The Corner

San Jose and San Diego Turn Right

Wisconsin’s recall election wasn’t the only drubbing unions received last night. Two major California cities that backed Barack Obama in 2008 — San Jose and San Diego — approved by greater than two-to-one margins ballot initiatives curbing the power of unions by limiting future public-pension costs. San Diego also easily passed a ban on most project labor agreements which effectively mandate union wage scales for public construction projects.

Marcia Fritz, head of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, told me that “passing these measures could spur a nationwide movement giving local governments new tools when they go underwater fiscally.” She pointed out that in San Jose, the prime mover of the measure was Democratic mayor Chuck Reed, who took the issue to the people after his city council refused to approve his plans. Reed’s argument was simple: The city can no longer pay for basic services if so much of its revenue goes for the exorbitantly padded pensions of public employees.

Steve Maviglio, the spokesman for the public-sector union group Californians for Retirement Security, agreed with Fritz. Speaking to the San Jose Mercury News before the vote he warned, “If these measure pass by wide margins, it opens the door for communities around the state to engage in these ballot-box negotiations, which are harmful to the workforce.”

San Diego, the nation’s 10th largest city, will also see an epic showdown between a young taxpayer advocate and an aging liberal lion this November, in its mayor’s race. City Councilman Carl DeMaio won first place in last night’s primary. He is the primary author of the ballot measure to limit pensions, and has won kudos from taxpayers for supporting privatization efforts. He will face off against 69-year-old congressman Bob Filner, a liberal Democrat, who seems locked in the New Deal mindset he was born into.  Republicans also did well in the city-council races last night, and if they can win a critical runoff in the La Jolla area this November, they will take effective control of the city council for the first time in decades. 

Most Popular

Economy & Business

The Swamp: Navarro Nucor Edition

The Wall Street Journal has a story today about the ties between President Trump's trade adviser, Peter Navarro, and the biggest steel company in the U.S. -- Nucor Corp. It is particularly interesting in light of the stiff steel tariffs successfully pushed by Navarro, which he championed ever since he joined the ... Read More


EMPIRICAL   As I can fathom neither endlessness nor the miracle work of deities, I hypothesize, assume, and guess.   The fact that I love you and you love me is all I can prove and proves me. — This poem appears in the April 2 print issue of National Review. Read More

Nancy MacLean Won’t Quit

One of the biggest intellectual jousting matches last year was between Duke history professor Nancy MacLean, who wrote a slimy, dishonest book about Nobel Prize–winning economist James Buchanan and the whole limited-government movement, and the many scholars who blasted holes in it. If it had been a boxing ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Rolling Back Dodd-Frank

The Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would roll back parts of Dodd-Frank. The vote was 67–31, with 17 members of the Democratic caucus breaking party lines. If the legislation passes the House and is signed, it will be the largest change to the controversial financial-reform package since it became law in ... Read More

How Germany Vets Its Refugees

At the height of the influx of refugees into Germany in 2015–17, there was little doubt that mixed among the worthy cases were economic migrants taking advantage of the chaos to seek their fortunes in Europe. Perhaps out of instinctive pro-immigrant sentiment, Germany’s Left obscured the difference. Its ... Read More