 17 percent of her party disapproves — and a surprising 21 percent say they are “not sure” about her performance.

Among independents, Pelosi’s unfavorable rating is at 62 percent, and more than half think she should be replaced as speaker. Pelosi has even narrowly lost the support of women in the state: Forty-five percent say there should be a new speaker, while 44 percent  rate her unfavorably.

Maybe ads like this one are having an effect.

Tags: California

Fiorina Slams Boxer for ‘Failure’ to Bring Jobs to CA


In a new ad:

Tags: California

John Dennis Melts Nancy Pelosi


If you can’t beat ‘em, make a hilarious campaign video. Nancy Pelosi’s opponent John Dennis has released an amazing new ad that even liberals must admire for its avant-garde audacity. Dennis is one of several long-shot candidates turning to YouTube for a jolt of campaign relevance. This is a must see.

Republicans certainly shouldn’t get their hopes up here, but it’s worth noting that back in March a WND/Wenzel poll had 22 percent of voters saying they would vote for Dennis, a record for GOP candidates in California’s 8th district.

Tags: California

Boxer Aide Busted For Pot Possession


Politico reports:

A senior aide for Sen. Babara Box (D-Calif.) was arrested Tuesday for attempting to bring marijuana into the Hart Senate Office Building, according to U.S. Capitol Police reports.

Marcus Stanley, who served as a senior economic adviser and at one time worked on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee — chaired by Boxer — was stopped by a police officer Tuesday morning when he allegedly tried to “remove and conceal” a leafy green substance from his pocket during a security screening at the Constitution Avenue door of the Hart building around noon, according to a Capitol Police report.

Police confiscated the substance, which later tested positive for marijuana, and Stanley quickly resigned.






Tags: California

Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review