Commentary: Did Prop 13 Lead to the Pension Crisis?

pension-reform-stockIt is a thought provoking if not outright provocative article that veteran columnist Peter Schrag put out last Friday, noting the liberal tendency to “blame everything that went wrong in California, from power failures to kidnapping, on Proposition 13,” but nonetheless suggestions that while “the tax-cutting initiative was not the cause of all that ailed the state … as state and local officials remain in deep denial on California’s mounting multibillion-dollar unfunded public employee pension and retiree health care obligations, it’s time to return to the subject.”

The question at hand, “Did Proposition 13 help create the conditions that have contributed mightily to those unfunded liabilities?”

Before you jump immediately to the comment section, I suggest you read some of the points he makes, because they are somewhat interesting.  In the end while one cannot prove the contention either way, he raises point that are not ideological but rather political and strategic.

For example, he argues that Prop 13 curtailed the power of state and local government to set and raise taxes.  In so doing, this discouraged business groups and other more conservatives forces to get involved in the management of the cities.

He writes, “In cities like Sacramento, San Francisco and Los Angeles, where civically engaged business leaders ran for – and won – local offices, and where moderate conservative entities contributed to the campaigns of like-minded candidates, an increasing share of campaign money and candidates now comes from public employee unions: teachers, cops, firefighters, the state’s prison guards.”

He adds, “those groups came to dominate a growing number of local governing boards and in some instances the Legislature as well.”

Bottomline, “There’s nothing sinister about that: It’s simply that in many places, as in the Capitol, Proposition 13 cleared the field for the growing clout of public sector workers.”

He adds, “They’ve never had the field to themselves. Countless other interest groups – real estate developers, hospitals, insurance companies – are still in the game. But public sector unions have power, state and local, that they never had before Proposition 13 passed.”

While it is an interesting idea, I am not sure how well it explains at least what happened in Davis.  The story in Davis comes down to the alliance for about an eight year period between the firefighters and predevelopment forces.

The firefighters are the crucial vector in this equation because they got far more politically active than any other group in city government.  In Davis, the fight was between the anti-growth side and the more pro-development side.

The firefighters starting in 2002 and ending in 2008 joined with the pro-development side.  Over that time, the pro-development side won seven of nine times.

It was a strategic alliance.  The firefighters were more inclined to support prodevelopement because with development would come their fourth fire station. The firefighters backed Covell Village which promised them a fourth fire station and they would back pro-development candidates like Ted Puntillo, Ruth Asmundson, Don Saylor, Stephen Souza and Sydney Vergis.

In turn these pro-development candidates backed the firefighters in their need for resources to win the battle against the anti-growth contingent that at various times has dominated the landscape.

The developers were a good ally, they were willing to support the pension increases and salary increases as long as they could expand development.

Ironically, Measure J and Measure R played as big a role as anything in thwarting the power of the firefighters.  Suddenly with the defeat of Measure X in 2005 and Measure P in 2009, growth was largely seen as impractical.

In the meantime, the exploding deficits and unfunded liabilities began to alarm more reform minded office seekers.

What turned on the firefighters is when the economy went south and the developers and supporters realized that this was now a threat to their ability to develop and manage the city and so they abandoned the firefighters and public employees.

None of this has anything to do with Prop 13.  In Davis, the business community has been relatively weak political but not the development community.  They were willing to work with the firefighters in a common cause to gain political power for the better part of a decade until they exhausted their development opportunities and the economy collapsed.

However, on a global level in California, the next point that Mr. Schrag makes is right on track.

“After the measure rolled back local tax revenue by nearly 60 percent in 1978, state and local boards and city councils strapped for cash increasingly met employee wage demands with long-term commitments – retiree pension and health care obligations – that took little from current revenues,” he writes.

He argues, “In effect, they borrowed against future income – a lien to be paid off by the next generation.”

This is the argument that DCEA makes that they in fact traded retirement benefits in exchange for taking less salary increases.  The problem with that approach is that you are deferring current payments in exchange for future ones.

He adds, “health care costs were much lower a generation ago, that seemed relatively cheap at the time. And because cops especially had strong community support, you could hardly blame it all on union power.”

However, “the benefits and the terms were scandalously generous, especially for ops and firefighters.”

You had early retirement at the age of 50, you had enhanced 3% benefits.

There is something to be said for this.

But there is another problem here as Mr. Schrag notes, “There may be yet another reason for the large overhang of unfunded pension and retiree health care obligations, and that’s the weakness of the Republican Party, which, through its disdain for minorities and immigrants, and its extremism on gay marriage and other social issues, has self-marginalized itself into near-irrelevance and allowed Democrats and the unions that support them to gain as much power.”

While Governor Schwarzenegger was in power for much of the last decade, the biggest gains for public employees were pushed through under Gray Davis, and while Governor  Schwarzenegger tried to push back, he never had the political power to really do that.

Interestingly enough however, Mr. Schrag notes that even the decline of the Republican party might at least be in part a consequence of Prop 13.

He writes, “Had it not imposed a two-thirds requirement to raise taxes, the GOP might have been forced to engage more directly on fiscal issues in Sacramento and locally. It might thus have exacted more restraint on long-term commitments rather than crouching behind constitutional tax barriers and just saying “no.””

That ignores that the state Republican Party is largely a reflection of the national scene – it is simply the case that what works in the Republican southern base does not work in urban and coastal California.

In the end, there are some interesting points raised by Mr. Schrag about the political impact of Prop 13 in creating the pension crisis.  None of this will convinced its supporters to reconsider.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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115 Comments

  1. JustSaying

    This article provides even more evidence that adds credence to “the liberal tendency to ‘blame everything that went wrong in California, from power failures to kidnapping, on Proposition 13….'”

    Poorer quality politicians, schools and public services as well as a broke state–what went wrong with the great Prop 13 Solution?

  2. Frankly

    This is a bunch of hogwash, but it is hallarious. In one bit of twisted thinking, the author makes a case for repealing prop-13 (ignoring for the moment that he glosses over all the problems that existed before it was passed), and blaming Republicans for not being involved enough in out state’s politics.

    Keep working it lefties… you are trapped into a corner of your own design and looking desparately for ways to manage the media and political narrative to blame someone else for your predicament.

    Here are the simple to understand facts that negates this entire attempt at blame-shifting.

    1. Public sector pensions are unsustainable and would be even more unsustainable had prop-13 not passed. The measurment of unsustainability has nothing to do with the change in the funding trend line with or without prop-13. It has EVERYTHING to do with the SPENDING trend line. And the trend line as it relates to public sector retiree benefits, as compared to private sector employee beneifts, is a slope that is many time steeper and leading to an obvious point where no amount of funding would bail it out.

    2. In addtion to even greater spending on public employee unions, with more money in the kitty from greater property tax revenue sans prop-13, our Democrat-dominating politicians in this state would have just spent it on other things. We would be in an even bigger mess today had prop-13 failed to pass.

    Lastly, this point made that if Republicans (code-worded by calling it business owners) had only been more involved in state politics they would have mitigated the wild union payola spending that Democrats did and are still doing. What this says to me is that Democrats are like out of control children given a giant credit card. Why then would we elect out of control children to govern us?

    Sorry, but this article is a giant fail. Lefties, liberals, Democrats, public sector union bosses past and present… all of you have only to look into the mirror to understand what has caused the our state and municiple budget fiasco. I expect we will see more and more of these weak-ass attempts at blame deflection given that California’s REAL economic circumstances are still crappy after five years of Obama and two years of Jerry Brown. Businesses are packing it up all over the state and moving to states like Texas. Texas’s economy is growing much faster and will continue to leave California in the dust. The smart political foot soldiers of the left are starting to realize that they have made a terrific mess out of things, and expect their mounting desparation to ooze more crappy analyses like this one.

  3. David M. Greenwald

    “Public sector pensions are unsustainable and would be even more unsustainable had prop-13 not passed. The measurment of unsustainability has nothing to do with the change in the funding trend line with or without prop-13. “

    It’s an interesting point that ignores history. The critical year was the year 2000. At that point, pensions were entirely paid internally. That was when enhanced benefits were introduced and beginning at that point pensions exploded.

    How you can argue trendlines and with or without prop 13 based on that is specious.

    The question is: do you discount the fact that employers were willing to put a 3% increase into benefits rather than salary for the reasons Shrag outlines? Why or why not?

  4. David M. Greenwald

    Yes actually. The system works best when there are counterbalances, any time one party gets too powerful, the system gets thrown off. So in essence, yes. I know you find that ironic if not moronic. Just as Texas suffers from the opposite fate.

  5. Growth Izzue

    David
    [quote]Yes actually. The system works best when there are counterbalances, any time one party gets too powerful, the system gets thrown off. So in essence, yes. I know you find that ironic if not moronic.[/quote]

    Allright, I’m going to go out and buy that new truck I’ve been wanting and when my wife gets mad I’m going to blame it on her for not stopping me.

  6. Frankly

    [i]do you discount the fact that employers were willing to put a 3% increase into benefits rather than salary for the reasons Shrag outlines? Why or why not? [/i]

    Well if you don’t control for common sense, this question would make sense. These employees know the situation. They know that their benefits are rich and the cost is unsustainable. It is simply them pursuing their own self interest putting more of their own money into it so that they prolong the protection of the unsustainable gravy train.

    I talk to these employees and recent retirees. They know the deal. They know they are lucky and that their situation is unfair compared to what their neighbor working in the private sector has to do to earn his own self-funded retirement. Putting in 3%? That is nothing.

    So, what does the following have to do with prop-13? Absolutely nothing.

    [img]http://www.cscdc.org/miscfrank/pensionsup.jpg[/img]

  7. Frankly

    [i]Allright, I’m going to go out and buy that new truck I’ve been wanting and when my wife gets mad I’m going to blame it on her for not stopping me[/i]

    LOL!

