Legislative Recap on Health: #Health4All; Out-of-Pocket Costs; Medi-Cal, Etc.

The Senate and Assembly adjourned Thursday, one day ahead of the June 5th deadline to pass all bills out of the first legislative chamber. The good news is that most key bills of interest to health care consumers have passed out of the house of origin, while one bill, opposed by public health groups, was defeated. Bills moving forward deal with limits and protections against unfair out-of-pocket costs; efforts at improving Medi-Cal; and most notably a significant expansion of access to coverage for all regardless of immigration status.

These bills now head to the second half of the legislative process. For details on each bill, see our weekly bill matrix:


Below the fold, full reports on:

* SB 4 To Take Historic Steps to #Health4All & Cover the Remaining Uninsured

* Patient Protection Bills To Limit Out-of-Pocket Costs

* Additional legislation on transparency, Medi-Cal, tobacco control, and more


The most-watched health bill was SB4, the first bill to pass a state legislative body that would explicitly expand coverage regardless of immigration status. The California Senate passed SB4 on a historic and bipartisan vote, 28-11, with all Democratic senators and 2 Republican senators voting in support. This bill, which continues California’s path to #Health4All, moves on to the Assembly Health Committee for consideration.

With last week’s amendments in the Senate Appropriations Committee, SB 4 would:

* Expand Medi-Cal eligibility to all children regardless of immigration status, as an entitlement;

* Expand coverage for undocumented adults as budget allocations will allow (to be decided each year in the budget, and that enrollment will be capped if funding runs out).

* By way of a Section 1332 waiver (a formal request to the federal government), SB 4 would allow all Californians to purchase coverage through Covered California using their own money.

Senator Ricardo Lara, author of SB 4, called the vote “historic” and one that Senators will remember long after their term is over. “We are talking about our friends, our families, our neighbors. Illness doesn’t care about our immigration status,” said Lara, describing the bill as still “realistic, balanced, and fiscally prudent.”

Several Senators rose to speak during the floor debate. From the opposing side, GOP Senators Jeff Stone, Janet Nguyen, and Bob Huff raised concerns about cost, arguing that expanding Medi-Cal was a “false promise” until the program addresses access issues. Several Democratic Senators responded to that argument, including Senator Richard Pan who stated, “We certainly need to make fixes to Medi-Cal, but certainly being on Medi-Cal is better than being uninsured.” Senator Isadore Hall derided “excuses,” Senator Ben Hueso wanted focus on the issue at hand: “We have a solution on the table, and we should move it forward.” Senator Hernandez rebutted concerns about cost: “The most inefficient way to provide health care is through the emergency room-we all pay for it.”

The most noteworthy speech was by GOP Senator Andy Vidak announcing his support for the bill while also raising the need to address Medi-Cal access issues and federal immigration reform. He and another Central Valley Republican, Senator Anthony Cannella, were the two GOP Senators to vote for the bill. Senator Nguyen abstained, with the rest of the caucus voting no.

This issue is currently pending in Budget Conference Committee as a $40 million item in the Senate’s budget proposal. The next week or two will make a big difference in whether enrollment under SB4 would start in the budget year 2015-16.


Four Health Access-sponsored consumer protection bills to prevent unfair out-of-pocket costs passed out of their “house of origin” this week and are heading to the second half and second legislative chamber in the weeks ahead. The remaining sponsored bill, AB 248 (Hernandez) on large employer junk insurance is further along in the process, having passed out of the Assembly several weeks ago.

* Requiring Accurate Provider Directories: SB 137 (Hernandez) would set standards for provider directories and establish more oversight on accuracy so people know whether their doctor and hospital are in network when they shop for coverage, change coverage, or try to use their coverage. SB 137 passed out of the Senate with bipartisan support. The final vote was 33-0.

* Preventing Surprise Bills: AB 533 (Bonta), which would protect patients from “surprise” bills from out-of-network doctors when they did the right thing by going to an in-network hospital, imaging center, or other facility, passed out of the Assembly with a vote of 74-1.

* Limiting Prescription Drug Cost Sharing: AB 339 (Gordon), which would prevent discrimination against consumers with health conditions by setting standards for cost sharing on prescription drugs passed out of the Assembly with a vote of 48-29.

