Entries by Will Swaim

In a Political Campaign, City Officials Can Spend Your Money Against You. They Call it 'Education'

This commentary appeared first in the Orange County Register. Californians going to the polls on Nov. 8 will find more than 300 measures to raise taxes. And despite multiple legal decisions limiting the practice, municipal officials in California may be paying outside consultants to run the campaign to sell you on your local tax measure. […]

Top 10: Vernon Leads California Cities with More Public Employees Than Residents

For Immediate Release October 11, 2016 California Policy Center Contact: Will Swaim Will@CalPolicyCenter.org (714) 573-2231 Vernon, California is so famous for its history of corruption that it was the municipal star of season 2 of HBO’s “True Detective” series. Now the diminutive L.A. County town can claim another achievement: Vernon is the only California city with more public employees than […]

Keep Breaking the Law: Your Government Needs the Money

My colleague Matt Smith recently observed that Huntington Beach is following the model of Ferguson, Missouri: raising fines on misdemeanors in order to generate more revenue for a cash-strapped city. The Department of Justice found that strategy was a contributing factor to rioting that followed the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson on August […]

Freedom Foundation Serves Notice in California with Union Opt-Out Ads

The Freedom Foundation – which last year expanded into Oregon after spending a quarter century fighting for free markets and limited, accountable government in neighboring Washington – will take its first formal plunge into California this week by unveiling a series of TV ads targeting unionized caregivers. Much like ads that have run successfully in […]

Gov. Brown says yes to school finance reforms inspired by CPC study

For Immediate Release August 18, 2016 California Policy Center Contact: Will Swaim Will@CalPolicyCenter.org (714) 573-2231 SACRAMENTO — It’s rare that a think-tank study produces real reform, but it happened today when Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill designed to stop school officials before they recklessly spend again. Assembly Bill 2116 began one year ago with […]

The Unions’ Favorite California State Senator

Money in politics has been a recurrent theme in this election cycle. Campaign finance reform advocates, mainstream media and certain candidates have repeatedly driven home the idea that corporations and rich conservatives are biasing the political process by making big-money donations, often without disclosure. Much of the narrative – advanced by authors such as New […]

SUITABLE FOR QUOTING: Expert Responses to CalPERS' Monday, July 18 Earnings Report

For Immediate Release July 18, 2016 California Policy Center Contact: Will Swaim Will@CalPolicyCenter.org (714) 573-2231 California Policy Center Responses to Monday, July 18, 2016 Earnings Report For reporters and commentary writers, the California Policy Center can make available two public finance experts. We also offer for publication these immediate responses to the CalPERS report:   ED […]

FOR PUBLICATION: Ed Ring Response to CalPERS' disastrous 2015-16 earnings report

For Immediate Publication July 18, 2016 California Policy Center Contact: Will Swaim Will@CalPolicyCenter.org (714) 573-2231 Latest earnings report is more evidence California retirement agency will reform or die By Ed Ring | California Policy Center The officials who run California’s public-employee retirement system should have released today’s earnings report with sound effects – a flugelhorn, maybe, […]

Despite the Threat of Bankruptcy, Stanton Is Spending Millions to Build One Park

CHAPTER 1: PIGS (ala Portugal, Italy, Greece & Spain) In March 2011, facing a $4 million deficit, panicked Stanton City Council members met in special session and voted unanimously, dramatically to declare a fiscal emergency. It was the sort of thing we’d been hearing from Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain for months—a government’s tax revenues […]

Stanton is Your Kind of Town

Kobe lives here – the NBA star, not the beef, though that’s often what’s starring for dinner. And Gwen Stefani grew up here. Orange County has the NHL Ducks and baseball’s weirdly named Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Television has honored this place (and mocked it) with Arrested Development, Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, […]

'Outsiders': The powerful government unions that brought OC's highest sales tax to Stanton are at it again

Stanton city officials have taken to the streets to fight a November ballot measure that would repeal the city’s one-year-old sales tax. In 37 community meetings and in a stream of communications from City Hall, officials tell residents the tax is essential to the city’s survival – and that its victory at the polls in […]

Tax hike masks Stanton's public-safety pay problem

Stanton has become the stage for a political brawl: in one corner, city officials and the public employee union leaders who backed the measure to give Stanton – Orange County’s smallest city and one of its poorest – the county’s highest sales tax; in the other, residents and business owners working to repeal Measure GG, […]