    Absurd, but that is the exact point being made.

  8. David M. Greenwald

    Growth: Do you prefer a democracy to a monarchy? Why? Probably because in a democracy people can vote to choose their leaders. Of course sometimes you vote for someone and they lose, but despite this, you probably still think a democracy is desirable. And in the end it comes down to desire for both sides to compete for votes.

    Well if one side is too strong, there is no longer the check on their power.

    You argue I’m blaming Republicans for the excesses of Democrats on some issues. Blame is probably the wrong word. But there is a danger that the decline in opposition will result in corruption for the party in power and there is no one to stop them. And that is in part what has happened on the pension issue.

    But you miss a key point here, when I say I blame the Republicans for being too weak, that is not an absolution of blame for the Democrats for their mistakes. It’s not. It’s a systemic analysis to look at the roots of the problem.

  9. Frankly

    [i]So, what does the following have to do with prop-13? Absolutely nothing.[/i]

    Oops… I missed something here. That graph would actually be steeper had not prop-13 been passed. Those on the left should thank prop-13 for helping to provide them some control over their otherwise uncontrollable spending.

  10. David M. Greenwald

    Frankly:

    First of all, there is no such thing as “common sense” The word implies there is a shared set of values and norms, when in fact all of that is subjective depending on circumstance and experience and interest.

    Second, your chart that you post, you seem to suggest argues is against a Prop 13 influence, but the chart you post is all post-Prop 13. So how is that not confirmatory evidence?

  11. Growth Izzue

    Frankly, if these liberals are saying it’s the GOP’s fault for not controlling the Democrat’s spending then why are they trying to get rid of the 2/3’s majority tax passage vote in California?

  12. David M. Greenwald

    ” That graph would actually be steeper had not prop-13 been passed. “

    You haven’t proven that point. How do you know that salary curves wouldn’t have been steeper rather than post-employment benefit curves?

  13. David M. Greenwald

    “Frankly, if these liberals are saying it’s the GOP’s fault for not controlling the Democrat’s spending then why are they trying to get rid of the 2/3’s majority tax passage vote in California? “

    It would be helpful if you didn’t throw out blanket statements like this. Which liberals? The person writing this column is a newspaper columnist. I’m an outspoken critic of the pension system. Who else is even making this case?

  14. Frankly

    [i]But you miss a key point here, when I say I blame the Republicans for being too weak, that is not an absolution of blame for the Democrats for their mistakes. It’s not. It’s a systemic analysis to look at the roots of the problem.[/i]

    This brings us to a pure ideological debate which I am always happy to dive into. What you are saying David is that your party cannot manage money and we need the other party to provide balance.

    However, the constituents of the left have not stood up to demand their party manage money better (e.g. stop over-spending). Instead they have demonized successful people and demanded higher taxation. The constituents of the left have not lamented the left bias in the media and the liberal brainwashing of youth in the education system that leads them to follow liberal thinking like so many sheep. The constituents of the left have not considered how a flood of poor and uneducated immigrants that they worked hard to allow in and then get registered to vote has altered the voter demographic to the point that Republicans have little to no chance to get elected.

    It is all about ideological power and the political narrative. The left has won. They have the power. And they have effectively blamed Republicans and tarnished the brand of Republicans by enflaming any and all class and race disparities on Republicans and the things they stand for. Now we are getting this absurd blame-shift for the mess.

    Sorry, but it reminds me of the behavior of a dysfunction adult-child… one that cannot ever take responsibility for their actions. It is always someone else’s fault. It matches my perspective.

    I do agree with you that we are better governed with ideological and party balance. Maybe you should start accepting more of conservatives social and fiscal values to get the ball rolling.

  15. SouthofDavis

    David starts yet another article stating something that most liberals (who don’t understand math and exponential growth) believe ending it with a question mark so he can say “I never said that”…

    A cousin recently retired from the San Francisco Fire Department in his mid 50’s and has a pension that pays over $12K a MONTH. He mentioned that he never dreamed he would be retired in his 50’s making that much when he took a job paying $25K a YEAR in 1979 (the $12K a month is above and beyond the income from his investment real estate and the liquor store that he owns with other firefighters where they worked the 20 days a month they had off every month).

    I ran some numbers in Excel (estimating his pay over the years knowing his starting and ending pay) and even if he invested 100% of his pay (in any major stock or bond index) over the years he still would not have enough money to pay him $12K a month (plus pay his health care worth ~$2K a month).

  16. David M. Greenwald

    “What you are saying David is that your party cannot manage money and we need the other party to provide balance. “

    Actually I’m making a much more basic argument than that it comes down to this: power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. To me this is about corruption and the influence of money, not about managing money per se.

  17. David M. Greenwald

    “David starts yet another article stating something that most liberals (who don’t understand math and exponential growth) believe ending it with a question mark so he can say “I never said that””

    I’m lost on this point. The point about most liberals at the beginning is that they blame everything on Prop 13. I agree. The specific point made by Schrag which I agree with, I don’t think is widely held.

  18. Frankly

    [i]You haven’t proven that point. How do you know that salary curves wouldn’t have been steeper rather than post-employment benefit curves?[/i]

    David, that question does not make any sense.

    The media and political narrative has been slow to alert us to the problem of unsustainable government employee pension obligations. Go back and look for evidence of when this became a big story. It was pretty recent.

    Given the explosion of CA real estate values since 1978, had prop-13 not passed, this state would have had significantly higher tax revenue flowing into its coffers. And given the fact that politicians (again, primarily Democrats) have proven beyond any reasonable doubt that they will spend everything and rack up debt, it is obvious that they would have given more to the unions. They would have given more of both: pay and benefits. It was not until well after the media began to print the stories of the looming budget catastrophe from the unfunded and unsustainable pension obligations that any spending restraint began. In fact we still have not done much to correct the overspending of the past. All we have done is screwed the new employees… the same that are having their taxes raised to pay for those extremely over-compensated older employees.

  19. SouthofDavis

    David wrote:

    > I’m an outspoken critic of the pension system.

    Do you support reducing pension benefits to levels that can be supported by current pension funds without raiding the general fund and ending all defined benefit pensions?

  20. Growth Izzue

    [quote]It would be helpful if you didn’t throw out blanket statements like this. Which liberals? The person writing this column is a newspaper columnist. I’m an outspoken critic of the pension system. Who else is even making this case? [/quote]

    You’re right, I shouldn’t throw out blanket statements. You have been an outspoken critic of the pension system. Where I was coming from is the GOP seems to get blamed for everything even when they’re not in power and it gets tiring. The Democrats own this, they’ll try and deflect and a few fools will buy it but they have all the power and have run the state legislature going on something like 16 years now.

  21. Frankly

    David, I feel for you on this topic. You are not getting much support from your always reliable bloggers with left-leaning views. Maybe this is evidence that when it comes to money and accounting, people with left-leaning views are a bit lost.

  22. David M. Greenwald

    “David, that question does not make any sense.”

    Of course it makes sense. Because in negotiations, DCEA wanted a 3% salary increase and the city negotiated a 3% increase in post-employment benefits instead. Why because it’s deferred money.

  23. David M. Greenwald

    “Where I was coming from is the GOP seems to get blamed for everything even when they’re not in power and it gets tiring. The Democrats own this, they’ll try and deflect and a few fools will buy it but they have all the power and have run the state legislature going on something like 16 years now. “

    And what I’m saying is that you’re interpreting my comment not as it was intended. Democrats are the ones who made these policy decisions and they do own it. All I’m suggesting is that the weakness of the Republican party is part of the reason they were able to push the legislation through. Just as the weakness of the Democratic party in Texas allowed the Republicans to push through the abortion legislation Texas.

  24. SouthofDavis

    David wrote:

    > I’m lost on this point. The point about most
    > liberals at the beginning is that they blame
    > everything on Prop 13. I agree. The specific
    > point made by Schrag which I agree with, I
    > don’t think is widely held.

    The Alioto family recently sold a home in Pacific Heights for $11.7mm (see below). The Alioto family was paying $5,200/year in property taxes thanks to prop 13 (less taxes per year than a guy that buys a small Davis home will pay). The new owners will be paying $137K/year in property taxes.

    If you think liberals are happy about Prop 13 ask a few people at the Co-Op if they think it is a good idea that people living in $10mm+ SF mansions pay less in property tax every year than people living in modest $500K East Davis homes (I’m betting that the view that this is not fair will be “widely held”)…

    http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2013/07/the_aliotos_towering_home_sells_for_five_million_under.html

  25. Frankly

    [i]And I’ll also submit that the Republican party DESERVES to be as weak as they are in California based on a series of their own errors[/i]

    A few points related to this.

    1. I agree that the Republican Party has made mistakes, but then the Democrats have too… and the Democrats have been the dominate power in this state for decades, so why haven’t their mistakes translated into any loss of political capital?

    2. You discount the power of control of the political narrative and how the education system and the media (both news and entertainment) work to keep it far left of center from any honest historical measure.

    You guys have the keys David. If you are unhappy with the absolute power of Democrat politicians then instead of continuing your giddy and less-than-humble “bad Republican” template, why not get off your ass and protest directly what your party and ideology is doing? You have defended them at every debate… with only a few whimpers about the funding problems that threaten the programs you desire.

  26. David M. Greenwald

    “I agree that the Republican Party has made mistakes, but then the Democrats have too”

    Not dismissing that, but the Democrats mistakes at least right now have not kept them out of power.

    “the Democrats have been the dominate power in this state for decades”

    That’s not really accurate. From 1982 to 2010, the Republicans controlled the Governor’s Mansion with the exception of 1998 to 2003. With the two-thirds vote requirement for budgets, the idea that Democrats have been the dominant power is inaccurate.

    ” You discount the power of control of the political narrative and how the education system and the media”

    I do.