* Capping Individual Out-of-Pocket Costs: AB 1305 (Bonta) on limitations on cost sharing in family coverage passed out of the Assembly with a vote of 78-0. This bill ensures that the ACA individual out-of-pocket maximum (now $6,600) will apply to individual patients-even if they are in a family plan (which has an overall family out-of-pocket max of $13,200).

* Prohibit Subminimum Coverage: AB 248 (Hernandez), which would prohibit sale of subminimum coverage by insurers to large employers passed out of the Assembly several weeks ago with a vote of 51-27 and will next be heard in Senate Health.


SB546 (Leno) would advance transparency in our health system by extending rate review to large group health coverage. This bill, which requires justification of above-average rate increases, passed out of the Senate with a vote of 23-16.

Other transparency bills faltered earlier this year, including SB 26 (Hernandez), which sought to create a health care cost and quality database, was held in Senate Appropriations Committee amid questions on how to finance it. Earlier in the process, AB 463 by Assemblyman Chiu to facilitate more disclosure on prescription drug costs was stalled in Assembly Health Committee. These efforts will likely be revisited in future years.


Several bills designed to improve the Medi-Cal program, which now covers almost 12 million Californians, advanced out of their house of origin.

* SB 33 (Hernandez), which would limit estate recovery in Medi-Cal to the federally required minimum of long-term care services and eliminate recovery from the estate of a surviving spouse of a deceased beneficiary, passed out of the Senate with a vote of 33-0.

* AB 1231 (Wood), which would facilitate practical access to Medi-Cal specialty care through coverage of nonmedical transportation, also passed out with a vote of 76-0.

* AB 635 (Atkins), which would require the Department of Health Care Services to seek federal funding to establish a program to provide and reimburse for certified medical interpretation services to Medi-Cal beneficiaries with limited English proficiency, passed out of the Senate with a vote of 72-2.

* AB 366 (Bonta), which would require the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to report to the Legislature on Medi-Cal access passed out of the Assembly with a vote of 77-0.  Originally introduced as a measure to restore Medi-Cal provider reimbursement rates and bring them up to Medicare levels in future years, this bill came out of the Appropriations Committee’s suspense hearing significantly scaled back in scope. A companion measure SB 243 (Hernandez) was held in Appropriations during the suspense hearing and is not moving forward.


A handful of bills aimed at the negative health impacts of tobacco use passed, including SB 151 (Hernandez) to raise the smoking age from 18 to 21. SB 140 (Leno), which would revise the definition of tobacco products to include e-cigarettes, thus subjecting such products to the same regulations as other tobacco products, passed out of the Senate with a vote of 25-12.  Public health groups, including the Heart Association, Lung Association, and Health Access supported that measure and opposed the related bill SB 24 (Hill), which did not classify e-cigarettes as tobacco. Research suggests that e-cigarettes have much the same negative effect as cigarettes. SB 24 (Hill) failed passage.  


A full matrix of the latest on all active bills supported by Health Access and other health and consumer advocates is available online (here). That list includes ACA implementation legislation like SB 43 (Hernandez), which would extend the sunset date on essential health benefits standards from 2016 to 2018 and incorporate recent changes in federal guidance regarding habilitative care (services that help you keep, learn, or improve skills and functioning for daily living); AB 1117 (Garcia) would help bring more resources to Medi-Cal to improve immunization rates for 2-year-olds and AB 1299 (Ridley-Thomas) seeks to improve the delivery of mental health services for foster youth.


Now that these bills have passed the critical house of origin deadline, they will next be heard in the “other house,” meaning if the bill was introduced in the Assembly, it will be heard in the Senate, and if the bill was introduced in the Senate, it will be heard in the Assembly. Committee hearings will resume on June 8th. Policy committees have until July 17th to meet and report bills out of committee.

This blog entry is cross-posted at http://blog.health-access.org. It was written by Sawait Hezchias-Seyoum, Health Care Policy Advocate, Health Access. Stay tuned for tools and talking points to bring these bills to the finish line.  

The Mighty Bay Bridge?

The New Bay BridgeAnother rod fails testing

by Brian Leubitz

When you spend $6.5 billion on something, you expect it to last a few years, even if it is one of the world’s widest bridges. (That $6B+ price tag also set a Guinness record!)

