Kelley Ross for State Assembly; the results of November 3, 1998, are:

District 40:  100.0% (187 of 187) precincts reporting as of 4:30 PM Dec 4, 1998
* Bob Hertzberg       Democrat      51,145   68.8 
  Eunice Deleuw       Republican    18,998   25.5 
  Kelley L. Ross      Libertarian    4,245    5.7 
These are very disappointing and discouraging results. I did better, in vote and percentage, against Barbara Friedman, the incumbent, in 1994. Hertzberg has done 10% better than she did. Indeed, the resurgence of the Democratic vote in this election was general, sweeping the Democrats to complete control of the State for the first time in 16 years, returning a lightweight leftist ideologue to the US Senate for another 6 years, and passing a good number of big government, tax and spent measures on the initiative ballot, including more money for the already bloated and irresponsible educrats and a discriminatory tax against smokers (to fund a State-wide child care bureaucracy of hectoring do-gooders).

Thus the voters have turned again to big government, high taxes, and attacks on freedom, buying into the stale socialist clichés that the Democrats have been purveying for years. For a while, it looked like people were wising up. Now we are very nearly back to square one. The Republicans never even tried to attack the New Deal, so, naturally, people are still thinking that New Deal programs are reasonable and proper. The Democrats are the logical agents of a New Deal government, so it is perfectly sensible to put them back in charge. So we get to go through the whole cycle all over again.

Since the left has recently won control in France, Britain, and Germany, after timid conservative governments (British conservatives got rid of Margaret Thatcher just so they could become timid) were unable to articulate a message or do much about the mess that previous leftist policies had created, a resurgence of Democrats in the United States, with similar failures by timid conservatives, is not too surprising. But with much of the world economy slowing from the bursting bubble in the Far East, and with European unemployment still above 10%, it is a bad time for a new bunch of leftist nostrums that will only slow economies and drive up employment even more. With employment in California still lagging behind much of the rest of the nation, but with the Republicans still in control of Congress, hopefully to preserve some economic sanity in the national government (a fading hope given the last bloated Republican budget), it would almost be good news if the Democrats completely ruin the economy in California, pour encourager les autres. It will be interesting to see how soon the minimum wage is going to get driven up again. More anti-business laws are a certainty. When the State is celebrating a reduction in unemployment from 6% in September 1998 to 5.9% in October, which is a number far too high to be celebrating about, the situation is far too precarious for people to be voting for Democrats--indeed, unemployment in Los Angeles County went up to 6.7% from 6.6% in the same period. When October unemployment was 2.9% in notoriously Right Wing Orange County, it is clear what a difference a business climate can make.

They say people get the kind of government they deserve, and the people of California are about to get it .... good and hard.

More than disappointing or discouraging, however, the election results are really sickening. After the resignation and disgrace of Richard Nixon, the Republicans lost big at the polls in 1976. This time, however, with plain evidence that Bill Clinton committed felonies while in office, and is really little better than a sexual predator, the opinion polls, and the actual election returns, seem to indicate that the American people simply don't care. Clinton's crimes are blamed on the Republicans; and Ken Starr, the "Republican Independent Counsel," as Dan Rather likes to say, has a high "disapproval" rating as special prosecutor.

However, Clinton's crimes are Clinton's crimes. They were brought to light by a prosecutor appointed by Janet Reno, not by the Republicans, under laws that were signed and approved of by Bill Clinton himself. Investigating crimes in Arkansas, Starr has obtained felony convictions of many associates of Clinton, including Clinton's successor as governor of Arkansas. Often, Clinton's convicted associates have refused to cooperate with prosecutors or to testify to what they know, good or bad, about Clinton (earning contempt of court sentences). This cannot be called a "witch hunt," which is the brain dead Democrat Party Line, when there are real crimes, many already proven in court, involved. The dishonest and hypocritical Democrats simply do not want their President treated the way that the Democrats always treated Republican Presidents. The first count of impeachment against Richard Nixon, after all, was just that he "lied to the American people." Clinton himself has virtually admitted as much. Lawrence Walsh, the "Iran-Contra" prosecutor, was never subject to the same vilification as Ken Starr, even though Starr has got much more in the way of solid results.