    “You guys have the keys David.”

    Right now the Democrats have the keys, but they’ve really only had them for a few years.

    ” If you are unhappy with the absolute power of Democrat politicians then instead of continuing your giddy and less-than-humble “bad Republican” template, why not get off your ass and protest directly what your party and ideology is doing? You have defended them at every debate… with only a few whimpers about the funding problems that threaten the programs you desire.”

    I’ve simply pointed out my concern on the pension issue. Most of my focus is on local politics, my concerns here are the nexus between state and local on issues like pensions and school funding.

  27. Frankly

    [i]Right now the Democrats have the keys, but they’ve really only had them for a few years.[/i]

    This is proof that you are too ideologically biased and unwilling to take responsibility. Like our president, you keep looking for excuses and others to blame.

    Except for the period from 1995 to 1996, the Assembly has been in Democratic hands since the 1970 election (even while the governor’s office has gone back and forth between Republicans and Democrats). The Senate has been in Democratic hands continuously since 1970.

  28. Don Shor

    To answer the question posed in the headline: Prop 13 didn’t lead to the pension crisis. The way Prop 13 was implemented probably did. In the aftermath of the election, then-Gov. Brown and the legislature moved fast to re-establish the funding system for local governments, school districts and special districts. I doubt it was thought the system they came up with would never be modified. Then the voters added some complications by passing spending limitations and by exempting various things from Prop 13. And of course, the RDA’s were created. Much of this led to loss of local control over funding, and added complexity to state and local funding that enabled governments at both levels to shift funds and defer the costs of decisions.

    Both parties were involved in the post-13 implementation. It established a new set of interest groups that competed with and displaced some of the older ones. It used to be that politicians of either party in the major metropolitan areas were very beholden to real estate development interests. Now they’re beholden to the unions that fund and work on their campaigns. But some of the old guard are still present in the larger cities.

    You can see how difficult it is to make any significant change when you look at the RDA change that Gov. Brown implemented. That is a relatively small part of the pie, but it got urban interest groups up in arms all over the state. So reconfiguring our financing system will be very difficult. Just as one example: in some cases it might take taxation shifts, and even if those were revenue-neutral I doubt Republicans would support them.

    The voters like Prop 13, and they like the services the state provides. So my guess is the status quo will prevail. Pension reform could go forward, because the affected interest group is relatively small. Even still, that could be a big and expensive battle. But it would probably be worth it.

  29. Frankly

    [i]If you think liberals are happy about Prop 13 ask a few people at the Co-Op if they think it is a good idea that people living in $10mm+ SF mansions pay less in property tax every year than people living in modest $500K East Davis homes (I’m betting that the view that this is not fair will be “widely held”)… [/i]

    If you think that “people at the Co_op” would be happy about all the lower income people would be priced out of their homes as real estate values soared if we did not have prop-13, you would be mistaken.

    Note to you and others. California is still the highest taxed state in the nation even with prop-13. Also, even with prop-13, California pulls in property tax revenue at the 13th highest of all states on a per capita basis.

    But then this is not enough for the left. They need MORE money!!!

  30. David M. Greenwald

    “Also, even with prop-13, California pulls in property tax revenue at the 13th highest of all states on a per capita basis.”

    And does these figures account for the fact that California has (among) the highest real estate values in the country?

  31. Don Shor

    Worst states for property taxes, per taxfoundation.org:

    New Jersey – 1.89%
    New Hampshire – 1.86%
    Texas – 1.81%
    Wisconsin – 1.76%
    Nebraska – 1.70%
    Illinois – 1.73%
    Connecticut – 1.63%
    Michigan – 1.62%
    Vermont – 1.59%
    North Dakota – 1.42%
    “… homeowners in these states paid the most in property taxes compared to home value. The percentages represent the percentage of home value that homeowners pay in property taxes.”
    Good thing for Texas they don’t have a Prop 13 — they’d really be broke.

  32. Frankly

    [i]The voters like Prop 13, and they like the services the state provides. So my guess is the status quo will prevail. Pension reform could go forward, because the affected interest group is relatively small. Even still, that could be a big and expensive battle. But it would probably be worth it.[/i]

    We could fix the problem now.

    On the spending side…

    1. Streamline government and cut non-essential positions.
    2. Reduce worker pay to match the private market.
    3. Convert the defined benefit pension plan into a defined contribution plan and require all employees to go there.
    4. Increase the retirement age for all existing employees to 65.

    On the revenue side…

    1. Cut corporate and personal income tax rates.
    2. Simplify regulations that harm business and prevent business investment
    3. Invest in economic development in the state. Grow the economy and get more people working to pay taxes.

  33. Growth Izzue

    [quote]The Assembly and Senate Democrats had insufficient numbers to pass laws by themselves. [/quote]

    Oh David, do you mean the 2/3’s majority? LOL
    So, in keeping with one of the themes of this article, are you saying it’s a good thing that the GOP kept the Democrats from passing other legislation that would have us in even worse of a bind?

  34. David M. Greenwald

    Frankly said: “the Democrats have been the dominate power in this state for decades”

    In order to pass a budget, one must have 2/3rds in each house support and signed by the governor. So based on that, how have the Democrats been the “dominate power in this state”?

    “So, in keeping with one of the themes of this article, are you saying it’s a good thing that the GOP kept the Democrats from passing other legislation that would have us in even worse of a bind? “

    Not the point in question here.

  35. Frankly

    I agree David, you are arguing out both sides of your mouth on this. You lament the lack of GOP influence in policy decisions, and then your declare that Democrats have not had their way because of the 2/3 vote requirement for increasing taxes.

    Walk that fact-pattern with me and you will see that your are irrational here.

    The legislature never needed a 2/3 vote for spending initiatives. A simple majority did just fine. And GOP governors did veto some of these bills, but unless you are advocating complete polarization like we see in Washington right now, the executive branch has to negotiate with the legislative branch to get business done. If a GOP governor just vetoed everything, then we would see the left jump up and down and scream that GOP is just the party of no and they just block everything.

    You really need to work on taking your medicine here. It is an 80/20 ownership issue where Democrats own 80% of the mess, and Republicans only 20%… but Democrats have 80% of the power to make the necessary changes. So why are you complaining that those with 20% of the power are not getting it done?

  36. Don Shor

    [quote]
    2. Reduce worker pay to match the private market.
    3. Convert the defined benefit pension plan into a defined contribution plan and require all employees to go there.
    4. Increase the retirement age for all existing employees to 65.
    [/quote]
    Presumably most of this would be going forward, not retroactive? It would be a noisy battle, but this is specific enough that the voters might go for it.

  37. Frankly

    I would make it retroactive for employees 50 and under… or at least start at that point to debate and negotiate.

    There should be a pension buy-out plan (roll-over to a 403b/401k plan) that includes some graduated valuation based on number of years of service and age. So, assuming two people worked the same number of years, the older employee would have a richer buyout deal to help offset the loss of years for investing before retirement.

    There are a bunch of great branding tag lines I can see to help with the political support.

    [b]Sustainability is a global necessity.[/b]

    [b]Bringing private and public sector workers together.[/b]

    [b]We all have to accept our fair share.[/b]

    [b]We are all responsible for sustainability.[/b]

    [b]Private sector and public sector jobs should be equal.[/b]

  38. JustSaying

    2. Unworkable because of the difficulty in determining public and private compatibility.
    3. Federal workers have pretty much made a transition to partial defined benefit, partial defined contribution based on personal investment plans.
    4. There is not reason not to impose this on current and future employees.

    Federal retiree retirement growth has been reduced by changes in the COLA calculation methods over the years, the latest being the proposed “chained CPI” plan. What could be done to limit increases in current retirees’ pensions?

  39. Frankly

    [i]2. Unworkable because of the difficulty in determining public and private compatibility.[/I]

    Mostly false. There are many resources and models for getting this done. There are comparable jobs for almost every everything. Do you think that government workers are so unique in this respect? I see more diversity in roles in the private sector. Government already categorizes every job into some pay grade, so to make the case that we cannot go to a step to assess the regional market for pay and benefits is just a deflection of reality.

    [I]3. Federal workers have pretty much made a transition to partial defined benefit, partial defined contribution based on personal investment plans.[/I]

    That is not enough by a long shot. The trajectory of unsustainable spending on pension and healthcare benefits for current and future retirees is still way too high.

    [I]4. There is not reason not to impose this on current and future employees.[/i]

    I guess you don’t care about unsustainability.

  40. JustSaying

    [quote]4. There is not reason not to impose this on current and future employees.

    I guess you don’t care about unsustainability.[/quote]No, I just mistyped. “There is NO reason not to impose this….”

    With respect to “pay comparability,” the federal experience shows how the many models provide results ranging from “fed workers paid much more than private industry” to “fed workers underpaid in comparison.” Decades of arguments and lack of resolution suggest this idea is not worth trying.

  41. SouthofDavis

    Don wrote:

    > Worst states for property taxes, per taxfoundation.org:
    > New Jersey – 1.89%
    > New Hampshire – 1.86%
    > Texas – 1.81%
    > Wisconsin – 1.76%
    > Nebraska – 1.70%
    > Illinois – 1.73%
    > Connecticut – 1.63%
    > Michigan – 1.62%
    > Vermont – 1.59%
    > North Dakota – 1.42%

    The average California property tax bill (not counting any “parcel taxes” added to the tax bills) is about 1.15%.

    Most people that buy a home in California this year will end up paying more per year in property taxes than almost anyone else in the nation.

    Michigan has a higher tax “rate” than California but with a median home price under $100K they have much lower tax “bills”…

  42. Frankly

    [i]With respect to “pay comparability,” the federal experience shows how the many models provide results ranging from “fed workers paid much more than private industry” to “fed workers underpaid in comparison.” Decades of arguments and lack of resolution suggest this idea is not worth trying. [/i]

    I completely disagree for the primary reason that the practice will prevent the wild swings you mention.