Caltrans officials downplayed the failure, stressing that 99 percent of the 407 rods that underwent testing passed, and said that the cause will need to be determined by further tests in a materials lab. But the failure of a second rod leaves the possibility that more rods could eventually fail.

“Hydrogen embrittlement and corrosion occurs over time,” said Steve Heminger, executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and one of three people on a committee overseeing the east span construction. “They could last 20 years or 50 years, but with this bridge, we want 150 years.” …

“This bridge is safe, and it’s going to perform well in a major seismic event,” he said. “The engineers are saying it’s terrific.”

Some independent experts are not convinced, however.

“That would suggest it did not strip, but that it fractured,” said Bernard Cuzzillo, a Berkeley mechanical engineer. “Because a fracture results in a sudden release of elastic energy, which causes a pop or a bang sound. Stripping is a slower failure and typically does not result in an audible sound.” (SF Gate)

Tollpayers will now be paying for a few million dollars worth of additional testing to give us all confidence, but doubt abounds. The rods are intended to grant additional stability during a seismic event, so perhaps it is natural that even one failure brings about a little nervousness in drivers using the bridge.

But the one certainty we have with the new eastern span is that this won’t be the last we hear about corrosion and botched grouting.  

Fast Food Owners and Workers Unite to Strengthen Jobs, Business

By Kathryn Slater-Carter and Jon Youngdahl

News headlines often depict the growing economic divide in our nation as a tug of war between workers and business, but in one critical sector of our economy – franchise enterprises — entrepreneurs and workers are both being pushed into economic peril.  Workers and franchise business owners are both being squeezed by giant corporations like McDonald’s, having critical decisions that affect their livelihoods and their dignity forced on them by a faceless corporate headquarters.  Workers and franchise owners alike face retaliation and the loss of their income if they speak out.  For these reasons, both workers and franchise owners are coming together to fight for AB 525 (Holden), a bill that protects jobs by giving franchisees a fair shake so they can keep and grow the businesses they’ve nurtured.

A generation ago, McDonald’s valued its franchisees as partners who built the strength of the brand in communities across the country.  Now, McDonald’s and other corporations built on the franchising model have gone the way of so many other industries that look to post short-term gains rather than build real value, even if it means driving franchise owners and workers into poverty.

Today, franchise agreements are so one-sided, franchisees have virtually no say in the businesses they’ve risked their life savings and dedicated years of their lives to build.  Corporate headquarters control nearly every aspect of the business, can force new and unexpected costs onto franchise owners, and franchise owners can be punished for speaking out or joining with other franchise owners to improve business conditions.  Franchises can even be shut down for arbitrary reasons, as Kathryn Slater-Carter experienced firsthand after working 30 years to build her Bay Area McDonald’s franchise.  

A survey of 1,100 franchise owners released in April found Kathryn’s case is far from an isolated incident.  Dissatisfaction with franchisors — the parent corporations of franchise businesses – is widespread, and retaliation against franchise owners who speak out about problems is frequent.   More than half of franchisees say they can’t earn a living from their business.  Four in 10 reported threats of having their franchise agreements terminated for taking actions they thought were appropriate for their business, and nearly 20% said their franchisor increased the frequency of inspections after the franchisee raised questions or spoke out about problems.

California franchisees and workers are both striving to be a part of California’s economic future and AB 525 brings us one step closer to stabilizing small businesses so they can continue serving the needs of California’s communities and strengthen the jobs that build our economy and provide for families.  

The bill, the Small Business Investment Protection Act, would significantly expand the rights of franchisees and establish stronger protections against unfair termination or nonrenewal of contracts by franchisors.  California workers support the bill because they know when franchisees can make decisions that are in the best interest of their businesses, they can invest in their employees.

Franchise owners and workers want the same thing – a fair shot at the American Dream.  That’s why we’ve formed an unlikely alliance to support AB 525.  By ensuring franchisees have a fair shot at surviving as corporations squeeze more and more from franchisees and workers, AB 525 protects California small businesses and jobs.

Kathryn Slater-Carter was a McDonald’s franchise owner for more than 30 years.  Jon Youngdahl is the Executive Director of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California, which includes 700,000 private and public sector workers as members.

