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Easily Debunking Villaraigosa’s Claim of CA’s Broken Budget System

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 9:59 pm - May 27, 2009.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,California politics

I have updated the post when a reader caught an error in one of my figures.  Teaches me to double check me math and shows you one of the advantages of this medium.  While we lack editors, we have commentators who can draw our attention to errors in our posts.  Thanks for catching that, Pat, and drawing it to my attention!

Yesterday, when Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa addresed the Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood, he mentioned his recent trip to the state capitol and whined that our state’s budget woes were caused by a “broken system.”  (Note how he used the passive to deflect responsibility.)

And that got me thinking.  Earlier in the day, I had read about the California Scare Campaign where the folks that Democrat is courting as he prepares his run for Governor, “California’s political-journalist class was gearing up to frighten-slash-chastise Californians about the ‘annihilating cuts’ coming their way now that petulant voters failed to heed the weary wisdom of their betters“:

Calfornia lawmakers, and the unions who put them into office, will do everything in their power to cut services first, employees last. That is indeed a crucial reason why we got here in the first place. Any analysis that doesn’t explore how a higher-than-inflation-plus-immigration budget has failed to deliver on any increase in services, is not an analysis worth taking more seriously than common propaganda.

So, with that bolded expression in mind, I decided to do a little web investigation.  And a few google searches helped me discover just how profligate our state legislators have been.

I decided to use 1999 as a baseline, the year Democrat Gray Davis succeeded Pete Wilson as Governor.  That year the population of the Golden State was 33,145,121 (according to Census Bureau estimates).  By 2008, the latest figures I could find online, the population has grown to 36,756,666, an increase of 3,611,545 or 10.89616%.  (Please note that in my original draft, I had failed to double check my math and has a lower figure.  Thanks for reader Pat for catching the error.)

Calculating inflation over that period was easy, once I discovered the handy-dandy US Inflation Calculator online.  I plugged in 1999 and 2008 to get a rate of inflation change of 29.2%.

Thus, combining an inflation plus population increase, we get a rate of 32.38%.

(Pat, in the comment below, uses a different method of compounding percentages, I get a 43.27% rate.)

According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), “California’s Nonpartisan Fiscal and Policy Advisor,” the 1998-99 Budget totaled 57,827,075,000.  If we multiply that by 32.38%, we get an in incease of 18,724,407,000.  Without any budget cuts, allowing funding to increase by the rate of inflation plus population grown, the 2007-08* budget should be $76,551,482,000.  (With Pat’s method, we get $82,848,850.)

According to the LAO, the 2007-08 budget was over $100 billion.  Even with cutbacks, expenditures haven’t fallen below $90 billion.  Is that the result of a broken system or of legislators failing to hold the line on spending?  Or is it governors letting them get away with it?


CA Supreme Court’s Prop 8 Decision & the Way Forward on Gay Marriage

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 11:51 am - May 27, 2009.
Filed under: California politics,Gay Marriage

Over a Pajamas, they’re running my piece on yesterday’s California Supreme Court decision upholding Proposition 8:

With the California Supreme Court upholding Proposition 8 yesterday, the initiative Golden State voters approved last fall to amend our state’s constitution to recognize only unions between one man and one woman as marriages, advocates of gay marriage have their work cut out for them.  Since the court refused to respond favorably to their opinion, they must go back to the people and ask them to reverse Prop 8.  To do that, they’ll need make a better case than they did last fall.

While the court did overturn Prop 8, the decision was not entirely bleak for gay people.  The court upheld the marriages of same-sex couples performed after it struck down state statutes limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples “but prior to the effective date of Proposition 8 remain valid.”   Moreover, in its ruling, the court made clear that this was an issue of state constitutional jurisprudence:

. . . the principal issue before us concerns the scope of the right of the people, under the provisions of the California Constitution, to change or alter the state Constitution itself through the initiative process so as to incorporate such a limitation as an explicit section of the state Constitution.

You can read the rest here.

Over at the Corner, Williams Duncan offered the best short summary of the decision I have found on the web:

The court said Proposition 8 does not have “even a minimal effect” on the framework of government in California. If it had such an effect, it would have had to be approved by the legislature before going to voters. The court also said Proposition 8 did not change the judicial function or interfere with the separation of powers.

North Korea Declares “Restart” of War on USA

For all intents and purposes, the United States and South Korea are again at war with North Korea.  The MSM won’t say it that way, but it is true after NK made this declaration today:

North Korea threatened a military response to South Korean participation in a U.S.-led program to seize weapons of mass destruction, and said it will no longer abide by the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War.

“The Korean People’s Army will not be bound to the Armistice Agreement any longer,” the official Korean Central News Agency said in a statement today. Any attempt to inspect North Korean vessels will be countered with “prompt and strong military strikes.” South Korea’s military said it will “deal sternly with any provocation” from the North.

Meanwhile, Russia fears a nuclear exchange over the rising tensions.

