Rethinking Transparency and Accountability: Part 1

By Mark Moses
Virtually everyone in local government claims to champion transparency and accountability, but few attempt to define either of these terms or identify what conditions support and maintain them. Too often, municipal leaders rely on gimmicks and process to demonstrate that their government organization is meeting these laudable goals, rather than focus on building the culture...

TAGS: campaign finance, Government Spending, municipal bankruptcy, Transparency, Transparent California

Unions Run the City of Santa Ana

By Edward Ring
With rare exceptions, most cities in California are run by public-sector unions. There is the appearance of democracy, with public employees accountable to elected officials, who in turn are accountable to voters, but appearances can be deceiving. Because political campaigns to attract voters require money, and public-sector unions have money. Lots of money. In California...

TAGS: pensions, public sector compensation, public sector unions, Transparent California

Public Safety Compensation and Public Safety

By Edward Ring
Public sector unions are by far the most powerful special interest in California. And they are united in their goal to pay themselves as much or more than public agencies can afford, which shields unionized public servants from the worst effects of the laws (which they almost always support) that have made California’s cost-of-living the...

TAGS: Edward Ring, Gavin Newsom, Prop 47, public safety, Transparent California, Vergara lawsuit

West Contra Costa School District putting a half-billion dollar bond before voters in March

By Edward Ring
One of the most financially mismanaged school districts in California has found a solution to their financial challenges – borrow more money, and let the voters pay more in property taxes. Scheduled to appear on the March 2020 local ballot for voters living within the West Contra Costa Unified School District, Measure R, a “classroom modernization...

TAGS: CalTax, Edward Ring, In the Public Interest, school vouchers, Transparent California, Vergara, West Contra Costa Unified School District

Taxing Californians’ patience

By Larry Sand
The new Prop. 13, very much unlike the iconic original, hurts taxpayers. There is yet another potential tax grab coming to California in the form of a school bond, which will be on the March 3rd ballot. The ironically named Prop. 13, a “School and College Facilities Bond,” would authorize $15 billion in general obligation...

TAGS: California State Teachers Retirement System, Dan Walters, Jon Coupal, Katy Grimes, Larry Sand, Measure EE, Prop. 13, Richard Rider, Transparent California

Public needs to keep eye on pensions, but suit says CalPERS withholds core data

By Steven Greenhut
Sacramento — In the preamble to California’s Ralph M. Brown Act, the state’s 1953 law governing the public’s access to government meetings, the Legislature noted, “The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them.” Likewise, the people “do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the...

TAGS: CalPERS, Transparent California

Pension Pilfery

By Larry Sand
“The teachers unions don’t just screw over kids, they also screw over new teachers. Millennials beware.” The above tweet from Mike Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, pretty much tells the dismal story. To followers of Pension Tsunami, UnionWatch and Transparent California, the looming pension disaster for taxpayers is not news. But what has gone...

TAGS: California Teachers Association, CalSTRS, Fordham Institute, Jerry Jordan, John Fensterwald, Larry Sand, Mike Antonucci, Mike Petrilli, pension tsunami, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, teachers union, Transparent California

Average "Full Career" CalPERS Retirement Package Worth $70,000 Per Year

By Edward Ring
“‘What makes the ‘$100,000 Club’ some magic number denoting abuse other than the claims of anti-pension zealots?’ said Dave Low, chairman of Californians for Retirement Security, a coalition of 1.6 million public workers and retirees.” This quote from a government union spokesperson, and others, were dutifully collected as part of Orange County Register reporter Teri...

TAGS: $100K pension club, defined benefit pensions, government pensions, pensions, Transparent California

Median Total Compensation for Redwood City Firefighters – At Least $226,365

By Edward Ring
Back in February 2014 the California Policy Center publicly announced the Transparent California website, developed in partnership with the Nevada Policy Research Institute. An article covering this announcement was posted on the Forbes Magazine website, entitled “Hundreds Of California Government Employees Are Paid Over $400,000 A Year,” which a review of 2013 Transparent California data...

TAGS: Transparent California

How California's State and Local Governments Can Save $50 Billion Per Year

By Edward Ring
Back in the early 2000’s, in the aftermath of the internet bubble’s collapse, California’s state and local governments endured a period of austerity that resulted in “furloughs,” where, typically, employees would take Friday’s off in exchange for a 20% cut in their pay. That is, they worked 20% less, and made 20% less in pay –...

TAGS: public employee compensation, Transparent California