State Budget Preview: Medi-Cal, #Health4All, other health investments needed

The annual state budget process, which began in January, comes into focus later this week when the Governor releases the May Revision of his proposed 2015-16 budget. Health and community advocates are urging the Governor and the Legislature to include funding for critical health programs in upcoming budget negotiations. These investments continue the Affordable Care Act’s momentum by removing barriers to coverage, ensuring those covered in Medi-Cal get access to care along with important benefits, and extending coverage to the remaining uninsured.

The deadline for the Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign a budget is June 15. The Governor’s May Revision sets the stage for a short month of negotiations, shaped by information about how much of a surplus is available given the state revenues that came in during April tax time, and constitutional formulas that limit the use of these funds.

Recent Budget Subcommittee Hearings: Since introducing the budget in January, the legislature’s budget subcommittees have reviewed the Governor’s proposed budget along with budget requests from advocates. In recent days, the Senate and Assembly Budget Subcommittees on Health and Human Services completed their reviews of the Governor’s proposed budget, along with a range of urgent and needed health investments that were not included in the Governor’s proposed budget, from expanding coverage without regard to immigration status to limiting estate recovery in Medi-Cal to restoring Medi-Cal benefits. The subcommittees left most of these items open for further discussions pending the May Revision. Many consumer and community organizations including Health Access California were on hand to strongly support these critical investments.

Immigrant Health Care. Although the Affordable Care Act made health coverage possible for millions of Californians, it excludes undocumented immigrants currently living and working in any state. If and when the President’s executive order on immigration is upheld in court, those newly eligible for deferred action will have access to Medi-Cal. Advocates are proposing to expand that access to all Californians income eligible for Medi-Cal, without regard for immigration status, as proposed in SB 4 (Lara). The cost would be a small fraction of last year’s proposal, amounting to only 2 more cents for every dollar spent on Medi-Cal, but would make a world of difference for not just immigrant families, but for our health system and society.

Estate Recovery. Advocates are also seeking that California limit Medi-Cal estate recovery to costs associated with long term care services and supports, consistent with minimum federal requirements. Last year, the Governor vetoed a bill to limit Medi-Cal estate recovery, arguing the policy change should be considered in the budget instead. Health Access will continue to vigorously advocate for this policy change so that older low-income Californians don’t have to make a trade-off between seeking health care coverage and keeping their family home.

Restore Medi-Cal Benefits Eliminated in the 2009-10 Budget. Major cuts were made during the budget crisis that have yet to be restored, including Medi-Cal rates and benefits, and consumer advocates including Health Access request undoing those cuts. In this part week, the budget subcommittees heard a proposal to restore non-federally mandated yet critical Medi-Cal benefits that were eliminated for budgetary, not policy reasons, in response to the state fiscal crisis. They include, among other things: acupuncture, audiology, chiropractic, podiatry, speech therapy, and full restoration of adult dental coverage. Partial restoration of adult dental was done in the 2013-14 budget, which gives Medi-Cal beneficiaries access to preventative care, restorations, and full dentures. However, important services such as gum treatment and partial dentures or implants are still not covered in Medi-Cal. According to a recent study published in Health Affairs, California emergency departments experienced a spike in visits for dental issues after comprehensive dental benefits for adults were cut from Medi-Cal. The study further found that the lack of adult dental benefits shifts dental care needs to costly emergency departments where dental issues are not adequately addressed.

Medi-Cal Provider Rates. Many providers and consumer groups have sought to rescind the 10 percent Medi-Cal provider rate cut, which will encourage more providers to participate in Medi-Cal and help increase access for Medi-Cal beneficiaries. In fact, California’s Medi-Cal provider reimbursement rates are among the lowest in the nation, making access to doctors, specialists, and beneficiaries harder for some of the 12 million Californians with Medi-Cal coverage.

What’s Next: The Governor is expected to release his May Revision of the budget later this week. The budget subcommittees will then hold hearings to review the May Revision the following week (May 18-22), and the Budget Conference Committee will convene at the end of the month to hash out differences between actions taken by the two houses. A final budget must be passed by June 15th. Stay tuned for updates!

What is Carly Fiorina Running for?

