Entries by Edward Ring

Fighting Corporate Welfare

Corporate Welfare: Projects advertised as benefiting the general welfare that offer a disproportionate amount of value to large corporations, and often in uncompetitive or anti-competitive ways. If the goal of public policy is to optimize the role of government, corporate welfare must be identified and curbed wherever possible. Corporate welfare wastes the limited resources of […]

Citizen’s Initiatives May Transform Oxnard Politics

What’s happening in Oxnard provides another example of what citizen activists can accomplish. Led by Aaron Starr, a local executive with a financial background including a CPA, a small group of volunteers are working to qualify five reform initiatives. If they gather the signatures required for each initiative, residents of the City of Oxnard will […]

How Local Officials Can Prepare for the Janus Ruling

“A public employer shall provide all public employees an orientation and shall permit the exclusive representative, if applicable, to participate.” – Excerpt from California State Assembly Bill AB 52, December 2016 In plain English, AB 52 requires every local government agency in California to bring union representatives into contact with every new hire, to “allow […]

Coping With the Pension Albatross

Instead of the cross, the albatross About my neck was hung. –  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, 1798 In Coleridge’s famous poem, a sailor who killed an albatross has it hung around his neck as punishment. Since then, the albatross, which sailors used to consider good luck, has come to symbolize an oppressive […]

Marin County Discloses Debt Balances on Property Tax Bills

How would you like it if every time you received a property tax bill from your county assessor, you also received a notice that disclosed the amount of the county’s total debt, annual operating expenses, total unfunded liability for pensions, and total unfunded liability for retirement healthcare? You might not like it, but you’d have […]

Steps to Improve Police Training and Accountability

“We’re not anti-cop. We’re anti bad cop. Bad cops have to be fired, just like bad politicians” – Leader of Black Lives Matter counter-protest, who was spontaneously invited to speak at a pro-Trump rally (watch video). There aren’t too many things that are easier to agree on than this sentiment. Even those of us who […]

How Placer County Privatized Inmate Food Services

Introducing competition to the public sector is an essential part of delivering cost-effective services to taxpayers. What happened earlier this year in Placer County is just one example of how millions of savings can be realized by privatizing a public service. By replacing county employees with a private firm to provide inmate food services to […]

Pension Reform – The San Jose Model

Pension reform in San Jose began in June 2012 when voters, by a margin of 69% to 31%, approved Measure B. Despite overwhelming support from voters, however, this vote triggered a cascade of union funded lawsuits which by 2015 had overturned several of the key provisions of the reform measure. Finally, in August 2015, the […]

Reforming Binding Arbitration

The City of San Jose was a pioneer in reforming their rules governing binding arbitration, rules that may seem obscure and complex to the uninitiated, but which have profound consequences. Until the San Jose city council put arbitration reform on the ballot in 2010, unelected arbitrators could end labor negotiations with decisions that were devastating […]