    It is a relieving experience for employees to know that their pay and benefits match the market. Of course they would not complain if they are paid more, but that is not a healthy situation for two reasons: one – it harms the budget of the organization paying them, two – it traps them into an “economic slavery” situation where they would be compelled to stay working in a job that they dislike simply because they cannot earn equal pay and benefits by moving on. This then has an impact on service quality, because employee just working for pay can be uninspired and un-motivated to change and improve.

    The practice of market-based compensation is a long-standing best-practice of private industry. It needs to be adopted by the public sector too.

  43. Frankly

    Think about that little old lady that lived on the corner of 4th and D street until she passed away several months ago. As I understand she had owned and lived in that house for 50 years. I am guessing that in 1964 that house probably cost around $20,000. The day she died that property was probably appraised at around $500,000. What if prop-13 had not passed?

    My guess is that the little old lady would have been put in a rest home because she could not afford her property taxes, and then passed away much early because she had a lower quality of life.

    As this type of thing would have played out through the years all over the state, we can thank those that passed and protect prop-13 from the senseless killing of little old ladies.

  44. medwoman

    [quote]Private sector and public sector jobs should be equal.[/quote]

    Good luck getting to this point when we cannot even get to the point where women are paid equally to men for the same number of hours work doing the same job. ( Most recent estimate I heard was that woman are currently making 80 cents to a man’s dollar for hours adjusted work schedule.) When we are talking equality,
    can we assume that means all across the board equal pay for equal work ?

  45. Frankly

    [b]It’s Time That We End the Equal Pay Myth[/b]

    [quote]The wage gap statistic, however, doesn’t compare two similarly situated co-workers of different sexes, working in the same industry, performing the same work, for the same number of hours a day. It merely reflects the median earnings of all men and women classified as full-time workers.

    The Department of Labor’s Time Use Survey, for example, finds that the average full-time working man spends 8.14 hours a day on the job, compared to 7.75 hours for the full-time working woman. Employees who work more likely earn more. Men working five percent longer than women alone explains about one-quarter of the wage gap.

    There are numerous other factors that affect pay. Most fundamentally, men and women tend to gravitate toward different industries. Feminists may charge that women are socialized into lower-paying sectors of the economy. But women considering the decisions they’ve made likely have a different view. Women tend to seek jobs with regular hours, more comfortable conditions, little travel, and greater personal fulfillment. Often times, women are willing to trade higher pay for jobs with other characteristics that they find attractive.

    Men, in contrast, often take jobs with less desirable characteristics in pursuit of higher pay. They work long hours and overnight shifts. They tar roofs in the sun, drive trucks across the country, toil in sewer systems, stand watch as prison guards, and risk injury on fishing boats, in coal mines, and in production plants. Such jobs pay more than others because otherwise no one would want to do them.

    Unsurprisingly, children play an important role in men and women’s work-life decisions. Simply put, women who have children or plan to have children tend to be willing to trade higher pay for more kid-friendly positions. In contrast, men with children typically seek to earn more money in order to support children, sometimes taking on more hours and less attractive positions to do so.

    Academics can debate why men and women make these different choices. The important takeaway, however, is that there are many reasons that men and women on average earn different amounts. It’s a mistake to assume that “wage gap” statistics reflect on-the-job discrimination.

    Women have many reasons to celebrate today. Women are increasingly taking on leadership roles in businesses around the world. Technology is increasingly creating more flexible work arrangements, creating new options for parents to combine work and family life. Women are excelling academically (earning far more college degrees than men). Given that the economy tends to place a premium on education, we can expect women to contribute (and earn!) more in the future.[/quote]

    Meds, are you paid equal to the male doctors in your specialty at your place of business?

  46. wdf1

    Don Shor: [i]Much of this led to loss of local control over funding, and added complexity to state and local funding that enabled governments at both levels to shift funds and defer the costs of decisions.[/i]

    Prop 13 was the culmination of a shift from local control of public schools to more state control of local schools. This shift was already starting with Serrano v. Priest ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serrano_v._Priest[/url]) in the early 70’s. With that shift to state funding came state oversight. Standardization of education might be good at some level, but it leads to other problems.

    1) State level staff are further removed from relevant ground level observations of the education system than is local school district staff.

    2) For convenience at such a broad scale, state level accountability tends to be standardized quantitative measures (often standardized tests). A lot that is important in K-12 education is not measurable in a standardized quantitative manner.

    3) State regulation creates a one-size-fits-all tendency in policy that doesn’t adequately account for the diversity of communities or within communities.

    Ironically, Prop. 13 was a conservative initiative to control the raising of local taxes that resulted in a less politically conservative structure with respect to California schools, if one considers local control as preferable to state/federal control to be a hallmark of traditional (old-school?) conservative thinking, politically.

    Attempting to equalize funding between poorer and more affluent districts is laudable, but the result, including tying state funding to a byzantine set of rules and restrictions, removes the incentive toward local ownership and governance of schools. DJUSD works better than many districts because it can pass local parcel taxes, and by nature seems to be more politically involved (locally).

  47. Frankly

    There were a couple of camps pushing prop-13. One strong one was the business community since rising property taxes were killing their bottom line and putting many out of business. Also, seniors and other fixed-income homeowners were supporters due to the impacts of constant cost increases as property values increased much greater than the rate of inflation.

    But, related to you point about local versus state control, don’t those on the left have a problem with inequity? How can you advocate for an education system that results in some kids getting a terrific school experience while others get a crappy experience? What mechanism would you demand to equalize this tendency?

    The reason that most conservatives I know support global education standards is that, before these were put in place, the education system was already crappy and growing more crappy. I think you wax and wane nostalgic about pre-standards days. The education system already proved that it could not manage itself to provide a standard quality product. So we have state and even federal standards that you now claim as limiting creativity in the “art?” of teaching. Again though, it has been proven that letting teachers be creative leads to a few bright spots, and then a large mess of crappiness that permanently harms millions of kids every year.

    I still do not see a dot-connected solution in the large body of postings I have read from you. The only thing I come away with is that you would selfishly advocate for the protection of the Davis schools status quo that you feel is good enough.

  48. SouthofDavis

    medwoman wrote:

    > Good luck getting to this point when we cannot
    > even get to the point where women are paid equally
    > to men for the same number of hours work doing
    > the same job. Most recent estimate I heard was
    > that woman are currently making 80 cents to a man’s
    > dollar for hours adjusted work schedule

    You are correct that as a whole working woman make less than men, since more woman than men pick low paying jobs that require less than 40 hours of work per week (the majority of nursery school teachers are woman and the majority of CEOs are men).

    Can you name a single job where a woman working the exact same hours and doing the exact same job as a man makes 20% less (would I pay 20% less if I went to Kaiser and asked for a female MD)?

    Woman have been the majority of college grads in America for years now and on average woman under 30 make more than men under 30 (just like men over 50 have more degrees than woman over 50 and make more on average).

  49. Don Shor

    [quote]2. Unworkable because of the difficulty in determining public and private compatibility. [/quote]
    This strikes me as the least problematic proposal in principle. As Frankly notes, pay scale comparisons are done all the time. You’d just need some kind of commission to promulgate the rates. Governance of that commission would be one of those boards appointed by the governor, speaker, senate president, etc. The problem would come from the reduction in pay they’d likely put forth for some, possibly many, employees.
    My guess is converting the benefits plan would be more difficult.

  50. JustSaying

    Maybe it’s “the least problematic proposal in principle,” but in [u]practice[/u] it’s been shown to be very problematic and divisive at the federal level. On the other hand, Congress has successfully cut back the COLA calculations several times and has been supported in the courts.

  51. medwoman

    Frankly and South of Davis

    Yes, for the past 25 years, I have been paid the same amount as my male colleagues with equal seniority on a unit per unit basis.
    However, I know many female practitioners for which this is not true. A woman in a group practice may be working as much or more than her male partners who may be seeing many fewer patients, often because in my specialty there is a preference for female providers. It is also not uncommon to delegate the less lucrative patients to the female members of a group, who are frequently junior ( although this is rapidly changing),
    while the male members cherry pick the most lucrative cases.

    However, it is not female physicians that are my concern. We are well rewarded for our work. My real concern is the discrepancy in pay of lower paid workers, frequently women are not as assertive in requesting better starting passages, are less likely to push for raises and promotion than are our male colleagues. My solution to this would not be to say “well, that’s her fault if she is willing to settle for less”. My solution would be to standardize pay as long as all standards for the position are being met, and incentivize those, whether male or female who go above and beyond, perhaps with bonuses. I was specifically discounting the differential that occurs when women choose to work fewer hours or move in and out of the work force for personal reasons.
    That was why I specified “the point where women are paid equally to men for the same number of hours work doing the same job.”

  52. wdf1

    Frankly: [i]The only thing I come away with is that you would selfishly advocate for the protection of the Davis schools status quo that you feel is good enough.[/i]

    What do you define as status quo?

  53. Ginger

    [quote]Democrats are the ones who made these policy decisions and they do own it. All I’m suggesting is that the weakness of the Republican party is part of the reason they were able to push the legislation through. Just as the weakness of the Democratic party in Texas allowed the Republicans to push through the abortion legislation Texas.[/quote]

    And when Republicans are in the minority party and they DO attempt to not be bulldozed by legislation, they are called obstructionist. When Republicans are the majority party and they fight back against bulldozing, they are called bullies.

    [quote]Yes, for the past 25 years, I have been paid the same amount as my male colleagues with equal seniority on a unit per unit basis. However, I know many female practitioners for which this is not true. A woman in a group practice may be working as much or more than her male partners who may be seeing many fewer patients, often because in my specialty there is a preference for female providers.[/quote]

    So females are more popular in your specialty. That’s a win for feminism, right? Question: when the converse it true, in specialties where there is a preference for male providers and thus the females have a smaller patient population, is that looked upon as an example of how the male physicians are overworked/underpaid? Or as an example of how the females physicians aren’t viewed as equal?