Carly FiorinaPundits already discounting the failed Senate candidate

by Brian Leubitz

It is never good when an officer in your own party in your home state says this about your candidacy:

California GOP Vice Chairwoman Harmeet Dhillon said Monday she could envision Fiorina’s campaign propelling her to a cabinet post or even a vice-presidential nomination.

“But I don’t know a single person who thinks she’ll be our presidential nominee,” Dhillon said. (Josh Richman/BANG)

Perhaps she is using the campaign as a way to elevate her national profile for a cabinet gig. But that seems an awfully expensive and laborious task just to raise one’s profile.

She’s failed at HP, though I do give her credit for um, reducing costs while she was there. She’s a failed Senate candidate here in California, and now she is looking to also become a failed presidential candidate as well?

You have to admire her tenacity against all the odds in this somewhat quixotic run, but at least I have high hopes for more Demon Sheep videos:

STUDY: Prevailing Wage Adds 17,500 Jobs to California Economy

Prevailing Wage policies add 17,500 jobs and $1.4 billion in output across California’s economy, according to a new study released by Smart Cities Prevail – a leading construction industry education and research organization.  

Entitled, Building the Golden State-The Economic Impacts of California’s Prevailing Wage Policy, the first-of-its-kind report was co-authored by Colorado State University-Pueblo Economist Dr. Kevin Duncan and Smart Cities Prevail Researcher Alex Lantsberg. The study was conducted using IMPLAN software (the industry standard for analyzing the effects of government policy choices on the economy) to model the impact of eliminating California’s prevailing wage standards.

In addition to measuring the policies’ impact on job creation and overall economic output, the study also concludes that prevailing wage policies facilitate broad improvements to the construction industry as a whole–including substantial reductions in materials waste and dramatic increases in both local hiring and overall workforce productivity.

To Download the Full Report, Click Here.

“While past research has already concluded that prevailing wage promotes workforce development, safer job sites, less dependence on public assistance, and has only negligible impacts on project cost, these new findings show the value of these standards both to the construction industry and our economy as a whole,” said Dr. Kevin Duncan.  “From creating jobs to increasing efficiency, it is clear that prevailing wage policies provide taxpayers with a far better return on investment than the less beneficial alternative.”

While California has recently enacted new legislation (SB 7) to encourage more of its cities to enact prevailing standards, several other states-including Nevada, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan–are either considering or have recently passed laws to weaken prevailing wage requirements on public works.

“This study provides important context for the recent changes to California’s prevailing wage laws, but also for the debates that are happening in other states across our country,” Lantsberg said.  “The data shows that the decision to weaken or eliminate prevailing wage is a choice that can increase poverty, export more tax dollars out of state, and eliminate thousands of jobs in the process.”  

Lantsberg added, “It’s important to note that this study focuses on the benefits of the state prevailing wage policy, but does not analyze the additional positive benefits that come from federal and local policies.  For example, the state and federally funded high speed rail project in California is estimated to create 20,000 prevailing wage construction jobs in the first 5 years of construction, and tens of thousands more in the years that follow.”

Consequences of Prevailing Wage Elimination in California:

– Gross job losses of 48,500 and net job losses of 17,500

– 3%-5.5% increase in out-of-state contracting

– State Economic output reduced by $1.4 billion

– Real income reduced by $1.5 billion

– More construction professionals living at or near the poverty line.

– 12% decline in workforce productivity and 5% increase in materials waste

Kevin Duncan, Ph.D. is a nationally recognized economist specializing in labor and regional economics.  Dr. Duncan currently works as a Professor of Economics in the Hasan School of Business at Colorado State University – Pueblo and Senior Economist at BCD Economics, LLC.  he teaches regional economics where his students learn economic impact analysis.

Alex Lantsberg is a researcher with Smart Cities Prevail specializing in economics, land use, and urban planning.  Mr. Lantsberg holds a Master’s Degree in City Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and an undergraduate degree in finance from Northern Illinois University.

Prevailing Wage is the standard rate paid on publicly funded projects to a worker in a given trade, in a given region.  Prevailing wage laws were first established federally and in some states in the 1930s – and supported by leaders from both political parties – in order to raise the quality of government funded construction projects and encourage more local hiring.  