If the American people simply don't care about all this, then the hypocrisy, dishonesty, and lies of the Clintons and the Democrats have succeeded in totally corrupting everyone, and the character of the nation may be irredeemably damaged. A President who is a disgrace and a historic embarrassment thus leaves a bitter legacy indeed. The American people have disastrously fallen for the most transparent political and moral hucksterism. Clinton has actually been caught on videotape going from laughter to fake tears, just because he had seen a camera on him. Clinton announced to Congress that "The era of big government is over," even when he then did absolutely nothing except propose new government programs, powers, and taxes, and is willing to veto a whole budget just because it doesn't spend enough. This is one of the most nauseating performances in American history, and behind it is a thinly concealed gangsterism: Kathleen Willey received death threats from Clinton operatives when it seemed that she might go public with the story of Clinton groping her in the Oval Office. This is all truly terrifying, but, evidently, it doesn't matter to the American people because of the wonderful job Clinton does as President. Give me a break. If people really voted for Democrats this time just to "punish" the Republicans for daring to investigate the crimes of their beloved President, this should go down as one of the saddest days in American history.


Kelley Ross for State Assembly, 1998 Issues

No Looting of Auto Taxes! No on Proposition 2!

Proposition 2 is a measured sponsored by Los Angeles Democrat Curt Pringle, who obviously smells some money and wonders why he is not spending it. This is a constitutional amendment that allows the State to "borrow" money for the general fund (i.e. it can be spent on anything) from motor vehicle use fees and taxes. What this obviously means is that the motor vehicle fees are raising more money than is needed to pay for the DMV and whatever other expenses they were intended for. If that is true, then clearly those "fees and taxes" can be cut, as some have proposed doing. However, Democrats never saw a tax they didn't like, so Pringle wants to be able to take the auto taxes and use them for something else. They will, of course, be "repaid in full" at some future date, at which point it will no doubt be "necessary" to raise other taxes to pay for the stuff that Pringle had started paying for with the borrowed auto taxes! Neat trick. Stop this all now with a NO! on Proposition 2! You might also write Pringle to tell him that you would rather have your money back than give it to him.

Sadly, Proposition 2 passed overwhelmingly. People have just not caught on to the thievery practiced by these politicians.


Free California Indian Tribes! Yes on Proposition 5!

Governor Wilson, for some reason, has been trying to drive gambling casinos on California Indian reservations out of business. Perhaps he has friends in Nevada (though I have nothing against Las Vegas), or perhaps the California Lottery feels threatened by competing forms of gambling. In any case, Proposition 5 simply allows Indian casinos on tribal lands to continue functioning as they have been, under federal law. Across the country, gambling has enabled more reservation Indian tribes to come out of poverty than anything else in American history. Remember, Custer died for our sins. The anti-5 ads seem to be long on scare stories and short on truth. Respect the autonomy and sovereignty of the Native Americans of California and vote yes on Proposition 5!

A big win for Proposition 5, after a brilliant ad campaign. Thus, California Indians end up with more freedom that the rest of California, as the Democrats get ready to enslave everyone else.

An interesting feature of the campaign for 5 was that California Indians consistently called themselves the poltically incorrect "Indians" rather than politically correct "Native Americans."

Californians for Indian Self-Reliance

Why the Attempt to Shut Down Indian Gaming Machines in California is Illegal and Shameful


No Electricity Price Fixing! No on Proposition 9!

Proposition 9 is another pathetic example of Cargo Cult economics from "consumer advocate" socialists. According to the Los Angeles Times (July 18, 1998), "It would require a 20% rate cut and prevent utilities from charging customers $28 billion for the cost of nuclear plants and long-term purchase contracts." Now, the profits of public utilities are regulated, and the businesses are guaranteed a certain rate of return. If their revenues are then reduced by a mandated 20% rate cut, and if they are required to write off losses on investments (like nuclear power plants, etc.), the numbers are simply not going to add up:  If they have to swallow the losses and are having revenues cut, this is going to result in red ink rather than black ink. With the red ink, it turns out, the utilities will have to default on bonds that are actually underwritten by the State of California, which means that the bonds will get paid off anyway, with tax money. This craziness comes from the kind of people who think that businesses have unlimited money, don't need to turn a profit, and, of course, never go bankrupt.

The source of the "consumer advocate" unhappiness seems to be utility deregulation (& perhaps the idea of nuclear power), which is the only thing that in the long run will drive down consumer prices, but which "consumer advocates" don't understand or believe in, since they think that prices get lower through being reduced by law. For them, wealth is just there (which is why I call it "Cargo Cult" economics); and they think that the task of government is to take wealth away from rich people and give to everyone else (especially them). What this really produces, of course, is bloated, expensive, inefficient, unresponsive bureaucracies (run, coincidentally, by people like them).