    Regardless, the number isn’t 80 cents for every dollar a man earns. It’s 77 cents. Obama even used it in an ad. Problem is, PolitiFact rated it as “Mostly False.” (LINK: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/jun/21/barack-obama/barack-obama-ad-says-women-are-paid-77-cents-dolla/).

    You’ll see that when everything IS standardized, there is still a small wage gap. None? Enough to warrant some type of pay standardization for different tiers of work (I’m assuming this would be accomplished as federal or state legislation)? While this would do wonders to keep Washington DC’s housing prices stable, and of course many bureaucrats (elected and not) would LOVE the opportunity to decide just how much a fifth-tier carpet salesperson/seventh tier florist/first tier teacher/eleventh tier flight attendant/second tier CEO/etc. would make…doesn’t really seem like the type of thing that could be played out in the real world (unless you think first tier Walmart cashier should make the same as a first tier pediatric neurosurgeon).

    Plus, you’d still have people playing favorites, “Dang. That dude is so far superior than that woman at selling carpet/floral design/teaching/attending flights/CEO’ing/Walmart cashiering/pediatric neurosurgery.”

    In other words, attempting to legislate the utopia “eliminating” any chance of people being jerks really discounts the ability of jerks to adapt.

    [quote]However, it is not female physicians that are my concern. We are well rewarded for our work. [/quote]

    You never responded to my comment on another thread to your statement that you’re uncomfortable with money being the basis for standards of living. I’ll state here emphatically I’d be happy to take some of those rewards you get for your work, if it makes you feel better. 😉

  54. Mr.Toad

    “Given the explosion of CA real estate values since 1978, had prop-13 not passed, this state would have had significantly higher tax revenue flowing into its coffers.”

    Come on F you should know that when you lower property taxes it means that prices become more affordable and people can qualify for bigger mortgages. So prop 13 contributed to the post prop 13 run up in prices.

  55. wdf1

    Frankly: [i]I still do not see a dot-connected solution in the large body of postings I have read from you. The only thing I come away with is that you would selfishly advocate for the protection of the Davis schools status quo that you feel is good enough.[/i]

    I live in Davis and I’m very familiar with this community and the school district. I’ve had kids in the schools, I have plenty of friends and acquaintances with kids (of various levels and abilities) in the schools, I volunteer with Davis Bridge students who come from lower income, ELL, immigrant backgrounds. I have interacted extensively with Bridge families. So yes, I do have a personal interest in seeing what works in Davis. I also think I have a better handle on what would improve things in Davis. If that makes me selfish, well, guilty. I don’t see you wringing your hands about hunger in Africa as much as you do about American going to hell in a handbasket. There’s still hunger in Africa going on. Does that make you selfish?

    I don’t know other school districts and communities as well, though I have chatted occasionally with parents in surrounding school districts (Dixon, Winters, Woodland, West Sac, Sac Unified, Folsom-Cordova, Twin Rivers, Elk Grove, Vacaville, Fairfield). I have attended school board meetings in a couple of other districts. I don’t pretend to know what makes those communities tick, but I do see some similar issues in other districts. I see a common disconnect between state policy and what seems to work in the classroom.

    One example is the way that we view lower income ELL students (immigrants). On standardized test scores, they are perennially behind, and we label them that way. Because of it we load them up on as much extra English instruction as possible, both during and after school, and summer school, and then criticize the fact that they’re not as engaged in sports, performing arts, or the life of the campus. Well of course! All their electives are taken up with remedial and intervention programs, ELL, AVID, etc. and they’re constantly told that they’re behind.

    English is important, but by itself it isn’t the only thing worth learning in school, and it isn’t worth sacrificing so much other valuable experience in the schools. If you define school proficiency by standardized test scores in English, they will always be behind. It doesn’t help that English isn’t the home language for many of these kids. It’s an example that applies very well to the quote that you appreciate, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

    A recent generation Mexican-American immigrant will be quite capable in two languages, however, and could make a very substantial salary as a professional interpreter, like you find in the courts. Everyone of those ELL students who “talk funny” is bilingual, and will find very productive work in our increasingly globalized world, if they follow through with their education. And that will make America strong in the future. A better strategy would be to ensure that every kid gets exposed to a diverse and high quality curriculum that includes achieving both cognitive and non-cognitive learning outcomes. Overall they will be more resilient and flexible in the workforce than they would from a narrow focus of study. I don’t think Davis schools are where they should be, but they can get there from here. By contrast, you advocate tearing the whole system down.

  56. Frankly

    [i]And that will make America strong in the future.[/i]

    I don’t agree with this unless we put ALOT more effort into controlling the flow of new immigrants and assimilating those here.

    I am thinking by your explanations that you must see a US that is increasingly integrating Spanish into our culture… I guess this includes the expectation that more current English speaking people will learn Spanish out of some necessity.

    The problem with this “global community”, multiculturalism worldview is that it does not work. You can attempt to shame me and everyone else that is demanding cultural and social assimilation and English language as racist and xenophobic until your face turns blue, but there is copious evidence that cultural and language homogeneity exists in all those countries that we see as models of efficiency and having high standards of living; and conversely, we see a mess, or a looming mess, in all countries where there is a lot of cultural and language heterogeneity.

    Multiculturalism should be about accepting and celebrating the multiple spices and flavorings that are added to our giant standard American melting pot. That has been our history and why the US has been so successful as a nation. What you and others seem to be advocating is supporting 1000 smaller pots all having their own design and recipe. That is a recipe for disaster.

    The fact is that most immigrants need to become highly conversant in English in order to enter and remain in the American middle class. There are three exceptions to this: one – they work in some capacity that leverages their non-English skills (like your translator point); two – they work in some capacity that sells products of their culture (like those that own or work in a restaurant selling the food of their culture); three – they live in areas of the country, and/or work in industries, that have become dominated and homogenized with their language and culture (like the American Southwest).

    With the exception of the third item, there is simply not enough opportunity for the first two to accommodate the massive numbers of poor, uneducated, non-English-speaking immigrants. With respect to the third item, this is a very troubling trend. It is in fact a soft invasion of another culture. And when I look to see what is the value of that culture being imported, there is evidence that it is SIGNIFICANTLY behind what the US is and has been for quite some time. There are a lot of principles of Americanism that are being lost, ignored, disregarded and even disrespected. That pot is indeed largely separated from the standard American melting pot and growing more separate every day.

    We are allowing a creeping cultural fragmentation and segregation to occur at a level never experienced in any industrialized country in history… except for those that have exploded or imploded.

    Getting back to the topic of education. I appreciate and applaud all you do to work within and with the system to help kids. I really do. I wonder though, are you too close to it now? Have you developed too strong of an affinity toward the system as designed to limit your ability to step back and envision greater opportunity and need for improvement?

    The House was supposed to vote on the Student Success Act today. [url]http://edworkforce.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bill_text_-_the_student_success_act.pdf[/url] Do you know the outcome? What is your opinion of this bill which is supposed to reauthorized an improved version of NCLB but instead of so much federal control, the funding would be sent by block grants to the states.

  57. Davis Progressive


    We are allowing a creeping cultural fragmentation and segregation to occur at a level never experienced in any industrialized country in history… except for those that have exploded or imploded.”

    how would you propose we quantify that to prove whether your assertion has merit?

  58. Don Shor

    [quote] It is in fact a soft invasion of another culture.[/quote]
    Inasmuch as the Southwest is comprised of states where nearly every city has an Hispanic name, this statement is preposterous.

    [quote]There are a lot of principles of Americanism that are being lost, ignored, disregarded and even disrespected. [/quote]
    Please, tell us again what your “principles of Americanism” are.

  59. Frankly

    [i]to me our diversity is a strength, not a weakness.[/i]

    I would reword this that our diversity has been a strength, and should be a strength, but it is a growing liability at this point because of our inability to assimilate such large quantities of people from a foreign culture.

    [i]Inasmuch as the Southwest is comprised of states where nearly every city has an Hispanic name, this statement is preposterous.[/I]

    Are you suggesting we just concede that territory back to Mexico? You do know that the concentrations of Hispanics has exploded in this geographic area?

  60. Davis Progressive

    we don’t have to assimilate large quantities of people from a foreign culture. our culture is changing and latino culture is no longer foreign, its become part of our own.

  61. wdf1

    Frankly: If our culture is so great and strong and worthwhile, then we shouldn’t have to get so anxious, the way you do, about preserving it. The laws of evolution and natural selection will keep our culture on top. It appears that you have cultural insecurities.

  62. Frankly

    [i]we don’t have to assimilate large quantities of people from a foreign culture. our culture is changing and latino culture is no longer foreign, its become part of our own.[/i]

    I think that is a hazardous mindset, and indicative of a probable anti-American perspective. Last I checked, Mexico is not working very well as a culture and a society. And we are importing their poor and uneducated. I have no problem bringing in poor and uneducated if we assimilate them into Americans within at least the second generation… and preferably all children of first-generation immigrants.

  63. Frankly

    [i]you’re making a humungous error by attributing the political conditions in Mexico to culture[/i]

    No I’m not. Culture is learned. For example, if your experience is that your government is corrupt and you should stay out of public debate, then it will become part of your culture.

  64. Don Shor

    [quote]Are you suggesting we just concede that territory back to Mexico? You do know that the concentrations of Hispanics has exploded in this geographic area?[/quote]
    Of course not. I’m saying that the southwest, where I grew up and of which I consider California a part, has a culture that is a mix of European and Hispanic influences. Other parts of the United States have mixes of other cultures. People will assimilate to varying degrees. All of that is fine with me.