Smart Cities Prevail is a non-profit 501(c)(4) organization and California’s leading research and informational resource on prevailing wage.   For more information, visit www.smartcitiesprevail.org.

What Color is the Sky in Joel Fox’s Fantasy World?

by Steve Smith

There’s been a lot of attention lately on California’s turnaround. As it turns out, that nonsense about all our jobs moving to Texas was a just Texas-sized whopper. Last year California created about 500,000 jobs to lead the nation in job growth, outpacing the conservative darling Texas.

Basically, the corporate narrative about California has gone up in smoke. In the last several years, California has done a litany of things that the corporate crowd claims kill jobs. We raised the minimum wage. We raised taxes on the rich with Prop 30 to better fund schools and public safety. We guaranteed paid sick days for all workers. We eliminated the wasteful enterprise zone tax credits for big businesses that cost the state nearly $1 billion per year. We got rid of another tax giveaway to business with Prop 39 and instead funneled those funds into clean energy projects that create good jobs. We strengthened regulations that protect workers and the environment. The list goes on and on.

So imagine my surprise when I read Joel Fox’s blog on Fox & Hounds claiming that the Chamber of Commerce was actually responsible for the job growth in California. Oh, ok. Sure. That makes total sense, Joel. The Chamber constantly derides California as the most anti-business state in the country and now wants to claim credit for our success? That makes about as much sense as that idiotic scheme you participated in during the 2012 election to help the Koch Brothers and their rich, out-of-state friends funnel millions into California to help pass the anti-worker Prop 32 and defeat Prop 30. But, I digress.

Hidden at the bottom of Fox’s inane blog is the one line we should all pay attention to in the context of this argument.

The Chamber’s goal is to keep business costs low to improve the economy statewide.

By lowering “business costs” he means eliminating protections for workers and the environment, shrinking wages for workers, while cutting taxes on CEOs and the wealthiest among us. California has roundly rejected this shortsighted notion, unlike, say, Kansas, which is seeing the disastrous effects of implementing the big business plan.

California, under Gov. Jerry Brown, has shown the real path forward.  You can create jobs AND protect workers and the environment. You can put more money in the pockets of those at the bottom while creating shared prosperity that benefits the economy as a whole. You can make the rich pay their fair share to fund our schools, public safety and other important services without hurting job growth. You can protect immigrant workers against exploitation and strengthen the ability for all workers to stand together in unions without hurting competitiveness. In fact, when you do those things, jobs DO grow. Wages DO grow. The economy gets stronger. And most importantly, lives change for the better.

Still, too many workers are struggling today. Now isn’t the time to go backward on workers’ rights. Instead, it’s time to step on the pedal so we raise standards for all workers to combat growing inequality. The last few years we’ve put to rest the narrative that says doing good things for workers and the environment kills jobs.

So let’s not waste time and let’s continue doing more of what we know works. More investment in California’s working people makes California a better place to live and raise a family. More support for workers and their families lowers poverty while creating an economy that works for everyone. And we do this not with the help of the Chamber of Commerce and its corporate CEO funders, we do it in spite of them.  


Fracking brings to mind drilling a hole and then pumping awful stuff down the hole causing gas and oil to be released through fractures in the rock.  A new kind of fracking is being planned: The fracking of the California Democratic Party.  The hole is being drilled in Senate District 7 where Steve Glazer could take a seat with the Democrats in the State Senate.  Glazer is expert at using awful stuff – divisiveness; which he used to turn Democrats against Democrats and labor unions, that’s how he delivered an assembly seat to a Republican in a district with a Democratic majority.  He is using the same divisive strategy in the current campaign and promises to use it if elected.  He would have a seat at the Democratic Caucus where legislators hammer out differences and reach agreements through open discussions.  Glazer would prevent those discussions because he cannot be trusted.

Following the money behind Glazer’s campaign to see why he cannot be trusted.  

· JOBSPAC the Chamber of Commerce’s Committee has been filling our mailboxes with ads attacking first Tim Sbranti & unions, then both Joan Buchanan & Susan Bonilla.  The chamber wants to do away with regulations meant to protect us to make it easier for businesses to take unfair advantage of us.