More stupidity like this can be stopped with a NO! on Proposition 9!

Proposition 9 lost to a broad coalition. Some of the most extreme forms of leftist looniness still stir up too many enemies.


No New Taxes on Tobacco! No on Proposition 10!

The "Meathead Initiative," since it was cooked up by Rob Reiner ("Meathead" on the Seventies TV show, All in the Family). Rob and other Hollywood leftists want to raise taxes on tobacco so that they can pay for the first steps in some kind of State takeover of child care, or of medicine, or some other socialist, totalitarian scheme. Where they would get the money if the Health Nazis actually succeeded in stamping out smoking is a good question. I suppose we would just have to raises taxes to make up the shortfall!

This is a constitutional amendment, which means that it could only be repealed by another initiative. It would increase the tax on tobacco by 50 cents, up to 85 cents a pack (on top of federal taxes--which Congress has considered jacking up to several dollars). The plan is to "set up community-based programs to provide parental education and family support services and help pregnant women and parents to stop smoking" (Los Angeles Times, July 18, 1998). In other words, parents must be re-educated in the new Health Nazi political correctness. To "help" pregnant women and parents to stop smoking means that next, certainly, it will be illegal for pregnant women and parents to smoke.

A very close but heartbreaking win for Proposition 10, by only 65,492 votes, out of almost 8,000,000 million. The paternalistic, leftist prohibitionists thus start the process of taxing tobacco out of existence. When tobacco is gone, their whole project of replacing parents with Hollywood do-gooders will thus have to be funded with other taxes.


Term Limits for Congress! Yes on 225!

Politicians hate term limits, and they got the Supreme Court to cook up a dishonest argument to strike down State term limit laws for members of Congress. So a Constitutional Amendment will be necessary. Proposition 225 merely advises politicians to pursue such an Amendment. Right. We may as well advise the tide not to come in.

So we should vote YES on 225 but realize that it won't make any difference--not as long as people keep voting Democrat and Republican thieves and liars into office.

225 won by a definite but not overwhelming margin. Support for 225, however, was very broad. It only lost in the "usual suspects":  Los Angeles Country and five Bay Area counties, the centers of radical and leftist sentiment. Outside those areas, only one other county went for 225--not, as we might expect, Sacramento County, but Yolo County, containing Davis and Woodland. With the University of California in Davis and perhaps politician and bureaucrat suburbs of Sacramento, we may be able to explain the anomaly. This result is interesting, since it reveals the leftist attachment to the power of government and the extent to which the professional politician/lawyer class is beholden to the Democratic Party.

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No Union Dues for Politics Without Permission! Yes on 226!

Labor unions are usually wholly owned subsidiaries of the Democratic Party, run by closed and self-perpetuating cliques of leftists. On the other hand, labor union members, whether voluntary members or not, often vote for non-Democrat candidates. Nevertheless, their unions dues get used, without their permission, to pay for the Democrats. Teachers' Unions especially use their money to promote higher taxes that can go into teachers' raises and to the various bogus schemes for education "reform" that are always getting dreamed up by education schools.

This practice of using union dues without permission for political purposes is actually now, under a Supreme Court decision (Communications Works v. Beck, 1988), illegal, but a President (Slick Willie) and a National Labor Relations Board in the pocket of Big Labor have continually obstructed the enforcement of the rule. With a YES on 226, California can add a State law to help out union members, especially dissident teachers, keep their money out of the hands of the Democrats.

Yes on 226 Flyer

A heartbreaking loss for freedom on 226. Big Labor knew that a win for 226 would be a serious blow to their ability to steal money from the involuntary union members, and non-members, over whom the law gives them power. So they went all out, spending something like $17 million on a smear campaign of deceptive television ads, whose dishonesty should have been obvious from the fact that the ads usually never did mention what the intitiative was actually about. People would have come away thinking that 226 was about HMO's, foreign trade, police protection, or multi-national corporations. On the other hand, 226 was not a hot issue for businesses, and much of the Right is at least a little leary of appearing to attack labor unions. Also, even people in the Libertarian Party were confused about whether the internal affairs of unions were proper matters of State law--though the point should have been that the powers that unions have over workers are already not just a matter of internal affairs, but a matter of law (the 1935 National Labor Relations Act) that enables unions to take money from people who do not want to belong to a union. Also, the "Yes on 226" forces started out with the naive conviction that all they had to do was state the basic truth about the intitiative, and that would take care of it. They did not start countering the outrageous claims of the "No on 226" ads until late in the campaign, and then they did not have the money, or quite the same media savvy, to make up for the lost ground. So the result was that the "No" vote spread out from the leftist centers of San Francisco and Los Angeles into the more conservative rural areas, extending all the way to the Colorado River at the southern end of the state. In the future, it will always be a tough row to hoe when voters must be disabused of the idea that labor unions are disinterested friends of the people and can be trusted with the kind of power that they have over workers. That can only be a long term project.