  65. Davis Progressive

    “government is corrupt and you should stay out of public debate, then it will become part of your culture. “

    And yet latinos showed up in record numbers last year. i think you’re stretching.

  66. Frankly

    [i]And yet latinos showed up in record numbers last year.[/i]

    But still voted at numbers far below the average showing for other demographics.

    And it took copious resources from the union-fueled Democrat party apparatus to bring them out from the shadows to vote. Too bad that energy wasn’t used instead to help them assimilate and learn English.

    And, they voted Democrat.

    Your self-serving left and left media template is that they voted that way because they did not like “racist” Republicans. My template is that they voted that way because they were/are unassimilated poor and uneducated people that don’t have enough experience or understanding of American cultural principles, and as a result, lack confidence in their ability to succeed in achieving much of the American dream, so they voted for the party that gives out the most free stuff instead.

    If they were truly assimilated, we would see a greater percentage voting and a greater percentage voting Republican.

  67. Davis Progressive

    “But still voted at numbers far below the average showing for other demographics.”

    but comparable to other low income demographics.

  68. Don Shor

    [quote]understanding of American cultural principles[/quote]
    Third time; what are these American cultural principles? I’m guessing this is just code for ‘what Frankly believes.’

  69. Frankly

    [i]Third time; what are these American cultural principles? I’m guessing this is just code for ‘what Frankly believes.[/i]

    I have answered this before…

    [quote][b]1. PERSONAL CONTROL OVER THE ENVIRONMENT[/b]
    Americans no longer believe in the power of Fate, and they have come to look at people who do as being backward, primitive, or hopelessly naïve. To be call “fatalistic” is one of the worst criticisms one can receive in the American context; to an American, it means one is superstitious and lazy, unwilling to take any initiative in bringing about improvement.
    In the United States, people consider it normal and right that Man should control Nature, rather than the other way around. More specifically, people believe every single individual should have control over whatever in the environment might potentially affect him or her. The problems of one’s life are not seen as having resulted from bad luck as much as having come from one’s laziness in pursuing a better life. Furthermore, it is considered normal that anyone should look out for his or her own self-interests first and foremost.
    Most Americans find it impossible to accept that there are some things that lie beyond the power of humans to achieve. And Americans have literally gone to the moon, because they refused to accept earthly limitations.
    Americans seem to be challenged, even compelled, to do, by one means or another (and often at great cost) what seven-eighths of the world is certain cannot be done.

    [b]2. CHANGE[/b]
    In the American mind, change is seen as an indisputably good condition. Change is strongly linked to development, improvement, progress, and growth. Many older, more traditional cultures consider change as a disruptive, destructive force, to be avoided if at all possible. Instead of change, such societies value stability, continuity, tradition, and a rich and ancient heritage—none of which are valued very much in the United States.

    [b]3. TIME AND ITS CONTROL[/b]
    Time is, for the average American, of utmost importance. To the foreign visitor, Americans seem to be more concerned with getting things accomplished on time (according to a predetermined schedule) than they are with developing deep interpersonal relations. Schedules, for the American, are meant to be planned and then followed in the smallest detail.
    Americans’ language is filled with references to time, giving a clear indication of how much it is valued. Time is something to be “on,” to be “kept,” “filled,” “saved,” “used,” “spent,” “wasted,” “lost,” “gained,”[/quote]

  70. Frankly

    [quote][b]4. EQUALITY/EGALITARIANISM[/b]
    Equality is, for Americans, one of their most cherished values. This concept is so important for Americans that they have even given it a religious basis. They say all people have been “created equal.” Most Americans believe that God views all humans alike without regard to intelligence, physical condition or economic status. In secular terms this belief is translated into the assertion that all people have an equal opportunity to succeed in life. Americans differ in opinion about how to make this ideal into a reality. Yet virtually all agree that equality is an important civic and social goal.
    The equality concept often makes Americans seem strange to foreign visitors. Seven-eighths of the world feels quite differently. To them, rank and status and authority are seen as much more desirable considerations—even if they personally happen to find themselves near the bottom of the social order. Class and authority seem to give people in those other societies a sense of security and certainty. People outside the United States consider it reassuring to know, from birth, who they are and where they fit into the complex system called “society”.

    [b]5. INDIVIDUAL AND PRIVACY[/b]
    The individualism that has been developed in the Western world since the Renaissance, beginning in the late 15th century, has taken its most exaggerated form in 20th century United States. Here, each individual is seen as completely and marvelously unique, that is, totally different from all other individuals and, therefore, particularly precious and wonderful.
    Privacy, the ultimate result of individualism is perhaps even more difficult for the foreigner to comprehend. The word “privacy” does not even exist in many languages. If it does, it is likely to have a strongly negative connotation, suggesting loneliness or isolation from the group. In the United States, privacy is not only seen as a very positive condition, but it is also viewed as a requirement that all humans would find equally necessary, desirable and satisfying. It is not uncommon for Americans to say—and believe—such statements as “If I don’t have at least half an hour a day to myself, I will go stark raving mad.”

    [b]6. SELF-HELP CONTROL[/b]
    In the United States, a person can take credit only for what he or she has accomplished by himself or herself. Americans get no credit whatsoever for having been born into a rich family. (In the United States, that would be considered “an accident of birth.”) Americans pride themselves in having been born poor and, through their own sacrifice and hard work, having climbed the difficult ladder of success to whatever level they have achieved—all by themselves. The American social system has, of course, made it possible for Americans to move, relatively easily, up the social ladder.
    Take a look in an English-language dictionary at the composite words that have “self” as a prefix. In the average desk dictionary, there will be more than 100 such words, words like self-confidence, self-conscious, self-control, self-criticism, self-deception, self-defeating, self-denial, self-discipline, self-esteem, self-expression, self-importance, self-improvement, self-interest, self-reliance, self-respect, self-restraint, self-sacrifice—the list goes on and on. The equivalent of these words cannot be found in most other languages. The list is perhaps the best indication of how seriously Americans take doing things for one’s self. The “self-made man or women” is still very much the ideal in 20th-century America.
    [/quote]

  71. Frankly

    [quote][b]7. COMPETITION AND FREE ENTERPRISE[/b]
    Americans believe that competition brings out the best in any individual. They assert that it challenges or forces each person to produce the very best that is humanly possible. Consequently, the foreign visitor will see competition being fostered in the American home and in the American classroom, even on the youngest age level. Very young children, for instance, are encouraged to answer questions for which their classmates do not know the answer.
    You may find the competitive value disagreeable, especially if you come from a society that promotes cooperation rather than competition. But many U.S. Peace Corps volunteers teaching in Third World countries found the lack of competitiveness in a classroom situation equally distressing. They soon learned that what they thought to be one of the universal human characteristics represented only a peculiarly American (or Western) value.
    Americans, valuing competition, have devised an economic system to go with it—free enterprise. Americans feel strongly that a highly competitive economy will bring out the best in its people and, ultimately, that the society that fosters competition will progress most rapidly. If you look for it, you will see evidence in all areas—even in fields as diverse as medicine, the arts, education, and sports—that free enterprise is the approach most often preferred in America.

    [b]8. FUTURE ORIENTATION[/b]
    Valuing the future and the improvements Americans are sure the future will bring means that they devalue that past and are, to a large extent, unconscious of the present. Even a happy present goes largely unnoticed because, happy as it may be, Americans have traditionally been hopeful that the future would bring even greater happiness. Almost all energy is directed toward realizing that better future. At best, the present condition is seen as preparatory to a latter and greater event, which will eventually culminate in something even more worthwhile.
    Since Americans have been taught (in value 1) to believe that Man, and not Fate, can and should be the one who controls the environment, this has made them very good at planning and executing short-term projects. This ability, in turn, has caused Americans to be invited to all corners of the earth to plan and achieve the miracles that their goal-setting can produce.

    [b]9. ACTION/WORK ORIENTATION[/b]
    “Don’t just stand there,” goes a typical bit of American advice, “do something!” This expression is normally used in a crisis situation, yet, in a sense, it describes most American’s entire waking life, where action—any action—is seen to be superior to inaction.
    Americans routinely plan and schedule an extremely active day. Any relaxation must be limited in time, pre-planned, and aimed at “recreating” their ability to work harder and more productively once the recreation is over. Americans believe leisure activities should assume a relatively small portion of one’s total life. People think that it is “sinful” to “waste one’s time,” “to sit around doing nothing,” or just to “daydream.”

    [b]10. INFORMALITY[/b]
    If you come from a more formal society, you will likely find Americans to be extremely informal, and will probably feel that they are even disrespectful of those in authority. Americans are one of the most informal and casual people in the world, even when compared to their near relative—the Western European.
    As one example of this informality, American bosses often urge their employees to call them by their first names and even feel uncomfortable if they are called by the title “Mr.” or “Mrs.”
    [/quote]

  72. Frankly

    [quote][b]11. DIRECTNESS, OPENNESS AND HONESTY[/b]
    Many other countries have developed subtle, sometimes highly ritualistic, ways of informing other people of unpleasant information. Americans, however, have always preferred the first approach. They are likely to be completely honest in delivering their negative evaluations. If you come from a society that uses the indirect manner of conveying bad news or uncomplimentary evaluations, you will be shocked at Americans’ bluntness.
    Americans consider anything other than the most direct and open approach to be dishonest and insincere and will quickly lose confidence in and distrust anyone who hints at what is intended rather than saying it outright.