· Charter Schools Advocates want to privatize our public school system, with an underfunding strategy.  Parents may either send their kids to public school or try to get the kids into a charter school.  Charter schools are paid for by the local school district.  BUT, charter schools do not play by the same rules as the public schools.  They act as not for profit corporations and do not have to reveal how funds are spent.  They write their own curriculum without oversight.  They use non-credentialed teachers at below union scale wages.  Some do an excellent job but many short change students and parents.  By underfunding education in California more parents will opt for charter schools.  Recently NYC former Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave the Charter Schools advocates $200,000 to use in the Glazer campaign.  

· Bill Bloomfield is a Southern California Billionaire who has over $800,000 invested in Glazer’s campaign sending most of the positive mailers about Glazer.

· Charlie Munger (son of Warren Buffets partner) spent a reported $4.5 million in the campaign against Sbranti.  His PAC Spirit of Democracy sent a very expensive 16 page mailer about how Glazer had been smeared in the AD 16 race, they sent it after the primary to hurt Sbranti running against Republican Catherine Baker.  Munger is chair of the Republican party in Santa Clara County.

Why are these billionaires and the chamber so interested in a Dem on Dem race?  If this strategy works here in the bay area they can apply it all over the state and nationwide.  It is a strategy for big $$$$ taking over in the bluest state in this nation.  

Josh Richman wrote about the strategy for the Bay Area News Group who endorse Glazer

Will the ‘real Democrat’ please stand up?.  He was kinder than I am.

GAME CHANGER: Jerry Brown appears with Glazer in many mailers, touting he has been a Brown Campaign adviser.  If Jerry Brown endorses Susan Bonilla the game changes.  Brown should endorse Susan because of the effect Glazer would have on the legislature’s effectiveness and on Brown’s agenda.  Does Jerry Brown want to be remembered as the Democratic Governor who let the Democratic Majority in the legislature be fracked?

New website reveals billionaire’s campaign to dismantle retirement security

by Carolyn Constantino

A new website reveals that Enron-billionaire John Arnold has spent up to $50 million of his own fortune to dismantle retirement plans for firefighters, nurses, teachers and other public employees.

The website – Truth About John Arnold – is sponsored by the National Public Pension Coalition (NPPC) and Californians for Retirement Security and traces the wide financial influence that one billionaire has on public pension fights. John Arnold amassed his fortune as an Enron trader, where he earned an $8 million bonus as the company’s collapse decimated $1.5 billion in public pension assets. Arnold turned his $8 million into billions as a Wall Street hedge fund manager.

Dave Low, California School Employees Association (CSEA) Executive Director and Chairman of Californians for Retirement Security explains,

“John Arnold is the second youngest billionaire in America. John Arnold has decided to spend his billions to take hard earned retirement benefits away from school bus drivers, teachers, nurses, firefighters and other public employees. What is in the heart of someone who, having become one of the richest people on the planet, decides to use that wealth to undermine the retirement security of working class Americans who have dedicated their entire careers to public service?”

Arnold’s spending has touched every facet of anti-retirement campaigning, including tainted research, political advocacy organizations, ballot initiatives, journalism, and the campaign coffers of extreme politicians. He is involved in battles to limit retirement security across the country through his foundation, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, and his political PAC, Action Now.

“Lawmakers, workers, and the public at large deserve to know that the funding to dismantle retirement security for firefighters, nurses, teachers and other public employees across the country can be traced back to one source – Enron-billionaire John Arnold,” said Bailey Childers, Executive Director of NPPC.

The truth about John Arnold:

– In 2013, Arnold was the leading financier of former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed’s failed effort to put a statewide pension-gutting initiative on the ballot.

– Arnold was the lead financier ($150,000) of an effort to end public pensions in Ventura County. A judge declared the effort unconstitutional.

– Arnold spent more than $1 million dollars on a ballot initiative in Phoenix to close the pension system. That effort was defeated by voters in 2014.

– The Laura and John Arnold Foundation underwrote a PBS series called “Pension Peril.” The PBS Ombudsman declared the $3.5 million contribution inappropriate. The grant was returned and the series pulled from the air.

– Arnold underwrites Pew Charitable Trusts’ pension work with a $4.85 million contribution.

Learn more about John Arnold here.

Cross-posted from CSEA.