Labor

L.A. Election Late Hit

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Throw the bums out.

Remember when election results used to be clear so early that they would all be printed in the newspaper lying in your driveway the next morning?

These days even dinky city council elections are likely to wind up in lengthy endgames. Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks has 50.89 percent in official results [pdf] from yesterday's primary, but he may yet be facing a runoff. Union-backed challenger Forescee Hogan-Rowles, believes her 43.99 percent showing demonstrates that she's "got Bernard Parks on the ropes." Hogan-Rowles – who received a cool $1.2 million in contributions from government employee unions after Parks promised to seek more layoffs in an effort to eliminate the city's $404 million deficit – says Parks' slim majority leaves her campaign "in a position to force a runoff."

In another squeaker from L.A.'s low-turnout election, Proposition O, a municipal measure that would have placed a tax of $1.44 on each barrel of oil extracted in the city, narrowly failed. L.A. voters were kinder to the other nine ballot measures, including the election's second big tax request: Proposition M, a $50-per-$1,000-gross-receipts tax on medical marijuana collectives. This steep tax hike passed with 59 percent of the vote.

The rest of the initiatives sought better disclosure from the county water and power authority, pension reform, a guarantee for library funding, and assorted good-government-type proposals. All passed.

While I disagree with several of these votes, I'll take the defeat of O as a rare gift from my tax-happy fellow Angelenos. Proposition M, which seeks to impose an income tax on non-profit entities, is legally dubious. It will be interesting to see how it plays out in court. But at least medical pot is a booming industry that, unlike local oil production, won't be driven to extinction by the tax.

The biggest human interest story was the city of Bell's recall election. In Bell, which became a global phenomenon after the Los Angeles Times reported on its million-dollar city manager, voters recalled the former mayor and all or most of the city council. The small Southeast-L.A. County town crystallized last year's consensus that government employees had become a threat not only to limited-government ideals but to the progressive ambitions that liberals hold dear. That consensus has since been challenged by public-sector-union counterattacks in Wisconsin and other states. The Bell vote is a bracing reminder: The government's ability to take the wealth of the citizens is conditional and built on trust. The people, not the government, have the power to renegotiate the social contract.

The editorial board of the L.A. Times, which still engages in the quaint fiction of institutional endorsements, fared pretty well this time around. Voters went for all but three of the Times' seven City Council recommendations and all but two of the paper's ten ballot initiative recommendations. I was surprised by the paper's endorsement of Bernard Parks. In 2007, when Parks ran against the union-friendly Mark Ridley-Thomas for County Supervisor, I was the only member of the ed board who supported him, and it took the intervention of then-publisher David Hiller to force the ed board to endorse Parks. Whether Eddie Hartenstein, the somnolent current publisher of the Times, intervened this time I don't know. It's certainly possible the ed board has figured out what the newsroom has known at least since the Bell scandal: You can be a good Democrat and still admit public sector unions are sucking us all dry.

NEXT: Surprise! The Secretary of Agriculture Doesn't Understand Farm Subsidy Effects

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  1. Any news from Wisconsin, Tim?

  2. “Proposition M, a $50-per-$1,000-gross-receipts tax on medical marijuana collectives. This steep tax hike passed with 59 percent of the vote.”

    I’m for legalization, but it comes with a price, and not all to the consumers.
    This new government revenue will be spent and more than spent, leading to greater debt.
    Starve the beast.

  3. Michigan sucks. But DAYUM, Cali REALLY sucks.

    Would China be interested in buying California as a sort of eastern resort for all their new millionaires? Take it off the US’ books, no questions asked, badda boom, badda bing – SoCal’s speaking Chinese.

    A man can dream…

    1. So that’s what things would be like if I’d invented the Finglonger…

  4. Also, the scene in Wisconsin is deliciously wonderful. Got your bluff called, didn’t you Dems? Suck it, bitches. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Love it…give us more!

    1. The GOP obviously learned nothing from the past two years. They were confused and leaderless back in 2009; then the Democrats passed their monumental reforms without properly explaining how important they were, and paid the price at the polls in 2010 by the hand of misinformed and frightened voters.

      Now the GOP is doing the same thing with their union-busting “reforms”. They are sly not to explain them to the American people, because unlike the federal reforms of the past two years, there are no benefits to these sweeping changes. The American people are already starting to see through the thin veil of budget rheotoric from snake-oil selling Rethuglicans, who cry poverty after handing their fatcat pals a huge tax cut. Like that Guess Who song says, we won’t get fooled again.

      1. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn….

      2. “…unlike the federal reforms of the past two years, there are no benefits to these sweeping changes.”

        Surely there must be some benefits!

