Flap’s Links and Comments for July 1st on 11:38
These are my links for July 1st from 11:38 to 11:54:
- Official Calls For Riverside, 12 Other Counties To Secede From California – Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone apparently thinks so, after proposing that the county lead a campaign for as many as 13 Southern California counties to secede from the state.
Stone said in a statement late Thursday that Riverside, Imperial, San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Kings, Kern, Fresno, Tulare, Inyo, Madera, Mariposa and Mono counties should form the new state of South California.
The creation of the new state would allow officials to focus on securing borders, balancing budgets, improving schools and creating a vibrant economy, he said.
“Our taxes are too high, our schools don’t educate our children well enough, unions and other special interests have more clout in the Legislature than the general public,” Stone said in his statement.
Shame there is no Ventura County mentioned but LA County is in between geographically.
- Union curbs rescue a Wisconsin school district – "This is a disaster," said Mark Miller, the Wisconsin Senate Democratic leader, in February after Republican Gov. Scott Walker proposed a budget bill that would curtail the collective bargaining powers of some public employees. Miller predicted catastrophe if the bill were to become law — a charge repeated thousands of times by his fellow Democrats, union officials, and protesters in the streets.
Now the bill is law, and we have some very early evidence of how it is working. And for one beleaguered Wisconsin school district, it's a godsend, not a disaster.
The Kaukauna School District, in the Fox River Valley of Wisconsin near Appleton, has about 4,200 students and about 400 employees. It has struggled in recent times and this year faced a deficit of $400,000. But after the law went into effect, at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, school officials put in place new policies they estimate will turn that $400,000 deficit into a $1.5 million surplus. And it's all because of the very provisions that union leaders predicted would be disastrous.
In the past, teachers and other staff at Kaukauna were required to pay 10 percent of the cost of their health insurance coverage and none of their pension costs. Now, they'll pay 12.6 percent of the cost of their coverage (still well below rates in much of the private sector) and also contribute 5.8 percent of salary to their pensions. The changes will save the school board an estimated $1.2 million this year, according to board President Todd Arnoldussen.
Of course, Wisconsin unions had offered to make benefit concessions during the budget fight. Wouldn't Kaukauna's money problems have been solved if Walker had just accepted those concessions and not demanded cutbacks in collective bargaining powers?
"The monetary part of it is not the entire issue," says Arnoldussen, a political independent who won a spot on the board in a nonpartisan election. Indeed, some of the most important improvements in Kaukauna's outlook are because of the new limits on collective bargaining.
In the past, Kaukauna's agreement with the teachers union required the school district to purchase health insurance coverage from something called WEA Trust — a company created by the Wisconsin teachers union. "It was in the collective bargaining agreement that we could only negotiate with them," says Arnoldussen. "Well, you know what happens when you can only negotiate with one vendor." This year, WEA Trust told Kaukauna that it would face a significant increase in premiums.
Read it all
- President 2012: Bachmann gets nod from fourth Iowa Senator – The presidential hopes of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) received a third nod from the ranks of the Iowa Senate. Late Thursday the Bachmann campaign announced that it had received the endorsement of Iowa Sen. Nancy Boettger, a Harlan Republican.
“I’m excited to have Nancy’s support,” Bachman said in a prepared statement. “As a former educator, Nancy understands the importance of raising children to be good stewards in the future.”
The Boettger family are farmers and also run a bed and breakfast.
“Michele is the kind of no-nonsense leader that America needs,” Boettger said. “Michele will stand up for what is right in any situation and I’m proud to lend my support to her campaign.”
The endorsement marks the fourth that Bachmann has received from the Iowa Senate, with Kent Sorenson and Brad Zaun also making their support official this week and Jack Whitver providing his endorsement in advance of Bachmann’s campaign kick-off event in Waterloo