Does any rational, thinking person think that any of this would be happening under President George W. Bush or VP Dick Cheney’s watch?  They reduced the proliferation of nuclear weapons (Iraq & Libya).  Obama has increased it by at least one (North Korea), and soon Iran.

Folks, we are bound to protect South Korea from an invasion from the North and we have tens of thousands of US troops in between.  Do they still teach all this in the publik skools?

I’d like to see how Obama and Hillary are going to shake hands, push the “reset button” and talk their way out of this one.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood – Preliminary Report

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 4:00 am - May 27, 2009.
Filed under: California politics,Gay Marriage,LA Stories

In my post yesterday on the California Supreme Court upholding Proposition 8, I wrote that the reaction of the activists to the ruling could well determine if voters overturn the ban when a initiative to do so is placed on the Golden State ballot.

To see just how some were reacting, I decided to trek down to the Decision Day Rally in central West Hollywood last night.  I was actually impressed with the gathering.  There was a large crowd.  It seemed to be about the size of the Van Nuys Tea Party when I arrived (about 3,000), then grew, maybe to twice that, perhaps even more.  I was in the middle of it so couldn’t really tell.

And while there were a few angry T-shirts and a number of nasty signs, I didn’t get the same vibe as I did last November when I witnessed a march protesting the passage of Prop. 8.  It seemed there was more anger on the podium than there was in the crowd.

Like the Santa Monica Tea Party, it had more of a festive than protest atmosphere.  This is not to say there wasn’t any anger there, but that people by and large kept it under control, save for a few of the speakers, two in particular.


I took some pictures of the crazy signs, but am hesitant to publish them because they were not the defining feature of this rally (so I may just post them later, then bump this post so it leads the blog).

Running into my friend Kerry, the aforementioned lesbian for liberty (I wonder if we were the only people here who had also attended a Tea Party) I ended up joining the march, something I had not anticipated doing.  As she and I talked, my observations coalesced into a kind of conclusion which found expression in this maxim,”First, do no harm.”

I don’t think the rally today will do anything to harm the movement to change minds and overturn Proposition 8.  There was, to be sure, some overheated rhetoric (more on that in a subsequent post, which may end up as a “previous” post if I bump this one).  While the rally will not do any harm, I’m not sure it will do any good either. (more…)

Decision Day Rally Pictures

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 3:58 am - May 27, 2009.
Filed under: California politics,Gay Marriage,LA Stories

When I headed to the rally, I expected to encounter a vicious crowd, similar to those I witnessed in the wake of the passage of Proposition 8 last fall.  To that end, I was on the lookout for some of the more extreme signs.  I did get a few of pictures of such placards.  

But, let me caution those of you who might want to smear the entire rally by a few of its most extreme participants.  Such extreme banners may have constituted a majority of hand-made signs, but they represented only a fraction of the signs being waved, most of the people holding signs waved ones like these:


I ran into my friend Kerry with whom I had rallied at the Santa Monica Tea Party.  Like those rallies, this one (and this was one of many across the nation), was a genuine grassroots gathering. But, I dare say the pro-gay marriage rallies will get better coverage in the MSM than did the anti-tax and spend rallies last month.

As Kerry and I walked together down Santa Monica Boulevard, she offered an interesting thought, “What’s the next generation going to do when there’s nothing to get into the streets about?”  It does seem that some of the participants wanted to create a new generation of protest.  


Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood–The Speakers
Once Again A “Diverse” Roster Includes No Republicans

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 3:27 am - May 27, 2009.
Filed under: California politics,Gay Marriage,LA Stories

Because my overall impression of the Decision Day Rally was a favorable one, I have decided that after completing this post (my second on the gathering), I will bump my first post (more positive than this one) so that it leads the blog.  I based that on my overall reaction to the protest, talking to the people there and watching their reaction.

In this piece, I’ll focus on the speakers.  And they seemed to harbor more hatred than the marchers (save for the handful with some of the signs I’ll post later).  Those speakers, by and large, sounded like they were addressing a left-wing gathering, some wanting to rally the troops, others just to vent.  Few should appear on television (or otherwise before ambivalent citizens) the next time gay marriage comes up for a vote.

Only one, an attorney, made a particularly positive case for gay marriage.  On the whole, the speakers seemed to be leading a rally, so their rhetoric wasn’t entirely out of place.  And they all, even the Mayor of Los Angeles (more on that anon) seemed to shouting their speeches.  Maybe that had something to do with the sound system which kept breaking down.

Two of the speakers in particular, West Hollywood City Councilman John Heilman and Robin Tyler, one of the petitioners in the court case handed down today, seemed more interested in scoring points with left-wing activists than in making a case for gay marriage.

Heilman said that any “shred of hope” he had was “annihilated” with the court ruling. He wondered he was next on the “radar screen of the far right,” as if now with their victory in California, social conservatives will start to disenfranchise minorities.   Then, he took a cheap shot at Carrie Prejean, the only one I heard last night.  He seemed very angry, like a child throwing a temper tantrum after his parents took away the toy he had stolen from his brother. (more…)