        “The American people are already starting to see through the thin veil of budget rheotoric from snake-oil selling Rethuglicans, who cry poverty after handing their fatcat pals a huge tax cut.”

        Speaking as an American person, if there’s any rhetoric I’m starting to see through?

        It’s “snake-oil selling Rethuglicans”, and “fatcats”.

      3. Democrats passed their monumental reforms without properly explaining how important they were

        Yup, if only they’d explained it better, people would love it.

        1. Indeed. A better explanation is needed for things.

          For instance, a lot of people have said that the new health care bill is a bunch of crap. It would be better said to be feces. And feces is very useful in many regards. It’s known as a fertilizer, used by farmers the world over to help feed and grow their crops. This consuming of feces helps to improve the product of farming. And since we farmed out the bill to a lot of staffers, we needed to consume a lot of feces to grow it to the bill we know and love!

          Also, that Palin girl keeps talking about ‘death panels’. They’re better said to be expiry panels. After all, people know that when things are expired, they are beyond their date of usefulness and can become a hazard. Imagine a jug of milk beyond its sell-by date, or medicine that has to be used by a certain time. You could get sick from these old products. Same with people. Thus, expiry panels are a good thing for the American people.

          So, to wit, consume feces, and expire. It’s the American way!

      4. “then the Democrats passed their monumental reforms without properly explaining how important they were”

        Too funny for words!

      5. Thats “The Who”, not the “Guess Who” who sang Won’t Get Fooled Again

  5. “Proposition M, which seeks to impose an income tax on non-profit entities, is legally dubious.”

    It’s worse than legally dubious–it’s political payback targeting those who supported Proposition 8 way back when.

    The text of Proposition M should have read, “You refused us marriage rights, so now we’re gonna violate your first amendment rights.”

    People putting each others’ rights up to a vote always ends in tears.

    1. “People putting each others’ rights up to a vote always ends in tears.”

      ^ this; applause!

    2. Wait, medical marijuana operations opposed gay marriage?

      1. I was confused.

      2. Yes, Big Weed is a very powerful lobby here in CA.

    3. You’re lucky if tears is the only bodily fluid shed as a consequence.

  6. Awesome, I finally got INCIF to work.

    It’s weird though, because since I got it working I’ve been the first commentor in every thread. Actually, the only commentor.

    1. Awesome, I finally got INCIF to work

      I wonder how well it works? Dear Trespassers W, Fuck you.

      I actually have no clue who you are and can’t remember one comment you ever made.

      1. That’s because he’s not your dad.

        1. Daddy? Is that you? I’m sorry I made you angry Daddy, please come back. Next time I’ll do everything you want.

      2. It doesn’t work on my iPad, of course, because that doesn’t run Firefox.

        Why would I filter you? How else could I find the address for your blog?

  7. You know a “libertarian” publication has a problem when it trumpets the virtue of the “social contract.”

    1. you only posted that as an excuse to drink, right?

    2. you only posted that as an excuse to drink, right?

    3. Those scare quotes made me piss myself.

  8. The editorial board of the L.A. Times, which still engages in the quaint fiction of institutional endorsements, fared pretty well this time around. Voters went for all but three of the Times’ seven City Council recommendations

    The random flipping of the coin fared pretty well this time around. Voters went for 3.5 of the coin’s seven City Council recommendations.

    Fucking statistics — how do they work?

    1. Yeah, all but 3 is an odd way to describe something out of 7.

      Last year, the Lakers destroyed the Celtics by winning all but 3 games in the NBA Finals.

  9. hai guyz.. I just poked my head in the Elmo thread.
    Is there more than one person playing Tony these days, or does he not have a job?

  10. The random flipping of the coin fared pretty well this time around. Voters went for 3.5 of the coin’s seven City Council recommendations.

  11. The only reason there is even a possibility that Parks could pull this out is a function of name recognition. People are sick of him I am so tired of the non sensical comments of anti union blow hards. If you’d bother to pay attention to the people who are actually paid to crunch the actual numbers you’d see that unions AREN’T sucking us all dry. it’s time business and corporate america pay their fair share. i hire workers based on what my business can afford and that includes making sure that the employees i do have are paid a good wages with benefits. pushing my employees into poverty doesnt help america the community or my business. my employees have been with me for 14 years and are my best pr. i wonder how many businesses can say the same.

    stop blaming the working guy. no one is sad for the business owners that have to buy there usc college student a prius over a bmw because business is not as good. Curse those workers and their union wages and benefits.

  12. “unions AREN’T sucking us all dry. it’s time business and corporate america pay their fair share.”

    Right on, Sister Jenny! Corporations such as GM and Chrysler!

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