    [b]12. PRACTICALITY AND EFFICIENCY[/b]
    Americans have a reputation of being an extremely realistic, practical and efficient people. The practical consideration is likely to be given highest priority in making any important decision in the United States. Americans pride themselves in not being very philosophically or theoretically oriented. If Americans would even admit to having a philosophy, it would probably be that of pragmatism.
    Will it make any money? Will it “pay its own way?” What can I gain from this activity? These are the kinds of questions that Americans are likely to ask in their practical pursuit, not such questions as: Is it aesthetically pleasing? Will it be enjoyable?, or Will it advance the cause of knowledge?
    This practical, pragmatic orientation has caused Americans to contribute more inventions to the world than any other country in human history. The love of “practicality” has also caused Americans to view some professions more favorably than others. Management and economics, for example, are much more popular in the United States than philosophy or anthropology, law and medicine more valued than the arts.
    Another way in which this favoring of the practical makes itself felt in the United States, is a belittling of “emotional” and “subjective” evaluations in favor of “rational” and “objective” assessments. Americans try to avoid being too sentimental in making their decisions. They judge every situation “on its merits.” The popular American “trail-and-error” approach to problem solving also reflects the practical. The approach suggests listing several possible solutions to any given problem, then trying them out, one-by-one, to see which is most effective.

    [b]13. MATERIALISM/ACQUISITIVENESS[/b] – Foreigners generally consider Americans much more materialistic than Americans are likely to consider themselves. Americans would like to think that their material objects are just the natural benefits that always result from hard work and serious intent—a reward, they think, that all people could enjoy were they as industrious and hard-working as Americans
    [/quote]

  73. Frankly

    By the way Don, instead of Googling like crazy to find the source of this so you can attack it as being biased, I found the link: [url]http://www.claremontmckenna.edu/pages/faculty/alee/extra/American_values.html[/url]

  74. Don Shor

    Yes. I remember this one now. It is a descriptions of Americans, developed by this guy as a guide to foreigners in explaining what Americans are like. It is NOT a description of the things we value, necessarily, and it has little to do with how the many varied cultures have assimilated in the United States throughout our history. They aren’t things we ‘aspire’ to. They are his observations about how many Americans behave. And it is a reasonable description as far as it goes.
    There is no reason to use that description as something new Americans should assimilate into.
    By comparison, Wikipedia has an interesting overview on the topic of American Culture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_the_United_States#Fischer.27s_theory
    Bottom line: there is no single American culture. There are regional cultures, and taking that a step further there are ethnic enclaves within those regions. I don’t have your background, and you don’t have mine. We share many values, and not others. Some newcomers to this country will assimilate very strongly into their region, others won’t. That’s all fine with me. Apparently it isn’t fine with you.

  75. wdf1

    Frankly: [i]Getting back to the topic of education…. I really do. I wonder though, are you too close to it now?[/i]

    You mean the way that bankers shouldn’t weigh in on banking reform, or businessmen should be ignored on issues of business regulation because they’re too close to the situation?

  76. Frankly

    Don, I think that is a tenuous and slippery deflection from a list that you absolutely know to be an accurate representation of American values that has defined our culture. And you failed to respond to my suggestion that you just refer to Tocqueville.

    You see, that is what we have. Those on the left of politics, especially those on the far left, rejecting American culture as we have practiced it for the last two centuries, and claiming instead some imaginary design that they would prefer to have instead.

    Then they flood in a sea of people that don’t get these things, and don’t practice these things, and the left says “that’s fine, we will take care of you.”

    This is absolutely different than immigration of the past where immigrants wanted to and had to assimilate and there were no liberals making up fake American culture to make them feel more wanted and loved.

    The end result is an overwhelming flood of people that will probably never figure out how to be a true American, and a country that will decline as its culture degrades into something else much less good.

  77. Don Shor

    [quote]You see, that is what we have.[/quote]
    It’s a description. I don’t share all of those values as described. I’m an American, just as American as you are. My culture isn’t fake.
    As I said last time you did this: stop questioning my Americanism.

  78. Don Shor

    [quote]that will probably never figure out how to be a true American, and a country that will decline as its culture degrades into something else much less good. [/quote]
    I think there are many different kinds of ‘true Americans’. I think our culture has never declined due to an influx of people from other places. I think it has benefited. I think other places have things that are ‘good’ (wow, talk about simplistic), and things that aren’t so ‘good’, and that we benefit from interacting with each other. I think everything you say is summed up in your use of the term ‘degrades’.

  79. wdf1

    Frankly: [i]…there were no liberals making up fake American culture to make them feel more wanted and loved.[/i]

    What are some examples of “fake” American culture that liberals make up?

  80. Ginger

    [quote]If our culture is so great and strong and worthwhile, then we shouldn’t have to get so anxious, the way you do, about preserving it. The laws of evolution and natural selection will keep our culture on top. It appears that you have cultural insecurities.[/quote]

    Really? Tell that to the Native Americans.

    The laws of evolution and natural selection don’t work that way.

  81. Ginger

    But it’s a great line.

    Next time I’m in Paris and I hear people complaining about how Americans “export” their culture to Europe and neglect to speak the different languages of each country (or as I’m often told, have a really lousy French accent), I’ll use your line. If the French culture is so great and strong and worthwhile, then they wouldn’t be so worried about preserving it.

  82. Mr.Toad

    “Your self-serving left and left media template is that they voted that way because they did not like “racist” Republicans. My template is that they voted that way because they were/are unassimilated poor and uneducated people that don’t have enough experience or understanding of American cultural principles, and as a result, lack confidence in their ability to succeed in achieving much of the American dream, so they voted for the party that gives out the most free stuff instead.”

    They voted that way because Romney played to your prejudices to win the primary as did Meg Whitman before him. So keep pressuring Republicans to say they want to deport their relatives and keep on losing in California.

  83. Frankly

    What Ginger said.

    If you try and define and protect American culture, you are a xenophobe. If you fail to celebrate and promote other cultures, you are a racist. Poor America, it does not get to have its own culture. Apparently it is not worthy.

    That is the absurdity of the American neo-liberal worldview these days.

    It would be interesting to hear from others which of the 13 American principles that I listed they are in disagreement with. And, what they would define and list as worthy American principles.

  84. wdf1

    Frankly: [i]It would be interesting to hear from others which of the 13 American principles that I listed they are in disagreement with. And, what they would define and list as worthy American principles.[/i]

    It’s okay. But I’m not inclined to be academic or dogmatic about it. I can’t help but imagine, though, that there are probably some exemplary Americans who may not ideally demonstrate these principles.

    A related tangent:

    Is it culturally appropriate in America for 11-year old Sebastien de la Cruz to sing the National Anthem at an NBA finals game ([url]http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/sebastien-la-cruz-brushes-off-racism-185037234.html[/url])?

    or for Marc Antony to sing God Bless America at the MLB All-star game ([url]http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2013/07/marc-anthony-post-anthem-reminds-people-hes-american/[/url])?

    It seems like someone from the purity patrol was watching them each time.

  85. Mr.Toad

    i thought America was about freedom of speech, religion, association. As such you don’t get to decide what language somebody speaks, what religion they practice or what kind of cultural events they attend. The problem you have is you think others should meet some standard but you don’t get to decide for anyone but yourself.

  86. Frankly

    [i]Is it culturally appropriate in America for 11-year old Sebastien de la Cruz to sing the National Anthem at an NBA finals game?

    or for Marc Antony to sing God Bless America at the MLB All-star game?
    [/i]

    Not only is this culturally appropriate, it is exactly the type of thing we should be expecting and honoring. It is when we start seeing the Mexican flag and/or we stop singing the National Anthem or God Bless America out of sensitivity that we might offend immigrants that it will be culturally inappropriate. But I fully suspect that liberals in this country will eventually justify that type of change as agreeable and “progress”.

    Racisms equals ignorance. The tweets and comments making a racial issue out of this are no more than the sounds we routinely hear from a perpetual percentage of our population that are ignorant and will remain ignorant. There is nothing new there except for the enhanced determination of the political correctness police and race baiters on the left to make political fodder out of it.

  87. Frankly

    [i]i thought America was about freedom of speech, religion, association.[/i]

    None of the principles listed conflict with any of that.

    Free speech is not freedom to import your culture to supplant the culture that gives you free speech.

    The liberal mind appears not capable of reaching full circle in a rational argument that includes long term consequences. The focus on the immediate is fine, but without considering the long-term impacts from policies, we are apt to degrade the very basis of our working models.

    An extreme example of this is the liberal demand that we embrace and support Muslim cultures… even those that demand Sharia law, etc. Just check the recent UC Regents student board member appointment. She is a devote Muslim that demands the campuses adopt more Sharia practice into their rules for student behavior. Why do liberals demand this type of thing when Sharia law would result in their persecution?

    Irrational is the only word I can think of.

  88. Frankly

    Israel-hating Muslim extremist added to UC board of regents.

    [url]http://www.dailycal.org/2013/07/17/uc-board-of-regents-appoints-sadia-saifuddin-as-student-regent-designate/[/url]

    More evidence that those on the left don’t value much about American culture and don’t even have enough sense to protect their own values.

  89. Don Shor

    There’s nothing in that article that indicates she ‘hates’ Israel. She calls for divestment from companies that supply the Israeli military. I don’t know anything more about her from reading that article except that she is Muslim. I have no idea where she stands on Sharia law, nor, I suspect, do you.

    [quote]The liberal mind appears not capable of reaching full circle in a rational argument…[/quote]
    Do you always have to do this? Seriously.

  90. Frankly

    Don, I will find the article I read that reported on her more extreme views.

    [i]Do you always have to do this? Seriously.[/I]

    I know it gets your goat, but yes, I think we need more people to call out problems in the behavior and positions of those on the left to match what the left does to call out problems in behavior and positions of those on the right. Just because those on the right have thicker skin does not provide justification for a one-sided rule of engagement.

    With the media and education firmly entrenched in left thinking, I think you and others with a left-leaning worldview have not had much experience having to take the same that you routinely dish out. I like that it agitates and appears to sting. Welcome to my world almost every time Barak Obama opens his mouth.