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Abolish State Mandated Bi-Lingual Education! Yes on 227!

Immigrant parents usually want their children to learn English in school; but the entrenched bi-lingual education establishment really wants to perpetuate immigrant students in their native languages. This helps increase their own bureaucratic empire, and it helps create a political constituency that can only be reached by a radicalized foreign language press. Parents are thus often told, even lied to, that their children cannot be put into English only classes.

Parents should have a choice in the education of their children, and the first step in this must be to crush the bi-lingual education establishment. This step can be taken with a YES vote on 227.

A very big win for 227, and a bitter pill for the Left. Only two counties, San Francisco and Alameda (containing radicalized leftist Berkeley and Oakland), went against the initiative. What galls the Left the most is the support for 227 even among Hispanic voters (thought this turned out to be substantially less than pre-election polls predicted), since they like the myth that anyone with a Spanish surname is a Chicano Nationalist who wants a bi-lingual, even bi-national, United States--or to return the Southwest to Mexico (American Indians, like the Navajo, Chumash, Agua Caliente, etc., might have some thoughts about that). Since they cannot abandon that myth, their efforts now will move into the courts, where they successfully set aside Proposition 187 (no public school spending on illegal aliens) and tried, but failed, to set aside Proposition 209 (ending preferential policies). The campaign against 227, as it happened, was poorly conceived. It is tempting to think that the money and the nastiness that had been directed against 209 in 1996 got drawn off to fight 226 this time. 226 could not have been fought in the courts (since it simply implemented existing Supreme Court decisions) as can 227; and 226 more directly threatened the dishonest sources of union money for the Democratic Party. So the anti-227 ads were mild compared to the anti-209 or anti-226 ads. They largely seemed to take the approach "this is going to cost money," which sounds more like an objection from conservatives than from Democrats. That was about it (although I have not heard about the tenor of the ads on Spanish language stations). The Chicano Nationalists themselves had at least learned that they should wave American flags, not Mexican flags, in their demonstrations, but then the size and enthusiasm of anti-227 demonstations didn't seem to amount to much. The lack of size may have reflected Hispanic support for 227, while the lack of enthusiasm may have resulted from distaste at having to wave those American flags. After the election, some of the same kinds of students who had demonstrated against Proposition 187 (with Mexican flags) in 1994 came out, or were turned out, to demonstrate post facto against 227, chanting in Spanish. Perhaps they think this will endear them to the 61% of the electorate that was clearly opposed to bi-lingualism.

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Stop Public Employee Powergrab! No on 224!

According to the Los Angeles Times (April 27, 1998), the union of state highway engineers:

wants to make it tougher for the Department of Transportation and other state and local government entities to contract privately for engineering and design work that the union believes can be done better and cheaper by state employees.

To that end, the 6,000-member Professional Engineers in California Government union is sponsoring Proposition 224, which it says would save taxpayers millions of dollars and result in safer, higher quality structures.

This kind of thing is part of a long term strategy by public employee unions to try and forbid the bidding out or privatizing of "public services." It has little to do with what can be "done better and cheaper" but a lot to do with seizing a permanent place at the public trough. Ultimate success for this agenda is what happened in Hawaii, where a state Supreme Court, packed with leftist ideologues, ruled that no state or local services could be bid out or privatized if they could already be done by existing state employees. Thus the people of Hawaii, who had actually voted for privatization, became the slaves of the state public employee unions. Not coincidentally, Hawaii has the highest taxes and the lowest percentage of take-home pay in the country (cf. Cato Policy Analysis No. 302, "The Hidden Burden of Taxation, How the Government Reduces Take-Home Pay," April 15, 1998).

Stop this powergrab with a NO vote on 224!

224 lost big. Anti-224 ads were strong and pretty well got out the message of the power grab by State bureaucrats. Both business and (private sector) labor unions had reason to finance the anti-224 campaign. It looks like 224 only carried one country (Mono) in the whole state, and that by a bare 50%.

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Kelley L. Ross