  91. EastCoastTransplant

    Prop 13 was a ridiculous, nuclear-level response to what was a minor problem (plus fearmongering that it would get worse). CA had something like 2-3 points higher than the national average for average household tax burden, a problem that could easily have been solved with one or two legitimate elections for candidates, but instead they freaked out and ran into the arms of Proposition 13. We don’t trust our elected representatives to do the jobs we pay them for more than we trust some jerk with a clipboard at the Farmer’s Market or Nugget (who is willing to lie to us about what their Proposition or Initiative says).

    As for pensions, to explain it to you Ayn Randians in the readership, the point is that the state agrees to pay more money later (in the form of pensions) to avoid having to pay the workers cash-in-hand raises now (that they could then invest for themselves into their own retirement). They get fat pensions because their salaries are low. You want to reduce pensions, raise salaries. Ditto goes for benefits – they’d rather raise benefits because they have some control over the supply-negotiations for those services – i.e. they can squeeze out some savings – instead of having to pay cash-money immediately to workers to pay for their own private benefits. In short, when you complain about state employee benefits and pensions, without keeping in mind that they get dick for salaries, you are being a jackass.

  92. Frankly

    ECT: Talk about ridiculous. Your head is in a cloud of fantasy.

    Let’s look at the Accounting Manager job for example:

    [img]http://www.cscdc.org/miscfrank/privateac.jpg[/img]

    [img]http://www.cscdc.org/miscfrank/publicac.jpg[/img]

    So, we see that the government job pays at least as well, and likely significantly more.

    Now let’s look at the benefits

    [img]http://www.cscdc.org/miscfrank/privateacben.jpg[/img]

    [url]http://atyourservice.ucop.edu/forms_pubs/misc/benefits_of_belonging.pdf[/url]

    Now, I can do the work to value these UC benefits, but I really don’t think I need to because it is VERY clear that they are a couple orders of magnitude richer than what the private sector worker gets. The present value on the defined benefit pension and full healthcare for that lucky PEU accounting manager retiring at 57 at 75% pay would be several million dollars. In other words, the poor private sector worker would need to have that much money in his 401k at time of retirement to equal the same retirement lifestyle. That means he would need to take a large chunk of his regular pay and put it in his 401k. So, he would have even less money to live on. And, since he could not earn enough in his career to save that much, he is going to have to work many more years. And yes, he gets social security when he reaches age 70. Yippee!

    Are you ready to concede that you don’t have a clue, or do I need to provide you more examples?

  93. wdf1

    Frankly: [i]…we stop singing the National Anthem[/i]

    Here’s a question to ask your kids that might make a point of some agreement between us — “When in grade school did you learn the words to the National Anthem?”

    At no point in any of my kids’ lives in the Davis schools did they learn the words to the National Anthem. Students enrolled in choir might learn the words because of being asked to perform it somewhere locally. I learned the words to the National Anthem in elementary general music class. That program was cut from the Davis schools in the early-/mid-1970’s (no, this actually wasn’t a “Prop. 13 casualty”, in a weak attempt to stay on topic). I think it is worth it to learn the words to the National Anthem, and I think elementary general music is the right vehicle for it. It is one objective point of common cultural reference that citizens of any nation identify with – their national anthem/hymn.

    But in another school district, I heard a cultural/political conservative resident comment how he was all too glad to see his local school district drop elementary general music because they were “singing folks songs by pinko-liberals like Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, and Harry Belafonte.” It’s a real shoot-yourself-in-the-foot argument. So additionally, kids now aren’t learning other patriotic or historically significant songs like “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, “America”, “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”, or Stephen Foster songs (“Oh, Susanna”).

    Something to think about when you argue about how culturally unrooted you think Americans are becoming and what role you think schools have in the question.

  94. Frankly

    Good point wdf1. I think you and I both agree that we need to support the arts. Where we disagree is the benefits for other humanities curriculum, teaching methods/models and spending/funding.

  95. wdf1

    Frankly: [i]An extreme example of this is the liberal demand that we embrace and support Muslim cultures… even those that demand Sharia law, etc. Just check the recent UC Regents student board member appointment. She is a devote Muslim that demands the campuses adopt more Sharia practice into their rules for student behavior. Why do liberals demand this type of thing when Sharia law would result in their persecution?[/i]

    Where do you find information that she “demands the campuses adopt more Sharia practice into their rules for student behavior”? That showed up in no articles that I read on the event. One example ([url]http://www.sfgate.com/education/article/UC-regents-back-outspoken-Muslim-student-4671413.php[/url]).

    That argument also make sense to me, either. I understand the most extreme forms of sharia law would keep women out of the public, out of co-ed universities, and probably out of most conventional education. Think of women in burqas and Malala Yousafzai ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malala_Yousafzai[/url]). Sadia Saifuddin’s mere presence in the system and the process is an indication of less conservative extreme of Islam. Based on what I’ve read, I don’t have a problem with her appointment. I see it as representing the export of American values to other cultures, and probably the ultimate “FU” to the Taliban and Al-qaida terrorists and partisans. Even if somehow she wanted the UC’s to adopt Sharia law for their students in some way, then she undermines a certain level of credibility. And I see it as a non-starter. Articles about her indicate her openness to dialogue with cultural/political rivals. I see that as a good thing.

    If you want to spread those fantastically great American values, then you actually do have to mix and mingle with other cultures.

  96. Mr.Toad

    “Free speech is not freedom to import your culture to supplant the culture that gives you free speech. “

    Shouting fire in a crowded theatre is not protected but cultural practices are protected. It looks like you are being un-american. by demanding other wise.

  97. Frankly

    Oops… wdf1 I had previously responded to your question but on the other related topic.

    Here it is…

    [quote]Ms. Saifuddin is an ill-advised choice because she promotes activities that marginalize a large group of students on campus, and she advances extremist positions[/quote]
    [quote]Saifuddin graduated from the Council on American Islamic Relations’ Youth Leadership Program in public speaking, media relations and governmental activism in 2008 and has maintained close ties to the organization, which has been accused of promoting radical Islam[/quote]
    [quote]CAIR has strong ties to the terrorist group Hamas:

    “[CAIR] was formed not by Muslim religious leaders throughout the country, but as an offshoot of the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP). Incorporated in Texas, the IAP has close ties to Hamas and has trumpeted its support for terrorist activities.”[6] Former chief of the FBI’s counter terrorism section, Oliver Revell, called the IAP “a front organization for Hamas that engages in propaganda for Islamic militants.”[7]

    CAIR’s head, Nihad Awad asserted at a 1994 meeting at Barry University, “I am a supporter of the Hamas movement.”[8]

    Former FBI counter terrorism chief, Steven Pomerantz, stated publicly that, “CAIR, its leaders and its activities effectively give aid to international terrorist groups.”[9]

    CAIR promotes extremist views and a radical Islamic vision:

    At a speech in Fremont, California, Omar M. Ahmad of CAIR proclaimed that, “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran…should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”[10]

    CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper equates Christian leaders such as Rev. Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Rev. Jimmy Swaggart with Osama bin Laden because he claims that given the chance, they would commit mass murder against Muslims. “They’re the equivalent of our Osama bin Laden,” Hooper told WABC Radio’s Steve Malzberg. When asked to clarify if Osama bin Laden’s goal was to kill Christians, Jews and Westerners, Hooper responded, “Yes, that’s one of his goals. And I’m sure that, given the right circumstance, [Falwell, Robertson and Swaggart] would do the same in the opposite direction.”[11]

    CAIR is an apologist for convicted Islamic terrorists:

    CAIR’s founder, Nihad Awad, wrote in the Muslim World Monitor that the 1994 World Trade Center trial, which ended in the conviction of four Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, was “a travesty of justice.” According to Awad — and despite the confessions of the terrorists from the 1993 attack — “there is ample evidence indicating that both the Mossad and the Egyptian Intelligence played a role in the explosion.”[12]

    On Feb. 2, 1995, U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White named Siraj Wahhaj as one of the “unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators” in the attempt to blow up New York City monuments. Yet CAIR deems him “one of the most respected Muslim leaders in America” and includes him on its advisory board.[13]

    CAIR is reluctant to condemn terrorists and terrorism:

    In October 1998, the group demanded the removal of a Los Angeles billboard describing Osama bin Laden as “the sworn enemy,” finding this depiction “offensive to Muslims.”[14]

    In 1998, CAIR denied bin Laden’s responsibility for the two Al Queda African embassy bombings. According to CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, the bombings resulted from a “misunderstandings of both sides.” [15]

    CAIR supports organizations that fund terrorism:

    When President Bush closed the Holy Land Foundation in December 2001 for collecting money that intelligence found was “used to support the Hamas terror organization,” CAIR decried his action as “unjust” and “disturbing.[16] [/quote]

  98. wdf1

    Frankly: Right. I saw it on the other thread. So guilt by association. Based on that line of reasoning you can make a lot of specious allegations. That, for instance, a particular Eagle Scout hates gay people because of BSA’s history with banning gays, etc.

    I am interested in personal accusations directly against Saifuddin (words out of her mouth), and the claim that she “demands the campuses adopt more Sharia practice into their rules for student behavior.”

    Anything on that?

  99. jimt

    Again I’m pleased to see Frankly and Ginger posting some of the perils of multiculturalism; which are quite real, and which are ignored by the mainstream press and politicos–unfortunately most college-educated people (but not myself, I’m glad to say) swallow the multiculturalism mythos hook, line, and sinker, with little critical examination; such ‘sophisticates’ learn fancy words like xenophobe or racist to affix as labels on the ignorant troglodytes who critically examine cons (as well as pros) of multiculturalism, including the history of multicultural societies–their histories tend to be short; I can’t think of any such societies which haven’t fragmented into bickering groups; social meltdown and civil war or balkanization are the most common path leading from such arrangements. History has demonstrated, by contrast, that the melting pot assimilation generally works; in particular there is the high success circa 100 years ago in the USA.

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